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Ikegami HL 77-79
“That Was Then!”
Ikegami’s HL-77/79 Cameras Were King of the Hill in the Late 1970s
Though RCA’s TK-76 was introduced in 1976 and Sony’s Betacam arrived on the scene in 1982, there was a long period—more than a decade—when two-piece camera/recorder packages were the staples of broadcast news. Two industry favorites in this heyday in the late 1970’s were Ikegami’s HL-77, quickly followed by the HL-79 series.
Founded in 1946 and the first to bring a portable television camera to the United States in May, 1962, Ikegami Tsushinki Company was a Japanese leader in portable broadcast camera technology. The “Handy Looky” 77 was offered to broadcasters as a competitor to RCA’s TK-76. It’s high quality and more compact size was the beginning of the end for RCA, who succumbed to the Japanese camera invasion of the late 1970s.
The HL 77, still a heavy beast with no on-board battery or video recorder, used three Saticon tubes. The quick-to-follow HL-79 series, with Plumbicon tubes and a lighter 25 pound camera weight (yes, that was very light at the time), refined the design. These cameras still had to be mated with a 40-pound plus VCR. The HL-79 series would last the rest of the century as one of the broadcast industry’s most popular standalone camera models.
Though Ikegami is still respected today for its excellent cameras, it did not make video recorder mechanisms—a factor that slowed its sales during the critical camcorder period of the late 1980s. Though the company was a licensee of professional video formats such as Sony’s Betacam SP and DVCAM, and Panasonic’s DVCPRO, buyers had to mate different brands of equipment together—something many customers did not want to do.
In 1995, Ikegami co-operated with Avid on a non-linear video acquisition format called Editcam. Now, the company is working with Toshiba on the GFCam series of tapeless production (including a camcorder and GF Station Portable player/recorder) system.
Although Ikegami is now a major player in studio and security cameras, the company never regained the glory days when its 77 and 79 cameras were king of the hill.
“This is Now!”
Ikegami HDK-77EC Makes High-Quality HD Affordable
Following on last year’s introduction of Ikegami’s popular HDK-77EX high-definition camera, this year the company has introduced a multi-format HD CMOS camera called the HDK-77EC.
The camera is targeted at a wide array of applications, including professionals shooting for stadium/arena scoreboard, house of worship, education, and other production. It features 2.3-inch CMOS sensors that can capture images in both the 1080i/59.94 Hz and 720p/59.94Hz HD formats, lower power consumption, and reduced operating temperature, which prolongs life. It also uses the TA-79HD HD-Triax Adaptor to send signals over existing triax infrastructures. The advanced CMOS sensors offer a wide dynamic range and in principle, no smear since electric charges are not shifted throughout the imager (which is the cause of vertical smear in CCDs). Instead each pixel of the CMOS sensor has it's own amplifier (which changes electric charges to voltage signals). So it performs signal amplification on a pixel basis.
The HDK-77EC is a docking-style camera that can be configured with a studio lens and 9-inch LCD viewfinder with the Ikegami SE-79D System Expander. It comes packaged with the new CCU-890T camera-control unit for triax connectivity. This modularity allows it to accommodate a variety of tape-based or solid-state formats.