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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 08:31 AM   #1
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Tape types for DSR-PDX10?

I have a PDX10 on the way (Yipee!). It should be here this Friday if the Gods are smiling on me. I am looking for recommendations on the best MiniDV and DVCam tapes to use.

Normally, as a professional broadcaster with NBC for many long years, I would tell folks they can't go wrong using the tapes from the company that manufactured the gear. These days and with the whole "wet" vs "dry" MiniDV tape issues, I just don't know.

What say you all? What are you folks using that has proven trouble free? On the flip side, what has caused issues? How often is cleaning necessary, and by what methods, etc.

Thanks All,

Sean McHenry
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 08:15 PM   #2
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I say sticking with the manufacturer of both the cam and the tape is a fine idea.

Sony Premiums work great...

Go DVCAM if you're into it...

Congratulations on the new cam!
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Old March 23rd, 2004, 09:43 PM   #3
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Sean, I agree with your sentiment about sticking with the same brand tape as camera. Or at least it has served me well on both the VX-2000 and PDX-10. I've also been using the Sony Premium DVC tapes (in the blue wrappers). Have cleaned by VX-2000 once when it displayed a message to clean, have not yet cleaned my PDX-10 which is about a year old.

You might want to browse through the long black line forum for more extensive discussion of tape related issues.
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Old March 24th, 2004, 05:25 PM   #4
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Sony tape type

Interestingly enough, today while looking into the tape type issue deeper, I found a web site with a description of the various tape manufacturers and their tape lubricant types. Of the bunch, SOny was the only one listed as a "wet" tape.

Fuji is rumored to be making the Panasonic tapes, and I heard to stay away from TDK and Maxell. Take that as you wish. Just repeating what I heard.

Sean
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Old March 25th, 2004, 01:37 AM   #5
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I ask myself this question Sean. What tape manufacturer did the Sony R & D prototype testing engineers decide to use when they put literally thousands of tapes through the deck mechanisms prior to launch? Easy one to answer, yes?

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Old March 25th, 2004, 05:12 AM   #6
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Sean, stick with one good one brand and brand model of tape. That's it. Are you planning on shooting in DVCAM format? On paper, that mode gives you less drop-outs.
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...about sticking with the same brand tape as camera.
That's what I thought too when I bought my 1st JVC cam and so I only stuck with JVC miniDV tape. However, I had nothing but head clogging problems---some good footage ruined forever. When I switched to Fuji, I never since had a problem.
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Old April 25th, 2004, 08:37 PM   #7
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I'm quite new to this. Do people think that the Sony tapes with the memory chip are worthwhile or is that just a gimmick? Is this only useful if you remove the tape and want to carry on recording where you left off?
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Old April 26th, 2004, 01:24 AM   #8
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A bit of a gimmic, yes. Of course there's not the slightest difference in the recordings all things being equal, but invariably they're not all equal. The 'Excellence' chipped tapes are 4x the price of the bog-standard ones, so one suspects that they come from the center of the tape sheet, the width tolerances may well be tighter, the emulsion binder might be better in the long term and of course they can be on-screen labelled and you never lose timecode.

Is it worth the difference? A paying client may think so, and if you reuse your tapes many times you may think so. I don't think so.

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Old April 26th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #9
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> I found a web site with a description of the various tape
> manufacturers and their tape lubricant types. Of the bunch,
> Sony was the only one listed as a "wet" tape.

Hmm. Check the date of the web site. I have read that tape manufacterers finally agreed on using a single type of lubricant years ago, so this should be a non-issue by now unless you are using really old tape. What IS an issue is tape quality. For me Sony tape has always worked ok, I have only once experienced a drop, but with JVC tape the problem happened to me several times. I have not used Panasonic, Fuji or TDK tape enough to have a really meaningfull opinion, but when I have used them they have presented no problems.
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Old April 28th, 2004, 03:00 AM   #10
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Since I was a kid, using an old reel to reel for audio recording, I have used Maxell tape. I still have some of those old tapes and they sound new.

I used Maxell tape in the mid/late-80's when I had access to the Univ of Texas music library as new CD's rolled in of symphony music (I recorded them to Maxell tape at home on a Phillips cassette deck that I still have). The tapes I recorded back then still sound new.

I used Maxell tape with my aging (1997) Canon ES-970 8mm Camcorder ..... oldest going on 6 years old now...and recently archived them all to DVD.....they all looked like they were new.

I use Maxell tape with my new Sony TRV-950.....got the import version from Hong Kong.....where the specs can be found on their web site .... paid $2.8 per tape......

So far I have nothing but great video....not a single drop out.....etc. I bet in 20 years the tape will still be good but I will not be able to find anything to play it on.....

with Maxell tape that seems to be the real problem.....it outlasts the mechanisms upon which one can play the stuff.....
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Old April 28th, 2004, 07:28 AM   #11
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Why are TDK tapes bad? I just bought some!

Also, can I record DVCAM on regular miniDV tapes, or do I have to buy the Sony tapes?
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Old April 28th, 2004, 10:43 AM   #12
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> Also, can I record DVCAM on regular miniDV tapes, or do I
> have to buy the Sony tapes?

As far as I know Sony camcorders which support the MiniDV form factor and DVCAM recording will allow you to record DVCAM on any tape. Luckilly Sony has not 'locked' the format to their own tapes. This is good, since as far as I know there is really no difference between the 'standard' tapes you can buy at any store and the 'pro' tape they sell you for more money, except perhaps the storage box.

Also, it seems most camcorders that accept full-size DV cassetes will let you record standard DV mode on DVCAM tapes which can give you awesome recording lenghts.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 08:04 AM   #13
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<<<-- Originally posted by Pat Chaney : I'm quite new to this. Do people think that the Sony tapes with the memory chip are worthwhile or is that just a gimmick? Is this only useful if you remove the tape and want to carry on recording where you left off? -->>>

If you have multiple cronologically overlapping projects then you will need to change tapes sometimes and you will find the "end search" function very nice to have. Without the IC chips the "end search" does not work and you will waste time searching for the end manually and loose a couple of seconds from the end no matter how careful you try to be.

I don't use the IC chip for anything else, but that "end search" alone makes me smile every time. On a tight budget one would probably use the extra money for more tape, though.
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Old April 29th, 2004, 08:11 AM   #14
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I forgot to say, that usually I will record some video, view it afterwards and then record more the next day/week... This causes a need for the "end search".

If you just stop recording, remove the cassette and don't rewind, and then continue recording later then I don't know how useful the "end search" function relly is... Any idea?
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Old April 29th, 2004, 12:22 PM   #15
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> and loose a couple of seconds from the end
> no matter how careful you try to be

I always record a couple of extra seconds at the end of each shot because of this when using DV, it's just a natural practice for me now.
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