Panasonic tapes in a Sony deck at

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Old January 29th, 2003, 09:27 PM   #1
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Panasonic tapes in a Sony deck

I just started shooting B-roll and early interviews for a promo video and had an interesting but very frustrating experience recording on Panaosnic tapes. All footage was shot with an XL1s. My deck is a Sony DSR-20 DV-CAM deck but it also can play back Mini-DV tapes. My partner on this project shoots weddings for a living and felt that we should use the Panasonic Master quality Mini-DV tapes that she is acustomed to. She shoots with a Sony and has a less expensive JVC camera for a deck.

Right off the bat there were problems. Every tape, when played back in my DSR-20 had audio drop outs and pixelation all over the place. When I stuck the same tape in my XL1s, everything looked fine. I still freaked out and went as far as to do a physical head cleaning at a local camera rental house that had the right tools for the job. Test footage looked fine. Today I shot another interview and first viewed it on my friend's JVC and then tried it out in my DSR-20 again. Fine on the first, same problem on the second. I immediately put the tape back in the XL1s and the footage was fine there too.

What's up with these Panasonic tapes? My brand of choice is Maxell. I have never had a problem with them except when I get dirty heads. Is there something physical about the tape that doesn't allow it to play back properly on my deck?

Just tonight a friend told me that there are numerous cases out there where switching to Panasonic tapes (after consistantly using Sony tapes) can actually damage the play and record heads of a Sony camera.

I'm afraid that these Panasonic tapes could eventually screw up my XL1s! Has anybody had a similar experience?
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Old January 29th, 2003, 09:58 PM   #2
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This topic has been discussed many times, so rather than cover the same ground let me provide a few links i obtained by using the search button in the upper right.

If after reviewing the threads you still have questions feel free to post back.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 04:37 AM   #3
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There have been reports of occasional issues when attempting to play XL1 tapes in Sony DVCAM gear. And also reports of issues attempting to play MiniDV tapes recorded on DVCAM gear in MiniDV mode on an XL1. Not everyone has probelms, but some people do. The issues may relate to production variations, the DVCAM gear not being optimized for MiniDV format, and to the recorder not being optimized for the magnetic properties of the specific tape being used. (Reember the bias and record current adjustment on audio recorders.) If things are just bit off you see digital errors rather thatn the gradual fall off and increased noise typical of analog systms.

A work-around used by some is to quickly copy the problem tapes from the XL1 to the DSR20 and work with the copy.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 11:47 PM   #4
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Maxell tape is made by Panasonic, actually.

Always, always, always use a head cleaner in between switching tape brands. The issue here is not Sony vs. Panasonic, but switching from one brand to another. Just don't do it.

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Old February 3rd, 2003, 11:50 AM   #5
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This may be dumb, but is it safe to switch between grades of tape from same manufacturer without issue, as from going from the Panasonic PQ to MQ or from the 63min to 83min tapes or any of those combination as long as they are all Panasonic?
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 12:13 PM   #6
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I've done that many times with my XL1s and GL2 with no trouble whatsoever.
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Old February 3rd, 2003, 01:25 PM   #7
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For what it's worth, I shoot strictly with Fuji tapes. I also have an XL1s and a Sony DSR-20 and everything works fine. So far.

Also, I shoot nothing but new Fuji tapes in both cameras and never load any tapes that have gone through any other camera or deck, including my own. It prevents the possibility of contaminating the camera's heads.

I'm assuming you're shooting in SP speeds and not LP?

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