Cameras with genlock?

Hey LZX crew,

Anyone have any experience with camera genlock? Looking for a camera capture solution for recording footage off of a CRT; Filmic Pro on my phone does an okay job, but I’m guessing a camera with better glass/sensor and genlock would be loads better.

Any recs would be appreciated. Thanks.

The Blackmagic Micro Cinema camera has genlock and NTSC/PAL output. That’s probably as affordable a camera as you’ll find with newer gear. Otherwise it might be a bit of a treasure hunt.

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Thanks, Lars. I’ll let you know what else I come up with.

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Anyone using the Micro Cinema camera for this purpose that can attest to your results?

Have definitely found recording off CRTs to be a rather hit or miss affair and would love to eventually upgrade to a more stable/predictable setup. Occasionally see really good deals on these cameras on Craigslist here in L.A., especially now that HD is being overtaken by 4k as the standard for most pros.

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Several old Panasonic CCTV camera models (e.g. WV-CP460 or WV-CP464) come with a genlock input. They also have interchangeable lens!

I detailed those in this LZX camera guide!


Well, I ended up jumping on a good deal on a used Micro Cinema Camera and I can confirm that the genlock works great. While getting it aligned and level is still a bit of a chore (at least with my janky tripod), definitely much easier to get clean footage off of a CRT as compared to the Canon 5d I was using before.


Good tip, @sean, thanks. How’s the moire factor when shooting a standard/curved CRT with the BM MCC?

I haven’t had much time to test extensively yet and, if I recall correctly, both times I did I was using my flat Trinitron monitor rather than a standard curved one. That being said, I didn’t notice any difference regarding moiré using the MCC compared to my DSLR. With both, I’ve found using a slightly longer lens and soft focus help a lot, together with proper alignment and leveling.

The two big differences I do see right away are:

  1. Genlock reliably removes the overlap bar from the screen image that I generally get with my DSLR. (…Until zooming in a lot, at which point one presumably loses the advantage of matched frame timing when shooting only a small number of lines.)

  2. The MCC footage comes out pretty flat. Post-processing is required to take advantage of its wider dynamic range.

Will report back if I notice anything else (in the process of moving gear around again, so may be a little while before that would happen).

…Oh, the other thing: the ergonomics of the MCC are kinda terrible.

In most situations, one will probably only have to navigate the menus once, while setting up, and then simply press record/stop — so not too much of a problem. But the buttons really are tiny and awkwardly placed. Can’t say it is a “fun” camera to use.

i found mine on ebay. genlock isnt really a highlighted feature in the description so i usually rely on photos

I look up the datasheets for the cameras. You can usually find them online. If a camera outputs the right video format and has genlock, I add it to the list of models that interest me. Then I set up a saved search on ebay and wait for a hit. I’ve picked up a fair number of cameras that way.

hi, i know your post is really old now, has been really helpful.
please would you explain this bit tho, i.e. how?

Panasonic… Includes models such as [NV-MX500], which records to miniDV and SD card and outputs via S-Video and component (which gets a :rainbow:color picture to the Visual Cortex)

i’ve tried and tried, maybe my camera is broken. or I am dim.
i can get b&w picture into the VC using video output on the camera.
how do i get a :rainbow:color picture to the Visual Cortex with this camera?

thanks a lot and best wishes to you

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To be clear, it must be component for color. If it’s composite, you’ll only get b&w.
I would try the component output of the camera into another device, if possible, to verify it is working properly.

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Fritz, thanks for your advice.
my point is there doesn’t seem to be component out on this nv-m500 camera, panasonic, only AV/Composite, contrary to the LZX camera guide by jsonpayload.
there is S video out but of course no S Video in on VC.
I can get a monochrome picture ok but not colour. unless there is a special lead/converter i need?
or maybe i can’t find the component out.
my canon camera works fine but i really want the other one too as well.
i guess the answer is to get a 4-pin s-video to 3 rca/component cable?

Ah, I see. I’m not familiar with that camera.
That’s interesting as I see component listed in the provided link but researching images and manuals I don’t see any component outputs.
Most likely you’ll need a converter box rather than a cable.

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Hey, sorry for the super duper late response. For my old Sony Handycam, I was also only able to get B&W into the Cortex. Same as your result on Panasonic cameras. I even got a component cable for it off ebay, but no luck.

For my purposes, I really don’t mind the image being B&W and often prefer it, as I like to colorize with the synth.

I believe the Chromagnon will be able to get color via composite; not sure about the TBC2 but I’d imagine it would be able to as well.

Reviving this old thread to see if anyone is aware of an affordable camera with both component output and genlock input.

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I went on this hunt recently and found it hard to index inventory for those features. The XFx05 series that is compatible with the proprietary Canon Component cable also has genlock. They show up used in a variety of conditions frequently.


Thanks, hoping to stumble onto something cheap but you know how that goes. Cameras with genlock but without component out are $50 and cameras without genlock but with component out are $50, so maybe there’s a $100 camera with both out there somewhere if I get lucky.