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?
My 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