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Old January 15th, 2004, 12:55 PM   #1
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How much constant playback/rewind/foward until it causes damage/wear?

My question is how much constant playback, foward, and rewinding of DV tapes on the camcorder would it be until it caused head ware/camcorder damage which results in probably returning to the manufacturer for service/repair? My first camcorder was a 1997 Sony Hi8 camcorder which I constantly playbacked/rewinded/and fowarded on all the tapes, however I did not know anything about the precautions of tapes and stuff. However, I always used one brand and one grade, so I never mixed anything. It wasn't until I got my GL2 a few weeks ago that I learned the importance of tape/head wear and other damages to the camcorder. I've been using the DVM63MQ as I am very paranoid and want to ensure maximum longevity of the new DV camcorder (my first Digital/DV camcorder/camera since the last Sony one).. and I have learned much since, but still I have lots of questions to be asked. Now, I dont have enough money to buy one of those DV Playback/DV Decks, but I want to know when will it start causing damage to the camcorder? I know that even lower consumer camcorders ($300-800 ones maybe), everyone will constantly playback/rewind/forward...but when will I start seeing damage/wear?
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Old January 15th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #2
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David,
I don't think there's any real straightforward answer to your question. Each manufacturer has different guidelines for head replacements etc, BUT I will tell you that GENERALLY,TYPICALLY (that's the disclaimer as I don't make cameras just use the heck out of them and I don't own Canons) MOST cameras like the GL2,VX2000,PD150,and now the new Sony models V2100,PD170 and other cameras like those and yours, the heads should be good for around 1000-1200 hours. Now for every hour you use the cam as a deck you're eating away at those hours and IMHO rewinding is even worse, BUT again I'm not an expert.

Initally, you'll be fine to use your GL2 as a deck but as soon as you can I would get deck even if you have to get a 1 chip camera to use as a deck. Today you can find an inexpensive camera for probably 3 or 4 hundred to use as a deck, if it breaks after a year who cares get another one.

Don't know if thats want you wanted to hear but I hope it helps you out a little.
Enjoy your new camera and make great footage!
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Old January 15th, 2004, 04:19 PM   #3
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I have one of those Panasonic Head cleaning cassettes. How often should I use those? I might invest in either a used 1CCD dv camera just to rewind/playback. Would the mixing of the tapes/brand only affect the Camcorder itself or even the tapes? If I use a deck (rewinding, playbacking, forwarding, etc) and then mix in different brands of tapes, I know that would ultimately hurt the camcorder ...but it would also do damage to the tapes?
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Old January 15th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #4
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As far as how often you should use a cleaning tape, I used one on my 150's last year a total of 1 time each for each camera and I did 61 weddings as well as many many hours of corporate work. Lots and lots and lots of tapes. I finally got a few dropouts on some none critical work so I ran the head cleaner and was fine after that. I can't tell you how many hours it was but it was a lot.

I can't speak about doing damage to the tapes by mixing brands but I do recall seeing a post somewhere that someone had had a problem with tapes by mixing them. Personally, I do not mix tapes, never have, never will. If you're using Panny's (I do also) then there shouldn't be any reason to switch brands.

Good Luck,
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Old January 15th, 2004, 06:24 PM   #5
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I seem to have to run a cleaning tape through my GL1 two or three times a year, and I wouldn't say I have anywhere near as much time on my cam as Don.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #6
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Please try not to use the head cleaning tapes as they are to abrasive to the heads. They are mostly to be used when the heads are clogged it even states that on the Panasonic Cleaning Tape.

As for using the heads of a camera for importing I would recommend a tape deck as they last longer and are made for this. Yes, I do know that you could buy a camera for less however you could go through three cameras before a deck goes out. Also decks can take different sizes and brands as well.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 08:38 PM   #7
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Hmm...Don, your estimation of 1000-1200 hours... Does that ONLY include rewinding & forwarding? Does it also recording and the time of idleness of the DV tape in the camcorder? Also.... it appears those DV decks cost around anywhere from $500 to $2k + or the ones I've seen at B&H.... wow, expensive.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 07:18 AM   #8
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That includes ALL time on the heads (give or take a few hours)
Remember anytime the heads are engaged in work it counts

As for a deck, yes they are expensive but I agree with Sharon that by the time you buy 2 or 3 "cheap" cams you could have bought a deck, but if you don't have enough cash for a deck then a cheap cam is a better alternative IMO than running up the hours on your primary camera.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 09:26 AM   #9
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Hmm... then wouldn't that mean for sure, by the time of say... 2 years, that EVERY SINGLE camcorder you buy will die within that lifetime? Not very good for the camcorder business eh? I mean...was the Hi8 or old analog formats like DV or is it mostly DV heads? To know that buying something and knowing that it will die shortly shouldn't be a good consumer investment... Hmm...

If I use a deck (rewinding, playbacking, forwarding, etc) and then mix in different brands of tapes, I know that would ultimately hurt the camcorder ...but it would also do damage to the tapes?
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Old January 16th, 2004, 10:50 AM   #10
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No, cameras won't die that soon, some may go sooner but most will last quite a bit longer with proper care and maintanence. Remember that a typical consumer user won't be putting their camera thru the same paces as a paid professional and a paid professional is going to have their equipment taken care of by a professional in a professional manner. What I mean by that is a consumer might shoot say 50 or even 100 hours of tape in a year, if they rewind it in the camera and lay it off to an NLE that comes with the camera or the computer even if it's iMovie or MovieMaker how many hours have they put on their camera? Maybe 2 or 3hundred, if the typical heads last 1000 hours thats over 3 years of use for the camera and by then the owner is probably looking to buy the newest thing anyway and let's be realistic, MOST consumer users DON'T put 50 or 100 hours a year on their camera. Think about that, how much time that is. To put it into perspective, last year I shot 61 weddings. (way more than I normally do but still a good example) All weddings had 2 cameras at the ceremony and the average amount of footage WITHOUT the 2nd camera ("B" roll of the ceremony only) was 31/2 hours. Multiply that by 61 and you get 213.5 hours of recording on one camera. Please remember though I use 2 cameras and on every job switched prime and back so how many hours did each camera get? Don't forget the 1 hour or so on the "B" camera. It's ABOUT 137 hours per camera. Thats for 61 weddings. Now of course you have to add in the other work I did tallied up to about, HMMMMM, I really don't even know, but I do know that I use my cameras to make my living, am generally pretty busy, knock on wood, and if I did nothing to my cameras like a yearly maintanence program based on the amount I shot just last year my 2 PD150's would last me approximately 3.5 years before the heads actually needed to be replaced. I've used these 2 cameras for a little over 2 years now, I'm probably a little over half way thru the life expectanecy of the heads and transport and frankly in 2 years IF I'm still active in the business I'll worry about it then.
As for not being good for the industry, trust me, there are enough equipment jockeys out there the industry will never suffer.

Are these number carved in stone? NOPE! BUT based on my experience this is what I know or at least believe to be true.

As for harming the TAPES by mixing, I can't speak on that as I don't mix tapes BUT I do recall reading a post somewhere not long ago about someone who had a problem with some tapes after they were run thru a deck that had another manufactuerers tapes thru it earlier. Fluke? Who knows but I don't mix tapes PERIOD!

Hope that answers your questions,
Don
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Old January 16th, 2004, 01:11 PM   #11
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Ok, how, I suppose the amount of work I'll be doing probably be around 200-400 hours a year. Does the 1000-1200 hours of damage to the head ware only apply when you are recording/playback/or rewinding? What about when it is idle or when you're not putting in a tape, does that affect the camcorder in anyway? Like you just open the camcorder and messing around with zoom/play or the manual settings.

What will be noted by the end of 1000-1200 hours? Will only be grapical glitches be of a concern? Like, how can you tell if your camcorder needs to have service/repair? Does the glitches/graphical errors only visible when you start recording, or playbaking or idling?

Also, will the ONLY PROBLEM/DAMAGE is to the heads after a prolong extensive use? Only damage is done to the tape compartment? And this is reversible, correct? That means, the only thing to FIX this problem is just to send it back for repair/service and your camcorder is like brand new again?

I will probably be getting a cheap camcorder or used one as a deck b/c a real mini-dv tape deck costs too much, but a good investment for later. I am, however, taking as much extensive care as possible for my brand new camcorder. I have already begun using the "supposedly less abrasive" professional DVM63MQ series of tape and only that will be used for everything now.
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Old January 16th, 2004, 02:06 PM   #12
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David,cameras are electronic components not thinking machines so there won't be a message to tell you when the prescribed number of hours has come up, but you should be able to figure it pretty close anyway.
No the only time the time counts for anything is when the heads are engaged in activity, I.E.; recording,playing back, on some the transport is engaged when fastforwarding or rewinding, I don't know about your particular camera hell, I don't even know about my particular camera but frankly I don't worry about it.
As far as damage, probably just to the heads and that being wrn down to the point of poor recordings.
Honestly, I think you're getting way to bent out of shape about this as based on the amount of hours you feel you'll be shooting you're good for a couple of years.
Relax, enjoy your new camera have fun with it make some great video and don't worry, the camera won't die or blow up if you use it as a deck for a while, just use common sense when doing, try not to jog shuttle the camera if using it as a deck and go forth to make videos!
Don
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Old January 16th, 2004, 03:51 PM   #13
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Okay, but this problem is supposedly reversible or fixable right? I would imagine just to send in the camera back for service/repair, and it should act like before the errors or glitches appeared?

Would it also be beneficial to use the DVM63MQs? Maybe longer hours ...perhaps the use of it would bring your estimation to maybe more than 1200+ hrs?
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Old January 16th, 2004, 07:06 PM   #14
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IMO the tapes don't make enough difference to worry about. My 150's have never had anything but Panny PQ's thru them but thats just my choice.

As for fixable, sure if you still want to after the heads are worn down you can get them replaced.
Depending on make and model that can be anywhere from about 4 to 7 hundred. By then it might not even be worth it.

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Old January 17th, 2004, 01:42 AM   #15
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Hmm.. I thought it would be warranted by the manufacturer? Or is cleaning different from replacing?
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