Coupling the GY-HC900 with the optional ProHD Dockable Bridge allows a presenter to conduct a two-way interview with return video while streaming live to air without any external boxes or backpacks. When fully configured, the camera can perform simultaneous recording, streaming and decoding for return video and interruptible foldback. Streaming is claimed to be at up to 20 megabits per second. Error correction with automatic repeat request and SMPTE 2022 forward error correction are both included. Connectivity features also include wireless local area networking (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) via dual external antennas, genlock input, timecode in/out, dual 3G-SDI outputs and an HDMI output, three XLR audio inputs, Ethernet and USB ports, wireless audio module slot, and an additional slot for future expansion.
Diagram 1 shows the camera's three operation modes: Camera mode, Media mode and Remote Edit mode. The GY-HC900 is massively versatile in terms of on-camera controls and connection ports. The camera can also be controlled via an optional RM-LP100 remote unit or a web browser. Lens, viewfinder, microphone, light and dual wireless LAN antenna attachment can be performed quickly and easily. Maximum continuous battery operating time is rated at approximately 3.7 hours using an IDX DUO-150E pack. Maximum specified SD card capacity is 256 gigabytes.
The supporting documentation is excellent in all respects, including a 52 page basic manual to get operators up and running quickly plus a well indexed 235 page reference manual for the many occasions when you need to drill down into the detail. Menu screen operation is clean and logical, dividing down from seven main headers: Camera function, Camera process, Timecode, Viewfinder, Audio/video setup, Network setup and System setup.
The GY-HC900 offers 16-axis colour matrix adjustability. This enables fine adjustment over a wide spectrum including skin tones while recording and relaying video using multiple cameras.
The network feature comprises web-browser-based functions using devices such as a smartphone, tablet terminal or PC, as well as FTP and live streaming functions accessed and controlled via thumbnail screen displays.
Potential customers in the ENG and corporate sector may find this camera very much to their liking in terms of features, performance quality and price. It is a compact no-nonsense model supplemented by a very versatile choice of connectivity features. High-speed recording (1920 x 1080) at up to 120 frames per second (59.94 Hz) or 100 frames per second (50 Hz) is available for smooth slow motion playback, allowing up to 1/5 speed slow motion in 24p mode). Build quality is robust, including a magnesium alloy body, though compactness is usually a tradeoff against the easier access for maintenance found in larger and higher-specification full-broadcast cameras. One way to look at this is in terms of life expectancy which can be quite long in the situation of products confined to a studio or in the gentle hands of an owner-operator. Less so on the road or in the demanding circumstance of all-weather live OB production.
KitPlus readers within a 1,000 km radius of London, this summer at least, may appreciate the GY-HC900's IPX2 water resistance rating with its implied tolerance to a sustained low-pressure water jet. This same rating implies good protection again that other enemy of electronic devices: wind-borne dust.