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JVC GY-HM 70/100/150 Series Camera Systems
GY-HM70, HM100, HM150 recording AVCHD MP4 & QuickTime .MOV to SDHC cards.


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Old April 4th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #1
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Why hold out for the GY-HM100?

When the HM100 was announced, I was all over it because it seemed to fit my needs perfectly. I need a travel cam with full manual control, great audio and a fast non-tape based work flow. Iīll use it mainly for pieces that will be published on the web but the technical quality should be high enough to have the opportunity to get picked up by TV every now and then. I used to own a Canon XH-A1 and while I liked the results, the cam was pretty big and heavy and for working on deadline the tape thing was a pain in the butt. I had a Firestore but thatīs just too cumbersome and too much to drag around.

So, the HM100 looks great for all that, right? Well, the longer I wait to finally see some meaningful video examples, the more I get frustrated. The fact that the handle doesnīt have a zoom control or a start switch is a big let-down. No Lanc control is another one. To have to fiddle with the Iris on the BACK of the camera is a third one. Then it turns out that as a Sony Vegas user I will have to transcode the files somehow after all. Finally, the fact that JVC isnīt putting out any video from the cam even now, the first week of April, starts to worry me. Sounds like they have to do some major tweaking on the last minute. Hopefully they wonīt use early adaptors as beta-testers...

Meanwhile Iīm also really worried about the low light performance. I was hoping for something at least a little better than the XH-A1 but everybody says even the HM700 is not very good at it and it has a bigger chip. I have to say, the Panasonic HMC150 looks better by the day, even though it is a little bigger than Iīd hoped for and it has all this transcoding issues as well. But low light performance seems pretty decent, I would not need a wide angle adapter and it has all the controls of a "real" camera. I know that it records at a lower bit rate, but I donīt think that would be a deal breaker for me... Itīs also available right now and well tested. And while I donīt NEED a camera right now, I really would like one by April 15th when I start a big road trip... Is it worth to wait for the HM100?

Your thoughts, please.

Last edited by Matthias Krause; April 4th, 2009 at 11:21 AM.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #2
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i agree with you 100%

I just hate AVCHD and use EDIUS 5 which can handle Sony XDCAM EX codec files without transcoding.

But if the panny had a better a codec I think I would buy that - for now I will wait for the GY-HM100 to be released and then re-assess but I feel your comments will be more right than wrong..

JVC get.. 10/10 for concept.. 4/10 for delivery
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Old April 4th, 2009, 12:07 PM   #3
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I hear your frustration Matthias! You are on a tight decision deadline if you want to travel with a new camera on April 15th. That's life on the bleeding edge.

Here's one concern addressed: People here have reported that the vegas workflow is seamless if you install the 3rd part codec for the QT files: Calibrated{Q} XD Decode (search this forum for more detail). There is a free trial, and clips online to test this out. I suspect Vegas will soon address this natively - after all this is Sony's codec!

The ergonomics are at least partly associated with keeping this as compact and reasonably priced as it is. As long as the servo zoom rocker is responsive and not stepped, I'd get by happily in most situations - it's more accessible than on larger cams, where I'd miss the remote zoom more (and you do want to keep that bag light and gadget free, right?!).

All of these mini-cams use an electronic remote iris, which I find "wooly" compared to a manual ring. I've used dials on the back, but I think that's just an operator adjustment rather than a design flaw. As long as the feel and fluidity is reasonable (I haven't gone hands on with this cam personally).

Overall, the control layout and manual switch functions are reasonably close to the bigger "real" cameras. The all important audio controls are fully covered, WB & gain match placement and function. The panny is significantly bigger, in step with it's added control ergonomics.

Wide angle in 35mm equivalent is 32.5mm on panny, 39mm on JVC. It appears the matched WA adaper would give ~28mm which is significantly different territory.

Lo-light capability is so far not even a subjective comparison. Suffice to say, there are multiple factors at play, and empirical comparisons may not arrive for awhile. JVC's Lo-lux mode won't be pretty, but it will get an image in challenging circumstances.

I wouldn't even speculate on reasons for the release date. But if they are delaying it for technical reasons, then that would mean they AREN'T using early adaptors as beta testers - right!

I'm not convinced of the AVCHD promo jargon either. The bottom line is lower bit-rates, and less flexible shooting formats. The Panasonic is a decent camera, but you'll just have to weigh the pros & cons with your specific shooting needs.
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Old April 4th, 2009, 12:19 PM   #4
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Sean, the HMC150 has a 28mm equivalent on the wide side, which is, what makes it somewhat attractive. As for the software: Does that mean, I can drag and drop files, if I install it or do I still have to transcode? Time is a major factor for me, since I work on tight deadlines often...
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Old April 4th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthias Krause View Post
As for the software: Does that mean, I can drag and drop files, if I install it or do I still have to transcode?
If you have the Calibrated XD codec installed, you can just drop the .mov files onto the Vegas timeline and play straight back with no transcoding required - it worked for me.

If you are concerned, there are test .mov files available on this site and Calibrated offer a trial download of their codec, so you can try before you buy.

Regards
Dave
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Old April 4th, 2009, 08:21 PM   #6
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Ok, i openly admit that I hardly have a clue what Iīm doing. So here is my dumb question: How to I install the Calibrated XD codec in Vegas 8.0? I could not really get that from their website and what ever I tried, I still canīt open the curiousgeorge .mov file from the HM100 in Vegas... So I must be doing something wrong, hopefully...
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Old April 5th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Matthias Krause View Post
The fact that the handle doesnīt have a zoom control or a start switch is a big let-down. No Lanc control is another one. To have to fiddle with the Iris on the BACK of the camera is a third one.
JVC's HD1/HD10 is/was almost physically identical so to the HM100 so there are thousands who have shot video without a handle zoom control or a start switch. Somehow, we all did it. :)

No LANC -- no Pana or JVC has ever had one. Yet both companies somehow manage to sell thousands upon thousands of camcorders every year.

And, from the time in the `60's when 16mm began to be seriously used -- many of which were run & gun docs -- these cameras had no zoom control or a start switch on the handle. Hell, they didn't have handles or power zooms. (In the beginning they didn't even have zooms.) And, they were often mounted on tripods -- like for entire rock concerts. How could the best body of doc work have been done without these features?

On the other hand, both Sony and JVC placing the iris control on a tiny and fiddly dial under your nose -- at the back of the camera while the focus control is at the front -- violates all camera design from day 1. Why not a dial under the lens?

I assume the answer is that you are supposed to Lock the AE before each shot. But, why not a menu selected Auto-lock linked to the Start/Stop switch? Why not a convenient AE LOCK button under the lens? Or, a button that -- like DSLRs -- can Lock AE and/or Lock AF? I sometimes think video camera designers have zero photography experience.

PS: I have a wonderful Sony pistol-grip I bought in Japan. So, I too wish all cameras had LANC. So I feel some of your pain.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 08:38 AM   #8
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Steve, for me the question is not, if I can get by without these features. Of course I can. But If I wanted to get a camera that produces a great image but needs a ton of work-around solutions, I would buy a Canon 5D MarkII. The question is if I want to shell out $3500 plus $200 for a WA converter plus $100 or so for additional software to be able to work with these files for a cam that has these flaws. Btw., the Canon XH-A1 has the iris control right next to the lens in the front...
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Old April 5th, 2009, 01:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Matthias Krause View Post
How to I install the Calibrated XD codec in Vegas 8.0? I could not really get that from their website and what ever I tried, I still canīt open the curiousgeorge .mov file from the HM100 in Vegas... So I must be doing something wrong, hopefully...
You don't install the codec 'in Vegas' - you just install it onto your PC and it enables QuickTime to understand the xdcam files. Since Vegas reads .mov files via QuickTime, if you make QT read them, ipso facto so does Vegas.

You do have QuickTime installed...?

Cheers
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Old April 5th, 2009, 02:26 PM   #10
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Thanks, David. I re-installed Quicktime and the Calibrated XD and now it works... So the HM-100 just got $89 more expensive, I guess. But being able to just drop the files is GREAT!
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Old April 6th, 2009, 08:29 PM   #11
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Panasonic HMC-150 vs JVC HM100:

I actually purchased a Panasonic HMC-150 and evaluated it for a few weeks. It was a nice camcorder, pretty light, good ergonomics, but it is BIG. I mean it is similar to the Canon HDVs, the Sony EX1, the Prosumer Sony HDVs, etc.

The image quality on the Panasonic was... OK. It was very 'filmic' if that is a term, but it wasn't really that high resolution, in my estimation. It suffered from the 'softness' that I think all the Panasonic HVX200 have even though they are considered "HD" camcorders. The sensors are just lower resolution than HD.

The AVCHD workflow, at least on Final Cut Pro, for now is tedious and storage intensive. Maybe Final Cut Pro 7 (maybe out this NAB?) will feature native AVCHD importing without transcoding, but for now, it is a long, tedious process which takes a long time and is about 4 times the storage space of the XDCAM EX codec.

I already have a Sony EX1, which is a superlative camcorder, though a few thousand more $ than the Panny or JVC, and need a B camera that hopefully used CCDs instead of CMOS. CMOS is great, detailed, sensitive, but it has rolling shutter, which works for most things, but there a few things where CCD works better. So I needed a CCD, the Panny and JVC seemed to fit that bill.

When I attended the LAFCPUG meeting at Macworld in January, when JVC announced the XDCAM EX based CCD smaller camcorder, I pretty much sent the Panasonic HMC150 back the next day, because the JVC seemed designed to be exactly what I needed.

I knew that when they said 'released in April' that it probably meant April 30, so we have a few weeks to wait I believe before we're going to be able to purchase it and really evaluate it.

I am also disappointed with the lack of demo footage, and the stuff I've seen on Youtube and such is pretty unprofessional so it's hard to know. I did see something I really didn't like, which seems to be the bane of small sensors and lenses which is a kind of cross-hatched 'bokeh' on specular highlights, ('bokeh' refers to the 'look' of the out of focus areas. I had it on my Sony HC1 CMOS, I see it on my Panasonic SD1 CCD (AVCHD!), but it's not on my Sony EX1 CMOS. But until I have a chance to try it jury is out.

If somehow the JVC gives good image quality, then I would say the size and the codec beat the Panasonic HMC150 for workability and workflow. if the JVC was a XDCAM codec then it would be more of a tossup.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 12:10 AM   #12
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if the JVC was a XDCAM codec then it would be more of a tossup.
The HM100 has a codec who's files are compatible with the XDCAM codec. It has an FCP Log and Transfer plug-in -- just like the Sony Log and Transfer plug-in. And, a lookalike Sony XDCAM Browser.

You are all set.
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Old April 7th, 2009, 01:29 AM   #13
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The HM100 has a codec who's files are compatible with the XDCAM codec. It has an FCP Log and Transfer plug-in -- just like the Sony Log and Transfer plug-in. And, a lookalike Sony XDCAM Browser.

You are all set.
My bad, I meant if the PANASONIC (not the JVC, as it does have it) had XDCAM it might be a tossup (but it doesn't so it's not). As it is now if the image quality of the JVC is good, then I'm going to be getting it. The workflow will be even better than the Sony EX1 workflow because there is no transfer from the native XDCAM EX files to MOV or whatever first, just drop the JVC's MOV's into FCP and start working. Wish Sony had that option.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #14
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HM is almost here!

Just received a message from B&H. They are taking pre-orders for HM100. First batch should be here within a couple of weeks.
BTW looks like batteries and converter from GZ-HD7 will work on this model as well.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #15
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The HM100 has a codec who's files are compatible with the XDCAM codec. It has an FCP Log and Transfer plug-in -- just like the Sony Log and Transfer plug-in. And, a lookalike Sony XDCAM Browser.

You are all set.
I downloaded HM 700 footage in .mov wrapper. With FCS2 you don't need "log and transfer" option, rather "import file/folder" option.
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