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Sony HVR-Z1 / HDR-FX1
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CCD HDV camcorder.


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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:43 PM   #1
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Please, explain

What's the difference between a camera and a mini dv deck in terms of transferring data onto a computer?

I was thinking instead of wearing out my fx1 to buy a smaller sony miniDv camcorder since they go for under 200 dollars brand new (some of them). I understand that deck has more buttons and controls, but never used one before. What's the difference and is it worth spending hundreds of dollars more for a deck?

Thank you in advance, KC.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:59 PM   #2
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There really isn't any difference with a deck vs camcorder as far as playback if you are in miniDV.

With your FX1 do you shoot with DV or HDV? That is the question, if HDV your options are a little bit larger and you will have to get a HDV deck. The Sony decks will do HDV, DVCAM, and DV.

In the Sony HDV line there are major differences even among the decks especially with the M35u being able to do HD-SDI out.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 06:09 PM   #3
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Doug, so in other words, if I shoot in dv-mode only there really is no difference if I use a deck or a camera?
I was thinking to get a cheaper camera for around 150 - 180 US$.
MiniDV decks start at 600, difference is huge.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 07:27 PM   #4
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Yep: that's a great idea. Plus, you have an extra crash camera lying around in case you want to duct tape something to the bottom of your car for one reason or another.
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Old May 14th, 2008, 08:05 PM   #5
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I still don't see clarification, why is a camcorder minus a lens (I mean a deck) costs 5 times more than a camcorder with a lens? d
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Old May 14th, 2008, 09:22 PM   #6
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The clarification

A deck is a professional video transfer device manufactured with high precision mechanical parts and complicated control electronics : you can use and abuse it 24/7 if needed, it will rarely let you down.

Try doing that with a $200 consumer camcorder... THAT is the difference, in two sentences... there is, of course, a lot more.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 03:05 AM   #7
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A cheap camcorder will be more liable to tracking errors, which will lead to potential break up of image if your main camera and ingest camera are from different msnufacturers.

Decks have more magic inside them that makes tapes from a wide variety of sources work reliably. Their me hanisms tend to be stronger, too.

A colleage uses his Sony A1 as a deck and backup to his Z1.

Note: I have had two tape chews from using an old camcorder as a deck. Probably would NOT have happened using a deck, but it was the first issue in 7 years.

I now have a deck, and (oddly) an EX1.
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Old May 15th, 2008, 04:23 AM   #8
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If I'm not mistaken K.C. question was regarding the 'cheap' miniDV decks not the Professional line such as the Sony DSR, HVR, PDW, and HDW (among others). I'm staying with Sony because K.C. has a FX-1 and he's thinking of buying a cheap Sony cam to use as a deck.

Decks such as the GV-D900, GV-D1000 and GV-D700 (and now the GV-HD700) which are more in the consumer/prosumer line. These decks are really considerably less expensive than what I think Matt and Ervin are talking about. In my opinion even the HVR line is above these! The tape transports and heads on the GV line are exactly the same as on the PD/VX line of camcorders (as explained to me by a Sony rep all those years ago when these consumer decks were somewhat popular). Both of the GV-D900 decks I bought were only about $1200 or so, the GV-D700 without the 4.5" LCD screen was much less. But these were much less expensive than the camcorders such as the PD150 at the time! The DSR 11 deck was a little more $$ wise but still not a very robust machine. But the quality was not put into these recorders (even though the GV-D900's were good field decks), that was all saved at the time for the DSR 20, 30, 40, 50 series (Ah, both the DSR 50's i had were fantastic DVCAM field recorders but were more than twice the cost of a PD 170 at the time! But I digress.)

K.C. if you are talking about the difference with the professional line of decks when you ask about price then there is a world of difference, the tape transports and heads are more heavy duty (my GV-D900's had died after about 1500 hours vs my both of my DSR 50's which had over 10,000 hours on each of them are still going strong according to the guy that is still using them) The things that Ervin and Matt are saying are about the Professional line of decks and at that level I agree with them. At the level I think K.C. is looking at (since you mentioned that the miniDV decks start at $600) I would say that the big difference that the manufacturers are counting on at the consumer level is convenience but not durability.

Everything else is the same, except there is no lens or CCDs in the consumer deck so there you have it. This is all dependent on you only shooting in miniDV, if you are also shooting in HDV with the FX-1 then make sure that the camcorder or deck that you get can read the format that you are shooting in.

I didn't intend to muddle this up but I hope this has helped you K.C.
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