JVC announced the GY-HMQ10, the world’s first handheld 4K camcorder, this week, at CES in Las Vegas. The camera, which captures, records and plays back video at four times the resolution of HD, will have a list price of £5,090/€5,850 and is expected to ship in March, writes David Fox.
Its small size, about the same as JVC’s GY-HM150 ProHD camcorder, and low price means it will not only appeal as a B camera for users of larger 4K cameras, but also as set and forget camera for HD use, where the ability to crop and pan full HD images from the 4K image could be very useful.
The camera is powered by JVC’s Falconbrid large-scale integration chip for high-speed signal processing and has a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor with 8.3 million active pixels, which delivers realtime 3840×2160 footage at 24p and 50p.
“We’re witnessing the birth of what is destined to become a broad market for full 4K end-to-end production,” said JVC Professional Europe product manager, Gustav Emrich. “The GY-HMQ10 is a breakthrough product that opens up 4K imaging to users who previously wouldn’t have considered it.”
Falconbrid processing takes the raw image data from the sensor and deBayers it in real time. Unlike many high-end 4K cameras, the GY-HMQ10 can output 4K images to a monitor or projector in real time with virtually no latency.
It records using MPEG-4/H.264 compression, with a variable bit rate of up to 144Mbps, and can record up to two hours of 4K video to low-cost SDHC or SDXC memory cards (it uses four cards at a time to capture the four HD images that combine to create the 4K version). It can deliver live 4K output via four HDMI terminals.
It also records 1080i or 1080/50p HD, on a single card in a format compatible with most editing systems. Cropping an HD image from a 4K frame can be done in post, or in real time during camera playback, using a trimming feature on the camera’s 3.5-inch touch screen LCD.
The GY-HMQ10 has an F2.8 10x zoom lens with optical image stabiliser, plus a colour viewfinder, manual level controls for audio, with audio metering in the LCD and viewfinder displays. A microphone holder and two balanced XLR connectors with phantom power are located on the handle. The camera also has a built-in stereo mic for ambient sound.
Other features include JVC’s patented Focus Assist, as well as manual and auto control of focus, iris, gain, shutter, gamma, colour matrix and white balance.
“It’s part of a larger move at JVC to bring 4K technology to a wide range of customers,” explained Emrich. JVC already has an affordable line of 4K projectors for the home theatre market, while its high-end 4K projectors are widely used in commercial flight simulators and planetariums. “4K is the logical step beyond HD,” he added, “and JVC is uniquely positioned to lead the industry in this new direction.”