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Old August 18th, 2006, 08:53 AM   #1
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What is the best brand of miniDV tapes?

I checked a few posts before I posted this and everything seemed related to a certain camera, but my question is more general:

I would like to hear everyone's opinion on what the best brand/style DV tapes to use.

I've only ever used Sony tapes (yes, the ones from Walmart/Best Buy) but was curious if there was actually a difference between their Premium line and Excellence line (the price is a big difference), and if so, are the tapes worth it?
Are Sony's just bad? I see a lot of people using Maxell tapes. I've never had a problem with Sony tapes............
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Old August 18th, 2006, 09:03 AM   #2
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The price difference is big because of markup.

There's a company which sponsors dvinfo.net that may likely have those tapes at a much lower price. And there are some other companies that are slightly cheaper.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Crane
I've never had a problem with Sony tapes............
Then why not stick with what works! As long as you have no dropouts or trouble, there is no need to change. They just record 0's and 1's, that's it!

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Old August 18th, 2006, 09:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Then why not stick with what works! As long as you have no dropouts or trouble, there is no need to change. They just record 0's and 1's, that's it!

Mike
True, but I also know no different. If another brand or type of tape records better color/clarity I wouldn't know.........
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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Crane
True, but I also know no different. If another brand or type of tape records better color/clarity I wouldn't know.........
There is no color clarity or focus or brightness or anything else on the tape. It is only 1's and 0's. As long as they are there (no drop-outs) there is absolutely no difference at all. It is all digital, just 1's and 0's.

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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:31 AM   #6
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Cool. So I guess buying a "premium" brand is only hoping for better insurance against drop-outs. Thanks for the input.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 10:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Crane
Cool. So I guess buying a "premium" brand is only hoping for better insurance against drop-outs. Thanks for the input.
Exactly! I personally use Sony Premium at about $3.00 a tape and have never had a single drop-out.

Good Luck,

Mike
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Old August 18th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Exactly! I personally use Sony Premium at about $3.00 a tape and have never had a single drop-out.

Good Luck,

Mike
So at CostCo, they have a blister pack of 8 TDk's for about $20. Anybody have any experience with this tape ?
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Old August 18th, 2006, 01:04 PM   #9
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I recommend a search on TDK.

Previously, some people posted that they were having dropouts, but others were fine with TDK.

Personally, I prefer the Panasonic Master Quality tapes such as AY-DVM63MQ.

However, I do not believe any tape is completely immune from dropouts.

Proper head cleaning is essential. Even with the best tapes, it is important to clean the heads using a good head cleaning tape according to Canon's schedule.

The following is from Canon's XL1s manual:

Video heads
• When mosaic-like noise appears on the playback picture, the video heads
may be dirty. When the video heads are badly contaminated, the camera
may show a blank blue screen.
• For the best picture possible, after using the camera for approximately
20 hours, clean the video heads using Canon’s DVM-CL Digital Video
Head Cleaning Cassette. If the “noise” remains, repeat the cleaning (up
to maximum of 5 times).
• Do not use a wet-type cleaning cassette, as this can cause damage.

In the XL H1 manual canon recommends cleaning the heads "frequently" (page 138)
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Old August 18th, 2006, 03:25 PM   #10
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Dan's comments ring true for me.
Quote:
I do not believe any tape is completely immune from dropouts.
I've had both panasonic (once) and sony tapes (also once) drop me. Very rare mind you but I've learned that rolling back and checking for drops is a good way to save yourself from wasting half a day shooting.
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Old August 19th, 2006, 12:16 AM   #11
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And does anyone have a comment on mixing brands of DV? I've heard the lubricants are different and invite head clogs. This is why I've always kept to Sony DVCAM cassettes, but since shooting with the A1U and seeng timecode issues crop up while shooting DV mode, (see separate post) they actually rceommend you use a MiniDV cassette to shoot DV or HDV, and DVCAM cassettes to shoot DVCAM. Never had that problem before.

Other than price, what's the difference between Sony Excellence and Premium?

- Loren
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Old August 19th, 2006, 12:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Crane
I checked a few posts before I posted this and everything seemed related to a certain camera, but my question is more general:

I would like to hear everyone's opinion on what the best brand/style DV tapes to use.

I've only ever used Sony tapes (yes, the ones from Walmart/Best Buy) but was curious if there was actually a difference between their Premium line and Excellence line (the price is a big difference), and if so, are the tapes worth it?
Are Sony's just bad? I see a lot of people using Maxell tapes. I've never had a problem with Sony tapes............

hello matt,

i use only sony, but buy by quantity. the price will drop as low as 2,69 ea.per tape.


greetings
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Old August 19th, 2006, 12:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loren Miller
And does anyone have a comment on mixing brands of DV?
This is one of our most frequently discussed topics. A search will bring up scores of opinions and experiences.
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 09:04 AM   #14
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Well, I would certainly welcome some wisdom right now on this subject of tape quality and mixing brands also. It seems that the engineers at sony say that the sony master-grade tape reduces the edge debris that sometimes finds its way on to the tape surface since the tape is produced using a much more precise slitting technique than what is used for lower grade tape. It is said that they stated this tape reduced dropouts buy a margin of 60%!
Does anyone have any info on this issue of mixing tape brands? The used XL2 I purchased came with a TDK tape and I've not yet went out and bought any more in part of being in fear of damaging the head.
Thanks,

jim
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Old September 2nd, 2006, 09:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Benton
Well, I would certainly welcome some wisdom right now on this subject of tape quality and mixing brands also. It seems that the engineers at sony say that the sony master-grade tape reduces the edge debris that sometimes finds its way on to the tape surface since the tape is produced using a much more precise slitting technique than what is used for lower grade tape. It is said that they stated this tape reduced dropouts buy a margin of 60%!
Does anyone have any info on this issue of mixing tape brands? The used XL2 I purchased came with a TDK tape and I've not yet went out and bought any more in part of being in fear of damaging the head.
Thanks,

jim
Jim,

Read Chris's post. Do a search and you will get hundreds of posts. For starters:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthrea...ht=mixing+tape

Mike
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