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JVC GR-HD1U / JY-HD10U
All about the original single-CCD HDV camcorders from JVC.


 
 
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Old September 10th, 2003, 05:24 PM   #1
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JY-HD10u vs DVX-100 report

I have tested (still for our feature Pure) head-to-head the DVX100 and the JY-HD10u and here is my report.

The first thing concerns controllability and professionalism. As you might already know the JVC simply does not stand up against 3CCD's miniDVs and this is no exception. The DVX is probably the best miniDV and most professional yet. As we have discussed of the operational flaws of the JVC I will not discuss about it here.

The second issue concerns the chroma level and contrast. The DVX's chroma is very high and the colors are very saturated (of course you can de-saturate...) even in it's cine gama mode. The JVC displays a much less saturated image (when light levels are low especially but even in high light levels). The difference in terms of film look are clearly present because of that, the JVC wins hands out for filmic look because mainly of this slightly de-saturated look and also becaus of it's best contrasts. As you might be aware of, the miniDV displays a slightly grey black level, the JVC does not, it's blacks are indeed pretty black and this helps give a better film look.

The third issue concerns low light abilities. The both cameras seem to react pretty closely to details in low light, the main difference is in the chromatic information: The JVC loses most of the chroma in low light conditions while the DVX keeps it high. The end result is much less compression noise on the JVC than on the DVX (because most of the noise comes from the chroma because of the type of compression: for example a 4:1:1 video signal means 4 out of 4 in the luminance or black and white info witch is the most critical and is always kept at 4, the other two concern the red and blue levels witch in this case are 1 out of 4 as it is in DV and HDV, green is calculated from the red and blue levels that is why chroma produces most of the compression noise). When you combine low light grain with chroma low light artefacts you end up with a pretty messed up image. Of course, most of us provide enough light in our productions to avoid that but you have to test the limits right. The retention of details is a bit higher for very dark areas on the DVX in low light because of the lower contrast of the camera. Low light noise looks pretty equivalent on both cameras.

The fourth issue is night shots. Or if you prefer shots with objects exposed to light while others are not. Here the JVC impressively outperforms the DVX (or any miniDV I have seen so far). Much less noise (no noise in the black areas mainly because the compression engine on the HD10 loses intelligently chroma only in low light areas and in a decremental ratio witch is gentle enough not to jump from chroma on to off...) and of course because blacks look more like actual black on this camera. I have asked Chris Hurd for permission to post some clips on the DVinfo site and they should be there in the coming days and you will see what I mean, I will of course post an explanation thread on all of the clips. The chroma is better (less noisy) on the JVC as well because in part of the lower chroma ratio but also because compression is always worse on the edges between light and dark and as the JVC loses chrominance, it produces much less artefacts in these areas (but it still produces some of course).

The fifth issue is the lenses. The DVX is much wider than the JVC (at it's widest). In fact, the JVC is not very wide (about equivalent to 25-30 in 35mm) as the DVX looks more like a 14 to me. Also, the lenses in the JVC produce a green line when a bright light is directed at it (see this image: http://www.fictis.net/HD10/greenline.jpg ).

The sixth issue concerns definition (of course...). Even in down converted mode the JVC makes the DVX look slightly out of focus. It is worse in close ups. When objects are far, it is on a HD screen that you can see how much detail is lost in SD. It is not new of course but it certainly pops out immediatly.

Of course, the aim of the shootout was not to determine if HD is better than DV. It was to determine if SD was enough for our need and if HDV could suit our same needs and it does. The director is a guy who worked in advertisement for about 15 years and he worked with both the sony cine Alta and the Panasonic Varicam and he was breathless at our tests, the definition and filmic qualities of the JVC simply cast away its pathetic lack of professional features. In fact he is selling his XL1 to buy a HD10. Maybe he should wait for the next generation but you have to beat the iron while it is hot (a french proverb...;). The guys whom will take a bet on this baby will be pionneers. That is an exciting thought isn't it?....
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Old September 10th, 2003, 05:42 PM   #2
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Thanks, Eric, I feel a lot better about the camera.

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Old September 10th, 2003, 05:45 PM   #3
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Good report Eric.

I hope you guys don't get the budget for the Cinealta or the Panasonic. I really want to see your movie made in the HD10!

Cheers

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Old September 10th, 2003, 06:19 PM   #4
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The vertical green line associated with bright objects is actually the CCD overloading and not a lens problem. If you shoot something bright enough (like the sun) the green line actually blows out, loses it's chroma, and becomes a fat grey line.

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Old September 10th, 2003, 06:21 PM   #5
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Interresting, I never experienced that on another CCD. thanks for the update Jay.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 06:39 PM   #6
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We point our "Hi-5" camera (on top of a building) into the sun as it sets (it's still "white," not orange or red), and we get a big line, too, but it's white. Looks like a laser beam, sort of.

heath

ps-Not sure what kind of camera it is, but it's encased in something strong, as it's outside.
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Old September 10th, 2003, 06:47 PM   #7
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Re: JY-HD10u vs DVX-100 report

<<<The DVX is much wider than the JVC (at it's widest). In fact, the JVC is not very wide (about equivalent to 25-30 in 35mm) as the DVX looks more like a 14 to me. ->>>

The DVX specs call the wide angle equivalent in a 35mm format a 32.5mm; the JVC is a bit more sneaky, listing different lens ranges for the different modes as follows:

40.3mm ~ 403mm in HD mode
55mm ~ 550mm in SD mode
67.8mm_ ~_ 678mm in DV mode
37.1mm ~ 371mm in memory mode
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Old September 10th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Jay Nemeth : The vertical green line associated with bright objects is actually the CCD overloading and not a lens problem. If you shoot something bright enough (like the sun) the green line actually blows out, loses it's chroma, and becomes a fat grey line.

Jay -->>>

Vertical streakes are a serious problem except on expensive cameras that are almost free of it.

The DVX100 has a nasty problem. Shoot a yellow stoplight at night. You get a yellow rectangle slightly larger than the stoplight box. Shoot green and you get a green rectangle. I included a pix in my DVX100 Guide.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 08:53 AM   #9
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Eric Blodeau wrote:

"JVC displays a much less saturated image (when light levels are low especially but even in high light levels)... JVC wins hands out for filmic look because mainly of this slightly de-saturated look...
less compression noise on the JVC than on the DVX (because most of the noise comes from the chroma..."

This is simply preposterous. It's tantamount to saying a plastic Radio Shack microphone is better than a studio Sennheiser because it captures audio at such a low volume that you can't hear the noise in the signal.

If your idea of fim-look is an inability to capture Nature's color, I hope you will stay out of film-making.

I've seen recent posts complaining about the high levels of chroma noise in the camera--which is just what I expected from the product concept. It's cheap and easy to manufacture imaging chips with a lot of noise, and it prevents the product from cannabilizing higher-end products. Welcome to VHS for the 21st century.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 09:29 AM   #10
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Mitch Gould wrote:

"I've seen recent posts complaining about the high levels of chroma noise in the camera--which is just what I expected from the product concept. It's cheap and easy to manufacture imaging chips with a lot of noise, and it prevents the product from cannabilizing higher-end products. Welcome to VHS for the 21st century."

Chroma noise is about equivalent to miniDV, it is indeed annoying but not impossible to work around. It is a tool, not at all perfect but still usable if you are willing to work around it's weeknesses. Not all of the indie film makers have access to Varicams and Cine Alta. Much less do they have access to a HD post production system. This tool is for them. I would not try to sell that to a person able to work with the best, it is not at all equivalent. No need to be agressive, I believe most people on the forum agree on that.

Mitch Gould wrote:

"If your idea of fim-look is an inability to capture Nature's color, I hope you will stay out of film-making."

It was once said to me that film making consists in an interpretation of reality, there are as many of them as there are film makers. I believe it is what makes film making so special, this investment of the film maker. It is about a point of view, not a perfect reproduction.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 10:03 AM   #11
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Eric wrote:

"Chroma noise is about equivalent to miniDV"
It's finally time for us to begin asking: "Yes, but whose miniDV?" A $329 palmheld from Sharp or a $20,000+ flagship from the likes of Sony? Chroma noise varies widely across the format, as chip sizes and signal processors vary widely.

Eric wrote:

"Not all of the indie film makers have access to Varicams and Cine Alta."
We are not going to allow this straw man to be dragged out time again and again. I challenge you to quote anything anyone has said that proves your contention that customers are actually expecting the camera to measure up to those standards. No. here's the reality: people are comparing the HD10 to the similarly-priced DX100 or XL1S--and finding that it falls needlessly short.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 10:54 AM   #12
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Mitch, here is my question to you: Have you tried the HD10?, have you compared it to miniDV's. DV25 has a compression ratio of 4:1:1 so whatever the camera you use there will be chroma artefacts but they can be controlled in some situations. Needless to say, DV25 does not react extremely well to low light conditions. of course a palmhead will display horrible artefacts and some DV25 cameras are better. You don't have to use the camera very much to notice the similitudes between DV25 and HDV in terms of artefacting. Equivalent does not mean it is the same.

One other thing fascinates me: How come a person not interrested in a technology wastes so much of his time on something he does not intend to use himself... I do not post on forums regarding material that do not interrest me, I have better things to do. If people want to do films with a VHS camera I'm fine with that, I would never do that but I don't see the point in trying to make people embrace my vision of it. I am trying to be constructive by pointing out strenghts and weaknesses I experienced, of course I will put a bit of my appreciation or depreciation into it, I guess it is normal.
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Old September 11th, 2003, 11:19 AM   #13
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Eric wrote:

"How come a person not interrested in a technology wastes so much of his time on something he does not intend to use himself"

This is quite a fair and reasonable question.

Here is the answer: with the announcement of several industry players signing on the HDV format, the HD10 isn't just a product. It's also a prototype for the next generation of prosumer cameras.

It's reasonable to expect that the licencees will try to differentiate their models by improving on one or another aspect of the prototype.

Many people have complained about the problems with manual control. Others have complained about the noise. These are two separate issues. I can imagine models in which one--or the other--or both--of these design issues are addressed.

I can imagine turning cartwheels during production in an effort to compensate for exposure and focus controls, but I can't imagine resigning myself to shooting only black-and-white footage with the camera.

My message to HDV licencees is: give us the same camera at the same price or higher, but with usable color.

Isn't that reasonable?
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Old September 11th, 2003, 11:37 AM   #14
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It is indeed reasonable. There will be improvements for sure. I believe the problem will still be the low bitrate though. Colors are usable depending on your needs. With a controlled environnement or outside when there is enough light, artefacts are almost not present just like in DV.

We can expect good products from Canon and Sony in the years to come but with a 19Mbits/s bitrate and a 4:1:1 (some even said 4:2:0?) compression, the format will never be as good in terms of chroma artefacts as a 4:2:2 Varicam 720p system as DV25 4:1:1 cannot compete with DV50 4:2:2 in artefacting. I guess everybody agrees on that.
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Old September 16th, 2003, 01:23 PM   #15
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I was under the impression that this camera used 4:2:0?


Mitch-"No. here's the reality: people are comparing the HD10 to the similarly-priced DX100 or XL1S--and finding that it falls needlessly short."

For what application? Run and gun, sure. Controlled environment, not a chance!
Every DV to HDV comparison where the actual cameras were tested almost completely favor the JVC. Its weaknesses are noted but they don't hold back its overpowering strengths.
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