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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 August 12th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #1
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Which tape to use (revisited)

I know there are dozens of threads concerning which tapes to use, but I am having problems identifying those tapes because most posts refer to "standard" or "premium", etc. without specific current model numbers.

1. With respect to SONY and Panasonic, what are the current premium quality designations for the expensive HDV tapes.
Are they the SONY DVM63 HDV/DV? or the DVM85SD? HDM63VG? or PHDVM-63DM?
For panasonic, are they the AY-DVM63AMQ? (or 83PQ?)


My reading of the posts seem to indicate that if you're doing a crucial or paying shoot, then best use the more expensive tapes.

2. With respect to SONY and Panasonic, for ordinary, non-crucial jobs, which tape designations are the ones to get? Are they the SONY blue DVCs? The Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ?

Thanks in advance
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Old August 12th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #2
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Hi Stephen,

The "HDV Tapes" is a bit of a misnomer.

If you are recording mini-dv (eg Canon XL-2) then you are recording 25Mbps of data.

If you are recording HDV (eg Canon XL-H1) then you are also recording 25Mbps of data.

The only difference is that HDV has a higher compression, so (theoretically), more FINAL information (picture/sound) could be lost due to a dropout with HDV than mini-DV.

We never use the "HDV tapes" to shoot HDV. We never use the "bargin bin" variety either. Any manufactures premium variety should be fine. Our preference is Sony Excellence. And so far...


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Old August 12th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #3
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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 have started my XH A1 off on Sony "HDV" tapes but was thinking of changeing to the slightly cheaper Sony Excellence tapes (at about half the price of the "HDV" tapes it means €80 for a ten pack instead of €120). Would this potentially cause clogging problems?

I realise that there are dozens, nay hundreds of posts on this subject but can't find the definative answer to my quandry.
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Old August 12th, 2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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I use Sony PHDVM63. They're almost twice the cost of the Panasonic DVM63AMQ, but I had lots of dropout problems with those. Tape is the cheapest thing you'll spend money on for most any shoot, so it makes sense to get the best available.

However, I shot for a week for a client who wanted me to use his tape stock. The tapes were Sony but one of the cheaper varieties. I didn't have any problems at all, but I did use my cleaning tape before and after using his tapes.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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Yo, Bill. Where do you buy your PHDVM63s from? I don't know if this is against the boards rules by revealing this. There like... 14 bucks a pop from b&h. That's quite pricey for 63 minutes of tape. I'm aware it's the cheapest aspect of production. I'm just used to using a firestore instead of tapes.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 08:55 PM   #6
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I use Sony DVM60's shot around 150 tapes never had a dropout so far, used a head cleaner about twice in 10 months.
I buy them in bulk from a supplier and they cost me around $3.00 per tape, I never use a tape twice as that is my backup of a backup... if you get what I mean?
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Old August 27th, 2008, 09:15 AM   #7
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Douglas, I buy from our local supplier when he has them in stock, from B&H when he doesn't. I think they're both up to around 16 bucks a tape now. I don't consider that expensive--if I have a dropout in a shot that i've spent a day's drive, night in a hotel with a crew of 3, to get, then that costs a lot more than the price of a tape. If I were shooting a bunch of home movies, nobody paying me, then I'd use the cheaper Sonys.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #8
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Stay away from Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ

I have had three jobs this year using these tapes that had drop outs. I never had a problem when I used cheap TDK tapes.
Any other recommendations for tape besides Sony?
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Old September 6th, 2008, 09:15 PM   #9
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Yeah it would be really appreciated if someone could provide a 'top 5' of tape types to use with the XHA1 and perhaps link to any reviews?

As I've only just bought my XHA1 and haven't yet used it, I'm at a loss of what to get personally. There are tapes such as 'Sony Excellence' and 'Sony Premium' which are 'supposed' to be good...but are they?

I've searched for reviews of blank media but to no avail, apart from the basic customer reviews on Amazon.
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Old September 6th, 2008, 09:46 PM   #10
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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.

This is a good little piece I found on my local media houses website on the differences in tape stock.

PRO-TAPE
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Old September 7th, 2008, 04:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Shaw View Post
I use Sony DVM60's
Jonathan, are you refering to DVM60PR3 premium tapes from Sony?
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Old September 7th, 2008, 10:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
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.

This is a good little piece I found on my local media houses website on the differences in tape stock.

PRO-TAPE
Great link and tip Mike, thanks

Does anyone else have any links to reviews of blank Mini DV tapes please? Eg. excerpt from a magazine article or whatever. Proving difficult to find any using the usual search engines, or maybe I'm just stupidly missing them all! :o)

As per that previous link provided by Mike, Sony tapes seem a bit of a no-no.

The following tapes from Panasonic seem reasonably priced. I guess SQ (Studio Quality has less chance of drop-outs than PQ (Professional Quality) because the SQ tapes are more expensive? Anyone had any experiences with these and the XHA1 please?

"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)"

Last edited by Peter Dunphy; September 7th, 2008 at 02:00 PM.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 01:15 AM   #13
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Noa,

Don't know.... the cheap red ones not the blue ones. Touch wood no issues.

Jon
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Old September 8th, 2008, 01:49 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Dunphy View Post
As per that previous link provided by Mike, Sony tapes seem a bit of a no-no.
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.
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Old September 8th, 2008, 03:04 AM   #15
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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
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