Price When Reviewed: 3790
Pros: Accurate colour capture. Excellent choice of lenses. 50fps progressive capture.
Cons: Pricy. No battery or charger as standard. Footage not as sharp as Sony PMW-EX1.
This model was reviewed as part of our group test of HD camcorders.
Unlike Canon and Sony, JVC differentiates considerably between its consumer and professional ranges, and leaves no middle ground. Of all the camcorders on test, the GY-HD201E feels most like TV studio equipment.
The Fujinon 16x lens is removable, and a standard 1/3in bayonet fitting accommodates at least five alternatives, and even 1/2in and 2/3in lenses with adaptors.
Using a trio of CCDs with 1.1 megapixels each, the JVC has more than enough for its native 1,280-x-720 shooting resolution. JVC has opted resolutely for progressive 720p HDV (aka HDV1) in its professional range, and uses it to maximum potential. The GY-HD201E can shoot at 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60fps although the latter modes are less widely supported by editing software. This model covers everything from film production to TV work.
In our daylight test, the JVC produced highly accurate colour, although the image wasn’t quite as sharp as Sony’s PMW-EX1. The GY-HD201E achieved smooth motion, however, thanks to its 50p recording. In our low-light test, it produced one of the darker images, but there was little grain.
The JVC HDV camcorders have always stood out for their lens options, and the GY-HD201E is the only camcorder at this price point to offer this facility alongside 50p shooting at this price point. For sports and nature videographers, this is a great option.
But for more general shooting, one of its lesser siblings would make more sense. It’s worth noting that the GY-HD201E uses the high-end IDX system, and doesn’t come with batteries or a charger, so add around £1,000 to the price for these. If you don’t need to shoot at 50 or 60 progressive frames per second, but still want different lenses, the GY-HD111E is around £900 less expensive, and the GY-HD110E (without FireWire input) £300 cheaper still.