As with other JVC camcorders, you need to nip into the menu and enable Gain Up to see the HD6’s full low light capabilities, and now there are two options – AGC and Auto. Switching from AGC mode to Auto brightens the image, but to the detriment of grain, so choosing between them depends on taste and shooting conditions. In the lowest light, the JVC still acquits itself reasonably, outperforming the HD7. Canon’s HF10 produces a brighter image in this level of light, but with more noise. So overall the HD6 is capable in most everyday shooting conditions – but the HF10 has the edge.
The HD6 is bristling with ports, though. Aside from analogue component and composite, the HDMI port is full-sized rather than miniature, so you will be able to hook up a regular TV cable without the need for an adapter. It’s also HDMI 1.3 and so supports Deep Colour with a compatible TV or projector. There’s a FireWire port as well, and this can be used to output either HDV-compatible 1440CBR or DV. The USB 2.0 port is the main way to pull footage off for editing. However, where AVCHD is now quite widely supported with editing software (except Adobe’s), the MPEG-2 TOD files created by the JVC aren’t. We were able to import individual files into Ulead VideoStudio 11.5, but not Pinnacle Studio Plus 11.1 or Sony Vegas Pro 8. Adobe software didn’t work either, but we were able to edit files in Premiere Pro with the MainConcept MPEG Pro HD 3 plug-in.
Next to the latest flash memory camcorders, JVC’s Everio GZ-HD6EK feels rather portly. But its ten hours of high quality video storage still can’t be matched by any format other than similarly equipped hard disk-based camcorders. Unfortunately, you pay quite a premium for this, and the 60GB GZ-HD5EK isn’t that much cheaper either. Despite the HD6’s good image quality and comprehensive features, there are now cheaper, lighter options with equal or better capabilities – in particular, Canon’s HF10.
Score in detail
Image Quality 8