Pros / The JVC Quad Proof GZ-R550 EverioR has 32GB of integrated memory.
Cons / It doesn’t have integrated Wi-Fi.
Verdict / This waterproof and shockproof camcorder comes with a lot of built-in memory and an easy-to-use interface. It’s among the best HD camcorders we reviewed.
The JVC Quad Proof GZ-R550 EverioR camcorder has a whopping 32GB of internal memory, the most of any camcorder we tested. Depending on the resolution you shoot in, you can store anywhere from about 2.5 to 3.5 hours of footage. And speaking of storage, this camcorder takes a full-size SD card, in case you want to store even more footage. This camcorder also features in-camera editing. This means you can cut your long clips short or use special effects recording filters like grainy monochrome if you’re interested in making your footage look a little more artsy.
In the box, you get an AC adapter, adapter cable, USB cord, AV cable and lens cap. If you choose not to attach the lens cap, your lens is always exposed so you’ll never forget to open it, but it’s also more likely to get damaged. The GZ-R550 also comes with core filters you can attach around an AV cord to improve the quality of your video when you watch it through your TV. These little cylinders reduce interference with other devices.
This camcorder, like some of the others we tested, is essentially life proof. It is waterproof for up to 30 minutes in up to about 16 feet of water and shockproof when dropped from a height of about 5 feet. We tested this and the camcorder survived and continued to record. Like the other JVC camcorder, it weighs 10.2 ounces, which is on the heavier side comparatively. On the outside, it has a rotating touchscreen where you can access all the camcorder’s features. Some people like touchscreens while others don’t, so it’s up to you to decide whether this is something you want in a camcorder. This JVC also has a front-facing light so you can capture better footage in low light situations.
Our testing involved using this camcorder both inside in varying light and outside on a sunny day. The seven testers who reviewed and ranked the footage felt this camcorder took video of the same quality as the JVC GZ-R440D, giving it the same grade of C. This is because while the footage came out pretty clear it, just wasn't as crisp and detailed as video from some of the other camcorders we tested, like the Nikon KeyMission 80. Our video experts also gave the two camcorders the same grade for color balance: an A.
With a 40x optical zoom, you can record video from a fair distance away, though not quite as far as the Panasonic HC-W580 with its 50x optical zoom. There is also the option of using the 60x dynamic zoom, but the resulting video won’t be quite as clear.