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New JVC 35 mbps 3 chip camera


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#1 Ladygodiver

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 12:11 AM

I've been waiting for months to get my hands on the new JVC HM100 compact "pro" camera...finally today had a chance to shoot some comparisons with my ageing Sony A1.

What a disappointment!!

The low light performance (ie showroom halogen lighting) of the JVC product is quite poor IMO...VERY noisy when compared to my old Sony. The 35 mbps didn't translate into any significant image sharpness improvement (for static shots, anyway). The subjective image quality (noise, sharpness, shadow detail and color) of what came out of the 1/3 inch CMOS Sony chip was way better than the 1/4 inch ccd's of the JVC "pro" camera...at relatively low light levels. Who cares how it performs in bright daylight...it certainly doesn't do the job for underwater work! I guess I'll have to wait for Sony to get around to bring out a compact 35 mbps camera...

#2 Drew

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:49 AM

That's interesting since the HVR-A1 has similar resolution chart results to the HM100 in tests. The A1 was certainly not great for lowlight, esp underwater. If this was a showroom camera, some people may have messed with the gain settings or gamma curves even.
From what I've seen of the pre-production camera, it was slightly better with gain and gamma controls available. That's what I like about the HM100. The ability to control the picture in such a small package.

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#3 Ladygodiver

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 02:30 AM

The camera was straight out of the box. The sales guys and I spent time tweaking it to optimize performance under the ambient lighting conditions. It's a "Pro Users" only store so the guys usually know what they are doing...they were also motivated to sell me a couple of A$6000 cameras!!

The noise/grain was really bad...unusable at those light levels (compared to my humble A1) I really had high hopes for this camera...pity JVC didn't go for a larger sensor. Nice camera otherwise (apart from the av out being accessible only when the LCD is open...stupid location.

Edited by Ladygodiver, 19 May 2009 - 02:31 AM.


#4 Drew

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 03:09 AM

The point of the camera is to use small sensors to keep the size down. How were you viewing the clips? On a HDTV via HDMI or ...? Or via a clip downloaded from memory card?
It's a new camera and unless those pro sales persons have handled a GY series camera, I would only count on JVC Pro reps to be able to optimize a camera. Actually I remember the auto mode was pretty darn good.

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#5 Ladygodiver

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:31 AM

It's not an overly complex camera to adjust...and auto mode is OK. One press WB is a plus.

The cameras were on a Velbon dual camera tripod attachment...about 20 scenes shot to tape/SD card...still frames captured in Edius 5 for detailed comparison...also viewed as native files on two matched 24 inch editing monitors...and through HDMI from laptop to Sony Bravia 52 inch HD lcd.


There's a trade-off each way...small sensors mean small cameras, but low light performance/noise is the problem. I guess each user has his/her preferred feature/performance balance. Something like the EX1 ...but with a removable top handle assembly is what I'd like to see. Even if it was a single CMOS to bring the overall size down. Even though JVC used pixel shift with half raster (I think) sensors to maximize individual pixel light sensitivity, a 1/4 inch sensor is just not up to the task as far as I can now see. In bright light I'm sure it would perform very well...the picture resolution was better than I expected for a "pixel shift" approach...i.e upscaling interpolation from a low pixel (not full HD) count sensor.

Edited by Ladygodiver, 19 May 2009 - 04:21 PM.


#6 jonny shaw

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 01:58 PM

Can you actually control the gain on the camera or is it auto gain only?

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#7 Ladygodiver

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 04:00 PM

Gain 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 dB, ALC

I based the comparison at Gain 0. Increasing the Gain significantly increased visible noise.

I prefer not to mess around with Gamma during shooting but leave it to the editing stage.

I never boost Gain when shooting in low light underwater (or use gimickery like "Black Stretch")...simply switch on the HID50's...But it's still good to have a camera with decent low light performance to begin with.

Edited by Ladygodiver, 19 May 2009 - 04:18 PM.


#8 jonny shaw

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:45 PM

That surprises me that you get grain at 0db. Do you have a screen grab to post?

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#9 Drew

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 12:29 AM

Gain 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 dB, ALC

I based the comparison at Gain 0. Increasing the Gain significantly increased visible noise.

I prefer not to mess around with Gamma during shooting but leave it to the editing stage.

I never boost Gain when shooting in low light underwater (or use gimickery like "Black Stretch")...simply switch on the HID50's...But it's still good to have a camera with decent low light performance to begin with.


That's very interesting since I thought at 0db, the image was quite clean and keep blacks very black with little noise. I felt even at +9db, the camera was doing ok. I just did looked at Phil Bloom's and Tim Daley's HM100 test clips (I'm on the road and don't have the test clips I did) and if 0db is noisy to you, then how would the HVR-A1 satisfy your standards? I've had the HVR-A1 for awhile, I'm very surprised you find that the lowlight is better on the HVR-A1. The camera suffers gain noise pretty quickly. I think the HM100 has is pretty good in lowlight, considering the size. If you can post a still from the clip with settings, I think we can find out more.

The issue of sensor size isn't that simple either. A 1/3" sensor seems to have less pixel density but a 3X 1/4" splits the light into R G B, so each 1/4" sensor is only responsible for one channel each. Depending on the DSP, the 3X sensor cameras can be more sensitive than a single large sensor. On top of that , you have the XDCAM EX codec, which is nice for motion and busy scenes

Regarding using the camera settings to adjust the picture, gamma curves and to a lesser extent, black stretch, gives the picture more latitude for post. Depending on the camera, adjusting the in-camera settings is crucial to getting the most out of the picture, since the image is not RAW but compressed. Getting the picture with the most latitude and color so that post is easier is what most productions do. Of course, this is for broadcast and film outs, but the principle is still the same.

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#10 Ladygodiver

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 01:08 AM

Have a look at:

http://www.dvinfo.ne...field-test.html

One person's comment...

"Looking at the raw clips, particularly looking at the sky, it appears the HM100 has a lot of grain/noise."

Another person's comment...

"I am pretty shocked. What's with all the video noise? "


My own test was a simple one to help decided whether to retire my old Sony A1 or not...what I found was that the new JVC was not enough incentive to do so...

Edited by Ladygodiver, 20 May 2009 - 01:18 AM.


#11 Drew

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:31 AM

In Tim's clips inside the car, that's color channel noise caused by the blue sky, you get a little bit of that in every camera. Note that the noise isn't as pronounced in the other clips?
You get the same thing in stills with blue sky backgrounds.
You can reduce it with -ve detail settings as the camera is trying to do a Sony and have contrasty over sharp look.
Google Phil Bloom's review clip. It's pretty darn good.

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#12 DeanB

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 07:07 AM

A1's Rock... :)

I use the Grain as an effect when in murky green waters... Gives the feel of being in a 'lowlight' place...

Well thats my excuse...

I thought my A1 performed superbly in the Red Sea (great condtions) down to about 15M... As seen on my 42" HD Bravia

Phillip Bloom is an amazing shooter he could make a Hi8 look like RED... :)

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