It also has better features for the more serious video maker. There’s an accessory shoe, with a mic minijack round the front. And of course, with no tapes to change this camcorder will sit comfortably on a tripod. However, the AV minijack at the back doesn’t support headphones for monitoring your sound levels, and there is no manual audio level control either. Also, what looks like it should be a handy lens ring for manual focusing is just for show, as you still need to resort to menu buttons to focus. The MC500EK had a real focus ring, and it’s a mystery why the MG50EK doesn’t.
There’s a decent amount of manual control to be found in the menu system, though. There are actually two separate menus – one for global camera settings, and one specifically for image control. The latter is readily accessed by pushing down the joystick on the 2.7in widescreen LCD. Five Auto-Exposure modes are available, including Portrait, Twilight, Spotlight, Snow and Sport. You can also choose aperture priority mode from F1.8 to F8, with the shutter adjusted automatically, or shutter priority from ½ to 1/4000th of a second, with the aperture adjusted automatically. There are three white balancing presets – halogen, cloud and fine – plus the usual manual and automatic modes. Then of course there are some whacky digital effects, which are best left to the editing stage.
So although the MG50EK doesn’t have everything the semi-pro might want, it does go well beyond point-and-shoot. And for the past couple of years, editing the footage isn’t the strain it once was, with JVC’s Everios. Most desktop video applications now support the MOD file format the Everio records, including its Dolby Digital audio, so cutting your footage won’t pose any more trouble than editing DV.