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Sony and JVC Take Different Tacks in the High-End Camcorder Gamut

Introduction

Commercialized since last year and priced at over $4,000, JVC's GR-PD1 and Sony's DCR-VX2100 compete for share in the high-end camcorder category.

JVC's JVC GR-PD1, which is sold in Europe and is the same device as the JVC GR-HD1 sold in North America except that it doesn't support high-definition video recording, shoots in MPEG-2 compression using progressive 25p scanning. If the term "25p" means nothing to you, it refers to a rate of 25 images per second instead of 50 interlaced fields per second in DV (known as 50i). JVC's GR-PD1 also has a hybrid complementary/primary filter system capable of competing performance-wise with a tri-CCD camcorder.

Image Quality

We assessed the image quality of both these camcorders based on their colorimetric rendering, sharpness of image and sensitivity.

Colorimetry - The analysis system

JVC jumped in at the deep end when it launched a marketing campaign announcing a mono-CCD camcorder capable of matching a tri-CCD in terms of colorimetry. How come? The integrated filter system in the GR-PD1 is a hybrid. It consists of two complementary colors (yellow and cyan), a primary color (green) and colorless (W). Maximum resolution is obtained by tiling one pixel at a time on the CCD then combining pixels in pairs for brightness and in groups of four for color. These combinations make it possible to sample the brightness signals (Y) and the color signals (Red Green Blue) to obtain a color result comparable to that achieved by triCCD cameras, yet using a single 1.18 megapixel sensor.

The Sony DCR-VX2100, on the other hand, is based on a three-sensor CCD system of 450,000 pixels that analyzes each primary color of red, green and blue. Its enthusiasts know this system as triCCD. It has withstood the test of time and is used on all professional camcorders.

On the left, the GR-PD1's hybrid system delivers the three primary colors by combining yellow, cyan, green and colorless. On the right, the triCCD system used by the DCR-VX2100 analyzes the three primary colors separately.