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Old November 3rd, 2014, 09:56 PM   #16
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

The public has been YouTube-ized and they're accustomed to shaky, poorly exposed, poorly framed video.

So many of the TV programs today, even prime time, have very poor video compared to Hollywood. Heck, even some of the stuff Hollywood puts out isn't what it used to be.

The local News channels flaunt announcements durning the newscast for people to contact them for breaking news and depending on the event some of the worst video from smart phones gets aired. Consumer handycam? If you're (the viewer) lucky!

How many times do the local news media post security cam footage??? And it's grainy black-and-white. Tell me, does it (video) get any worse than that?
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Old November 4th, 2014, 12:15 AM   #17
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

The last time I was regularly supplying news content to [New Zealand] TV stations, over 30 years ago, they wanted everything on U-Matic, but were quite happy to accept content originally captured on VHS, so this is not new.
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Old November 4th, 2014, 12:36 AM   #18
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Even commercially produced series have handheld wobbles! I was watching an episode of NCIS and watching the top of the frame makes you realise how much is just handheld footage! Even the BBC who are supposed to be the fussiest have drama series with plenty of wobbles.

Just for interest it seems they have adopted the HM890 for ENG too!
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Old November 4th, 2014, 03:15 PM   #19
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Quite frankly, I believe for news and corporate work these days it really doesn't matter what you shoot on. Even those who are "educated" know you can shoot on a small form-factor DSLR and get excellent pics.

But I do know of a local stringer who does regular live crosses for the morning breakfast shows here in Sydney and he wouldn't have the work unless he had the disc-based XDCam.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 03:44 AM   #20
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Well guys I have had a week with a loaner GY-HM890E and I have mixed feelings about the camera.

Firstly (and obviously) it feels much different to my current Panasonic AJHPX502 camera. It's a fair bit lighter and feels smaller and less significant on the shoulder. It also feels less stable, although I believe most of these issues are simply because I am not used to it.

I shot some news with it in the night and a corporate conference in a reasonably well-lit auditorium.

The night vision had mixed results. I tried all levels of gain from 0 through to 24 and I believe a max of 9db can be used before woeful pictures result. And I mean woeful. My 502 shoots at 18db with some grain, but not like this camera. Pictures go blocky and almost stripey in appearance. Terrible.

The conference was ok although comparing it to my current setup the colours appeared flat and lifeless without the HD gloss that my 502 has. Now although it appears I shot the conference without issue, shooting on SD cards makes me very paranoid when it comes to once-off events. I was always asking myself whether the cam was recording to the cards properly. I don't feel this way with the sturdy P2 cards although again it might just be a familiarity thing.

Overall, I thought the pictures were ok but not great from the camera.

I didn't get a chance to try the streaming features so I can't comment on that.

So overall I wasn't that impressed with the camera. It didn't look THAT professional and it didn't feel professional, either. When I picked it up to carry it around on a job, it felt like I was carrying a pretend camera. I found the white balance and gain buttons flimsy and hard to locate when shooting.

And while I found the SD card format to be convenient, I also found it to be flimsy and concerning to use on events that couldn't be repeated.

Ok...

This camera has some incredibly useful features from my point of view. It would make my life so much easier than what I am using now but at what cost?

Picture quality is a step backwards IMO and so is the overall feel of the camera. This camera feels no better to use than a 750 I tried some time back. It just doesn't feel "right" to me.

It's just a shame that I can't have the camera long enough on loan to see if I can get past my lack of familiarity with this camera. My guess is that after a few weeks of use I would feel at home with it.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 12:51 PM   #21
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Keeping in mind the 850 is a 1/3 inch chip I too had some issues in low light with my 700 when I first started shooting it.
For seminars I would be a 9db at f/2 or so and I wondered if I had made a mistake since my Sonys always were at 0db or 3db at the most. Then I realized the factory settings for the profile...well, simply put, they sucked. I scoured the old interweb, found some stings plugged them in, kept making adjustments to suit my eye until I found something that at least closely resembled what I was looking for from a saturation standpoint and would allow me to use something less than 9db of gain. BTW, I have found that for the work I was doing 9 wasn't so bad. I tried like hell to never exceed that.
For ME, to balance the camera properly, I found I need to have my CN160 light on the camera with a Sony type 970 battery and on the back end I have my AT1821 dual channel receiver which comes in at about 1 pound weight wise with an IDX-7 OR Bescor 10 battery on it. This combination really helped to keep me in balance and while I would have preferred to use the old DVTev ENG rig I had and used on almost every other fullsized camera I used over the last years be they JVC or Sony, I couldn't since JVC had changed the front foot plate design just enough to not allow my rig to fit unlike it did on the HD series and GY-DV series of camera previously.
I was shooting social events, seminars and standup interviews/news type stuff with the 700 and frankly never had a complaint but I also lit up whatever I could and kept the gain to no more than 9 and the shutter speed at 1/60th.
the 700/800 take a little getting used too ergonomically because it is smaller and lighter than the old fullsized cameras we're used to using. Maybe you could rent one for a week and really give it a workout. I bet you'd like it.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 01:56 PM   #22
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Hi David, do you have any links to footage? also what lens were you using?

I use the 700 a far bit and I find the JVC's defiantly have a different look when compared to my Sony PMW500 but find for doco style it goes ok and with a bit of care you can get a great image. I do like how light the JVC's are.

I'm still thinking of an 850 for my kit but just holding off.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 07:27 PM   #23
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Yeah look I would have to say that in time I would get used to the camera ergonomics and then be able to adjust the pictures to taste.

I guess my issue is spending $10k on a camera that really only improves my workflow and ease of use but nothing else.

The build quality (and therefore the feel of ruggedness) is not as good as my panasonic. All the buttons that "click" feel flimsy and breakable (such as the white balance presets and gain switches).

The easiest way to describe my feeling (whether that's right or wrong) is that I would be changing to a toy camera from a professional camera, albeit with some workflow benefits and lighter weight.

I still feel weird shooting pro video on SD cards though, even though I shoot video regularly on DSLR's that shoot on the same.

But I have no doubt it's a very good camera but I think I expected something more improved than the 750 that I used some time back once. The whole look and feel of the camera for this day and age is perhaps just a little "old hat".

Oh, I wanted to add:

On my corporate test shoot with the 850, my 32gb SD Card in AVCHD 1080i was showing 174 mins available to me and on my Panasonic, 1080i only gives me 35 mins each 32gb card - obviously the 850 was set to 35mb/sec.

Secondly, I noticed my V-Mount battery showing a remaining time of over 600 minutes on the 850 which didn't really change during the 1.5hr long shoot. On my Panasonic, I would have used 1/2 the battery power in that time.

So I get better "value" out of the 850 during a shoot as far as battery and card time are concerned. Interesting.

Last edited by David Cleverly; November 19th, 2014 at 07:36 PM. Reason: Left out some info
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Old December 11th, 2014, 09:39 PM   #24
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

"The build quality (and therefore the feel of ruggedness) is not as good as my panasonic."
Interesting. I looked at the Panny 502 and rejected it at the time because I hated the viewfinder, and felt the construction wasn't up to scratch. Bought a couple of JVC HD cams for half the price, with lenses, and they've been ok.
Just got an HM850 and I too think it feels a bit cheaply constructed :( But then many things do ...
I'm hoping it'll be as much a workhorse as the HD200 and on paper it definitely has major advantages. Better sensors (I'm hoping cleaner and better in low light!) and higher bit-rates and resolution. I guess I'll find out ...
Already finding the 20x lens looks nicer than the stock GY-HD lens, but still think I'll use an old lens just because I can't handle servo-drives and auto-focus - and the lack of macro.
A little disappointed too (I should have known this) the HM 850 doesn't shoot 4:2:2 50 Mbs. I've been working with footage from an XF100 which is surprisingly clean but also relatively good to tweak. Not sure how that will work in practice, though - still waiting on a battery-mount to give the camera a workout.
The SD cards will be a big bonus. Cheap and fast. I can't even find a decent tape supplier any more. If you're worried they are flimsy - pretty sure you can record to two at the same time, so everything is completely backed up. Compared to the price of P2, buying twice the number of SD cards is a bargain :)
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Old December 12th, 2014, 02:43 AM   #25
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Good info Rob, thanks.

Yes the original vf on the 502 was woeful. I changed mine (at a cost of about $4km if I remember correctly) to the higher spec one but benefited only slightly in size of the screen because the resolution won't increase simply by adding a better vf (duh for me)...

The 502 has been a good, solid workhorse but I have to say on one of my latest shoots (1920 x 1080i at a dance concert) I mixed the vision with some stage-mounted GoPros and it looked as soft as heck. The GoPros looked magical compared to the vision I was getting out of the 502. I have yet to work out why. Slightly underexposed vision may have something to do with it...

I was not impressed with the vision shot in the night on the JVC. Almost looked like it came from a non-professional camera. Any gain at all made it incredibly noisy...even blocky in some circumstances. That said, the 502 s not particularly good in low light but at least an 18db gain setting doesn't give digital blocks in the picture...

It's a tough freelance market at the moment. Any added expense should be taken very seriously, so the next camera needs to be the right one.
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Old December 13th, 2014, 12:38 AM   #26
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

There's a ridiculous quantity of choice in cameras- not easy! The form factor is one of the main things for me - I wanted a shoulder camera with the buttons in the right places. I don't shoot at night much, but there's always that moment when you're in some dingy spot. The JVC HD series also look weak with the lens opened right up - the image becomes 'muddy' - not in a good way :)
Not great closed right down, either. Pretty sweet f2.8- 8 with about 5.6 usually sharpes and really nice colour.
Even tho the stock lens on the HD series was kind've rubbish, I'll still be using it on the HM850. Another annoyance with the 20x on the HM850 is it seems to open only to f4 at the end of the zoom. Grrr.
FWIW I've also been shooting on a couple of GH1s with eg a cheap 35mm 1.6 and a lovely Nokton 25mm 0.95 -cheap hacked cameras picked up secondhand- and the picture at ISO100 is a lot cleaner than the JVC. Still pretty good up to ISO800. Then with the Nokton you open it up and it's like the night disappears :) I gather Canon dslrs are even better in 'no' light.
I also sometimes shoot with a gopro (or an SJ4000- cheap knock-off) as second or third camera for event coverage. They are annoyingly good in half-decent conditions. The SJ4000 has artificial sharpening, and it's hard to get the colours matching exactly. But it's still surprisingly capable, especially with its 'HDR' setting handling high and low lights. Really, we're spoilt for choice in imaging technology.
But a decent shoulder-mount camera is still hard to find.
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Old December 13th, 2014, 12:52 AM   #27
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Hi Rob

I looked seriously at the 850 but one also needs to factor in the fact that cam prices exclude batteries so you can quite easily add a couple of grand to the already high price.

Shoulder mount cams are like hen's teeth ! I eventually got two Sony EA-50's and I use all my Nikon lenses on the camera. The big sensor is a nice improvement over the 3 chip camera ...sadly the shoulder pad is at the back so it doesn't have the balance of the JVC so I cheat and use a DVTec ENG rig up front so I have a reasonably nice balance.

Only problem for ENG shooters is it only records in AVCHD 28mbps so for commercial station work one would have to have an external recorder if you wanted to record higher. My choice was also swayed by the fact that the EVF is the same as the Sony EX3 ..a loupe on a 3.5" LCD screen as I really hate the tiny EVF's with their miniature 1.5" screen ..it's like looking down a tunnel so I have been spoilt by the big viewfinders!

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Old December 13th, 2014, 02:13 AM   #28
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Yeah, batteries were a factor: I've got anton bauer dionic 90s and being able to use them for a few more years really helps (once they send me the right adapter/back).
I'm not convinced it's the best possible camera for the use and the price*. But I'll get a few years work out of it anyway :)
* there's no answer to the 'what camera is best?' question, but we can't stop asking it!
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Old December 14th, 2014, 11:03 AM   #29
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

David, you say the picture gets blocky at high gain......are you talking about the image produced by the camera, or the recorded footage? I work at a station that shoots on the HM790 in 720p60 using the lowest quality setting, HDV 18Mbps. It get's blocks at just about any movement. Shoot a flowing river and you might as well be shooting flowing ice cubes!

Also, the lens has a MAJOR effect on your low light. While the stock lens will step down from f1.6 to like f3.0 when you zoom all the way in, the "broadcast" lenses for these cameras will stay wide open. My work HM790 uses a Fujinon HTs18x4.2BERM with extender. If stays f.14 from wide to full telephoto, no drop in light levels. You can get the HT218x4.2BRM without extender fro between $1500-2000 USD used on eBay, and they do make a major difference.

Also, the viewfinders are garbage, but there are alternatives, see below for an aftermarket EVF with mount bolts right on.

Alphatron Electronic View Finder ENG Bracket | AlphatronTV

If I were a stringer again, I would probably go for the HM890 with nice 18 2x lens, that Alphatron, and shoot in 1080p60 XAVC 50Mbps..........f11@2000 at full telephoto retaining f1.4 would be great at night. Also, the live feed feature is OK, but to run 720p live you need at least a 5Mbps upload speed. The FTP feed out function you would like better I think.

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Old December 14th, 2014, 11:06 AM   #30
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Re: GY-HM850E as an ENG camera?

Sorry, your E version would do f12@2000......I am jealous. ;)

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