Being very much a point and shoot model, the GZ-MS120 doesn’t include features for the enthusiast. There is no accessory shoe, nor minijacks for an external microphone or headphones. There is a little LED video light built in, and the control for this is relatively easy to access in the menu. It’s pretty weedy, but should help with picking up some sort of picture at short range when the environment would otherwise be too dark.
JVC has also included the multi-purpose strap design we first noted with the Everio GZ-HD300. A catch at the rear loosens the strap, which can be adjusted to perform two functions. You can either have the camcorder hang from your wrist, like a compact camera. Alternatively, you can open the catch and pull out the side strap cunningly hidden inside a flush rubber strip and hold the camera Handycam style.
With its identical sensor and optics, the GZ-MS120 wasn’t likely to perform much differently to the GZ-MS100. The slightly improved image processing engine primarily benefits power consumption, as mentioned earlier. But we noticed mild benefits to low light performance. In particular, the yellow cast so common with camcorders which rely on a 1/6in sensor was reduced.
In good lighting, the GZ-MS120 produces a heavily saturated image, but otherwise colours are relatively faithful. There’s also a reasonable amount of detail, considering this is a low-end standard definition camcorder. As with the GZ-MS100 and GZ-MG330, the real party piece, however, is how well this camcorder performs in moderate artificial lighting – a key requirement for a camcorder that’s aimed at shooting family moments. A commendable amount of colour and detail are retained in these conditions, and although there is grain, the noise is not so great that detail disappears.