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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.

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Old August 20th, 2010, 01:14 PM   #1
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Is tape dead

I have owned and used a sony V1 for over 3 years and thought about upgrading to a Z7, do you think tape is dead or is it worth waiting to see if sony will bring out a new tape camcorder?
I would like to stay with tape if possible.

Thanks for help.

Last edited by Richard Downes; August 20th, 2010 at 01:16 PM. Reason: missed out word
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Old August 20th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #2
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V1 to Z7 is what I did and the Z7 is a good camera if you want to stay compatible with the tape route.

There is also the ability to shoot tape and CF at the same time so you have back-up on the shelf.

Having said all that I got the S270 as well but now have gone totally tapeless after having never had to use the tapes over two years and I now shoot on panasonic P2 and canon HF11 and dump to hard drive as back-up.

I have a drawer full of HDV tapes that have never been used and got rid of my HDV deck as it collected dust.

At the end of the day it is about what you need but I now shoot full broadcast so the P2 system I find is best and the canon HF11 is there for holidays and behind the scene videos.

I transcode all tapeless media to pro res at various levels but find that my tapeless workflow works for me, if I need to do DV I just do a batch dump in MPEG streamclip and dump it to DVD for the client but as I am shooting in full HD 1920x1080i 25np at AVC intra 100 anything that goes down to DV etc is superb quality even if it is from the HF11 that does 1920x1080i at 24mbs but the pics from that look far better than the HDV from the Z7 or S270.

I doubt if sony will bring out another HDV / Dvcam tape based camera so if you want to stay that way the Z7 is a good camera as I have said and can be had at good prices these days.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #3
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I hope tape never dies. It is a great way to archive. I own the HVR-270 and will not part with it.

Why would I, when I have the "best of both worlds" in that I can run tape and record to a CF simultaneously.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 03:27 AM   #4
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I have the Z5 and film always on tape and card. It gives a very good feeling if you are filming, like me, in the arctica and antarctica to have the media on both.
Both recording systems can make errors but normally not on the same time, so it's pretty to have a spare!
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Old August 21st, 2010, 06:33 AM   #5
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While I'm not shooting to solid state (yet) IMO tape is a meduim that will be around for a very very long time. For example, Thursday I'm shooting a job for a client, a bridal shop. They want the RAW tape for their ad agency (they do in house editing). So solid state would do me no good. A lot of ad agency's want tape, most news stations still shoot to tape and won't be changing anytime soon.
Those are just a few instances of why IMO tape is going to be around for a long time yet.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 09:25 AM   #6
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While I've only had to go to the tape on a few occasions, I still record to both. There is nothing better than solid state for ingesting your footage but tape is great for archiving. How much is the cost of a tape to have piece of mind. As Lou mentioned, you have the best of both worlds, what's wrong with that. As I'm typing this, I am capturing from a tape because I accidentally erased one of my cards, that I thought I already brought onto my hard drive. Sh_t happens and you may as well have every opportunity to minimize your exposure to Mr. Murphy.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 10:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Richard Downes View Post
is it worth waiting to see if sony will bring out a new tape camcorder?
This won't happen Richard, it will not happen. If that answers your question, 'is tape dead' then so be it, but the fact that there will be no new camcorders made that take tape doesn't mean that tape's dead or that tape's no good or that flash memory card cameras are better.

The Z7 is a good buy at the moment as it was introduced as Sony's bridge, calming the tape lovers and dipping a toe into the card water. CF seems to have petered out though and SDHC is the clear winner - and Sony's NX5 points firmly the way ahead for any HDV user. OK, it takes Memorystick, but then corporate directives meant it had to; I doubt whether even 2% of owners record to MS though.

Tape is a wonderfully cheap, compact, reliable archive medium. I may well be shooting 1920 x 1080, but a timeline save in 1440 x 1080 means I can use up my boxes of MiniDV tapes bought for the moved-on Z1. Did you consider this Gary?

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Old August 21st, 2010, 10:09 AM   #8
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One of the big problems with tape has always been that you need some sort of machine to play them. With pro gear like Digibeta and HDCam these machines were incredibly expensive (like 35,000 for a player recorder). And this is still an issue and likely to become more of one once the big companies stop making the machines, and more importantly the parts to repair existing ones. Then you really will be stuck.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 11:40 AM   #9
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I think, on balance, that yes - as an acquisition format tape is dead. The reasons are mainly financial. Buy a decent camera now and you'll get 5 years of warranty because there's so few moving parts to wear out.
In my tape library, I've got VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS, 8mm, hi-8, DV (small and large), DVCAM, Beta, Beta-SP and somewhere in a box, even a few U-matics.

At the moment, I can play (within 5 minutes) DV, VHS, S-VHS - add 30 minutes gives me Beta in both versions. 8mm and hi-8 might be possible if I can find the power supplies and bits and pieces.

However, I can play all the video files I have edited on since Premiere V5.

I need to buy another proper HD camcorder - business is almost at the point where it can stand it. Despite quite a few very nice second hand, tape based ones being available, I'm not even considering them. The price of a simple service and alignment is expensive. A new set of heads more than the camera is worth.

With solid state, we just have data that might need transcoding at some point, but the actual carrier medium doesn't really matter. Tape, while proven, is just not good for lifespan. We put up with it, but now we don't have to.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 08:20 AM   #10
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I get back from a shoot, the tape goes on the shelf and I use the CF card in my workflow. After the job is complete, I save the project stuff and supporting files to a hard drive which gets backed up, and delete the m2t files. In the unlikely event I need them again, they are on the tape.
I have had to go to the tapes a couple of times successfully.
Before, I was saving all the m2t files on hard drives, resulting in endless GBs of files that were never used. Readily available, yes, but never used.
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Old August 25th, 2010, 01:25 PM   #11
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I bought my Z7 while working for a company that did HD 100% of the time. A few months later they laid everyone off. Since then I've used my Z7 a couple dozen shoots, 3 have been specifically in HDV, a few they didn't care & I shot in HD for future proofing, the rest of my Z7 gigs have been in DV.

I personally hate capturing tape & that was a feeling I got shortly after purchasing my Z7. But I love having the tape back up, sitting there quietly if I ever need it.

There is no best camera, just the best camera for you. What will make you the most money? Figure that out & then you'll know what to buy.

Tape isn't dead, just used less & less.
Nothing says you're a serious video maker like S-VHS
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