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JVC GY-HD Series Camera Systems
GY-HD 100 & 200 series ProHD HDV camcorders & decks.


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Old October 13th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #1
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And now, for a change from the SSE whining...

Ö My first impressions

I know we have had many reviews and first impressions from other users. But I thought I would post mine as well, since all that seems to be going on around here is nonsense whining about SSE.

I got my camera this week and I couldnít be happier. My very first impression after have took it out of the box, was that itís very solid. It feels really sturdy in the hand, and itís quite heavy for itís size. With lens, itís roughly the same size of a XL1, but the build quality, switches and itís placements feels much more professional. Actually, I will go ahead and say the HD100 has the best built and professional feel of any 1/3Ē camera in the market. It even beats the JV-plastic DV500 at that. It never feels like cheap plastic. Just really nice. It looks great too and get looks everywhere it goes.
The ergonomics are also light years ahead of the 1/3Ē bunch. If you have any experience with pro shoulder cameras, with the HD100 sitting on the shoulder, you can easily reach any switch you need, without looking. Mainly because they are laid the same way as any pro camera, as opposed to the ďconsumershĒ awkward placement of prosumer cameras. But the ergonomics also play a big rule on that.
Talking about pro features, itís really nice to be able to reach for the lens and find a iris ring to control your aperture, instead of a goofy knob button on the body somewhere. This alone, makes up for the whole manual lens experience already. The manual focus and zoom feel like a nice bonus. The lens is smooth and precise, as you would expect from a professional lens. No big surprises there if you come from a pro camera background.
The viewfinder is way better than I thought, after have read some negative reviews. I could snap my shots in focus anytime, by only using the EVF and peaking. So far, I havenít even needed FA. Although I wish it had a ďquick FocusĒ type of function like in the Panna D410, where in a single push of a button, the image brightens up, allowing easy focus in low light.
The images this camera produces, are nothing short of incredible. The HDV codec JVC has implemented is really solid. Even with fast motion it never fell apart. Some tree leaves in strong wind, had no sign of blocking or artifacts whatsoever. The sharpness is great. Itís miles ahead of DV. Even bigger cameras like the D410 and DV5000. In DV mode, it looks better than the VX2100 or DVX100a. Really clean. I found it a notch or so sharper than the XL2 as well. Besides being a great HD camera, itís also a fantastic DV camera.
Having 24,25,30,50 and 60 frames per second at the spin of a dial is really cool. I havenít played with the slow motion yet, but 50p looks really clear clean!
The level of image control is fantastic. Again beats many bigger cameras. I tried Tim Dashwoodís settings and it really shows the flexibility of this camera. But a ring dial to call the settings, like some Panna cameras, would be more practical than going through the menu. But not a big deal at all. The image the camera produces more than makes up to that and more! By the way, is there a default file setting saved some where?

Didnít have the time to really test audio yet. But I found it weird that to use the included microphone, I need to set the camera to mic 48v. Normally these on board mics are not phantom powered.
Overall, Iím very happy with my purchase. I donít see how I could have got more bang for 5,500. For only 1,000 more than a XL2, I got a XL2, a DVX100a and a 720p HD camera, all in one! Itís the best bang for the buck in the market right now.
Having said that, I miss some features, which I couldnít find in the HD100.
The camera has no black balance.
It only has one zebra. I like to use two zebras. One set at 95% to protect against blowing whites, and one at 70% for skin exposure. I was hoping I could assign zebra to a custom key, but thatís not possible. If I had to pick, that would be my biggest grip. I think the XL2 can have zebra assigned to a custom key. Another thing I didnít like is that the features you can assign to the custom keys are quite limited.
But those are small personal wishes, which in no way detract from the great tool this camera is. For 5,500, I got a HD camera, which gives me all the flexibility to grow and expand, as I will possibly need for the foreseeable future.
Now is time to go back to it and shoot some more!

Last edited by Michael Maier; October 13th, 2005 at 07:47 PM.
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Old October 13th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report ... now post some footage! ;-)
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Old October 13th, 2005, 07:36 PM   #3
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Great report, Michael -- thanks!
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Old October 13th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #4
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My pleasure Chris.

Joseph, I would love to post some footage, and will sure do so, as soon as I figure out how to capture HDV 720p into my system :(

By the way, I forgot to mention my camera is a HD100E ("PAL")
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Old October 13th, 2005, 08:55 PM   #5
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I agree with you completely. Although I don't own one (yet) I was able to use one for a couple weeks and fell in love with it.

I'm extremely biased...I'm a Canon freak, and I hate JVC with a passion, but this camera is awesome. I work as a cameraman/editor for a company in PA that mostly sells audio/video equipment, but does some production as well. We don't shoot weddings, but the bosses daughter was getting married and guess who got to shoot the wedding....yup. Me.

Our JVC rep got me one of these to use at the wedding, and I combined it with our two XL2s, and a borrowed DVX100. A 24p dream wedding!

The JVC footage looked much better than the other three cameras, and that was only in DV, or course.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who has had no problems with this camera! Too bad they took it back last week :-( Time to suck it up and order one I guess.
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Old October 13th, 2005, 09:29 PM   #6
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Congratulations Michael Maier! =)

Wade, I have worked with everything from 35mm and down, but I have only owned Canon cameras for personal use, even my first Hi8 camera was a Canon but I wouldnt trade my JVC with a XL H1 even if I could...and Im really honest here. I just love the pictures this beast produces and the rock solid codec!

I have been very lucky with SSE and other defects as well!
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Old October 13th, 2005, 10:09 PM   #7
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We have two HD100's and two of the BR-HD50 VTRs. We couldn't be happier. One of the first cams we had did have the SSE but that was replaced and the new one is OK with no noticable problems.

We are currently working through the work flow problems of aquisition in HDV and delivery in NTSC.

One nice option of the decks is the down conversion to NTSC in either letterbox, squeeze or cut sided modes. The imagery really holds up and even though I am not totally impressed with the JVC VTR's D/A converters, it's still quite good coming from the component outputs.

One observation, go for CRT's for monitoring if you can. I'm talking preview monitors in the studio for using both HDV and NTSC. We've been unimpressed with the industrial or consumer LCD's that offer NTSC. CRT's are so far ahead when displaying interlaced video it's not even in the same league. Or get LCD or Plasma for HDV and an old fashion CRT for NTSC.

It's a transition going from a larger more robust tape deck such as the PVW 2800 or other 1/2 Sony machine. Those transports are so nice and responsive. The JVC is like a consumer toy compared to them and can be frustrating for logging or transcription. The JVCs RS422 deck control from our Media 100's is weak. Mucho delay in timecode and response compared to Beta, DVCPro or Digibeta. But it does work for batch digitizing. Im just used to Sony Pro and broadcast decks.

So far the imagery rivals anything we aquire with our D-30's when downconverted to NTSC. Not suprising considering Tim and Barry are measuring 600-750 lines rez....well at least Tim seems to be getting that.

The next test we need to do is compare the output from firewire native HDV downconverted in software to NTSC versus the analog NTSC output of the deck digitized directly. Obviously going the hardware route is much faster. We'll wait and see.

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Old October 13th, 2005, 10:43 PM   #8
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I'm a happy HD100 user too here in Canada, and I use this beauty for weddings. Here are two two mins. wm9 files from my first wedding shoot it with this baby. (Since this one, I shoot two more already)
I just edited these very basically only for myself for checking the results.

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7D4VC6EV (church)

and

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=2F2ZFXKG (reception)

Laszlo
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Old October 14th, 2005, 06:21 AM   #9
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Laszlo, did you shoot SD for that wedding?
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Old October 14th, 2005, 06:45 AM   #10
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No, I shoot 720HD30 with 30 shutter speed
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Old October 14th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #11
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Great to hear another user talk so well of the EVF. A collegue who had a workout with one recently said he loved the EVF and thought it was really easy to focus using it alone. He was about to get one until he found out (bugger, sorry, trying to keep that 3 letter swear word out of this thread).
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Old October 14th, 2005, 09:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Barwood
He was about to get one until he found out (bugger, sorry, trying to keep that 3 letter swear word out of this thread).
Hey, we could use 'you-know-what' instead (can you tell that I am reading Harry Potter to my daughter...?
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Old October 14th, 2005, 11:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Maier
Laszlo, did you shoot SD for that wedding?

Michael, why you asking if this footage is SD? May not sharp enough for you? Please let me know.

Thanks: Laszlo
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Old October 14th, 2005, 12:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laszlo Horvath
I'm a happy HD100 user too here in Canada, and I use this beauty for weddings.

Laszlo
I was not able to run it smooth on my MAC but the image was very sharp, as a matter of fact I like it better with the filter you used during the reception part at the end.
Is there any way you can post a native HDV file to see it on my HD LCD?
I am very happy with what I have seen so far. I am calling the videographer that I use regularly for multi camera shoot to let them know that I'll be getting a couple of them. So if they want to be called they better get one too.
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Old October 14th, 2005, 12:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laszlo Horvath
Michael, why you asking if this footage is SD? May not sharp enough for you? Please let me know.

Thanks: Laszlo

It looked more like great sharp 16:9 SD than HD to me. Yes, not sharp enough. Well done and shot, just not as sharp as some other stuff that surfaced online. Maybe it was the compression for the web?
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