I’ve been looking through some of the little HD SD-based camcorders recently and I came across the Hitachi DZ-HV565E in Argos. However, this video camera seems to be a bit of a mystery online, there just isn’t much information about it, I couldn’t even find any test footage on YouTube.

Anyway, I took the plunge and bought one from Argos today and so far I’ve been very impressed. The manual states that the camera is “exclusively available through Argos” which is probably why there isn’t much information about it online. I did manage to find some information about the HV564E (http://mackney.com/blog/2008/12/hv564e-hd-sd-video-camera.html), which, apart from the back of the viewfinder, looks the same.

Here’s a quick run through some of the key points in the DZ-HV565E specification:

  • 1080p high definition
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Automatic and Manual focus
  • 5 mega-pixel still camera
  • 2.5 inch screen
  • Web cam mode
  • 3 led lights on the front for filming in low light
  • Various recording settings, including night mode
  • Macro mode
  • Removable rechargeable battery
  • Sound and video outputs for playback directly to a high definition TV (cables too)

What you get

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

I was quite impressed with the feel of the camera. It’s quite small, not pocket small, but not as bulky as some DV based video cameras.

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

Hitachi DZ-HV565E

In more detail

When you start the camera up you are greeted by a bizarre tune and the menu operates with a confirmation beep which you will be happy to know you can disable.

The camera has three modes: video, stills and sound recording. For a low price camera (£117) it comes with a lot of settings which you might not expect. It can record in resolutions of 640x480 (VGA), 1280x720 (720p) and 1440x1080 (1080p) with each resolution offering quality levels of economy, standard and fine. The video recording modes also range from fully automatic to user specified with pre-sets for portraits, night, sport, landscape, sunset, beach/snow and spotlight. The white balance by default is set to automatic (and this seems quite responsive) but there are also options for daylight, cloudy, florescent 1 & 2 and tungsten. The camera will also let you shoot in several colour modes: standard, vivid, black and white, and sepia tone. Contrast and sharpness can also be set to standard, hard or soft.

I guess most people looking at this sort of range of camera just want to point and shoot, and the automatic modes seem to make this quite easy, but it’s nice to know that you can customise other things if you want to.

The stills mode lets you select ISO ratings of 64, 100, 200, 400 and auto. There’s an image stabilization mode available, and you can also capture pictures in single or continuous mode.

Here’s a quick video I made today. This was recorded in the highest quality mode (1080p fine) in the landscape setting. At the time of the video it was midday, fairly cloudy and very windy:

Visit the link below and select “watch in HD” to see the video in full quality: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nhLtn03MHhw

Here’s a quick panoramic I filmed in Norwich:

Visit the link below and select “watch in HD” to see the video in full quality: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqluxGE-JKk

I hope this has been helpful for anyone who is trying to find out a little more about the camera. I’ll post some more videos when I have made some and I’ll also try and upload some photos taken with the camera. Please feel free to post any questions in the comments too.

Product page on the Argos website