Quick question re: HM100 vs. HD200 at DVinfo.net

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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 July 26th, 2009, 03:43 AM   #1
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Quick question re: HM100 vs. HD200

So, each of these cameras can be had for just about the same price ($3500 for HM100, $3900 for HD200 at B&H). Now, put aside all comments on ergonomics, form factor, solid state vs. tape, etc.; how are the images going to compare between these two cameras in stock configuration (i.e., no optional $30,000 lens in front of the HD200)?

Looking at Vimeo, I'd say they both put out excellent imagery. I've been in love with the ProHD series since it first came out. So, I'm left wondering why they're so close in price when the HD200 appears to be superior in so many ways (mind you, I'm not referring to image here)? I mean, you get interchangeable lenses (skies the limit on quality of glass), shoulder mount, excellent manual controls right where they should be, histogram, optional SXS reader or firestore for DTE, optional OEM DOF adapter with minimal light loss, etc. Yes, some of these things add to the initial cost, but they can be rented when needed or purchased if the money is there. The HM100 is pretty amazing in stock configuration, you do get a great full auto mode for the times when that does come in handy, small form factor that's so very discrete, solid state recording to NLE ready files and a great codec. But it can't go beyond there. It is what it is.

So, again, I can make a case for either one in regards to form factor and ergonomics. There are times when full auto would be great...but other times when a real lens would be even better. Going tapeless would be great, but I could live with tape until I could afford SXS or the firestore. 35mbps XDCAM EX is awesome, but 25mbps ain't too shabby. Which brings me back to my original question...rephrased:

Have we come so far that the 1/4" chips and better codec of the HM100 exceed the 1/3" chips (which I admit is not that much larger) and slightly lesser codec of the HD200. In stock configuration, will the HM100 trump the HD200, purely on the grounds of image quality, or is it the other way around? I'm looking to purchase one of these, and it feels like the HD200 is just the more versatile and expandable of the two (HM700 out of my budget range for now). It seems like the smarter business move, if you know what I mean. But I have known to be very wrong in the past. And I know image quality is not the only factor to consider when choosing a camera, but I just wanted to get some thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Is this a ridiculous query?
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Old July 26th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #2
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It's an interesting question, and it is difficult to compare these two cameras because they are so different in so many ways. I think your decision will still come down to ergonomics and workflow, but the image quality and internal features are fairly easy to compare.

From an ergonomics perspective these two cameras are very very different. A closed-system compact handheld with automatic controls versus a professional shoulder mount form factor with wired remote control, more accessory and lens options along with the "image-rotate" option for cine-lens adapters.

From the workflow perspective the SDHC workflow beats HDV tape ingest any day, but you could always add a DR-HD100 or MR-HD100 to the HD200 for tapeless capture to hard drive.

I think that ultimately the HD200 wins the image quality competition for digital filmmakers, but maybe not for event videographers. There are pros and cons to each camera in this area.
The HD200 has deep control of advanced image processing but the HM100 is mostly limited to only a few preset options with regards to colour matrix, gamma, etc. Since JVC included what I would consider the most popular image configurations in the HM100 this probably isn't a big deal to most users.
Both cameras use 1280x720 native CCD resolutions, but the HM100 uses pixel shifting to create full raster 1920x1080p resolutions. The HD200B can upconvert to 1440x1080i HDV over firewire, but you would need the aformentioned DR-HD100 or MR-HD100 to record the stream.
The HM100 has the popular "low-lux" frame-accumulation mode for shooting in almost complete darkness.
35mbps vs 19mbps? The layman probably wouldn't notice the difference until you were shooting 720p60 or 1080i60.
If you only plan to use the "Stock" 16x5.5 lens on the HD200 then you will run into chromatic aberration issues that you will not see on the built-in HM100 lens.
One last thing... depth of field. I know that the 1/4" (3.6mm wide) and 1/3" (4.8mm wide) CCDs may seem similar in size, but the fact of the matter is that there is still a 33% difference in size, meaning for the same field of view focal lengths will be 33% longer on the HD200 and therefore have shorter depth of field.

I hope that helps.
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Old July 26th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #3
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I would add sound issue. HD-200 will require additional sound unit, while (with better /not a stock mic) HM100 provides uncompressed sound. We are in a process of editing a doc. We used HVX200 and 2 days of HM100. Being over 10 000 feet we did not bring sound unit to shave the weight and we used the same Sennheiser G2 wireless unit. I can tell you there is a huge difference in sound quality recorded by both camcorders. A lot of videographers underestimate sound and focus of visual aspect only, which imo is a huge mistake. If you consider additional cost of sound unit, complications with synchronizing picture and sound and over all finished product, I think HM700 or even 100 wins hands down.
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Old July 27th, 2009, 03:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses so far. I agree that ergonomics and workflow are major considerations. The reason why it "seems" that the HD200 offers more inherent value is the versatility aspect and the ability it has to grow and adapt. For instance, if needed, I could put a piece some serious glass in front of the sensor. If I wanted to, I could capture from the component signal (convert through HDMI to a nanoFlash) and get around the HDV compression (or firestore). I could rent the JVC DOF adapter for cine work. I could use remote control for crane/job work. I could... I think you get where I'm going with this. The HD200 seems to have limitless potential (in this price range, of course...I'm not expecting genesis or viper quality here). I'd even say that the HM100 out of the box provides a better value...but it can't go far beyond that base. I feel as if the HD200 could grow with me...whereas the HM100 would hit a ceiling. Having both would be ideal, of course, or the HM100 as a b camera and the HM700 as the a camera, but that is not an option right now. I was just curious as to whether the advances in technology have pushed the capabilities of the HM100 beyond the seemingly more capable HD200. It sounds as if the HD200 is still very much a contender and for a slight premium in price, the better value of the two. I do mostty doc-style work, interviews, etc., and the occasional narrative style project. While the HM100 has clear run and gun advantages, I have no problem working with a manual lens and would be willing to outfit the camera with additional rentals/purchases when the production demanded it.

On a side not, one reason why I have been very interested in the HM100...or even an HDSLR, was the feeling that, for candid interviews, people seem to be more comfortable in front of a small camera then they are in front of a massive "pro" camera. Everyone is used to being on camera for home video style work. I think they are more at ease wiith a DSLR or a handycam in their face then a big honking shoulder mounted matte box rig. Just an observation. Maybe the solution is an HD200 and an HDSLR to cover all bases.

Thanks again.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 01:06 AM   #5
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My suggestion would be to buy the smaller camera first, and get used to shooting and workflow etc.
As the Hm-100 appears easy to use in auto mode, you'll always get use out of it and it'll probably always follow you around as a spare camera or locked off on a wide shot etc, etc.

They always come in handy, and as there is really no moving parts (no tape), the new cameras should have a good lifespan.

I mainly run 2 Ex1's and have several HDV cameras too which I keep as safety, but would love a Hm100 just for that extra shot from a different spot when you need it.


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Old July 28th, 2009, 01:39 AM   #6
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What are you going to shoot with the camera? I think that is always the first question.

The HD200 takes additional lenses, but the lenses are expensive. Since one of you comparison points is the cost, that puts a strain on new lenses.

Do you want to record on tape? Do you want to buy an additional on camera recorder to go tapeless?

How long do you expect to use this camera. What is your experience shooting film or video?

Do you have a need for an auto-mode? Do you envision you wanting to use auto focus?

What kind of setup time do you want to spend when you shoot? Do you want a rather big and heavy case with a big camera you pull out and put on your shoulder? Or do you want to quicky take the camera out of a lightweight shoulder bag, flip the switch on, flip the lens cover open, push the record button and start shooting. And then maybe flip another switch and start shooting stills?

I think the image on both cameras is excellent. I think it likely you'll upgrade the camera before buying new glass at more than the cost of the camera? (Though a good JVC lens will likely continue to be good on newer models, just like they are now for the HM700. JVC seems to be committed to the 1/3" smaller shoulder mount, at least for now.)

I think the decision should be made on what you plan to accomplish with the camera in the next year, be it learn to use it (for example, shoulder mount shooting with manual lens), shoot a documentary in catch-as-can situations on the run, etc.

And what kind of editing system do you use? Do you want to shoot tape, then just capture the bits you need and keep the rest for the future? Or do you want to get all the footage into the computer quickly, thus suggesting a tapeless workflow.

And don't forget that the accessories such as tripod, filters, etc. all will be more expensive with the HD200 than what's needed for the HM100.

It will change no doubt, but at least get an idea of the total package you want to create and the type of projects you want to do and then see which camera works into your needs the best.

Actually, you should probably buy both, and throw in a Canon XH-A1s, too.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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After getting to demo both the HM 100 and 700 here at a local dealer, I wouldn't go back to HDV or tape for anything. For one, it won't be much longer when we will be using SDHC cards like we use tape. JVC is already developing a piece of hardware due out in October that will have an SD slot, built-in hard drive, and a BluRay burner for archive.

This time next year we wil all be saying, "tape is dead".

At the demo, which was sponsored by JVC and Apple, they handsed out SD card sleeves with card inserts for label information.

BTW, I love the display on the 700. Very bright and large.

So I personally would advise anyone not to buy tape if you're not planning on selling it soon. Your long term ROI is much better served buying the 100 or 700.
David Parks: DP/Editor: Jacobs Aerospace at NASA Johnson Space Center
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