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JVC adopts AVCHD, CMOS for new HD Everios

Interestingly, the camcorders reserve MPEG-2 for higher bit rate video streams.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read

JVC Everio GZ-HD40
JVC Everio GZ-HD40 JVC America

Updated 6/23/08 with information about the sensors.

In an interesting turn, JVC's newest hard-disk-based HD camcorders--the Everio GZ-HD40, GZ-HD30, and GZ-HD10--will support AVCHD in addition to its traditional MPEG-2 formats. This is a great idea, at least for the interim, since it theoretically provides you with more flexibility in your video-editing options--especially if its AVCHD files aren't supported right out of the gate--and allows it to deliver high bit rate video beyond the 24Mbps maximum for AVCHD. Plus, the camcorders include FireWire (i.Link) interfaces, which many of today's models have dropped, for dealing with MPEG-2's HDV-compatible datastream.

The three models also integrate new CMOS chips; I've been waiting to hear back from the company with some details about the chips both of the CMOS chips, a 1/4.5-inch, 1.75-megapixel version for the HD10 and a 1/3-inch, 2.68-megapixel version for the HD30/40 represent a significant switch for JVC, which usually uses low-resolution CCDs. The sensors for these models should be high enough resolution to deliver a decent HD image. However, the press information provided is odd. The press release states:

This CMOS uses proprietary interpolation technology based on what JVC developed for its 3CCD cameras. This algorithm makes it possible to generate virtual pixel data from the red, green, and blue physical pixels, thereby providing image information that actually surpasses what's required for 1,920x1,080 Full HD imaging, or for 1,440x1,080 imaging in the GZ-HD10.

But the sensors are "high resolution" enough that interpolation shouldn't be necessary. And not only is interpolation undesirable, generating the "virtual pixel data" from a single chip is far less useful than generating it from three chips that each capture those specific primaries.

The key details on the new models:

  GZ-HD40 GZ-HD30 GZ-HD10
Hard-disk size 120GB 80GB 40GB
Format(s) AVCHD and MPEG-2 AVCHD and MPEG-2 AVCHD
Sensors 1/4.5-inch, 1.75 megapixels 1/3-inch, 2.6 megapixels 1/3-inch, 2.6 megapixels
Max video dimensions 1920x1080 1920x1080 1440x1080
Maximum bit rate at highest resolution 17Mbps AVCHD
26.6Mbps MPEG-2
17Mbps AVCHD
26.6Mbps MPEG-2
17Mbps AVCHD
Hours recorded (highest/lowest quality) 10/15 6/33 1/3.3
Price $1,299.95 $999.95 $799.95

Also, the GZ-HD40 comes bundled with a docking station. The three models are slated to ship in August.