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JVC GR-HD1U / JY-HD10U
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Old March 9th, 2003, 07:21 PM   #1
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A first impression from Japan

Allan writes:

I went to Bic Camera store located in a major commercial area in Tokyo today and was pleasantly surprised to finally see a display unit of the HD1. The display unit is connected to a 50V Pioneer plasma vision HDTV. They were showing (through a D-VHS) what was supposed to be sample footages taken using this cam. It was pretty impressive but certainly not as jaw-dropping as broadcast quality HD. The seller and I spent the next 30 minutes playing with the cam. Here are my impressions.

First, JPY348,000 + 44,000) + 5% tax, I felt is quite expensive, but what the heck, I?m not planning to buy anyway. I was just curious as hell on how superior this new format is compared to my Optura 100MC.

Second, the cam has 52mm filter thread, but typically JVC, the glass part is so much smaller, certainly smaller than those of GL2 and VX2000.

Third, although the camera is HD, raw video output is mediocre. Colors are washed out and video is simply not as clear and crisp (NOT EVEN CLOSE) as the sample footage prepared by Victor Japan. The seller and I did all possible adjustments both on the HDTV and the cam to improve color and clarity or at least, make it as close as possible to the sample. Yep, tons of manual options are available. All our attempts were fruitless. Now, I?m no expert at all (but the seller seems to know quite enough) but I have played with practically all cam models that came out since 2001 in that VERY bright and beautifully lighted store and I have seen and tested real good ones and real crappy ones. Actually, I took some of the best indoor shots of my daughter in that store?s toy section. But I was not impressed at all with the HD1's raw video as viewed on the 50V plasma vision.. BTW, video as seen on the LCD looks good enough (but that is not the point isn?t it). Using standard 21? NTSC, colors are fine? BUT Third, this cam must be used with a HDTV. I previously thought that with higher resolution signal, HD1?s video should look better than MiniDV even on standard TV. Guess what, HD video on standard NTSC is very very very noisy. Lines are all too jagged. To some people, they might consider the quality to be unviewable. Some views are bordering on being mosaic due to the jagged lines and noise. SD video looked better(than HD) on standard NTSC but still noisy. On the other hand, the cam also has DV mode (4:3) in addition to HD and SD, however, I honestly felt it does not look even as good as my Optura 100MC. Just in case somebody might ask, the cam is connected to the Plasma HDTV through the D terminal. HD1?s terminal is compatible with D1 to D4 signals. The standard TV is connected through the S-video terminal.

I?m not going to pass final judgment on this cam based on 30 minutes of playing with it. On one side, perhaps I simply didn't know enough to bring out a "satisfactory" performance from the cam. On the other hand, I honestly felt raw video was simply not "HD" enough under such good shooting condition. I?m sure Victor Japan used professionals and proper equipment in producing the sample footages. However, I just can?t believe the wide discrepancy in quality between the sample footage and the raw video I saw. I told the seller it looks suspicious and he couldn?t comment at all. As I wrote above, the store is very very well and beautifully lighted. BTW, according to JVCs catalogue, the min. lux requirement of the HD1 is 35 lux! YES, you read it right, it?s not 3.5 lux or 3-5 lux. Are you guys aware of this? Perhaps somebody can tell us the relevance of this value which I think is too (abnormally?) high. The min. lux requirement of the VX2000 I believe is only 4 lux. I tried using the slower shutter speeds (1/15 and 1/30) just in case the store?s lighting was not enough and set white balance manually. Those adjustments improved the quality of video a bit, but certainly not enough. Finally, I suggested to the seller that they should try replacing the 50V Plasma with much smaller 32 or 36 inch HDTV tubes and see the result. I just hope they?ll heed my suggestion. I'll check the store again next week.

On the positive side, I truly liked the rotating grip, the manual zoom ring and the solid feel of the cam. But video quality is most important to me and I was pretty unimpressed with what I saw. One thing I'm convinced of, the HD1 is a start of better things to come in home video.

Allan follows up

First, I'd better mention the various video formats that we have in Japan because it seems they're not exactly the same as what you have in the US.

D1 supports 525i
D2 supports 525i, 525p
D3 supports 525i, 525p, 1125i
D4 supports 525i, 525p, 1125i, 750p

Specs of Jap HD1
DV 525i
SD 525p
HD 750p

Both the HD1 and the Pioneer plasma are D4 capable. The Pioneer plasma has multiple D4 terminals. The D-VHS that played the nice looking sample footages is connected to the same Pioneer plasma through D terminal as well. So it was simply a matter of switching between D-video channels of the same plasma to compare the sample footage and raw video. The difference in video quality was quite apparent.

This was copied from the Camera forum at www.dv.com

Allan has been a member here for almost a year. He has numerous posts in our MX forum. Allan is known as "peping" at www.dv.com :D
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Old March 9th, 2003, 08:20 PM   #2
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Hey, has anyone in this joint besides Allan actually seen this camera in action? David Mullen, you write about it--have you actually had the opportunity to play with it? Just wanted some more first hand experiences.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 12:29 AM   #3
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Great report

I've updated my site with more information -- including the lux data. I cover the CCD in much greater detail.

I too noticed a high-level of image noise at the JVC demo.

And, when I said the JVC image didn't look like regular HDTV -- it was the lack of brilliant color and fine detail.

In short, I suspect the protype I saw looks much the production model you saw.

Not a good sign.

Which Bic did you go to?
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Old March 10th, 2003, 01:49 AM   #4
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I'll be heading to Bic sometime this week. I'll see if I can spot it.
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Old March 10th, 2003, 10:42 PM   #5
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Bic Camera Senmon Ten (Camera Special Store) in Ikebukuro. It's the branch nearest to Sunshine Dori (St) - the building is next to Lotteria (burger store).

They also have HD1s in Bic Main Store (Ikebukuro) and Ikebukuro East Exit Branch, but they're connected to standard NTSC TVs only. I haven't visited Yodobashi for a while. But, I'm certain samples are available all over Tokyo by now.

BTW, I've updated my impression in response to a guy called StudioHD in dv.com. Victor Japan informed the seller (who then told me) that raw video from the HD1 is just 525i/480i which explains the lousy raw video I saw. In order to get 750p/720p, you must FIRST record to tape (in HD mode of course), then playback. The seller allowed me to record a few seconds of footage and lo and behold, recorded video was noticeably better than raw video. Yet, I'm still not at all impressed with what I've seen so far, in contrast to the sample footage prepared by Victor. HD video indeed, but there is still a WHOLE LOT of room for improvement in terms of picture color and clarity. You most probably need lots of floodlights as well.

Have fun!
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Old March 10th, 2003, 10:58 PM   #6
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Allan: << ...in response to a guy called StudioHD in dv.com. >>

You're talking about Joseph George. He is a member here also. You can view his profile here, as well as his posting history. Hope this helps,
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Old March 11th, 2003, 05:49 AM   #7
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Well, I guess the bright side of all this is that the camera lens won't be stopped down to f16+ when shooting outside. It's almost like having a built-in ND filter! I suppose you could think of the HD1 as the camera to use for your "exterior" shots.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:51 AM   #8
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Yes--people continue to think that the format is the only important thing---the glass is very important.
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Old March 11th, 2003, 06:55 AM   #9
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Got a peek at one today at Bic. It wasn't attached to a monitor unfortunately. I hovered around while another guy was talking about it with the salesperson, but I finally gave up waiting for my chance at hands on and came home.

Oh well...I'm sure I'll hit Bic again before the week's out anyway
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Old March 15th, 2003, 12:24 AM   #10
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John, it's now time to go back and have a good look at it. Then promptly report back to us poor North Ameicans.
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Old March 20th, 2003, 08:12 AM   #11
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Maybe it's the fact that it's only 1 CCD instead of 3 like good DV cams.
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Old March 21st, 2003, 07:57 AM   #12
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I went back to 2 Bic stores today to check if there had been any changes on their set-up. For those in Japan, Bic Main Store has now connected the HD1 to a 37V Hitachi plasma. A D-VHS is also connected and showing the same sample footages (mostly sceneries, that orange flower posted by Lorin, etc. – except for tall building shot, mostly no panning!). Finally, a VX2000 is also connected to the same plasma (through composite video output), so a straightforward means of comparing raw video is possible by simply switching between video channels. Long story short... as expected, the HD1 beats the VX2000 in resolution/clarity as viewed on the plasma, but the VX2000 color is certainly richer and truer. For any members in Japan at the moment, this is a good place to play with this cam.

I found it also interesting that Bic connected the HD1 through firewire. In the Camera Special Store where I first visited 2 weeks ago, they’ve also changed the connection of the HD1 from analog component (D terminal) to firewire. For those familiar with Ginza area, Bic Yurakucho’s HD1 demo unit is also connected via firewire to a smaller monitor. Here’s my observation…Raw HD video coming out through firewire looks better than that which came out from D terminal that I saw last time. Color is still off, but clarity and detail are better. Intriguing I thought. JVC USA, it’s a national holiday in Japan today so I can’t contact Victor. Perhaps you’d care to expound on this.

However, not only is raw video (through firewire) more jjjiiii-tete-rrryyyy as you pan, video as seen through the monitor is nearly 1 second delayed. Transmission speed problem I believe? It was funny actually. You make a face and see it on the monitor a second later. My daughter loved it (the delayed effect).

Anyways, for those going to NAB, please pay attention on which output terminal is used and please try panning.

Peace!
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Old March 21st, 2003, 07:59 AM   #13
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I found a review with some pix from the camera:

http://camcorderinfo.com/content/jvc_grhd1_fi_camcorder_review.htm

Cheers, Peter
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Old March 21st, 2003, 05:36 PM   #14
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Thanks, Allan. So the color is off.... I guess it's because it only has 1 CCD?
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Old April 1st, 2003, 10:58 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Allan Rejoso :

However, not only is raw video (through firewire) more jjjiiii-tete-rrryyyy as you pan, -->>>

That's because the FW is 720p30 while the D terminal is 1080i60. Welcome to the world of filmlook.

It's possible the lowered image quality comes from the transcoder built into the camcorder.

The editing software uses FireWire input and if the result is recorded on D-VHS you'll use the D-VHSdeck's analog output.

So this could be a non problem.
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