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I have purchased more than two dozen GoPro Hero cameras in my life. I’ve owned every model and enjoyed them. But there comes a time when you have to find out if someone found a better way to build the mousetrap and I think JVC cameras are evidence that someone did just that.

Standout Features

Here are 10 things I like better about the Adixxion line than the Hero…

  1. The cheaper of the two JVC action cameras (JVC GC-XA1 Adixxion HD Action Video Camera) has a street price of about $150. The top-of-the-line GoPro is $399. High prices never scare me but if something costs way more than twice as much it needs to be twice is good. And in this case the Hero is not twice as good. Not even close to twice as good. The JVC Adixxion 2 – GC-XA2 (newer version) is still cheaper at $299 compared with $399 and comes with things you have to add to the GoPro.
  2. The JVCs are just about as sturdy without a case as the Hero is WITH the case. In the JVCs you get waterproof to five meters, shockproof to two meters, dust proof and freeze proof and you don’t have to futz with a case all the time.
  3. The JVCs come with a 1.5 inch LCD. If you want an LCD on the Hero you have to pay still more money. That said once you buy the LCD for Hero it is a higher quality LCD.
  4. Not that I use it much but the JVCs have a traditional zoom feature like most camcorders. It’s a digital zoom so you’re really just cropping. It’s only useful at the camera’s highest resolution.
  5. The JVCs have a menu system that is much more intuitive and the interface is much easier to deal with.
  6. The JVCs use a REAL SD MEMORY CARD! Yes I am yelling here because I loathe the micro SD tiny cards that you have to insert into a larger SD card holder. The new GoPro Hero 3 uses these smaller cards and I hate messing with them.
  7. The JVCs have dual ¼”, 20-thread tripod mounts (one on bottom, one on side!) Wow this is a life saver and a time saver all rolled into one. You can change the camera orientation and still have built-in tripod mounts. With the Hero you have to buy extra stuff to get a regular tripod mount.
  8. The JVC camera bodies feature a scratch-resistant rubber texture which not only protects them but makes it very easy to grab and hold onto them. I’ve dropped many a GoPro.
  9. JVC offers more camera mounts with the camera than GoPro does. With GoPro you have to buy some of the same mounts JVC gives you for free.
  10. The JVCs are made by a company with a long track record of manufacturing high-end video cameras.

So there – I’ve done it. I’ve committed blasphemy. I’ve picked the JVC Adixxion Action Cam series over the Hero. Are the JVCs perfect? Far from it.

Things to Improve

Here are a few things to consider where the JVC could improve.

  • The Wi-Fi is iffy on the JVCs but then again for me, the Wi-Fi is iffy on the Hero so that’s a push.
  • How about image quality. I’d have to say that the JVC Adixxion 2 – GC-XA2is probably 99% as good as the Hero3. The JVC Adixxion 1 is about 95% as good as the Hero3. Ever so slight edge to the GoPro in this category but most of you wouldn’t notice.
  • The Hero certainly beats the JVCs when it comes to sound, but most serious video shooters capture sound with a remote device, not the camera so I don’t see this as a huge problem.
  • The Hero can do high-speed capture better than the JVCs and has a few more options when shooting time-lapse. It also has slightly better battery life. But the third-party JVC battery and charger available from Amazon gives you two extra batteries (total three) and a charger that works off AC or your car.
  • The built-in LCD on the JVC cameras is a blessing and a curse. You can’t turn it off. It’s hard to see in bright daylight and it’s on the right side of the camera instead of the back where it belongs. That said, it’s better than going blind which is what I usually do on the GoPro. Editor’s Note: Many video cameras do this because the camera operator stands next to the camera when titling and panning.

Conclusion

The biggest reason to look at the JVCs over the GoPros is the price. To get all the features of the JVCs along with all the mounting options you have to spend more money for the GoPro. When I did the math I found that I could buy THREE of the JVC Adixxions 2 cameras for the price of two Hero3 cameras. Add in the built-in tripod mounts, the use of an SD card v. a micro SD and the ease of use and the JVC is a no-brainer. Your mileage may vary.

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Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. I was looking at this camera at BB just yesterday. They had them on display with video captured with them playing on an LCD as part of the display. After reading your review, I just need to go buy one and see for myself. Your description of the video I believe to be 100% accurate in description. The video from the display was horrific. Now I can only assume that the monitor they used to display the content was just terrible and not a reflection of the actual footage captured.

    I have a Go Pro 3+ black edition on the way, I may just send it back after I play with the JVC. Thanks for the post Scott. T

    Reply
  2. […] Go here to see the original: Why I prefer The JVC GC-XA1/XA2 Adixxion Action Camera to the GoPro Hero […]

    Reply
  3. Sigh – a guy who is sponsored by GoPro attacked me on Twitter for writing this post and – in a complete turn of irony – accused me of being PAID to write this post. PLEASE scour the archives of Photofocus and find one – just one ad for JVC. There are none. And I’ve never been paid a dime to write any review and our sponsors are disclosed on the masthead. But my favorite part of this story is the dude thinks I got paid by JVC to say the following…

    “Here are a few things to consider where the JVC could improve.

    The Wi-Fi is iffy on the JVCs but then again for me, the Wi-Fi is iffy on the Hero so that’s a push.
    How about image quality. I’d have to say that the JVC Adixxion 2 – GC-XA2is probably 99% as good as the Hero3. The JVC Adixxion 1 is about 95% as good as the Hero3. Ever so slight edge to the GoPro in this category but most of you wouldn’t notice.
    The Hero certainly beats the JVCs when it comes to sound, but most serious video shooters capture sound with a remote device, not the camera so I don’t see this as a huge problem.
    The Hero can do high-speed capture better than the JVCs and has a few more options when shooting time-lapse. It also has slightly better battery life. But the third-party JVC battery and charger available from Amazon gives you two extra batteries (total three) and a charger that works off AC or your car.
    The built-in LCD on the JVC cameras is a blessing and a curse. You can’t turn it off. It’s hard to see in bright daylight and it’s on the right side of the camera instead of the back where it belongs.

    Yeah because companies pay you to criticize them all the time. Now you all know why I am retiring :)

    Reply
  4. Good Review and the Sponsored Go Pro guys comments made me laugh, typically a Go-Pro Hero!!!

    One thing I thought I should add though, on the GC-XA2 you can turn the LCD Off in the settings. You can also set the camera to Auto Off, this turns the screen off after two seconds once the record button is pressed… So you have the best of both worlds.
    Many Thanks, constructive criticism is always welcomed by manufacturers.
    Neil Stewart JVC UK

    Reply
    • Thanks Neil I should have caught that – good to know. It is the best of both worlds.

      Reply
    • I have the Addixion 1, what is the best editing software to use? My friend has a GoPro and the only reason I want one is the fact that the GoPro comes with editing software. I agree that the JVC is just as good but it’s far behind when it comes to going and making the videos into something cool to show your buddies.

      Reply
  5. It sounds like the only real reason to buy a JVC over the GoProbis if you want to save a few bucks at the expense of a little image quality that your readers will be too ignorant to notice anyway.

    SD cards? Really? That’s a big deal? A little extra protection without the case? Well, the only reason to use a GoPro without a case is if you want audio, which as you said, isn’t really a good idea for video anyway. I never take the case off mine other than to wash it after SCUBA diving.

    I guess the screen is nice. But I can link my GoPro to my iPhone or iPad and have a much better and beautiful screen. Underwater, you don’t use a screen anyway.

    Reply
    • For Scott’s use, this is a better camera. There are LOTS of situations where the GoPro app fails. You can’t use it while recording, you can’t see ProTune, you can’t monitor live. The delay is a minimum of 1-4 seconds. Etc.

      I use the GoPros a lot, but have to agree that this camera is compelling. I also use a WG-3 from Pentax for some stuff.

      Reply
    • Hi Dan,
      I’ve got a JVC GC-XA1, whilst not new to scuba diving, very new to filming underwater. I am just curious how you go with the mounting. Do you use the goggle mount…as this doesnt actually fit my comfortable mask strap. Can you let me know what you do or if you just use the normal goggle mount and then flip the video on your computer by 90 degrees??? ANy help would be greatly appreciated.
      Cheers,
      Fran

      Reply
  6. With the JVC you get the screen and the App, yet again best of both worlds.
    The new GC-XA2 has a vastly improved App called Adixxion Sync. This allows you to control the camera remotely using Android or IOS devices. You can start/stop record, take still image, transfer stills to device, You can utilise a built in uStream channel and upload to your Youtube channel. You can even get a four camera view on the app, if youve bought 4 x GC-XA2 that is…
    Anyway not trying to sound too much like Im selling it (which I am), but meerly making sure all the JVC advantages are clear…
    Neil Stewart JVC UK

    Reply
    • Hi, I own a single Adixxion GXA2, and I love it, although battery life could be a lot better. With that said, I’m thinking of buying another one for an upcoming trip, with the hopes that the Adixxion Sync App will allow me to synchronize two different video streams against a single clock source. If I connect two cameras to my iPhone via the Sync app, and I start them through the app on the iPhone, can I assume that they will be timestamped correctly, and identically, so that when I try to switch back and forth between these two perspectives, it will be easier to do so?

      thanks

      Reply
  7. Thanks for this review, it reminds me of the debate of Mac vs PC, yeah the Mac may be better but the PC offers a regular consumer so many options with a very low price.

    Reply
  8. Great article. I used your judgement to decide on picking one of these up. Do you know of a way to power it on and record quickly or do you leave it running then hit record? Do you mind if I ask you what your usage scenarios are like? Thanks.

    Reply
  9. Besides the video quality the JVC ADIXXION GC-XA2 also offer 8MP & 16MP ultra high resolution still image…I would not say the still image quallity is the best but it will satisfy most of the user.
    Cheers =)
    Chuah S.K JVC Malaysia

    Reply
  10. I have been having great luck with my new Adixxion 2 so far. I use these types of pov cams primarily on a camera boom I developed for use on racing snowboards.The user interface on this cam is the best and easiest I’ve encountered as I also own GoPro, Replay XD (the least dependable cam I’ve owned), and Drift HD. Here is a link to recent footage I shot in a race course on my snowboard.This requires a high level of shock and moisture resistance which the Adixxion 2 seems to have in spades.

    Reply
  11. Nice Snowboarding footage, I have shared on the JVC Adixxion UK Facebook. Hope you dont mind Stephen… Neil Stewart JVC UK

    Reply
  12. The GC-XA1 is a perfectly good camera for the current rate of about $150. I picked mine up at Best Buy when they had them for $99.99 which is an excellent value. The big negative for me is that the 720 video quality is pretty mediocre. The camera seems to do three things that combine to make 720 pretty mediocre. First, it seems like they use line skipping or a very crude resizing algorithm to get the 1280 video lines from the 5MP (approx. 2560×1920 sensor pixels.) This results in a fairly aliased image since the sensor’s AA filter is probably optimized for the higher pixel density. Then they oversharpen the image. This creates a LOT of detail (some of it “false) that is hard for the h.264 codec to compress. So real fine detail disappears into a mushy blur and you get what is essentially a mess.

    Fortunately, the 1080 image is actually pretty decent. It is oversharpened., but that’s probably a reasonable compromise for most people. But because it uses the native pixel density (no resizing or line-skipping – they simply crop from the middle of the sensor resulting in a narrower view) the 1080p image has quite a bit of good detail (on a per pixel basis) compared to the 720p image.

    Given the hardware that is packed into the GC-XA1, it is actually quite a shame that they did such a poor job with the software and image processing. How hard would it have been to implement an LCD screen timeout feature to save batteries? If they had used a 2Mp sensor, both the 720p and 1080p image could have been sharp. Who cares if the camera can take 5Mp stills? But even with the existing 5MP sensor, they could have delivered a “narrow” 720P image (a 2x zoom) at the same per-pixel image quality that they deliver at 1080p. The digital zoom at 720P could be very good. I could go on, but clearly JVC has moved on with the GC-XA2. I sure hope they use a better resizing scheme when going from the 8Mp sensor data to the 1080p and 720p formats. As it is, the XA1s are still a great value. It’s just a shame knowing how there’s good hardware in the camera that’s being hobbled.

    Reply
    • Not everyone is a snow boarder or diver,,BUT for us back road drivers who want a very
      sharp quality HD video recorder for quick videos of whatever and piece them together don’t think from all the recorders I’ve searched out this one can be beat,,bought 2 new batteries and car charger for it,,made up a tripod plate with level and quick release and it stays in the car waiting to be used,,there are several on the market I had my eye on till this one caught my fancy and for 124 dollars and the reason I wanted one it way over met my needs,,

      Reply
  13. I have a AX1 I love the camera, but the sound is horrible.. Terrible wind buffeting.. I’m going to try sticking a piece of foam tape over the mike and see if the noise can be eliminated. It’s fine until you get to about 10mph then it sound like something is beating the hell out of the camera..
    You can check out what I mean by listening to any of my ATV video
    @ Youtube/GunFarce
    Is there any cure for this problem?

    Reply
  14. not sure about jvc but gopro cameras have lots of software bugs!
    my 3 crashes quite often, i just lost lots of video because it decided to corrupt it. another friend his 3+ also lost all video and drained the battery etc etc. for the price you would expect a good and tested product but its not even a beta version, it has so msny bugs! will definately try this jvc!

    Reply
  15. If your using it as a dash cam, one thing that you can do with the JVC is choose endless recording (15 min. intervals) open the back and plug a usb cable in from a 12v. adapter in your car/truck/atv 12 volt socket. It will now record in 15 min. blocks until you run out of sdcard space. A 64 gig card gives you 19 hours plus recording. I just did the entire Cabot Trail in Cape Breton end to end (300 klm) and recorded the whole thing. This method also keeps your battery charged.

    Reply
  16. The Adixion doesn’t have an external mic port.

    Reply

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