Video Accessories Misc

JVC GZ-HM550 High Definition Video Camera


The Design

The HM550 is similar to the HM400 that we reviewed a while back. The differences from what I can tell are that the HM550 has a new sensor of the same size as in the 550, but it has a mirror behind it so that light passes through the sensing pixels twice. This improves the performance in low light, thus reducing noise. Also, there is no external microphone jack. Third, the 550 is much smaller than the 400, weighing in at 0.7 pounds, which is about half the weight of the 400. Last, but not least, is the cost. The 400 is $1,199, while the 550 is $799.

The menus are similar to the 400 as well, but the USB 2.0 port, which you use to connect the 550 to your computer for transferring the video files (*.mts), is on the rear of the camera instead of on the inside panel. Although you can use the camera in Manual mode, just as you can with the 400, there is no set of focus or aperture controls on the front as there are with the 400.

The remote control is also much simpler. Basically, the 550 is designed with ease of use in mind, with a minimum of controls to fuss with. It is also the smallest HD video camera I have ever seen or tested. I consider this a great plus, as it can go in one's shirt pocket or even hang around your neck with a strap because it is so light.


The GZ-HM550 has Bluetooth capability which alllows you to control the camera with a Bluetooth-equipped smartphone, tag the videos with geographic location (by connecting via Bluetooth to your GPS device), or use the camera with a wireless Bluetooth headset to monitor the audio that is being recorded.