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Old February 5th, 2003, 12:10 PM   #1
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Jvc Gy-dv500u

I'd like some feedback from you gents on this camera versus my XL1. I'm thinking selling one of my XL1's and buying a DV500, as their price has dropped since the DV5000 has been released (too expensive for me now). Most of my shooting is definable as electronic film production, and I'm hoping to achieve a richer picture and shallower depth of field with the larger CCDs.

For the sake of argument, let's consider the price of the initial camera and battery purchase to be the same as an XL1.
Anyway, here are the advantages I'm weighing.

XL1 advantages
-Frame movie mode
-image stabilizing lens


DV500 disadvantages
-14x Fujinon lens is supposed to be mediocre, expensive to replace.
-No frame movie mode, which I love.
-no auto focus (hey, sometimes it comes in handy)


I'd really appreciate all of your thoughts on this. I'm very seriously considering it. I know I will have to spend more on a bigger tripod, for which I am prepared.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 01:22 PM   #2
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Anyway, here are the advantages I'm weighing.

XL1 advantages
-Frame movie mode
-image stabilizing lens
~4 channel audio
~lots of lens choice, especially long telephoto EOS 35mm
~Not super heavy
-------------------------
List the XL1 disadvantages:
Soft video images because of cheap canon video glass
Low pixel count
Soft standard viewfinder
Not so great low light performance
"Stepped" iris (except in auto)
Not very ergonomic
No stock XLR audio inputs
No +4db input attenuation

DV500 Advantages
Crisper images/better pixel count
Better low light performance and contrast handling
Better viewfinder
Don't need require stabilization because the camera is heavy
Smoother iris
Looks like a real pro rig

DV500 disadvantages
-14x Fujinon lens is supposed to be mediocre, expensive to replace.
-No frame movie mode, which I love.
-no auto focus (hey, sometimes it comes in handy)
~BIG and HEAVY
~Needs an expensive case
~Small lens choice-(Is there a wide angle zoom available?)
~Camera support such as steadicam and tripod are more expensive

Me? I am waiting for the XL1 that has progressive ccds ;)
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Old February 5th, 2003, 01:33 PM   #3
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The DV500 is dioscontinued; it's been replaced by the DV5000. See http://pro.jvc.com/prof/Attributes/f...l_id=MDL101367

The primary question you must ask yourself is, are you ready for the expense of transitioning from a 1/3" prosumer camcorder to a 1/2" professional camera.

Lenses, batteries, power supply, zoom & focus controls for a shoulder-mount camera now enter the realm of "professional" prices; be prepared to spend about $1500 to $2000 extra for power supply, batts and lens controls plus another $2000 for a seriously good tripod. If you can afford it, by all means go for it!
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Old February 5th, 2003, 01:41 PM   #4
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I guess we can add a much longer record time for the DV5000 advantages :)

But Chris is right, everything is going to cost MORE, still it is pretty amazing
at how inexpensive the DV5000 is. I was impressed by its handling of
contrast/dynamic range. Much better than my ol' XL1.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 01:49 PM   #5
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Oop, I should have pointed out I am looking at purchasing a used DV500. That brings the price down into my range. I would buy one with power supply and batteries included. I was hoping to find a used tripod in the $1000 range.
If I had the extra money for a DV5000, I'd get one for sure. They look fantastic.
The extra size/weight of the DV500 isn't an issue. I'll still have an XL1 for run and gun, plus I could use the workout of hefting a DV500 around. :) As far as the lens goes, I'd probably stick with the stock lens, does anyone know if it's any good? It has a 1/2" bayonet lens mount btw.
Does anyone know if it has a 16:9 mode?

So far so good. More opinions please!
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Old February 5th, 2003, 03:48 PM   #6
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Stock lens is fine. Fujinon doesn't make bad glass. No 16x9 on this cam.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 04:19 PM   #7
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Dylan, talk to Peter, Jeff Gin or Teena Gin---Teena is a very smart cookie. They are all professionals with credentials and they do not work on commission. They can tell you all the pros and cons with the DV500 and the XL1s.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 05:29 PM   #8
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Frank, fear not, I'm going to swing by Leo's Friday around noonish! :)
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Old February 5th, 2003, 05:48 PM   #9
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Just as a note- check the specs of the Panasonic DVX100- it might just be the ticket for what you're looking to do.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 06:13 PM   #10
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The picture quality will move up a level. It is due to the 63dB signal to noise ratio, larger CCD's, and 12 bit A/D conversion. It won't show in every scene. You will notice that in high contrast scenes, the JVC will handle the extremes of brightness better. You'll have less contouring or banding. However, if you are going to control your lighting the superior picture will not always be evident. The JVC excels at, the extremes and the differences will be apparent.

Your support and accessories will increase in cost. A tripod to support that camera will be $1,500 to $2,000 USD used. The lens is probably fine. To get a noticeably better lens you'd be spending $8,000 to $10,000 USD maybe more. There are some 1/2" mount WA lenses but your talking $12,000 plus for the good ones.

If you've got the work coming in to justify the costs, go for it. It's a very cool camera, you won't be disappointed.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 06:39 PM   #11
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Bottom line, as Jeff suggested, "If you've got the work coming in to justify the costs, go for it.". You have to ask yourself what you'll be able to do with this camera that you cannot do with your XL1. Outside of broadcast techies, nobody gives a rat's patooty about dynamic ranges, contrast ratios or lens A -vs- lens B. Moving into 1/2" or 2/3" cameras is a very big financial stretch, easily deep into the tens of thousands of dollars.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 08:34 PM   #12
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A 1/2" chip camera like the JVC is a good way to get into a fully professional camera. The bigger chips will give you a better picture. Also, even though it's a pro camera, because it's a 1/2" chip one instead of 2/3" chips, its lenses are significantly cheaper. A decent lens for a 2/3" chip camera is close to $15,000; for a 1/2" one you can get something very acceptable for $2500, sometimes less. The stock lens that comes with the package is not wonderful, but it is probably batter than the lens that came with your XL1.

I used a rental JVC 500 shortly after they first came out. I thought the picture quality was good, but everybody around our place liked the look of the video from the DSR250 better, even though it has smaller chips. I think they were reacting to the smoothness that it had on closeups of people and the higher color saturation. To be fair to the JVC, I pretty much had to use it right out of the box. If you have a manual, which I didn't, you can spend some time and get it tweaked up to look pretty good, or so I've read.

Some things I didn't like about the JVC...the stock viewfinder; I couldn't get it adjusted so it was sharp to my eyes; and the shoulder pad was weird and caused the camera to tilt in toward your head when hand holding. I understand they fixed the pad in later models. I also thought the lens was kind of flimsy, and the camera overall didn't feel too solid.

However, it does get you into a pro camera for a small amount of money. And, you can upgrade the viewfinder later if you want; you can upgrade the lens later, and you probably could even get the newer shoulder pad.

The very early models had some difficulties...there was talk of bad pixels, although the masking circuitry took care of them, apparently; and there were some electromechanical difficulties. As far as I know, those problems lessened after the first run.

As somebody else posted, batteries cost more, and you'll need a decent tripod. However, the camera is probably only one or two pounds heavier than the XL1, so it's not like you need an O'Connor. I used the camera on one of those lightweight Sachtler DV tripods, and it was great.

Every camera has its advantages and disadvantages, but generally, the bigger the chips, the better. Check the hour meter, look for dead pixels, make sure the tape mechanism works ok, take the lens off and on carefully and make sure there's no problem with the mount.
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Old February 5th, 2003, 08:43 PM   #13
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Well, here's my current position...
I may have found a DV500 (with some accessories) for a good price, I can sell one of my XL1's localy and with that money buy the DV500 for about $500 more. I was planning on spending about $1000 on a XL1 tripod already, so I can probably swing $1500.

Do I neeeed it? Not really. Will it get me more work? I don't know, but I'd like to think so. Can I raise my rates because I have a bigger camera? Possibly. Will it impress women and make me popular with the cool kids? Absolutely! ;)
My bottom line is I want something that will make nicer pictures than my XL1 does. Most of the stuff I do is in situations where I have no control over lighting. I'm hoping the DV500 will make a big difference there.

However, I don't want to dig myself in a 5 digit money pit. Besides the camera and tripod, I don't have the budget to blow a lot more money on it. I'd like to know what other things I would have to get beyond batteries, tripod, case, that I wouldn't be buying for an XL1 anyway?

As far as the Panny DVX100, the main reason I want the DV500 is for the 1/2" CCDs for better contrast, lower light shooting, and shallower DOF.
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Old February 6th, 2003, 08:45 AM   #14
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If you're going to be shooting in low light conditions, the 500 is definitely a good move. The time I rented the JVC 500 was specifically for the kind of low light shooting conditions I expected. That was when I was still shooting BetacamSP with a BVW300 and before my new DVCAM cameras had arrived. So I used the JVC 500, and the second camera was an XL1. The event was a wedding. We don't do weddings, but it was a client's daughter, and you know how that goes. Anyway, I was shooting with the JVC at between f2.8 and 3.5, while the guy with the XL1 was wide open. Later on at the reception, he finally put away the XL1 and just assisted me with the JVC because of the low light. Nothing wrong with the XL1, but bigger chips work better in low light.
So, it's a good camera for that sort of thing.

As far as a tripod, you might look at Gitzo. I got a Gitzo 1338 system for use with a DSR250, but often I use it with the DSR500, which is a lot heavier, and it works great. Very light weight carbon fiber legs. I think it was around $1500 or so, and comes with a quality padded bag, quick release plate, and even a separate strap so you can carry the tripod easily without the bag if you want.

As far as what else you'd get, the only thing I can think of would be more batteries and maybe some filters. Specifically, a Tiffen 812 for warming, and maybe a 1/4 and a 1/2 Black Promist. The camera I used did run through batteries about as fast as my old BVW300. For my DSR500WS I have 6 BPL40's, which usually can get me through an all day shoot if I'm careful. I wouldn't go out with less than that. I used to have 8 NiCads with the 300.

Oh yeah, you might get a power supply too if you plan on doing any studio shooting or long interviews. That's cheaper than a big huge battery. IDX makes very nice compact ones that run cool for under $200.
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Old February 6th, 2003, 09:55 AM   #15
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THanks Bill, what size filters does it take?

Also another tripod question as well. Why wouldn't I be able to use a Manfrotto/Bogen 503 head with it? It's rated for 6kg, while the DV500 is 5kg loaded with batteries? I know it's probably better to go bigger, but we are talking a $1000 difference in tripods here.

ANyway, the final question for you all. Should I buy it? Yep, I'm putting you all on the spot now! ;)
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