Hands on with the JVC FM1 and UW Ikelite Bundle

Last week I placed an order for a bundle deal by Ikelite. I had said that this was the best underwater video recording solution today. I still stand by it. The promo showcases a JVC Picsio FM1 compact video recorder with an Ikelite housing. Well, the wait is over and after making the trek to the supplier I finally brought this baby home.

With a little something extra. Tadah!

Turns out that underwater video LED lights are about 50% cheaper than strobe flash lights for stills. The epiphany forced me to bring one home for only USD $260. I had it engraved in my brain that I would have to spend over USD $600 for a decent light, but was bowled over with the amazing price. I mean yeah, it does make sense. All I’m buying essentially is a flash light.

By itself, the Picsio FM1 is at its best an above average compact video camera. Put up against Sony’s Bloggie and the Flip HD recorder, there are clear advantages in equity and features with the former. JVC’s FM1, released late in ’09, comes with very basic features – USB charging, 8MP stills and 1080p HD recording. That’s it. Oh and count the auto focus modes for landscape and macro modes as the best boon, so you can record while switching focusing modes. Put together with the casing, I cannot stress the fact that you have a really affordable UW solution for video capture. The quality is seamless. No skips. The buttons are easy to operate and the index menu speaks apparent minimalism with just options to change the date and time, update the firmware, and format the SD / SDHC card.

For the LED light, I got the Pro V8 LED that uses 8 C cells. Pop the back, slide it back, and the UW housing reveals the slots for batteries. It’s that easy.

I really can’t wait to take this out. Any divers out there have the same set up? I’d really love to know what other solutions — cheap or $$$ — you’ve found for videos and photos. It’s no Hugyfot, but it is formidable!

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