Thoughts on the JVC GY-HM100U Camera

Posted on by Larry

Don Smith sent me the following, which I thought you might like to see as well.

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I just watched the demo movie from MacWorld by JVC introducing the GY-HM100U camera..

JVC licensed the EX3 format from Sony, but they took one extra step that, to me, has transformed card-recording cameras.

First, a little background….

I own the Sony EX3. Wonderful camera. EX3 format. But the SxS cards, like P2 cards, are over-the-top expensive. What we need is a way to cheapen solid-state video recording so that the media can be handed around like Betacam tape.

That just happened.

We’ve discovered that we can use certain SDHC (Class 6) cards. I buy them at for $23 and for that price I get a card that will record a half hour at the EX3’s highest quality PLUS a USB card reader. Now, I can hand out the cards and not worry about getting them back, but also the cards come with a USB reader! No more expensive SxS reader! The only limitation of the SDHC cards is that you can’t do over or under-cranking. Otherwise, they’ve been solid. I had to put adaptors into my EX3 camera card slots and they fit beautifully and don’t hold the door open when the SDHC card is in them. On the EX1, the configuration holds the door open a little.

Problems for the EX format that JVC has solved:

I bought the $250 SxS card reader and suddenly the power brick on it went out. Good thing I don’t use SxS cards anymore.

When importing EX3 footage into the NLE it requires transcoding. I STILL have not been able to import EX media into my work Avid!

Sony wants you to buy a four-THOUSAND dollar card player/recorder! (NOT going to happen!)

The JVC folks, with the SAME EX format, has solved all these problems. First, the HM100 uses SDHC cards only. The EX media is till recorded as a bunch of files in an BPAV folder to retain that standard, but ALSO rendered (somehow) in real-time during recording into directly usable .mov files! In other words, You can take that SD card out of the HM100, insert it into a Mac running FCP and just immediately begin editing! You have a single .mov file to copy and to FTP and do what ever you want instead of having a bunch of files in a BPAV folder that make no sense.

Now, to my complaint/inquiry: It seems to me that Sony could enable the EX1’s and EX3’s to do the same with a simple firmware update since both cameras use the same format. However, I truly doubt that would happen because that would make their four THOUSAND dollar SxS player obsolete, but they allowed JVC to take their EX format and extend it to make it far more usable.

Finally, JVC will have a “Big Brother” to the 100 coming that will be a Betacam-style camera. The 100 is priced “under four thousand” (out in April) and will be a good value for the price but will not be the camera that the EX3 is. I’m sitting here trying to decide whether to sell my EX3 or just keep wishing that Sony will make the firmware change to be like JVC.

Don Smith

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Larry adds: Thanks, Don, for sharing your thoughts. As always, I’m interested in what other readers think.

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