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I went and looked up the camera on the JVC site, and the number one thing on their specifications has me thinking.
It lists the camera as having a single 1/6" CCD. What does this mean? In short, it means that you have a very small, fragile CCD in this camera.
The CCD provides the picture to your camera. With such a tiny CCD, it’s going to be super sensitive to shock. It could also just go out for no reason, as happens from time to time in CCD cameras.
It might be a possibility that your CCD board is shot. This would explain why you don’t get any picture in either video or card mode.
There is one way to test this theory. Put the camera into playback mode, and insert a video tape you’ve already recorded onto from when the camera was working. If you can see the video on your LCD/viewfinder, then the problem has something to do with your video capture.
If your CCD board is shot, you might as well get a new camera. It would cost you about the same as the $550 to buy the camera new to replace it, and if one thing has gone bad, you might just have lemon on your hands anyway.
A word of advice: Don’t go with JVC. My wife was going to Cambodia on tour (she’s a singer when she’s not a nurse), and I couldn’t send her along with the pro gear, so I got a fairly high-end JVC consumer grade camera for her to take. I liked that it had white balancing and manual controls, so she could get good shots, despite the non-pro camera. Before she finished her first tape, the camera gave her errors, and was rendered useless on the rest of the trip. What’s worse, this particular camera, though it records onto MiniDV, apparently didn’t use the same format my Sony and Canon cameras use, so now I have a dead $600 camera AND no video from her trip, because the tape wasn’t recorded on industry standard MiniDV specs.
A consumer grade Sony camera will do just fine for consumer needs, and I’ve never had a problem with them. In fact, until just recently, I still had one of the first generation 8mm casette (not hi-8 or d-8 ) Sony "Video 8" camera from the late 80’s. The reason I gave it away was simply because it had a crappy image quality, but it still worked! That’s a 20 year life span! Of course, thre were several dead pixels on the CCD, and the whole image had the look of a paused tape, even though it wasn’t, but that sucker just kept going. Canon has some nice cameras too, but really, next time, I would suggest avoiding the JVC’s if you can.