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Old October 22nd, 2003, 11:36 AM   #1
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Which cams offer best head performance?

Looking for a camera, but aside from lenses, CCD size, and other whiz-bang features, what about the actual recording heads?

I've read a number of posts from people with dropouts, TC drops, messed up signal...many many things going wrong on the tape-head end of things.

Which brand/model of camera historically has the best heads?

Are there any specs I should look for? Are there specific heads I should AVOID? Ones I should try to get?

I don't expect pristine performance from the DV-53 (which i love, btw) but so far, I've had no problems. I want to get a bigger, more robust cam, but I need to find out a few things before plunking down all that money!
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:20 PM   #2
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Quote:
Which brand/model of camera historically has the best heads?
Ted, manufactures don't release any kind of repair records of this type. Internet communities represent such a small sampling of total users than any comments are statically insignificant.

Much has been written here about picking cameras and comparing many of the various models from Canon, Sony, Panasonic, and JVC. Do yourself a favor and use the search function in the upper right corner to get additional information about the models you're interested in.

Heads are not usually a method for picking camera models. Most of the complaints about head problems are in one form or another user related. Choice of tape brand and/or switching brands may be detrimental to the cameras heads. Again, volumes has been written about tape brands and types of lubricants. Do a quick search and you'll see the numerous posts.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 12:33 PM   #3
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You always have to add a price/performance components. A general rule-of-thumb is look at manufacturers of these helical head systems and guess that they know how to make heads. Personally, when you consider how they work it is amazing that any of them make it past 100 hours of use.

For now, one other option is to look at system like the Firestore or the (Panasonic?) cam that uses SD modules.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 09:45 PM   #4
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Furthermore, there probably are not too many manufacturers of Heads in Japan. Probably one or two at the most. The manufacturers of cameras buy the bits and assemble the transports. Just as there are only a few suppliers of optical blocks.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 10:16 PM   #5
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Maybe the Sony DSR- series cameras have the best heads.

The top of the line DSR- series decks have progressively better tracking. This would be useful if tapes are a bit damaged. However in most cases you probably won't have to deal with it.

DVCPRO, Digital8, and DVCAM are more robust formats than mini-DV. However I couldn't really say about the cameras- digital8 cameras for example could be a bit iffy since it's consumer grade (and the current models suck).

Consumer reports says that Sony cameras need the least repair and JVC the most.

Sorry that this didn't tell you much about the heads of a camera, only just some tangentially related things.
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 10:23 PM   #6
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I don't think Consumer Reports rates this class of cameras. How are you basing your statement that the DSR series has progressively better tracking? What makes you feel Sony DSR tracking is better than Panasonics or Canons?
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