By associate editor Elliot Smith:
JVC’s GY-LS300 is a funny beast: Micro Four Thirds lens mount, S35 sensor, cinema ambitions but optimised for web streaming. JVC want the camera to appeal to ‘cinematographers, educators, documentarians, and broadcast production departments’ – just about anyone, then, who might pick up a camera.
Now the company has announced a firmware update that adds more features to the camera: Version 2.0 adds ‘JVC Log’ for a more filmic picture; 4096×2180 Cinema 4K and 2048×1080 Cinema 2K modes; and a clever ‘Prime Zoom’ function that uses the mismatch between sensor size and lens mount to allow Micro Four Thirds prime lenses to act as if they’re a zoom, controlled by the camera’s handle rocker. The camera’s Variable Scan Mapping makes this neat trick possible and results in a 2.3x maximum zoom for HD and 1.25x for 4K shooting.
Also added is a histogram function. Would it be churlish to wonder why that wasn’t already available?
There’s also a new 70Mbps data rate for recording 4K to regular Class 10 SDHC/SDXC cards – you won’t have to invest in new UHS-3 cards to record 4K internally.
All in all, a solid upgrade for a camera that our technical editor Matt Allard thought offered value for money and decent image quality when he tried out a pre-production version.
Firmware version 2.0 for the GY-LS300 is free to existing users and will be available in September 2015.
This from JVC:
JVC ANNOUNCES GY-LS300 4KCAM VERSION 2.0 FIRMWARE UPGRADE
New Features Include Expanded 4K Recording Formats, Unique Prime Lens Zoom
WAYNE, NJ (August 4, 2015) – JVC Professional Video, a division of JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation, today announced the Version 2.0 firmware upgrade for its GY-LS300 4KCAM handheld Super 35 camcorder. The upgrade adds a “JVC Log” mode that practically duplicates the look of film, plus new Cinema 4K and Cinema 2K recording modes, a unique Prime Zoom feature that uses the camera’s innovative technology to allow zoom capabilities when using prime lenses, and a histogram. Free for all current owners, the upgrade will be available in September 2015.
With the new JVC Log mode, the GY-LS300 delivers wide latitude and high dynamic range – up to 800 percent – to rival the look of film. The camera’s Super 35 CMOS sensor delivers a higher contrast ratio between dark and bright areas within the frame without saturation while providing details within highlights and shadows. V2.0 also adds 4096×2180 Cinema 4K and 2048×1080 Cinema 2K recording modes at various frame rates, each with a 17:9 aspect ratio for digital cinema presentations.
Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, but the GY-LS300’s new Prime Zoom feature takes advantage of JVC’s unique Variable Scan Mapping technology, which was created to electronically adapt the active area of the camera’s image sensor to provide native support of various lenses when paired with third-party lens adapters. When used with a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) prime lens, the image can be adjusted between the maximum scan area and minimum scan area using the camera’s zoom rocker. As a result, the camera can deliver 2.3x maximum zoom for HD or 1.25x maximum zoom for 4K. The new Prime Zoom feature can also be used as a lens extender for zoom lenses.
Version 2.0 adds a histogram display, which is useful for checking the exposure by showing the brightness distribution of the image. The function is accessed through a convenient user button, and the range can be set to provide top and bottom limits. Beyond a histogram, V2.0 adds a color matrix adjustment, spot meter for setting exposure values, and black paint setting to precisely adjust color temperature of master black. Additional performance and streaming enhancements include a new 70Mbps recording mode, which makes it possible to record 4K on economical Class 10 SDHC/SDXC memory cards.
“We listened to our customers and made sure this firmware upgrade delivered the features they wanted, as well as recording modes specifically designed for the 4K digital cinema market,” said Craig Yanagi, manager of marketing and brand strategy, JVC Professional Video. “The GY-LS300 will also have the unique ability to use a prime lens as a zoom lens, which gives shooters even more shooting flexibility.”
Designed for cinematographers, educators, documentarians, and broadcast production departments, the GY-LS300 is the flagship camera for JVC’s new 4KCAM product line. It accommodates a variety of workflows with the latest advancements in 4K imaging and efficient encoding for seamless workflow integration. It also includes a built-in HD streaming engine with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity for live HD transmission directly to hardware decoders, the Wowza Streaming Engine, and the ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi. With support for various streaming protocols including RTMP, the cameras can stream directly to content delivery networks (CDNs) like Ustream and popular Web sites like YouTube.