JVC GY-HD series vs Sony Z1 in low light at DVinfo.net

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Old November 10th, 2010, 03:28 PM   #1
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JVC GY-HD series vs Sony Z1 in low light

Hello from a potential/future GY-HD owner.

I have a lot of experience with the Sony Z1/FX1, zero with the GY-HD. Intended use of the camera will include lots of low light shots, so I am concerned... I've been very happy with the gain on the Sony.

Anyone who worked with both of these, please comment on your findings.

Thank you,
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Old November 10th, 2010, 10:45 PM   #2
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Z1 outperforms JVC GY-HD in low-light...hands down. JVC was made for studio and film work more than for ENG. You'll need a really fast lens or a lot of light to see anything in the JVC.

But overall, the JVC is the winner against the Z1. If you have to buy new equipment I'd recommend sticking with Sony for their low-light capabilities (if that's critical for you). Hope this helps.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #3
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I've used both. Neither is good in low light. Terrible, actually. If you need low-light performance from a camera, you should look past both of these.
Try the EX1 or EX3 - they're very good in low light. I'm not sure about the Canon XF300. Unless, of course, you can afford a 2/3" broadcast camera.
But really, stay away from JVC HDs and Sony Z1s.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 05:45 AM   #4
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Ervin,
I have also used both and while I agree that the Z1 is pretty lame compared to the HD (100/200 series) in low light (at least in my opinion) you need to define low light. I did a seminar recently where the main room was considered to be low light by the client and when I walked in it was about a well lit as any large ballroom I have seen. So it's really a relative thing.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 06:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen Vandermolen View Post
I've used both. Neither is good in low light. Terrible, actually.
Now that's big news to me! I never used an EX, but the Z1 really fulfilled my low light needs - I shot a lot with only candles or church lights turned almost off, I shot a concert where the only lights were the little book lights over the music sheets.

[This pretty much answers your question, Don].

It's true, if you go over 9 or 12 dB, you start getting noise, but to call the Z1 terrible in low light?

To quantify my question... Let's say I need to go 9 dB gain on the Z1 -- where would I set the JVC to get the same result?

Thanks,
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Last edited by Ervin Farkas; November 13th, 2010 at 07:40 AM. Reason: Added info
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Old November 13th, 2010, 11:15 AM   #6
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Again it's a relative question. There are so many variable settings on the JVC-HD series.
What lens is on the camera? What settings, gamma, black stretch, white stretch, knee, color levels etc, it's a pretty comprehensive list. Are you going to shoot 30p at a shutter speed of 1/30th or...
I might think though that both cameras would be pretty close except for maybe color match depending on the setting of each. How close is close? Well hopefully not more than 3db apart on the gain with shutter speed set the same on both, iris might be a bit different but again pretty hard to get too specific.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Now that's big news to me! I never used an EX, but the Z1 really fulfilled my low light needs - I shot a lot with only candles or church lights turned almost off, I shot a concert where the only lights were the little book lights over the music sheets.
,
I recommend you look at an EX1 or 3. You'll find they're a LOT better in low light than the Z1 or HD200. 1/2" CMOS vs 1/3" CCDs - no contest. Price wise, a used EX1 should be in the $4,000 - 5,000 range. They're very good cameras.
I found the low light video from the Z1 looked muddy. Same with the HD200. Plus, both cameras are HDV.
Also, the Panasonic HVX200a and the HPX170 are very good cameras. They should be in the same price range as the HD200. I found the HVX200a better in low light than the Z1 and HD200.
There are many other options to go to besides HDV. Just tossing it out there.
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Old November 13th, 2010, 09:16 PM   #8
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Yeah, I would say JVC ProHD line and Sony HDV line are terrible in low light. Neither compare to older 1/3 Sony and JVC mini DV and DV camera systems for low light or the ability to gain up. My older sony mini DV 2100 nearly saw in the dark. That being said, I also consider the Canon A1 HDV in the same boat, only maybe 1 fstop better. For low ligt B cameras in a 1/3 chip I was thinking of getting a couple old Panasonic DVX100B models and shoot anamorphic 24p for some of my friend's bands performances. My JVC HD110 does pretty good as long as there are stage lights, but focusing is critical at f1.8 to 2.8 at 60mm. The newer HM700 seems to be fairly similar and if you shoot 720p there it's a lot cleaner image from what I have seen. I do not own a HM700 yet but would buy one if I had the money.

Anyway looking at the 2000 foot candle test (no gain) as being a good way to compare.... So without gain as I remember the JVC ProHD line averaged around f8, I bet Canon A1a little more. 2/3 HPX500 and CineAltas around f10 and the older 1/3 CCD DV DVX100 at f11. I bet the old Sony 2100 might have been higher. Sony usually has the cleanest gain. Most I've gained up 9. Sony I could gain up more, but I didn't like it past 12.

But what where you looking to do? HD in a 1/3 chip in CCD or Cmos isn't a winning combo for low light, at least compared to the older SD 1/3 or any of the 2/3 chips. But if you can bring in a couple fresnels or a soft light, then none of this matters.
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Old November 14th, 2010, 10:29 PM   #9
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Again it's a relative question. There are so many variable settings on the JVC-HD series.
What lens is on the camera? What settings, gamma, black stretch, white stretch, knee, color levels etc, it's a pretty comprehensive list. Are you going to shoot 30p at a shutter speed of 1/30th or...
I might think though that both cameras would be pretty close except for maybe color match depending on the setting of each. How close is close? Well hopefully not more than 3db apart on the gain with shutter speed set the same on both, iris might be a bit different but again pretty hard to get too specific.
OK, so Don, is it your experience that everything being the same (in settings) and both cams with the stock lens, no filters - the JVC is only 3 dB lazyer than the Sony? That would be great news, I can handle that.

Can I use shutter speed 30 for 30P on the JVC? That would be great; with the Z1 I am gaining a lot in low light at 30 vs 60, but the picture becomes choppy, I suspect because it shoots 60i.

As far as EX1/3 or similar, ain't gonna work. This cam MUST be shoulder mount and in the price range of a JVC HD100/200... I can't find anything else even close... except good old Sony DSR 250/300s, but who in his right mind would go back to 480i?

Can't mess with lights either, it would ruin the performance. I have to be able to shoot with whatever light is there.

Intended use is events - stage performances, concerts, church ceremonies.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #10
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No I will not say that. IT MIGHT be only 3db, it MIGHT be close. IT MIGHT work out OK. I haven't used either camera for a long time and don't remember all of the nuances but I DO remember that the JVC seemed better than the Z1. I DO remember shooting the JVC at 1/30th at a frame rate of 30P, I DON'T remember the gain the cam was set for but I DO remember the overall image wasn't as bad as I had THOUGHT it would be.

Again neither is the king of low light but each camera has it's pros and each has it cons-which is better can be a subjective matter. Some people will say the Z1 some the JVC some will say neither. IMO there are just too many variables to say definitivly one or the other.

As for going back to an SD camera? Well one would go back to it if it does the job better than the HD cameras out there. The 250 (150 in big package) 300/400/450/500 and all in between are world class in low light so if they can capture what you need why not?
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Old November 15th, 2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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Thanks, Don,

Knowing that the JVC is close, is good enough for me. I don't really need to see in the dark. I checked out a few discussions about the JVC shooting 1/30st and put my dilemma to rest.

Why not going back to SD? Well, first of all, because it's... um... SD. And second, because I want to go tapeless (or pop in a tape just for my peace of mind).

Now, if I can find some info on how a Sony 250/300 with its 800 lines of resolution compares to 720P on the JVC... I might reconsider.

By the way, any of these pro cams shoot native 16x9? I am absolutely made up my mind not to go back to 4x3.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 01:23 PM   #12
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Well I've always thought the DSR series of cams held up real well however you are comparing apples and oranges as you know. The only DSR cameras that shoot 16:9 in native form are the 450 and 500WS series. The 450 is switchable and produces a beautiful 16:9 image and the 500WS series is native 16:9. These cameras make a beautiful image.
The DSR250 is a big PD150 with 1/3inch chips, the 300 is 1/2 inch and shoots DVCam only, the 450 will shoot either DV or DVCam and 4:3 or 16:9 (native) the 500 is DVCam only and depending on which model it is it will either shoot 4:3 or 16:9 (WS series)
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Old November 15th, 2010, 09:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Intended use is events - stage performances, concerts, church ceremonies.
Unless you're using a fast lens (not the stock lens), you might be disappointed with JVC's low light abilities for your intended use. For the price range, a new Canon 5D, 7D or 550d/ (T2i) with a fast lens set might be better than a video camera.
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Old November 15th, 2010, 09:45 PM   #14
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As mentioned above, this cam MUST be a shoulder mount, period.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #15
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Ervin, sounds like you're locked in to a JVC HD200. Well, I did see some recent video shot with an HM700, and they're supposedly close in low light performance. It didn't look bad at all, actually.
If you want a shoulder mount camera in that price range, there really aren't any other options.

I notice you did say you wanted to go tapeless. You do know the HD200 is a tape camera? You can buy the Firestore hardrive to record digitally, though. I did, and it was worth having.
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