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. Took delivery of one of these last week. I like it! We do mainly web video and have a mix of CS6 CS4 and FCP so the multi format feature is great for us. Really bright pictures in even low light. Only gripe so far is the LCD, slightly off colour ( a bit yellow ) made me nervous of the white balance initially but the pictures were fine when checked on monitor. We looked at pmw200 and Canons but I think this will do job nicely specially at the price.

  2. Kris Hill and/or Phil;

    If JVC would commit to a future factory hardware upgrade to AVCHD 2.0, I would probably buy one. If not, then sadly I can not buy it. Anyone who has shot 50/60p understands where I am coming from – the smoothness of motion compared to 25/30p is remarkable and there is no going back.

    Keep in mind that I have been sitting on $5K since April hoping to hear some good news about this.

    Just curious about some other features:

    * Expanded zoom?
    * Is the handle zoom rocker variable?
    * Notice any vignetting?
    * How about fringing/aberration?
    * Are the zoom servos noisy? (I expect silky silence like the Sony NX5)
    * In Continuous mode, can it combine, lets say, an 4 hour continuous shoot into a single file, or will it still be split at 4 gig boundaries into separate clips that have to combined during post?



  3. Hi Steve,

    My apologies for the late reply.

    My colleagues including the product managers are visiting the UK next week and one of the points I have submitted for discussion is your 1080 50/60P request. Lets see what they say.

    Your questions:
    1. Can you clarify what you mean by ‘expanded zoom’ please?
    2. The handle rocker is variable or fixed or off – you can select zoom speeds from the GUI
    4. The camera has very clever automatic fringing/aberration correction tools
    5. ‘Silky’
    6.Split – FAT32 Limits the file size to 4GB or 30mins.

    Please also take a look at the online manual which is available at

    Please remember to select the ‘E’ model if you plan to purchase in Europe or the ‘U’ model for the States & Asia

  4. Kris!

    Thanks for your very nice reply. I am encouraged by your attention to customers; that is very important to me. I have downloaded the manual and will study it.

    I meant to say Expanded Focus … sorry. I am a focus freak even though my eyes are old and I need reading glasses, so the ability to hit a button and see an expanded-focus region on the display to get the focus super-sharp is a big plus.

    The more I read about this cam, the more I love it. Seriously, if JVC can provide a commitment to an upgrade path to AVCHD 2.0 I will buy one. I desperately need to buy a second camera – I have been looking for one for 13 months now.

    Good luck with the engineers! Show them the numerous reviews and forums where people are disappointed in the AVCHD 1.0 .

    I’ll try to give you a call next week in the morning UK time

    Thanks again,

    El Paso TX USA

  5. What about the JVC or even the Canon XF 300 compared to the Sony pmw 200? I mainly shoot events with a lot of low light situations. I need to upgrade soon and am having a hard time deciding. The media cost for the Sony is pretty steep. But I’m willing to take the plunge if the image looks good and low light noise is better. Are there any rumors out there that you may have heard if Canon will be putting something new out along the camcorder lines? Or is the XF series it? They seem to be concentrating on the Cinema line now

  6. I am an event videographer and I’m in the market to upgrade. Especially looking for a camera for its low light sensitivity. How does the JVC compare to the XF 305, and the Sony PMW200? The media costs are outrageous for the Sony But if the picture is significantly better, as well as low light noise then it could be worth it. Have you heard of any rumors that if Canon may be releasing any new camcorder lines in the future? OR are they done with the XF line? Seems like they are concentrating on Cinema cameras now. Thanks!

  7. The JVC GY-HM600 blows the XF305 out the water in low light (Did you not watch my 600 review ?). I only had a Sony PMW-200 for 2 days…on paper it should be better than the 600 but my own evidence did not convince me. Canon may have a 305 update but like you I think this unlikely, if it had 1/2″ chips and constant aperture lens then yes but I have my doubts.
    Take a look at the JVC 600 its a cracking camera for the price.

  8. This camera looks very promising and I too am an event videographer with the same low light concerns. However, the lack of AVCHD 2.0 is a big bummer to me and unfortunately rules it out as a choice. Most AVCHD cameras these days can shoot 60p which is important to my workflow. I’m looking to get 3 cameras for my company and was excited about this camera, but disappointed when I heard about the lack of AVCHD 2.0… Have you looked at the Sony EA50? It’s a larger sensor camera that is very reasonably priced. Throw on a variable ND filter and its a pretty solid event cam with the same or better low light compared to PMW200 according to Alister Chapman’s sony blog. The HM600 does blow it away with zoom though and has a few other really nice features that other cams do not. Also it may be easier on you with no quite so shallow DoF, but at least you have choices 🙂

  9. Thanks for your response and suggestions. I will take a look at the JVC. So, you mentioned that the JVC has had some early bugs. Should I be rest assured these are being resolved with the cameras that are presently in production? I like to shoot in 1080 24p.

  10. Thanks Appreciate it! I will look at the Sony EA50, as well. I have heard about it. My plan is to have at least one or two cameras with interchangeable lenses, as well as a “safe” coverage camcorder. Yes, these times they are a changin’ BEst, JR 🙂

  11. Hi JR,

    All new production cameras will have the 1080/25p firmware upgrade implemented. Units currently in the market will need to have the firmware installed which is a simple process and will be downloadable from our websites within the next couple of days.

    If you have any questions feel free to get in touch.

  12. Hi Kris,

    Yes I called and left a message with one of their guys who was to inform the man you advised me to speak to. I haven’t had a call back but I was filming all week and away from my office.

    I will try and chase up today, if not I will chase up on Monday.



  13. It is hard to believe that explanation with the hardware limitation about avchd 2.0.
    They stuck 4K in a little camera and they cant put it in a serious model like HM600. Fire those engineers or we have to expect the 600A model like Panasonic?

  14. Please note my factory is very much aware of the threads regarding 1080 60/50p and they currently reviewing this.

    I will post news as soon as I have it.

  15. Thanks for the review!
    My company just bought this camera though, and I have to say we are really confused/disappointed by it. The video seems to have a TON of noise. We shot in low-light conditions to test it, the gain was only turned up to 3db, but the picture was unbelievably grainy. I’m wondering if there are some settings in the camera that you need to pay close attention to or not. I find it hard to believe JVC would release a camera that creates images as poor as the won I’m testing for my company, so I’m inclined to think the problem must be a lack of knowledge on my part. I’ve worked in the industry for seven years, I’ve used lots of cameras, and never encountered anything quite like this. Any help from anyone would be great!

  16. Not the experience I have had with the camera and I have used 2 pre production models, the HM600 outperformed the Canon XF305 at 0Db both running at 35Mbps. I have also seen the camera against a Sony EX1r and out performed it at 0Db. I did mention in my review that adding noise to 1/3″ chips does add noise but the camera performs very well at 0Db with a lot less noise than my Sony EX3 which I was very surprised to find.
    I don’t have a camera at the moment I will be getting a HM650 fairly soon and I will look into tweaking the edging which is a bit too noticeable out the box but apart from that this is not the same camera experience that I have had so far.
    Kris Hill from JVC keeps an eye on these posts maybe he can help you further.

  17. Thanks so much for the response. I believe you, which is why I’m so baffled by the performance of the camera I received. I’ll have to get in touch with JVC to get to the bottom of this.

  18. Dear HD Warrior,

    I have been freelancing as a cameraman for 15 years. Over the last 3 years I have started my own company and we are looking to replace our gear.

    We have tested the 600 and found, that the noise coming from the cooling system gets picked up constantly by the mic. We attached an external directional XLR mic but have not been able to get rid of this sound.

    Did you notice it? – We all really liked the camera but as we often have to shoot without being able to ‘mic-up’ subjects on events, we cannot readily commit to buy 2 or 3 of these cameras.

    I would really appreciate some advice on this sound issue, since this camera really fulfills our needs in any other aspect.

    Thank you


  19. Hi Joram, I was not aware of this noise, I should get a 650 fairly soon so I can look into this but to be honest camera mics are in my opinion best used for everything other than interviews where you either mic the subject or hold a gun mic at them.

  20. I am looking for a new camcorder that would allow me to get that trendy shallow depth of field in situations with limited space. I know I can get it with pretty much any camera if I have enough room to back away from the subject, and remove the subject from the background – but what about real life, where you’re stuck interviewing the person in their office? I’m curious whether the new chips in the HM600 allow for that, even though they are only 1/3 inch.

    Watched your interview samples with great interest, but noticed the couch pillows were as focused as the person. Were you not trying for shallow DOF, or is this the camera’s limit?

  21. Hello HD Warrior,
    THanks for the great info. I’m currently trying to decide between the HM600 and the Sony HXR NX5U. I currently use Sony HVR Z5U and I love it. I’m thinking I can’t go wrong with Sony. But I’m very curious about the JVC GY HM600. Have you compared the two? Prices are similar, functionality seems similar. What say ye?

    HDW : The Sony NX5 is 2 years old and I can assure you that the JVC GY HM-600 would run rings round the NX5.

  22. Hi HD Warrior,

    Many thanks for your helpful review of the HM600. I currently own the very small JVC HM100. Mobility is a priority for me. How heavy is the HM600 – compared with a Sony EX1, for example?


    Kris Hill (JVC) Hi Ross,

    2.4kg including the battery.

    I think i am right in saying that the EX1 with battery is 2.9kg

  23. Dear HDWarrior, Dear Kris,

    thanks for your replies.I myself tested the camera at a company that imports professional equipment to Swiss companies and TV Stations (they’ve got all major brands).

    There is currently just one camera there to test. JVC’s Switzerland HQ said that they too were aware of this noice issue.

    Best regards from Zurich


  24. I’m currently trying to choose between this camera and the panny AC160. Hoping to use it for wildlife so 60p for slow motion and fast AF are musts. Does anyone know if a 1080/60p function is in the pipeline?

  25. Dear HD Warrior, i want to know the main differences between the JVC HM600 and the Sony EX3 and what is the advantage of the HM600 over the EX3. Thank you.

  26. I greet all of the Czech Republic! I also buy GY-HM600 I saw clips from youtube, and this camera seems fabulous, but the problem with fan noise scares me! these problems also has a Panasonic with TM models. Even I would be interested power stabilizer

  27. Dear All,

    having compared a lot of cameras in this price – segment, our small production company settled for the JVC GY-HM600.

    We tested in all situations and environments and are very happy with it. The picture quality is outstanding both in XDCAM formats as well as in AVCHD formats.

    The sound issue I adressed earlier on is however real but we found a solution for the problem:

    We attached the Shotgun Mic from the JVC 750 (that we also use) and adjusted the sound settings in the menue accordingly. This mic is a ‘no-name’, but it worked very well. We got cristal clear sound, this mic totally eliminated the hiss coming from the cooling system and gives a disturbance free sound. Both in noise and quiet locations.

    I don’t know about the availability of this mic. But it seems that you can order it as a spare part from JVC for their 750 model.

    So far we’re happy and we will inform you guys how this cam is going to perform for us in our productions this year.

    Dear HD Warrior, thank you for maintining such an excellent service. Your reviews and test are thorough, honest and very valuable.

    Best regards from Switzerland,

    Joram Holtz

  28. Hi Joram,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    Please keep us posted with your performance results. I am sure other followers will be very interested to hear how the camera performs on real productions.

    I am very confident you will be more than happy with your purchase.


  29. Hi Kris,
    You earlier mentioned…”Please note my factory is very much aware of the threads regarding 1080 60/50p and they currently reviewing this.

    I will post news as soon as I have it.” Any update?

  30. Hi John,

    This is still under investigation. However let me explain why.

    If your familiar with the 600 series you will know that we went with a nice rugged compact design to keep the overall size and weight down. However we did not skimp on a ton of features so what is actually going on inside the camera is quite complex and neatly assigned to the available space.
    Now if we simply added 1080/50/60p now we would have an issue – and that issue would be cooling. To run 1080/50/60p and maintain all the the features and benefits the 600 series gives you would increase the processor work rate and therefore create more heat that you need to get rid of. This is what is under investigation as it would probably involve parts not just a firmware.
    Honestly i don’t think we will hear an update on this until April now however if i do hear anymore i will be sure to post it. Please note other vendors also have this issue and its not just a JVC thing. Cheers Kris

  31. Hi Kris,
    Thanks for the quick and detailed rely!
    1080/60p might not be a deal breaker as long as the 720/60p works!

  32. As a freelancer about to invest in a new camcorder the GY-HM600 is top of my list. when I read the comments about hiss being picked up from cooling fans,am I right in assuming that we are only referring to noise being picked up by an onboard mounted mic and that there is no audible noise being introduced into the XLR inputs when external mics are attached?

    HDW : Correct, I have had a 600 and 650 there is no problem with noise, certainly no worse than the fan on a Canon C300 and I have filmed 30 interviews with the C300 to-date.

  33. I’m wondering how this camera compares to the Sony PMW-200? As well I am looking at adding an atomos ninja 2 to my next rig; can anyone give me a heads up between the sony and the jvc with a ninja2?

  34. Greetings from Montreal. As a new on the field cameraman, I was wondering if this model from JVC have a funtion to switch mode from NTSC to PAL like the Sony PMW-EX1r ?

    Thanks to answer

  35. Hi Kris,
    Just started using my GY-HM600 here in NH, USA. Still using mostly in AUTO. No problems with auto focus after updating the firmware!
    I sent my “GY-HM600U Big Picture Promotion” forms via certified mail, but no one has signed for or picked them up at the post office! Who should I call?


  36. Just back from NAB so will get to everyone over the weekend. Version 2.0 firmware is a game changer people. See for press bits and search “jvc nab 2013 gustav” for a great video interview. Off to bed…….shattered. Very busy show.

  37. Just bought the HM-600. What codec would deliver the highest quality? The mpeg2 or AVCHD? Hard disk space is not an issue and I have both FCP 7 and Premier 5.5.
    Any info thanks!

  38. Hi everybody,

    I use the JVC GY 600 for a few weeks.
    I agree with everything BUT, I hate the AF it realy is bad, I can’t trust it. It go’s up en down. Some times it doesnt know where to focus on.
    Also the image stabilizer is not what I expected.
    Does somebody recognize this.

  39. HI, Which led lighting panels do you recommend. I have looked at numerous but get annoyed at the prices being asked. Ideally I would like something to TLCI standard but the prices are pretty steep. Are the e bay units any good? Im looking for something mains and battery operated suitable for interviews. P.S. terrific site and a great help for a DSLR convert to video. Thanks, Mark.

  40. Hi i buying a pro camera whish its better

    panasonic ac130 or ac160
    sony HXR-NX5N
    JVC GY-HM600

    Please helpme on this 🙂

    HDW : Its a toss up between the NX5 or the HM600, the Panasonic’s are a lot older. Wait till NAB (14th April) you may see a new model or the price may drop on the Sony or JVC.

  41. hi everyone.I wont to ask you question for jvc hm 600. they have a three firmware updates. i have to instal all three or only the lastone 3.06 beacouse others two updatesi can`t find it please someone to anser me.Thank you

    HDW : Usually the most up to date has all previous updates included.

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