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Old November 5th, 2006, 06:12 PM   #16
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Since I have never seen them mentioned, but they are pretty inexpensive (6 tapes for about $18 at Sams Club), how about Maxell miniDV tapes?

Any known reason not to use them?

How does anyone know which are the best? Years ago I saw an article in consumer reports that seemed to be a good evaluation based on various measureable criteria -- it basically said most tapes are the same, just the price is different.

I would appreciate any feedback, as I have used them in my GL-1, GL-2, and XL-1s without any problems (that I can detect). If they have a flaw or put my XH-A1 (on backorder at B&H) I would like to know and avoid a potential problem.

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Bill Ritter

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Old November 5th, 2006, 06:52 PM   #17
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You have on backorder a very nice camera that you will thoroughly enjoy.

However, attempting to save about $2.00 per hour of recording, in my humble opinion is ill advised.

Reason: Using MiniDV, as recorded by an Xl1s and all of the other cameras you mentioned, is such that a drop-out usually affects one frame, and sometimes only part of a frame. In other words, bad, but not really really bad.

Using HDV, one drop-out will cause you to lose about 1/2 second of video, really really bad!

The consensus seems to be that Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ works great.

For what's it's worth, I use this tape exclusively. By this, I mean that no other tape enters the camera, even if someone wants me to playback their tape.

It may be mass hysteria, but it seems that users that stick with one specific tape have the best luck with their cameras.

If you start with Maxell, then decide to switch brands, you may or may not have problems. This is not a chance I would take.

Panasonic now has a newer tape: AY-DVM63AMQ which is more expensive.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #18
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Dan

Thanks for the info. I use Prem Pro 2 and matrox RTX100 and neither have reported a dropped frame that I can remember in years now.

However, your advice is appreciated and I will look at going for better tape. I just wish there was some definitive testing done. (like consumer reports)

I have also heard from other sources that sticking with one manufacturer is a good idea due to the chemicals they use for lubrication, etc. Also not sure if that is urban legend or reality.

Anyway there is value in the experience of the using community - thanks again.

Bill
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Old November 5th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #19
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I guess I'll ask another question relative to tapes in this venue -- tape head cleaners and the frequency (or advisability) of using them.

Any thoughts?

Thanks again,
Bill Ritter
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Old November 5th, 2006, 07:20 PM   #20
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Hdv

Use Sony Premium DV or Sony HDV tapes...Canon designed thier video heads to use lubricated tapes...so it basically cleans the head as it records onto the tape.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 07:22 PM   #21
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Garrison:

Thanks for the info. I guess I didn't read my manual well enough.

Bill
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Old November 5th, 2006, 08:20 PM   #22
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Dear Bill,

A dropped frame is different from a drop-out.

If the tape has debris, or any other problem, such as a flaky oxide coating, or other defect, then the data that you record may not play back. This is a drop-out.

You can have drop-outs on a tape, but still capture with zero dropped frames. These occur when you computer can not keep up with the incoming data, when you computer can not process and write the incoming data to disk fast enough.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 08:53 PM   #23
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What's usually to blame there Dan? Hard drive speed or CPU?
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Old November 5th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #24
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It is usually a combination of things or one thing really wrong.

For example, capturing via Firewire IEEE-1394a, may not work successfully, if you are also writing to an external Firewire drive. This works for some computers, but not others.

If the capture normally works, then the number one problem is disk fragmentation.

Slow disk drives are a problem. 7200rpm drives are better than 5400 or 4200 rpm drives. Modern drives are better than older ones. Drives with more cache are better.

For drives, I prefer SATA drives, with 3,000 megabit per second being better than 1,500 megabit (3.0gbs vs 1.5gbs).

A slow cpu can also cause problems. Some brands of cpus are not equal to others. Intels and AMDs usually work fine.

Of course not all capture programs are created equal.

I hope you understand that I was trying to answer your question. Most modern computers can capture, especially if you follow the instructions and are not doing other things in the background.

A few years ago, I was using a friend's computer, way underpowered, an off-brand cpu, using external firewire for the drives, etc. and it worked. I had to turn off video preview and make other concessions, but I could get it to work.

I also captured from my XL1s a few years ago to a, slow by todays standards, laptop with a 4200 rpm drive sucessfully.
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Old November 5th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #25
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Whats the difference between a regular miniDV tape and an HDV mini-DV tape?
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Old November 6th, 2006, 01:50 PM   #26
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Thanks for the distinction between drop out and dropped frame. As I have edited the video I have only seen a couple of dropouts (discontinuity in motion or time difference between XL-1s and GL-2 on a simultaneously taped long sequence) on my XL-1s at the end of a long shooting day. The GL-2 or GL-1 appear to be fine.

Thanks,
Bill Ritter
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Old November 6th, 2006, 03:47 PM   #27
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Dear Todd,

"Whats the difference between a regular miniDV tape and an HDV mini-DV tape?"

Your's is a tough question.

You may use MiniDV tapes to record HDV, and they work well.

Some manufacturers are making HDV tapes.

These could be relabled MiniDV type tapes, or they could be higher in quality. So it could just be marketing hype, or actually a better tape.

If you have a drop-out in HDV you may lose 1/2 second of footage, based on a GOP (group of pictures) of 15. My math may be off.

So, I would not use general run of the mill MiniDV tapes, but I would use the better grades such as AY-DVM63MQ or AY-DVM63AMQ.

I have not tried the more expensive tapes, such as the Sony HDV tape.

I welcome other opinions.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 03:51 PM   #28
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didn't sony stop making a lubricated minidv tape years ago???
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Old November 6th, 2006, 04:22 PM   #29
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Yes I was informed some time ago the Sony tapes are actually dry lube these days.

I have been using my Leftover Pana MQs.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #30
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B&H recommended JVC (JVMDV63PROHD) tapes. Anyone used those?
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