DEFINITION June 2019

USER REVI EW | JVC HC500

ProRes is a very data-hungry format, and as the camera uses twin SDXC card slots they just weren’t going to be fast enough. So JVC have developed the camera’s own SSD caddy, which takes small-sized 2.5in M.2 SSD drives and goes straight into the camera. Fast SSD drives like this are relatively inexpensive and can be bought in huge sizes. It’s a good solution to the problem of massive files and the speed needed to record 4K/60p in ProRes. In ProRes 422HQ for the highest quality, a 1TB SSD will record for around 75 minutes, while the standard 422 lasts for around 113 minutes, and 162 minutes in 422 LT. At 4K/30p in even the largest ProRes settings, the camera will record to fast SDXC cards. It’s just the 4K/60p that needs SSD, but it makes sense to use this slot anyway for its faster speeds. What the camera does do is offer a wide range of codecs at a variety of speeds and sizes, to allow the user to make a choice between the highest 4:2:2 10-bit quality for editing afterwards or lower 4:2:0 8-bit – or even SD at 8Mbps for speed and potential streaming. SLO-MO One much appreciated feature is high-speed recording of 120fps in HD, for up to 5x slow motion. This is ideal for creative slow-motion shots and is helped by the one-inch CMOS sensor and fast lens. Although obviously smaller than a full-frame 35mm or Super 35 camera, this sensor is built to give a wide dynamic range, low noise and the shallow depth-of-field effect beloved of cinematographers. The lens is a 20x zoom, 9.43- 188.6mm f/2.8-4.5, equivalent to 28-560mm on a full-frame camera. Wide open, you can get a nice shallow depth-of-field effect although obviously nothing compares to a full- frame sensor with an f/1.4 telephoto. The larger sensor and 4K quality means focusing is more critical than

“THE LARGE SENSOR AND 4K QUALITY MEANS FOCUSING IS MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER”

bright, and offers all the tools you’d expect for a camera of this type. The camera looks and feels professional, has the controls just where you’d want them and an impressive spec. We can’t wait to get hold of a finished version to see how it performs in the real world. AFFORDABLE A few years ago the world of filmmaking went crazy for large-chip cameras and the lovely cinematic look they can produce. There followed the rush towards 4K and some 120fps super slow-motion, plus Log shooting and a high-quality Apple ProRes codec. Now HDR is the latest must- have for any serious pro camera. Not only does the HC500 have all this but it also excels as a streaming camera, with well thought out spec that shames many of its far more expensive rivals. And it also brings new features such as the SSD card via a caddy, which is a great way of handling massive files at speed. There’s a fast 20x zoom, which is a 40x if you choose to shoot in HD. Traditional controls such as gain switches and ND filters that an experienced camera operator will appreciate, as well as all-auto functions to help the newbie. Camcorders have come a long way over the years. Affordable and rugged, the HC500 is leading the charge as a camera that can pretty much do it all.

ever, and the HC500 has lots of the advanced options you’d expect from a modern camera. The triple rings on the lens are great for the traditionalist, with focus peaking available to help get everything easily pin sharp. But for AF, there are lots of customisable options in terms of speed, sensitivity and the area that the AF points cover. There’s one-button AF that many cameramen use to get the focus near, then fine-tune manually. However, if you are used to the bells and whistles AF systems of Canon with its Dual Pixel AF, or Sony’s A7 range with hybrid phase detect and focus detect systems, then you won’t be overly impressed. There’s no touchscreen to do touch-to-pull focus, for example. For a more traditional camcorder, however, it’s a decent system, and there is now Face Detection – this not only detects a face in the frame but switches to manual focus when the face is obscured, rather than the camera focusing elsewhere. In fact, the rest of the camera is largely what you would expect from a professional-level camcorder made by a company with decades of TV experience. The menus are clear and detailed, the buttons are easy to use and understand, and can be customised extensively; the servo zoom is smooth and responsive. There are twin XLR inputs with proper dials hidden behind the fold- out screen, which is high quality and

ABOVE The HC500 is extremely robust and boasts excellent weather resistance

BELOW Buttons and dials are well laid out and easy to access

70 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 20 1 9

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