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Review: JVC GY-LS300 4KCAM Handheld S35mm Camcorder, Part 1: Lens Support, Functionality, and Usability

JVC is running ahead of the pack again with the GY-LS300, an affordable ($3,995), interchangeable-lens, Super35/variable-sensor area, 4K/HD camcorder that also features internal streaming capability, first model in a new product line.

JVC has always been a unique player in the professional video market. Consider their DV500, the first professional on-shoulder camcorder to shoot DV, which basically legitimized the format for professional use. Sony and Panasonic would soon follow suit. JVC was also first to deliver a HDV camcorder with the HD10U. Consider JVC's long-running “thin” camcorder series that has segued from tape (200 series) to solid state (700/800 series, Figure 1, below), multi-format HD recording—all the while retaining on-shoulder, ENG lens, functionality that prosumer camcorders can't match.

Figure 1. JVC's solid-state GY-HM700. Click the image to see it at full size.

JVC was also one of the first to offer streaming from within the camcorder itself by just plugging in a USB WiFi stick or 4G Cellular USB stick. JVC’s WiFi-ready, 600-series integrated-lens camcorders (Figure 2, below) are designed for the news market, where getting the shot on the air fast is critical.

Figure 2. The WiFi-ready JVC GY-HM650. Click the image to see it at full size.

JVC also made it to market first with a prosumer 4K camcorder, debuting two early 4K models, the HMQ10 (Figure 3, below) and HMQ30. Both of these camcorders relied on four SD cards to record the 4K stream, and four SDI cables to play the 4K footage back. These camcorders would soon be eclipsed by two Sony camcorders, much like JVC’s initial HDV camcorder. The Sony models offered 4K recording on a single piece of media, and 4K video output over a single HDMI cable, at a better price point.

Figure 3. The 4K JVC HMQ10. Click the image to see it at full size.

Enter the LS300

Now JVC is running ahead of the pack again with the GY-LS300 (Figure 4, below), an affordable, interchangeable-lens, Super35/variable-sensor area, 4K/HD camcorder that also features internal streaming capability. It’s quite a mouthful of unique features. I was expecting JVC to evolve their on-shoulder camera to a 4K system, but instead the LS300 is the first model in a new product line.

Figure 4. The JVC GY-LS300. Click the image to see it at full size.

JVC also offers two very similar integrated-lens 4K camcorders, the HM200U and HM170U (Figure 5, below), which look as if they evolved from consumer camcorders. This is unlike the 600, 700, or 800 series which are clearly JVC Pro camcorders. Unlike the two smaller models, the bigger-brother LS300 features a huge Super35 (S35)-sized sensor and a very common Micro 4/3 (M43) mount. This is an active mount, which means the camcorder can control the focus and iris of the M43 lens. A zoom rocker on the camera indicates it may also be able to zoom compatible M43 lenses.

Figure 5. The LS300 and two similarly built JVC camcorders, the HM200U and HM170U.

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