So why would you want such a small camcorder ? Good question… maybe I should turn it around, why would you need such a small professional camcorder ? Take me as an example, I have bought this camcorder because there are so many occasions that lugging the Sony EX-3 around can and is often tiring, I still need the quality of the EX-3 in a smaller package. Before I get a sackful of comments giving me the “how can a 1/4″ camcorder be as good as a 1/2″ it’s a matter of perception. Firstly remember the EX-3 is about 2 years behind the HM100 in technology and recently reviewing the HM700 allowed me to see just how far JVC have come in solid state technology.
This cracking wee camcorder will never be an EX-3 but I defy you to tell me which footage is Sony and which is JVC. I needed the following specs…Full HD and 720 50P both come as standard with the HM100. XLR audio is important to me, the HM100 has dual phantom powered XLRs. SDHC is a great format, cheap and most important to me it allows me to have an archive one of the major drawbacks with Sony’s SxS card ” Far too expensive for archive purposes”. Archive is a must for me, when I went down the solid state road I was horrified at the shear lack of thought companies like Sony had put into archive…for years we were all used to transferring our programs onto the computer and setting the original master DV tape on a shelf knowing you could use it again if so needed.
The lightness of this camcorder makes it a joy to use and better still as my friend Philip Bloom found out people think you are a punter not a professional so you don’t get the same level of harassment as you would using an EX-3. So it’s not good in low light well that’s to be expected but it more than makes up for it during the daylight hours when I my case it’s most needed. It has a 10x zoom and not to hot in the wide angle department but I have a 0.7x WA attachment by JVC coming to me in the morning so I will update you tomorrow evening.
The 0.7x wide angle converter arrived this morning and the verdict is a big thumbs up, the camcorder is very lacking in the WA section and this extra 0.7x lens is just the job. Amazingly I have discovered that JVC seem to have left off a port allowing the use of LANC control for the lens this is a minor point but one option I will personally miss. Getting back to the WA lens I wish camcorder designers would take on board how stupid the camera looks with a gap between the prime lens and the screw on, after all the WA lens has been around for a while so the designers could have taken this into account when designing the camera.
I also got a 3″ Hoodman loupe which will be great for keeping daylight off the LCD, I also ordered a “camcorder mount strap” but the unnamed dobbers sent me the 35mm strap for the 5D Mk11, I have been promised it will arrive in the morning.
The WA lens does affect the f stop ratio when fully zoomed in by about 2 stops but it’s nice to have the full use of the 10x zoom ratio. I am about to upgrade my computer to the latest Final Cut 7 so I will give you a final account of the camcorder on the timeline tomorrow.
Help Ma Bob… It took well over 3 hours to run a fresh install of the new Final Cut Studio 3, most of it being audio loops, anyway I stuck the SDHC card into my reader and brought ten .MOV files into FCP-7. Dragged a file onto the timeline and played back with no GREEN, ORANGE or RED render indicators… fantastic. Oh, one down side, I got the camcorder mount strap today and attached the Hoodman onto the LCD to discover it causes a vignette effect if you don’t position the hood correctly, though you don’t seem to be able to get rid of it completely…I wasn’t expecting that problem, it kind of took away the gloss of using the Hoodman.
Thanks to AJA… I cannot see my final output on the 37″ LCD…yet, but I can view the camera footage onto the LCD via the HDMI connector on the back of the HM100. I will not get to fully play with the HM100 till Saturday when I will be attending a Scout reunion at Auchengillen. The weather does not look too promising for Saturday but I will post some footage on Saturday evening for you to view.