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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 June 29th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #1
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Why is it that after a few weeks of being released, the news about the HM100 is so mixed? I'm bummed. All I want is a lightweight (re: ergonomics) camera that shoots hi-def and has the pro controls I've grown used to for the past 20 years. Is having a normal f-stop ring asking too much? And a lens that actually focuses without spinning? Four things I ask--pretty pictures, normal lens, normal f-stop and lightweight.
I've been waiting for years now. I keep putting off projects because I don't have the right gear. Some subjects for interviews are actually dying because of the wait.
Isn't this like a relationship? You get sucked in because of the hype, the look, the buzz. Then reality sets in and you wake up in the AM to the inevitable disappointments.
So I'm pretty much giving up on the HM100 now and keeping my fingers crossed on the Panasonic HMC40 or the Red Scarlet (the latter may not meet the weight requirements but who knows?).
I'm tired, really tired of waiting.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:04 PM   #2
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Why wait?

I had the same problems with a documentary because the producer/director kept putting things off. The subject died and a great doc went with him. You can see the test footage on my web site as I incorporated it into a memorial piece. I have the same problem with another producer right now and another important elderly subject whose mind is steadily evaporating. The producer can't get the funds to shoot with the best HD camera available, I say let's record the poor person now and deal with "quality" issues later. The producer refuses.

Rent a camera, borrow a camera, buy a HM100, sell it later. Get your footage before it's too late. You can always schedule a second shoot if you get a better camera later (the questions and answers might improve as well).
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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I agree with William.

I pre-ordered and paid for an HM100, then canceled the order, because of the shortcomings... but I already have an XH-A1 and an HD100 that I am using... though the smaller camera and the 60p would be helpful, but are not absolutely necessary.

However, if I did not have a camera, I would buy an HM100 tonight, and work around the shortcomings. The pictures I have seen are outstanding, the auto mode for run-and-gun seems superior, and the fiddliness of the manual controls can be dealt with for setups on a tripod (such as for interviews and "B" roll).

On top of that, accessories are less expensive for the HM100 because of the smaller lens size, the camera weight is perfect for a Merlin (since I didn't get the HM100, I ended up getting a Pilot to use with the XH-A1), and the size makes the camera the best fly-and-shoot documentary companion around.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #4
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Good point.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that camera manufacturers can be so cavalier about their product. They know what we want. But they rarely ever deliver (perhaps for fear we won't buy their "next best thing"). And maybe they don't realize how high the stakes can be for being so coy about it. Life and death issues. Movies that don't get made because of frustrations, disappointments over the gear.
I know that's nothing new. But it just seems like we're on the precipice of having a piece of gear we can truly live with for awhile and be content with it. I envy the musicians who can buy a violin, say, and live with that investment for many years, making many people happy.
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Old June 29th, 2009, 09:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne Whelden View Post
All I want is a lightweight (re: ergonomics) camera that shoots hi-def and has the pro controls I've grown used to for the past 20 years. Is having a normal f-stop ring asking too much? And a lens that actually focuses without spinning? Four things I ask--pretty pictures, normal lens, normal f-stop and lightweight.
Perhaps you should look at one of the new video shooting DSLRs.

(However, stops on the focus ring is only on some of the lenses I have.)

At the latest Cinegear in L.A., it seemed every booth had a Canon DSLR setup on a tripod with whatever accessories were being sold at that booth. The video-shooting DSLR is the hot item!
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:49 PM   #6
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Lynne, you've obviously never hung around a guitarist... never too many guitars! There may be a "special" one, but most musicians are just as vulnerable to "gear envy". It's just human nature!

I think we all postpone things looking for "better", but the old saying about "perfection being the enemy of the good" applies - there will ALWAYS be a better tool, but the best project is the one that gets completed... the footage that never makes it "into the can" is just that, nothing...
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Old June 29th, 2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Just get something and shoot. There are so many more options today than 3 years ago. If you work with it you'll find a way to make good images and tell a good story with it. 4 years ago you couldn't really get a HD level camcorder, even HDV for anything close to it. The first HDV camcorder I got was an Sony HC1 back when HD was a novelty. I shot great stuff on it and still use it as a "C" camcorder today

You could get a Panasonic Prosumer, or a Canon Prosumer, or even Sony and produce some amazing footage that wasn't even possible a few years ago and spend a lot less $$ and get images that rival a high end camcorder. I loved the Canon HFS100 but I can't stand the AVCHD workflow. But that may work for you and it's only $1K.

I purchased the HM100 though I have a very nice EX1 that is a better camcorder than the HM100. I'm not 'bummed' about the HM100. I use it all the time cause it's small and isn't so much worse than the EX1 that it can't intercut with it. It's kind of expensive for the number of buttons and the controls, but it is well made and can make good images with some care.

I complain about it here because I'm kind of putting JVC on notice that they really need to figure out what people need, and if it is something they can put into the 'software' and doesn't affect the price point, they should try to do it. For example think it was brain-damaged not to put a histogram in since the LCD picture and on screen and other controls are vague. Maybe they can come out with a firmware update to add this feature. But for now I get around it. I figure out what works by testing, taking notes, reviewing the footage, so next time I can predict what the image will look like based on the limited indications I have. Think about the old days when we shot film and you had no idea how something would come out until a few days later when it was processed. It is so much better now, it could be even better, but it's good.

Right now the HM100 is:

Small and light
Good Images
Good Low Light
CCD (no rolling shutter problems)
Real HD resolution
XDCam EX 35mbs codec
Versatile frame rates
HDMI Output

Nothing else has this combo. Others have small and light, but use AVCHD. You realize that the HM100 is one of the few remaining CCD camcorders out there? If you need to avoid rolling shutter CMOS issues you don't have any other choices (other than the large Canon and JVC HDVs)

Go for it!

(Or a least order one, if you hate it return it.)
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Old June 30th, 2009, 12:06 AM   #8
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Well said Keith.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 07:51 AM   #9
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Software improvements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Moreau View Post
I complain about it here because I'm kind of putting JVC on notice that they really need to figure out what people need, and if it is something they can put into the 'software' and doesn't affect the price point, they should try to do it.
I totally agree with Keith on this point. I purchased 2 HM100 cameras and have hit a wall with some of the restrictions. The zoom is a big problem for me because I use a crane and track dolly in my work. I have posted about this at length in other threads. I am advocating for JVC to offer a software upgrade to placate the complaints voiced on this and other forums. It is becoming clear that the GY-HM100 is a "bittersweet" camera and the existing user complaints are going to impact sales. I would like to see a software revision with the following items:

1. control of the max. zoom speed for the remote control and LCD control. This would allow for a controlled zoom rate when using these controls
2. open up the protocol for the IR Remote Control and let someone develop a decent remote control for use with a TOS link
3. a Histogram would be great
4. rejig the software to enable a quick "Auto MODE" to "Manual MODE" sequence that maintains the FSTOP and SHUTTER settings between the modes. This would be similar to the Exposure Lock feature that I have on the Canon XL2. Let the AUTO get it close, set to MANUAL mode and adjust for final effect.
5. Fix the response curve on the ZOOM ring (if it is adjustable in software)

I would like to hear other suggestions for software revisions.

Having said all this, let me add that it is a fantastic piece of kit and clients are impressed with the size and results. As a two camera documentary setup, it's great.

Dan
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Old June 30th, 2009, 07:53 AM   #10
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Guitarists and violinists are 2 different breeds! You're right, guitar players trade theirs in every chance they get. Violinists (I used to play in HS and my brother's a professional gammba player) stick with their instrument for decades, if it's a good one.

I'm reminded of a film instructor who started the course by telling us of all the so-called filmmakers whose films never got outside of their head. Perhaps I'm guilty of that too, but my excuse is that I've spent the last 30 years shooting videos generally with gear I wasn't all that keen on. (I'm paying the price now with 2 blown-out lower back discs!)

The DSLRs are intriguing, I admit. Which reminds me, I should have listed one more wish besides the four and that's decent audio. (I would think no file size limits would be a given but not in their world.)

I'm not trying to be cynical. Like I said, I'm just tired of waiting....
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Old June 30th, 2009, 12:31 PM   #11
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what about a used JVC HD110? I looked recently and did NOT find many for a B-Camera, so it might be difficult. But they were cheap before JVC dropped the line. I'm sure there are some good prices out there somewhere. If you are on FCP, then think about the newer JVC's or else get an HD100/110 with DTE drive... though Focus Enhancements is coming out with a better new cheaper solid state ones for HDV and DV anytime. I got most of the gear I need/want, but I'm STILL shooting other people's stuff for money. havne't done much of MY OWN yet... bad I know. I'm looking to get the MTF adapter and another couple Nikkor lenses and a better tripod... so y ou see.. you will ALWAYS find reasons to put off.

What you COULD do.. is hire someone who has a camera for pizza/beer/cash to start your project and get it going. It would be cheaper to hire that person for a week than it would be to buy the camera for your first few projects. I'm sure there more than a few people that might live close to you that wouldn't mind some extra cash.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 03:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynne Whelden View Post
Guitarists and violinists are 2 different breeds! You're right, guitar players trade theirs in every chance they get. Violinists (I used to play in HS and my brother's a professional gammba player) stick with their instrument for decades, if it's a good one.

I'm reminded of a film instructor who started the course by telling us of all the so-called filmmakers whose films never got outside of their head. Perhaps I'm guilty of that too, but my excuse is that I've spent the last 30 years shooting videos generally with gear I wasn't all that keen on. (I'm paying the price now with 2 blown-out lower back discs!)

The DSLRs are intriguing, I admit. Which reminds me, I should have listed one more wish besides the four and that's decent audio. (I would think no file size limits would be a given but not in their world.)

I'm not trying to be cynical. Like I said, I'm just tired of waiting....
Don't ever expect the palmcorders (I'm including any camera that can't sit on your shoulder) to ever fill your needs completely. The lack of two lens rings on the HM100 really tosses it out of my consideration (old school cameraperson). I've had enough time with my Sony HD1000 to know the limitations of a single lens ring. If it's a decent all around pro camera on the cheap you want, the HM700 is a good way to go. Good lens control, great image, good ergonomics and an excellent recording medium. If it's too large for your comfort (some days it would be for me) then I recommend researching shoulder braces for cameras like the HM100.

THe DSLR cameras can work, some can make really incredible images, but they are not very good for handheld (terrible at times) and sound is a real problem. You'll probably have to record to an audio recorder.

The manufacturers make decisions based on their reading of the professional climate out there and their ability to develop something that will make some money for them. Sometimes a company makes compromises. Apple recently did this with their MacBooks and managed to freak out a large section of audio people when the FireWire port disappeared. Did Apple know that so many audio people were using MacBooks instead of MacBook Pros? Hard to say. Now FireWire has returned along with a face-saving renaming of the MacBook as "Pro". JVC probably looked at the run and shoot B roll / event photographers and decided that the HM100 fit that market about 70%.

Spend $7,000 and up, you won't wait. Spend less and you'll have make some compromises.
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Old June 30th, 2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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Most of the reviews that have been fully flattering or "mixed" as you say have been posted by folks who have judged the camera solely on its specs or by folks who have judged the HM100 against much more capable and, thusly, more expensive models. I've even seen it judged against rumored Panasonic models. The reviews I've seen from users and buyers have been very nice.

Some have disparaged the small sensor yet the video picture I've seen look fantastic. Some decry the lack of limited depth of field look yet how many folks are getting the DOF imaging they want from 1/3" chips? Some denounce the lens focus and iris control but where are we seeing separate controls for a cam in this price range? Some complain the feature set is too limited and mention the HM700 in the same sentence. Well, that makes as much sense saying the wine selection at Olive Garden isn't up to that of Le Papillon where an appetizer is twice the price of an entire meal at Olive Garden.

When judged against the user base and price that the HM100 for which the camera is designed, it's highly compelling. For a one-man-production-band show, the camera is hugely appealing. The small size and weight, removable handle, SDHC storage and recording format that doesn't require transcoding makes this camera a winner for the applications that many of us practice.

I'm looking forward to adding at least one of these cameras into our stable. It will be a great second camera, B-roll camera as well as a primary camera for quick setup shoots. I would be very interested to see reviews from others who are using the camera (and I mean using it rather than just playing with it or second-hand stories) against other cameras in the same price range.

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Old June 30th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
Perhaps you should look at one of the new video shooting DSLRs.

(However, stops on the focus ring is only on some of the lenses I have.)

At the latest Cinegear in L.A., it seemed every booth had a Canon DSLR setup on a tripod with whatever accessories were being sold at that booth. The video-shooting DSLR is the hot item!
Indeed, buy a Canon 5D Mk II, a set of fast lenses, XLR field recorder, microphone, rail and follow focus rig for about $9000 and you'll be good to go. If this makes you think, "Why, for that price, I can get a Sony EX-3," you'll understand why the dSLR solution isn't the "cheap" solution so many think it to be.

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Old July 1st, 2009, 08:18 PM   #15
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What triggered this dialogue was my seeing Steve Cotrell's post on getting his head around the f-stop exposure and its not posting a real-time read-out. My heart sank because I'd really been wanting to believe the HM100 was "the one."
It's interesting how these shortcomings take time to come to the surface. I read in Videography magazine today about the RED camera-- "It's heavy and there's a lot of heat and noise coming out of it--this is really quite striking when you have it up against your eye 10 to 12 hours a day." (Dod Mantle-cinematographer). He also says "The camera is slow. Officially they say it's (EI)320. Some say it's really 200. I'd say it's in between at 250."
Now, you never heard that said in the early days of RED's release. It took time for reality to set in.
Frankly, I think the technology's in place now to create a small, hand-held (even pocket) camera that has the professional features we've come to expect over the past 100 years of film or 30 years of video. But the manufacturer's worst fears would be "What if nobody wanted to buy another camera besides "the one"? So they'll keep stringing us along for another 100 years. We don't need more resolution (sing that to the tune of "The Wall"). We just need a real lens with 2 rings on it, and of course we need good audio, and (personal preference) it's got to be as light as a good loaf of bread. Light cameras will be used to capture reality. Heavy cameras will capture staged stuff.
That's all. Anybody manufacturer listening?
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