November 14, 2014

JVC's New Super 35mm 4K Camera Can Adapt Nearly Any Lens, Including Super 16mm

JVC New Super 35mm and 4KCAM Cameras Coming in 2015
JVC has released some interesting 4K products over the last few years, most notably being one of the first out of the gate with a truly affordable 4K camera.

There have usually been some quirks with many of their products (that first 4K camera needed 4 SD cards to record 4K material), but they've continued to try and do interesting things in a market that is getting more saturated by the day. While they teased some 4K cameras at NAB, they just officially unveiled three new cams that will be coming out in 2015

JVC GY-LS300 4KCAM 1

Likely the most intriguing of these three cameras is the JVC GY-LS300, which has a Super 35mm sensor, but curiously a Micro 4/3 mount. Why is that strange? Lenses made for Micro 4/3 aren't designed to cover Super 35mm. So why make a camera with a mount that was never designed to cover the sensor size? The very simple answer is that they've designed this camera with adapters in mind, and most lenses can adapt to MFT mounts because the flange distance — the distance between the sensor and the mount — is very short, and most older lenses, like Canon EF, Nikon F, and PL are much farther away from their sensors (or film plane). This means there is plenty of space to fit an adapter between the lens and the mount.

The other major part of this equation is that this new camera is designed to take not only MFT lenses, but Super 16mm lenses, which are designed for much smaller image areas than Super 35mm (Sony E-mount lenses are out because the flange distance is too short). They accomplish this using something they call Variable Scan Mapping, which likely involves some cropping and scaling of the sensor depending on what size image the lens is made to cover and what resolution you're trying to hit. It's unclear at the moment how all of this exactly works and what resolution/frame rates you'll get with lenses designed for sensors smaller than Super 35mm, but I'm sure we will find out closer to release. It's also unclear if this camera is 10-bit 4:2:2 or 8-bit, but I assume it's the latter. Either way, getting 4:2:2 in a camera in this range from one of the bigger manufacturers is a welcome change.

JVC GY-LS300 4KCAM 2

Here are the specs on the LS300:

  • Newly Developed Super 35mm Sensor
  • Micro Four Thirds System Lens Mount (Based on the contacts inside this is a live MFT mount which will mean it can work with smart adapters like the Canon to MFT Metabones Speed Booster)
  • Variable Scan Mapping maintains native angle of view for a variety of lenses including Super 35, MFT, and Super 16. Adapters available for PL and EF mount lenses
  • 4K Ultra HD recording (150 Mbps, 24p/30p) to SDXC (UHS-I Speed class3) card
  • 4:2:2 Full HD recording at 50Mbps (24p-60p)
  • 3 position ND filter (1/4, 1/16 and 1/64)
  • HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs (4K output via HDMI only)
  • 2-channel XLR audio inputs with phantom power
  • Shotgun microphone included
  • Dual SDHC/SDXC slots enable Dual, Backup and Continuous recording
  • Advanced JVC streaming engine compatible with USTREAM, Zixi, and Wowza Streaming Engine
  • IP Network Remote Control, Remote Viewing, Metadata editing, FTP clips
  • 3.5-inch color LCD display (920K pixel) with smart focus assist function
  • 0.24-inch color viewfinder (1.56M pixel) with smart focus assist function
  • Wired remote control supported
  • 10 user button assignable functions
  • Includes handle unit, SSL-JVC50 7.4V battery, AC adapter, and shotgun microphone
  • Availability: March 2015
  • Price: $4,450

And here's a more detailed look at the frame rates:

JVC GY-LS300U 4KCAM Specifications

The specs are definitely interesting, but as we always say, they don't tell you the whole story. We don't have any examples of the kind of image quality we can expect just yet, and from what I've seen there are no details on the ISO sensitivity, but since this is a relatively large sensor and doesn't seem to be a global shutter, it should be on par with other cameras in the $5,000 range.

The lens adaptability is really interesting, and for people who want to mess around with lots of different formats and lenses, this is a relatively inexpensive way to do so. I'm not sure how well it's going to compete with Sony and Canon, but being able to put an MFT Metabones Speed Booster and then a Super 16mm lens on the same camera, on the same shoot, could prove useful, especially if you're trying to shoot subjects farther away or constantly changing, and you need to use lighter and cheaper MFT or Super 16mm zooms. 

JVC GY-HM200 4KCAM

For the second of JVC's announcements, here are the specs on the HM200 4KCAM:

  • 1/2.33" CMOS Sensor
  • 3840 x 2160 24p/30p (.MOV, 150 Mbps)
  • 1920 x 1080 24p to 60p, (.MOV, 4:2:2, 50 Mbps)
  • HD and SD (AVCHD, 4:2:0)
  • 2 position ND filter (1/4, 1/16)
  • 2 x SDHC/SDXC, (SDXC UHS-I U3 card required for Ultra HD recording)
  • 3G-SDI and HDMI Output (Only the HDMI sends a 4K signal)
  • 2-Channel XLR Audio Inputs
  • f/1.2 to 3.5, 4.6 to 56 mm 12x Optical Zoom Lens (35mm equivalent of 29.5 to 354mm)
  • 3.5-inch color LCD display (920K pixel) 
  • 0.24-inch color viewfinder (1.56M pixel)
  • Live HD Streaming via Optional Adapters
  • Simultaneous Streaming and Recording
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: $3,000
JVC GY-HM170 4KCAM

And here is the HM170, which has nearly identical specs as the HM200, except it drops the SDI output, live streaming options, and XLR inputs:

  • 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor
  • 3840 x 2160 24p/30p (.MOV, 150 Mbps)
  • 1920 x 1080 24p to 60p, (.MOV, 4:2:2, 50 Mbps)
  • HD and SD (AVCHD, 4:2:0)
  • 2 position ND filter (1/4, 1/16)
  • 2 x SDHC/SDXC, (SDXC UHS-I U3 card required for Ultra HD recording)
  • HDMI Output with Live 4K signal
  • 3.5" Audio Input (built-in mic)
  • f/1.2 to 3.5, 4.6 to 56 mm 12x Optical Zoom Lens (35mm equivalent of 29.5 to 354mm)
  • 3.5-inch color LCD display (920K pixel) 
  • 0.24-inch color viewfinder (1.56M pixel)
  • Availability: February 2015
  • Price: $2,500

At some point hopefully JVC will introduce a better naming scheme into their products (Sony is also a big offender in this area), but either way these are some compelling cameras that may find their own niche in the marketplace. Whether the LS300 can be a serious cinema tool remains to be seen, but there is no question it has a very compelling set of features.

All of them are available for pre-order right now and as stated above will ship in 2015.      

Your Comment

13 Comments

No log curve?

November 14, 2014 at 3:18PM, Edited November 14, 3:18PM

9
Reply

MFT mount... Seriously???

November 14, 2014 at 3:44PM

0
Reply
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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1029

Besides Sony's E-mount, it's one of the most adaptable mounts out there with the most support from lens adapter manufacturers like Metabones.

November 14, 2014 at 4:45PM

4
Reply
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Joe Marine
Camera Department

I understand the reasoning behind it, It's just a turn off to me as a consumer. To spend $600 on a Meta ef-mft adapter just to use this camera seems like a waste. For some buyers it might be perfect, especially mft camera users who might already have invested in an adapter and/or mft lenses.

November 15, 2014 at 4:39PM

0
Reply
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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
1029

Well.... that is your problem due to buying Canon EF lenses. I've gone with investing in mostly Nikon F mount lenses, as they've got the widest range of lenses (including many vintage bargains! Thanks to the longevity of their mount. Unlike Canon who abandoned their users and switched from Canon FD to Canon EF) and Nikon F mount is the easiest to adapt to other mounts (thus adapters for them come out earlier than for Canon, and cheaper too!).

I use this focal reducer, which is waaay cheaper than the Metabones one:
http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/9086/rj-lens-turbo-m43-ada...

November 18, 2014 at 4:18AM

0
Reply
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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2281

Can you provide a link to purchase this adapter? I can't get the link on personalview to work even when I'm signed in.

November 18, 2014 at 3:16PM

1
Reply
Sam
81

I think this is a SICK opportunity. Everyone keeps pushing boundaries, won't be long before we hit the perfect sweet spot.

November 14, 2014 at 5:26PM

0
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Jordan Mederich
Documentarian / Filmmaker
1271

I would like to see blackmagic put a MFT mount on their 4k model.

November 15, 2014 at 2:14AM

8
Reply
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Vincent Gortho
none
916

Sorry guys, you got the specs of the HM170 wrong. No XLR on that one.

November 15, 2014 at 9:56AM

8
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Patrick Grossien
Director/DOP
89

That's exactly what was said :)

November 17, 2014 at 11:04AM, Edited November 17, 11:04AM

7
Reply

? weird... D'oh... my bad.

December 16, 2016 at 5:30AM

0
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Patrick Grossien
Director/DOP
89

All HM170's come with the XLR handle now.

June 3, 2016 at 6:03PM

0
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Charles Duoto
Studio Floor Director
1399

Why would anyone ever want to use a Metabones Speedbooster on a large sensor camera? It basically would just make the image circle smaller than the sensor, right?

November 22, 2014 at 8:51AM

0
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David James
hobbyist inventor
82