Review of JVC GY HM 100.

17
Apr
2009
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I first saw this camera at BVE at Earl’s Court earlier this year and thought it was very tasty. Small form factor, a little larger than the Sony A1e but lighter, shoots at XDCAM EX compatible 35mbps full HD on nice and cheap SDHC cards in native FCP quicktime, a nice feature. Downers were the slightly fiddly controls and only 1/4″ ccd chips. But I still was itching to get my hands on it.

I emailed JVC before I even saw it at BVE saying I would love to review it, as an owner of a JVC HD201 and a fan of it, was really keen to try out the new 700 and 100.

Eventually when there was one available I did a review of the 700 which you can see here and when I met with JVC I said would love to review the 100 as well. To be honest I was more excited about the 100 than the 700 as I already own a Sony EX3 and EX1 and the 700 wouldn’t be something I would really need. But the 100 looked bloody interesting. A really small camera with broadcast quality images totally compatible with my EX3.

Yesterday I finally got my hand on it and guess what? I love it! This was a pre-production model so maybe the production one will be even better?

r0011672My gear reviews have been evolving somewhat over that past year since I did my first one almost a year ago for NAB, that was the EX3. Since then I have tried to make them more interesting and less static. The last one I did, for the JVC 700, had two other people helping me. Dennis Lennie shot the Letus Elite PTCs and Mark Dawson shot the behind the scenes stuff of my in Battersea Park. This time it was just me, well almost just me, my friend Joe Shaw, him of “The Echo” popped over for 20 minutes to help, you will understand once you have seen the video!

I recently did a blog about filming in public places so I thought I would try and take the JVC to some places where permission was needed and see if I could look like a tourist but film like a professional…So I took two 16gb cards, one lone little battery as it was all JVC had, a small camera bag, a baby cinesaddle (the large Cinesaddle is the single most useful piece of camera gear I can recommend to anyone!) and my Macbook Pro in case I overshot and needed to dump down. No tripod, no car, no 35mm adaptor, no lenses. Basically travelling really light! Image stabiliser was good once zoomed in a little.

It was a lot of fun, all done guerilla style, I got away with filming everywhere I wanted to and wasn’t looked at or questioned once. Such a pleasure and the camera is so light…the only heavy thing was my laptop! I had to stop halfway through the day and popped into Soho House to recharge the battery for an hour, bit of a pain, but the Hendricks and Tonic went down a treat.

Two other cameras were used to shoot this review. 90% was shot on the JVC HM100, a very small section was shot on the HVX200 and the stuff in my edit suite was shot on the EX3. As you can see the JVC stood up pretty well compared to them and was certainly sharper than the HVX, sorry Joe (and thanks SO much for helping out!)

Likes…the picture quality is superb. The recording to SDHC is cheap and super reliable. Tapeless recording is quite wonderful. I actually seemed to find the image slightly less noisy than the HM700. So light and the full auto function and auto focus worked really well. I almost never use this feature but wanted to review it as I am sure many people will use it. It was quite subtle, especially the auto iris. There is no overcrank or undercrank but you can shoot in 720p 50/60p then use compressor to convert to 25p slow motion really easily and the results are excellent. The LCD and viewfinder were good. HDMI out is nice. Proper separate gain controls just like a full size pro camera, same with the WB. Nice menu options. Loved the ability to take handle off making camera VERY small.

Dislikes…The iris control should at least be at the front of the camera even if it can’t be a wheel. Having it at the back is a pain. Same with shutter. But at least you have full manual control over focus, iris, shutter and gain. 1/4″ chips do kind of suck in low light compared to 1/3″ but surprisingly it still performed OK, especially as I tweaked the gamma when it got dark to compensate meaning I didn’t have to use so much gain. No timelapse or interval recording. Shame. Needs a separate zoom wheel independent of the focus wheel which is switchable between zoom and focus. servo zooms are just horrible and I never use the. I wish I had shot with detail off, I normally always do. I found some of the edges to be too sharp. Don’t use details guys!

But mostly the camera is really really good. Whether you want it as an B camera for you 700 or your EX cameras or to be honest any camera. It has a terrific full auto mode so you can give it to producers to shoot with (oh dear) but you can control it fully yourself and get some cracking images out of it.

You won’t be surprised to know  I want one. What a great little camera to take around!

No laws were broken during the making of this video and PLEASE don’t try what I did halfway through or you will be shot ;-). I cheated on that one a little!! Obviously the parts where it says ungraded are the ungraded pics raw out of the camera. The rest are graded with Magic Bullet Looks.

Thanks so much to the band “Davito” for their kind permission to use their track “Disconnect”. Please visit their website here

Click here to see the video review.

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Comments

  1. [...] natt til lørdag har Philip Bloom lagt ut sin video-anmeldelse av dette kameraet på sitt nettsted. Philip har i over 20 år jobbet med video både bak kamera, [...]

  2. Avery says:

    Thank you, Philip, for taking time to do this review. I have anxiously been waiting for footage from this camera since it was announced. It is kind of amazing that no one, that I know of has actually gotten their hands on a production model yet. What’s the deal? I believe this camera is supposed to be shipping at the end of this month.

    Thanks again.

    Avery

  3. Dan Dobi says:

    what about not being able to ZOOM and FOCUS at the same time? I saw an image that the wheel doubles as a ZOOM and FOCUS ? How did you feel about that?

    1. pbloom says:

      Hey Dan. Its gonna be 4 hours before that video is up on XR. My upload connection is painfully slow tonight.

      Yes, if you want to use the focus wheel as a zoom you cannot focus. You have to use the servo zoom to maintain manual focus.

      ideally I would want EX1 style controls on all lenses for all cameras. Not gonna happen though!

  4. Thanks for the review Philip :-) Just waiting to see the movie :-)

  5. Mark Gibson says:

    Excellent. I have stayed up till now but so glad you have got your hands on this. I have been looking at the web site every day since I saw Rick’s piece when it was announced. I have read so much negative on it but my gut feeling was that it was going to be much better and I want one now as well!!!

    1. pbloom says:

      Hi Mark,

      I have read nothing about it. So I came to it pretty fresh. What negative stuff has been said? Sure it’s not perfect but it performs really really well!

      p

      1. Mark Gibson says:

        if you have an email I’ll send some of the links. These are guys who have never used the camera so its all speculation about size of chips etc and as the proof is in the pudding so to speak I don’t think its fair to the camera or JVC to list the links here.
        What is amazing is that since it came out I have trailed the internet looking for a review of someone who has tested it and you are actually the first in the English speaking world to post a review!!!!
        Is the footage still uploading or have you gone to bed?

  6. Colin Rowe says:

    I spoke to JVC UK last week, they said release would be early May

  7. Nigel Ellis says:

    Hi Philip,
    I saw one briefly at a trade show in San Francisco a few months back. It looks great. I want to mount it on my airplane. My EX1 bounces around like crazy because of the crap base plate and the microphone gets caught in the wind and transmits vibration to the lens. This seems to be a great solution – small size, removable mic and 35 mbps. Did the base plate look more beefier and flatter than the EX1? I never got to see it off the sticks. Can you take it to NAB for a few days so I can whack it on my cessna? :-) Might have a few bugs on it when I return it though!!
    Cheers,
    Nigel Ellis

  8. John Hamlik says:

    Thanks for doing the review, I’ve been looking for a B camera to use along with the EX1. How do you think it would do in a Symphony environment with stage lighting ? With the EX1 I don’t need any gain in the venue where I shoot. Do you think one could somewhat color match the two ?

    Thanks again for all you do, it is much appreciated.

    John

  9. Thank you, thank you…

  10. Michael C. says:

    Couple of out-of-focus shots, event though the subject – you – were in the middle. Not good. Also, the grading is too heavy to my tastes. Were you trying to cover up narrow latitude or incorrect choice of gamma settings? I would prefer footage with less contrast and more detail in whites and shadows.

    1. pbloom says:

      there are clean shots without grading. I wasn’t hiding anything! Just grading it fit the style of video I was going for! Which shots were out of focus?

      1. Michael C. says:

        00:17-00:18, though it is hard to say, you are moving, no biggie. In 1:56-2:00 focus is definitely on the background despite that your face is right smack in the middle of the frame. I don’t know whether it was you filming yourself with the HM100, or somebody else filming you. In 4:48-5:00 the same thing, but this is somebody else – mirror mode – filming you, so not the HM100′s fault :-) 6:08-6:32, I assume that this is you filming yourself with the camera set on a beanbag, it might have been an artistic choice to show the observation wheel instead of yourself, but I usually expect a talking head to be in focus :-)

        No problems with ungraded footage. Did you say that you shot most (all?) stuff in auto mode? Did you do it with autofocus on, except for ungraded artistic portions?

        I would buy this camera in a heartbeat if it were about $2,000. But for $3,500-4,000 I don’t think so. I don’t care much about MPEG-2 vs. AVCHD. Comparing the HM100 and the HMC150 (cheaper, bigger sensor), which one would you prefer? The HMC150 is bigger, so guerilla shots might have been harder. How much harder?

        1. pbloom says:

          Wow…you are harsh!

          The first shots were too close for minimal focus, probably needed to be on macro. It was on auto though so who knows. Second shot same. To do those sort of shots you need a w-angle really.

          The end PTC guess the auto focus didn’t know what the key as as I was in less than half the frame. THAT is why I use manual focus and never use auto modes. But when filming yourself it’s that bit harder.

          All the artistic stuff was in full manual mode. Most of the train shots where I was filming people was all in full manual mode.

          Yes it is too expensive really, but I have never used the HMC150 so i can’t comment… it is a fair bit bigger though…

          It’s normally a tripod that gives you away to be honest. Am sure an HMC150 or 171 with Cinesaddle woudn’t get you into too much trouble.

  11. Peter says:

    Hi Philip,
    Thanks for the review.
    I am at a cross roads here. As a shooter, I’ve only used an HDV HV30 from canon, for the last year. So I am at a point where I really need to make an investment
    Is this the step to take? Should I look to something beefier in the same price range, or a little more?
    I do a lot of run and gun; be it dance, documentation and reality style shooting.
    So this looks too good to be true. What say thee?

    1. pbloom says:

      it’s not as good as something like an EX1 which is superior in image quality, dof, features and low light. but it is a big step up from the hV30

      1. If I’m not completely wrong the EX1 costs almost twice as much as the HM100, approx 7000 USD against 4000 USD.

        How is the audio of HM100 compared to EX1?

        Did you test the HM100s LoLux mode?

  12. Hi Phil,

    How would you compare this cam to the Sony A1??

    1. pbloom says:

      Much better than the Sony A1

      1. In every way or just low light picture quality.

        How would you compare it to a Z7. I have this camera and like it a lot and I need a lightweight camera to replace my aging A1. Do you think they would cut together OK or not?

        PS. Thanks for all your hard work on your site – with all the reviews and all. I look at it frequently and admire your dedication.

        1. pbloom says:

          I would say in just about every way. The A1 is an old camera now and due for replacement by Sony I would have thought. This is a good semi-Sony replacement as it shoots in XDCAM MPEG2.

          The z7 is a v good camera, but not had enough time with it to judge.

          1. Cool. Thanks for the feedback Phil.

            By the way – when I down load the original MP4 from Vimeo or Exposure Room and play it on my 17″ MacBook Pro QT 7.6, I get weird stuttery playback. Only seems to happen with your stuff!

            Any ideas??

          2. pbloom says:

            That is odd Jonathan. Has anyone else had those problems. It all plays fine on my 3 different spec Macbook pros, new and old…

  13. Kedar says:

    Thanks for your JVC 100 review. Some of the city shooting looked quite blueish. Is this normal or how do you judge it? Other pictures like the flowers were superb. I have now a Canon XH A1 and wonder if I should switch to the new JVC. What do you think?

    Kedar, Zurich

    1. pbloom says:

      most of the video is graded using Magic Bullet Looks. Only the stuff that says “ungraded” is raw out of the camera.

      Why do you want to change from the Canon A1? Is it tapeless and 35mbps you want? Because you are losing better manual controls and better low light if you change to the JVC. But of course it is MUCH smaller.

  14. Michael C. says:

    One more thing. Both in the frame grabs and in the video I could see vertical streaks of color, not horizontal. Usually these streaks are horizontal either because of interlaced sensors or interlaced video format or interlaced chroma… anyway, they are horizontal. On your closeup of red tulips the streaks are vertical, this is especially noticeable on stems. I don’t think I saw something like this before.

    1. pbloom says:

      Michael, have you downloaded the mp4 version?

      I am looking and cannot see what you are mentioning…

      The only thing I notice is some stepping which is as I mentioned, because I forgot to turn the detail off. That smacks of edge enhancing from detail settings.

      But also PLEASE don’t pour over every shot analyzing and then judging on this one sample from one day shooting on a pre production camera by one person! Even if I do think the images are really good!

      1. Michael C. says:

        No, no, I am not judging or critiquing. It is just something that jumped on me. Thanks for replies! By the way, your video proves that one can shoot artistic footage even with 1/4-inch chips and no 35mm adapter. Thank you!

  15. Jerry Zaiden says:

    Check out youtube.com/camburgracing

    I am in between a Panasonic HVX200a or the new JVC HM 100. I use Final Cut Pro. I currently use a Canon GL2. I really need a new camera! I am stuck….

    1. pbloom says:

      well they are two different cameras. Have you looked at the hpx 171?

  16. Kedar says:

    The reason why I thought to change from the Canon XHA1 is that this camera has fairly week colours and I also wonder if the 35 Mbps brings some advantage.

    Another question: is it worthwile to change to Vimeo plus? Do you see better results than before because I am not that much satisfied with the normal flash encoding quality compared with my uploaded m4v version.

    1. pbloom says:

      yes vimeo plus has better quality. The A1 is a very good camera. The 35mbps is good, especially for grading.

  17. Callum Taylor says:

    Well done one the review, tis a nice camera.

  18. Phil says:

    Hello Sir

    Was wondering if you had had a chance to give the HM 100 a go with a DOF adaptor?

    Most of my work is currently in SD for corporate and website delivery, so I use my Redrock with a Sony Z1. You said the HM 100 doesn’t have very good low light capability. How does it compare to the Z1 in this respect?

  19. chris schwartz says:

    Philip i really enjoyed the video. Like another fan, i too own the canon xha1, however, i have yet to save up enough for a mac and final cut pro, but the footage i’ve seen on youtube doesn’t help my confidence in my camera. It would be nice to see some footage that has been compressed and gone through final cut from the xha1. I look at what you shot with the hm100 and am blown away, i realize i would be losing out on those lovely three ring controls for manual iris, zoom, and focus, but what about the two cameras compared in visual quality? In your expert opinion which is the better camera? And if you know of any footage from a xha1 to state your case i’d greatly appreciate it. please forgive the rambling, but its 8 am here in the states and haven’t slept yet. Thanks for your time and for your contribution to the art of film.

  20. Ted A. says:

    Thanks for the review. I am thinking of purchasing this camera. Is the lens wide enough? Did you want it wider? How do you think this cam looks compared to a Panasonic AG-HMC150 AVCCAM? Thank you.

    Ted

    1. pbloom says:

      yes it needs to wider…never used HMC150 but it is much bigger…

  21. Ricky says:

    Hi Philip, love your work.
    I’m interested in the JVC HM100.
    Do you know if the HDMI output on this camera is full 10bit uncompressed?

  22. DILIPKUMAR.CHITNIS. says:

    Dear Philip,
    Just i have read your coments about JVC GY-HM 100.
    I am a freelance Norwegian video producer/director/videographer.I made many traveling and nature video films.Now i am thinking to make professional video films.As the matter of fact i like to start my travel and nature video films from low buget cost.Now will you please tell me which JVC professional video camera i must by it?.

    It gives me a great pleasure about your comments about JVC GY-HM 100.Du you think is is a professional video camera? Can i make professional
    travelling and nature video programs,and can broadcasting tv chanels accept the JVC GY-HM 100
    video quality. Are you sure JVC GY-HM 100 gives a
    professional quality for broadcat and tv chanels.?
    Once i get your replay i will make my mind to by this camera.
    is there aney other professional video
    camera you can suggest me like Sony Z7. hope you wil
    ans my all above questions and guide me in this matter. Looking for ward for your sooner e mail.

    My e mail is dilip_chitnis@hotmail.com.

    Yours kindly

    Dilipkumar.S.Chitnis.

    1. pbloom says:

      its a good camera. depends. Are you planning to sell to HD tv? as neither this camera or Z7 are fully approved by most channels..

  23. Andy says:

    I am almost ready to buy this.
    I heard on other forums that the zoom ring, in manual mode, does not zoom smoothly/or steady.

    did you see this behavior?

  24. mark says:

    Dear Philip,

    hope you are well. I am also interested in the JVC GY HM100 but, like andy in the previous reply, have read of one owner who found that the Manual Zoom on his JVC paused and then jumped whilst recording. Did you experience anything like this or do you think his JVC was perhaps faulty. Also, would you say that this camera has a reasonable OIS and depth of field?

    Thanks for any further info you can provide, and all the best

    1. pbloom says:

      Hi Mark, OIS is OK, ability to get shallow DOF is tough as it only has 1/4″ chips. Not had zoom issue but not filmed with it enough. p

  25. Geraud Truel says:

    Hello,
    Just would like to know why did you delete my previous message…
    It is because I talk about sgblade and you are a letus partner?
    hope not….
    Regards

    1. Geraud Truel says:

      Sorry for my last stupid reply…
      Next time I’ll post in the good tread… pff no comment… My french way of doing thing :)

  26. Michael says:

    Hello Philip,

    Lovely demo footage. I’m most impressd with the cinesaddle – where can I buy the mini or smaller in London? Not easy to find anywhere other than teh full size version which is too big for an HVR-A1E. Thanks
    Michael

    1. pbloom says:

      prokit.co.uk

  27. PatInTheHat says:

    Hey,

    I’m a new member to the site. In the market for a camera… I was looking at the HM100, the HMC40 and the 5DMKII

    I will be shooting everything from short dramas to corporate videos, music videos, etc… And I will be editing with FCP pro. I’m torn on what to do… I was hoping to get your opinion on the matter. Thanks

  28. jvc 100 = $3500, what else would be better for the same price.

    Is there a camera in HD for tv that is in this price range, I am passionate
    now about video and nothing is going to stop me but money.

    What is the best studio mobile set of:

    camera, mac pro 15 inch, what is the best investment to strive for
    when you want to do the best quality and have least money to save
    for and want to make it count the first try. Is the cannon mark 11
    camera a better camera than this? is it hd tv ? what is hd tv campatible around this price, I am ignorant and like your site for insite. sight. thank you, you and rick at macvideo.tv are my guru’s for now. help me find my set of tools for the least price to wow the world. thaks. mickey mitchell

  29. [...] found what I was looking for in the JVC HM100. I first learned about this camera in the JVC HM100 review posted by Philip Bloom, which contains a short film he made in London using the camera. What [...]

  30. greytail says:

    Am trying out the CHV Long Exposure Filter(in FCP) in an effort to deflicker a time lapse. Wondering that settings you used in this filter….

  31. Jonathan Huyghe says:

    This review convinced me of buying the GY-HM100 and I haven’t regretted it, But I actually wondered where I can find that song, the band’s website is MIA and I could not find any band named Davito via google (I did however find out that a lot of people misspell Danny DeVito’s name)

    1. pbloom says:

      i guess they arent around anymore!

      1. Jonathan Huyghe says:

        Too bad, I really liked that song…

  32. For anyone who is interested in what this camera can do with the detail turned all the way down or off, this is a short WWII film I shot in january.

    We shot it for about 150 bucks.

    This review is what convinced me to obtain this camera and I’m really glad I did.

    The shoot contains some low light stuff.

    http://www(dot)vimeo(dot)com/11096275

    We also graded based on Philip Blooms tutorial with MBL, so Philip we’d love to see what you think, ya know, if you have time.

  33. Viki says:

    Hello Phillip, I really like the film you’ve made. How did you manage to get that ‘film’ look? Did you use a special lens or is it some effect you added when editing?

    1. pbloom says:

      shoot progressive then colour grade it.

  34. florian chis says:

    hello Philip,
    I would like to bay this JVC camcorder for weedings so my question is if this camera is good for this kind of shooting?
    Thank you for rewiew and I would like to say that i apreciate your work.

    1. pbloom says:

      it’s not very good in low light…

  35. florian chis says:

    Hi again ,
    I am looking for a camcorder for weedings and I was thinking to make an upgrade from my old Sony vx 2100 to this JVC HM 100 or Panasonic AG-HMC154 .
    Can you recomend one of this camcorder or do you think that I have to search for something else ? I dont have to spend more than 3500 $ for a camcorder and if you think that in this range of price I can find a good camcorder please recomend one….
    Once again congratulation for yor work and your BLOG is very profesional and very useful for most of us.

  36. Hi, Philip, i really like the video review, now im start to change my gear (HV40 & Jag35Sp) , dilemma its Jvc Hm100 or Panasonic Hmc40 ? Whats best for shortmovie e docum?

    Congratulation for your blog !

    1. pbloom says:

      the panasonic

      p

  37. Michael C. says:

    Fast forward one year and a half. I got this camera for exactly the money I wanted to spend on it: $2,000. Used, of course, but it is tapeless, so who cares. I have mixed feelings. I love the size, the handle, the XLR, the jello-free CCD sensors, the decent and fast XDCAM EX codec, I don’t even care much about its fiddly buttons. But this camera has no image stabilization! Turn it on or off, it is all the same, just like on its consumer progenitor, the HD7. This is really unfortunate, because the idea was to use it in guerilla handheld mode, and now I cannot do that except for the widest setting. I wish you mentioned this drawback in your review. Now, when I am re-watching your video I can see that the camera is not very solid when you shoot handheld. Even my consumer Panasonic has better stabilization. Now I see why you keep mentioning the cinesaddle. The Sony V1, which I also owned, was very stable even at full 20x zoom, the image floated around, but did not shake madly. Next stop: Canon XF100, but this will be $4,000 again, so I have to wait another year to find a used one on eBay for half a price…

    By the way, the prior question was “HM100 or HMC40″ and you recommended the Panasonic. Why?

    1. pbloom says:

      god knows…was a long time ago…the JVC is a good camera, i just wish it was better in low light

  38. Bruce Buck says:

    I also just came across this review just now. For the longest time, I’ve been pretty dead set on waiting for the Scarlet, the 5DII successor, or perhaps the AF100. However, I finally did a project with fast action (soccer game), and the CMOS – based Sony HDR-XR520V showed exactly why CMOS sensors are a challenge for these types of projects.

    This had me thinking maybe I need to look at a CCD based camera like the HM100 or the Panasonic HMC150. However, it seems, just watching this review and seeing some of the stuff you’ve done with the DSLRs, the image quality just doesn’t seem to up to par with these “old” CCD cameras. Is this your feeling as well?

    Do you think the new generation CMOS sensor cameras will improve the rolling shutter enough to may them viable options for fast action sports and the like, or should I stick to CCD for now? What CCD camera would you recommend if that’s the case (under $5k)?

    1. Philip Bloom says:

      i am waiting to see what the new XF 105 from Canon will be like

  39. mattcalif says:

    thanks Phillip for all your insight on this cam! I’m upgrading from a dcr-pc5- yeah I’ve been out of the game for while- planning on shooting a kool doc- in california. This jvc JVC GY HM 100 hopefully will work out good- planning on shooting a short doc on a famous hourse jock- I think alot has changed since the original fcp- but wtf it’s all about the story. My planned distrubition is youtube and dvd’s with a hope of a film festival. Btw do you take gigs for a less than 5k a day? Thanks Matt.

  40. RadicalRaul says:

    I’m finally retiring my DVX100A with a GY-HM150U arriving tomorrow. It’s main use will be for local commercials and streaming videos, music videos and documentary projects. I was wondering if you could share how you tweaked the gamma settings to improve the GY-HM100′s low light performance.

    __________________________________
    Raul X. Garcia
    Director/Producer/Cinematographer
    IFC Short Film of the Month Winner
    http://raulxgarcia.com

    .