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HD200 user review

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Justin Ferar
HD200 user review
on Mar 1, 2007 at 6:50:41 am

HD200 user review

Just so you all know my level of experience and background- two thirds of my work is high end weddings ($5200-$10000) and the other third is corporate marketing and PR video, pretty much the same budget level as the weddings- about $5K per project. Been working 6 days a week for about eleven years now- some vacations in between.

Been using DSR-300 and 500 series for my whole career until two years ago when we purchased two JVC GY-DV5000's. Even shot the first wedding ever shot in HD with a HDW-F900 and an HDW-700 for a celebrity client a couple years ago.

It's hard to do a review on something so new because my only reference is the SD work I've been doing till now. I wish I could compare the HD200 to the Sony's or the Panny's but I'll have to get one of my buddies in here to do that. Maybe later.

In the end there was really only one choice- the JVC HD200 because:

A: the ergonomics for run and gun
B: fully manual replaceable lens
C: progressive scan
D: 60 fps (24 fps is just a bonus for narrative work down the road)
E: wireless mount (using ABFSKIT2)

We looked really hard at the Canon H1 but they never came out with a manual lens at the time and I was pretty committed to progressive scan anyway as 99 percent of our clients have LCD/Plasma displays.

So the only other choice was the Sony XDCAM. I received the promotional DVD from Sony and just wasn't very impressed. Not enough for the extra expense. Obviously the DVD was Standard Def- but that's a whole different conversation.

To begin with- the ergonomics are true. Controls are where they should be. The one downer is that the filter wheel no longer changes the white balance setting as they do with DSR and GY-DV series cameras when going from say no filter to filter 2. This is a nit pick but damn! Why change something that's been standard for 8 years!

The standard Fuji lens is fine for what we do. Definitely plenty of CA but I think we just have to bite the bullet on this one. $25K lenses have the same problem in the HD realm so if you are picky then stay away from the long end during contrasty situations. My only nit pick there is the speed of the servo zoom- SLOW! You get what you pay for. I've become adept at just flipping to manual, grabbing the zoom pin, crashing in, focusing and composing the shot.

Welcome to progressive scan! While I've never seen the Z1U or the HVX on the new JVC DT series monitors, the HD200 at 60p is something to behold. It took me a few days just to get over the wow factor before I started to notice the limitations of the camera (more like the limitations of the shooter!). I can report some noise in the image- but compared to what? Again I have not seen the Z1U or the HVX. Certainly it is not objectionable. I can report that with this cam and probably in the HD realm, one can no longer be as liberal as one was in the SD world. +3 is okay in a pinch, +6 is pretty much out of the question. Get used to slowing down the shudder speed for low light situations.

I found the color and detail settings fine right out of the box which is rare from my previous experience. I'm from the school of "shoot it as neutral as possible and tweak it in post." I went through the chroma/gamma/detail options and found plenty of customization for those who like to pre-process.

I'm not on the JVC payroll but I have to laud them for what they have done for small producers like myself. The HD200, the BR-HD50 HDV deck combined with the new DT series monitors have really put us in a position to make some money. Add in FCP and a Decklink Studio HDMI card and your set, hopefully for the next 10 years!


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