camcorders

JVC Everio GZ-HM340 Camcorder Review

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Manual Controls

Manual Controls Summary
{{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Vanity120.jpg']}} • The HM340's auto controls are decent, but it doesn't have any fancy AF/AE tracking features like certain other camcorders. • Focus and exposure can be adjusted manually, but not aperture or shutter speed. • Gain control can be turned off, but it can't be set manually. • All controls are adjusted using the Laser Touch strip.
{{article.attachments['cci-prev.jpg']}} Compression & Media (Page 7 of 17) Still Features {{article.attachments['cci-next.jpg']}}

 

**Auto Mode***(6.79)*


The JVC GZ-HM340 doesn't have any advanced auto controls like AF/AE tracking, but its basic automated features work quite well. The autofocus system is quick and responsive, but we did notice a problem with the focus popping as a subject moved around within the frame. We particularly noticed this issue during our motion test. The auto exposure was more effective, with the camcorder producing smooth transitions between light and dark scenes.

If you are in manual mode but would like the take advantage of the auto exposure, you can choose between whole screen and spot metering. Also in manual mode you have a number of automated features that can help you like backlight compensation and scene modes. We're a bit dismayed that the HM340 only comes with two scene modes—normally a consumer camcorder has between 5-10 scene modes—and we're not really sure why JVC chose to limit something like that.

 

  JVC GZ-HM340 JVC GZ-HM200 Panasonic HDC-TM10 Samsung HMX-H106
Dedicated Auto Mode Yes Yes Yes Yes
Auto Focus Normal AF Normal AF Normal AF Normal AF
Spot/Touch Focus No No No Yes
AF/AE Tracking No No Yes No
Face Detection Yes Yes Yes No
Backlight Compensation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Low Light Modes Night Eye scene mode Auto video light MagicPix None
Auto Slow Shutter Yes (AGC set to auto) Yes (AGC set to auto) Yes No
Scene Modes Night Eye, Spotlight Night, Twilight, Portrait, Sports, Snow, and Spotlight Portrait, Snow, Sunset, Sports, Spotlight, Beach, Fireworks, Landscape, and Night Sports, Portrait, Spotlight, Beach/Snow, Food, Candle Light, and Indoor

 

**Zoom***(6.5)*


Zoom is controlled with the top-mounted toggle on the GZ-HM340. The toggle is fairly standard in its design and placement, but we found it a bit uncomfortable to control—possibly due to its small size. Using this toggle, you can control zoom speed variably, which means the zoom will go faster or slower depending on how hard you push the toggle. As you are zooming, a numeric and bar display appear on the LCD to inform you how much you've zoomed.

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The zoom toggle allows you to control zoom speed variably.

In addition to the zoom toggle, you can also zoom using the top portion of the Laser Touch strip. When you tap this part of the strip, large 'W' and 'T' buttons appear on the LCD. Pressing the portion of the strip next to these buttons allows you to zoom in or out. While it is always good to include a secondary zoom option, we aren't really that into using the Laser Touch for this purpose. The zoom speed can't be controlled variably when using the Laser Touch strip and the Strip's responsiveness isn't that precise. We recommend sticking with the top-mounted zoom toggle if you can.

**Zoom Ratio***(7.0)*


The zoom lens on the HM340 can magnify an image up to 20x optically. This is one of the longer zoom ratios available on an HD camcorder, although Panasonic's new mid-range models feature 25x optical zoom lenses.

There is also digital zoom available, which you can cap out at 80x or 200x. As always, we recommend that you do not use digital zoom, since it can degrade the quality of your footage.

 

Zoom Comparisons
{{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Wide.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Mid.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Tele.jpg']}}
Wide Angle   Mid Zoom 20x Zoom

 

**Focus***(5.5)*


Manual focus is the same as was available on last year's mid-range models from JVC. All adjustments are made via the Laser Touch strip on the side of the LCD panel. There are no distance increments available... just a small scale from 'man' to 'mountain'. There is focus assist peaking, in three colors options: red, green, or blue. The image will also be shown in black and white during manual focus adjustment if you wish (this helps you view the peaking specks better).

Of all the manual controls, focus is the tool we least like using with the Laser Touch interface. The touch-sensitive slider is not precise enough to achieve the perfect focus without significant frustration—or luck.

{{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Focus.gif']}}   {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Laser.jpg']}}
Manual focus adjustment on the JVC GZ-HM340   *The Laser Touch is used to set

focus on the HM340.

*

 

Manual Focus Comparisons
JVC GZ-HM340

Control Type: Laser Touch

Focus Assist: peaking

JVC GZ-HM200

Control Type: Laser Touch

Focus Assist: peaking

Panasonic HDC-TM10

Control Type: touchscreen

Focus Assist: magnification

Samsung HMX-H106

Control Type: touchscreen

Focus Assist: none

 

**Exposure***(7.5)*


Exposure can be adjusted via the 'Brightness' tool. It is controlled via the Laser Touch slider. The slider is more finicky than control dials you might find on higher-end models, but it gets the job done. You can choose between whole screen and spot metering if you'd rather let the automatic exposure do its job.

 

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**Aperture***(0.0)*


Just like last year's GZ-HM200, the JVC GZ-HM340 has no manual aperture control.

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**Shutter Speed***(0.0)*


The JVC GZ-HM340 has no manual shutter speed control, which is strange because last year's HM200 from JVC did offer this feature.

 

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**White Balance***(7.25)*


The white balance interface comes with all the benefits and disadvantages of last year's JVC camcorders. There are a decent number of preset options available, but the manual white balance interface is counter-intuitive. Whereas all other operations are achieved with a simple tap or swipe of the Laser Touch panel, the manual white balance requires you to press and hold on the Laser Touch. Once you've figured this out, the white balance is effective, but it's alarmingly easy to tap the option and only think you've performed a successful white balance.

 

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**Gain***(2.0)*


This year, JVC continues to use its Auto Gain Control (AGC) system for controlling gain. The user can't select a specific gain level, but you have the option turning gain off entirely—which results in very dark footage indoors—or choosing between AGC and Auto. In both instances, the camcorder will apply as much gain as it deems necessary for clear footage. With AGC set to auto, however, the camcorder will also activate an auto slow shutter. You get brighter results with Auto, but you also get severe trailing of any moving objects within the frame.

 

{{article.attachments['table-7e4e69b464bc37da371e4b6eff78b57ce1ed1aa4.csv']}}    {{article.attachments['table-a4a19bf42166615b14892d4c10d0103f82befc0a.csv']}}

 

**Color & Image Controls***(2.0)*


 

Color/Image Control Description
x.v.Color Allows for recording in the expanded xvYCC color gamut.

 

**Other Manual Controls***(1.0)*


 

Control Description
TeleMacro Adjusts the focal range for shooting subjects very close to the lens.

 

Manual Controls Summary
  {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM340_Vanity120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['JVC_GZ-HM200_Vanity120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Panasonic_HDC-TM10_Vanity120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung_HMX-H106_Vanity120.jpg']}}
Control JVC GZ-HM340 JVC GZ-HM200 Panasonic HDC-TM10 Samsung HMX-H106
Focus Yes Yes Yes Yes
Exposure Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aperture No No Yes Aperture-priority
Shutter Speed No Shutter-priority Yes Shutter-priority
White Balance Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gain Auto Gain Control on/off Auto Gain Control on/off Yes (with aperture opened fully) No

 

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Product Tour
  3. Color & Noise Performance
  4. Motion & Sharpness Performance
  5. Low Light Performance
  6. Compression & Media
  7. Manual Controls
  8. Still Features
  9. Handling & Use
  10. Playback & Connectivity
  11. Audio & Other Features
  12. Samsung HMX-H106 Comparison
  13. JVC GZ-HM200 Comparison
  14. Panasonic HDC-TM10 Comparison
  15. Conclusion
  16. Photo Gallery
  17. Specs and Ratings
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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