JVC unveils handheld 4K camcorder

If you’ve been considering the purchase of a top-end DSLR – the recently announced Nikon D4 springs to mind – for video applications, you may want to rethink that decision.

JVC has pulled the curtain back on the GY-HMQ10, which the company says is the world’s first handheld 4K camcorder. It captures, records, and plays video images at four times the resolution of high definition television.

JVC has called on its Falconbrid large-scale integration (LSI) chip for high-speed signal processing and a 1/2-inch CMOS imager with 8.3 million active pixels to do this.

The company says it delivers real-time 3840 x 2160 footage at 24p, 50p, or 60p.

The cost? About a thousand bucks less than the Nikon D4.

High resolution 4K still picture imaging has been around for several years in DSLRs. Motion video capture with these cameras has always been done at a lower video resolution because of lack of processing power.

Similarly, high end digital motion picture cameras may capture 4K images, but often provide a raw data output to an external storage array for later processing – again because of lack of processing power in the camera.

JVC says there just hasn’t been the ability to capture, process, display and record full 4K images in real time until now.

JVC’s Falconbrid LSI processing takes raw image data from the camera’s CMOS device and dematrixes (deBayers) it in real time. Unlike many high end 4K cameras, the GY-HMQ10 is able to output 4K images to a monitor or projection system in real time with virtually no latency.

Using MPEG-4 technology and a variable bit rate H.264 codec operating at up to 144 Mbps, this new camera records up to two hours of 4K video to SDHC or SDXC memory cards.

In addition to 4K imaging, the GY-HMQ10 also captures and records 1080i or 1080/60p full HD.

HD is recorded on a single memory card in a format compatible with most video editing systems.

Another feature is the ability to crop an HD image from a 4K frame. This can be accomplished in post production, or in real time during camera playback. The “trimming” feature makes HD cropping easy using the camera’s touch panel LCD monitor.

Similar in size to JVC’s GY-HM150 ProHD camcorder, the GY-HMQ10 includes a fixed f/2.8 10x zoom lens with optical image stabilizer, as well as a colour viewfinder and 3.5-inch touch LCD monitor with a new, intuitive user interface.

(A DSLR, by contrast, gives you the ability to change lenses.)

The GY-HMQ10 is equipped with 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 is equipped with a built-in stereo mic for ambient sound pickup.

Other features include JVC’s Focus Assist, as well as manual and auto control of focus, iris, gain, shutter, gamma, colour matrix, and white balance. Plus, the camera has the capability of live 4K output via four HDMI terminals.

The camera is expected to go on sale in March.

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