JVC launches JY-HMQ30 4K, Nikon lens camera

JVC’s 4K-capable JY-HM30. Picture: JVC

JVC has joined the battle for a share of the large-format, 4K capable camcorder market, by releasing a 4K capable camera, the JY-HMQ30. Initially only available in Japan, the camera will ship with a Nikon lens mount.

Based on the Japanese specifications, the camera appears to a larger version of the existing GY-HMQ10. Like that model, it records AVCHD video onto four memory cards, for 4K resolution, or on a single card for standard HD video.

The camera uses a single 1.25inch CMOS sensor, rather than the half-inch sensor of the GY-HMQ10, coupled with a Nikon F-mount.

The lens mount works with either conventional Nikkor lenses with aperture rings or the newer, G lenses, where the aperture is controlled by the camera; the JY-HMQ30 includes an aperture control dial for this purpose. But there is, apparently, no auto focus, regardless of the lens used. 4K recording is up to 144Mbps, but HD recording is limited to the AVCHD standard of 28Mbps, similar to that of Canon’s C100 and Sony’s FS-100 and FS-700 cinematic camcorders.

Like the GY-HMQ10, the new camera records a quarter of the image to each of four memory cards, then uses stitching technology to combine the video into a single file, or create a ProRes 422 file for editing. For viewing, the camera will connect to a 4K display, but as it uses HDMI 1.3, it needs four connectors to achieve a full resolution image.

The camera will record video at 50/60 fps for HD, and 24 fps, along with interlaced modes. Audio is AC3 throughout. There is no mention of an ND filter in JVC’s specs, and nor is the camera’s crop factor specified.

The JY-HMQ30 uses a mid-sized camcorder design, with a top-handle mounted XLR adapter – as with other JVC cameras, this seems to be removable, a side-mounted LCD screen and an EVF at the rear.

The camera is available now in Japan to order, at a cost of 17,000 Yen, or about £11,500, excluding lens. US and European availability has not been confirmed.

If the JY-HMQ30 ships in the US and Europe, the camera may well appeal to Nikkor lens owners looking for a more conventional, camcorder alternative to DSLRs such as the D800. But the four-card recording system, and the lack of a better than AVCHD bitrate, has held back the GY-HMQ10 in the market so far.