DV852 on the way, and a tape question at DVinfo.net

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Old January 29th, 2004, 12:47 PM   #1
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DV852 on the way, and a tape question

My wife is due with our first in March, so I needed to make a purchase *fast fast fast*. I looked at the Sonys, and the GS70/PV953, and looked at various DV sites on the Internet until my eyes bled.

The impressions I came away with is that the Panny 3 chippers wouldn't be entirely useful for all the indoor stuff I'm going to be shooting. The GS70s poor stabilizer is worrisome, and the PV953 is expensive (do-able, but with a baby on the way $1000 is a chunk of change!). The Sonys looked ok, but like most Sony stuff is way overpriced for what you get, and with reports of the tape audio picking up the transport noise, they start to sound more like toys than good camcorders.

So, with my hand forced (I'd have loved to wait until the 04 camcorders were out and reviewed!), I discovered this board with people talking about the long-discontinued Panny DV852 and how nice it was. Normally I'd never buy a camcorder without handling it first, but considering B&H was the only place on the planet still selling them new-in-the-box, I jumped on it. I'll receive it on Monday, if anyone is interested I'll post impressions.

One area of concern to me is tapes. I'm aware that you're supposed to stick with one sort of tape throughout the life of a camcorder, and I was prepared to go with Maxell, since that's what Sam's Club sells for a good price. One thing that made me rethink this is I searched for 'Maxell' on this very board, and the thread list was hilarious. It looked something like:

"MY Canon GL1's tape transport died, help!"
"I switched tapes, now my camcorder is dead!"
"Camcorder eating tapes, how to fix?"
"My tape heads are destroyed, what did I do wrong?"

This did not lead me to believe that Maxell makes quality tapes. So here I'm already stressed from my frantic camcorder hunt, and now I have to worry about tapes too. After all, when I go back and look at video from when I was a baby/toddler, I'm struck by how I wish I had more to see. It's fascinating stuff, and I want my son to be able to re-experience his childhood, dead relatives, etc.... So, I need tapes that will last, and not drop-out. I'm going to edit and burn a lot of this stuff to DVD, but I look at the DVD as a "disposable" medium; in 10 years when you can put a terabyte (1000 gigs) on a DVD, I want to be able to dump my tapes onto them without having to compress the video any.

I went to taperesources.com and bought 10 "PANASONIC AY-DVM63MQ" tapes, plus the head cleaner - are these decent tapes? They matched the brand of the camcorder, and cost quite a bit. Since I'm not really savvy about this stuff at all, I have to fall back on my unfortunate "if it's expensive, it has to be good" mentality. Hopefully I won't regret going with that type of tape!

Now, I just have to hunt for a bag, and a tripod (that can wait awhile though). Since these items go by "personal taste", I'll get to go doof around camera shops next weekend. Good times!

Finally, I just want to say that this is one of the best DV forums I've found. People are civil here, and the snobbery is kept to a minimum. If any of the mods are reading this, thanks for the board, and I look forward to frequenting here in the future!
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Old January 29th, 2004, 02:12 PM   #2
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I use Panasonic tapes with DV852 and haven't had any problems so far.
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Old January 29th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #3
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Rich,
Welcome to the DV community and congratulations on your soon to be new baby! I wish I had film of me when I was a pup to see today. They didn't invent modern videotaping until after I was 5 or 6 (Ampex) and those 1" reel to reel tapes were mighty expensive, not to speak of the recorder! (I know, I know...the Brits were video recording in the 20's and '30s...but that's another story.)

Well, hmmm, miniDV tapes. I know others have had different experiences, but I'll tell you mine. I buy the cheapest tapes I can find, usually from WalMart or over the internet, in a big pack. I have been doing this since 1997 or so and have never had a bad tape. I have used a number of different brands with no problems on two different DV cams. YMMV but I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 12:35 AM   #4
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I use the cheap standard Sony tapes on my Panasonic. I find the Panasonic tapes to be more 'dirty', as I need to scrub the playhead much more often when I use Panasonic tapes. Fuji tapes should be OK based on Frank's comments.
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Old January 30th, 2004, 01:20 AM   #5
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http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old January 31st, 2004, 10:48 AM   #6
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Carl Zeiss T* lens vs Leica Dicomar

What a coincidence Rich,
My wife is due in March too and I made the same decision regarding the 852 - (order from B&H and it is now in transit according to UPS) - I really could not justify the 500 usd extra for the 953.

I have one question - is anybody aware of a lens performance comparison test of the sony trv70 Carl Zeiss T* lens against the f1.8 Leica Dicomar from a Panasonic mini dv in the same price range ?
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Old January 31st, 2004, 07:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
I have one question - is anybody aware of a lens performance comparison test of the sony trv70 Carl Zeiss T* lens against the f1.8 Leica Dicomar from a Panasonic mini dv in the same price range?
In the old days, Leica was considered slightly better than Zeiss, though zome Zeiss lenses were better than some Leica lenses and the other way around---and taking this one step further, some Nikon, Fuji and Canon, etc, lenses were better than some Leica and Zeiss lenses. Today, some Zeiss and some Lieca lenses on cams are better made than others found on cams, but it's not only the lens that's important, the CCD and the electronic engine and how the whole is put together is just as important, if you want to compare the video quality aspects of the cams using a Zeiss or Leica---or whatever "brand" lens.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 08:34 PM   #8
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I guess my question was not very detailed , to rephrase it - it will sound more like :

does the sony TRV70/80 (including the premium price of the sony brand) outperform the overal video quality of the pana 852 ?

The 852 is for myself the first step in digital world from 35 mm photography.
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Old January 31st, 2004, 09:30 PM   #9
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Tommy H or Allan R, would you please answer this question, since you 2 fine members have experienced both these cams? Thanks! Question:
Quote:
does the sony TRV70/80 (including the premium price of the sony brand) outperform the overall video quality of the pana 852?
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 01:32 PM   #10
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Based on specs alone, the 852 should trash the TRV70 in low light. However, I'm talking out of my butt, since I've never used the 70 before. Check out camcorderinfo.com, they should have a thorough review.

Well, my real reason for posting is my 852 arrived today! Unfortunately I'm stuck at work, but my battery is charging at home and I'm looking forward to playing with it tonight.

My main fear with this cam was that it was a refurb or a return. Nobody else on the planet was selling new 852s, so I was almost expecting it.

Imagine my surprise and delight when this was as factory new/fresh/in the wrapper as any piece of electronics I've ever purchased. The box was even sealed with a factory sticker. B&H has been sitting on this camcorder for a *long* time; there was a JAL cargo sticker on the side of the box, so I decided to track it; well, it wasn't even in their system the number was so old! This was pretty solid evidence it wasn't a refurb. I wonder if B&H had a bunch of these things sitting in the warehouse they "forgot" about?

At any rate, I was also pleased with the heft of the device, it fit very well in my hand. It was definately bigger than the GS70 I played with at Circuit City, but a one-hander nonetheless (as an ex-user of the 80s era VHS camcorders, I appreciate that!). It is a very solidly built unit, though I was expecting that considering the 852 originally retailed for the same price as a 953.

Now, the proof is in the quality of the video this thing shoots. I bought a 10 pack of Panny tapes from taperesources.com (they came in boxes of 5), which amusingly also arrived today with a small bag of M&Ms. I bought the cleaning tape as well, although I don't see myself having to use it for a very long time.

One downside that I'm sure will be obvious to anyone buying this camcorder, is that the software that comes with it is older than Moses' great-grandfather. Not only that, but it appears that the software is actually the identical (but much older) bundle that came with my wife's Panny digicam two months ago. What is irritating is that the software is for still pictures only. Does Panasonic believe that people are buying these camcorders to take still pictures with? Man, that is strange! Yeah, I'll be shooting some amazing 640x480 stills on my 8 meg SD card, yessiree! :D

Seriously, I'm going to look into upgrading my editing software at home. Currently I'm using WinProducer 3.0, which came free with my Canopus ADVC card I bought back in '02. It does a decent enough job, but the MPEG2 compression it uses is awful. I've tried Vegas Video 3 and Adobe Premiere, but that stuff is *way* over my head. I could learn Vegas if I had the time, but learning Premiere would probably require a college course to learn so I'm skipping that one. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd be more than happy to give it a shot!
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 02:25 PM   #11
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The TRV70 is a poor low light performer and you can see proof with the dvspot review (link below).

I prefer the PQ (including color accuracy) of the DV852 to the TRV70. Then you have OIS icing on the cake along with a price tag thats about half. :)

TRV70 Review

http://www.dvspot.com/reviews/sony/t...ew/index.shtml

DV852/MX8 Review

http://www.whatcamcorder.net/reviews...onicNV-MX8.php
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 03:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
I've tried Vegas Video 3 and Adobe Premiere, but that stuff is *way* over my head. I could learn Vegas if I had the time, but learning Premiere would probably require a college course to learn so I'm skipping that one. If anyone has any recommendations, I'd be more than happy to give it a shot
You might take a look at Vegas's little brother Sony Screenblast Movie Studio. It is a scaled down version of Vegas with DVD authoring built in. It retails for $99 but you can often find it discounted at places like CompUSA.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:24 PM   #13
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Guy,

Thanks for the recommendation, that sounds exactly what I'm looking for! I'm going to see if I can get a demo of it. My other option is to stick with WinProducer, but then buy a copy of Canopus' Procoder Express to do my format conversions. Decisions, decisions...
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:28 PM   #14
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Frank and Tommy - thanks for the input.

More posts after I receive my dv852 this week.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:32 PM   #15
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Rich,
You can download a trial version here.
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