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Old January 14th, 2015, 03:22 PM   #1
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Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

My Sony HVR-Z5E's FireWire port broke. It is not a pin problem and the service said the whole circuit board has to be changed and that's insanely expensive (same as the whole camera used). So I am thinking about buying a cheap HDV cam to transfer HDV tapes recorded on HVR-Z5E to computer via FireWire.

As there is talk about tapes being different between Sony and other manufacturers, and HDV is not the most reliable format anyway, I am interested in what's the chance of HDV tapes not transferred perfectly on some cheap HDV cams with FireWire? What models are good and what should I avoid for this purpose?
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Old January 14th, 2015, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

I don't think brand of tape will be the issue. What may bite you is if you recorded in a format specific to Sony. I don't that there is one for that camera but I recall the Canon implementation on the A1 of 24fps HDV had a mode that was specific to Canon and wouldn't play on others. A Sony HDV deck off eBay may do the trick.
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Old January 15th, 2015, 08:01 AM   #3
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

Les is correct. An HDV tape recorded as 1080i ought to play on most any HDV camcorder. However, each manufacturer has unique ways of recording 24p and 30p that may not be supported on other brands of cameras. So, if you only use 1080i50 or 1080i60, then you should be fine!

I'm in the US, but I would look for a Canon Vixia HV20, HV30, or HV40. These are on Ebay at very reasonable prices every day. No matter the original cost/make of the camera, you will get the same identical playback quality via Firewire since it is simply reading digital data, ones and zeros, from the tape. That doesn't change between cameras. Assuming compatible record format.

I have an HV20 that I purchased new many years ago and it has been a workhorse for both recording and transferring tapes.

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Old January 16th, 2015, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

Even with identical formats, there have been reports of glitches while capturing Sony-shot tapes on Canons. Best to stick with Sony if you have a Z5. Look for an HC3, 5, 7 or 9.

If the cam is in good shape reliability shouldn't be an issue.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 12:21 PM   #5
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
Even with identical formats, there have been reports of glitches while capturing Sony-shot tapes on Canons. Best to stick with Sony if you have a Z5. Look for an HC3, 5, 7 or 9.

If the cam is in good shape reliability shouldn't be an issue.
I record with a Sony FX7 and capture with the Canon HV20, but I won't argue with the logic of sticking with the same brand for peace of mind.
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Old January 26th, 2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

The most important thing , in my opinion , is to make absolutely sure that whatever camcorder you end up buying does not damage valuable tapes .

As long as you run a couple of unimportant tapes through it a few times before risking that irreplaceable tape , all should be well .
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Old February 19th, 2015, 11:30 AM   #7
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Re: Reliability of cheap HDV cams for transfer

How about the PAL/NTSC issue. Will any HV20/HV30/HV40 play both PAL and NTSC cassettes without conversion = maintaining original quality?
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