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The Long Black Line
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Old November 5th, 2003, 01:31 PM   #1
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Cleaning

Has anyone any experience as to whether it's important to use Sonys' own cleaning tape or will one from the likes of JVC suffice?

And for those in the U.K.--- Anyone know where i can buy one from??

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Old November 6th, 2003, 10:17 AM   #2
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Stephen, this is not a tirade against you. Just my opportunistic soap-box oration.

I don't know that anyone has enough experience with cleaning tapes to give you a qualified answer.

My answer will always remain the same. Buy your supplies from the people who made your camera. There are US companies that will ship International if you wish. But there certainly are suppliers in the UK and one of our forum will respond.

The camera represents a lot of money. Repair of the camera's heads costs a lot more money.

Saving a dollar or time by purchasing other brands of tape or cleaning supplies seems to me, to be an invitation for problems and an approach that ignores some issues. Sort of like looking for mine fields by stomping on the ground. Some people make it just fine to the other side of the field. Others get expensive surprises. Why risk it?

Sony made the camera and certainly optimized the operating and cleaning supplies to fit the camera's requirements.

JVC, Panasonic, and others certainly did not optimize their products for the needs of a Sony transport.

There are very few if any reports of Sony tapes doing anything bad to a Sony camera. There are many reports of non-Sony tapes clogging up or damaging Sony cameras.

<Soap-box mode off>
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Old November 6th, 2003, 01:08 PM   #3
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Thanks Mike,

Kinda guessed you'ld say something like that.

I was intending to use the Sony tape really, it just seems they are quite difficult to source in the U.K., so I thought another brand might be an option.

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Old November 7th, 2003, 03:30 AM   #4
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Damn, i was just literally about to put a panasonic cleaning tape into my VX2000 before i read that.... So i could use the 10 new Panasonic Master Quality Tapes i bought today........ now you got me all worried! Ahhhh
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Old November 7th, 2003, 03:49 AM   #5
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Are your heads dirty---do they need cleaning?

The important thing is to stick with one brand / type of tape. If that tape type is giving you problems (dirty heads), pick a better one.

http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old November 7th, 2003, 04:31 AM   #6
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Tim, have you ever switched brands of motor oil or gasoline? Did your engine blow up, start to smoke etc. I doubt it. I'm not advocating switching tapes blindly, without adequate precautions. But the notion that only the cleaning tape from the camera manufacture can be used is based more on emotion than fact.

Take a look at the Sony, Canon or Panasonic DV line-up. Cameras from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars are made. Is the same transport in the $400 DV camera used in the $10,000 camera? No. But I don't see different grades of cleaning tapes. How could one grade or standard of tape clean so many different grades of tape mechanisms? They can't, the tapes are generic. There are so many variables in the manufacture, use, and condition of the transport mechanism it would be impossible to require a specific cleaning tape. I've used cleaning tapes in all different brands of cameras with never a problem. Never, in over 20 years in the business.

I don't offer this advice lightly. When I used to own a large production company I owned very expensive Beta SP and M II VTR's (read machines costing $35 t0 $50,000). I followed the manufactures maintenance manual and cleaned the upper drum assembly (heads and tape path using the prescribed method. Clean with a cleaning tape. I used Fuji cleaning tapes in Panasonic VTR's and Sony cleaning tapes in Ampex VTR's with zero problems.

Jump forward 20 years and I've used Panasonic cleaing tapes in Sony cameras, TDK cleaning tapes in Canon cameras without ever a problem. Canon doesn't make a cleaning tape (at least that I've ever found), so I guess their heads don't ever need cleaning. I believe it is much more important to follow a regular cleaning procedure than to fret the brand tape you use.

Follow the directions printed with the tape exactly. Failure to follow the directions can result in damage to your camera. Do a search and you'll find many threads, with various opinions on this topic.
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Old November 7th, 2003, 04:55 AM   #7
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Thanks Jeff, you've put my mind at ease. You are right that there cannot in any way possible be one specific tape cleaner for each type of tape transoprt mechanism. Ive been using Sony tapes in my VX for as long as i have had it (but i must admit, ive used a couple of TDK's when things were pushed for tape stock).

I changed to the Panasonic Master Quilty tapes upon recommendation and also from reading up on them. I planned to switch permanently to these tapes as long as they dont play up which im sure they wont. Ive just run my tape cleaner through my camera in prep for the newbies so this weekend will be the test.

Thanks for the advice Jeff, its good to get some solid feedback from someone who's been in the business for so long.
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Old November 7th, 2003, 12:41 PM   #8
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Guys, you are missing the point and Jeff, I have to point out that DV heads take much more of a beating than BetaSP or any other big format. What we can get by with on large, relatively slow-moving head assemblies isn't true for DV head assemblies. I too don't use Sony or JVC or Panasonic supplies on their transports with big, slow-moving heads and drums

Dry cleaning tapes don't clean the transport much, they clean the HEADS. I'd be willing to bet you that the head construction and materials on all Sony DV & DVCams are the same. They might pick out the heads that are closest to perfect spec for the high-end cameras but it makes no sense to build expensive production lines for different types of DV heads.

How finely the transport is constructed is not the issue.

What prudent, not emotional, person would not reduce the chances of failure by using the best available supplies? I repeat, the cameras are expensive, the supplies are not.

It isn't as if we are passing 1,000 tapes a month through any of our cameras. Even then a Dollar difference in tape cost is easily accommodated in the customer's bill.

You can be certain that the Sony tapes and cleaning supplies are not going to damage the heads beyond normal wear and tear. Sony will tell you that.

I'm willing to bet that Panasonic or TDK are not willing to officially claim the same. Not some technician talking in a dark corner, I mean a statement on corporate letterhead above a signature from upper management.

Do what you will, just understand the real tradeoffs before you choose a path.

BTW, Jeff. If you read the automotive owner's handbooks, you will find that there are different types of motor oil and gasoline. If you have enough experience and knowledge, you would know that they can make a difference and that damage is sometimes a cumulative thing and not immediately apparent. How soon your car starts to smoke can indeed depend on the oil you use.
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Old November 9th, 2003, 01:42 PM   #9
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JUst to update everyone (especially Mike) this is the e-mail reply I received on Saturday from the local Sony centre in response to my question about the cleaning tape,


OUR RECORDS SHOW THIS IS NOW DISCONTINUED AND NO REPLACEMENT IS YET
DUE.THEY WERE 19.99 I HAVE CHECKED OUR SONY CENTRE IN PRESTON AND THEY
ARE ALSO OUT OF STOCK OF THIS PRODUCT.


Anybody in the U.K. got any experience with this seemingly elusive product?
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Old November 9th, 2003, 05:32 PM   #10
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Interesting.

I just did a search on Sony DV Cleaning Tape UK and

this popped up:

http://www.boondocksnet.com/cb/apfhu...locale-uk.html

Which is Amazon in the UK I gather. There were a lot of responses to this search (Google) I'm not saying that they have it but they advertise so.
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Old November 9th, 2003, 07:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
BTW, Jeff. If you read the automotive owner's handbooks, you will find that there are different types of motor oil and gasoline. If you have enough experience and knowledge, you would know that they can make a difference and that damage is sometimes a cumulative thing and not immediately apparent. How soon your car starts to smoke can indeed depend on the oil you use.
I guess GM (largest automobile manufacture in the world) does not know that. In the owners manuals for my GM van and car no specific brand of motor oil or gasoline is recommended.

Quote:
DV heads take much more of a beating than Beta SP or any other big format
Not in my experience. I have had more troubles over the years with Beta SP heads than mini DV heads. I suspect improvements in manufacturing technology and materials make for at least an equally durable and reliable product (at comparable levels).

Quote:
I'd be willing to bet you that the head construction and materials on all Sony DV & DVCams are the same. They might pick out the heads that are closest to perfect spec for the high-end cameras but it makes no sense to build expensive production lines for different types of DV heads.
I suppose you can get that on corporate letterhead with the signature of senior management?

Quote:
You can be certain that the Sony tapes and cleaning supplies are not going to damage the heads beyond normal wear and tear. Sony will tell you that. I'm willing to bet that Panasonic or TDK are not willing to officially claim the same. Not some technician talking in a dark corner, I mean a statement on corporate letterhead above a signature from upper management.
You are correct, not in todays litigious society. However, I can find no documentation, even from Sony, that claims other brands will damage heads. Maxell and TDK don't make video recorders or cameras. Do you think they have intentions of making dangerous products that will damage consumers equipment? I don't think so. I recently spoke to a rep from Maxell and he claims his cleaning products are safe for all brands. I have no reasons or facts to doubt this. There is even a part of the industry that claims there is only 1 or 2 suppliers of cleaning tapes. Are we even sure that Sony makes it's own cleaning tape? Can you get that on corporate letterhead with senior managements signature?

Quote:
You can be certain that the Sony tapes and cleaning supplies are not going to damage the heads beyond normal wear and tear.
You can be certain that following the directions printed with the cleaning tape, be they Panasonic, TDK, Maxell or Sony, will prevent damages and abnormal wear and tear.
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Old November 10th, 2003, 01:52 AM   #12
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Jeff,

I'm not saying you are wrong. I saying that in the absence of verifiable measurements against standard and universally accepted specifications, the most conservative approach is to use the supplies from the manufacturer.
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Old November 11th, 2003, 12:41 PM   #13
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Another update (again particularly for Mike)

This is the reply I received from sony when I made an enquiry about cleaning tapes.


Dear Mr Roberts,

Thank you for your recent enquiry.

I am sorry to inform you that Sony United Kingdom Limited does not currently market a MiniDV head cleaning cassette. Accordingly, you may wish to enquire at your local retailer for a recommendation of a suitable head cleaning cassette for your needs.

Sony obviously doesn't think this is important to its' U.K. customers....Go figure, cos I'm stumped.
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Old November 17th, 2003, 12:38 AM   #14
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Well i for one have a vx2000 and i have used several panasonic cleaning tapes with no problems at all. In fact, if i go to my local circuit city, best buy or other electronics store, or even my local pro photo/video supply store, i can't even find sony cleaning tapes. And it sounds like Stephen has an even worse situation in the UK. So my question just as a basic vx2000 user is, if i can't find the sony cleaning casette easily in the Ann Arbor, Mich. area and Stephen all the way over in the UK can't find one either, how many countless off brand cleaning tapes do you think are used everyday by vx2000 owners? If there was any difference at all between the sony and the panasonic cleaning tape, first of all, based on the popularity of the vx2000 i would expect to see the sony option for sale right along with the other Sony accessories, second of all, by now it seems like there might be an entire section in this community explaining the strict use of manufacturer-specific cleaning tapes...or else, and last and most important to me, the future of my vx2000 might be doomed already, since i have been through almost 3 panasonic cleaning tapes.
i don't know...that is just my 2 cents...
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Old November 17th, 2003, 12:59 PM   #15
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Seems like these things are difficult to get hold of wherever you happen to live and Sony don't seem very interested!!

I'm going to try a cleaning tape from someone else
(Panasonic, JVC... whoever, as long as it's a reputable manufacturer)

Stephen Roberts
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