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Sony HVR-A1 and HDR-HC Series
Sony's latest single-CMOS additions to their HDV camcorder line.


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Old October 20th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #1
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How important is the type of tape used for HVR-A1U?

I just ordered a Sony HVR-A1U and was curious how important is the type of tapes I used with this camcorder? On Amazon's site, I see it state:

"No new tape stock
The HVR-A1U is compatible with conventional DV tape stock, but Sony recommends the use of DigitalMaster PHDVM-63DM tape, with its dual layer of magnetic material, which delivers higher RF output, lower noise, 95% fewer errors and 60% fewer dropouts compared to regular DV tape."

So will I see a huge difference in image quality? This is for home personal use, not documentary or anything commercial. Thank you.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 03:10 PM   #2
 
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no difference in image quality unless you have very dirty heads, where you might have dropouts and the decoder can't reassemble the image correctly. However, with HDV, dropouts can potentially be much more deadly.
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Old October 20th, 2006, 03:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manuel Guzman
I just ordered a Sony HVR-A1U and was curious how important is the type of tapes I used with this camcorder? On Amazon's site, I see it state:

"No new tape stock
The HVR-A1U is compatible with conventional DV tape stock, but Sony recommends the use of DigitalMaster PHDVM-63DM tape, with its dual layer of magnetic material, which delivers higher RF output, lower noise, 95% fewer errors and 60% fewer dropouts compared to regular DV tape."

So will I see a huge difference in image quality? This is for home personal use, not documentary or anything commercial. Thank you.
No difference in image quality whatsoever. It's digital tape, it's not analogue tape.

The only reason to buy the more expensive tapes is to, potentially, reduce the frequency of tape 'dropouts' which are 'glitches. Sony would like you to buy the more expensive tapes all the time to, of course, improve their profit&loss line on their accounts....
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Old October 20th, 2006, 06:02 PM   #4
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Awesome. Thanks for your help. OK. I just ordered several tapes. Can't wait until I receive the HDV cam. Hope I get a week of nice weather so I can play around with the camera :)
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Old October 25th, 2006, 08:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Holmes
No difference in image quality whatsoever. It's digital tape, it's not analogue tape.

The only reason to buy the more expensive tapes is to, potentially, reduce the frequency of tape 'dropouts' which are 'glitches. Sony would like you to buy the more expensive tapes all the time to, of course, improve their profit&loss line on their accounts....
I could not agree more. I was in Ibiza in June when I ran out of Digital Master tape. I searched everywhere and in the end gave up confident that there were none on the Island. I settled for some standard economy (couple of Euro) DV tapes.

Well there were no dropped frames on the first tape so I used the rest of the pack of 4 and still no dropped frames... Well it is October now and I have yet to see a dropped frame from any standard DV tape.

The experience has saved me a small fortune as I am the kind of guy who always would insist on the very best media, the fact is that unless your work mission critical standard DV tape will do just fine.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 06:15 AM   #6
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I have shot about 100 hours of HDV only using standard DV tapes. I am seeing about one dropout every 3 hours so far. For me, that is small enough to live with.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 05:12 PM   #7
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When I first got my A1, I had probably 15 dropouts on 3 hours of footage. I was very unhappy, and I switched to sony's [expensive] HDV tapes for a while, and everything got better. Now, I'm back to using the cheapest 60 min. Sony tapes ($2.79/per), and I'm getting about a dropout every 2 hours or so. No big deal. I go through about 5-10 tapes a month, so it's a lot cheaper this way.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 02:39 AM   #8
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I've been always using those cheapest 60 min Sony tapes. Tape run info says I have shot/played 130 hours (A1e) and I really have had only 2-4 dropouts! So reading those previous posts I think you're having lots of dropouts. Lucky me. I have used cleaning tape once, after my second dropout.
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Old October 28th, 2006, 04:58 AM   #9
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A1u tape type

Am using the TDK "non hdv" tape you buy at Costco. So far 15 tapes, no issues in recording.

Occasionally I do see what appears to be a "dropout" when capturing, but I rewind to that scene later on and recapture and so far the "dropout" has not reoccured. I've only seen 4 of them so far.

I use dropout loosely, as I have not eliminated the PC from potential culpability.

I am satisfied.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #10
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CostCo TDK works for me!

I, too, am using the TDK "non hdv" tape you buy at Costco (this was recommended from a seasoned pro videographer). After 2 years of shooting both DV and HDV I've had zero drop outs. :)
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Old March 29th, 2008, 08:03 AM   #11
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I also use standard DV tapes for my HVR-A1U; specifically Panasonic DVM63PQ tapes that I buy for $3.65 each from a well-known NY mail house. I can't remember the last time I had a dropout, it has been so long.

Enjoy,

Best wishes,
Peter Rhalter
www.parkfilms.com
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Old March 29th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #12
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There aren't any different specs for MiniDV tape and HDV tape. In other words, any manufacturer of MiniDV tapes (that meet specs for MiniDV tape) can slap HDV on the label without it being a false claim.
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Old March 29th, 2008, 03:30 PM   #13
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I have never had any dropout using standard Sony dv tapes with my A1E.

I had one dropout with my Canon A1 and now only use hdv tapes in that. The dropout was in the middle of an important take that I would otherwise have used.

My dealer told me that hdv tapes do have some kind of surface varnish which makes them more resistant to dropout.

I don't know how true this is but I don't want to take the risk when I am doing paid work.
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