JVC’s new HD camera, GY-HD100U, is a bit of a late commer to the HDV arena, already occupied by SONY. Most video production companies have probably already committed to SONY. So was it worth the wait?
I’m a huge SONY fan but the GY-HD100U excels in certain areas where the HVR-Z1 is lacking.
Here’s a run-down of the notable features:
- Full High Definition (HD) progressive recording at 24 frames per second
- Three newly developed 1/3-inch CCDs with 1280 x 720 (square) pixels
- Interchangeable lenses with standard 1/3-inch bayonet mount
- 16X Fujinon newly developed ProHD lens included
- XLR Audio inputs (x2)
- HDV™/DV Format
Apart from the interchangeable lenses, SONY HVR-Z1 is holding its own in all the other departments. Unless you look closer.
The HVR-Z1 doesn’t support “true” 24p. Instead it supports 50i, 60i, 25p, and 30p. Another issue is the CCDs and the sampling. JVC’s CCDs have a native support for 720p, i.e. no down-sampling like SONY’s 1440 x 1080 being blown up to match 1080i (1920×1080).
If you’re into comparing apples to oranges, here’s another one: the Panasonic HVX200. The Panasonic HVX200 offers aspiring filmmakers variable frame rates and a host of other features to make your video more “filmlike”.
In terms of interchangeable lenses, Canon XL H1 is the only alternative to the HD100. Canon offers a wide range of lens choices that fit the Canon XL mount.
This is a number’s game, so you still need to rent all of these for a day and do some test shoots that reflect your subject matter. If I was running a video production house, I’d make a “weekly” special – rent all HD/HDV camcorders (one per day) for a test ride. Then, you’re in for the real test – ask them to convert a video sequence of your choice to 35mm film. Or, if you’re a no/low budget filmmaker like me, wait for someone to do it and report results. I’ll let you know when that happens.
If $6,000 is too much for you, you could get Sony HC1 – it’s a more affordable, entry-level HDV camcorder.