JVC Debutes New 4K Cinema Camera, Shipping March

At NAB 2014 JVC showed two new Super35mm 4K camera prototypes under glass. These were concepts that were said to be shipping before the end of 2014. Now, at the end of 2014 JVC has officially debuted two 4K cameras… to begin shipping in early spring of 2015. And they’re not quite the same 4K cameras we saw at NAB.

First, we have the JVC GY-LS300. This is most similar to the NAB unit, then called the GY-LSX2. The design is a very compact ENG-style camera body, similar to a JVC GY-HM150. The camera uses a Super35mm CMOS sensor of JVC’s own design. It can record 4K internally in a h.264 (mpeg4/AVC4K type) format. It’s Long-GOP, 4:2:0, 8-bit, maximum 150mbps. This is very similar to the codec that the Panasonic GH4 or HC-X1000 use. The JVC camera maxes out at 30p in 4K. The camera can also shoot 1080p in a 4:2:2 50mbps mpeg2 (XDCam422-type) format, up to 60p. The LS300 will be selling for $4,450

The camera uses a Micro Four Thirds lens mount, but not a Micro Four Thirds sensor. The intention behind using a M4/3rds mount was to allow the use of the wide range of 3rd party adapters that are already on the market. Obviously adapting to EF-mout, PL-mount, or F-mount from M4/3rds is very easy.

The second camera is described as having the same “back half” as the LS300, but with a 1/2 1CMOS sensor and an integrated 12x powered servo zoom lens. The lens is equivalent to a 30-355mm f/1.2-3.5 zoom. The camera is called the GY-HM200. The HM200 is scheduled to ship late February, 2015. The HM200 will be selling for $2995.

There were two other cameras shown. JVC is producing a model called the GY-HM170. The HM170 appears to be virtually identical to the HM200 with a few exceptions. It lacks the dual channel XLR audio input and it lacks certain I.P. control and streaming features that the HM200 has. There is a $500 price difference, with the HM170 coming in at $2495. Finally, at NAB ’14 JVC showed a larger, shoulder mount cinema camera with a 4K Super35mm sensor. That prototype was still on display at the recent Japan IBEE show. Now word on when that would come to market but JVC suggested that it would have a more robust codec and be targeted at a higher end market.

Professional Video has been an authorized JVC dealer for nearly 25 years. I’m very excited about these new JVC cameras. I’m glad to see the brand remaining relevant in the market. It’s always nice to see other players besides the Canon/Sony usual suspects. I’m taking pre-orders for all the new JVC cameras now. Contact me for more information, 503-598-9142, epetrie@provideoandtape.com .

Here’s the official JVC website for these new products. News Shooter.com has a brief interview with a JVC rep on the products.

Post by Eric C. Petrie

JVC w: Canon

GY-LS300 GY-LS300 GY-HM200 GY-LS300 JVC Prototype

NAB ’14 Camera Recap: What Did We Really Get

The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:

Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim 

High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.

ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.

Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.

Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.

Post by Eric C. Petrie


JVC Enters Cinema Market

JVC has long been known for making quality and affordable ENG cameras. They have long been a solid alternative to Panasonic or Sony in broadcast situations. JVC is gearing up to become the affordable alternative in the cinema world. JVC has shown 3 prototype cameras, all 4K, all using a Super35mm sensor. JVC Kenwood company recently acquired a semi-conductor firm that now allows them to build their own imaging sensors. Two of the cameras are traditional single-piece cameras, the third is a camera head that can be used in remote situations such as in a fly rig (think NFL zip-line camera). Even though all the models are being deemed “prototypes” and thus not guaranteed to come to market, they do all have official model numbers.

The first camera is a very small hand held ENG camera body that is a very similar to the JVC HM150. This is the first time we’ve seen a “cinema” camera take a form factor that is much more similar to a compact ENG camera. JVC is clearly, and admittedly, aiming this camera at broadcast news and live coverage. JVC claims that the ENG market is very interested in the “cinema look” that is generated by the current crop of cinema cameras but does not want to depart from the familiar form factor and body style that ENG users have grown accustom to. Thus the GY-LSX2 lets operators use the camera essentially as they would an HM150, but with interchangeable lenses and a Super35 sensor. The rest of the camera runs down like this. The lens mount is an active Micro Four Thirds. This is an interesting choice because most hot Micro Four Thirds lenses don’t have an imaging area large enough to cover Super35mm. Some Olympus lenses apparently do. As do some from third party Micro Four Thirds companies like Zeiss and Sigma. Another benefit of using the Micro Four Thirds mount is that it is very easily adapted to other systems. It can be adapted to F mount or PL mount with a simple metal tube adapter. The camera also does support Micro Four Thirds under scanned cropping of the sensor if you should want to use standard MFT lenses that don’t cover Super35mm. The camera records to AVC-4K h.264 codec. This could be a 100mbps 4:2:0 8-bit Long-GOP format, JVC said final specs haven’t been locked in. If so this would be a highly compressed 4K format, which would have it’s own pros and cons. JVC also mentioned 240 frame per second recording in H.D. resolution. They said there target price point for this piece will be under $6K

The second camera, the GY-LSX1, is a shoulder mount ENG style camera body that has a PL mount. They mention using converters for 2/3” B4 mount ENG lenses but whether they intend on building these themselves or rely on 3rd parties was unclear. Such converters do exist though typically there is loss of both light and optical resolution due to taking a lens designed with a 2/3” image circle and blowing it up to a 1.7” image circle. This camera would record in the same codec as the handheld camera, 100mbps, 4:2:0, 8-bit, Long-GOP (subject to possible change).The camera would also feature the same 240 frame per second H.D. recording but would offer 60p 4K recording as oppose to being limited to 30p like the hand held camera. JVC says the target price is under $20K but i would have to believe that it would be much lower due to cameras with similar specs being announced at this NAB for below $10k. JVC claims they will have 4K Super35mm cinema cameras on the market before the end of the year. Post by Eric C. Petrie


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JVC Slid

JVC Slid 2

JVC Announced 2 New ENG Camcorders: HM850 & HM890

JVC has just added two new models–the GY-HM890 and GY-HM850—to its line of shoulder-mount camcorders. Compared to the current HM750 & HM790 cameras these have an all new design “Fujinon” branded lens, feature a 50mbps flavor, and have built-in streaming capability, which allows transmission of images from the cameras in full HD through 4G LTE connectivity. The “Fujinon” lens appears to be more similar to the “Fujinon” lens that Sony uses on the PMW300, it has image stabilization, autofocus, and features semi mechanical/semi servo rings for zoom, focus, and iris. The HM700-series always came with true traditional ENG style lenses with pure mechanical action and external servo controls. Internally it still records ether AVCHD(h.264/mpeg4) at 24mbps 4:2:0 or XDCam (mpeg2) at 4:2:0 35mbps. It also records in a vague non-descrpt h.264 50mbps mode. My speculation is that this is simply a higher bit rate version of AVCHD, but technically AVCHD does not support 50mbps, so they can’t call it that. However the 50mbps mode makes no mention of being at a higher color space. Therefore i must conclude that the 50mbps mode is also 4:2:0.

“We believe the future is with the live video streaming and FTP service fully integrated into the camera, as demonstrated with the new GY-HM890 and GY-HM850,” said Edgar Shane, general manager of engineering at JVC Professional Products division. “With the recent advancements in 4G LTE availability and bandwidth, service providers can deliver reliable high-speed connections that can support HD streaming with a single modem. This technology is here now, and will continue to progress and improve.”

The cameras can either transfer files in the background as operators continue to capture content or transmit live scenes in real time using JVC’s Advanced Streaming Technology, which provides “content-aware” error correction, bandwidth shaping and feedback of streaming status.

Both cameras use JVC’s 1/3-inch 2.07 effective megapixel CMOS sensors to capture 1920 x 1080 images and include Fujinon 20X wide-angle lenses with auto focus, optical stabilization and chromatic aberration correction. These interchangeable 1/3-inch bayonet-mount lenses also feature manual focus, zoom, and iris adjustment capabilities.

The GY-850 may also be used for studio production or multi-camera field applications as it accommodates the company’s fiber or multicore camera cable modules and can be used in a studio sled configuration and with external viewfinders and box-style lenses.

“The new HM800 Series are the most feature-rich ProHD camcorders we’ve ever produced,” said Craig Yanagi, manager, marketing and brand strategy, JVC Professional Products. “They truly provide broadcasters the tools to be first on-air and first online. With a 4G LTE modem that you plug directly to the camera or a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot that you keep in your pocket, you can go live to the broadcast studio or the Web. Add the new technology standards of broadcast ENG delivery with the full studio capabilities of the GY-HD890 and this is by far the most innovative line of professional camcorders available today.”

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JVC Announces Interchangeable Lens 4k Camera

NOTE: For the moment at least this camera has been announced as Japan only. However it shows that this or something like this will probably come to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.

JVC has announced the latest edition to their 4k camera line, and this time it features interchangeable lenses. The JVC GY-HMQ30 will capture up to 60p in 4K using an MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec. It has an 8 megapixel 1.25″ sensor, which works out at approximately 2.5 crop compared to full frame. Thats the same size as the Blackmagic 2k camera.

The Nikon F lens mount is a great addition over the fixed lens version, the GY-HMQ10. However it appears the new camera will not support auto focus. F-mount means that manual iris Nikon lenses (which they still make today) will work perfectly. Also Zeiss has used F-mount forma long time. It records to 4 SDHC cards, each card recording a quarter of the screen to achieve 4k resolution. 4X 32gig cards offer around 2 hours of footage.

Final Cut users will be happy to know that JVC’s clip manager provides support for Apple ProRes 422. Audio is captured via an in-built stereo mic, plus 2 XLR inputs. It also provides +48v phantom power. Other features include a full 4k time-lapse function (1,5 or 40 second intervals), and a Full HD trimming function. This allows you to pick an area of the 4k image using the touchscreen, and record a quarter sized crop at 1920X1080 resolution.

The camera is shipping soon in Japan at the equivalent retail price of $18,000. This is surely subject to change, and will likely creep down as the camera comes to the U.S.

With 4K fast becoming the standard for companies’ flagship lines, it’s seems pretty clear where the industry is heading over the next few years, especially with computing companies such as Apple now integrating 4K into their new releases. Panasonic, would you like to show us a 4k camera so we know you still exist?  Post by Eric C. Petrie