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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 August 31st, 2008, 10:12 AM   #1
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Best tape for Z1U for the money?

Hi,

I just bought a used Z1U as my first HDV camera, which is why I'm posting this in this forum rather than the tape forum. However, if the admins think it should be in the tape forum or another, please move it to the most helpful place.

I've been having a blast playing around with it. However, the guy I bought it from said he was running the Sony PHDVM-63DM tapes (they say "Digital Master" on the front of the oversized case) in it. I've been lurking around here (dvinfo.net) and on other forums to know that you shouldn't mix tapes (at least amongst brands, though even same brand mixing is debated by some).

Anyway, I'm going to be shooting mostly HDV (I'll down convert in post for DVD output until Blu-Ray is more prevalent). The vast majority (all?) of what I'm going to be shooting is family stuff. I'd like to have a tape that is reliable (long life and low dropouts), compatible with the Sony's that have been run in it until now, and a bit easier on the pocket book than the ~$20 tapes it was being fed by the previous owner.

Hey, if I should stick with the current Sony's I will, I just haven't budgeted for it and ~$200 for 10 is a bit painful, especially when I can get Sony "Premium" MiniDV tapes for ~$25 for 10.

I realize this question may be like asking which religion is best, but I could really use some insight on tapes right now. I'll spend the money, if I have to, but I don't want to spend money I don't need to. Thanks!

Best regards,

Scott
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:27 AM   #2
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Hey Scott,

The tape mixing debate is one that's discussed all the time. The evidence for or against it seems to be entirely anecdotal. My own experience is that with long use of a PD150, and a Z1, I have had no problems mixing tape brands. You'll get others telling you the opposite.

Anyway, the Digital Master tapes are way overkill for you. Buy the Sony Premiums. If you are worried about mixing brands, run a head cleaner tape before you change, then stick to the same one from then on.

Have fun with the Z1. It's a great camera.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:34 AM   #3
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Vito's absolutely right. The Sony Premiums (about $2 each) are all you need. I've now run about 300 through various cameras and have had a total of one dropout.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:36 AM   #4
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The SONY Premiums is all the time I used.
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Old August 31st, 2008, 10:49 AM   #5
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cheap sony tape is more than good enough.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 12:30 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the feedback!

What everyone has said is what I have been hoping for. I don't reuse my tapes and they would probably be run through the Z1U a total of two times (record and capture, possibly a third if I were to accidentally delete the capture file in a fit of stupidity). AND they are readily available just about anywhere, even Best Buy, etc.

Thanks again for your help!

Best regards,

Scott
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Old September 1st, 2008, 08:34 AM   #7
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I also use the Sony Premium tapes regularly. For one project I used Sony DVCAM tapes because the client requested it though.
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Old September 1st, 2008, 09:28 AM   #8
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On my VX2100, I mixed all different brands of tape and I never bothered to run a cleaning tape before I switched to another brand. I never had a problem. Of course drop outs on a VX2100 aren't nearly as disasterous as a drop out on HDV. On my V1, I have stayed with Panasonic AMQ's and I have never had any problems at all. While I have a friend who has a V1 and practically all he uses is the basic Sony Premium tapes. He has never had any issues at all, either. I think tape problems are sometimes just the luck of the draw. Common sense plays a big part in it also. Don't leave your tapes in the trunk of your car for a month in the summer time. Don't expose them to moisture, dirt, etc.

Another point to ponder about tape selection. If you are shooting for a client and you use cheap tapes and you have a drop out at a critical point, what are you going to say. "Gee, I have been using these tapes and I have never had a problem before." Or would you rather be able to say, "Unfortunately, tape drop outs do happen. I bought the best tape stock money can buy. I did my absolute best." Besides, if you have a real paying job, the client is paying for the tape stock anyway. So why scrimp on tapes? If you are just burning tape to learn the camera, then useing cheaper tapes is probably fine.
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