JVC is a fine Japanese brand, which, like Olympus, does curiously little to promote itself – a shame, because its classy new palm-of-hand-sized HD video is a gem. The JVC X900 is a full HD 1920 x 1080p machine that shoots fantastic video thanks to the biggest chip on the market for a camera its size. It can also take serious 9 Megapixel stills. But the most immediately striking thing about it is that it’s a bit on the cheap side (though not its price). Its light build and plastic casing don’t shout “quality”, but handle it and you’ll understand its expense. Its uncluttered functionality made me want to go film. It uses SD cards – 40 minutes at top quality takes up 8Gb. Buy an extra battery; there’s a lot going on in its brain and you’ll probably need a fresh battery after an hour.
The X900 is a top-of-the-market fun camera for amateurs, with entertaining features such as slow-motion shooting and high-speed “motor drive”-style stills. You’d struggle to shoot a TV documentary on it, but for great family films and photos that look good on the biggest screen, it’s a fine, if slightly leftfield, choice.