HD-200U First Impressions at DVinfo.net

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Old March 11th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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HD-200U First Impressions

For anyone considering the 200U, here are the first impressions from a seasoned run & gun wedding videographer:

LENS:
It's nice to have manual lens controls again after so many years of mushy servos on hand-held camcorders. Not the greatest fujinon glass but It's a worthy compromise to have the feel of real tactile lens feedback. I don't know about others but I find myself using the Macro ring quite a bit for rack focussing which gives some incredible bokeh!
The lens actually reminds me of those old railway trains from the 1960's - spartan in comfort, noisy in operation but very solid. It leaves that plastic lens on the new Sony EX for dead!

BALANCE:
Once I tacked on a 90W/hr gold mount brick on the back it was absolute heaven! Nothing like the right-leaning wrist busting Canon XL series.

50/60P:
Shooting in 50P then slowing down to 60% on the timeline was an absolute dream! Just like shooting in interlaced but with a much cleaner image. No more juddery footage (my brides are gonna love it!)

COLOURS:
Just like my Canon XH-A1 the colours out of the box were a little muted so I configured Paolo's "True Colour" preset & Tim Dashwood's "Superwide" preset to the cam and now really looking forward to using them in the field this weekend.

EVF:
The EVF panel is so small! It reminds me of those old 8mm film camera VFs, I find that unless you are looking directly in the centre of the VF the image drastically looses it's brightness. Alas! the VF Brightness knob is exactly where you want it - no digging through menus.

MENUS:
Speaking of menus, I'm so glad they are simple, easy to navigate and to the point (like the DVX) completely the opposite to the Canon XL-H1 menu which is like the garden maze from the front of the hotel in Kubrick's "The Shining"

BUTTONS:
The buttons on the outside are all in well known places and anyone who has ever used an ENG cam will find it welcoming. It's good to see JVC have not taken up space on the body with useless buttons (the Film Grain button on the early XL2's comes to mind). My only gripe is that the preset White Balance cannot be altered on the fly, which means the preset position can only be assigned either 5.6K or 3.2K unlike the DVX where you can switch between the two settings with a simple push of the AWB button. I could be wrong about this as I've only had the cam for 2 days, so if there is a way to have both presets available without going into the Menu somebody please tell me how it's done.

Thanks for reading!

JT
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Old March 11th, 2008, 12:38 PM   #2
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James,

You can switch between 5600K and 3200K (while on pre) by assigning one of the "user preset" buttons via the menu. I put that function in my "user 1" to make it brainless.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 08:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Thirston View Post
The lens actually reminds me of those old railway trains from the 1960's - spartan in comfort, noisy in operation but very solid. It leaves that plastic lens on the new Sony EX for dead!


JT
I have an HD100 and it is a good camera, but I am sorry, the images put out by the EX1 (which I use for my day job) can't even be compared with the JVC cameras. The EX1 is in a totally different class of image.

Sorry to disagree with you, but there is no comparison.

Daniel Weber
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Old March 11th, 2008, 09:53 PM   #4
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> You can switch between 5600K and 3200K (while on pre) by assigning one of the "user preset" buttons via the menu. I put that function in my "user 1" to make it brainless.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Justin, that's a good solution.

Here's a couple of stills from footage I shot this morning. (Granted both shots are a little overexposed.)

I love the bokeh from this lens but the CA is as bad as everyone has been saying it is, and also something I've not heard much about but seems quite evident is that blown highlights have a horrible purple fringe that I don't see in my Canon XH-A1.

Top marks to Paolo Ciccone for his TrueColor preset, it looks absolutely phenomenal!!

JT
Attached Thumbnails
HD-200U First Impressions-broken.jpg   HD-200U First Impressions-bee.jpg  

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Old March 11th, 2008, 10:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Weber View Post
I have an HD100 and it is a good camera, but I am sorry, the images put out by the EX1 (which I use for my day job) can't even be compared with the JVC cameras. The EX1 is in a totally different class of image.

Sorry to disagree with you, but there is no comparison.

Daniel Weber
No probs Daniel, I actually agree with you about the image quality from the EX1 - I have used it and seen the results personally; however, the EX1 is in a different class. I was actually only comparing the tactile feedback & handling of the lens, where the EX1 has a very plastic almost handycam feel to it, compared to the Fujinon which feels more robust. If we're talking resolution I could also positively say that the image from my Canon XH-A1 is miles better than the HD200, but then none of these hand-helds have the charisma of the JVC :)

JT
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Old March 12th, 2008, 02:10 AM   #6
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The EX1 is a great camera but it is a fixed lens (and that lens actually has significant barrelling problems). The JVC has a superior Fujinon 13x wide angle available as well as a couple of other broadcast quality lenses. The stock 16x is a "starter" lens only, but as the OP pointed out workable for a wide range of applications. I think that was JVC's intent - a workable lens with better options should your workflow demand it. The point about ergonomics of a shoulder mounted camera is well made.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 06:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Thirston View Post
No probs Daniel, I actually agree with you about the image quality from the EX1 - I have used it and seen the results personally; however, the EX1 is in a different class. I was actually only comparing the tactile feedback & handling of the lens, where the EX1 has a very plastic almost handycam feel to it, compared to the Fujinon which feels more robust. If we're talking resolution I could also positively say that the image from my Canon XH-A1 is miles better than the HD200, but then none of these hand-helds have the charisma of the JVC :)

JT
I agree about the handling of the JVC as far as being a very usable shoulder mount camera.
I guess that my problem is that I have never regretted purchasing a camera as much as I have with my HD100. It has been into repair at JVC on 3 occasions for a total of close to 4 months in the past year. And now the viewfinder is cracked. The camera has less than 30 hours on it.

I think that it is a great design and there are some things that I love about it, but I have to baby it worse than I did my new born daughters!!!

The EX1 has its flaws, but man the images it produces and the simple workflow have totally won my heart over. I can live with the little flaws of the camera but for what I do (shoot docs and travel a lot internationally) it is the only way to go.

I will end my comments on this subject as I don't want to turn this into a JVC bashing post. Thanks for the pulpit, but I will now step down.

Daniel Weber
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Old March 12th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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My HD100 had been to hell and back, never a single problem. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought an HD200. I've owned or used the Sony, Canon, and Panasonic equivalents and while the JVC does not produce the prettiest picture, it is the most consistent. That's what counts for me in a run-and-gun situation. People should be aware that picture quality, once achieving a minimum for broadcast work, is not what sells the story. The story sells the story.

If picture quality is your #1 for a sub-10k, then go with the XL-H1. Supposedly the XH products are just as good, but with fixed lenses. That sounds like a contradiction in itself. The bigger problem is that your talent will not take you seriously when you shoot on a handicam.

For the EX, the dealbreaker was the rolling shutter. Most of the objects I shoot tend to move.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 03:06 PM   #9
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I've owned JVC cameras since the S-VHS X2 camera. I also owned the X3 then moved to digital with the DV500s and now I own two HD200s. I've also owned a Panasonic AG-DVX100b, a Sony TRV-900 (both smaller handheld cameras) and used full sized Panasonic DVCPro cameras.

I prefer the JVCs over all of the others. Maybe I'm used to the location of all their switches, or the real lenses, or just the overall look and feel (you gotta admit, the HD200 looks sexy). They are just comfortable cameras to me and the picture quality is way better than what my clients require which are usually weddings, events, corporate work, and local tv commercials.
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Old March 12th, 2008, 03:39 PM   #10
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yeah....i gotta agree. my hd100 has been through ALOT and still runs and looks like new- of course, ive taken excellent care of her while ive had her, but honestly i have yet to hold a camera in this price range that FEELS as flexible in my hands. sometimes I wish i could shrink the size down longitudinally, especially with an adapter mounted, but i still it offers the right size and feel for its performance. and yes, all of the models are dang sexy.
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