Video Accessories Misc

JVC GZ-HM400U High Definition Video Camera

ARTICLE INDEX

In Use

All photos are single video frames, unaltered, except for sizing to fit on these pages. I shot all videos in the UXP mode, which is the highest quality (24 Mbps). I set the camera to Auto. Note that this camera does not have an option for 1080p30 or 1080p24. It only shoots at 1080i. (However, it does have a feature allowing you to shoot at 200, 300, or 600 frames per second for slow motion playback. I am still experimenting with this feature and will post a video when I find the right subject matter to fully illustrate the effect.)

The optical zoom ratio (10:1) is very high for a camera priced in the $1,000 range. It also operated very smoothly. Although you can zoom from the slider on the LCD panel, I preferred to use the controls on the top of the camera.

There seemed to be no problem in leaving the camera in standby mode all day long when I was shooting, rather than using the power button inside the panel to turn it off completely. The advantage of the standby mode is that you can grab the camera and start shooting quickly if the occasion arises, which it did from time to time while I had the camera here for review.

In low light, the camera produced images that were a bit noiser than previous models I have tested. This may have something to do with the smaller pixel size (the sensor has 10 megapixels in nearly the same size - actually a bit larger - that other cameras have 2), but I am assuming that the image is produced by combining the voltage from several adjacent pixels in the down-conversion procedure, so I am a little surprised at this finding.

Red is a tough one for digital cameras, but as long as the red is not over the entire field of view, you can get realistic shots, such as this bowl of tomatoes, with a green lime in the background.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-tomatoes-and-lime

You can always tell the time of year I reviewed a particular camera if I show a photo of a tree with red leaves, which are all over my yard on gum trees in October and November. Again, there is a significant amount of other color (green) in the shot, so the red is not over-saturated.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-red-leaves

Once you try to get a video that has almost entirely red, that is when the oversaturation problem occurs.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-orange-flower

Purple is kind of difficult as well. This is pretty close to realistic, but a bit oversaturated. But, the green is spot on.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-purple-flower

Another example of beautiful green reproduction.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-green-succulent

Blue is an easy one for digital cameras (the image of a leaf at the top left). However, even though I used Auto mode (which includes auto white balance), there was an obvious blue shift. This is something for correction during the editing process (I probably would add some brightness as well).

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-thermometer

Here is a white rose, but again, it looks slightly blue.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-white-rose

Yellow? A problem for some cameras, but not this JVC.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-yellow-rose

 

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-yellow-flower

This is a photo of Silicon Valley when it gets fogged over. It shows the limted dynamic range of digital sensors (about 11 EV), compared to film (15 EV). You can't see very much detail in the bushes and trees.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-fog-over-valley

If the dynamic range is not quite so much, as shown in this photo of my bowl of cereal (with cranberries) at breakfast, with the morning light coming mostly from the side, then shadow detail (the inside left portion of the bowl) is much better.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-breakfast

And now, the notorious grocery store vegetable rack. The color (tint) was right on target, but the image was slightly underexposed.

jvc-gz-hm400u-video-camera-vegetable-rack