Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Finally the JVC GY-LS300 Video Review is edited, I asked JVC if I could have the camera for an extra week and thats proved very fruitful for the review.


JVC have thought about this camera, listened to their end users and produced an excellent Super 35mm large sensor camcorder that produces very sexy footage in both daylight and low light.


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.

27 thoughts on “JVC GY-LS300 Video Review…Upgraded to 1080p

  1. excellent review, I agree completely with your final remarks. I’d add that the eyecup is made of thin rubber and goes flat easily: the use of a bluestar eyecushion is recommended (the size would be small oval , I have a fleece one and the whole thing stays a bit better). The “tunnel” view is not necessarily a bad thing, because it will keep the frame visible corner to corner. but the problem may be the resolution of the VF LCD which is a bit low).
    The huge problem that I find with this camera (given my main use which is soccer games twice a week, interviews and some broadcast for the news) is the slow sensor read-out that makes panning a no no. I don’t see much blur panning with the HM200 in 4K. (smaller sensor, much faster read-out).This is a 4K on a large sensor made easy, with no maybes and no buts. But it’s not for run&gun. For that I’d use the HM200 (same camera from the lens mount down). I’ll have to return the HS300 because of my particular needs of course. If I shoot movies then .. maybe (but by then… I’d rent a couple of alexa things, or reds)
    So in my opinion this camera is to be preferred to the GH4 because…? don’t know exactly , but it will cost twice as much, so there must be a reason, again I can’t find one right now .. maybe tomorrow 🙂

    HDW : VF is smaller than I would prefer and its far more user friendly than a GH4 for video work. I would never film any fast moving sport at 25p.

  2. very helpful review, thanks.
    Does a FF lens (e.g. EF 50/1.4) mounted via speedbooster cover the S35mm sensor fully? Which VSM setting (if any) was used with this config?

    HDW : The Canon 50mm f1.4/Speedboster was used at VSM setting at Super 35mm with no vignetting.

  3. Thanks for taking time to do this review.
    I’ve owned a JVC-GYLS300 for about a month and a half now. I agree, the 4k image quality is beautiful, and when reduced to 1080p the image quality is much better and sharper with more detail than simply recording in 1080p.
    Shooting outside does create a real problem, because the EVF simply isn’t up to quality–or size. The EVF on my Sony X-70 is much, much better and more useful.
    Regarding the locking devise, I haven’t found it to be problematic, at least in any practical sense.

    One point of confusion I have you can perhaps clear up is the White Balance. Most cams allow you to switch on and off manual WB, but I’m at a loss to find out how to do this with the JVC, plus the WB options in the menu, and the preset are totally confusing to me.
    HDW : The WB push switch for A and B is inside the Aperture thumbwheel.

    Saturday I took my family to Grandbury Texas, and brought my Sony X70–which will have 4k capability next month if Sony is on time. It has a great EVF, decent low light, terrific OIS, and a histogram. Combined with the histogram and Zebra I didn’t lose a single shot as a result of poor exposure….not one.

    You are very right about the zoom. I know of one zoom lens Panasonic has that works well with the zoom rocker, but neither it nor the JVC have OIS, so it’s virtually useless unless on a tripod. The other zoom lens panasonic has that does have IOS is a manual zoom that works terribly, and is useless in trying to do zoom pans or sweeps.

    What to do? I simply use the OIS lens and don’t change the zoom during each shot…far from ideal. Another problem I’ve found in the field it how slow the camera boots up–when you’re inspired by the moment more than likely you’ll lose the shot while the camera is taking its sweet time booting up. In contrast, my X70 boots almost instantly.

    My Canon 35mm with the (over priced) Metabones adapter works well with exposure, OIS, but does not provide any autofocus–frustrating, and, thought auto focus is not ideal, having it often makes the difference between getting a shot and losing it.

    This camera is great on a tripod in studio, but for all it’s size and portability, the lack of a good EVF, no internal OIS, confusing WB options, and no histogram cripple it for hand held/outside shooting, rendering the virtue of portability not all that valuable. Ergo, if I have to go spend my time trying to get great shots, and know I will come away with good usable footage, rather than spend my time adjusting the camera and adjusting tripods, the Sony X70 is my go too, and it doesn’t disappoint.

    That’s my experience so far. I like this review as an introduction, but I believe more detailed analysis of this in follow-up would be very helpful.

    HDW : Super 35mm cameras with interchangeable lenses are never run and gun and manual zooms are cumbersome especially in a sports event. Interviews and low light filming are where these cameras excel.

  4. What was the B-camera used in this video? (In other words, when you’re seen operating the JVC, what model of camera was recording those shots?)

    HDW : Most of them were a HERO 4 on a 3 axis gimbal and the Dunure PTC was a Sony A7s.

  5. Hi. What lenses would you recommand particularly with this camera (for fast action videography, events & low light) ?

    HDW : For a good allrounder in low light the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 with a Speed Booster would be a good choice.

  6. HDW wrote: “HDW : Super 35mm cameras with interchangeable lenses are never run and gun and manual zooms are cumbersome especially in a sports event. Interviews and low light filming are where these cameras excel.”
    Thanks for the response. That’s certainly my experience. I’ve recorded three promotional videos for three candidates in a local election, in studio, and the results was beautiful, shooting in 4k and outputting in 1080p.
    I guess it always boils down to the right tool for the right job. One issue I had is that the promotional presentations I saw online seemed contradictory and incoherent.
    With a 2.8 constant zoom 18mm to 200 or so Panasonic lens, with OIS, would make it a viable field cam.But that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

  7. @tom ridenour , actually I find the WB control very good . camera in manual , you put the lever to preset for example then push the button inside the iris wheel and will measure on the center (and you see a box actually).
    Now is where it gets “superb” in my opinion. If you activate the “paint” for the preset and assign the WB to a custom button (say the #7, next to the shutter) then you get to literally “paint” the scene controlling the levels of red and blue. Brilliant. If you don’t like it the remove the “paint” function for the preset and you get the kelvin values.
    It doesn’t get better than this. Considering also that both the LCD panel and the VF give a very VERY close representation of the actual colors recorded. unlike sony that gives “spectacular colors” and then you get upset when you open the files LOL
    To recap the key to use the WB control with this camera is to assign a custom button (so you don’t have to open the menu) and then decide if you want the usual kelvin scale or the paint function instead.

    Consider that the PXW-X70 doesn’t even show the WB colors while changing the Kvalue. You have to select it and THEN you get to see the outcome.

    Oh… almost forgot… after you decide a new manual WB remember to confirm it pressing the selct of the joystick on the LCD panel. That’s an extra step that I wish wasn’t there, but I guess that it could save from mistakes.. I guess. still I wish that I didn’t have to confirm it all the time.

  8. many thanks for taking the time to review this, Philip. It’s good to see some real world footage from an operator who’s skill we can trust at last. I imagine it’s the Vimeo compression, but some of the shots look a bit mushy to me – any chance you can make a few clips (1080 and 4k) available for download? I’m also interested to hear your opinion of the DR and highlight roll off, it looks a little steep to me.

  9. Mark, Thanks so much for the explanation. I’m still not clear on it, but I think just applying the steps you lay out will make it clear. The JVC manual, like most, is a disaster, and very hard to understand. I’m anxious to try the paint function. All these steps sound complicated, but I’m sure it’ll get easy with practice–most everything does.
    But, I’m just asking, wouldn’t it be easier to forget about the extra step for paint function and simply shoot with warming cards if you want to skew the WB?
    And the X70, yes, the WB settings is the worst part of the cam in terms of real facility. It’s absurd to have to go into the menus every time you want to set a new WB….absurd. But, it happened and Sony, for reasons I cannot fathom, did it.
    There are a lot of wonderful things about both these cameras; very different tools for very different jobs. But the incoherence of the JVC presentation is hard to grasp. For example, they give you a camera, 35mm sensor, etc, and advertise it as a “hand held” camera–and then give no IOS…and then give the Super 35 sensor a lens mount that is very meager in lenses with IOS….and the lenses that work most fully electronically only used 4/5ths of the sensor.
    You would think the EVF is so poor and the LCD is to difficult to see outside they’d provide a lens scope attachment to the LCD like Sony did with the EA50 or the FS100. I own an EA50 and FS100, and those attachments on the LCD work fabulously well, and enlarge the LCD image at the same time. As it is, with no histogram and no way to see the LCD to gauge exposure except zebra, and the poor, awkward to use EVF, and no real effective OIS, the cam is practically useless shooting anywhere but in the studio, on a tripod, all rigged up with lots of attachments and monitors. That’s how I see it, anyway. Since that’s how I mostly shoot I shouldn’t complain. But it would be wonderful to take this puppy outdoors and KNOW you’re going to get some great 4k to feed to a hungry FCPX.
    Just a few simple things would have made this presentation so much better and so much more special.

  10. Tom L. wrote: “I imagine it’s the Vimeo compression, but some of the shots look a bit mushy to me ”

    I agree, Tom. I know the LS300 shoots a lot sharper than almost all of the video samples, most especially the 4k samples at the end. To my eyes they look soft, and I don’t think they represent what the cam can really do. Why that is I’m not qualified to say, but if it’s Vimeo compression I’ll have to say youtube compression on my 1080p, FS100 studio video is much better.
    Another thing is shots, especially the 4k ones at the end, seem over exposed. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but a histogram would have prevented this–I’m just saying.
    Others have commented on DVinfo threads that over exposure seems common. I guess that may be the case, especially until the user really gets familiar with the cam…especially shooting outside. That’s why I love to look at gauges rather than trust my eyes.

  11. Hi

    i have the same camera since 3 weeks and very happy with it. Can you say to us what kind of picture setup did you use? I personally change the setup for something quite flat and seems good for me and close enough to my BMPCC : Detail off- master black +15 – black toe stretch 5 – knee auto – gamma cinema 0 – color matrix cinema subdued – white clip 108% – coolor 0 .
    And after that color correction……

    HDW : When I test any camera I generally use it from the box its not up to me to start messing about with profiles etc.

  12. Earlier I concluded a post: “Just a few simple things would have made this presentation so much better and so much more special.”

    Reading it over I find it ambiguous.

    The “presentation” I was referring to was the JVC presentation of the LS300, not the presentation of HD Warrior’s review–which is fine, and, as always, a great service to us all out of Philip’s generosity.

  13. I’m wondering why you didn’t compare the image quality to the GH4 and the FS7 which you are so familiar with? What about battery life?
    Thanks for doing this review.

    HDW : Hi Gerald, I have learned over time it can be very negative to compare cameras within a review. Personally I would choose the LS300 over a GH4 as the 300 performs better in low light as long as you use the full Super 35mm sensor and 4K picture quality is as good as the GH4.

  14. @Mark:
    I worked with the WB paint, and see what you mean. As I recall, Sony has the same feature (which they don’t call “paint”) on the VG900.
    I owned a VG900 for about a year, and sold it because it lacked the control over image I felt I needed.
    This “paint,” as far as I can see puts an overall tint to the image, which I personally don’t find helpful. If I’m wrong about this please correct me–maybe I never learned how to use this function.
    Skewing the tint of the paint toward red/yellow, puts a yellow/greenish cast to things, that can be feathered in FCPX pretty easily. But without the vector adjustments and curves adjustments in Color Finale I don’t think I’d find this helpful. I still get the best results with the least fuss with color grading off white.

  15. @HDW:

    “Hi. What lenses would you recommand particularly with this camera (for fast action videography, events & low light) ?

    HDW : For a good allrounder in low light the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 with a Speed Booster would be a good choice.”

    What speed booster would you recommand and will I have to use this in manual mode only ?

    Thanks to answer

    HDW : I no longer have the camera but I was not aware of there being more than one Canon to MTF mount. It should control the iris, not sure about AF.

  16. @tom ridenour
    first of all I completely agree about this mania of giving all the good stuff to these little cameras to be held in mid air, when shoulder cameras are much easier to use. No idea why this is happening but it’s happening.
    About the “paint” : I use it mostly indoors because the default readings of the JVC is cold(ish) and indoors becomes brown(ish) easily. Since it will store the value then I use the custom button 7 after a reading and voila…1 press of a button , and that idiotic confirmation with the joystick. Outdoors and daylight I usually go by the kelvin scale instead.

  17. HDW: You responded to the lens question with the following answer:
    HDW : For a good allrounder in low light the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 with a Speed Booster would be a good choice.”

    HDW : I forgot to check the sensor format, this lens is APS-C so it won’t fit onto a Speed booster.

    As a follow two questions:
    1. will this lens be able to be used with the full Super 35 sensor with no vignetting?
    2. As I recall speed boosters reduce the image. Does a speed booster plus the lens create vignetting that would force a lower VSM to eliminate it?
    Thanks for taking the time to do this service for us.

  18. for wedding what lens you recommand
    and what lens cover all 35mm
    can you give me a list

    HDW : Make sure the lens is a Full Frame lens…I prefer canon because they focus from left to right…the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8 L MKII USM Lens plus a Metabones Speed booster would do the trick.

  19. HDW wrote: HDW : I no longer have the camera but I was not aware of there being more than one Canon to MTF mount. It should control the iris, not sure about AF.

    Actually, there are more than one EF to MFT mounts with speedbooster. Metabones makes a very expensive version but only for the Black Magic cams. The scary thing is this is NOT marked on the speed booster box. But because of the depth difference in the design it could possibly damage the electronics and sensor of other MFT products. You can read about this on B&H web page in the Canon EF to MFT with speed booster search.

    in my experience none of the metabones controls AF. All the rest works fine.

  20. Thanks for this, Philip. Will you be giving the GY-HM200 a review as well? You mentioned you filmed using a Hero 4 on an unnamed 3-axis gimbal, which one do you use and how do you rate it? Thanks.

    HDW : 3 Axis gimbal is a UK Z1 Pround. Rated Very good.

  21. Thanks for the gimbal info, Philip. I’ll explore this one further. All power to your efforts!

  22. The camera just got a firmware upgrade:

    New colour matrix
    Log recording
    Zoom rocker can adjust digital zoom
    4k @ 70Mbps option (for class 10 cards)

    Looking better!

  23. This coming firmware upgrade was badly needed, and the features JVC includes will make the the LS300 an outstanding product–and I note this upgrade is offered free. (Sony, take notice).

    I personally wrote two reviews for B&H that noted the camera produced a great image, but was full of flaws and weaknesses that never should have been present in the camera at roll out.

    The worst thing, and the unchangeable thing as far as I know, is the terrible EVF. The diopter on mine broke with only four uses—terrible. Now I have to decide whether to ship the whole camera from Dallas to L.A. to get the diopter fixed on an EVF I use as little as possible because it’s so poor in quality.

    I vociferous complained in my review about the niggardly means for gauging exposure and the desperate need for a histogram–with a terrible EVF and a mediocre (at best) LCD. And JVC added the histogram to this upgrade—but my first requests were not kindly received—specifically, “We have no plans to do such a thing.” I guess they got so many complaint (including mine) their plans changed.

    Regarding features, the 2k or 4k is fantastic, and they have figured out how to use the VSM feature to turn prime lenses into zoom lenses. That will be amazing, but even more so if the feature works with non-electronic lenses, like the Canon FD lenses.

    I’ll also be interested to see the new colour matrix. I have good color correction means to deal with it, but the present matrix really takes red far too much toward magenta for my taste.

    With all these new features the LS300 will be very difficult to match in that $4000.00 price range. Even with the poor quality of the LCD and EVF, that price makes the purchase of an external monitor for a better means of framing and features like waveforms and false colour a viable thing to do. I use a Lilliput, which has an excellent hood for outside shooting. (I wish the Shogun hood for outside shooting were designed like it–more simply. As it is the Shogun hood is complicated-and I made the mistake of ordering the yellow one–so when I use it all I can think of is Tweety Bird).

    Now, maybe it’s different for y’all in Europe, but the firmware upgrade won’t be available until late Sept. here in the US.

    So–I have a question: is the firmware upgrade already available in the UK and Europe??? I’m curious. If so, has anyone made the upgrade and tried the features? I’d love to hear an informed user response. Tell me it makes an FD prime into a constant aperture aspherical zoom and my dreams will be fulfilled.

    HDW : September

  24. Great Review, thanks. I am thinking of buying this camera, as my first camera (JVC HM600) served me well for news gathering work, but I am looking more now at producing more cinematic work – and need interchangeable lenses. I was told that the GY-LS 300 camera is a good step up and can get the camera and 3 lenses for £4000, which is a reasonable price. The lenses on offer are the Samyang 14/35/85mm lenses. Would these lenses be a good starter point for me (I am looking to add some wide angle, shallow Dof F and Macro shots into my visual armament) or would it be better to buy the body and then buy other lenses separately. Kind regards – Jamie

  25. Well I just trailed the LS300. To work with I really liked it… shot on J Log… very easy to grade and produced stunning 4K images… what’s not to like??? Well for one shooting with my two X series Panasonic lenses… the 12-35 and 35-100… Panasonics premium glass by the way… beautiful clean tack sharp images but NO OIS… It is greyed out on the menu… so as said above this camera is only good on a tripod… Hand held… Forget it. The other camera mentioned here is the Sony X70… I had this too… But guess what… Once you pay for your 4K upgrade it cuts out the HDMI feed and SDI feed… So if you want to add a monitor… I do my lovely Small HD 7 inch bright daylight monitor… Well forget that too because it turns black when you hit record. So here we are… The JVC next to useless hand held… Pity because other than that a lovely camera… And the Sony X70 next to useless if you want to attach a monitor… pity because other than that it produces lovely images too. I didn’t think it would be so hard trying to buy a decent video camera but it seems it is. Next up is the DVX200 and the BMD Ursa Mini!

  26. Here is some footage I grabbed in just under an hour earlier today if anyone is interested… J Log then graded very easily in FCPX… first shots are on a tripod… but later frames with horses are all hand held – it was very windy so some OIS would have been much appreciated! Other than that I would have bought the camera – viewfinder is a little on the small side but just useable.

  27. Have been using this camera for a variety of projects and really like it but as many of the posts admit the evf and lcd are quite poor quality. Wished jvc would address this issue in newer versions. Anybody have any luck with external evf attachments? Zacuto is amazing but cost wise is very high

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