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Old October 25th, 2004, 02:07 AM   #1
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mini DV vs. digital 8

Can anyone tell me if there is a difference in quality of video taken with a Digitil 8 camera, such as a Sony TRV340 (single CCD) as opposed to a mini DV camera with a single CCD? Any help on this would be much appreciated.

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Old October 25th, 2004, 05:47 AM   #2
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Yes there might very well be. It all depends on the controls offered,
the quality of the components and other stuff one manufacturer
decided to do or not to do. A lens is also an important part in
this equasion for example.

The only way to truly know is to test it yourself or to talk to
someone who has worked with both cameras you are considering.

Keep in mind that a Digital 8 camera might not have a firewire
port to transfer the footage (which I believe is in DV as well,
not sure) to your computer for editing.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 10:32 AM   #3
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Digital8 cameras have firewire. Digital8 is like DV except on hi8 tapes.

Some low-end digital8 camcorders can't play 8mm/hi8 tapes.
Quote:
Can anyone tell me if there is a difference in quality of video taken with a Digitil 8 camera, such as a Sony TRV340 (single CCD) as opposed to a mini DV camera with a single CCD?
The video quality depends entirely on the camera in this case.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 11:31 AM   #4
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I shot a lot of stuff with D-8 prior to swithcing to mini-DV, using a Sony camera. The quality from the tape seemed as good as mini-DV; however, I was limited by the single CCD and the lens, external audio jury rigs, etc. Also, mini-DV can be played in digital VCRs -- with D-8 you're stuck with the camera -- rewinds are excruciatingly slow. There are few (if any) D-8 VCRs available anymore.

On the cheap, though, you can do pretty well with D-8.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 02:47 PM   #5
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The TRV340 is a decent D8 cam.
The only thing missing (and it's important) is the white balance control. ALL Digital8 cams have permanent Automatic-White-Balance only. That means your color balance may shift from the beginning to the end of each shot depending on the contents of the picture.

Besides that, the TRV340 has a long optical zoom (25x), ext-mic, headphones and LANC connectors, iLink (FireWire), manual focus ring, etc. Another bug: if I recall correctly, it was the first generation of bottom-loading tape mechanisms.
Earlier models (320/330) had a large 1/4 in. CCD that was very good in low-light, but the 340 had a 1/6.
Also, you can't manually select the shutter speed. You rely on AE programs such as "Sports" or "Portrait" that require a little studying...

Recording quality is as good as MiniDV: it's the same DV25 standard, except on a bulkier cassette. It may be less prone to dropouts because the tape is 8mm wide instead of 6,35mm for MiniDV, and the head drums spins at 4500 rpm instead of 9000.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:20 PM   #6
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The difference is somewhat in quality. MiniDV is better. It really depends on the camcorder you are using. Everyone here would agree with me that MiniDV is better than Hi8 or Video8 or Digital8.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 11:50 PM   #7
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Hi,

A lot depends on the end use of your video. For normal home use digital 8 is fine.

I have both a xl1s and a digital 8 camera and have used both extensivly. I originally got the D8 as I had plenty of Hi 8 tape and wanted to edit it as my Hi8 camera packed up. I now use the the D8 to make a back up tape, feeding it out from the xl1s via firewire as I shoot. What has prompted me to do this is that I've never experienced a drop out on D8 whereas I can't say the same for mini dv.

I made 26 halfhour tv programmes for broadcast on three xl1 cameras and experienced dropouts on critical shots. Tried both Sony and Panasonic tapes, sent all three xl1 to Canon for head cleans, but still had dropouts. I'm a great Sony fan but have found their mini dv tape a bit prone to failure.

In the hands of a good camera operator it's amazing what can be done on cheap gear. I shot a music video at night on a Sony D8 handycam (TRV720) as a family record. It turned out pretty good and so I submitted to a TV channel who broadcast it several times as a filler, and nobody questioned the quality.

There is a lot of hype out there as to what is good or bad. It's all rather subjective really.

Having said that the Digital 8 camera is a cheap camera, single chip, has a cheap lens and lacks many features on a professional or consumerpro camera. But it's still a jolly good little camera, and is not as fiddly to handle as those little mini dv things as it has a larger body to hold a larger format tape.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #8
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I tend to agree with Owen's comments. The video from a D-8 tape is the same standard as mini-DV. I, too, have never had a drop-out from D-8, but have had lots with mini-DV tape. I still choose to use mini-DV for serious work, though, because of the cameras available in that format. The quality is due to the camera features, not the tape. (Hi-8 was mentioned earlier -- it's not in the same class since it's analog.)

It's a shame that I can't count on the same drop-out free reliability with my XL-1 that I got with my cheesy little Sony D-8. That's one reason I switched to recording directly to a hard drive. The tape becomes a backup.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 12:48 AM   #9
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Hi Vic,

Am interested in hearing about your direct capture to hard drive as I should be doing similar. Let me know please either on this board or email me direct.

Cheers.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 10:15 AM   #10
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Owen --

I'll post here so all can see.

I'm using a Firestore FS-1 from Focus Enhancements. It's one of the original models. There are now much more portable versions available. When I'm shooting in a fixed location, it works well. No capturing required -- just import your footage directly into FCP (or whatever) and edit. A HUGE time saver, plus no drop-outs. I'm using it with a LaCie 60 GB pocket drive. Tape is only there for b/u.

There is a section further down on this board dedicated to these devices.
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Old October 26th, 2004, 03:48 PM   #11
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Hey Ramdas

I've owned a Trv330 digi 8 Sony for about 4 years now and i've used it in comparison with various mini dv's such as the Sony Tr27. To be honest with you, from what i've seen, like the others say, the difference is in the camera type for sure, not so much the medium. However that being said, the medium can tend to be a bit tedius to carry around, as i've been on shoots with the dig-8 and i'd have to carry a bag for the extra tapes, whereupon the mini dv, it's just as easy to slip the tapes into a pocket or two. I believe most single ccd's record really well when it's nice and bright, however with my 330, when it was dark, basically it was me going 'HOLY GRAIN RAIN BATMAN!!' ... in terms of price, u can't go wrong with a digital 8, plus u have the option to capture old hi-8 mm footage... the newer mini dv cameras tho look really good and if i were to make a purchase, i'd probably do a mini dv rather than digi 8. Cheers!
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Old October 27th, 2004, 04:13 AM   #12
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Hey, this was my first post to the list and I truly appreciate all the great input and info that all of you have given me. Collectively, there is a lot of knowledge and great advice in the postings,...and a lot to think about.
Thanx again, Ramdas
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Old October 27th, 2004, 08:41 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Vishal Gurung :

...with my 330, when it was dark, basically it was me going 'HOLY GRAIN RAIN BATMAN!!' ...
Vish -->>>

With Sony HandyCams featuring SteadyShot electronic stabilizer, the shutter speed is set at 1/100 sec. by default when SteadyShot is ON. That's too fast for correct exposure in low light situations. Turn SteadyShot OFF whenever the lights go dim, and the shutter speed comes down to standard 1/60. Then the low light performance is better than average on most models.
Also, if you want to stay in Auto-Iris mode, use the "Night" AE program, which will limit the gain below +9dB and prevent the Auto-Aperture from boosting gain up to noisy +18dB. Better still, use manual aperture to ensure better noise and grain control.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 11:03 PM   #14
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I come from an ENG style of videography. I bought a digital 8 TRV 350 at the beginning of this year and always bring it along on shoots when I am using ENG camera. It's incredibly handy for grabbing shots so I can leave my big camera on sticks at all times.

I can live with the autowhite balance for the most part, I don't think I've ever had a shot that I thought was unuseable because of the auto color balance issue. What I really like about my Digital 8 camera is Sony did a good job with the buttons they provide.

The manual exposure wheel is so easy and quick to use and the autofocus works real well, I don't think it can be turned off but it works very well. The display function is also a button!

I love the built in light on the camera, I made a diffusion "filter" out of the donut part of a scotch tape dispenser that fits snugly on the light and I put diffusion on it and the light is just exquisite.

I bought a second camera so I can always have a battery charging.
I like that the tapes are bigger than mini-dv but still very compact.
It's really a terrific format, I don't recall seeing any dropouts either.

However, I recommend staying away from the new Digital-8's that are touch screen and have no mic input. I recently have been experimenting with a Sennheiser wireless mike and it seems to work well with my digital 8 camcorder.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 11:05 PM   #15
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One other really cool thing I have noticed is that for nighttime indoor events I basically can keep exposure completely open via the manual exposure wheel and I usually get the best result.
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