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Old March 21st, 2006, 09:03 PM   #1
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panasonic tapes?whats the difference?

i have been buying the DVM63MQ tapes since i first got my dvx, but they are still pretty pricey. I'd like to know what the difference is between those tapes and the regular panny tapes or even sony tapes?

am i just spending the extra money because it says Master quality on
help me out.

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Old March 21st, 2006, 10:17 PM   #2
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Supposedly, you should get fewer dropouts and perhaps less head wear using the MQs than with "standard" consumer grade tapes. I say supposedly, because I've looked all over the web to find information on the differences between brands and grades of miniDV tapes and found very, very little.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 04:44 AM   #3
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I've also done a lot of web searching regarding tape quality, and many users say the less expensive tapes work fine. I've been using the standard tapes and have had no problems.
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Old March 22nd, 2006, 05:00 AM   #4
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whatís in a tape?

You can spend anything from £1.35 for Panasonic and JVC DVM-60 Mini DV tapes up to £13 for Sony DV HD pro. They all contain 70 metres of 6.35 mm wide tape and all they have to do is record ones and zeros, nothing else. So why spend thirteen pounds for the poshest Sony when you could have a packet of ten Panasonics for the same price? The answer lies in quality control. Everything from the cleanliness of the factory to the magnetic coating on the substrate, from component inspection to market penetration, it all affects the final price.

Iíve broken open a Mini DV tape to have a look at what Iíve bought for half the cost of a Marks and Spencer sandwich, and I am suitably impressed. Iíve counted 28 individual components Ė many of them very accurately made, very tightly toleranced injection mouldings that must be able to be snapped together in automated machinery at very high speed. The sticky labels, the case insert sheet, the cassette box and wrapper add four more components to the mix, and yet we buy these assemblies for pence and expect every single one of them to be perfect.

Letís list the components. For starters thereís the 70 metres of metal evaporated tape, spliced at both ends to a leader and trailer. Individual hub attachments are used to attach the tape to the two part feed and take-up spools. The cassette shell comprises two parts, one of which has a clear window and which has two steel leaf springs attached to it. The cassette door consists of three hinged components controlled by a coil spring and a two part release lever, and 2 other steel springs govern the spool brakes, this part having its own polypropylene hinges. Thereís also a sensor window, a sliding erase prevention door, the tiny spool ratchet brake and the whole lot is held together with 4 screws.

The design is ingenious, the build tolerances are breathtaking, the price asked is stupefying. What amazes me is how such a complex assembly of mechanical moving parts can be made so cheaply and so accurately, yet at the same time be made so reliable. When you see the 28 parts laid out it looks positively last century against solid state memory Ė which of course it is. But for now I never cease to be amazed at what it is Ė a 13 gb storage matchbox that has never let me down.

There's a protective box that encloses all DVCAM tapes, and the intricate moulding means that when the box is snapped shut and locked, it will ensure the tape survives a shark attack as well as being run over by a fully laden Land Rover. I wouldnít be surprised to learn itís waterproof to two metres, too. Such design excellence and elegance doesnít just happen; it comes about through dedicated, thoughtful people who well deserve their pay packets.

Sony makes several grades of tape, which it confusingly labels as "DV," "DVCAM," and "HDV," all packaged in full-size and mini-size cartridges. But from the standpoint of what you record on them, these tapes are all functionally identical, provided the cassette fits inside your camcorder, of course.

The only ways in which the tapes themselves differ is in whether there's a data chip in the cartridge, whether the cartridge is full-size or mini, and the quality of the tape. But even this is a misleading statement, since the "quality" of the tape has exactly zero effect on the quality of the recorded signal. Ignoring dropouts, a HDV signal recorded on HDV tape is absolutely identical to an HDV signal recorded on the cheapest DV tape you can find. Likewise, a DV signal on DV tape is identical to a DV signal on HDV tape, and so on with all the other combinations.

The only way in which the tape "quality" makes any difference at all in the robustness of the recording, the likelihood of being able to play it back later. And it isn't by any means clear that there is a practical, real-world difference even here. Personally Iím inclined to think that since tape is so darn cheap to start with, a few extra pounds can be justified for peace of mind, even if I might in practice be giving Sony what amounts to money for nothing.

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Old March 25th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #5
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Panasonic tapes use a dry lube. Sony tapes use a wet lube. It is this lubricant that when mixed dirties the heads.
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Old March 30th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #6
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Jason - so which lube hurts the heads, dry or wet? I'm guessing dry, but am not sure.

BTW - I sent an email to you regarding another subject. :)
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Old March 30th, 2006, 10:10 PM   #7
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I think its a constant mixture of the two lubes that will cause gunk build up. A wet or dry lube alone shouldnt damage the heads.
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Old April 1st, 2006, 03:15 AM   #8
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a bit of confusion here about tapes..

the build as descibed is explicitly intricate..
but when comparing tape brands makes and models, it all comes down to cost..

Pana DVCMQ63/83 tapes are processed through an advanced form of Metal evaporative procedure. The S-AME (Super Advanced Metal Evaporation) improves the videotape's magnetic density by 400% over current Panasonic MiniDV models. The S-AME technology offers three key advantages: higher output power for more precise recordings; low head wear and reduced head clogs thanks to the use of a dry-type lubricant;

The PQs are using the SAME dry lubes, but arent using this advanced form of magnetisation.
The 83 minu tapes are the only ones to use the chip. Im yet ot find a new piece of gear which actually utilises this chip as tpae indexing is now done via metadata on teh tape itself. I can literally view all my DVX shooting settings on my MX500 (my capture deck) with NO CHIP.

The JVC ProHD tapes (the white ones) are rebranded MQs (Matsushita IS the parent company after all.. )

The Sony HDV tapes are overpriced for what they are. They also use a dry lube, and more than likey a similar evaporative magnetisation method to the MQs.

I use MQs for Z1 HDV and havent had a dropout, this is becuase i clean my head every 25hours, AND i wind my tapes to alow the deck itself to set the tapes tensioning PRIOR to recording. I used to do this with MQs and teh DVX, but it turns out the tapes themselves are wound in bulk during manufacture with a similar tension setting which the DVX operates on.

PQs are perfectly fine for the DVX, however anything with a wet lube could cause problems as teh DVX is known for its temperamental heads.

Also if intend on changing tape makes and models be sure to run a head cleaner first. Then run the new tape for at least a minute to run the new tapes lube into your cameras head.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 09:30 AM   #9
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difference in tapes

Panasonic as well as Sony will give you the run around when you ask about tape quality. The fact is that they all seem to work the same. The one thing that is important is that the heads should be cleanned with a head cleaner when you switch brands, preferably stick to one brand. No need to pay the price for master tape. Have you ever seen oc camera manuals.. USE ONLY SONY BATTERIES... Right!
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Old April 16th, 2006, 09:03 PM   #10
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I reuse tapes quite often (in my cheap cameras) and I've found that the Pana MQs are incredibly resistant to wear in this regard. Cheap tapes cannot really be reused even once without at least a few dropouts here and there. The MQs can be reused at least twice or three times before I start to notice dropouts, and sometimes more.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 10:42 PM   #11
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Jad, my test count for Panas (well Rexel when they were looking after Pana here in aus) was a total of 7 overwrites without dropouts.. THEN on the 8 was when issues started.. baing that sometimes, timecode would reset ((dont ask me, i have NO idea how that happens as i wasnt using free run timecode)) and obviously tape dropouts.

ive reused tapes up to 3 times.. and thats it. then they get commisioned to th home video library and used for family stuff which can live with a dropout here or there (but im yet to see it.. )

these are all MQ tapes by the way..

PQ's the count came to 5, so i wouldnt reused PQs more than twice... and thats only if i had to...
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