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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 June 24th, 2008, 11:16 AM   #1
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canon mini HDV 63min professional tape

Ok, I search the forums and came across different topics about
which mini HDV tape I should use for my canon XH-A1. If im correct it doesnt matter which tape i use, as long as i stick whith one brand. So, the only difference between cheaper tapes and more expensive tapes is that the cheaper tapes have more change on dropouts, Am i correct?

My question is, why would canon make a 25,- euro HDV 63min professional tape if a cheaper tape gives you the same quality? I just cant believe the only different would be the dropouts? Can anyone explain if there are more big differences in an expensive canon professional tape and a cheaper tape?
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Old June 24th, 2008, 11:31 AM   #2
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There are many many posts discussing this in detail, but, to sum it all up, yes, there is a difference in the quality of materials which equates to fewer dropouts. The picture and sound are no better or worse with any tape since everything is digital.

You must decide if your work can suffer dropouts more frequently with less expensive tape.
Having said that, many people do not experience any problems with the less expensive tape.

Personally, I use the Panasonic DVM63AMQ tapes and have only had 1 or two dropouts in the past year after shooting many boxes of them.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 04:40 PM   #3
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As Jim says there are heaps of posts on this subject, I use the Sony Premium 'Cheap' ones, never had a dropout... but I never reuse tapes.

Pick a brand and stay with it...
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:08 PM   #4
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To the best of my knowledge, there is essentially no objective information publicly available about the quality of different MiniDV tapes. I scoured the web, yet have never seen any report on objective comparisons of tapes (or anything of the sort), and what little (if any) information manufacturers offer about their tapes is usually quite vague. As a practical matter, there's actually no solid information available, to the consumer, to even verify that an expensive tape is indeed of higher quality than a much lower priced tape.

That said, in addition to the more expensive tapes presumably having lower dropout rates, they may also have better lubricants that result in less wear on the recording heads (as some claim).

I seriously doubt there's a whale of a lot of difference in quality between Canon's very pricey tapes and Panasonic's AMQs (and almost certainly not in proportion to the price difference).
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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My take on it is that the very fact that there is no "objective" and convincing information is by itself a good indication that there is very little difference between a $3 tape and a 20$ one.
Canon is not in the business of tapes, so by selling some at $20 they dont expect you to buy a lot of them but they just give you the feeling of having a professional quality product. I think it is just pure psychology and marketing.
I use to buy the Sony HDV at $10 then on a job we shot a 40 hours workshop using the Sony Premium (less than 3$) and had no drop outs, no problems and no way to see any difference at all, since then I only use the Premium .
I also never use a tape twice and always record color bars on the first minute.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #6
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Ok, i'm convinced. I send my 25,-euro canon HD tapes back and
ordered a couple of panasonic AMQ's instead. I'm glad that i didn't put any tapes
in the a1 deck yet.

Thanks for the replies
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:07 PM   #7
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I use the Sony DVM 63 HD tapes. Just ran out this week, and found out the entire area I live in has no HD tapes. Got into a mini panic, a lot of the stuff I shoot is high speed action, and with the XHA1/Sony combo have gotten great results. Ordered from BH Photo this morning. With shipping for 10 tapes comes to $12 a tape/hour. Very inexpensive compared to film, and since I spent a big wad on the HD camera why take the remote chance the tape won't capture all the action. If I miss the shot, it's gone for good. Is someone out there stating you can acquire High Definition from the XHA1 with the premium tapes, or are you just saying it looks just as good in your opinion.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:20 PM   #8
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I've been using the Sony PHDVM63 tapes with no problems at all. I started out with the Panasonic AMQ, and they were great for about the first 15-20 tapes, and then suddenly we got a batch an had dropouts on 6 out of 10 from one box. After that I decided to spend more and went with the Sonys. I like the boxes too--being bigger, it's easier to keep track of the tapes and more room to write on the box labels. Naturally, they cost more, about $16 (USD) from our local supplier, and about the same at B&H.

The other person with an XH A1 involved in the dropout problem has bought AMQs since then and has had no subsequent dropouts. Maybe it was a bad batch. Still, I'd rather pay more and get the best tape available.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:42 PM   #9
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So the Sony PHDVM63 is a step above the Sony DVM-63HD ?
I had no idea. They say 95% fewer dropouts compared to 90%.
Could make a difference.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 10:33 AM   #10
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Also, you definately should not mix "wet" (Sony) and "dry" (Panasonic) lubricant type tapes. It is best to stick to one brand to avoid this possibility.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #11
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I don't think they're dry and wet anymore, but when switching brands (which you should not do unless necessary) always use the cleaning tape before the switch. Some people switch back and forth all the time and never have a problem, but I've seen head clogs from that, so thanks for mentioning it--the issue has been around so long I usually assume everybody knows that, but some may not.
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Old July 5th, 2008, 01:00 PM   #12
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Both the Canon and the Sony "digital master" tapes have a much more substantial storage case than the run of the mill DV tapes. Whether that's important is another matter.

I can get JVC bog standard tapes from Costco for 1.27 each in 12 packs, and JVC DVProHD63 at 5.64 or less each from video suppliers. For important shoots I use the latter, though I've never noticed the slightest different in performance. Maybe I've been lucky.

To pay the 16 or 17 for the Canon just seems daft to me, as has been pointed out already, they are made by somebody else anyway.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 07:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
why would canon make a 25,- euro HDV 63min professional tape if a cheaper tape gives you the same quality?
To the best of my knowledge, Canon does not make tape, but many folks want all-Canon labels on their products, so there is a market to buy tape with the Canon label on the box even if priced higher than other brands. So Canon establishes a specification for function, fit, finish and packaging, and buy tape from one of the tape manufacturers and remarket it. At one time Canon distributed tape by Panasonic, but that was years ago. Not sure what they are using these days.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #14
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I use cheap maxell minidv tapes and I've never had a dropout. I reuse them and keep a tapeless digital redundant archive of all raw footage.
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Old July 6th, 2008, 12:30 PM   #15
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If you look at the box and the cassette itself, it's a pretty good guess that it's really Sony. No need to pay a couple of dollars more for a box that says Canon. I'm happy with the Sony. And, even at $16, that's still a lot cheaper that what I've spent on Betacam SP tape in the past, and even full size DVCAM cassettes. On any production, I spend more on pizza or coffee and donuts than on tape. It's the cheapest thing available on a shoot. Makes sense to get the best.
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