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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:28 AM   #1
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Canon cameras vs Sony Decks

What's the deal with playback issues regarding these brands? I consistently have problems with playing back tapes recorded on my Canon A1 playing back on my Sony DSR-25 deck. The format is DV.
I own 2 A1's. One of them is consistently exhibits fits and starts/dropouts in the Sony deck but plays OK from the camera. The problem doesn't seem to be the deck either. When I record events and give the tapes to another editor, he has the same issues. He uses Sony equipment.
Considering that there doesn't seem to be very many adjustable parts in the tape transports of these Canon camera's, I'm hesitant to send it in for repairs when there may be nothing to adjust.
Anyone else experience this issue? this is killing me!
thx
btw, it's not dirty heads. I've cleaned them plenty of times.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #2
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Just as a datapoint, I move DV tapes between A1 and Sony DSR-11 without problems. It's hard to believe two A1s would be out of alignment. Have you experimented by recording on the DSR-25 and playing on the A1? I think it would be the most revealing if it's clean and give you a reason to have one of the A1's looked at by Canon. Come to think of it, you could use either result to make the case. DV recorded at SP is supposed to be compatible.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #3
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Just recently, this scenario developed:

Supposed bad camera "A", used it as a playback deck (because of playback issues on the Sony deck) to make copies of 2 separate 1 hr recordings on the sony deck. Hooked up via firewire.
Sent the 2 tape transfer copies to person who is currently using my other camera "B". One of the 2 tapes plays back fine through the camera but the other exhibits playback issues. If it wasn't for the fact that the 3rd party editor listing above is experiencing the same playback issues as I am, I'd think the deck has an issue.
Funny thing is, I've been shooting on the Canon's for about 2 years and playing back on the same sony deck without issues. Nothing the whole system seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, without being able to pinpoint the problem.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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Just some observations from decades of debugging complex systems:

There are multiple possible points of failure here and nothing is calibrated to "0"

More than one point of failure can be contributing so when you isolate one and it doesn't resolve, you still cannot definitively exclude it

THe nature of some of the components are such that two can be off but they offset each other and you get seemingly positive results (i.e an camera and deck whose heads are both off by the same amount in the same direction. Tape from camera works on one deck but not the other).

It may help to think in probabilities not absolutes. The precision of these mechanisms is very high. A test result where the first recorded tape is good but subsequent ones are not could indicate thermal related failure in the recorder.

All that said, from the data presented thus far, I think your DSR-25 may be the first unit to get re-calibrated. You won't regret it as you are already on a slippery slope of equipment you cannot depend on. The next thing would be to get one of your A1s services. With two serviced devices, you are working from a much more deterministic condition from which to judge your second camera and 3rd party deck. Lastly, if I had one camera serviced and that resulted in different results, I'd have the second one serviced too. If for nothing more than voodoo.

Not an easy answer. Sorry.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 05:09 PM   #5
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thx for the reply. good points. I wish the repairs were cheap
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Old March 13th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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If the tape from the A1 which is less compatible with the Sony deck plays back perfectly on the other A1 then I would not know which machine to suspect. My guess the A1 which plays its own tapes but those tapes don't playback on the Sony is the tape path out of alignment. My experience with DV is alignment issues are very common.
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