By Aaron Schmidt

The C&K edit team was excited to get JVC’s new waterproof camcorder out on the water last summer. After testing it on ocean swell and whitewater, this camcorder has proven to be a tough little customer, fighting off splashes, rain, humidity and everything else the elements could throw at it.

First off, we appreciated the ease of operation. The camera fires up with a simple opening of the LCD panel, ready to record with the press of a button. (Good news for some of our less-than-tech-savvy editors.)

It captures footage in 1920×1080 and processes the video files to SD cards as AVCHD MPEG-4s. Initially, they were hard to view with our Mac systems, but we converted them to .mov files via Adobe Lightroom. JVC also includes software for PC users. And the files will play directly in Final Cut Pro X and iMovie.

Additional features include a built-in microphone. Although it’s not the best for capturing crisp interview audio, it does the trick with basic ambient sound. The LCD offers a bright image, and the menu system is easily accessed via the touch-screen. The camera also shoots 10mp stills and offers a time-lapse feature. The internal battery lasts up to 4.5 hours, though bringing a couple extras on longer trips is recommended.

One particularly useful feature is the 60X dynamic zoom. It takes you into the action, and, thanks the added image-stabilization and snappy auto-focus, brings back crisp images. Water droplets on the lens can be problematic when shooting on the water, but are usually taken care of by a quick dip of the camcorder.

Something to keep in mind is that this is a basic camcorder, designed for simplicity and ease of getting the shot. You won’t find dedicated exposure or frame rate controls. But if you want something that’s easy to use, and tough enough that you can pull it out of your PFD to capture the action on the fly, you can’t really go wrong with this camera. ($399, camcorder.jvc.com)

Check out our video review of the JVC camcorder to see it in action:

–Check out MORE GEAR REVIEWS from C&K.

–Read expedition paddler Daniel Fox’s tips for paddling photography.