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-   -   Problem Mixing Tape Brands in Z1U? (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/long-black-line/70800-problem-mixing-tape-brands-z1u.html)

Cal Lewin July 4th, 2006 02:40 AM

Problem Mixing Tape Brands in Z1U?
My question is whether I can mix using different brands of tape in my Z1U.

There was a serious problem mixing tape brands with my previous camera, the JVC GY-DV500U. Mixing Sony tapes and other brands eventually gummed up the head, apparently Sony tapes use a different lubricant from other tape brands, and when they mix it causes JVC miniDV equipment a problem. I had to replace the head on that camera, and since then I have used only Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ tapes (Panasonic's highest quality miniDV tapes), and had no further problems.

With my new Z1U, so far I'm using only Sony PHDVM-63DM tapes in it. But I have about 50 new Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ tapes, which I would like to use. But I'm wary. Has anyone had any problems mixing tape brands in the Z1U?

Thank you!
Cal Lewin

Mike Teutsch July 4th, 2006 07:26 AM


There are many threads in "The Long Black Line" section of this forum. Many in just the last few days with the answers you need, so just check them out for the answer you need.

Short answer, don't mix unless you clean the heads in between, but that is not good if you change often.


Tom Hardwick July 4th, 2006 09:08 AM

Mike's right. The two heads sit on a rotating drum, but the tape passes over many guides, pins, rollers and a capstan/pinch roller which are all largely unaffected by the head cleaning tape your Z1 was supplied with.


Heath McKnight July 9th, 2006 08:19 AM

Here's a short story that taught me to stick with one tape brand. Four years ago, my friend and I did a two-cam shoot with a pair of XL1 cams. For the longest time, we used Sony brand tapes, but I got cheap and bought JVC. Let me put it to you this way, the audio went in and out of sync so many times, we gave the guy his money back.

Lesson learned, stick with the same brand of tape you started out with.


Tom Hardwick July 10th, 2006 01:24 AM

I agree entirely with Heath's conclusions, "stick with the same brand of tape you started out with" but I fail to see how this could be attributed to the JVC tape - unless there were other nasties such as huge visible and audible dropouts for instance. But Canon cameras do have a known problem over audio sync. It's not always obvious, but Sony's DVCAM is much better in this regard.


Mike Teutsch July 10th, 2006 07:05 AM

I don't usually get into saying anything bad about any brand, as I like them all for some reason.

I have stated before here that I switched from JVC to Sony about a year ago, but never said why. Here goes: I got a new "used" XL1s about a year or so ago. Taped a couple of times, but then I had real bad dropouts and image break-up, typical dirty head problems. I used a cleaning tape and it did not clear up, so I did it again. Still bad so one more time, no good. I was very upset, thinking I had a bad camera and it would have to go to Canon to be repaired.

Well I kept trying and happened to grab a Sony tape and put it in. Wow, worked fine. I thought it had just cleared itself up and tried a JVC tape again, and the problem was back. It would not record with the JVC tapes, and these were new tapes I was using! Also, the JVC tapes worked great in my JVC camera!

So, I just used the Sony tapes from then on and never had another problem with that camera or any other.

I am not trying to endorse any tape brand here, but just maybe there are some that work better than others with different cameras.

Lastly, I still don't think you need to buy expensive tapes! Try a lesser expensive one, like the Sony premium, and just see if it works for you. You are not going to damage that camera in any way! Maybe you will shoot more and not tape over old shots!


Heath McKnight July 10th, 2006 07:39 AM

FYI, JVC's tape used a different kind of lubricant and that's where I ran into the problems. I forgot to mention the drop-outs. Since I worked at a TV station at the time, one of the engineers cleaned both our XL1s' heads and we went back to Sony tapes.


Jacques Mersereau July 10th, 2006 08:30 AM

I used to go with Sony for my own productions and we used Panasonic
here at work, but I have had many more drop out issues with ALL
types of Sony tapes . . . from the Premiums, Excellence and even
the super expensive Master quality DVCAM tapes.

The Panasonic specific brand to buy (IMO) is AY-DVM63PQ. This tape
not only provides for a couple of extra minutes of recording, but I have
yet to have a problem (knocking on wood Mr. Murphy) :)

IMO, avoid ALL the rest. A dollar or a 'buck fity' savings is NOT worth
having to deal with drop outs, which according to Murphy's Law, must
occur during the portion of the content that is a must have. ;-0

Cal Lewin July 13th, 2006 04:43 PM

Thanks for the answers
Thank you for the answers, I guess I'd best stick to the tape brand I started with, in my case that's Sony. Sorry I didn't respond sooner, I was on location near Skagway Alaska, beyond email!

Thanks! -- Cal

Richard Zlamany July 14th, 2006 12:33 AM

We have been mixing tapes at work in our player all season long.
The player now is dropping frames with every transfer. It is a real pain.

We have so many shooters that use different tape brands that it is a problem with no solution, unless we could get all the shooters to shoot with one tape brand, but we can't.

Pedro Paiva September 2nd, 2006 10:52 AM

Guys, sorry for the question but I still can't understand how the lubricant on the tapes could be "imcompatible" ?
Is it like that if you want one brand and then another one the 'fluid' that's on the camera's heads would react with the new lubricants causing problems to the camera?
Why would the brands do that and if they really why there are no official warnings on camera manuals not to mix tapes??

Heath McKnight September 2nd, 2006 11:10 AM

It's not that they aren't compatible, it's just not good to suddenly change lubricants without running a tape head cleaner.


Pedro Paiva September 2nd, 2006 11:14 AM

Ok, but WHY ???


Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
It's not that they aren't compatible, it's just not good to suddenly change lubricants without running a tape head cleaner.


Mike Teutsch September 2nd, 2006 12:51 PM


Originally Posted by Pedro Paiva
Ok, but WHY ???

Just think of it as using WD-40 then switching to graphite all of a sudden. Each manufacturer uses what they think is the best lubricant for their tapes. Mixing them is like mixing any two different chemicals; they don't necessarily work well to together. They may combine to make a substance that tends to get thicker and stickier for example. Not a good thing for your camera heads. None of this physically damages your camera or head, it just requires that the gook be cleaned off before it works properly.

Also, don't be so scared of damaging your heads by cleaning them with a regular cleaning tape. They are only slightly slightly abrasive, not like regular sandpaper, as folks tend to want to describe them! Think of them as a fine polisher with enough porosity or roughness to pull some unwanted demons off of the heads. Regular proper cleaning is the most important thing you can do to prevent dropouts. Choose any tape brand that you want and clean the heads regularly and you may never ever see a dropout. I have not ever had one.

Just to show you what I mean about the cleaning tape, I'll tell you an embarrassing story about what I did. About two years ago, I bought a used camera off of ebay. The guy was good about getting it shipped to me and even threw in a couple of extras. What he was not good at was making sure the camera arrived clean. He shipped it in a nice Kata case, but instead of wrapping the camera properly, he just threw in some newspaper and shipping peanuts to keep it from getting damaged from the shipping. Well, when I got it, it had been shipped about a thousand miles in a truck bouncing around and breaking up the peanuts and such. It was a mess, and some got into the tape mechanism.

I used compressed air to clean it out and when it looked OK I tried the camera, but the image was pixilated from being dirty. Gee, go figure! I ran a cleaning tape a couple of times and all was well! Then, I put in a new tape to black stripe it, (something I no longer do), and turned it on. Fifteen minutes later I was looking for my cleaning tape and all I could find was the case. I looked everywhere and finally found I had mistakenly put the cleaning tape back in and had been running it for 15 minutes!!!!!!! There was no damage done to the camera heads and it is still working great and running fine to this day, and still gets cleaned regularly.

Don't let the paranoia over cleaning tapes keep you from using them!!!!!!!! Their use, more than anything else, will prevent dropouts!!!!!!!


Heath McKnight September 2nd, 2006 01:58 PM

About once a year, maybe twice if it's been busy, I'll run a tape cleaner through the cameras and decks at the school I work at.

In addition to lubricants for tape use, it's also what manufacturers feel are good for their cameras'/decks' heads.


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