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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 6th, 2004, 05:08 PM   #1
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A simple question about the TRV-950

I (my company) owns 2 TRV900 (the 1394 port has stopped working on both) - no problem. We also own 2 XL1s which we use for production. Soon we (really just me) will be traveling the country to interview a number of authors. It just so happens one of our assistant editors has a brand new TRV-950 for sale. She is asking $1500 for it - with batteries, manual, case, etc.

Here is the simple question - is there any worthwhile, definitive, unarguable, reason for purchasing a TRV-950 when we already have 2 older TRV-900s?

I have given it a quick look over and I'm impressed with how well it handles low lighting situations. I've read the specs but I rather hear from people who have real solid opinions.

Oh yes, I plan to shoot the interviews with the TRV rather than the XL-1 because portability is of primary importance (needs to fit with my carry-on luggage). The audio will most probably be a lav &/or stand mic (RF or hard wired) via a Beachtek XLR connector box.

Thank you in advance.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 06:29 PM   #2
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How many extras are included for the $1,500? You can buy a new 950 from B&H for $1580 and also get a $100 Marriott gift certificate through a Sony promotion.

>> is there any worthwhile, definitive, unarguable, reason for purchasing a TRV-950 when we already have 2 older TRV-900s?

I gather you don't care that the i.Link ports are dead? It depends, I'm guessing the answer would be "no" for you however. The TRV-950 and PDX-10 have higher resolution CCD's and can take better still photos. This also results in higher quality 16:9 (more so on the PDX-10 though). But the trade off is worse performance in low light (or so I've read from others who have used the 900; I have not).

There are several threads here comparing the TRV-900/PD-100 to the TRV-950/PDX-10, browse back a ways in the forum. Have you seen Phil Horvitz's comparison of these cameras on John Beale's website?

For a few hundred dollars more you could get a new PDX-10 and eliminate the need for a beachtek box, I think B&H is selling them for $1850. It also shoots DVCAM, has a BW viewfinder, native 16:9 and the black finish looks a bit more professional.
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Old June 6th, 2004, 09:15 PM   #3
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Thank you Boyd. Actually, the $1500 asking price is irrelevant. I see it as a reward to a young worker who has been putting in long hours for very little pay. The reason she is selling is that she wants to buy and editing system and the camera is of little help to her.

I'll check out the links you mention. I'm also intrigued by the PDX-10 - a camera I know nothing about. The inability of the XL1 to record DVCAM, to me, is one of its biggest drawbacks. We have been shooting with borrowed PD150s only for the ability to set and use real SMPTE time code. We bought the XL1s a couple of years ago and have always regretted the lack of true code and a built-in hires black and white monitor.

Oh, well, I guess I'll just give our over worked assistant editor a raise instead. ;-)

Thank you.
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Old June 8th, 2004, 10:47 AM   #4
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Boyd speaks a lot of sense (as always). I've used the TRV900 and the PDX10 and in some ways the 900 was the more controlable photographic tool, although it has an awful track record as regards the operation of the on-board stereo mics, which often fail.

The 900 is much better in the gloom - about 1 1/2 stops better, which is a lot. You get to see what aperture and gain up you're shooting at (and can believe the replay figures later) and you can select when to insert the in-built ND filter. It has less CCD smear, far worse stills to memory but a better wide-angle, uses 20% less power so batteries last much longer (and the NPFs are physically bigger, too). It doesn't have the fancy touch screen but has a nice 6 bladed diaophragm which looks a lot better when you're shooting right into the light. Beware - some 900s splashed the image with an awful green flare in these conditions.

"Here is the simple question - is there any worthwhile, definitive, unarguable, reason for purchasing a TRV-950 when we already have 2 older TRV-900s?"

The answer has to be no. The 900 cost a lot more than the 950 ever did, and I for one can see why.

tom.
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