It's quality didn't impress us much when we reviewed it, but JVC's Everio GZ-MG330 (web ID: 121321) turned out to be one of the biggest-selling camcorders of 2008. With the GZ-HD300, JVC is hoping to replicate that success, but in HD.
The chassis is very similar - small, light, and available in various colours - but inside lurks more potent hardware. The sensor is a 1/4.1in CMOS with 3.05 megapixels. Video is recorded as AVCHD in Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 24Mbits/sec.
And despite its small size, it packs a 60GB hard disk - enough for 5hrs 30mins of top-quality footage - and a 20x optical zoom.
There isn't much for the enthusiast, though, with no accessory shoe, mic or headphone socket. You do get a reasonable level of manual control - over-exposure and shutter speed, for instance - while manual focusing is aided by a function that fringes objects in focus with a single colour. JVC has even thrown in face detection.
But we're not keen on JVC's Laser Touch Operation, which makes settings harder to adjust than with more prosaic systems.
So the Everio GZ-HD300 is very much a point-and-shoot camcorder. But that doesn't mean it has inferior image quality. It can't compete with premium models, but in decent lighting it provides very good colour and the high data rate keeps compression artefacts to a minimum.
Low light performance is good too: although there are some signs of grain, footage remains usable in quite poor light levels.
Editing the footage won't pose a problem either, as AVCHD is now widely supported by mainstream software. If you want to watch your footage on a TV, there's a mini-HDMI port built in, although you'll need an adapter to hook this up to a HDTV. It supports HDMI 1.3 too, so can output 1080p/50 with x.v.Color to a compatible TV.
This all sounds like JVC could have another market winner on its hands. But when you can buy stunning 2008 models such as Canon's HF10 for the same amount of money, JVC's Everio GZ-HD300 isn't going to match the budget success of its predecessor.