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Old March 30th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #1
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Maxell = Panasonic?

I just saw the Maxell DVM63PRO mini dv tapes online and they look exactly like the Panasonic DVM63AMQ tapes. Does anyone know if this is the exact same tape just re-branded?

I understand that only a few companies make the tapes for everyone and each company just puts their own name on them. I also understand that just because Maxell may be buying Panasonic cases and tape stock it may not mean that they are manufactured with the same specs as Panasonic.

The Maxell tapes sell for $4.72 each at TapeStockOnline and the Panasonic that look identical (AMQ tapes) sell for $6.99. If these are the exact same tapes I would love to save some money. The person I talked to at TapeStockOnline was not very helpfull. She told me that she did not know who made the Maxell tapes, but that the Panasonics would not work in an HD camera because they were not HD labeled tapes (despite the fact that I and many others have been using them with very good results in our HD cameras)

Thanks for any feedback on this
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Old March 31st, 2007, 01:22 AM   #2
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Maxell is a major manufacturer of various kinds of tape. I would doubt that they would be buying tape and rebranding it.

You can't tell anything by price. I'm well aware of some situations where Brand X buys tape from Brand Y and sells it under the brand X name - cheaper than Brand Y (the real maker) can sell it. And the tape is identical out of the same factories and with the same quality control.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 12:10 AM   #3
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To add some ill-informed speculation:

1- A while ago, Jan Crittenden discovered that normal Panasonic tapes used dry lubricant instead of wet lubricant. This was discovered when a Panasonic person (employee?) actually visited the factory and saw the tapes being made. This seems to suggest that Panasonic does not make their own miniDV tapes.

2- If you look at DVCPRO tapes (metal particle tape), the only brands available are Maxell, Fuji, and Panasonic. The Panasonic-branded tapes (depending on model) look like either Maxell or Fuji tapes (including the boxes; fuji=cardboard, maxell=thick paper). This would also suggest that Panasonic does not make their own DVCPRO tapes; Maxell and Fuji make them for Panasonic.

So um, my guess would be that another company makes tapes for Panasonic (i.e. Maxell).

3- (Even more speculative here...)
Sometimes companies will have different "grades" of tape... the higher-grade typically coming off the same production line, but being cut from the middle of the roll (so a lower defect rate, although likely practically insignificant).

The higher grades are mostly a marketing thing designed to get people to pay more for tape.

4- If tape failure (or any failure) is a problem for you, then the real solution is probably to have a backup! Suppose pricier tape does lower your risk... it doesn't lower your risk significantly and does not substitute for having a backup / contingency plan / insurance. Buying pricier tape doesn't really protect you... you are still prone to the camera failing, dust getting into the tape path, condensation, bad weather, bad luck, etc. etc.

In my opinion, I'd just buy the cheapest tape and *keep lots on hand*. Keeping lots on hand will lower your risk since you won't be caught without tapes. There are better ways to spend your money than on marketing gimmicks.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 02:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
3- (Even more speculative here...)
Sometimes companies will have different "grades" of tape... the higher-grade typically coming off the same production line, but being cut from the middle of the roll (so a lower defect rate, although likely practically insignificant).
The roll is called a 'web' as I remember it's a foot wide? It's passed through an array of knives which slice it to the required widths. Once it used to be 1/2" 1" and 2" tape.
The centre of the web gets the most even accurate cut, the outside not so because of the angles the sliced tape widths have to spread out to. That's your lesser grade or sold to cheaper outfits.

The knives need to be changed regularly and resharpened and only last for so many shifts.

Here's what I figure is going to happen. As solid state storage takes over and mag tape sales decline past a certain point, the major manufacturers will just sell their plants to lesser companies who'll use cheaper components and methods (run the knives longer etc.) to keep their market share.

I think the trouble will surface at consumer level with drop outs etc. If I still used tape in business I'd think hard about the change-over and maybe near the end, stock up on my preferred stock and keep well abreast of the solid state storage developments. It may take a while yet, but once the slide starts it'll go quick. I saw it with cassette tape manufacture > CD.

Also don't flog your tape based machines to death then think, time to get into solid state. Keep some in good condition to replay your tape library in years to come.
Cheers.

Last edited by Allan Black; April 2nd, 2007 at 02:45 AM.
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Old April 2nd, 2007, 02:06 AM   #5
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Sorry double post.
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