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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
Canon GL2, GL1 and PAL versions XM2, XM1.


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Old May 9th, 2004, 09:15 PM   #1
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Tape head preservation & conservation

An old question (perhaps) from a new source....

1)What is the "average",factory spec,off the shelf,realistic life expectancy in hours of the GL-2's tape heads please?

2)Have any of you used the GL-2 so much that you had to replace the heads by Canon or some other party and if so,how much did it cost?

3)How often should you clean the heads and what factors and conditions would accelerate or slow the frequency of doing that?

I've gathered from various sources and personal observation is that this is what one should do:

a)Spend about 30 bucks and get a minidv tape rewinder for heavy duty rewinding and fast forwarding.

b)Use the GL-2 strictly for recording and some playback.

c)Buy an inexpensive,entry level minidvcam and use it to export video to the computer.My question is,if it's used exclusively as a tranport mechanism,what sort of head life are you likely to achieve on that device as directly compared to the GL-2,which costs about 6-7 times as much?Is that comparing apples to apples?Are there varying degrees of quality from mechanism to mechanism,are some better than others?Any place on the net where tests have been done which can be used for comparative purposes?

Is it preferrable to skip the minidv cam,spend twice as much and instead,opt for a tapeless solution such as the MCE Quickstream device which eliminates the headwear that would occur from running the GL2 while exporting video plus you don't have to twiddle your thumbs and wait while the transfer is occuring, because all you do is hook it up directly to your computer after shooting and it's ready?

As far as maintenance and potential replacement costs go,what is the best way to go?

Thanks.

Bruce
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Old May 9th, 2004, 10:55 PM   #2
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Re: Tape head preservation & conservation

Quote:
1)What is the "average",factory spec,off the shelf,realistic life expectancy in hours of the GL-2's tape heads please?
I've no idea. And since the GL2 does not feature a head time meter nobody else (outside of Canon) does, either.

Quote:
2)Have any of you used the GL-2 so much that you had to replace the heads by Canon or some other party and if so,how much did it cost?
In 2+ years here I've never seen anyone report that they've worn their heads out. It's more common to see head realignments.

Quote:
3)How often should you clean the heads and what factors and conditions would accelerate or slow the frequency of doing that?
When you see your playback image becoming broken-up and/or when you change brands of tape (preferably rarely).

Quote:
a)Spend about 30 bucks and get a minidv tape rewinder for heavy duty rewinding and fast forwarding.
Not a bad idea. I use one.

Quote:
b)Use the GL-2 strictly for recording and some playback.
That's fine, too.

Quote:
c)Buy an inexpensive,entry level minidvcam and use it to export video to the computer.My question is,if it's used exclusively as a tranport mechanism,what sort of head life are you likely to achieve on that device as directly compared to the GL-2,which costs about 6-7 times as much?Is that comparing apples to apples?Are there varying degrees of quality from mechanism to mechanism,are some better than others?Any place on the net where tests have been done which can be used for comparative purposes?
Many people do this. But, frankly, I think it it's generally silly for most people. Camera tape transports are not designed as robustly as dedicated deck transports. That is, they're not designed for the fast, shockless back-and-forth cuing that decks must deliver. The cheaper the camera the less robust the transport. Reality check:
What's probably the most valuable component when capturing your footage:
(a) Your camera's head?
(b) The footage on your tape?

What's most at risk when trying to use a cheap miniDV camera as a tape deck?
(a) The cheap camera's head & transport?
(b) Your tape, which might eventually emerge resembling your kitten's first discovery of toilet paper?

Bruce, it's very common for new camera owners to obsess over wear and tear. This obsession is normally centered on the camera's heads and tape transport, the main mechanical part of the camera. We have hundreds of inquiries here on that topic.

The fact is that when given reasonably good care prosumer-grade cameras' heads and transports will likely long outlive their owners' interest in the camera and/or ownership of the camera.

If you expect to be using the camera under a truly heavy professional load of shooting (i.e. several hours of shooting/capture each week) then you should invest in a miniDV deck. They're really far better designed for efficient cuing. You should also just budget for regular maintenance servicing, just as professional cameras undergo every few hundred hours.

Just have fun with you GL2!
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