One of the most underestimated, sadly rarely heard of, Super 35 4K camcorders out there is the JVC GY-LS300 by JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation’s JVC Professional Video division. I have never had the pleasure of trying out the GY-LS300 or even seeing one from a distance, so must rely on the professional insights of documentary cinematographer Rick Young who has expressed nothing but praise for the camera.
The JVC GY-LS300 has intrigued me from the moment I first read about it, at a time when I was wondering whether I should stick with hybrid stills/video cameras or look into the emerging world of 4K camcorders.
With an independent self-funded photographer and moviemaker budget, and the need to adequately cater for both creative fields, I opted for hybrid cameras but sometimes wonder if I have made the right decision on the video side of things.
Should I have bitten the bullet on the JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder and made do with a smaller selection of cameras and lenses for stills photography? Given the ongoing problems we have in this country with our lousy online upload speeds, some of the worst in the world, I made the best choice available at the time and opted to start off Untitled: Stories of Creativity, Innovation, Success by focussing more on documentary photography than short documentary movies.
If things had been different for Australian Internet access I would gladly have chosen to focus more on video than stills and I most likely would have selected the JVC GY-LS300 as my prime video camera with M43 hybrids as my B and C cameras. If full-length documentary features enter the picture sometime soon, then I may well do exactly that.
JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder with Atomos Ninja Inferno monitor/recorder
JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder in Zacuto Recoil rig
JVC GY-LS300 4K camcorder with Veydra Mini Prime Micro Four Thirds geared cinema lenses
Before JVC announced its version 4.0 firmware update, the JVC GY-LS300 possessed a specifications list to impress:
- 4K Ultra High Definition video.
- Super 35 4K CMOS sensor.
- Micro Four Thirds lens mount.
- Variable Scan Mapping for native angle of view with a wide range of lenses including M43, Super 16 and Super 35.
- Lens mount adapters for EF and PL lenses.
- Built-in 3-position ND filters – 1/4, 1/16 and 1/64.
- HD-SDI (3G) and HDMI outputs with 4K only via HDMI, feeding and triggering external recorders.
- DCI Cinema 4K 24p and DCI Cinema 2K 24p recording.
- Full HD 4:2:2 recording at 50Mbps.
- JVC-Log aka J-Log for 800% dynamic range.
- 120fps HD slow motion recording.
- 2-channel XLR phantom-powered audio inputs and included shotgun microphone.
- Hot-swappable dual SDVH/SDXC card slots for dual, backup or continuous recording.
- Handle unit for XLR input and microphone.
- And more.
The one widely-reported downside to the JVC GY-LS300? Its viewfinder. Given current electronic viewfinder technology, JVC could easily add a far better EVF to the JVC GY-LS300 and really knock one out of the park.
Meanwhile Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films says this about footage from the JVC GY-LS300:
I was impressed with the footage I was given when I built my LUT for it. J-Log is log done right, because it uses the full 8-bit space to assign values, meaning very little banding compared to truncated log profiles such as 8-bit V-Log for Panasonic and S-Log3 on the Sony cameras in particular.
Quick and dirty image graphic concept by Carmel D. Morris.