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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 December 13th, 2015, 08:20 PM   #1
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LS300, the beat goes on

I've reported good and bad experiences with this camera - as an old pro who is accustomed to getting perfection out of the box I have been disappointed, frustrated, impressed and surprised.

My original intention was to get a Sony FS5, when available, because I wanted a small, light camera - and I had some EF lenses. I cancelled that pre-order and opted for the LS300 instead, because I had a nice variety of MFT lenses (from my old AF100 and Pocket Cameras) and needed 4K - like NOW.

Sadly, as I've reported, it took three tries to get a good camera, and even then I've had some technical problems. After working through those problems - and after the v2 firmware - I've been more than satisfied (that's the impressed and surprised part). I even bought five new Rokinon Cine lenses in MFT mounts (I hate adapters) because of the versatility of the Prime Zoom feature.

I've been still considering the FS5, mainly because of reliability concerns - Sony has a great reputation, JVC doesn't. But after reading the issues with the FS5 (you can google that yourself) combined with the lower bit rate of 4K on the Sony (100mbps vs 150mbps) I've become convinced that the JVC GY LS300 is probably the most under-rated, under the radar camera in the market. Sad, because if it dies a stillborn death, it won't continue to be supported, and we'll lose a terrific cinematic tool.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 01:28 AM   #2
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Re: LS300, the beat goes on

I too quite liked many aspects of the LS300 when I first saw it at BVE in London in early 2015. It is a very clever camera in so many ways...

Not trying to defend the FS5 (I must declare an interest as I now own one and love it) but there is one aspect that I think needs to be taken into context - the 4K bit-rate comparison. We now know that Sony uses proprietary technology that records its XAVC with two-pass encoding. So although I would have much prefered a higher bit-rate than the 100Mbps the FS5's XAVC-L variant provides, I would not want anyone weighing these two cams up to assume the extra 50 Mbps of the JVC is a major advantage.

There are many aspects to what makes a particular cam ideal for different people. Often, no one cam is "the obvious choice", i.e. that ticks all the boxes, especially important ones like (on my personal list) image quality, price, reliability and small form factor.

Enjoy your cam - and it would be good to hear from other LS300 owners, especially those that have had good experiences with it.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 02:23 AM   #3
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Re: LS300, the beat goes on

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Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
and needed 4K - like NOW.
I"m surprised why you find 4K, like the bitrates compared to the fs5 important now, in another thread you where clear that 4K was of no importance for your workflow and that you only shot 1080p to keep the zooming ability without loss of resolution and because it was much easier to deal with in post.

I did not have any start-up issues like you had (*knocks on wood*) with the first camera's you received and my dealer gave me a 5 year warranty on the camera. If I decide to sell the camera in 3 years time the new buyer still will have 2 years of warranty so that's a bit more reassuring :) It will also sell easier with that extra warranty, something that is important for a camera that doesn't seem to be that popular.

The best feature for me so far is the ability to do smooth focuspulls with all of my fly by wire lenses using the zoom rocker, something that was impossible before.

I have spend most of my time with the camera trying to match it with my gh4 and so far I"m pretty close, the GH4 holds color better in shadow areas and also at higher iso but it also over emphasizes color, like if it sees some blue in the shadows that color comes out much stronger then what I can see with my eyes. I also find that the JVC is able to show very fine difference in exposure like if you shine a spot on a wall the JVC shows the differences between very light and dark in a better way then the GH4 which seems to tone down the brightest parts and lift up the darkest parts. In general the JVC seems to have more accurate representation of highlights and shadows but also color.

Next stop will be sound, I have heard a faint beeping sound in the on-board camera mics but not on the shotgun mike so have to see where that comes from.

For next year I only plan to shoot max 5 weddings because of my backproblems but while originally not planned I do have a wedding coming up beginning of Februari and am excited to take the JVC through a testrun there but I"m also nervous about using it in a fast paced environment. I plan on using it for family stuff, which I normally never do, just to get to know the camera before I use it on any paid jobs.

Last edited by Noa Put; December 14th, 2015 at 03:55 AM. Reason: typo
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Old December 14th, 2015, 04:15 AM   #4
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Re: LS300, the beat goes on

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Originally Posted by Steve Rosen View Post
I've been still considering the FS5, mainly because of reliability concerns - Sony has a great reputation, JVC doesn't. But after reading the issues with the FS5
There is one topic on this forum about a users fs5 camera locking up during a shoot and him loosing all recorded data, I hope he will be able to recover it all but it shows that with camera's like the jvc and the almost twice as expensive fs5 (at least where I live) reliability depends on often the weakest link which is the recording media. There is no use in having a robust camera with all the bells and whistles if it's not able to guarantee whatever you record will end up safe on the cards. You might blame certain brands of cards but I would expect a camera to refuse to record if the card is not sufficient or to stop recording when it notices the card can't keep up, save your file and tell you to change cards.

When Panasonic developed their p2 cards many people complained that they where so expensive but as far as I have heard about it they are rock solid and worth every single expensive euro. I wouldn't mind if jvc would make much more expensive cards exclusively for their ls300 if they could guarantee a failsafe operation, I would buy them without much thought.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #5
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Re: LS300, the beat goes on

Noa: The majority of my work is documentaries, most for clients these days. One client, a college, wanted a 60 second 4K presentation piece for a large conference - that was the NOW inference... beyond that I primarily shoot 1080... I do switch to 4K when shooting scenics (I'm also currently doing a state funded film on tourism for instance), mainly to future-proof that material... for most of my work, though, 4K's overkill.

My comments before about 4K specifically referred to using it for reframing. Other than occasionally having to frame out a sloppy matte box edge, that's something I just don't do. As I said, I prefer to frame in-camera - my favorite still photographer is Henri Cartier-Bresson, who always printed the edges of his Leica frames to demonstrate that he hadn't cropped the original image... the challenge of getting it the way I want on the fly has always been the fun part of documentary cinematography for me, kinda like playing a video game.

I agree about cards - I had an HPX500 for several years and spent $5,000 on P2 cards (16GB each!). As much as I disliked the expense, I always felt confident with those solid cards... SD cards have always made me nervous.

The FS5 issue I was referring to, though, is the output to external monitors (I always use a Gratical). They say it may be a firmware fix, but it sounds structural to me.

As for sound on the JVC, I haven't heard any problems using an external, either Rode or Sennheiser. Admittedly, on jobs I have a soundman and shoot double system, but I do occasionally rely on the camera mounted mic, which is usually the NTG3. I haven't tried the internal mic, I'll check mine and see if I notice any weird sounds.
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