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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 September 8th, 2008, 08:45 AM   #16
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In My everyday use HV30 I have used nothing but Sony HDV tapes, bought in a 5 pack now these are less then 10 bucks each- never had a single drop out yet. I don't consider this to be an unreasonable cost at all.

My A1 has never seen any other tape but canon's hdv tape, and while expensive so is the Camera you are shooting with , I buy them by the case lot to reduce the overall net cost per tape, but agreed even buying them this way they are still one of the most expensive options. I figure the extra cost is just the price of doing business & Charge accordingly. Ive never had a single dropout using the canon either. If I were using this camera as a fun shooter I might consider a cheaper option ,But as a working camera I can't afford to possibly have to reshoot something because of a problem even if that is possible,
and in most cases its not an option. And Nobody involved is ever happy about having to do a reshoot . Also if there ever is an issue I won't feel at all bad about bitching at Canon and
saying hey look this camera's never run anything but your tapes in it ever.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 06:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Sony are not in the business of making no-no or even so-so tapes Peter. I'm still reusing Sony Excellence tapes I bought 12 years ago, with no problems at all. They've been used in my TRV900, MX300, VC2000, FX1 and Z1.

tom.
:o) Happy days.

What tapes do you use in your XHA1 please Tom? Am on the verge of buying a bulk-load of tapes and want to be safe and sound :o)

EDIT: If you don't use a XHA1 ignore this, sorry

Last edited by Peter Dunphy; September 8th, 2008 at 08:25 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by John Estcourt View Post
I agree with Tom, having purchased 60 panasonic master quality tapes@ £4.10 and had multiple drop outs on each and every tape (on both cameras) ive 'upgraded' to sony premium (read cheap)dv tapes, the orange ones @ £1.60 each.
just filmed over 20 hrs of figure skating in hdv,not one drop out on 30 tapes..perhaps i just had a bad batch of panas before but I cant afford to risk buying a "bad batch" particulaly if im doing a single camera shoot .still got 20 panies left in a box ...prob sell them on ebay!
I know other people have opposite results but you can only try a brand and see what the results are for you.
buy some, try them and stick with them if they work, otherwise clean heads try different brand and so on.
If you just read everyones individual advice or opinion you would go round in circles, never buy tape and go direct to disc..ie firestore or similar
cheers john
Thanks John,

Valuable advice.

I guess I should try a single tape in a test before committing to a bulk purchase?
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Old September 9th, 2008, 01:45 AM   #19
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Buying just one tape and then testing it and going back for more will undoubtedly take you to another batch even if the brand's the same so the experimental results will be inconclusive and unreliable.

First thing is to choose a tape and stick with it. Buy 50 or 60 Sony Premiums (or whatever you choose) and get a head cleaning tape at the same time.

Thereís still an impression out there that used tapes are somehow inferior to new ones. Iím still wary of the fact that one hour MiniDV tapes can be bought for little over a pound a piece, and as 17.5% of that is tax, they canít cost much to begin with. Being so cheap suggests that thereís some pretty expensive highly automated machinery at work, and that thereís precious little in the way of human inspection being carried out.

Which is why I say that if youíve used a tape and know it to be good, thatís the same as using your microphone and knowing it to be good. So Iím not afraid to reuse my tapes over and over again, and these days theyíre being put to quite a test Ė recording HDV.

But as I say, thereís still a hard core of people who equate used tape to mean inferior tape, and they tend to work under the impression that as itís so cheap, then you should always use new. In fact tape is probably at it smoothest and best after itís been burnished by the spinning heads a couple of times, that will have knocked off all the high spots and imperfections.

It's odd that most people instinctively think of re-recording a tape as "re-using" it but see no likely problem with playing it back repeatedly -- or even running it back and forth over the heads for log-and-capture. Itís all tape re-use.


For really important projects I would push the boat out and step up a notch from the everyday Premium grade to the Sony Excellence, the professional grade DVCAM or tape labelled for HDV. Many claim there is no difference between grades, but Iím a firm believer in that you get what you pay for, and more expensive tape will have been slit from the centre of the wide ribbon and may well have had further polishing operations to ensure the lowest possible dropout levels. For HDV this is really important, as the same dropout will affect far more frames than if you had been shooting in standard definition.

tom.
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Old September 9th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #20
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Tom - from my point-of-view, I almost never reuse a tape because I almost never want to loose what I recorded the first time. It's my archive. For example, I've just finished editing two new programmes using stuff I shot on S-VHS in 1997 and 1998, and I've got more going back to 1990 that hasn't seen the light of day yet.

If it weren't for that, I'd agree with you - up to a point. There must be a point when the tape starts to wear and becomes as much of a risk as an unknown new one. Ideally, you'd want to stop recording to it while there's still, say, 10% of its life left, so that you can still play it back a few times. How many times do you reuse a tape? 10? 100? 1000?
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Old September 9th, 2008, 08:07 AM   #21
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Somewhere between 10 and 100, but I keep no check - only a huge pile of them. But I do keep my tape paths spotless and load and unload as if I was in an operating theatre.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 02:30 PM   #22
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I decided to go with the Panasonic DVM63AMQ, but also have a need for other, less expensive tapes. It's my understanding that it's ok to use different quality tapes as long as I stick to the same manufacturer?

If so, should I use a tape head cleaner between switching products (manufactured by the same company), or is that unnecessary?
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Old September 14th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #23
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I would say yes, stick to products from the same manufacturer and you won't go far wrong. Head cleaning between tapes will then not be needed.
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Old September 15th, 2008, 04:16 AM   #24
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The biggest issue with tapes is to consistently use one brand and model. never, ever, use other tapes with your camera's heads.

the problem is with lubrication, every tape manufacturer has different kinds. Sony being the most serious offender using wet lube.

I use DVM63PQ, and I buy them in bulk, 50-150 tapes at a time. It brings the cost down to be comparable w/ Costco's TDKs.

I really don't think you need DVM63AMQs at all. The PQs are just fine and they're also cheaper in bulk.

For the most part, never, ever, use a head cleaner, and also, never ever reuse a tape for recording.

Head cleaning tapes will sandpaper off dirt, grime, and grease.. so use only and ONLY when you have dropouts. As for switching tapes, even models introduces your heads to different conditions that can create more crap causing my dropouts.

Pick a tape and stick with it is my choice.
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Old September 16th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Lambert View Post
I notice that those who know recommend sticking with one particular brand. Sony or Panasonic. Does this mean that it's okay to use different types of Sony tapes, or different types of Panasonic tapes providing that you keep to all Sony, or all Panasonic?

...
I had this same question, but it seems to be answered by Tom:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen King View Post
I decided to go with the Panasonic DVM63AMQ, but also have a need for other, less expensive tapes. It's my understanding that it's ok to use different quality tapes as long as I stick to the same manufacturer?

If so, should I use a tape head cleaner between switching products (manufactured by the same company), or is that unnecessary?
I would say yes, stick to products from the same manufacturer and you won't go far wrong. Head cleaning between tapes will then not be needed.
I myself just purchased a used Canon XH-A1 which arrived today. The owner who had it before only used the Panasonic AY-DVM63AMQ (Panasonic | AY-DVM63AMQ Mini DV Videocassette | AYDVM63AMQ | B&H ). He informed me that he did about 60 hours worth of work with this cam.

I've owned a Sony HC1 since April 2006 and have mainly used the Sony DVC-60 PR/5 Premium Minidv Videocassette ( 5DVM60PRL ) which I always got cheap for under $3. I've never had a problem.

Since I still plan to keep my HC1, it would be nice to be able to share the same tape. And even though it seems it can be done (from the PRO-TAPE site given out in this thread):

Quote:
Still, we always recommend that if you must switch tapes, run a head cleaner through first. If you have been using one brand for a long time, also try to run one pass of the new tape to acclimate your heads to the new version. I often recommend this process for switching from Sony EX to the Panasonic MQ. We did both Videomaker shows, DV Expos, Showbiz and WEVA for 10 years and I've had this conversation more times than I can count and never has anyone come back to me with a complaint despite a specific invitation to do so.
... I think I'll hold off and not risk doing anything to my XH-A1 (although my used XH-A1 does come with the Mack Warranty...)

But I'd like to at least use cheaper Panasonic tapes for non-important projects. I'm thinking between the PQs in Peter's Panasonic Summary (below) or even the EJs (not listed in Peter's summary). The PQs can be had for around $3.50ish it seems and the EJs can be had for $2.50ish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dunphy View Post
...
"Panasonic Pro Mini DV (PQ Series)
Panasonic, the pioneer in the DV and minidv tape developments introduces a line-up of mini dv tape, which is designed for professional usage. After 25 years of extensive research, Panasonic has developed a new evaporation technology named S-AME(Super Advanced Metal Evaporation).
With the new process, it is now possible to improve magnetic density over 400%.
Panasonic mini dv PQ tape is an excellent choice for professional videographers.
Length 63 Minutes SP / 94 Minutes LP (42 Minutes DVCam)"

"Panasonic Pro Mini DV (SQ Series)
High-Density Evaporation Ensures High Output
Panasonic's proprietary AME technology is employed in the SQ-series. Compared to conventional tape, the SQ-series has a four times greater magnetic particle density, resulting in higher output by 1dB and ensuring a high quality recording.
Minimized Error Rate
In addition to its high-output advantage, stringent error rate standards are employed in the SQ-series, realizing an error rate almost one-half of that found in conventional DV Tapes.
ABS Resin Cassette & Anti-Static Treatment
An anti-static treatment for the cassette lid repels dust and contaminants, minimizing dropouts. The ABS resin cassette prevents warpage & cassette housing damage, and ensures durability and reliability in all types of environments & applications.
2-way Opening Soft Case
The cassette case is constructed of a soft material that wont break if dropped. The 2-way lid construction lets you easily extract the tape with one hand, even while shooting."

There are also these tapes available, which are the most expensive of the three but still reasonably priced, all things considered:

"Panasonic Master Mini DV AMQ63
Panasonic, the pioneer in the DV and minidv tape developments introduces a line-up of mini dv tape, which is designed for professional usage. After 25 years of extensive research, Panasonic has developed a new evaporation technology named S-AME(Super Advanced Metal Evaporation). The Master tape is for finalising of high quality recordings.
With the new process, it is now possible to improve magnetic density over 400%.
Panasonic Mini Dv AMQ tape is an excellent choice for professional videographers.
Length 63 Minutes SP / 94 Minutes LP (42 Minutes DVCam)"
Personally, I'm kind of happy to have a camera that's Panasonic-tape-oriented. Before I settled on the Sony tapes and learned not to switch them, I had shot some footage with Panasonic miniDV tapes that I was always scared to pop in my HC1 (since there's no warranty or anything on it anymore - not that there ever really was, they give you a 3 month labor warranty and after that, it's $250 for repairs).
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Old September 19th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Mike Andrade View Post
Ive actually used the Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ for a few years now and never had an issue. That's all I used in my XL-2 and now several through my XH A1. They still come highly recommended from quite a few media houses as well as other popular online stores.
...PRO-TAPE[/url]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Law View Post
...

I use DVM63PQ, and I buy them in bulk, 50-150 tapes at a time. It brings the cost down to be comparable w/ Costco's TDKs.

I really don't think you need DVM63AMQs at all. The PQs are just fine and they're also cheaper in bulk.
....
I decided to go with the PQs for now and grabbed a 10 pack from Amazon. I'm debating on getting at least a few AMQs to keep handy for really important recordings, but will probably place that order a little later.
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Old September 19th, 2008, 08:45 PM   #27
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Second post on tape topic

In the past 5 years I used cheap Costco TDK's and never once had a drop out in hundreds of tapes. When I purchased my first XH-A1 I changed to using Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ. My first batch was okay but I have had drop outs from my next two purchased batches.
What we tape is too valuable to rely on poorly made media.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:45 PM   #28
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You know, I went into this thread after a search for 'best tape' for the first time thinking, "superb, two pages of messages, I'm bound to have the brand and make to choose after reading this lot"

Here I am now at the end of the thread, and I'm more confused than when I started!

Here's to mixed opinions!

To summarise, it would seem the two main contenders are Sony or Panasonic. Panasonic have dry lube, Sony is wet, I shouldn't mix the brands. Some say the wet lube on the Sony can make the head life shorter, whilst the Panasonic are apparently guilty of severe dropout (PQ grade).

Heck, you guys sure make it difficult for a guy to choose what he should get!! :-)
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:55 PM   #29
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There's no 'best tape' Chris. Choose a brand and stick to it. They're all good. The more expensive tapes *might* give you less dropout, but they don't come with a guarantee.

I really rate Sony Premiums. Cheap, plentiful, good.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 02:18 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Tom Hardwick View Post
I really rate Sony Premiums. Cheap, plentiful, good.
Thanks Tom. I'm mindful that any possibility of dropout could be expensive for me. I'm gathering the equipment I need for a higher-budget short. I'd rather spend the money than lose the shot, especially with relatively inexpensive equipment like tapes. As I hear you say numerous times in other posts, you're a great believer in you get what you pay for!

That said, I don't want to unnecessarily waste money if it really doesn't make a difference what tape to use. Am I spending too much time debating this issue I wonder?!

Chris

PS. Good website with excellent explanations about the differences across brands and grades: Tape Resources - MINI DV vs DVCAM, Tape Cleaner, DV Head Cleaning, Care and Handling
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