Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


As I am now assessing the GY-HM650 I feel quite at liberty to reflect my feelings using the GY-HM600. I used the HM600 twice over the last month and was very impressed.

Out of the box this camcorder performed fantastic taking on board the camera is JVCs first 1/3″ CMOS camcorder they could not have produced a better camera if they tried.

The best bit about JVC is their ability to listen and add firmware updates within a month of implementation, this is unheard of in the video manufacturing world, the best you get from their competitors is 6 months.

JVC took this initial camcorder re-jigged the electronics and WOW, the performance in standard mode is stunning and I mean stunning, at 0dB the camera is as quiet as I have seen from any camera 2-3 times the price.

Not only that but it has variable shutter which to all intent purposes “Syncro Scan”, with variable scan you can dial out the flicker on a CRT, it has dual record onto both SDHC cards, Pre Record, 5,10 and 15 seconds, Clip Continuous Rec where you can consolidate all your clips into one large clip, Frame record for stop motion effects and Interval time record allowing you to record a process over time…the amount of competitors camcorders in the last few years that have left out interval time record is shocking.


Even dare I say it 1080 50p is being looked into by JVC as a firmware upgrade which would bring this camcorder above all other competitors for features and frame rates.

35Mbps onto Quick Time (MPEG2) brings your footage onto FCPX without needing transcoded and is broadcast news ready, though from my past experience don’t  buy this camcorder hoping to earn big bucks from poor paying news outlets the best you will get is £35-50 for your footage which is an insult to your intelligence.

I am one camera down at the moment and let me tell you the GY-HM600/650 are top of my list for run and gun, my only problem is deciding wether to go for a 600 or a 650.

What can I say about the price of £3,474 for the GY-HM600 a camera that has every conceivable feature not to mention the 23x lens (29-667mm 35mm guide) plus face tracking…plus flashband compensation the list goes on and on.

For sheer fantastic value for money, feature set and quality of picture the JVC GY-HM600 is the first camcorder to be awarded a 6 star rating.



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.

29 thoughts on “JVC GY-HM600 Review 2012

  1. The most important test you could do is to test that flashband compensation option. We know the rest.

  2. I went to an open house that JVC had and the camera is great. I asked the JVC rep if I am recording to 2 SD cards for backup and 1 card goes bad, does the recording stop? He did not know. Philip, how important do you think H.264 recording is going to be?

  3. 1/3″ block with Cmos and sh.. EVF getS 6* and C100 which outperforms it gets 3*. Some guys need to attend Camera Operators Master Class. I would not shoot anything on 1/3″ block in 2013. If only c100 had 50p …and 2″ evf. But pictures are amazing..

  4. Its not like for like Jiri…you can’t use a C100 the same way as an HM600, no one doubts the Super 35mm 4:2:0 picture from the C100 is less noisy than the 1/3″ JVC but Canon have crippled the C100 with poor design and marketing, JVC on the other hand go out their way to improve the HM600 and give it a host of features not seen on many camcorders twice the price and you are assuming without testing.
    You assume the JVC is bad because 1/3″ camcorders before this model have been poor and I don’t need or want TWO large sensor cameras, my C300 is just fine but is very limiting in a run and gun situation.

  5. Steve,
    if one card goes bad, the recording on the other will continue. That’s an important function for me, too, and it’s mentioned in the manual.

    1/3″ camcorders are far from outdated and even in 2013 there will be a lot of situations where using this kind of cameras will make more sense than using the nice but overpriced C100 for example. It’s just different tools for different jobs.

  6. I have just tested this…recorded onto two SDHC cards ran it for about 20 secs then force ejected card in slot 2, card in slot one kept recording. Then re introduced card one it gave me a restore card in slot 2. I pressed restore and gave me all the footage up to the moment I ejected it…very impressive.

  7. I never use microphones built on a camera so the added microphone will have no use for me. How is the quality of the audio path going into xlr? Good clean gain? Should i use an external preamp or is the camera good? Thanks!

  8. We were not impressed with the camcorder due to noise during the shooting outdoor in the daytime. JVC helped us out but still too noisy than Canon 5D MK3. Did you ever notice it or we happened to have the defective equipment? How did you really avoid so much noisy in your demo video?

  9. Hi Jed, don’t understand the outdoor problem the camera is noiseless at 0dB (Standard mode) and outdoors you should not be filming anything other than 0dB or -3 or -6dBs (Extended mode).
    You can’t compare any 1/3″ camcorder with a large sensor camera there is no comparison a 36×24 sensor will always be less noisier than a 4.8×3.6 sensor.

  10. Hi Charles, the XLR feed is as good as I have tested, no hiss or buzz, clean… that depends on how good your microphones are.

  11. Thanks for the reply HD Warrior! I have a Atomos Samurai that will be used with this camera! Want to take advantage of the 12 bit censors:)

  12. I know you have experience with the Sony ex1 line so i figure to shoot this off the wall response out. How does this camera compare to a ex1?

  13. I have substantial proof that this camera shoots better pictures than an EX1r, I may reveal this proof before 2013.

  14. Thank you for this review. I find it difficult to find information on this camera! I currently shoot with the Panasonic HMC150. How does the JVC compare to the Panny in low light situations. Being an event videographer, performance in low light is a major factor for me. Are low light capabilities comparable with DSLRs? Thanks again!

    HDW : You can’t compare a large sensor DSLR with a 1/3″ camcorder, the HM600 will compare very favourably with an HMC150 in low light but remember as soon as you bump up the gain on any 1/3″ camcorder you can expect noise.

  15. How does the HM600 compare to the Panasonic AG-AC160A at 20+X. I am looking for a new camera for Wildlife videography! Also can it take an extender?

  16. Has anyone put this cam on rods with a mattebox for 4×4 filters ? It looks like the viewfinder housihng reaches out over the front of the lens.I need to know if this camera cabn be used with Voca matte box.

  17. Philip’s review of the JVC GY-HM600 is promising but it’s one of the few actual review posted. What are other people experiencing with this camera? Any major downsides? I was about to buy a Panasonic AC160A but the JVC can export .mov to FCP which is a big plus.

  18. How does the HM600 compare to the Panasonic AG-AC160A at 20X. I am still looking for a new camera for Wildlife videography! Also can it take an extender?

  19. Hi… we just received the 600 to use with our local community cable channel. Do you have any suggestions for setup so that the picture quality is tweaked to the best possible image… thanks from Ron

  20. To HD Warrior… you said earlier that you were going to provide comparison between the EX1R and the HM600. Did you do that test and is the 600 at least as good as the EX1R? thanks in advance for any comments… Ron

  21. Hi, is there any replacement batteries avalaible for this camcorder ?

    Thanks to answer

  22. 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.

  23. Issue is that the focus hunts back and forth constantly. Even once the camera finds focus, after a few seconds it will start rapidly “pulsing” between different focus points, making the footage unusable.Focus drifting when set manually. the zoom was 0, the subjects was at 2-3 m in the front of camera. Maybe another firmware update resolve this huge problems. I shoot in the same condition with Panasonic hpx171, and Sony Nx5, and the autofocus was 98% perfect. And stabilisation of hm600 is totaly inferior to Sony or Panasonic.

  24. I have had my GY600 for 3 months and agree that the autofocus feature is unreliable, so I rarely use it. When it’s in manual mode and I press the instant focus button, it often takes a few seconds to focus, but when it finally zeroes in on the focal point, the focus is sharp. The manual focus assist feature works much better. Other than the autofocus problem, it’s a great camera.

  25. You are right, ok, but a cheap camcorder (200-300 euro)have autofocus much better than expensive cam.? i agree that the image is better than another expensive camcorders, but can not use autofocus every time because are moments when don’t have time to focalise manual focus and the footage is unusable

  26. Hi everybody.
    Here am I again.
    I bought just for a second camera a JVC GY-150.
    I was afraid the 150 was to cheap for the quality I need.
    Believe it or not… gives me a better picture than the 600.
    Just daylight in a room comparing to the 600 more detailed and better sharpness. Good focussing and well stabilization.
    I think my 600 is broken or something. Now I will see the service from JVC.
    But slowly I am getting tired of this camera with his bad focussing and bad stabilization and now this.
    I need this camera to make money with it…I am happy I didn’t sell my old Sony Z5 yet.
    I let you know.

  27. Hi Henri! you’right,hm600 have not a good stabilization and focus.Now,moreover, the sound of fan is so loud and high that is captured by external microphone(sony ecm674)even if i am in a noisy place i will see after update firmware2.02. I’m so upset because I paid a lot of money for it.My friends told me I was crazy that I paid so much money on a camera that films worse than one of 500 euro.

  28. In quiet phases the on camera audio is truly awful – it seems to be tuned to pick up camera fan noise. External shotgun mike does the same. Even a separate shotgun mike on a tripod some distance away picks up the fan. The camera needs a noise cancelling function built in to the audio circuit to subtract the fan noise.
    I only wish the autofocus was as picky as the audio. I find that it hunts/pops briefly at the most important moments. I use the camera for candid wildlife filmmaking – usually in Africa – and you only get one chance and have to do a lot of editing to fix the problems. I like the lens and the range of features but the audio and autofocus problems mean I can’t recommend this camera. I’ve been a users since early Sept’13. I’d like to feedback to JVC but can’t see how.

    HDW : Strongly disagree with the fan noise you must have a faulty camera, I have just checked mine and I have to hold it to my ear to hear it. The autofocus is not the best but as a cameraman pre autofocus years I don’t tend to rely on autofocus plus no autofocus can be relied on to track a moving subject like an animal.

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