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My review of the JVC LS300


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Ever since the first DSLR started shooting video there has been one dream, the functionality of a camcorder with the sensor and lens mount of a DSLR. All in an affordable package.
This might be just that.

8T3A0141.md.jpg

JVC has lended me the camera for a few weeks to try out. What Im mostly interested in is if:

  • Its as good as the specs makes it out to be.
  • If it can be both a true Run n Gun camera and something for cinema.
  • If it is the ultimate camera for vintage lens junkies :)

Regarding the specs, here is what cought my eye.

  • MFT Mount
  • S35mm Sensor
  • 4K
  • 4:2:2 HD
  • Log
  • Prime Zoom
  • External Controls
  • Built In NDs
  • XLR

8T3A0134.md.jpg

First Impression

It is light and small but doesn't feel cheap or flimsy. I would say it feels just like theses DVX type camcorders always does. Not 5D rugged, but solid, maybe a bit more solid than a FS100.

Setting it up was super easy and intuitive, I mean its a camcorder... its great.. its like riding a bike :)
Getting all the features I want like zebra etc went fast, they where all exactly where you would suspect them to be.

The ND wheel feels nice, so does most of the controls and buttons. The audio wheels are clickless, thats a tiny complaint but no deal breaker.

The first lens I tested was a m4/3 12-42mm. Its the kit lens from my GFs GM1. It worked and surprisingly it only had some vignette at the long end in s35 mode. In other words its both a normal MFT zoom and a s35 wide angle.
It also turns out that there where sensor size stops between s35 and MFT!

I hate to say it, but thats all I have time for this first evening. First test and some downloadable J-Log will be up tomorrow.
Meanwhile, here are some pics.

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8T3A0145.md.jpg

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Im looking forward to completing the review, test all kinds of vintage glass like c-mounts and my K3-Bayonets. Unfortunately I have to return it this week and don't really have time for another two

Its all mine Felth good to unbox instead of the used review unit.

Ever since the first DSLR started shooting video there has been one dream, the functionality of a camcorder with the sensor and lens mount of a DSLR. All in an affordable package. This might be just

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Great! It'll be nice to have your input on this cam. I was pretty interested at first, but the high-ish price (which has now come down) and the mediocre initial test footage I saw kinda put me off of it. And it being a JVC, of course, haha. I just have a hard time taking them seriously in the large-sensor space, for some reason.

It would be great if you could do a quick rolling-shutter test using Samuel H's methodology described in this post:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?303559-Measuring-rolling-shutter-put-a-number-on-this-issue!

I also wonder what the performance of m4/3 speedboosters will be like, past the m4/3 sensor area. Even if it covers the full s35 sensor, I feel like the outer quarters/thirds of the frame would still be compromised. Hopefully Brian Caldwell sees this and can clarify.

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13 hours ago, Cinegain said:

- huh, is that a 1D C? You didn't have one before either, did ya?

It came the same day, was a great view when I got home :)

4 hours ago, aldolega said:

Great! It'll be nice to have your input on this cam. I was pretty interested at first, but the high-ish price (which has now come down) and the mediocre initial test footage I saw kinda put me off of it. And it being a JVC, of course, haha. I just have a hard time taking them seriously in the large-sensor space, for some reason.

It would be great if you could do a quick rolling-shutter test using Samuel H's methodology described in this post:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?303559-Measuring-rolling-shutter-put-a-number-on-this-issue!

I also wonder what the performance of m4/3 speedboosters will be like, past the m4/3 sensor area. Even if it covers the full s35 sensor, I feel like the outer quarters/thirds of the frame would still be compromised. Hopefully Brian Caldwell sees this and can clarify.

I will do my best to test it through most shooting situations. Cant help you with the speedbooster thoug, don't have one.

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Your reviews are great Mattias, I followed them on Youtube before knowing you were lurking here!

JVC has a beautiful JLog. I'm still very interested in this camera but the ISO performance wasn't stellar. Still, for the price is hard to beat and I would love to see JVC winning at it. The viewfinder is not great and it's a pity they didn't get rid of it ala FS7. It's a weak point and still takes precious centimeters in the bag. Also they need to put JLOG too on the GY-HM170 and the GY-HM200 so shooters can have other camera options to match the footage in multicam shootings. 

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Files for download!

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Here are some files for download so you can play around with them.
One is a test of the Dynamic Range. It was shot in s35 with a m4/3 kit lens so there is severe barrel distortion, but no vignette.

The other is a portrait of Gunpowder with a vintage Yashikor 55mm

My advice for grading is to treat it as Rec709 and don't push the shadows to much. The mids and highlights can take more of a beating.

DR test Ungraded
No highlights blown, sky is preserved for the sake of the test.
DRUngraded.md.jpg

With a quick grade
DRGrade.md.jpg

Gunpowder ungraded
Krut_Ungraded.md.jpg

Quick Grade 1
KrutGrade1.md.jpg

Quick Grade 2
KrutGrade2.md.jpg

The files can be downloaded here: http://www.filedropper.com/jvc

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Thanks for sharing the files Mattias.
I was surprised by the amount of macro blocking in the window footage as the shot of gunpowder had hardly any.
CC-ing gunpowder (no grade) felt really nice, the window shot though felt like the footage fell apart.
Don’t think I will buy a JVC any time soon.

gunpowder_jvc.jpg

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14 minutes ago, bunk said:

Thanks for sharing the files Mattias.
I was surprised by the amount of macro blocking in the window footage as the shot of gunpowder had hardly any.
CC-ing gunpowder (no grade) felt really nice, the window shot though felt like the footage fell apart.
Don’t think I will buy a JVC any time soon.

How did you grade,because I wasn't able to replicate your problem with macro blocking, no matter how much I pushed?
And if you get it, remember, this is 8-bit 4K just like a GH4, A7sii or something, they can't be treated as raw.
And the camera does shoot 10-bit 4:2:2 if one really wants to grade.

I won't make the decision if its worth to buy by looking at two clips, that seems pretty harsh. Specially since that means you pretty much only have the fs7, c300 and c300ii left to choose from. 

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2 hours ago, Mattias Burling said:

Sorry, dont see it. Can you be more specific?

I opened the footage in Photoshop. And created two cut outs. Without changing the footage I traced some of the macroblocks at 100% and created outlines. Next I changed saturation ... not precise but not too far off either. I'm on my laptop, maybe that somehow emphases it somehow.

macro_blocking_01.jpg

macro_blocking_02.jpg

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