Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor

You can now watch this video in 720p HD

My thanks to Kris Hill (JVC UK Sales Manager) for monitoring some of your questions, it’s very refreshing when such a big company like JVC takes the time and effort to answer your technical questions in person.

JVC’s GY-HM600 camcorder is designed for fast-paced ENG, offering exceptional imagery and features for news, sports and independent production. It features three 1/3-inch 12-bit full-HD CMOS sensors (1920 x 1080) and offers superb low light performance of F12 at 2000 lux. It also has a long (23x) wide angle autofocus zoom lens, a 15-second pre-record function,  professional layout, and extensive video settings and encoding formats to deliver smooth file interoperability from acquisition to air.

The lightweight camera records HD or SD footage in multiple file formats, including native XDCAM EX™ (.MP4), Final Cut Pro™ (.MOV), AVCHD and H.264, to non-proprietary SDHC or SDXC media cards. In addition to relay mode for uninterrupted recording, the GY-HM600 allows simultaneous recording to both memory cards for instant backup or client copy. It is the perfect tool for super-fast news and media coverage.


The manual can be downloaded here…



Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

100 thoughts on “Exclusive 1st Review of the new JVC GY-HM600

  1. Seems an excellent camcorder. I believe it may be the 650 model that offers the choice of codec.
    How good is the image stabilisation – and is this optical or electronic?
    That zoom lens seems too good to be true! Is it a true ‘through’ lens?

  2. Philips. thanks for this, I would have liked the same test for the pmw200. The pictures are very good filmed at 35 mbits? seems very bright

  3. Hey there, Love this… i think i am now going to change from Sony to JVC HM600, i was going to buy the PMW200 or the EA50, But i think this camera is all i need… Does it Do 1920 in 50P Mode? also the Intro with the book, how did you do that.. is it a AF Template… If so please point me to the files….

  4. Looks like a nice update on my Sony NX5U if it had AVCHD 2.0 with 50/60P at 1920×1080 it would be even better. Touch focus and face tracking would also be great. Still waiting for these features before upgrading my NX5U.


  5. Thanks for the review!
    In your opinion, would you go with the JVC or the Panny AC160? I would mainly be shooting outdoor doco work.


  6. Great Many thanks… Called my JVC Dealer today… and they are on the way of having a demo unit soon followed by some stock… the Price in Brisbane wi be under 6K Mark… Whch is really good for this sort of camera…

  7. Hi ArranEye,

    The image stabilizer is optical.

    Lens is F1.6 – F.3

    The lens is stunning and the factory done very well to negotiate this glass with Fujinon.

  8. Great review Philip. I appreciate your POV and experience as someone who actually USES the gear they review. It is also refreshing that you present the gear as you see it without placating a manufacturer with a positive review…unless they deserve it. Seems like a great camera for many productions. I will try it out and I am really pleased to hear it has a decent viewfinder. Hopefully you will get a chance to review the Panasonic AG-AC90 and/or GH3 as well.

  9. Great to know! There’s only one feature missing: 1080p60…why?!

    Can you tell me whether or not JVC has a plan to update the firmware to support 1080p60 like other AVCHD cams have (Panasonic AC160A) on the market today? While it’s a very promising spec’d camera, this alone will determine for me if the camera is worth the investment.

  10. Can a “dead cat” be used with the built in microphone? There does not seem to be much room especially when the screen is opened out.

  11. The usual Jim, if you are willing to use that mic for R&G (it’s fine) you should be able to adapt one of the dead cats by cutting a slice out of it, though it might be a lot easier to use the mic holder and stick a NTG-1 with a dead cat.

  12. I love the Panasonic AC160 but at a maximum of 24Mbps VBR lets this camera down, I nearly bought one before plumbing for the Canon XF305.

  13. Hi, want to know couple things from both phillip and Kris.

    1. Would it be some firmware with 60p?

    2. Which format is the 35mbtis? does it is 4:2:2?

    3. Will the sdi/hdmi 8bit output give me better image quality using an external recorder?

    Thanks guys, i never considered JVC as my next work tool but this one, the chips, the lens and the codec are giving me a good reason for buying it

  14. For me, 1080p50 (or 60p for our American friends) would be nice to have, but it’s far from being necessary, so I don’t miss it in the HM600. But having no progressive format at all in AVCHD mode is an absolute no-go nowadays. I almost can’t believe that but it seems to be true. So please, before implementing 1080p50, give us at least the worldwide standard production format of 1080p25. Apart from this flaw: Great camera!

  15. Hi James,

    Correct me if I am wrong but i think that the AC160 only does 1080/50P/60P at 24Mbps in AVCHD with some restrictions.
    Is this what you are after on the 600 series? I will be speaking to my product manager later so i just want to be clear with him.


  16. Great review Phillip,

    Do JVC do trade-in’s on JVC HM700. I would buy one, maybe two !


  17. Just dowload the original upload from Vimeo. My HD player shows that the video is right 1280×720.

  18. excellent review thanks for doing it. Interested in the 650 for news delivery. Like your graphics fx templates -brochure page turns etc. – who makes them?

  19. A number of our dealers do trade ins. Ofcourse the best place to start is with the dealer you purchased from.
    Please remember to only speak to authorised dealers. Feel free to contact me should you require any assistance.

  20. Hi Kris,
    Thank you for following up. The firmware updated Panasonic AC160A does 1080/50p/60p at 28mbps in AVCHD. I don’t know of any restrictions. Before the firmware update it only did 60p at 720 (at 24mbps). The updated 1080p60 works great and was a free firmware update this past Spring. Now many other cameras that shoot AVCHD are shipping with this option (720p60 at 24mbps AND 1080p60 at 28mbps).

    Reading the post before this brought to my attention the fact that the HM600 does not shoot even 720p60 in AVCHD! Is this true? I don’t know of a single AVCHD camera on the market from consumer to prosumer and above that does uses AVCHD and does not do at least 720p60. Seems strange.

    But yes, to answer your question, the 1080p60 at 28mps in AVCHD is what I was originally referring to. Thank you Kris!

  21. The Panasonic AC160A does 1080p60 at vbr max 28Mbps and
    1080 30p, 24p @ vbr max 24Mbps AVCHD.

    I agree with Bernd, offering no progressive frame rates in AVCHD is a deal breaker. 60i is on the decline. I rarely, if ever, need it.

    30p is where most of my shooting is done.

  22. Hi,

    720 /50p/60p is there. 1080 at that frame rate is being looked at. But at what bit rate?

    This camcorder records on to sd cards with mpeg2 long GOP at 4:2:0. However you have hdmi and Sdi outputs at 4:2:2

    You can increase bit rate with external recorder and yes image quality wil improve as uncompressed

  23. Of course you will be capturing on an external device which will be compressing the video and wrapping it as you choose. However if you can manage the storage most external devices will let you record as high as 220Mbps

  24. Hey Kris!
    Any update from your product manager on whether or not this cam will support 1080p60 at some point at 28mbps with maybe a firmware update like many other AVCHD cams do? Thanks again!

  25. I guess 1080p50/60 is simply a question of hardware. If sensors, processor and so on are capable of this performance, it would be strange not to offer it from the first day on, and if they can’t deliver 1080p50, there is no way to get it later with another firmware. At least till now, I don’t know of any camcorder where 1080p50 was added simply by using a new firmware. 1080p25 AVCHD on the other hand should be no problem when 50i is already working in AVCHD and 25p in XDCAM EX.

  26. “On Monday, 29th October 2012 at 01:48pm, Bernd said:
    …At least till now, I don’t know of any camcorder where 1080p50 was added simply by using a new firmware…”

    The Panasonic AC160 is VERY similar to this camera in specs and it received a free firmware upgrade this past June enabling the camera to shoot 1080p60 AVCHD at 28mbps. That camera also received an optional hardware update to help with focus issues but the 1080p60 was firmware only and it was free! Both of those updates come standard now what they now call the AC160A.

    This is why I was curious if this camera would possibly be receiving such an update in the near future.

  27. in reply to your post below…the Panasonic AC160 received a free firmware update this year which enabled the camera to shoot at 1080p60 AVCHD at 28mbps.

  28. James H., the AC160 already was able to shoot 1080p50/60 before the firmware upgrade, but without audio only. The new firmware just made this format observing the AVCHD 2.0 standardization, which means 1080p50/60 can be recorded with sound now. No new format added, no hardware changes necessary.

  29. Hi James,

    This is not going to be possible with the GY-HM600 series I am afraid. I had a brief discussion on the phone with my product manager as I understand it it would require a hardware change with the processor. I am meeting with a number of colleagues from Japan next week and I will try to get a proper understanding of this and report it back to you.

  30. Sorry, I haven’t seen your posting here and answered already above at 8.56AM.
    The AC160 could/can shoot 1080p50 or 1080p60 even without the free update. The new firmware only added audio recording in this mode to comply with AVCHD 2.0 standard. It’s almost the same procedure by the way with the AF100: No problem to shoot 1080p50 without audio, but if you want to record sound, the firmware update is needed, and to my knowledge Panasonic charges about 250 Euro for it.

  31. Please see my other reply at the bottom of his topic about the lack of AVCHD 2.0 on this otherwise PERFECT cam. I am dumbfounded by JVCs lack of AVCHD 2.0 support. What were they thinking?

    I won’t wait forever for JVC. I’ve already been waiting since April. My $5K is burning a hole in my pocket..

    Come on Kris, lay down the law to the engineers! The AVCHD 2.0 standard has been out since July 2011! Join the party!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.