With a camcorder, there generally isn’t much in the way of setup that has to occur. The first order of business is to install the battery and get a full charge. This step proved to be deceptively simple, and sadly this is something I am not accustomed to having to expand on. For whatever reason Genius did not key the battery to only install one way. This small oversight on their part, combined with my small oversight to notice the small (+) and (-) markings on the camera housing, led to very unsuccessful charging/operating experience. Although this little mishap was embarrassing to share with you, I think it’s something worth mentioning here.
With a fully charged battery and camera in hand, I began navigating the 3” touchscreen configuring the various “initial” settings. Setting the time, date, etc… was very straight forward and the touchscreen was extremely responsive and easy to use. After the initial settings were set, I was ready to give Steven Spielberg a run for his money.
Fit, feel, and function:
Over the next couple weeks, I spent time evaluating the G-Shot HD575T. With the strap adjusted to my medium/large hands, the camera feels good. Its small footprint sits comfortably in the hand, and with the already discussed weight (or lack thereof), there was zero burden holding it and shooting videos or taking stills.
Folding out the 3” touchscreen presents an easy point and shoot method of view finding. The various settings that can be configured, such as changing the capturing resolutions, effects, and lighting are all easily tweakable on the fly. In regards to the quality of “what you see is what you get” with the view finder touchscreen, I found the image to be much darker in low light situations (even with the LCD brightness increased) versus the actual captured video/image. This led to some misleading “dark” moments. In normal lighting, this LCD image was in sync with the captured video/image.
Aside from the touchscreen, there are several controls on the camera housing. These include a rocker style zoom button, a capture button, a playback button, a menu button (touchscreen menu), a mode button (switching between still, motion, and audio capture), a light button (activating the integrated light/flash), and lastly a power button (only necessary when you want to leave the viewfinder screen open and wish to power off the camera). All of these buttons are well placed and easily accessible, save the capture button (activate with the thumb). The capture button rides high on the rear of the camera and always feels slightly out of comfortable reach for easy activation. This same feedback was shared amongst fellow staff members with various hand sizes.
The multiple output connections (USB, HDMI) are easily accessible on the rear of the camera. The ability to go direct via HDMI to a display is extremely handy for those moments when you want to quickly share some video with friends and family.
The camera comes with a full licensed version of Arcsoft Total Media Extreme, which I had never previously used, but found to have a very competent player and editing component. The editing portion (Total Media Showbiz) was very reminiscent to other suites I had used in the past and I found it to be a viable stand-in in the absence to some of the more prominent video suites.
In regards to the output file formats, the video captures as a .MOV file. It is refreshing that this file type can be moved off the camera and played on many devices without having to convert. This is a big bonus to the “ease of use” value of this camera. The stills are captured as .JPG and this is pretty standard…so not much to comment on there.
So now that I have rambled on and on about the bells and whistles, how does the video quality stand up?
Well, in normal lighting the G-Shot HD575T performs “good”. By good I mean the captured colors were true with good saturation, but at HD1080P resolution setting, the resulting image could be a bit more crisp for my taste. It’s not so much artifacting, but there is a very minor amount of noise in the image only made more obvious by the large displays commonly found in homes today.
Sadly, and this likely due to the size of the camera and the resulting small size of the CMOS sensor, the low light video capture quality is “ok”. The captured image in low light is pretty dark and the image noise is more pronounced. Now this is a problem that plagues almost all small cameras, but it’s important to mention for those that may not be aware. This leads me to the integrated light…
There is one final note in regards to video quality. Unfortunately, I am not sure if this is indicative of all G-Shot HD575T cameras, but there is a band present in the image which is noticeable in certain environments (mainly low light). We will be contacting Genius on this and may revise this article if the camera is found faulty, but the pictures below highlight the band in question. Bare in mind that this is low light and slightly enlarged.