GY-HD100E on display SMPTE (Sydney Aus) at DVinfo.net

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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:16 AM   #1
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GY-HD100E on display SMPTE (Sydney Aus)

I have now had a chance to play with this camera (only for short time at trade show).

I'm not a pro cameraman so I can only give you my impressions as a director/editor and from the pro ENG cameras I've picked up and "used" over the years. (some of this info comes from a JVC sales rep who attended the beta shoot). So please excuse any terminology gaffes and I hope you can glean some useful info, although I would advise against buying any camera without testing it for yourself to see if it suits your purposes.

Ergonomics:
Professional shooters will like the setup of this camera with most controls exactly where you'd expect them. The lens on the front seems to be the biggest plus for this camera although the wide angle 13 x from Fujinon is going to cost more than a 140% of the camera and 16x included with kit (I don't know if that means it's superior in resolution or just priced high - I guess it's comparable to the higher end half inch lenses out there). As a shoulder mounted camera it's quite usable although because of the shorter length of this camera, the pivot point is further back and therefore the camera feels a little lens heavy (but lighter than a DigiBeta!) - the Anton BAuer battery pack option at the back would help balance this. The CRT (edit:according to specs only LCD) viewfinder is probably not quite as good as the Sony, but I had no trouble focussing quickly and easily and if I compare it to my PD100 (LCD viewfinder) it's streets ahead. I saw footage of the camera on location set up for a film style shoot on an Australian beach - and I saw a similar setup at the show with mattebox, what looked like a follow focus (not to sure of this - I've only seen the bigger wheels on 35mm cameras - this was sort of a white knob),Anton Bauer battery pack, radio mic receiver, zoom (fast slow) / rec start stop (normal stuff) on pan/tilt arm, and hd mounted on top of camera - this required a pretty decent tripod, but the settup looked well balanced. The camera was also mounted on a junior steadicam during the shoot but without the mattebox - I wasn't on the shoot so I can't comment on how that worked, and I'm unsure if any of the pics they had on display feature the steadicam stuff apart from some behind the scenes stuff of it in action. The lens has a macro although I didn't get to test it.

Low Light.
I haven't used the Sony HDV extensively but as far as low light goes I'd say they are on a par. I liked the fact that I could control the gain with a switch for 6db or 12db left hand side of body (when on shoulder) near the front of the camera (same posi as Betacam I think). It was typically indoors with a little daylight the area I tested and the camera held up OK with 0 gain, but wide open at a 60th. The one test I had on a Sony FX1 the camera seemed to automatically compensate for low light when I shut down the iris manually - I'm sure there's a way to turn this off but the Sony shop sales rep didn't know how. For me to compare properly I have to look at genuine available light footage shot at night compared to my PD100 and say a DSR300 (which I would expect to be better being a half inch cam)

Fast Action
Good news here I think - lots of shots of people running on the beach shot on a long lens at 720P30 and the images held up very well. I didn't see a single instance of judder or the codec falling over. Admittedly not a lot of camera head movement, but it looked smooth.

Picture Quality
Daylight - beach - very subjective - I'd compare it to 16mm rather than 35mm if we're looking at noise versus grain and the noise had an almost film like quality. The noise was most noticeable in the blue sky (but defintely not objectionable), but skintones and detail (like water splashes) held up very, very well (IMHO). According to the JVC rep who attended the shoot, this camera came straight of a plane to the shoot and was a beta unit. He thinks the noise floor of the camera will be even lower in the production models (not due for another 2 weeks and sold out). If I compare it to digibeta it has a much more film like quality, without the harshness and aliasing problems associated with the DCT codec (also no interlacing problems I guess). Shots of Deiter Brummer (Aussie actor) on beach in close up looked terrific, skin tone excellent. Lens quality looked v. good although I didn't see any test chart footage. Please note: although the camera was a beta unit, this was a reasonably high end production with a cast of about 15 and crew of about 40.

Night Internal boat: Well I'm not sure if they pumped in any additional light in here (were overhead lights on - not sure what kind) but it wasn't noisy. The image quality was quite nice. Where the actor's skin caught the light tended to create a hot spot on the image so there was no smooth gradation from shadow to highlight - still the image held up quite well. This effect may have been more the fault of the LCD monitor which can make these things look a lot worse. Overall the shot did look contrasty so there may be in camera ways around this. Once again I wouldn't say it was objectionable and the scene still retained it's film like quality.


Features: One excellent feature is the ability to save gamma curves and setups on to an SD card. You get access to not only separate R, G and B but to R,G and B phase (according to JVC rep - bit beyond me, but I'm sure some here will know exactly what that means). It also looked well matched to the Sony (they shot some behind the scenes and cut it all together in Pinnacle LE and seemed to intercut quite nicely with the real action although not on tripod) - note: it had top be rendered first as they are different codecs/frame sizes. Component Out: There seems to be confusion here even amongst the JVC reps at the show: according to the specs it can output everything up to 1080i (which is upscaled from 720P), and I still can't work out the product sheet which claims it'll output all this over HDMI as well but may be referring to the accompanying tape unit (although the table seems to belong to the camera?). It will output the HDV stream to the new Firestore but the one I saw at the show was mounted to the top of the camera rather than than the back, but this may change with the production model.

Pitfalls: This camera only takes the miniDV tape size which I think was shortsighted of JVC, so without a Firestore or similar you're limited to 63minutes before tape changes - although the camera would have been marginally longer with a larger tape shell it actually would have fit better on the shoulder and tape has it's advantages for storage. For wedding and event shooters (not me), I think it would have been a better option. It's also true that JVC don't have a great reputation for field reliability though I'm not sure that holds up with a camera in this price range.

Possible pitfall: Compared to the CRT used to display the video, the HD-LCD they had on display (not the same unit as mentioned previously) was ragged indeed with lots of macro blocking. I'm not a fan of LCD or Plasma screens as I see this on every screen (including upscaled DVD and HD broadcasts). But there may be a case for the inherent noise in the codec clashing with the processing of the LCD screen. I would like to see the images shot on my HD projector (HS-50) as I think it's a much cleaner image.

Conclusion: As an ENG or Indie filmmaking option this camera fits the bill quite nicely, with a very nice lens included as standard. It is priced very competitively and I think the concerns of sports shooters weren't born out by the footage I saw. I had a look at the production dummy of the DVx200A but I wonder who it's aimed at - although the Leica lens is nice, it doesn't have the same feel or features of the Fujinon. I guess with a micro35, some Prime lenses and the output to P2 card it may suit indie's, especially if the P2 cards get bigger in capacity as predicted. The camera reportedly will also shoot DVCPro25 and 50 as well as HD and on the P2 cards will supposedly shoot at variable frame rates (very nice). Still I come back to the limited lens and the clumsiness of focus and viewing options with adapters. Right now the Sonys and the JVC are the obvious choices and I think a lot of cameramen will go for the JVC just for the lens. Obviously there are other feature differences including codec, frame size recorded etc, manual switches (more on the JVC), but I suspect it is the lens that will sell most users on this camera.

Last edited by John Mitchell; July 22nd, 2005 at 01:44 AM.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:58 AM   #2
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Thanks for the review John. I tried the HD100 at DVexpo East
and i agree on most points. My GY-DV5100 is better balanced and has better ergonomics, with a standard DV tape mechanism. When a technology has reached it's limits manufacturers give you mature products, because they know there is no room or time for "Updates". The HD100 is very good for a first of its kind, and next year JVC will have a 1/2" full sized cam with mini and standard DV transport better suited for old skool pros. But i only have six months to use my $2000 coupon.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 01:54 AM   #3
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For those interested I have posted jpgs of the preliminary spec sheets which I hadn't seen before. The table (now that I've made sense of it) indicates what the camera will output and record on all ports, as well as the new deck. Neither will playback 1080i HDV off tape (as surmised in other threads). I've posted two separate links as each download is limited to 20... sorry.

https://www.ibackup.com/qmanager/ser...key=uotkr73743
https://www.ibackup.com/qmanager/ser...key=qtres94141
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 11:04 AM   #4
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Thanks for your observations John! Having checked out the HD100 at length at NAB, many of my impressions parallel what you've reported.

This industry is so incredibly different with the Internet, as opposed to before. The world production community can now interact quickly. It's awesome to be able to compare info and notes from all over the world!
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:02 PM   #5
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Thanks John, much appreciated...

Your download bandwidth has just about been exceeded... I couldn't grab the table... if you can forward these to me, I'd be happy to host them for you here.
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:32 PM   #6
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Aren't these the same tables from the brochure on the JVC website?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 12:37 PM   #7
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Yeah, they are the same tables on Page 16 of the brochure JVC sent out about three weeks ago, minus the blue & green graphs that are on the bottom of the page. I just e-mailed the graph to Chris...
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 02:00 PM   #8
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My head hurts. Unless I'm reading the file wrong, it looks like you can record directly to tape all formats on the HD100, similar to the HD100E.

Barry Green, could you once again kindly say whether I'm right or wrong? It does look different to the original postings at the JVC site. Or does this make too much sense?
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 04:35 PM   #9
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Hmmm. The tables look different than what I remember seeing, and they contradict what the printed specs in the brochure say. For example, the brochure for the US-spec camera says that there's no 720/25p or 576/50i or 576/50p or 576/25p shooting or recording at all, yet the table seems to say that it does shoot 576/50p and 720/25p (unless I'm reading the table wrong!)

The description in the brochure says the HD100 can shoot and record:
720/24p
720/30p
480/60p (in HDV mode)
480/60i (in DV mode)
480/24p (in DV mode)

Additionally, the camera can shoot 720/60p and output that only to the analog ports.

There is no recording whatsoever of 720/50p or 720/60p on any version of either the camera or the deck.

Now, the VTR section of the camera supports more modes. You can feed a signal into it by firewire and it will be able to record 720/25p and 576/50p in addition to all the modes it normally supports. But the only way to access those signals is by feeding it a firewire signal; it can't shoot in those modes. And it can't record PAL DV at all, whether 576/50i or 576/25p.

The analog output jacks can carry a 720/60p signal or a 1080/60i signal. 720/24p and 720/30p get output on the analog ports as 720/60, or can be cross-converted and output as 1080/60i.

That's according to the brochure on JVC's website. The tables are confusing, the tables seem to be contradicting that. The tables seem to imply that the US-spec camera will also be able to shoot and record 720/25p and 576/50p, and additionally that it can shoot but not record 720/25p.

So now I'm not sure which is right. Obviously we all hope that the tables are right, and that there's even more capability than previously thought!
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 05:20 PM   #10
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I wish Ken Freed would jump in and clear this up. I'm getting my hopes up and don't want them dashed (just kidding).
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Old July 22nd, 2005, 06:28 PM   #11
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Yeah, I haven't seen him for a while on any of the boards. I can only assume that he's busy busy busy right now! :)
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:37 PM   #12
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"For example, the brochure for the US-spec camera says that there's no 720/25p or 576/50i or 576/50p or 576/25p shooting or recording at all."

I WOULD EXPECT THAT USA FORMATS WILL DO ONLY REGION 60 FORMATS --60HZ BASED PLUS 24HZ.

"Additionally, the camera can shoot 720/60p and output that only to the analog ports."

NONE OF THE USA CAMERAS "SHOOT" 720P60" -- ONLY 720P30 AND 720P24.

"There is no recording whatsoever of 720/50p or 720/60p on any version of either the camera or the deck."

CORRECT.

AND I WOULD EXPECT REGION 50 WILL ONLY DO 50HZ BASED FORMATS -- AND 24P BUT NOT 720P50.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 02:42 PM   #13
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Thanks, Steve. I had suspected that this was simply a matter of regional differences. Sorry I missed you last week at DV Expo... it was a rather rushed couple of days for me.
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Old July 23rd, 2005, 10:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd
Thanks, Steve. I had suspected that this was simply a matter of regional differences. Sorry I missed you last week at DV Expo... it was a rather rushed couple of days for me.
I didn't go. My goal was to finish my Sony "HDV Handbook" by the end if the week. Which I did -- 240 pages. Just in time for a faulty member at UT Austin to get the first copy. She's starting production of a new "film" with a Z1 Sunday. She's reading it on the plane to the location.

Oh yes -- she rented the Z1 Friday night. But she's an award winning filmmaker with work on PBS and HBO. Still -- it takes me weeks to really FEEL a camcorder. I guess I'll know soon if my book really is helpful! :)
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