Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sony PXW-X70 getting its 4K upgrade in June - priced at 485€

Click on the image above to order the Sony PXW-X70 from Amazon

A few days ago, Sony Europe announced several new firmware upgrades for its PXW cameras, to include a free 4096x2160 4K upgrade for its shoulder mounted $7999 Super 35mm camcorder, the PXW-FS7.

Seemingly lost in the hoopla around the FS7 news, another important upgrade was part of that announcement - a paid 3840x2160 UHD upgrade for Sony's $2299 1" sensor camcorder, the PXW-X70.

Sadly, at a rumored price of 485€ (about $550USD) for the upgrade, the X70 would become a $2850 UHD "4K" camera - a little more expensive than I had hoped - but also a possible opportunity for JVC.


Click on the image above to pre-order the JVC GY-HM200 from Adorama

With its built-in XLR jacks, ND filters and Wi-fi streaming, JVC's new 1/2.3" sensor camcorder, the $2695 UHD GY-HM200 (scheduled to ship in late March) now becomes the lowest cost pro UHD camcorder on the horizon.

When it ships, the HM200 will become the only game in town for shooters who need a pro UHD or 4K camcorder below the price of the $2799 Panasonic HC-X1000 between March and June (the start of wedding season).

It will be interesting to see whether Sony ends up reducing the price of the X70 UHD upgrade in the face of lower priced UHD/4K competition from JVC and Panasonic.  Let's hope so.

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Free Metabones adapter or Rokinon lens with new 4K JVC GY-LS300 at 3/18 LA event!

4K JVC GY-LS300 - $3995 at Adorama - click image to pre-order
In another sign that JVC is going "all out" with the introduction of the GY-LS300, selected dealers are offering a Metabones adapter (EF, Nikon G or PL) or one of two Rokinon full frame Cine DS lenses (24mm or 35mm) for free with the purchase of JVC's new 4K Super 35mm camcorder.

This would be a savings of up to $799 (for the Rokinon 24mm Cine DS lens).

Three dealers offering this promotion are:
If you want to see the camera in person before you order, EVS is hosting the LS300's "LA debut" on March 18th from 1:00 to 3:00PM at their Glendale store.  JVC execs and techs will be there - and there will be a free (with security deposit) "rent before you buy" promotion.

Of course, for those who aren't in LA - or who don't need a Metabones adapter or a lens, you can always pre-order your camera (body-only) for $3995 from Adorama.

And if you don't need interchangeable lenses, you can get the new 4K JVC GY-HM200 with its fixed 12x zoom lens, and 2/3" sensor for just $2695.

The HM200 is going to put a lot of pressure on the much more expensive 4K camcorders from Sony and Panasonic, the FDR-AX1 and HC-X1000 (as well as JVC's own GY-HMQ10) .

My guess is that the prices of these cameras will have to come down.

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.



Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Is it a cinema camera or not? Newsshooter reviews the "4K for $4K" JVC GY-LS300 Super 35mm camcorder

4K JVC GY-LS300 - $3995 at Adorama - click image to pre-order
Kudos to Matthew Allard at newsshooter.com for posting the first English language review of this exciting new micro four thirds mount camcorder - the camera I call  "the Panasonic AF200 that should have been".

And kudos to JVC for doing what Panasonic should have done with the micro four thirds mount - adapted it to an affordable Super 35mm camcorder.

From the review, here's Matthew's real-world example of what this $3995 camera can do in a documentary/newsgathering scenario:


 

Matthew's review speaks for itself - but I found it interesting that JVC told him that "the GY-LS300 is not being marketed as a cinema camera."

Then why the heck was Craig Yanagi from JVC at Sundance with the LS300 last month?


 


As with any company introducing a new product, there is probably a little confusion in the marketing department over messaging - but JVC needs to get a handle on this, or they will miss a golden opportunity to make inroads with independent filmmakers.

Whether JVC's "ENG-centric" marketing department likes it or not, Super 35 is a cinema format - and the LS300 is likely to be seen as a relatively inexpensive and easy to use entry level cinema camera by film schools, DSLR upgraders and other low budget filmmakers.

This is a real opportunity for JVC to enter a marketplace where they have not been competitive.  I hope they don't screw it up.

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.



Saturday, February 21, 2015

4K Panasonic VariCam 35 vs 3.2K Arri Alexa


4K Panasonic VariCam 35

3.2K Arriflex Alexa

Over the last few years, as 4K (and higher) resolution digital cinema cameras from other manufacturers have flooded the marketplace, Arri has steadfastly (some might say stubbornly) resisted giving its cameras the ability to record at resolutions higher than 2K.

In answer to a question at IBC 2012 on when there would be a 4K version of Alexa, for example, camera system product manager Marc Shipman-Mueller said  "...there is just not an urgent need for it...".

Suddenly however, the need must have suddenly become more "urgent" - because Arri has, in quick succession, announced UHD ProRes for Amira (August 2014) and 3.2K ProRes for Alexa (February 2015).

Perhaps coincidentally, the Amira upgrade was announced a few weeks before the new Panasonic VariCam 35 started shipping.  This is a camera that Panasonic seems to have aimed squarely at Arri.  With its 14+ stops of advertised dynamic range and true 4K 120fps ProRes recording, DPs are getting results like these:


 



 






For more examples of the stunning image quality this camera can produce - especially at its "dual native" ISOs of 800 and 5000, please join the new Panasonic VariCam 35 community I moderate over on Vimeo.

And if you're in the market for a high end 4K, 14+ stop cinema camera that can record 2K and 4K simultaneously, features slow motion at up to 120fps and a native ISO of 5000, you can buy or finance the VariCam 35 at Omega Broadcast for $55K.

As always, even if you're not in the market for a VariCam or an Alexa, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.



Friday, February 20, 2015

4K JVC GY-LS300 price drops to $3995 - less than 1080p Canon C100!

Pre-order price drop - JVC GY-LS300 now just $3995 (click on the image to pre-order)

I have never seen a 10% pre-order price drop - until now.

JVC rolled out their GY-LS300 Super 35 camcorder in November of 2014 at a list price of $4450.  There has been a lot of buzz about this camera over the last few months (it was Videomaker Magazine's "best of show" camcorder at CES 2015, for example) - but we have seen very little footage (besides this) and no major US reviews.

Quietly, however, the major retail sites have marked the US pre-order price down to $3995 (interestingly, the camera is already in-stock in the UK for £3450.65).

Unless I missed it, the US price reduction has not been announced or even acknowledged by JVC - nor has it been widely promoted by retailers.  Have pre-order numbers been so soft that JVC is cutting prices before the camera ships in the US?  Or is the company simply reacting to Canon's new Cinema EOS prices?

Whatever the reason, what was a good deal for shooters who want to step up to a large sensor, interchangeable lens 4K camcorder - but don't have a big enough budget for the Blackmagic URSA - has suddenly become even better.

$3995 for a Super 35 camera that can record to true 4K makes the LS300 a very attractive choice when compared to a (relatively) low resolution $3999 Canon C100.

With their video-capable DSLRs under pressure from the A7s, NX1 and GH4 - and with the C100 and C300 now under pressure from the LS300 and URSA - it will be interesting to see how Canon responds at NAB 2015 (if they respond at all).

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.





Saturday, February 7, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - lone standout in another boring bunch of camera announcements

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II


With the recent spate of new camera announcements, one might have expected something new from the major manufacturers on the video front.

Not so fast.

Yes, Canon now offers a new super high resolution full frame still camera to compete with the Sony A7r - but it offers nothing new for video.

There's a new version of the mirrorless Canon EOS M - but they won't be selling it in the States.

Samsung has announced the NX500, a new 4K mirrorless NX-1 "mini me" for a great price - but they've stripped the NX1 not only of its viewfinder and headphone jack  - but also its microphone input. Fail.

And the new Canon T6i has now caught up with 2013-era still/video cameras, adding wi-fi and fast video autofocus (but still no 1080/60p - and, of course, no headphone jack).

In my view, the only recent announcement that might be exciting for filmmakers is the new $1099.99 list Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. With its 5-axis stabilization, new fully articulated LCD, 1080/24p/60p, 50mbps bit rate and headphone jack, Olympus finally appears to be taking video seriously.

The handheld walking clip at 9:10 in The Camera Store's review of the E-M5 Mark II is very impressive:




Except for the 30 minute continuous clip length limit, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is now very competitive with the Panasonic GH3 for videography and filmmaking. Links for pre-ordering the silver (or black) Mark II are up now at Amazon and Adorama.

Unfortunately for Olympus, the GH3 is a two year old camera and the street price is now below $800. In my view, Oly is going to have to step up its game just a little more to catch Panasonic in the hybrid still/video race.

My suggestion - a 4K version of this camera (with 5-axis stabilization) that lifts the 30 minute continuous recording limit.  Such a camera would certainly give Panasonic's GH4 a run for its money. OM-D EM1 Mark II, anyone?

All of that said, despite the good news from Olympus, the other major manufacturers don't seem interested in fixing the problems that still bedevil video-capable large sensor interchangeable lens cameras in 2015, e.g. weak codecs (no in-camera RAW), rolling shutter, no XLR inputs, the lack of built in stabilization, no affordable power zooms and no built-in NDs.

The Blackmagic URSA comes close, but it has no stabilization, no NDs and it's a 20 lb. camera.  The JVC GY-LS300 looks like it produces high quality, gradeable 4K video - but it lacks internally recorded RAW and a global shutter (as does the Sony PXW-FS7).

What we need is a "usable" (10 lbs or less) Blackmagic Camera with a viewfinder, stabilization and compatibility with Panasonic power zooms - or an affordable Canon Cinema EOS camera with RAW, a global shutter and a power zoom - or something like the FS7 from Sony with RAW and a global shutter.

Perhaps we'll see some progress at NAB.  I hope I can convince the Board Chair here at HCR to let me go this year :)

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube  - and circle us on Google+.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Panasonic GH4 marked back down to $1497.99



After a post-Christmas spike up to $1697.99, Amazon and Adorama* show the GH4 marked back down to $1497.99 as of this morning - and manufacturer authorized reseller Cameta Auctions is selling brand new Panasonic GH4 bodies (with full Panasonic USA warranties) for $1497.99 via eBay.

This is a very interesting price point, in light of the Samsung NX1's $1499.99 list price, which has remained rock steady over the past few months.

I wonder if Panasonic is starting to feel a little pressure from Samsung?  Or, perhaps there's a new 4K camera from Panasonic on the horizon? Whatever the cause, this $200 price drop is good news for shooters.

As always, if anything here has helped you to make a purchase decision, please shop using the links above or the displays below and in the margins. And even if you're not in the market for a new camera, please comment and make suggestions below. It won't cost you anything extra, and it will help to keep these posts coming.

And for the latest deals, news, tips and techniques, please follow HCR on Blogger, Twitter and YouTube and circle us on Google+.

*The Adorama bundle includes a 32GB SDHC and a $50 gift card.