Deciding: JVC GY-HD100A or PANASONIC HVX200 at DVinfo.net

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Old June 30th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #1
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Deciding: JVC GY-HD100A or PANASONIC HVX200

Hello:

I am a film student and I have been saving money for a new hdv/hd camcorder. I am looking for a nice camera, and really would like to step into HD. Reading this and other boards, I really like both the hd100 and the HVX200, and I am having a though time deciding. What is important for me in a camcorder is 24p (I would mainly only shoot in this), good in low light, authentic film look, can handle considerable camera movement, durability, learning curve, how the footage looks when played on a decent/big sized projector, color, sharpness.

What I like about the JVC GY-HD100A is:
Shoot to tape
720p at 24fps
Price of camera
higher resolution

What I like about the HVX200
1080p at 24fps
variety of frame rates

What I don’t like about HD100
Not higher then 720p
Durability/technical concerns
No special frame rates...

What I don’t like about HVX200
Can only achieve 1080p and variable frame rates with p2 cards
Price of p2 cards
Fixed lens
Price of camera

My question is for people that have experience with either or both of these cameras which one did you prefer and why? Also maybe weigh in on other things for me to consider when deciding between these two camcorders. I know these questions are not black and white; it just depends on what you are shooting it for. I will mainly only be using the camcorder to make cheap Indie films while trying to achieve the most professional film look as possible and enter some of these Indie films into film festivals.


Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.
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Old June 30th, 2006, 11:32 PM   #2
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I have not used either camera, but have read and analyzed every review and user comment that I have been able to find, and I have seen video from both units at the NAB. As you say, both units have good and bad points. I am really unhappy that the HVX-200 uses a smaller sensor chip (I believe that it is 960x720 pixels). In multiple tests, this camera only resolves about 540 lines, compared to 700 for the JVC. The 1080 recording from the Panasonic was reportedly about 10 % sharper than 720 rather than the expected 30 %. That said, the Panasonic handles motion significantly better than the JVC unit. DVCPRO HD is a better codec than the JVC HDV when motion is involved. The DVCPro HD uses intra-frame compression, as opposed to multi-frame compression with HDV. After viewing video from both units, my impression was that the JVC gave a significantly better, sharper picture. The Panasonic has been given good reviews for its skin tone handling. If you can wait another year, I would advise you to do so. Several new codecs (H.264 and VC-1) may soon change the face of HD video, and hard drive or flash recording are just beginning to enter the market. Panasonic may realize that it needs a full-size sensor in the HVX-200, which would make it a great choice. Also, 1080p at 60 FPS is probably just around the corner. You might want to consider beginning with something like the DVX-100, perhaps used, which will allow you to film outstanding DV while waiting for the HD market to mature.
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Old July 1st, 2006, 04:42 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Brown
Also maybe weigh in on other things for me to consider when deciding between these two camcorders.
I'd consider three factors to be far more significant than any of the "quality" issues that get discussed at great length.

Firstly, as you rightly identify, is the issue of "P2 or not P2"? For some people P2 is a godsend, for others it's a huge inconvienience or even makes it unusable. Only you can decide which will work best for you.

Secondly is ease of use and handling when handheld shooting, and here I'd say the HD100 is generally considered the out and out winner. It just feels right, whereas it's difficult to believe the HVX200 was ever taken off a tripod when being designed.

Thirdly are lens issues. The HD100 uses an interchangeable system, with a lens that feels and behaves far more like what one would expect in a high end camera. On the other hand, it is relatively narrow at the wide end of the zoom, and I'd consider the HVX to have a far more useful focal length range. That said, you can buy a wide angle zoom for the HD100 - if you've got the money!

I don't think it's possible to say one is better than the other, but do feel that issues such as the above, plus variable framerates etc should be far more significant than the relative "quality" issues that get much more discussed.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 07:06 PM   #4
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Hi David,

I haven't use the Panasonic camera but I rented 2 JVC HD100s for an outdoor wedding this past weekend. The following is what I wrote on another forum.

I'm back from shooting an outdoor rehearsal party Friday night and an outdoor wedding Saturday. I've only seen the footage from the rehearsal party.

First the good news.

First impression of the JVC HD100 - it's tiny! My current camera is a big Sony DSR390 so the JVC is much smaller and lighter - I like it.

The JVC sits on your shoulder which I like and it has a real lens. Most of the switches - gain, white balance presets, etc., are where you'd expect them to be.

The shoulder pad slides back so you can customize it to your body.

I captured some of the footage to Final Cut 5.1 and it edits just like DV - no rendering needed for simple transitions.

The picture? Great! I went component out to my Panasonic 42" ED Plasma and the picture is very natural, not as sharp as the Sony Z1 but still sharp. The colors are great. Didn't seen any of the artifacts that have been reported, but the picture would freeze for a second every once in awhile.

Now the bad news.

The rental place rented out it's two HD100 with the AntonBauer backs so they had to scrounge up two more from other rental places and didn't have the AntonBauer backs. The stock JVC batteries suck! Power that is. I could actually watch the voltage indicator drop as I was shooting. I had to switch to manual zoom during the vows because I thought the battery was going to die. Luckily thay gave me 12 batteries and 3 dual chargers.

Because there was no AntonBauer back, the gave me an AntonBauer belt to power my light. Have you ever worn one of these? Sheer touture. Needless to say I didn't wear the belt but instead set up one 650 watt light in the corner of the dance floor and bounced it off the white tent ceiling.

There was no place to mount my wireless receivers so I had to put one in my pants pocket and run a wire to the camera. That worked pretty well actually. If I buy this camera I'd get it with the AntonBauer back which has provisions for mounting wireless receivers to it. Or if I decide on IDX batteries, B.E.C. makes a nice bracket for holding the receivers.

One last negative thing - the viewfinder. It wasn't sharp enough. It was really tough to focus. Plus, for some reason I kept getting reflections on the eyepiece no matter how close I put my eye to it.

Andrew, that earpiece thingy thing? Looks cool, couldn't use it. I wear glasses and the viewfinder doesn't adjust forward or backward so the earpiece was next to my cheek instead of my ear.

For some strange reason it would start recording by itself. This happened many times on both days. Also, there is a function called "focus assist" - it's kind of a blue tinted screen. This would come on at random times.

When I captured the footage, FCP 5.1.1 automatically created a seperate clip every time I started recording. Cool new feature in 5.1 I thought until I noticed that the first 5 seconds of each clip was cut off. That's not cool.

I guess my biggest gripe is with the viewfinder and the flip-out screen. They both need to be much sharper to help with focusing. A lot of my shots were slightly out of focus.

On the positive side, I boosted the gain to +15 and it looked great - not much noise at all.

I love the pictures this thing makes but I'm not sure if I want to put up with all the negatives of this camera.

I'll keep you posted.

Joe
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Old July 5th, 2006, 06:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Donnell
You might want to consider beginning with something like the DVX-100, perhaps used, which will allow you to film outstanding DV while waiting for the HD market to mature.
I'd urge caution in regards to this mindset. Once the "next big thing" hits the shelves, there will be another "big thing" that's just around the corner to take its place. My dad has literally been waiting since the 1980's for the "right tv".

regarding the cameras, I thought the hvx's short record times and lack of an affordable archive solution problematic. so i went for the jvc. For features, the hvx might be the ticket. but if someone really wants to do features, why do it on video anyway...
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Old July 5th, 2006, 08:00 PM   #6
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The layout of the HD-100 should be enough for you to make a decision (IMO). It is layed out the same as any other professional camera. If you get used to the layout of the HD-100 you can pretty much step under any high end pro camera and know your way around.

They are both nice cameras but if you're going to make a career out of it, then you should start off on the right foot with your camera purchase. Pro layout is the ticket.

good luck.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 07:14 AM   #7
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I have both the DVX100A and the HD100. If your main concern is 24p, I think you should at least consider the DVX. It's much cheaper right now than the HD100, and the cost savings would allow you to buy some other gear you may not have, like a good tripod, lights, mics, etc.

Don't get me wrong; I love my HD100 and the pictures it produces, especially when viewed on a big screen. But since you're mainly looking at the festival circuit right now, I wonder if the HVX or HD100 might be a little overkill. Also consider that editing 720/24p footage from the HD100 on FCP is very problematic. It can be done, but only with some torturous workarounds. I understand the HVX is tons better in this regard, but I've never done it, so don't take my word as gospel.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen L. Noe
The layout of the HD-100 should be enough for you to make a decision (IMO). It is layed out the same as any other professional camera. If you get used to the layout of the HD-100 you can pretty much step under any high end pro camera and know your way around.

They are both nice cameras but if you're going to make a career out of it, then you should start off on the right foot with your camera purchase. Pro layout is the ticket.

good luck.

I agree that a good layout is a valid point, I will also be purchasing one of these cameras soon. But if you are on a budget, and need fail-resistant equipment that will not leave you out of production for a week or more, then you must consider each brands reputation. Look over the posts in both cameras forums, see what kind of things are going wrong with each camera. look at the workflow, what works for you?

I am still sorting these questions out myself, although I am leaning towards the HVX: in my application the smaller size and variable framerates would be very beneficial.

If you know how to control a camera, then you will be able to get used to where the controls are, pro layout or less than ideal, this becomes a non-issue if you use your own equipment for the majority of your work, as you will become proficient at running your gear.

I don't believe there is a "clear" winner. They both are excellent cameras for the price, and both produce amazing footage.

Phil
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Old July 12th, 2006, 02:14 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phillip Palacios
. But if you are on a budget, and need fail-resistant equipment that will not leave you out of production for a week or more, then you must consider each brands reputation. Look over the posts in both cameras forums, see what kind of things are going wrong with each camera. Phil
No offense but that's not a very scientific way to determine which camera is more reliable and defect free.

In general, the JVC has been plagued by a split screen effect though that issue seems to have either been resolved of minimized. The panasonic has been hampered by a noise blocking issue--not sure how that one panned out. It's like the SSE, some have it, some don't.

The panasonic is more versatile but at the expense of a slightly softer image and (factoring in p2 costs) a significantly higher price.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 05:17 AM   #10
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I have had a lot of clients comment on how expensive the HD100 looks. People say that doesn't matter, but IT DOES, especially in the corporate world.

On an Indie film set it is less important but still worth considering.

As mentioned above, JVC reliabliity is a little suspect. I am having a few audio issues with mine so it is being sent back when I get a chance.

Last edited by Mike Marriage; July 12th, 2006 at 07:39 AM.
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Old July 12th, 2006, 07:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Luce
No offense but that's not a very scientific way to determine which camera is more reliable and defect free.
No Offense taken!
I know it's not scientific, but it's the best solution I have found to researching when I cannot find the hard numbers of repairs or replacements by each manufacturer.
As unscientific as it is, reputation is important (of course a brands rep changes depending on who you talk to) when sinking what little money I have into a camera that must perform.

EVERY camera has problems, weigh the problems with your shooting style, needs and workflow.

I would not be considering the HD100 if I did not believe it could perform, but there are so many factors in my decision that I have to wade through. What a camera looks like is not high on my priority list, although it is true that the JVC does look sweet.

enough of me talking.
Phil
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Old August 4th, 2006, 11:22 PM   #12
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Throwing in my 2Ę.

First, the camera is about 20% of the budget. What is your budget? Then you have camera accessories (tripod, case, matte box, filters), audio (mics, wireless, recorder, mixer, pole, rabbit fur), lights, grip equipment, editing equipment and some miscellaneous stuff like script software.

Second, since your posted Canon has announced the XH-A1. Less expensive than either and probably meeting your needs nicely.

Third, if cost is an issue, a used DVX100A or B should work out nicely for a first camera. You will have as good a camera as virtually any of your peers and can revisit the HD camera issue next year when more models are out.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 03:38 AM   #13
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Hey Joe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Goldsberry
that earpiece thingy thing? Looks cool, couldn't use it. I wear glasses and the viewfinder doesn't adjust forward or backward so the earpiece was next to my cheek instead of my ear.
The EVF is adjustable in all directions - left to right, back and forwards, up and down... the ear piece and be adjusted vertically also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Goldsberry
For some strange reason it would start recording by itself. This happened many times on both days. Also, there is a function called "focus assist" - it's kind of a blue tinted screen. This would come on at random times.
You possibly hit the record and focus assist buttons on the handle. There are 3 record bottons and 2 focus assist buttons on the camera. Focus assist turns the view finders B+W and uses blue to show you the areas that are in focus. Its reported to be the best focus feature of any of the 1/3" HD cameras. I find it to be excellent.

As for the FCP issues, these are well documented, and all HD cameras seem to show FCP shortcomings. There are great workarounds posted on this forum.


Andrew
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Old August 25th, 2006, 09:30 AM   #14
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The HVX-200 is a nice camera but you have to ask yourself what will you be shooting. If you know for a fact you will only ever shoot productions where the shots are staged or shoots where you only need small shots taken each time then the HVX-200 might work great for you. There are a whole closet load of workflow issues to deal with on the HVX-200. Shooting on P2 is the easy part. What you do with it after is where it gets sticky. Even during shooting you have to plan on some massive workflow solutions to deal with the footage unless you only plan on shooting a few minutes worth of video. With the HVX-200 you will also have to bring with you a laptop or a p@ storage device which both cost a lot of money. Yes you can get a cheap laptop for $500.00 but that laptop would almost be useless for anything else since it would be so weak. Plus a $500.00 laptop isn't going to have a very big hard drive in it so you have to plan on buying some hard drives as well. You have to add all of this up in the price when you are thinking of buying the camera.

Shooting any long type of projects can be a major pain with the HVX-200. It can be done but not without a lot of extra costs and work. If you shoot a long form project or something that needs to keep recording for a longer period of time than just a few minutes you will have to do one of a few options.
1. Hire a person to pull out the P2 cards to offload them for you. You will also need 2 or 3 P2 cards which are not cheap. If you are shooting 1080 or 720p at 60p you will need 3 cards because the 2 cards couldn't be offloaded fast enough and you will be without a card and have to stop recording.
2. Run directly to a laptop, P2 store or desktop computer through the firewire cable. This might work if you are on a tripod but again there are a lot of extra costs, work and setup complications.
3. Buy a firestore which will hold a lot more video than a P2 card but still only holds something like 2 hours worth of video and they also are not cheap. I think the firestore also adds a lot of extra weight on an already hard to handhold camera.

When you do have all of your footage you have to do something with it. Editing is fairly easy but what do you do when you are done editing? Backing up P2 footage can be very expensive and difficult. Yes you can burn it to a DVD but each DVD will only hold a few minutes worth of video. If you have a few hours worth of material you will be sitting there burning DVD's for a long time. Not to mention the pain of bringing the footage back in to edit by having to load and copy each disk one at a time. Hard drives can fit a lot more footage but they are not exaclty cheap once you have done dozens of projects. Hard drives can also fail sometimes. It doesn't happen very often but it can happen and when it does all of your footage is lost forever. Blu-ray disks might be a better option when they finally come out a little bit more main stream and come down in price. A dual layer blu-ray disk should hold almost 10x more than a single layer DVD making them at least a little bit better than a normal DVD disk. You may still have to span footage over multiple disks but you wouldn't need as many. Now if somebody would make an auto disk burner, loader and player like they use for DVD duplication this might be a great option for backup. You could just stick in a stack of disks and let it backup everything. The autoloader could then do the same thing to read a stack of disks.

Again I do think the HVX-200 is a great camera but you really do have to think about what you will be using it for. If you know for a fact you will never shoot any long form projects or projects that need a lot of footage then the HVX-200 will be an awesome camera. If you ever do need a lot of footage you may SOL. With the JVC HD-100 you can shoot long form or short form projects no problem at all. It really does cover all the bases.

The HVX-200 to me almost seems like more of an experimental camera. What I mean is that it is a great camera for film students, visual effects students/artists and indy film makers to experiment and learn with. You can do all sorts of great things and the quality will be great compared to a DV camera. Most experiments don't use that much raw footage because only a little bit of shooting is done at a time and then they go back and check it out and see how they did. The camera can be used in a production environment but I think it will be harder.

As much as I hate SONY I do think their use of blu-ray disks on the XDCAMHD cameras is a much better form of tapeless shooting right now.
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Old August 25th, 2006, 09:46 AM   #15
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Just add the Canon XH-A1 and how it compares:

What I like about the JVC GY-HD100A is:
Shoot to tape Canon also
720p at 24fps
Price of camera Canon also
higher resolution Canon also

What I like about the HVX200
1080p at 24fps Canon also
variety of frame rates

What I donít like about HD100
Not higher then 720p
Durability/technical concerns
No special frame rates... Canon also

What I donít like about HVX200
Can only achieve 1080p and variable frame rates with p2 cards
Price of p2 cards
Fixed lens Canon also
Price of camera

Compared to the HD110 and HVX200 pros and cons you assembled, the Canon has 4 of the 6 pros combined between the two cameras and only 2 of the 7 cons.
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