JVC enters 4K digital cinema world with interchangeable lens camera

JVC 4K interchangeable lens camera

On this day exactly 1 year ago EOSHD reported on a rare sighting – a 4K digital cinema camera with Nikon mount from JVC.

This product has quietly matured into something nearing release with a rumoured launch date of April 2012 at NAB and a rumoured price said to be under $9,000. However since this is JVC we’re talking about, something is probably odd about it.

Does this cut the mustard?

JVC 4K prototype

Above: the old prototype JVC interchangeable lens format 4K camera. I quite like the retro simplicity of it!

With the quad-HDMI lash-up on the HMQ10 clearly JVC missed the memo about HDMI V1.4 which supports 4K over a single HDMI cable and is the future standard of 4K TVs.


They missed the memo about interchangeable lenses and a large sensor too. The HMQ10 has a 10x zoom lens and  4 SD cards for recording a 4K image divided into 4 quadrants at 1080p each from a small half inch sensor. It is a lash up of 4 standard 1080p image processors and the kind of SD card I/O interfaces you’d find in your Dad’s digicam. Clearly development moved so glacially on this that at the time of devising the specs neither HDMI v1.4 or SATA 3 SSDs existed. Both technologies are cheap components, with SATA 3 featured on PC motherboards circa $50 and HDMI v1.4 being present on anything from the XBox 360 to the Nikon D4.

Will this interchangeable lens camera be a major improvement?

The as yet unnamed JVC 4K interchangeable lens cam does away with these quibbles. It also has a larger sensor, though the 1.25″ imager is not as large as Super 35mm or the 1.5″ sensor in the Panasonic GH2 / AF100. The choice of Nikon mount is also a little odd for a cinema camera as well (no PL mount!?).

The camera is said to have an HD-SDI output, although this is not confirmed. Bizzarely, JVC man Craig Yanagi spoke at CES of ‘asking the filmmaking industry whether they wanted HDMI or HD-SDI connectivity’ on the camera. That is like Porsche asking their customers whether they want doors on their cars.

Couple HD-SDI with XLR audio jacks, 24p, full manual audio control, built in EVF and LCD, and JVC will have a contender. Essentially a Canon C300 but 4K, for under $10k and they are going to be right in there.

I am just very curious as to why you’d cobble together a 1.25″ sensor and Nikon mount when you are competing with Super 35mm, the full frame Cinema EOS 4K DSLR and cameras with PL mount.

JVC are being very brave – but it looks like they might not have quite the resources to compete with the big players in digital cinema.

About Andrew Reid (EOSHD) 1394 Articles
British filmmaker and editor of EOSHD. On this blog I share my creative and technical knowledge as I shoot.