Best Buy
  • Price: 3790 . 4130

  • Company: JVC Professional Europe Ltd.

  • Pros: Comfortable ergonomics, excellent output quality of footage. Attention to detail includes ear-level speaker and full auto mode.

  • Cons: VTR/cam switch hidden by screen. Application capture issues.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 9 out of 10 We rate this 9 out of 10

The HD100 is the first HDV camera to offer interchangable lenses. It’s smaller than it looks, but otherwise it’s just what you’d expect from JVC Pro. It’s available in two versions: the HDV/DV out-only HD100 and the HDV/DV in/out-capable HD101.

This camcorder is based around the 720p flavour of HDV. This has a smaller resolution (1,280-x-720) than the 1080i used by Sony’s HVR-Z1 (1,920-x-1080), but is progressive to the Z1’s interlaced. The practical differences between the two is an article in itself, but suffice to say we’d rather use 720p for indie filmmaking and 1080i for high detail work. In most circumstances though, there’s little between them.

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The HD100 looks like its DV5000 cousin, but is a lot smaller. In use, it seems smaller than Canon’s XL2, though this is due to the size of the viewfinder and lens rather than the body.
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Ergonomically, the HD100 is extremely comfortable. It’s too heavy to be used one-handed and it’s front-heavy too – but it’s light enough that you’ll never notice this when it’s on your shoulder.
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The viewfinder can be adjusted left-to-right to fit both leading eyes for most head-sizes. JVC has also included a padded speaker by your right ear for monitoring, which is great when you’re on the move. The shoulder-mount can be moved backwards and forwards for maximum comfort.
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As you’d expect from JVC Pro, the HD100 is covered in buttons, switches, and knobs. The Z1’s chassis seemed empty compared to this – preferring to place controls in menu screens as with consumer DV cams. JVC’s approach is more high-end, and it takes longer to learn where all of the control are, but we prefer it as it’s faster in the field. Only the strange placement of the VTR/cam switch under the LCD screen was at fault.
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