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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old March 19th, 2008, 12:35 PM   #1
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what kind of tapes?

Hi there,

Pardon my ignorance, i just purchased the xh-a1, but i was wondering what the difference between the regular minidv tapes and the more expensive mini hdv tapes are? Can i still get the same image on the cheaper tapes? Any input on tapes would be great, i have no idea on the technical side of the tapes and i would love to learn about it. Thank You!

Kevin Ta
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Old March 19th, 2008, 12:54 PM   #2
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If you can physically fit the tape cassette into your tape deck you can record anything onto it. In your case you'll be able to record HDV and SD SP and LP on any tape you choose, from the cheapest to the dearest, oldest to the newest. None of the tapes will record sharper pictures or better colour or higher frequency sound.

The more expensive tapes will in theory give you less dropout, the shells might be built to tighter tolerances and the tape itself might be less susceptable to fungal takeover in humid climates.

tom.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 01:05 PM   #3
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As Tom says, the more expensive tapes are likely manufactured to a higher quality control standard, and perhaps a slightly better formulation. And thus they may be less prone to drop-outs/tape read errors, and problems caused by individual tapes not being within the MiniDV tape spec. Unlike analog formats like Hi8, 8mm, VHS and S-VHS wherein poor tape would often resulted in a lower resolution, noisier image, with digital the image will be the same as long as it cam be read from the tape.

Whether or not they are worth the extra cost is a personal decision. Money shooters (where a read error can ruin a shot of an important event) often buy the better tape for the extra assurance.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 01:13 PM   #4
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When I got the XH A1 I started out using Panasonic AMQ tapes and had absolutely no trouble for several months. Then suddenly my camera and a friend's started having really serious dropout problems. He had bought the tapes for the 2-camera shoot and our dropouts all came from the same box of tapes. Out of 20 tapes we probably had trouble with 5 or 6. Then later on a different batch I had a dropout near the end of one. I've recently switched to the pricier Sony PHDVM Digital Master tapes. First shoot with those will be Friday.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 02:07 PM   #5
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I also just purchased a A1 and started to use the panasonic AY-DVM63AMQ tapes. After reading that they might cause dropouts I am worried because I often do important recordings which cant be re-shoot.
Any other users had drop-outs with the AMQ tapes? Any suggestions for other tapes are very welcome.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:22 PM   #6
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thank you for all your input everybody. This weekend i am shooting a concert, so i wanted to make sure what tapes i want to use. However i did hear about the dropout problem, that was one of my concerns, this summer i am travelling to Vietnam to shoot a doc. It is really hot and humid there too, for that kind of climate would you all recommend the stronger high quality tapes?

I am seriously considering investing more money for those tapes, cause i would hate to have any drop outs on my footage.

Again pardon my ignorance, but i haven't had a problem with dropout yet, is it just a brief problem within the tape, or does it ruin the whole tape?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 03:47 PM   #7
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I have used about 80 Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ tapes for both professional and family shots with XH-A1. Tomorrow I am going to buy 50 more...

A dropout on HDV tape means an at least half a second mess. It does not ruin the whole tape. The first 30 seconds at the beginning are most prone to dropouts, better to let camera run for about 30 sec before shooting anything important.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:05 PM   #8
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I'm also curious, I was told by a guy at the rental house when I was picking up an H1 that Sony tapes are the harshest and Panasonic are more "gentle on the heads".

According to what you guys are saying, that doesn't make any sense, since the tapes are all very similar in theory?

Thanks for the clarification..
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:19 PM   #9
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I've always shot with Panasonic AMQ's or MQ's and have very few dropouts. They seem to be the industry standard for shooters. THE BIG RULE IS do not switch types of tapes once you start. And the first thing you want to do is run a DRY TYPE head cleaner tape in your A1 when you get it before you shoot anything to get the shipping crap off the heads. Then stick with the dry type lubed tapes (panny tapes). Then don't use anything else. Sonys have a wet type of lube and will reek havoc with your heads if you switch to them. If you absolutely have to switch then run a head cleaner before and after.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:35 PM   #10
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Thanks Steve, that actually clarifies a lot.

I've got the Panasonic tapes and plan on stocking up in a week or so.

Any advice on good places to get tapes from?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 04:39 PM   #11
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The only tape stock places I know are in LA. You could see if they'll ship. But my assumption would be that there are online places that will ship cheaper. BUT, if you want a recommendation, I like a place called Revolt Pro Media. I buy all my Pannys there. And the owner is nice and likes to shower you with t-shirts and stuff when you come in.
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Old March 19th, 2008, 09:20 PM   #12
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B&H is good. There is a local place here in KS that has pretty reasonable prices and ships anywhere.

http://www.weselltape.com/
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Old March 19th, 2008, 10:07 PM   #13
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I've shot about 100 of the panasonic DVM63AMQ tapes and have only seen 1 drop out on 1 tape. I also had 1 tape that recorded garbage audio but the video was fine - both tapes were in the same box of 5
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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:11 PM   #14
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[QUOTE= Sonys have a wet type of lube and will reek havoc with your heads if you switch to them. [/QUOTE]

Since when is this true? I have used Sony tapes exclusively in my Canon XH-A1, Sony HC-7, Canon HV-20, and Sony HC-1. A lot of people on these forums use Sony tapes in Canon cameras. There are dozens and dozens of threads on this topic. The general consensus seems to be to use the tape brand you like and stick with it. It's switching brands that may be problematic. Why would the wet lube Sony tapes wreak havoc on a Canon tape head and not on a Sony tape head? Canon does not tell you to use Canon tapes only or risk damaging your camera. If that were a significant risk you would think that they would let you know that your warranty might be invalidated if you used Sony tapes.

Maybe you meant that one shouldn't switch to Sony's without a cleaning first. I can buy that, but I am having a hard time believing that Sony's will simply damage your camera. I spent a couple hours reading as many of the "what tapes should I use" threads on this forum as I could before I decided to stick with Sonys (for continuity across all my cameras), and I don't recall seeing any drastic cautions about using Sony tapes.

One more thing, here is a quote from Mike Teutsch from a thread about this subject
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ght=tape+brand :

"1. There can be no difference in picture quality between ANY two tapes because all that is recorded is digital 1's and 0's. This is not linear, it is digital. There is no color or brightness differences, it is all digital, one’s and zero’s.

2. The only difference between standard MiniDV tapes and those sold as HDV MiniDV tapes is a degree of quality control during the manufacturing process. That does not mean that you won't have problems with the better tapes, you will if you don't follow the basic use principles. I have used nothing but Sony Premium tapes in all of my cameras, including two HDV cameras and now my HXL1 and have had not one drop out! These tapes cost about $3.00 each.

3. The very first thing to do when you receive your new camera is to run a cleaning tape through it. During manufacture, packaging and shipping there is a great possibility of various deposits getting onto the heads and tape drive mechanism. Go get a cleaning tape, brand does not matter. Use it about ten seconds at a time and use the tape only once, do not rewind. Clean your camera at a regular time interval, your decision, but many people use about 20 hours as a guideline. If you wait until a drop-out or another error happens, you have just defeated the purpose of using the cleaning tape to prevent errors. Don't be afraid to use a cleaning tape, that’s what they are for.

4. Few people recommend "Blacking" or "Striping" tapes any longer. This involved running the new tape through the camera with the lens cover on to lay down time code on the entire length of the tape. I do recommend fast forwarding and rewinding, if you have time, to insure the tape is tensioned properly before use. This may also eliminate getting that “Remove Cassette” error as the tape will be properly positioned and ready to use.

5. It is best to use the same tape all of the time. Tapes have two different types of lubricant, wet and dry. Think of them as graphite and light oil and of course very controlled and not like you and I would apply them. Anyway, if you mix the two kinds of lube you will get a sticky mess on the heads and other parts. So pick one brand of tapes and stick to them. If you buy tapes in bulk, say 20 to 50 at a time as I do, it will save you a LOT of money and go a long way toward insuring that you don't run out of your tape brand and have to use another brand. If you absolutely have to use another tape brand in an emergency, clean the heads on your camera before doing so.

6. Each brand of tape is slightly different. There are only about three manufactures, but many many brand names. You just don't generally know who made each brand. For example, Canon sells their own brand of HDV tapes, but they don't make them! The point being that you should stick to one brand again. This time the reason is that over a period of time, each tape will wear its own personalized grove onto the heads of your camera. This "mating" process helps to insure a good and proper contact between the tape and the heads. This will result in fewer errors, drop-outs etc... This is a good thing! Again, if you switch brands it may take quite a while for the mating process to be completed again, and generally you will get more wear. New grooves will have to be worn in and old ones removed. We are not talking thousandths here, it is in millionths of and inch or less, but it all adds up to wear and tear on your cameras heads and an increased chance of errors.

I hope that this information is helpful in making your decisions."

I don't think he will tell you what tapes you should use, nor will he guarantee that you won't have problems with the one you pick, but he does happen to use Sony's in his Canon camera.

Cheers,

Pat

Last edited by Pat Reddy; March 19th, 2008 at 11:22 PM. Reason: addition
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Old March 20th, 2008, 01:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Reddy View Post
Since when is this true?
Pat, you missed a key word in his quote... "switch" aka change, etc.
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