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JVC 4K Pro Handheld Camcorders
GY-LS300, GY-HM200, HM170 and HM-Q10 recording 4K Ultra-High Definition video.


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Old October 10th, 2015, 08:08 PM   #1
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LS300 Honeymoon over

Okay, as you probably know, I have been rooting for the LS300 - it's the only camera that ticks a lot of boxes. Today was my first day on a funded job with the camera, a complex documentary on tourism and economics.

After only an hour, the remote port stopped working (I use the camera handheld, shoulder mounted with a Gratical EVF and a remote MOVCAM handgrip to start/stop) which meant I had to fumble around for the start/stop button on the handle, and, as a result, missed some important content. I finished the day with my C100 which, luckily, I had in the Jeep as a backup.

I had ordered an LS300 in April from B&H and it was defective when it arrived (stuck on 6400 ISO), so I returned it for a refund - good for B&H.

In August I ordered another LS300 from B&H and it was also defective (the diopter on the EVF was not not adjustable). This time I asked for an exchange and received the camera I have today. Now THIS camera is also defective. I'm a pretty patient man, but this is beyond belief.

A message to JVC Pro - "Pro" means this is how I make my living!

Am I the only one who's having these problems?
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Old October 10th, 2015, 08:37 PM   #2
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

I need to add - the footage from the JVC is considerably better than the stuff I shot with the Canon, as good as anything I've seen from a any camera...

So I am so pissed off at JVC, they let some corporate CEO bean-counter undercut a potentially great product by shaving costs off of production and quality control. This happens so often which large companies, it's why BM is eating them alive.
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Old October 11th, 2015, 12:33 PM   #3
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

I've been posting back and forth between here, a dedicated JVC forum, and another AF100, so here's what's going on....

For those who are interested - I've been going through and cataloging my footage today. I am actually pretty amazed at how much better the LS300 is than the C100. It looks, given the same setting, that it has about 3-4 more stops dynamic range, much more detail in the highlights, and in general has a really pleasing look compared to the Canon. The C100 custom profile is one I set up two years ago, based on the WDR gamma. The JVC is J-Log1. I can't post pictures or footage because of the nature of this project, but take my word for it, the JVC beats the crap out of my (admittedly 2+ year old) Canon C100. Maybe the MKII is significantly better, but I doubt it from what I've seen, and it's still 4.2.0.

And BTW, the C100 blew the doors off my AF100 when I first bought it...

I'm going to practice all day today (Sunday, my day of restful football) starting and stopping the LS300 with the top handle switch. I used to do similar with my Eclair NPR in the far distant past, so it's no big deal. My only fear is that something else on the 300 will f__k up!

Another unheard message to JVC - You've got an excellent picture-taking box here guys, get your act together!

I forgot to add, the audio section on the JVC is a little better than the Canon's too, same mic (Rode NTG-3), identical settings, crisper response.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 06:57 AM   #4
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Good info, sorry about your difficulties.
Maybe JVC will pick up on your post. I now there are JVC reps in this forum.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

This is really disconcerting. It seems for every awesome benefit the LS300 offers, there's an equal liability. As frustrating as it is reading about them, I can only imagine how frustrating it is to you and others who are actually trying to use the camera in professional situations.

I have owned the old DV500, and the HD100 - and had similar experiences... they were innovative (even ground-breaking) tools capable of producing awesome content, but both failed me at critical times. I've been all Panasonic since the HD100 because of those issues. I so badly wanted the LS300 to buck that trend.

I have used my AF100 under all sorts of conditions, 3-6 days/week for 3 1/2 years and the only issue I've ever experienced is an occasional "incompatible battery" warning that goes away after pulling the battery and re-seating it. Its performance has been absolutely rock solid - and that's why I continue to use it with confidence despite the fact I know I could get better image quality elsewhere at this point.

I sooooo want to buy and love the LS300 though because I own a ton of m43 glass and now see the images it is capable of producing... but I'm totally with you Mac, it's incredibly frustrating that JVC might have put a little more quality into the construction but obviously didn't. I would gladly pay more for this camera if they had. If I had a complement of lenses that could be used with the Sony FS5, I would gladly shell out $5600 for that.

The quality issues that you're bringing up pretty much make the current LS300 a non-starter for me. What good are all the great features and excellent image quality if you cannot trust that the camera will function properly when you make your living using it? I'll keep hoping an LS300 "mark II" might address some of these concerns.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 01:59 PM   #6
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Yeah, too bad - this is such a great design...

I've tried several times today to contact JVC Professional, telephone and email, with zero response - oh well, if wishes were horses.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 02:44 PM   #7
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

A common joke in the tape-based days was that JVC gear was inexpensive, but you needed to buy two of everything because one was always in the shop. The transition to tapeless has been kind to them, and we've had good luck with several JVC cameras in recent years, while still using Sony and Panasonic, too.

The LS300 is an amazing value, and I think it's important to consider it in that context. It's on the low end of 4K capable cameras, price wise, but provides features and image quality comparable to much more expensive competitors.

Yes, the build quality suffers. My unit had a sticky SD card slot, but it seems to have settled in. I don't like the design of the ND filter wheel, which gets in the way of lens adapters. And the built in LCD viewfinder is pretty bad.

The image quality is quite good, especially after the 2.0 update and the JVC log format addition. The innovative lens adaptability is remarkable. The fact that it has SDI and HDMI output is a big plus for me, especially in a camera in this price range.

Time will tell.
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Old October 12th, 2015, 06:02 PM   #8
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Dave - I'm hoping this is one of those products, like some cars (1974 BMW 2002 comes to mind) that have quirks at first but after they're worked out run forever....

I've said it before - I didn't buy this camera because it was cheap - if it was priced in the Sony neighborhood I would still have bought it because of the innovation and the picture quality - well maybe I would have expected it to be $1000-$1500 cheaper, but still I would have paid more than $3500 for a solid camera.

I agree with the comment on the ND wheel. The first camera I got (I've had three remember) the first thing I noticed was the flimsy cheesy feeling little knob sticking out right where the aperture ring on an S16 lens would be.

By my second camera (4 months later) that wheel seemed a little more robust (maybe it was just that I remembered it worse than it was). And now that I've discovered how fun it is to work with light primes or MFT zooms with the Prime Zoom, I don't care anymore about using my S16s, so the wheel isn't in the way, and none of my adapters interfere with it - even the massive Aaton to MFT.

Apparently JVC takes Columbus Day off, because I still haven't heard from them... Patience.
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Old November 5th, 2015, 02:56 AM   #9
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Steve, can I ask how the viewfinder and lcdscreen are to work with? I read a lot of negative things about the quality of these, is it easy to judge focus and does it have some other disadvantages that would require the purchase of a external monitor?
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Old November 5th, 2015, 08:22 AM   #10
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Noa: The viewfinder is about like every camera was 5 years ago, not horrible, just adequate (I never use it anyway, I always use an external EVF with all my cameras). The LCD isn't nearly as bad as some have reported. I don't know, maybe I have a good one, but the color is close - and with peaking focusing is okay with either the eve or LCD... I bought a Gratical the same week I bought the 300, so I've been spoiled.

BTW, my remote port started working just as I was about to send it off to JVC... Don't have a clue what happened, but it's been working well for two weeks.
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Old November 5th, 2015, 09:29 AM   #11
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

The EVF is useless, it just gets in the way and I'd like to remove it. End of story.
I think I'll pull the eyecup off for a start as it sometime catches and extending the EVF outwards.

The monitor is fine for framing and very good for general focus.
There's a peaking setting (-10 to +10) for the viewfinder monitor which at the default of 0 still means the screen is very 'peaky'

For critical focus you need to activate the focus assist option which makes the screen B+W and the peaking shows in a colour. A lovely feature.

On my particular camera the colour rendition, even with the peaking turned down, is awful.
Pictures look lifeless and basically bad all round, but I know that if I've done a white balance on a proper grey card then the footage will look great back in the the edit suite.

For my corporate drama work, I run a DP4 on the side and a wireless director monitor so it's easy to get a second view.
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Old November 5th, 2015, 12:31 PM   #12
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
BTW, my remote port started working just as I was about to send it off to JVC... Don't have a clue what happened, but it's been working well for two weeks.
Sounds a lot like some Sony's I had that displayed weird behavior and/or had some buttons that stopped working and after a while started working again.

Thx Duncan and Steve for the info, 10 years ago I did a videocourse and we worked with Sony dsr 250's, the teacher brought a brandnew jvc GY-HM700 type of camera with him for us to try out for a day, not sure about the model number but if I recall right it was the very first model JVC brought out with this specific design. It's weird but I still remember how bad the lcd screen was (I had a sony vx2100 back then), our teacher didn't understand why the viewfinder was in color because professional shouldercamera's where supposed to have b/w viewfinders. :) This doesn't have anything to do with Jvc's current viewfinder, it just came to mind now. It almost looks like jvc has a history of bad lcdscreens?

I was planning to sell a few of my camera's and keep my gh4 and ax100 and the ls300 seemed like a good addition to complete my setup since I also have an extensive set of native m4/3 lenses.
I only don't like adding accessories to the camera so not sure how the lcdscreen or viewfinder would work for me. Think I"m going to try to see if I can have a look at it in a videostore.
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Old November 5th, 2015, 01:40 PM   #13
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Noa: Good luck - I think you'll find the finder is useable... it's virtually identical to my Canon XF100 (my "glove-compartment camera", the VF of which I do use).

One good thing about getting a good EVF though is that it can travel from camera to camera, so you always know what you're seeing. For instance, with the Gratical X, I ordered it with the Filmmakers Essentials bundle that has focus and exposure tools. So now, when I switch to one of my Pocket Cameras I'm taking the same peaking, zebras and scopes with me.

I certainly understand not wanting to shell out half the cost of the camera, though... However, there are used Alphatrons and Z-Finder Pros popping up pretty regularly now - they don't all have the same features, but they're good viewfinders (I even have an original Cineroid that works well on the 300 but not on the Pockets - not great resolution and no scopes, but good zebras and peaking, but it works better than almost any built-in EVF).
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Old November 7th, 2015, 02:24 AM   #14
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Have another question, how would you rate this camera when used in a run and gun situation? I need a camera that can handle fast changing environments, I want shallow dof when I need it, good enough stabilization when shooting handheld, good enough low light capabilities and good enough autofocus and a smooth transition of exposure when adjusting the iris.

With my current camera's I always control my expsoure manually and switch between auto and manual focus depending on the situation. Whitebalance I set when I have the time but often just let the camera handle it, shutter I always lock to a fixed value. What I find most valuable is to quickly be able to scroll through iso values because I have found having 3 presets (like I had on my nex-ea50) somewhat limiting when I wanted a specific f-stop and had to dial in the iso quickly to adjust exposure. That camera only allowed to have 3 presets which you had to change in the menu and there was no other way to change these values quicker when needed.

Would the ls300 fit this description?
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Old November 7th, 2015, 09:58 AM   #15
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Re: LS300 Honeymoon over

Okay... Long answer to a long question...

First, I'm a documentary filmmaker exclusively and shoot handheld about 80% of the time. I'm old school, having done this professionally since 1968. Consequently I'm a zoom-in-to-focus type guy, which means I've taken parfocal for granted for most of my life. One of the things that attracted me to the LS300 is the ability to use my collection of vintage S16 lenses.

So I set up my camera with a Gratical X mounted to the side, off the handle. I use my old Aaton grip mounted on 15mm rods, with a SmallRig shoulder pad under the back of the camera, bolted directly to the base plate - behind the rods for lower center of gravity. I mounted a cheapo controller on the left side, under the EVF, for start/stop. It's a perfect handheld setup that I designed for the AF100 and I can shoot comfortably with it all day.

Unfortunately, my old zooms don't act parfocal on this camera, and I can't figure out why - it's got to be the flange to sensor distance, or something with the thickness of the front surface of the sensor... anyway, old dog needs to learn new tricks.

Luckily I have some nice MFT zoom lenses from my AF100 days (which I've been using since on my two Pocket cameras) - an Olympus 12-40 Pro and Lumix 35-100. Shooting 1080 with the VSM/Prime Zoom feature set at 92%, I can use the 12-40 as essentially a 11-80+mm zoom by varying the VSM using the rocker. It's an excellent use of this camera. When I need longer I can pop on the 35-100 (which, with VSM still set at 92% becomes something like a 28-220) - this is singly the best thing about the LS300 for "run and gun" - a term I don't much like BTW.

And, yes, the auto focus works very well. I've never been much of a fan of AF, but with this camera it is almost essential, again because these two MFT zooms, which "acted" parfocal on the AF100 and Pockets, don't on this camera. And using Face Recognition, which I've set to a user button right behind AF, I can keep people in focus off center during long takes. It's not perfect - nothing "auto" is - but it's better than I thought it would be.

Low light is not a strength of the LS300. It performs well up to ASA1600, but above that it might be unacceptable for some - I don't mind grainy-looking noise, so I'll go higher if I need to. But I also have several nice primes, including the excellent native MFT Nokton 17.5mm f.95. With that lens, again with the VSM set at 92%, I get a 14-40 f.95 zoom that holds focus and iris through the range. I can also use my MFT mounted Leica-R 35mm Summarit for a 28-80mm zoom (VSM @100%), but it's only f2.8, so not a low light improvement over the Olympus, except it's a prettier lens.

All of the above changes (except AF), of course, when you shoot 4K - But that isn't a need I have right now.

As for WB, I usually use presets at 5600 and 3200 because it's what I'm used to with film. I can live with a little color shift if it looks appropriate. The LS is 8 bit, so massive fixes in post are tricky - but I'm aware of that and WB manually if need be - I NEVER use AWB.

To be honest, the LS300 made me pretty nervous at first because of some of it's QC problems, As a result I pre-ordered a Sony FS5, which also has a version of VSM, but for use with EF lenses with an adapter* (I also have two EF zooms). But, after working the bugs out, I cancelled the order and will stay with the JVC - and it's already paid for itself - who knows, I may even get another one.

*Speaking of adapters - I bought a Metabones EF-MFT "Smart" (quotes are mine) Adapter with the LS. What a POS for the price. Forget AF, that's not even a possibility (yes, I've done the appropriate firmware upgrade), I can live without it - but aperture adjustment is iffy at best... almost every time I count on it, I need to dismount and remount the lens to get it working - not a good thing when you're working fast, which I almost always am... I invested in EF lenses because (at other's advice) most cameras now either have EF mount options, or can be adapted. Fine if you want a flaky setup - I don't.

The cheaper 4K Ursa Mini is an option though - It's native EF, 10 bit ProRes and it's 3 grand plus media and batteries - no internal NDs (which I hate after 2 years struggling with Pocket Cams) and it's much heavier and clunkier - but the BM picture is comparable to the Alexa - the times they are'a changin'..

Last edited by Steve Rosen; November 7th, 2015 at 11:23 AM. Reason: Adapters
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