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Old April 2nd, 2009, 04:53 PM   #1
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GY-HM100 vs. GY-HM700 - Feature Comparison - And life advice needed!

Hello -

I'm wondering if anyone has prepared a convenient list or chart detailing the differences between these two cameras.

Main differences I've noticed in the GY-HM700 are:

* Larger image sensors
* Larger, changeable lens (with presumably better optics throughout).
* Requires optional media module in order to record non-.MOV files
* Higher-resolution viewfinder (?)
* Larger body more suitable for shoulder-shooting.

Let me give a bit of background on why I'm asking:

I've been a software developer and freelance web designer for years, dabbling in video work for my clients who also need that. My educational background is in Broadcast Media Communication, and I did a fair amount of field work and editing for a cable TV advertising agency, but that was back in the early-to-mid '90s.

I currently shoot using a couple of Canon "prosumer" HD camcorders, an HF-10 and HF-100, which record AVCHD to SDHC cards, and I cut in Final Cut Express, for reasonable image quality for the kinds of productions I do and a tapeless workflow.

I have increased demand for this kind of work, and I'm looking to get "back in the game" with better equipment. I want to stick with a tapeless work flow, and I'll soon have a shiny new Mac Pro 8-core and Final Cut Studio to edit with.

In the near term, I can probably swing purchasing two GY-HM100 units, or just one GY-HM700 and related accessories.

With two GY-HM100s, I could take on more two-camera jobs and have the footage match, but with the GY-HM700 I could take on jobs with more demanding quality concerns, but only handle single camera shoots. (There's very few good reasons to intermix Canon HF-100 footage with GY-HM700 footage from the same shoot!)

I also don't want to leap in too far beyond my abilities. I'm going to be taking on a lot of local "pro bono" work to refresh my skills and get a decent demo reel. If I had a GY-HM700 in my hands today, and went out and bit on an important job, I'd be worried the client would be disappointed in the work. I need to get my "camera legs" back.

On the other hand, I know people who work on broadcast productions who sometimes need freelance work and stock footage, and would they accept footage from only a 1/4" image sensor?

Let's assume for the sake of discussion that I would be "stuck" with this purchase for the next 3 years, and that I would be very pleasantly surprised to pick up enough business to justify buying even more camera gear within that time frame.

So: Do I pick up two GY-HM100s, or one GY-HM700? Or some other plan, like buying just one GY-HM100 and then selling it in a year and moving up to whatever the latest and greatest is at that time?
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 06:58 PM   #2
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Hi Bob.

Welcome to DV Info.

I guess you need to decide which is more IMPORTANT to you.

Two-person shoots (HM100), or building up your reel and your confidence (HM700).

Personally, I don't think you could go wrong with the HM700 over the next 3 years. Rock-solid workflow on the Mac (brilliant!), better low-light performance with the 1/3" chips and a form factor that your client will feel more comfortable with on a paying job. It looks impressive, in itself, and that can be an important factor when the client doesn't know you yet.

The small form factor of the HM100 is a great idea and I think there'll be a really good market for it.

But have a look at some of the footage recently shot by Phil Bloom on the HM700:

Philip Bloom CVP TV: Review of JVC GY-HM 700

Absolutely lovely images - and it would be an excellent choice to get your "camera legs" back, I reckon.

There will always be a latest and greatest camera coming out every 6 months or a year. I guess it depends on your need. In my opinion, the current best price-performance choices are Sony's PMW-EX1 for US$6,100 and the JVC HM700 for US$7,000.

I've had my JVC GY-HD101E for nearly four years now (gosh!) and it's still cranking out great 720p footage. No pressing need to upgrade.

If I do decide to upgrade to "the latest and greatest" at the end of the year (my DP and I have really flipped out over the great images from the Scarlet 2/3" test sensor, for example) then the money for it will be made using my good ol' GY-HD101E.

Which is why I'm recommending that you get and start shooting with the HM700. (Unless you've got specific and lucrative work lining up for two-person shoots.)

If you get Tim Dashwood's upcoming HM700 DVD and any other specific training DVDs on areas that you feel you need to brush up on such as:

Lighting:
How to Shoot Great Looking Interviews by DV Info member Doug Jensen
and/or
DV Enlightenment by DV Creators

Final Cut Studio:
Ripple Training DVDs
or
Lynda.com
or
DV Info member Noah Kadner's DVD(s)

Sound:
There's a DVD on capturing and editing sound by DV Info member Barry Green (and others) which I've heard good things about and been meaning to get myself,


then your confidence (and your reel) will grow and help make your camera purchase worthwhile.

Purely my two-cents-worth. I'm sure there'll be a variety of opinions on what you should do.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:05 PM   #3
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Well Bob, as the proud owner of two HD200U cameras, I can tell you that in the past 9 months that I've owned 2 cameras, I have shot a TOTAL of 3 hours of two camera footage.

I bought the second camera for multicamera live switched applications (which one CANNOT do with careful reframing and cutaways). For 9 years I got by just fine with one camera.

One camera with GREAT images sounds like a better business model than 2 cameras with decent images in my book. You'll have to decide what your budget, workflow and clients BEST support. Remember (says Overstates the Obvious Guy), it takes nearly twice as long (sometimes MORE than twice) to set up a two camera shoot. As well, you need two tripods, and double the amount of batteries. Yes, a decent tripod will cost less for the smaller HM100 and batteries will be cheaper but maintenance and upkeep (making sure ALL your batteries are charged etc.) becomes more and more complicated the more hardware you have.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Richardson View Post
Main differences I've noticed in the GY-HM700 are:

* Larger image sensors
* Larger, changeable lens (with presumably better optics throughout).
* Requires optional media module in order to record non-.MOV files
* Higher-resolution viewfinder (?)
* Larger body more suitable for shoulder-shooting.
Both camcorders use the R and B offset system. However, the HM700 uses a smart "adaptive correlation" method to obtain a luma signal from the CCDs. As I mentioned in a previous post, all "offset" systems use interpolation to obtain the luma signal from non-co-sited sensor elements. But, the word interpolation covers a whole range of techniques.

The simplest simply sum nearby values. The most compute intensive use a "large window" 2D-FIR filter.

JVC has developed a smart interpolator that is able to choose which are the best neighboring elements to include in the computation. (Alternately speaking, it avoids including neighboring elements that would only diffuse the signal estimate.)

So, it's not just that the HM700 has bigger chips. The HM700's adaptive correlation method is going to provide higher resolution (in theory up to 1920x1080) with less error (chroma fringing) signal.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:40 PM   #5
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David, Shaun -

Thanks for the detailed replies.

Your thoughts and advice are exactly the sort of thing I'm looking for.

I guess my dilemma (aside from hesitation at such a major purchase) is between "bang for the buck" and "highest quality".

I could, of course, buy just one HM100 and see how things work out, potentially saving $3k-$4k, but if I decide in 6 months that it was a mistake, I'd have to spring for the HM700 anyway, and take a depreciation loss on the sale of the HM100.

I can tell you I don't go to bed at night with visions of the HM100, but do occasionally get flashes behind my eyes of the HM700 ... so I know which camera I'd love to have, but I don't want that to color my judgement.

I did see Philip Bloom's excellent review/footage for the HM700.

I guess what I'd like to see, before making a decision, is a similar review and footage under similar conditions from the HM100, plus a list of what I'd be losing (other than the obvious things I already mentioned) by going with the HM100.

Regarding the relative scarcity of jobs which can utilize two camera shoots, one of my enthusiasms is for live classical music performance. I'd love to capture some performances which would otherwise go unrecorded, and having two cameras for a mix of coverage and close-ups seems worthwhile to me. However, this is my _wants_ coloring my judgement again -- I need to assess how many _paying_ jobs would really benefit from me, an assistant, and two cameras, rather than just bringing in a 2nd camera person with his/her own camera when genuinely needed.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 08:42 PM   #6
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Steve -

Thanks, that's a very important consideration beyond sensor size and arrangement.

I guess I can hope that some enthusiastic soul with access to JVC demo equipment can go out and shoot side-by-side footage under a series of conditions in the near future. :-)
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 09:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bob Richardson View Post
I need to assess how many _paying_ jobs would really benefit from me, an assistant, and two cameras, rather than just bringing in a 2nd camera person with his/her own camera when genuinely needed.
One of the reasons I chose to buy a second HD200 instead of renting was that there WEREN'T any rentals anywhere near me. I MAY be the only HD200U owner/operator in Manitoba. Your situation may be different.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 09:30 PM   #8
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The HM100 has auto features, which the HM700 does not.

It's not clear yet to me if the HM100 is going to be more than a specialty camera for special situations. The quality of the picture in both regular and low-light situations, and the quality of the camera features (auto-focus, zoom controls, stabilization system, etc.) is yet to be determined. If these are just "ordinary" or lesser than current cameras by other manufacturers, the HM100 will not be a good choice routine shooting.

Don't forget, the HM100 is also missing a LANC or other port for connecting a remote zoom/focus controller. This is something important to many people for a general use camera.

If you want a bread-box form camera for general use, the Canon XH-A1 (tape) or the Sony EX1 is very possibly superior.

If you want occasional 2-camera coverage there are other choices:
1. Bring in a second operator with her equipment for additional "A" footage.
2. Get a small camera (or two) like a Canon HV30/40 and mount it on a clamp.
3. Use one or two or three HV30/40s (or HM100s) in the hands of additional shootrers who are not professional but are able to get in among the crowd and get interesting and/or intimate shots that can be edited into the main footage.

The HM100 might turn out to be great, but for a number-one camera for professional work the HM700 seems like a better option.

Relating to Steve Mullen's post, if the HM100 has inferior image processing, this camera may become even more limited in use. If the HM100 35Mbit video isn't better than Canon XH-A1 HDV, the HM100 is not going to be a must-have, all-in-one camera.

At the moment, to me, for professional shooters, the HM100 looks like a specialty second camera for HM700 shooters... but since the HM100 isn't out yet, it's really not possible to know.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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At the moment, to me, for professional shooters, the HM100 looks like a specialty second camera for HM700 shooters... but since the HM100 isn't out yet, it's really not possible to know.
Sight unseen, that's how I'm positioning the HM100 in my purchase plans for this year. I'd love to be pleasantly surprised but I think it will be a WORKFLOW leader, not a total image quality leader.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:23 AM   #10
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The HM100 might turn out to be great, but for a number-one camera for professional work the HM700 seems like a better option.

Relating to Steve Mullen's post, if the HM100 has inferior image processing, this camera may become even more limited in use. If the HM100 35Mbit video isn't better than Canon XH-A1 HDV, the HM100 is not going to be a must-have, all-in-one camera.

At the moment, to me, for professional shooters, the HM100 looks like a specialty second camera for HM700 shooters... but since the HM100 isn't out yet, it's really not possible to know.
You are comparing apples to Oranges. The HM100 will be the #1 camera for the tens of thousands of shooters who used the VX1000, VX2000, the various SD and HD Canons, and current and past Sony HDV camcorders for "professional" applications including film-making.

The market for a relatively low-cost, small, and light-weight HD camcorder that can shoot 1080i, 1080p, and most of all 720p60 is huge. None of THIS market is even going to look at an HM700 or a Sony EX1/EX3 because of cost plus weight and size. If someone was going to buy a Canon or HVX200, they would have already done so.

Of course, a more expensive, heavy, and huge camcorder is going to offer the better picture. If it didn't, it wouldn't sell at all.

Think of adaptive interpolation as the way to obtain near 1920x1080 resolution instead of trying to fit 1920x1080 pixels into a 1/3-inch chip. Were the chip to have 1920x1080 pixels, for the same light sensitivity (same pixel size), the chip might need to be 1/2-inch.

The lack of adaptive interpolation in the HM100 will be no big loss for those who -- I expect to be the vast majority of shooters -- will shoot 720p. Remember for those who shoot 720p, the chips are native. For these shooters, the off-set system will provide a bit of "super-sampling."

And, for 1080 -- it will blow an HVX200 away. In fact, for those shooting 1080p, a slight bit of softness will appeal to those who have always liked Varicam and who hate the EX1/EX3.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 01:51 AM   #11
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You are comparing apples to Oranges. The HM100 will be the #1 camera for the tens of thousands of shooters who used the VX1000, VX2000, the various SD and HD Canons, and current and past Sony HDV camcorders for "professional" applications including film-making.

The market for a relatively low-cost, small, and light-weight HD camcorder that can shoot 1080i, 1080p, and most of all 720p60 is huge. None of THIS market is even going to look at an HM700 or a Sony EX1/EX3 because of cost plus weight and size. If someone was going to buy a Canon or HVX200, they would have already done so.

Of course, a more expensive, heavy, and huge camcorder is going to offer the better picture. If it didn't, it wouldn't sell at all.

Think of adaptive interpolation as the way to obtain near 1920x1080 resolution instead of trying to fit 1920x1080 pixels into a 1/3-inch chip. Were the chip to have 1920x1080 pixels, for the same light sensitivity (same pixel size), the chip might need to be 1/2-inch.

The lack of adaptive interpolation in the HM100 will be no big loss for those who -- I expect to be the vast majority of shooters -- will shoot 720p. Remember for those who shoot 720p, the chips are native. For these shooters, the off-set system will provide a bit of "super-sampling."

And, for 1080 -- it will blow an HVX200 away. In fact, for those shooting 1080p, a slight bit of softness will appeal to those who have always liked Varicam and who hate the EX1/EX3.
Thank you for the clarifications. I agree there is a huge market for a camera that promotes like the HM100.

I have already bought one of these cameras, but I am less sold than I was originally. I have no doubt the picture will be excellent under good conditions. However, before this camera can be accepted as a low-light, surreptitious professional performer for documentaries and web series shot on location, it has to be tested.

Will the HM100 be a professional "A" camera for those needing one they can carry in a one-person production kit in an international carry-on. At this level of use there can be no excuses and no shortcomings. It is considerably smaller than an XH-A1, but it has to outperform it as well.

JVC has pointed out that this is a hand held camera, and hence no connection for a controller. However, a professional documentary camera, as I will class this one right now, has to work hand held _and_ on a tripod. I have to video the subject in the dressing room, at night on the street, on the subway, _and_ performing on the stage. I can't use the "hand held" camera for most of the shoot, then pull out the trunk with a full-size camera for low-light and tripod use.

As you say, 720p60 and 24 are the highlight of this camera's formats for most shooters. That is my interest. But the HM100 has to outperform the XH-A1 in all other respects as well, with no shortcomings, for the HM100 to be valuable to me.

In any case, I believe the HM100 has a huge market. I just hope JVC has not limited the scope of the camera's concept so that the HM100 is more than supplementary to what exists, and it is truly revolutionary.

Last edited by Jack Walker; April 3rd, 2009 at 02:35 PM.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 09:32 AM   #12
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Of course, a more expensive, heavy, and huge camcorder is going to offer the better picture. If it didn't, it wouldn't sell at all.
Steve, meaning no offense, but I wish the myth that ALL of us secretly want a pocket sized camera instead of a shoulder mount would go away. You and millions of other users may want the most compact package available that produces amazing images, but some of us prefer ergonomics and real estate to mount stuff to. It's the CHOICE of mini handicam or shoulder mount that makes these times exciting.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 02:27 PM   #13
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Steve, meaning no offense, but I wish the myth that ALL of us secretly want a pocket sized camera instead of a shoulder mount would go away.
Where do you find my support for what you claim is a wide-spread myth? I never even heard of this secret. What "I" want is a small and light shoulder mount camera. Pana makes several 5# camcorders that I've reviewed. Basically I want a handheld with a shell that is big enough to fit on one's shoulder. The shell provides the surface space for switches rather than menus.

Moreover, the HM100 is cheap. Cheap sells -- especially in a bad economy.

I think we've all noticed bracket creep. We used to be able to buy a top of the line prosumer handheld camera for $2500 to $3500. Sony, Pana, and Canon sold a ton of these around the world. The HM100 fits in this category, while most other cameras are in the $5000 to $10000 range.
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 02:37 PM   #14
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I see you are predicting the HM100 to be a big seller and possibly to novice users, what with the choice of this camera for the new book coming out!
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Old April 3rd, 2009, 02:45 PM   #15
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This is an interesting discussion so far...

Let me frame the problem in a different way than before and see what people think:

As I mentioned before, I've been doing limited work with a pair of consumer Canon HF-10/HF-100 camcorders. These record AVCHD to SDHC cards, no tapes or in-camera hard drives involved.

I'm very used to this tapeless work flow, I think ultimately this is where the whole industry is headed rapidly, so this appeals to my inner geek, and memories of bad experiences with tapes (and a boxes full of projects recorded on dying tape formats) makes my inner "cranky old man" cringe, so there's an emotional component dissuading me from buying any tape-based gear.

Until recently, any professional gear I've seen with tapeless workflows has been very expensive and has required expensive media.

The JVC cameras appeal to me very much because of the inexpensive media, and a workflow I'm already familiar with. As a bonus, I wouldn't have to wait to ingest AVCHD footage anymore.

So the HM-100 is a big step up from the canon HF-10, and the HM-700 is a significant step up from the HM-100. This seems like a logical progression to me... but...

Is there another progression out there? Some other way to approach a tapeless workflow with professional gear that is in the same pricing ballpark? Is my marriage to SDHC media and Final Cut causing me to reject superior options?
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