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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 May 1st, 2007, 01:57 PM   #1
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Switching Tapes

Hey all,
Got a question regarding tapes. I know it's generally considered a bad idea to switch tape brands after using one for a while, and I've seen first hand the problems that can cause. But I was wondering if switching to a different "model" of tape within the same brand is likely to cause any problems.

I started out using Panasonic's "Advanced Master Quality" tapes in my XH-A1 and have now gone through about 15 of them and they're great. They're also more expensive. Would there be any problems if I switched to the Panasonic "Professional Quality" tapes which are roughly half the price? I imagine there shouldn't be since they are all Panasonic tapes, but one never knows about these things and I'd hate to order a bunch of tapes that will give me problems. So if anyone has any insights, please share.

Thanks
Doug Chambers
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Old May 1st, 2007, 04:08 PM   #2
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I did the opposite, switched from the PQ tapes to AMQ, because the AMQ were out of stock for a few days. I used the head cleaing tape in between. I didn't see any problems with the PQ, but prefer the better quality. If you use your head cleaning tape, it should be OK. Even without it, there shouldn't be any problem. The tapes are probably almost identical.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 04:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Chambers View Post
I know it's generally considered a bad idea to switch tape brands after using one for a while, and I've seen first hand the problems that can cause.
Hey Doug,

Could you explain what you saw and what sort of problems the camera had?
I'm very curious about that.....

Thanks in advance,

Gert
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Old May 1st, 2007, 05:02 PM   #4
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I don't know what he saw, but what I've seen is the typical head clog problem that can happen if you switch from Sony to Panasonic, or vice versa. Apparently different brands may have different coatings. The rule is if you switch brands, use the cleaning tape between switches. Obviously it's not a good idea to do that unless you really must.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 05:06 PM   #5
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Well, the problems I saw were not with the XH-A1, but with a Canon GL1. It was a camera that my film class at the local community college used and it was used by a great many students for various projects. The class policy was that each student was responsible for buying his/her own tapes for projects. As a result, every brand of MiniDV tape that exists was run through this camera. After roughly 6 months, anything that anybody recorded started having major video and audio dropouts. At first we thought it was a playback issue with the camera. But when we tried the tapes in other cameras and MiniDV decks, the dropouts were still there. The recordings were permanently messed up. So the instructor sent the camera off for repair and the folks at Canon politely informed him that the problem was that the heads were extremely gunked up, probably due to multiple tape brands being used. They gave it a thorough cleaning and the camera worked fine after that. So policy from that point on was that the school buys all the tapes (of one brand) and students buy them from the school.

Now this is probably a bit of an extreme example, since the camera didn't just have one or two tape brands used in it, but probably 5 or 6 with no consistency. But after seeing the way some students' recordings were totally ruined by severe dropouts, I'm not taking any chances with my XH-A1.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 09:57 PM   #6
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Do you need to use a cleaning tape when switching from Panny PQ's to AMQ's??
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 07:19 AM   #7
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The isue with tape is each tape has specific physical characteristics including the lub used, the magnetic material,the surface coatings, and mechanical properties like stiffness. As a given tape runs over the heads, it peaves a characteristic wear pattern and deposits based on the above. If yo change tape to one with different characteristics, a differnt wear pattern will start to build and and deposits left by the previous tape may break free, causing head clogs. Using all one type of tape, (or possibly changing tapes often) can reduce this, but eventually a head claning will be need in any case, just not as often. Given the heavy use a film school camera is likely to receive, I am surprised that it went a full 6 months without an issue.

At one time back in the 1990 there was an issue with incompatible tape lub tht added to the problem, but that was fixed (Sony and Pana worked it out behind the scenes, and rumor was that the public report was a fire in a Sony factory that caused a short term shortage of tape stock - don't know what the truth is on that one).

Some manufactureres produce several grades of tape, and there may be differences in the physical characteristics among some that could be similar to brand switch. Read the literature from the maker and see if they speak to are differences in lub, coatings, or backing.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 09:23 PM   #8
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I was using the canon-XM2 (GL2) i had the same problem when i swap pana tapes and sony one during the playback there will blocks of lines. Canon could not explain why and change the entire tape head for me twice and warn me if it happens again i have to bear the cost even if its during warrenty.. scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Chambers View Post
Well, the problems I saw were not with the XH-A1, but with a Canon GL1. It was a camera that my film class at the local community college used and it was used by a great many students for various projects. The class policy was that each student was responsible for buying his/her own tapes for projects. As a result, every brand of MiniDV tape that exists was run through this camera. After roughly 6 months, anything that anybody recorded started having major video and audio dropouts. At first we thought it was a playback issue with the camera. But when we tried the tapes in other cameras and MiniDV decks, the dropouts were still there. The recordings were permanently messed up. So the instructor sent the camera off for repair and the folks at Canon politely informed him that the problem was that the heads were extremely gunked up, probably due to multiple tape brands being used. They gave it a thorough cleaning and the camera worked fine after that. So policy from that point on was that the school buys all the tapes (of one brand) and students buy them from the school.

Now this is probably a bit of an extreme example, since the camera didn't just have one or two tape brands used in it, but probably 5 or 6 with no consistency. But after seeing the way some students' recordings were totally ruined by severe dropouts, I'm not taking any chances with my XH-A1.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 10:33 PM   #9
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I have switched between different Panasonic tapes and received immediate head clog problems. At 1st it happened a little, but by the the 3rd tape after the switch, the cam became unuseable.

I have used different brands in my dsr 11 and have also had problems.
However, with the deck I manually clean the heads myself, so if a head clogs occur i can immediately fix it.

So far I have not had the courage to manually clean my cam's heads, but I feel in the near future I will.

It is fairly easy.

But I will never switch the type of panasonic tape I use again, so I doubt I will have problems.
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