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Old February 23rd, 2007, 05:16 PM   #1
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HD 200 user review

HD200 user review

Just so you all know my level of experience and background- two thirds of my work is high end weddings ($5200-$10000) and the other third is corporate marketing and PR video, pretty much the same budget level as the weddings- about $5K per project. Been working 6 days a week for about eleven years now- some vacations in between.

Been using DSR-300 and 500 series for my whole career until two years ago when we purchased two JVC GY-DV5000's. Even shot the first wedding ever shot in HD with a HDW-F900 and an HDW-700 for a celebrity client a couple years ago.

It's hard to do a review on something so new because my only reference is the SD work I've been doing till now. I wish I could compare the HD200 to the Sony's or the Panny's but I'll have to get one of my buddies in here to do that. Maybe later.

In the end there was really only one choice- the JVC HD200 because:

A: the ergonomics for run and gun
B: fully manual replaceable lens
C: progressive scan
D: 60 fps (24 fps is just a bonus for narrative work down the road)
E: wireless mount (using ABFSKIT2)

We looked really hard at the Canon H1 but they never came out with a manual lens at the time and I was pretty committed to progressive scan anyway as 99 percent of our clients have LCD/Plasma displays.

So the only other choice was the Sony XDCAM. I received the promotional DVD from Sony and just wasn't very impressed. Not enough for the extra expense. Obviously the DVD was Standard Def- but that's a whole different conversation.

To begin with- the ergonomics are true. Controls are where they should be. The one downer is that the filter wheel no longer changes the white balance setting as they do with DSR and GY-DV series cameras when going from say no filter to filter 2. This is a nit pick but damn! Why change something that's been standard for 8 years!

The standard Fuji lens is fine for what we do. Definitely plenty of CA but I think we just have to bite the bullet on this one. $25K lenses have the same problem in the HD realm so if you are picky then stay away from the long end during contrasty situations. My only nit pick there is the speed of the servo zoom- SLOW! You get what you pay for. I've become adept at just flipping to manual, grabbing the zoom pin, crashing in, focusing and composing the shot.

Welcome to progressive scan! While I've never seen the Z1U or the HVX on the new JVC DT series monitors, the HD200 at 60p is something to behold. It took me a few days just to get over the wow factor before I started to notice the limitations of the camera (more like the limitations of the shooter!). I can report some noise in the image- but compared to what? Again I have not seen the Z1U or the HVX. Certainly it is not objectionable. I can report that with this cam and probably in the HD realm, one can no longer be as liberal with the gain as one was in the SD world. +3 is okay in a pinch, +6 is pretty much out of the question. Get used to slowing down the shudder speed for low light situations.

I found the color and detail settings fine right out of the box which is rare from my previous experience. I'm from the school of "shoot it as neutral as possible and tweak it in post." I went through the chroma/gamma/detail options and found plenty of customization for those who like to pre-process.

I'm not on the JVC payroll but I have to laud them for what they have done for small producers like myself. The HD200, the BR-HD50 HDV deck combined with the new DT series monitors have really put us in a position to make some money. Add in FCP and a Decklink Studio HDMI card and your set, hopefully for the next 10 years!
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:26 PM   #2
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I think your comments hit the mark for this camera Justin. I don't mind the clarity of the stock lens for what I do, but I sure wish that internal servo was faster or at least had a speed dail on the underside like most 2/3" lenses.

Ben
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Lynn
I think your comments hit the mark for this camera Justin. I don't mind the clarity of the stock lens for what I do, but I sure wish that internal servo was faster or at least had a speed dail on the underside like most 2/3" lenses.

Ben
Ben, It simply a matter of cost. You can get the features you want in the higher-end 1/3" HD lenses. And what's really amazing is that they don't cost any more than a good quality SD 2/3" lens.

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Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Ferar
HD200 user review


To begin with- the ergonomics are true. Controls are where they should be. The one downer is that the filter wheel no longer changes the white balance setting as they do with DSR and GY-DV series cameras when going from say no filter to filter 2. This is a nit pick but damn! Why change something that's been standard for 8 years!
Hi Justin,

Thanks for the kind words on the HD200!

Regarding the filter switch: New technology now allows the white balace circuit to have such a broad range that color filters are no longer needed. The ND filters are all that's needed - to take care of daytime shooting. However, we still provide a three position white balance switch. "A" and "B can be set by the user, and "Preset" can be programmed in the menu to do 3200K, 5600K, or Full Auto Tracing White Balance.

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Old February 23rd, 2007, 08:09 PM   #5
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Thanks Justin.

Actually I wish there were more user reviews here. Curious there aren't that many.

Btw, how do you deliver you weddings? DVD?
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Old February 23rd, 2007, 08:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brian Luce
Thanks Justin.

Actually I wish there were more user reviews here. Curious there aren't that many.

Btw, how do you deliver you weddings? DVD?
Delivered on DVD. I still have a backlog of about 5 SD projects to edit before I even get to the HD shoots.

Hopefully there will be a new Mac out with an HD burner by the time I get the HD stuff.

BTW- there are probably a few users who are so incredibly busy right now that a detailed review just is not possible.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 09:23 AM   #7
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Well I've posted a few snippets... One next to Alan's HD200 with 17x
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...610#post628610

plus interspersed comments in a bunch of places. Truth is I haven't taken the darn thing outside ye, or even set up a real lighting scenario. I'm very impressed though, even in marginal light. I don't find the image noise to be an issue. Sure it gets a bit grainier with gain and shutter, but it's still sharp. Reminds me of shooting tri-x B&W film...

The servo stats for the 17x which I have are:Op. time: 1.8 ~ 15 sec
This feels pretty good to me. I'm curious what the servo specs are on the 16x. Anything that continues to justify the extra bucks I spent on this lens the better I will feel! Actually, I have no reservations about that whatsoever. I've run through some extreme settings on my seimens star, and it's held up very well. I can get fringing, but it's really minimal and under control.

I was a bit disappointed with the color balance wheel at first, but Carl's explanation totally satisfies me. In fact, I have been caught out FORGETTING about the damn wheel in the past and white balancing with the wrong filter. Having the user preset to flip the white balance preset between 3200 and 5600 actually makes more sense - once I'm used to it.

I was just trying to figure out if I can engage the accu-focus (opens the iris with shutter compensation) without setting it to come on whenever focus assist is on. Focus assist is nice to engage during shooting, but accu-focus can only be used between shots...
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Old February 24th, 2007, 01:07 PM   #8
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Sean,

Funny that you would mention the Tri-X film. I shoot a lot of Super 8 and could say the exact same thing.

Regarding the WB...

Mapping the 5600K & 3200K to "user 1" is the best setup I have found. BUT- were I get confused sometimes is going from indoors to outdoors really fast where before all you had to do was turn the filter wheel. Now one has to turn the filter wheel AND hit the "user 1" button. Meanwhile I'm swithching my cam light over to 5600K and still trying to get the shot. It just adds an extra step to the process which I will have to get used to.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 04:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Ferar
Now one has to turn the filter wheel AND hit the "user 1" button. Meanwhile I'm swithching my cam light over to 5600K and still trying to get the shot. It just adds an extra step to the process which I will have to get used to.
There is no filter wheel. All you have to do is to press a button. Actually, it's much easier. You may have to add ND but that you'd have to do anyway via the ND filter wheel, so with a Betacam camera it was turning two filter wheels, with the HDxxx it's one button and an ND slider.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #10
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As someone considering an HD200 w/i the next week, I appreciate the feedback.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 02:06 AM   #11
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Does the HD200/250's 24p25p30p work in FCP 5.1.2?
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