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JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications

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Michael Cummins
JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Aug 9, 2009 at 3:51:40 am

I'm looking for some hard-cut information on the JVC GY-HD200UB camcorder.

I've been using the Canon XH-A1 for over a year now, but have been looking into a different camera for either my company's next purchase, or possibly something for myself should I go solo for awhile. A couple things I don't like about the XH-A1 are 1) the variable-aperture lens only allowing a fstop of 3.2 (I think) when zoomed all the way in (though the 20x is nice), 2) the brick form-factor (I was raised on Sony DSR-250s and would like to go back to a shoulder-mount), 3) the useLESSness of the EVF and having to rely on the LCD, which displays brighter than is actually being layed to tape, and 4) lack of lens interchangeablity for special projects. So this leads to the following questions.

What I probably most disliked about the XH-A1 was the variable-aperture lens. I don't have much interchangeable lens experience, but I'm assuming the Fugi 16x1 isn't variable-aperture and will allow me to shoot wide open when I'm zoomed all the way in. Is this right?

What option do I have if I want to rent other lenses for specialty projects?

I used to have an old still camera that had a "bayonet mount" for its two lenses. Is this the same bayonet mount on this JVC? If so, does this open the opportunity to use prime lenses or do I need some sort of adapter to make sure it's projecting the right size image into the camera? I've heard there's an image-flip switch for use with a diopter, and thought it might be because of this.

I've heard some stories from a couple people about some cameras, including the JVC GY series that allow you to bypass the HDV compression via firewire for a better 4:2:2 colorspace or just more bits per frame. Now, I understand these are mostly "he said she said" stories, but is there any truth to this rumor?

I've never worked with Anton Bauer batteries before. How many hours can I expect off a fully charged battery with the LCD open?

Recently I've been a one-man band when running simple interview setups, having to run my Sennheiser G2 radio mic directly into the camera, and handling audio levels on-the-fly without any mixer. This doesn't give me problems unless I'm in a really noisy environment (like a manufacturing plant) in which case I'd be using some beefed up headphones. Can the ear piece be removed?

Does the VU meter show up in the EVF?

Are the audio level controls easy to get to with your left hand while shooting?

I don't know how useful this is, but the XH-A1 has a +12dB boost in the audio menus for mics directly connected to the camera. Does the JVC have something like this?

Where do babies come from?

I've seen some reviews and heard talk about problems with dead pixels from the 200 series. Is this on the LCD, EVF, or the recorded image on tape?

I've mostly done product DVDs and primarily use the 1080i60 format on the XH-A1. The specs for the JVC have only 60p and 30p options, yet I saw in a review where there's an option for 1080i when recording via firewire. Is this 1080i option actually available, and if so is it not available for tape recording as well? What, then, is the best HD frame rate for delivery to widescreen DVD? I like the flexibility of reframing some shots in post.

Haven't shot 24p since the first days of the DVX-100b. Is "true 24 frames progressive" still as stroby at about 1/48th shutter?

Could there possibly be an end to this list questions?

How's about the low-light performance compared to the XH-A1? Any real issues if I have to shoot on medium gain inside a factory?

I've heard that the GY-series integrates perfectly with FCP, and that it's completely incompatible with FCP. I'm currently running the latest update in FCP6. Are any detectability issues resolved with FCP7?

Is the GY-series' HDV compression long-GOP or short-GOP?

Thanks for any help you can offer in answering this plethora of questions.


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Mike Johnson
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Aug 9, 2009 at 3:31:24 pm

A couple things I don't like about the XH-A1 are 1) the variable-aperture lens only allowing a fstop of 3.2 (I think) when zoomed all the way in (though the 20x is nice)

A lot of lenses do this. It called F-drop. Not sure why, but is very common on the"prosumer" style cameras. JVC's new HM700 has a Canon lens option that has no F-drop. But its a very wide lens (4.4 to 62mm). The Fugi 16x that comes with the HD200 has no F-drop as well. Either way it will be an adjustment from the 20x your used to. I do know the 17x Fugi that comes with the HM700 does have F-drop, but its not as extreme as the XH-A1.

3) the useLESSness of the EVF and having to rely on the LCD, which displays brighter than is actually being layed to tape

The HD200 does not have a good EVF either. Mine causes me eye strain after about 30 min of use. The LCD is much easier to work with, but like you said, its not accurate. I will say that on the XH-A1 you do have a lot more adjustment controls for the LCD display than the HD200 does, so you can at least get close.

What I probably most disliked about the XH-A1 was the variable-aperture lens. I don't have much interchangeable lens experience, but I'm assuming the Fugi 16x1 isn't variable-aperture and will allow me to shoot wide open when I'm zoomed all the way in. Is this right?

Yes, this is correct. I shoot wide open at full zoom and get an amazing depth of field.

What option do I have if I want to rent other lenses for specialty projects?

Depends on what rental houses in your area offer. Any 1/3" bayonet mount HD lens should fit the HD200. You can also get adapters to go to 1/2" bayonet, PL mount, and 35mm DSLR lenses.

I used to have an old still camera that had a "bayonet mount" for its two lenses. Is this the same bayonet mount on this JVC?

More than likely not.

If so, does this open the opportunity to use prime lenses or do I need some sort of adapter to make sure it's projecting the right size image into the camera? I've heard there's an image-flip switch for use with a diopter, and thought it might be because of this.

You can use SLR and DSLR lenses with an adapter. There's the Letus35 which mounts to the filter threads on the end on the lens that allows to you use 35mm SLR and DSLR lenses. Its pricey and I don't like the fact that it mounts to the end of the camera's lens. The other option I recently found is a 1/3" bayonet to 35mm Nikon adapter. http://www.mtfservices.com/mtf-products-list/mounts-and-adaptors/82-nikon-g... This allows you to add any Nikon mount 35mm SLR or DSLR lens directly to any of the ProHD 1/3" JVC cameras with only this adapter. I've read lots of great reviews, but haven't tried it myself yet.

I've heard some stories from a couple people about some cameras, including the JVC GY series that allow you to bypass the HDV compression via firewire for a better 4:2:2 colorspace or just more bits per frame. Now, I understand these are mostly "he said she said" stories, but is there any truth to this rumor?

You can bypass recording to tape, but I'm not so sure about the 4:2:2 rumor. It could depend on the capabilities of your HDD recorder.

I've never worked with Anton Bauer batteries before. How many hours can I expect off a fully charged battery with the LCD open?

I love 'em and don't want to use anything else. The Dionic 90 is amazing. On the HD200, you can expect just short of 4 hours of continuous record time on one charge with the Dionic 90.

Can the ear piece be removed?

Yes.

Does the VU meter show up in the EVF?

Yes, if you set the display settings to do so.

Are the audio level controls easy to get to with your left hand while shooting?

Yes. They can be a bit hard to find, being so small.

I don't know how useful this is, but the XH-A1 has a +12dB boost in the audio menus for mics directly connected to the camera. Does the JVC have something like this?

Yes, but rather than having to go into a menu, there is a mic/line switch.

Where do babies come from?

Well, it all starts with the birds and the bees...

I've seen some reviews and heard talk about problems with dead pixels from the 200 series. Is this on the LCD, EVF, or the recorded image on tape?

Its an issue with the CCDs. There is an advanced menu that lets you reset the CCDs and rids you of the dead pixels. Just google HD200 dead pixels and you should find instructions on it.

I've mostly done product DVDs and primarily use the 1080i60 format on the XH-A1. The specs for the JVC have only 60p and 30p options, yet I saw in a review where there's an option for 1080i when recording via firewire. Is this 1080i option actually available, and if so is it not available for tape recording as well?

The JVC HD series does not shoot 1080i. It shoots 720p. The nice thing about it though, is its a full 1280x720. With 1080i HDV camera you record at 1440x1080 with anamorphic pixels. I always shoot 720p30. If your finishing in SD, this still gives you options for reframing in post. Yes, the firewire output does allow you to do 1080i to an HDD recorder. I've compared the 1080i60 format of the Canon XH-A1 and XL-H1A with the 720p30 format of the JVC HD200, and I think the image quality from the HD200 is a little better.

Haven't shot 24p since the first days of the DVX-100b. Is "true 24 frames progressive" still as stroby at about 1/48th shutter?

Not sure. I shoot in 30p. Haven't had a need to shoot 24p.

Could there possibly be an end to this list questions?

I hope so...

How's about the low-light performance compared to the XH-A1? Any real issues if I have to shoot on medium gain inside a factory?

Low light performance is better than the XH-A1. Medium and even high gain on the HD200 is usable if need be, and much better than the Canon.

I've heard that the GY-series integrates perfectly with FCP, and that it's completely incompatible with FCP. I'm currently running the latest update in FCP6. Are any detectability issues resolved with FCP7?

I have had no issues with FCP6. Just be sure that you provide plenty of pre and post roll when you shoot. I don't know if its FCP or the camera, but I lose exactly 6 seconds between shots when I capture. Its annoying the first time, but after that, I just roll tape for 10 seconds prior to the take.

Is the GY-series' HDV compression long-GOP or short-GOP?

Long. I believe all HDV tape is long. But I could be wrong.

Thanks for any help you can offer in answering this plethora of questions."

Hope it helps!




Mike Johnson

Final Cut Pro Editor

Drury Outdoors

http://www.druryoutdoors.com


View Mike Johnson's profile on LinkedIn


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Phil Balsdon
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Aug 11, 2009 at 12:34:09 am

Just to clarify a couple of things.

The B series of the HD200U will record 1080i to optional hard disc or SxS memory cards.

The firewire does not bypass the HDV compression to an external recorder, you can do this using component outputs via an external device from AJA http://www.aja.com/products/io/io-hd.php or Matrox http://www.matrox.com/video/en/products/mxo2/.

Babies are no longer thought to come from birds and bees.

JVC HDV is short-GOP (6 frames) as opposed to Sony and others which is 15 frame long-GOP

If you liked the on shoulder operation of theSony DSR 250 you'll love the ergonomics and simplicity of the JVC ProHD cameras.

Cinematographer, Steadicam Operator, Final Cut Pro Post Production.
http://www.steadi-onfilms.com.au/


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Tom Clarke
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Aug 19, 2009 at 1:37:51 am

great camera. fully compatible with FCP.


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Michael Cummins
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Aug 19, 2009 at 10:37:40 am

Excellent! That's what I was waiting to hear! "Great camera. Fully compatible with FCP." Haha.

Thank you everyone for your feedback. If my office decides to get another camera this year or early next, do you think it'd be worth it mixing this camera's footage with a Canon XH-A1?
I may have to run down to the local rental house and do some side-by-side comparisons with their HD100.


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Lonnie Juli
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Sep 1, 2009 at 9:33:35 pm

The internal processing in the 100 and 200 series cameras is different. If you like the 100, you'll love the 200.

Lonnie

Lonnie Juli
Brooklyn, NY


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Lonnie Juli
Re: JVC GY-HD200UB Clarifications
on Sep 1, 2009 at 8:49:28 pm

Michael,

I really like my HD200B. It's not perfect but it does all sorts of things well.

I have the 17x5, not the stock 16x5.5. These fujinon video lenses are constant aperture. Wide open at the zoom limit yields very shallow depth of field.

The lenses can be hard to find for rental and are pretty pricey to buy. A good auxillary lens may be a better option.

The bayonet is not the same as your still lenses. There are mechanical adapters that allow still lenses (Nikon and Canon) to mount but be aware that a 50mm lens is not wide angle on a 1/3" chip. It's roughly the equvalent of a 350mm lens on a 35mm still camera.

The flip function is for use with DOF adapters like Brevis, Letus and Redrock Micro. It allows you to use 35mm lenses for "real" 35mm depth of field. The flip function negates the need for a prism or flip module. Take a look here for my setup: http://www.cinevate.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3054

You can use the HD component outputs for 4:2:0 uncompressed video. A component (analog) to HD SDI converter is pretty useful.

I use Anton Bauer Dionic 90 batteries. With a firestore and tape I get about 3 - 3.5 hours per charge. The Trimpac sold in the JVC kit will give about half that capacity.

The earpiece comes off but it makes a dandy place to lean your cheek when you lower it. The camera has two headphone jacks to make things easier.

The audio meter and just about everything else are available in the EVF and on the LCD. Both the EVF and the LCD are pretty good but remember that the entire camera costs less than some pro viewfinders. Realistic expectations, please!

The audio input controls are just behind the lens on the left side and are easy to reach. There are also auto settings for each channel when you are really stuck.

There are two mic sensitivity settings and there seems to be plenty of gain in the preamps.

People who don't spend too much time on line can actually find others like themselves and make babies.

Stuck pixels are common to all these types of cameras, no matter who makes them. JVC provides pixel masking as part of the camera's service menu and publishes the instructions on how to make the fix.

The HDV tape format omly support 720p. The firewire port (on the "B" model) has an 1080i output that can be recorded on something like a firestore. It's up-rezzed from the 720 x 1280 imager but it's really very good.

The 24p has that certain look. Don't shoot at fast shutter rates (small angles) and it won't be jumpy. It's one of those "you either like it or you don't" things. The 60p looks great and so does the 24p in my opinion.

We're getting to the end... I hope.

The HD-200B does not have great low light performance. There is 18dB gain available but grain and noise do show up. There are slow shutter tricks that work for slow movements but I just add more light and make believe it's the good old days.

I'm not an FCP user. The only issue I have with my editor is that the Time Code doesn"t always get through. I still use a hard slate so it's a minor issue for me.

HDV compression is short-GOP at 6 frames.

The camera handles like a dream and beat some Sony 1400 and 1500 series 2/3" HD cameras in side by side viewer tests. The 200B has no Time Code or genlock in and out or built in SDI like the 250 but the 250 can't do 1080i via firewire. The HD-200B is for field aquisition and the 250 is more for a studio environment.

There is even an adapter that allows Sony SxS cards to be used with the 200B.

I record in 720p to tape and firestore and use the tape as archive/backup only. The firestore is dumped to my editing system and I am ready to go. The firestore made for this camera records HD as FCP .mov files for Apple folks and as .M2T for the rest of us.

As long as low light sensitivity isn't your highest priority, I would recommend the camera highly and I would recommend Lisa Gualtieri at EC Professional Video in NYC as a dealer. They have been great!

Whatever camera you decide on it will be the person using it that makes the most difference.

Good luck,

Lonnie



Lonnie Juli
Brooklyn, NY


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