Is it too early to start making product of the year lists? Granted, JVC announced their new trio of camcorders in December and plan to ship them in March, but to our list-obsessed eye there are a couple of contenders in their new lineup of the GY-HM170, GY-HM200 and LS-300.
The GY-HM170 and GY-HM200 are due to replace the much-beloved GY-HM150. As a sop to those of us who will be saying goodbye to a camera that has served us well, JVC have made the very reasonably priced GY-HM200 4k-capable and given it built-in FTP functionality, so you can stream 4K files (or at least their proxies) back to base while shooting in the field.
Of course, not everyone needs to shoot 4K at the moment – and even those of you who are asked to probably don’t need to all the time – but an affordable camera that’s capable of handling both your current workflow and a 4K one when you need it will give you added flexibility without you having to fork over too much of your hard-earned cash (we’re all broke in January, after all).
The GY-HM200 gives the option of shooting 4K Ultra HD, 4:2:2 full HD or streaming to the web – you just have to plug for the optional WiFi or 3G/4G modem, and you can connect directly to USTREAM or any number of other services. This on-board WiFi will also allow you to remotely control or view content from the camera, edit clip metadata and if FTP clips as long as you have the appropriate adaptor.
Its integrated 12x optical zoom lens and 4K CMOS sensor deliver stunning 4K Ultra HD recordings directly to SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and the camera comes complete with dual XLR audio inputs, HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs, and JVC’s dual codec Advanced Streaming Technology to boot.
The single 1/2.3-inch CMOS image sensor has 12.4 million pixels (9.03 active) and is paired with a high quality integrated 12x F1.2-3.5 zoom lens (35mm equivalent: 29.5-354mm). Dynamic zoom in HD mode combines optical zoom and pixel mapping to create seamless and lossless 24x zoom when recording in 4K Ultra HD (150 Mbps, 24/30p) to SDXC card or 4:2:2 full HD (24-60p) recording at 50Mbps.
The lower-end GY-HM170 comes has 12x zoom rather than 24, doesn’t include the same streaming functionality (though you can still record 4K footage out over HDMI) and, crucially, doesn’t have any audio capabilities beyond a mini jack, so if you have the money to hand, we’d recommend future-proofing yourself and opting for the GY-HM200.
This is a Super 35mm 4K camera for under £3K ex VAT. It supports a wide range of interchangeable lenses and uses them to shoot 4K Ultra HD, full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and web-friendly proxy files to SDHC media cards – you can even use dual codec recording to shoot two copies of your content simultaneously, or stream an HD feed to a site like USTREAM while simultaneously recording it to an SDHC card.
The GY-LS300 features a JVC/KENWOOD AltaSens 4K CMOS Super 35mm image sensor combined with an industry standard Micro 4/3″ lens mount, so any Super 35mm Cinema lenses you use will retain their native angle of view (as long as you’re using an appropriate adaptor). When the camera is used with Micro 4/3″, Super 16 and other size lenses, JVC’s proprietary Variable Scan Mapping feature will maintain the lens’s native angle of view. This gives you the flexibility to use widely available MFT lenses as well as high-end cinema lenses.
In terms of what it can record, you’re looking at 4K Ultra HD recording (150 Mbps, 24p/30p) to SDXC cards, or 4:2:2 Full HD recording at 50Mbps (24p-60p). HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs are available, though you can only get 4K output via HDMI, and there are professional two channel XLR audio inputs and a phantom power shotgun mic included.
Dual SDHC/SDXC slots enable dual, backup and continuous recording, while the advanced JVC streaming engine is compatible with USTREAM, Zixi and Wowza Streaming Engine, and enables remote control of your camera, remote viewing, metadata editing and FTR of clips (you’ll need an apator, as with the HM-200).