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Old April 15th, 2003, 06:56 PM   #1
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Another tape and cameraproblem thread.

I'm a week away from buying a new Canon XL1S.
First question is: Are Sony tapes a wise choice for the XL1S?
My local shop told me I should only use them IF I have a Sony cam. But I figured many of you use them? What tape is better?
Sony Excellence or Premium for best reliability?

I've followed the thread below talking about his new XL1 giving him grey video. And I see that many people have problems with their cam. What I want to know is how may of you have had problems with your cam? (Fault by cam, not operator) How many have had to return or send it in to canon?

I've heard the heads give you allot of problems, Back focus problems and so on. The way I see it I can't afford a semiprofessional camera that does not work 100%. I'm going to record an extreme sports movie this summer and there is no time sending it in for repairs and not having a spare camera for even 1 week.

I need some help here. I've had my mind set on the Canon for over a year, but reading about its problems I got cold feet.
Any input from anyone would be most welcome...

/Andreas
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Old April 15th, 2003, 07:05 PM   #2
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I have a family member who only uses Fuji miniDV for his XL1 cams. He told me he gets the least amount of drop-outs with it, and he shoots all the time---mostly weddings.

http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old April 15th, 2003, 07:21 PM   #3
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Ah, my bad.
I have actually read all the current topics (I did the search) and I've been to DV Freak. But where I live the brands are limited and it's more or less down to TDK or Sony. (unless I want to order)

OH! I take that back, I visited their homepage just now to be on the safe side.

They now got:

Fuji DVM E5-60
Fuji DVM E5-80
Sony DV 60 min Premium
Sony DV 60/90 min Exellence

Yay!:)

Ok, But I'm still scared of all the problems I've heard. Perhaps Chris would like to comment this?
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Old April 15th, 2003, 08:03 PM   #4
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Andreas,
With all due respect to your local shopkeeper (if any is, indeed, due) they're full of baloney. Sony makes fine tape that would be fine for any DV camera. I've used only Panasonic for several years, but Sony would be my go-to brand if Panasonic was no longer available. Fuji also has a good reputation. Just resist the urge to buy the cheapest brand each time you go to the store. Pick one of these brands, buy in good quantities to keep unit costs low and stick with the brand. (Boy, I wish I had a penny for each time I've written THAT phrase here.)

Re: the XL1s "problems"...
Sites like this one can lead anyone to unnecessary anxiety. Remember, people don't post their joys here. They post their woes here, looking for guidance. Some such woes are due to poor camera handling, unknowledgable operators or just age. Since the majority of XL1s owners (myself included) are amatuers, this is to be expected. Others, I think the minority, come from manufacturing defects common to any such device. You've absolutely no reason to be more anxious about the XL1s' reliability than any other camera. During the past seveal years I've owned an XL1 and an XL1s and can say that I've never had a lick of trouble with either. Getting a more durable camera than the XL1s (and it's immediate competitors) will require an expenditure of 3X - 10X the XL1s price.

One last point of clarification. The term BACK FOCUS refers to an adjustment made to lenses, not video heads. This adjustment, common to all professional manual lenses, compensates for miniscule differences between a lens' rear element and the CCD focal plane. The 16x auto (standard) lens does not offer a user-adjustable back-focus adjustment. Calibration of this lens is made at the factory and each lens is matched to a specific camera body. Occasionally, a 16x auto lens is not
properly back-focus calibrated and requires a visit (with camera body) to Canon Service. But, at least as judged by posts here, this is a rarity.
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Old April 16th, 2003, 06:48 PM   #5
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I've used Sony's for years, both Hi-8/DV8 (both cameras) and miniDV and have yet to have a problem. My only problem has been with a Maxell tape. I have used Sony tapes in very high and very humid areas and worked great. I have also used them in cold and humid areas here in the UK and they work great. The main problems, as mentioned here, is when you come to swap tapes. The heads get used to one type of tape and if you swap the heads are not to keen. Bit like when you mother used to swap cereals or soap powder. I have used Sony and so we continue to use them, they have worked great. They are a little teenie bit deerer than the Panasonic ones here in the UK, but I have used Sony cos they were the most widely available between Mexico and UK locations. So I like them and have stuck with them. And wont swap, even if I get one duff tape. I would rather cut a loss with a tape brand than cut my loss with a new head or industrial cleaning job from switching tapes after so long.

I would talk to that shop worker and tell him he wants to see his line manager for better training cos he is full of crap! Depends on the shop I guess, as most camera shops in my area, the young workers have not a clue about camcorders. Just talk that 'fake I-know-it-all-or-pretend-to-know-it-all sales patter' to try and impress the customer.
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Old April 16th, 2003, 06:52 PM   #6
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I typed too fast - it should have read - "I would rather cut my loss with just one BAD TAPE, than cut my loss with a a new head or industrial cleaning job from switching tapes after so long."
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Old April 16th, 2003, 08:50 PM   #7
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As to Sony tapes. I use them and have been very happy with them.

Matter of fact I just bought a case of Excellence Tapes today


I think everyone else covered the basics but I'll say the most important again: don't switch back and forth with brands. Ever.

>Sony DV 60 min Premium
>Sony DV 60/90 min Exellence

The Sony EXCELLENCE is the better of these two. I use them for most projects.

I was told along time ago and have lived by it to never shoot in LP mode and never use a tape greater then 60 minutes in length.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 08:09 PM   #8
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There much difference between Premimum and Excellence??? I understood it was just the same tape inside, but Excellence has 4k chip and Premium has not. I have used chip memory with Sony cameras, but never advantage never seemed to outweigh the extra cost. The memory storage still work on XL1s? I have only ever used them on Sony gear.

Anyone seem a real noticeable difference between these two tapes?
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Old April 17th, 2003, 09:22 PM   #9
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Memory chips in tapes are useless in an XL1s or GL1/GL2.
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Old April 17th, 2003, 10:02 PM   #10
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My understanding of the difference between the Premium and Excellence is that the Excellence have a higher consistancy of quality.

(shrug) Don't know what that means exactly...

I've actually started using the DVCam step-ups from the Excellence (the PDV40N) for a film we're doing... it has a much lower level of loss and is a "professional " grade of tape.

This is information passed on to me from the couple of different places I've bought the tapes and a few calls to Sony for more detailed information.
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Old April 18th, 2003, 05:03 AM   #11
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> higher consistancy of quality...(shrug) Don't know what that means exactly...

Usually that translates into fewer digital dropouts, tape read errors, and error correction artifacts. May or may not be worth the extra cost - depends on how fussy you are and whether or not you can see what errors there may be..
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Old April 18th, 2003, 07:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
> higher consistancy of quality...(shrug) Don't know what that means exactly...

Usually that translates into fewer digital dropouts, tape read errors, and error correction artifacts. May or may not be worth the extra cost - depends on how fussy you are and whether or not you can see what errors there may be..
I'll say this: I"ve never had any drop outs or problems with the Excellence DV Tapes and I've even taped over 2 or 3 with no problems.

But for my major projects I'm paying the extra money for the Pro level media and get the extra quality.
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Old April 21st, 2003, 09:29 PM   #13
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Ken is correct in that most people come to forums looking for answers to problems, and most answers are just familiarity with the camera. But you most likely read my post in that thread as well.

I have in most my posts over time here always said that Canon is one of the best solutions for the price. My current difficulties with my XL-1S, I believe, are an exception and not a rule. I borrowed and rented serveral other XL-1 and XL-1S cameras in the interm when my camera was in the shop and never had a drop out problems once. I have shot my GL-1 for close to two years without fault as well. I think in most cases you can buy with confidence. I also think if you were to visit other areas of this board or other boards and look at SONY or JVC threads you would find the same percentage of problems, and most likely the same percentage of serious problems.

I also use Sony tape, and have since day one - PR-60's. Have shot, mastered and copied over 1500 hours of tape and with the exception of the XL-1S problems itself, had very little to almost no dropout. We used Sony BCT 30's for shooting BetaSP and had very good luck with the brand in that format as well.

I have also shot on FUJI without problems.

Good luck.
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Old April 22nd, 2003, 08:15 PM   #14
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I used Sony tapes w/o problems. However, it is important stay with one brand. Swapping brands does cause problems.

Though I never had any problems with Sony tapes, I use the Panasonic Professional series.
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