I have purchased more than two dozen GoPro Hero cameras in my life. Ive 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.
Here are 10 things I like better about the Adixxion line than the Hero
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Not that I use it much but the JVCs have a traditional zoom feature like most camcorders. Its a digital zoom so youre really just cropping. Its only useful at the cameras highest resolution.
- The JVCs have a menu system that is much more intuitive and the interface is much easier to deal with.
- 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.
- The JVCs have dual , 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.
- 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. Ive dropped many a GoPro.
- 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.
- The JVCs are made by a company with a long track record of manufacturing high-end video cameras.
So there – Ive done it. Ive committed blasphemy. Ive 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 thats a push.
- How about image quality. Id 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. Its hard to see in bright daylight and its on the right side of the camera instead of the back where it belongs. That said, its 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.
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.