JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital Camcorder – Good for entry level

Hi,we have been using this for 18 months now, and it’s travelled continents and has give us no problems at allat least 3 minidv tapes, an extra battery, and a carrying bag are essentials. This camcorder is excellent value. The only con is low light recording is not good, but that’s the case with most camcorders.

The jvc dvl520u digital video camera is the central camera in the jvc 320u, 520u, and 720u line. Each of these cameras offers the same basic technology with varying features. The 520u shares the same remote as the 320u. The 720u remote contains more functionality. The 520u remote contains all the usual basic capabilities, including rewind, fast forward, playback, record, etc. The 520u also shares the same memory card as the 720u, which is 8mb in size. The raw technology of all these units is essentially the same. What differentiate them are the features jvc activates and implements in each model. The 520u specifications are as follows:- 680,000 pixel ccd (1/4′)- 110,000 pixel, 2. 5′ lcd monitor (270 degree rotation)- f1.

There are many reviews on this dv camcorder at this website and i don’t see any need to elaborate the functionality of it. However, i had one terrible experience with this one which is discussed below. I also found by email from three other jvc 520u user that they had the same problem and fixed it easily. After the warranty is over, this stopped working (no power up). Took it a jvc dealer repair shop (george meyer, santa monica, los angeles). He tried to rip me by asking me to pay $275 for labor and $22. I did not repair it from that guy. Finally, i bought the repair manual ($16) and opened the stuff myself. A microfuse on the main board was gone, which i replaced it myself and costed me 59 cents for a new microfuse. Here are the specifications for the JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital Camcorder:

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  • 520 lines of resolution with high-band processor
  • Night Alive for full color shooting in extreme low light
  • SD and MultiMedia Card compatibility
  • 2.5-inch LCD viewscreen
  • USB high-speed interface

I bought this camcorder after i had my canon zr45mc. If you read some other reviews complaining the low light recording functions of this camcorder, let me tell you it is not that bad. I tried both video and still photo in my dining room with only 4×15 watts lights. The result was very pleasant. Comparing to the canon zr45mc i had, it was much better. The canon produces very grainly images with many color dots all over the pictures (video noise), while this jvc did very well. I am replacing the canon with this jvc for exactly this reason – low light performance. I cannot give it a 5-star because its black and white view finder, 10x optical zooming and no ad converter. On the other hand, canon zr45mc has 18x optical zooming, color view finder and ad converter, but for more money.

Looking for my first ever video camera, i stumbled upon this 520a jvc, looks sleek, light weight, fair functionability, 800 000 pixels for digital stills (which is not bad for it’s price). Compared to the sony at a similar price range, it lacked a few added extras which some may find useful :1. Mpeg (not particularly that useful i suppose if you have firewire)2. Night scope (the jvc does not compare to sony’s night vision.- it just decreases shutter speed)3. Battery life – i think that the sony stamina battery lasts a lot longer than the jvc pack. Quality of video – this is debatable – i couldn’t tell the diffirence though i was told that sony has a better colour. B&w viewer – it’s quite annoying if you’re used to a colour viewer. The lcd screen however is very clear. The sony has a tft active matrix which may be slightly better. I was told that the lcd screen has a shorter life-span. Compared to the canon zx5series – some also have an sd card, the jvc is cheaper, looks sleeker (i think) but similar otherwise.

Reviews from purchasers :

  • Very good entry-level miniDV camera for the price
  • Low Light recording OK, Beats Canon ZR45MC
  • Good for entry level

I am a tv producer, but i can’t always run aound with a xls-1 with me. This is far the least expensive dv cam i’ve found, nice basic features, leans a little on the blued and the autofocus is quite slow in lower loght situations. Still, if you want a nice 520 line rez dv cam with nice zoom features and firewire and usb connect capabilites, this can’t be beat. However, the prices i’ve seen here are a bit high, i grabbed mine at bj’s discount for $298 – and i’ve seen it listed here for up to 40% more. So shop around, it’s a basic dv cam that’s been discontinued. I love it for the money, but i wouldn’t spend $400 or $500 on it. There are plenty of better cams in those price ranges. But if you can get this for anywhere near $300 – grab it. I used to pay thousands of dollars more for sp betacams with less lines of resolution, analog technology and the need to convert analog to digital for editing.

Review Date
Reviewed Item
JVC GR-DVL520U MiniDV Digital Camcorder with 2.5 LCD (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
1.0 of 5 stars, based on 10 reviews