Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


I am working on my update for the JVC GY-HM650 video this week but having worked with the camcorder over the last few weeks am now looking back at my footage and reflecting on how the camera performs.

I had a couple of the boys in last week, Sean and Graham having a look at the JVC 650 against Sean’s Sony NX5, the main difference is the amount of light the 650 soaks in at 0dB compared to the Sony NX5.

Secondly the sharpness of the LCD was streets ahead of the NX5 which was slightly blurry compared to the 650. Sean decided the JVC GY-HM600 was the camera for him as the extra features on the 650 were not enough to justify the extra cost.

I was watching back my two camera funeral using a JVC GY-HM650 and the Sony PMW-EX3 tonight and came to the following conclusions…

The Sony EX3 had the edge over the 650 when it came to low light but the EX3 does have the advantage having 1/2″ sensors.

The Sony also scored with it’s 14x constant aperture lens.

The JVC with it’s massive 23x lens needed an extra 3dBs of gain to compensate for the drop in light levels at the tighter end of the lens.

The two cameras were very well balanced colour wise but the JVC has a deeper and more natural colour.

The JVC was far superior noise wise but it’s a compromise…the Sony is certainly noisier at 0dB but the JVC uses a Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) circuit to get rid of the noise which although had 3dBs extra it still performed better than the EX3 but caused a very slight image smear in pan shots only noticeable in lower lighting conditions. Update. Once again this DNR is a version one firmware (FW) as per the pre production model and JVC will be updating this in an up and coming FW.

On the whole the JVC performed exceptionally well compared to the Sony EX3 and is still one of the best 1/3″ camcorders on the market today with the Panasonic 160A coming a close second.


Firstly the JVC GY-HM600/650 is very good at 0dB and outperforms the Canon XF305 and the Sony NX5 at 0dB. My GY-HM600 review only tested the camera up to 6dBs because thats all I needed to get a properly exposed night shot at my local shops with street lighting.

The camera is more sensitive at 0dB than most of the 1/3″ competition, if you want noiseless pictures at 18dBs then use a large sensor camera like a Canon C300.

NO 1/3″ camcorder performs at 18dBs you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise  

Please do not miss quote me on DVINFO as Mr Chris Hurd does not allow me the right to reply due to banning me a few years ago



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.

6 thoughts on “JVC GY-HM650 UPDATE coming soon

  1. Hi there,

    Been watching this camera closely..many thanks for your reviews.
    My understanding is that this camera has a 4.2.0 color space. Would this be sufficient to do green screen work from time to time…or should I be looking at something different.

    Mike Lynch

    HDW : Hi Mike although I did not test the 650 with green screen I tested the 4:2:0 Panasonic AC160 with green screen using FCPX and it worked well. FCPX has an exceptional key facility but I would always advocate 4:2:2 myself for GS. I will check with JVC if the HD-SDI/HDMI is also 4:2:0
    UPDATE : The HDSDI and HDMI output 4:2:2 8bit the same as my Canon C300 so by adding a Ninja you can do green screen.

  2. Philip,

    As I wait for Mr Preston to get his hands on a HM600 for me…

    I wonder have you seen this thread at DVinfo?

    There seems to be some disquiet about the low light performance. I think it’s down to misunderstanding and unrealistic expectations (a room with a solitary 60w bulb, and a street lit only by one lamp a couple of hundred feet away).

    It does seem at odds with your experience and your review (which shows excellent low light performance under normal street lighting).

    HDW : Hi Mike what can I say I only tested up to 6dBs as you would never use a 1/3″ chipset at 18dBs, it lets in more light at 0dB so you should not need to crank up the dBs to anywhere near 18…ONLY LARGE SENSOR CAMERAS are suitable for low sensitivity virtually noise free pictures NOT 1/3″ chips.

  3. I’m confused by your apparent contradiction above. You say that the EX3 had the edge over the HM650 in low light, but that the JVC was far superior noise-wise. Perhaps you will explain this in your review?

    HDW : At 0dB the Sony lets in more light than the JVC but the JVC at 0dB has a quieter picture due to its DNR circuit.

  4. What picture profile settings are you using on the EX3?

    That can have a effect on noise.

    HDW : Didn’t have time to profile anything else other than matching it better to the 650. What PP settings would you advise for a lesser noisy picture.

  5. Yes 4:2:2 uncompressed from both the hdmi and sdi outputs which you can use at the same time apart from when you are doing a file transfer from the 650 when only one output will work.

  6. “On the whole the JVC performed exceptionally well compared to the Sony EX3 and is still one of the best 1/3″ camcorders on the market today with the Panasonic 160A coming a close second.”

    Wel, you didn’t tested the sony PMW-150 yet. I hope you will have that opportunity, has your advice is always welcome.

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