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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 19th, 2008, 01:24 PM   #1
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tape brands?

Is it true that you should only use one type of tape stock, or you can mess up your camera? For example, if you used Fuji, Panasonic and sony tapes.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #2
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Tape rules:

Don't mix tape brands. Sony uses a different lubricant than others and switching could gum up your heads. If you switch brands, run a cleaning tape for 10 seconds and then pick one brand and stick to it.

Don't waste your money on HDV tapes. There is no difference in picture quality between these and regular MiniDV tapes -- it's all digital. Sony Premiums are fine and can be had in quantity for a little over $2 each.

When I first started shooting DV I used the TDKs available at Costco for about $2.50 each. I used a couple of hundred without a dropout or any other problem. Later I switched to the Sony Premiums because even with shipping they were cheaper. Iím on my fourth case of 100 and have had maybe three dropouts total in two years.

Never re-use your tapes. They should go through your camera exactly twice: once when you shoot and once when you capture.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #3
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Whoa, there is no difference between HDV and Mini-DV tapes when you are shooting HDV?!
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Old May 19th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #4
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Nope, the only thing stored on the tapes are numbers that don't care if it's a branded free tape or a expensive hdv master tape.

What can be different is the build quality of the case, how long it will survive archived, how many times the can take reuse, and how much wear and tear it will put on the video heads
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Old May 20th, 2008, 04:05 AM   #5
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You have more of a chance of dropping a frame with a dv tape while shooting HDV and we all know what happens when you drop a frame in HD it looks much worse then dropping a frame in DV
The tension is differenet in HDV tapes

Rob
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Old May 20th, 2008, 01:14 PM   #6
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That's frequently claimed but so far no one has ever presented any statistical evidence, anywhere, that this is so.

Even if it is true you need to do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if overpaying for all your tapes is worth the reduced chance of a dropout, especially if such dropouts are easily cut around (as they are in all the shooting I do). If it's a once in a lifetime event and you want to maximize your chances of having every frame be perfect, then the more expensive tapes may be worth it for you.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 02:06 PM   #7
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All I have ever used on my Z1 are the Sony Premium tapes, and in 3 years I have only noticed about 3 dropouts. And two of them were OK after I recaptured the clip.

Of course it isn't a bad idea to use the best tape for critical stuff, but I'm not inclined to spend much money fixing something which ain't broke myself :-)
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Old May 20th, 2008, 04:34 PM   #8
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I have hired the Z1, on and off, from two different Hire Companies in London, over the past few years.
I used to ask.."What tapes do you recommend?"
Reply is always.."We never know what tapes our Hirers put in our cameras, its not an issue for us".
I've had Japanese clients arrive with their own stock of Sony, Panasonic, Fuji?? tapes.
The Hire Companies have never been concerned.
( I have to say though, now I've purchased my own Z1, I'm sticking with Sony Premium)
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Old May 24th, 2008, 11:50 PM   #9
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I was surprised to see the "lubricant" discussion come up again. I haven't visited this board for some time, but to my knowledge the lubricant issue was resolved years ago.

As for re-use of a tape: Back when I was first getting started, I used Studio7 and edited proxies. Studio7 then would build the final DV master by shuttling the tape back and forth, seeking out individual clips. Some of my tapes were shuttled back and forth hundreds of times, with nary an issue. So I don't think it's at all necessary to just use a tape once.

Finally, supposedly an "HDV" tape is preselected to either: (a) use an improved formulation to deliver a stronger signal, and/or (b) demonstrate a lowered dropout rate. In the manufacturing process, a wide spool of tape is slit into the final widths; some finished tapes are measurably "better" than others. Just as with CD blanks or resistors, the better ones can command a higher price, so they are labeled accordingly. The rest are sold at a lower price. Those units not making the cut are scrapped. So, the implication is that in a situation where ANY dropout is catastrophic, you go with a premium item.
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Old May 25th, 2008, 07:03 AM   #10
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I use Sony Premium in my FX1 since I got it when they came out over three years ago with no dropouts in either DV or HDV. I stick to Sony because i have had the lockup of deck using a Panasonic tape in my deck so will not chance again. It is strange that the only tapes I have had any problems with are the expensive ones. I have been going back to my old Hi8 tapes and transfering to DVD or to DV tape and the expensive Pro Sony Hi8 tapes I bought at one time are the only ones that have given be problems. One so bad with dropouts it is not usable. The cheap supermarket tapes I used for family stuff in the early 80' are just fine!!!!! Learned my lesson don't buy expensive tape anymore. Use Sony Premium for everything.

Ron Evans
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