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Old December 24th, 2003, 01:26 PM   #1
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DSR-200A - Opinion?

I have the opportunity to purchase a DSR-200A from the estate of a friend of my parents. The camera apprears to be in pristine condition cosmetically, however, at the time of this writing, I do not know the number of hours on the heads. (No charged battery, and the power supply was missing)

Before I go through the trouble of driving 300 miles back with a charged battery, I thought I would post a quick inquiry here to see if anyone has an opinion on this camera (good or bad).

It comes with 3 batteries (condition unknown) the charger (when found) a *very* nice Pelican case with custom-cut foam, and a stack of about 20 tapes that are still shrink-wrapped.

Thanks in advance!

-Phil
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Old December 26th, 2003, 03:41 PM   #2
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The DSR200 was the "professional" version of the VX1000.

It's a shoulder mount camera and uses full size DVCAM cassettes, and it has XLR inputs. It's not going to give you as good an image as a VX2000, but it's still not bad if you can get it for a cheap price. I don't think I would pay over 800 bucks for it.

Some models had some electromechanical difficulties, but it seemed to be a totally random thing. For every problem you hear about, you might also hear from somebody who had used one for hundreds of hours with no trouble at all. Four or five years ago I rented one and it had this random problem involving startup. If the camera sat for awhile, it may or may not start when you pushed the record button. The only fix was to eject the tape, totally power down, and put the tape back in. Then you'd be ok for awhile. The rental house that owned the camera was never able to get it working properly. The reason I rented it was that I needed something with over 2 hour capacity for recording an event (this was when I was still shooting Betacam). I ended up starting the camera five minutes before the event kicked off and never turned it off till I was through shooting.

As I recall, the camera used the same standard power supply with 5 pin connector as all Sony professional cameras. IDX makes a very nice one for under $200.

So, if you get a good one, it's probably a good deal, but if it's one of the ones with a problem, be careful. I would check it out very thoroughly, including looking for dead pixels, looking for bad back focus when you zoom back from a closeup to a wide shot, turning the camera on and off a lot, stopping and starting the tape, rewinding, playing back, etc.

If it seems ok and the price is right for you, it's a nice opportunity to get a shoulder mount camera that will give you about the same image quality as the XL1, but not quite as good as the XL1s or VX2000/PD150.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 06:37 PM   #3
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For an A version with low hours, I'd expect to pay up to $1500. Not great in low light but a solid camera. The A version was to clean up a few problems in the original camera.

It uses up to 3 960 batteries and those were charged in a 3-hole charger. The batteries were contained in an openable clam-shell that covered them when in place.

Figure $120 x 3 for new batteries although the old ones might be OK. The chargers are fairly expensive but they are nice and will also power the camera IIRC. I think the battery kit (which was a separate accessory for the camera) was $900 or so when new.

If you cannot find the charger, any Sony LIon charger will work that will handle the large batteries. If you need one, I have a spare 3-holer that I would sell.

I think one could also buy 3rd party batteries for the camera.
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Old December 27th, 2003, 01:12 AM   #4
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Thanks All,

I just got back from Mississippi, and I'm happy that I did not jump at the deal on impulse.

The camera works great--if you want to use it as a video source only...

There is a little teensy problem with the transport--it's hungry. And by the amount of tape it ate, it had not been fed in a long, long time.

When it was not eating tapes, it spent the rest of it's time making obnoxious grinding sounds. (stomach growling?)

Anyway, I declined purchasing the camera and thanked them for their time. I did however purchase 15 new full-size DVCAM tapes for $5.00 each and some electronics test equipment.

Thanks again everyone for your replies and advice!

-Phil
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