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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 9th, 2004, 02:03 AM   #1
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camera shop on a budget

hey i'm new and i have a dilemma, this is my first post

ok, i have 6500 from my car, in CDN dollars. this means that my hopes and dreams of getting a < 3000 dollar USD package off ebay are ruined.

the trv 950 has always been one of my favorite cameras. all i want to kno are the honest pro's and con's of this camera, and where i should be going if i'm willing to spend about 3000 CDN on a camera.

use:
++indy shorts, music videos, commercials, documentary, wedding, skate, snow, corporate/web

what i want it to have for sure:
++manual everything (a draw back cuz the doesnt offer manual zoom, and i'm not sure about the shutter options either.
++a nice LCD, because i do a lot of hand held
++be very adaptable as i will be accesorizing this camera from lenses to jibs
++have XLR and XLR on camera harness/arm available to it in camera audio (to sync for a music video perhaps)

the chips in the ranges of 3000 are not to beefy, which sux cuz i shoot almost exclusively on flash mode w/ sony cam's

any help would be great, referals for sales, faq's from other places, anything... i need to get this camera ASAP. heh..

thanks for the time everyone, look forward to the feedback.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 03:08 AM   #2
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If the VX2100 isn't available to you, the 950 works too, although you will have to work harder for the 950, in some cases. It's a good cam for a number of things you've listed as wanting to use it for. Documentarys and weddings might be more of a challenge to accomplish, because of it's limitations in lower light levels. Everything else listed can and should be lit in a controlled fashion.

It sounds like you know and like the cam, and if you aren't able to afford anything of the steps above it (PDX10, VX2100, DVC30), and you need a cam "ASAP", the 950's your mate.

Other than it's low light limitations, the 950's other main con is the vertical smear that can occur in high contrast situations where an intense light source is in or above the frame. This unnatural band of light will shoot off the the source (sunset, candle, headlight), ruining the shot. Be careful of these kinds of light sources and you should be fine. This phenomenon is also especially provoked when using the faster shutterspeeds. Just be aware and careful, and most of these occurences can be avoided.

Good luck!

Shawn
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Old July 9th, 2004, 04:26 PM   #3
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thanks a lot for the reply shawn,

what's the minimum lux for the trv950? and how much would i be looking at for the other two camera's you mentioned.

the vertical light band your speaking of, are those the kinds they have at the omaha beach scene in saving private ryan? im thinking i kno what youre talking about but i want to make sure.

purchasing the 950 would mean that i could afford accesories like lenses and tripod and lights, so that's one reason the 950 is a good camera for me, also the spot focus and touch screen would make my work a lot easier, but obviously aren't mandatory..

any other input would still be appreciated.. thanks all.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 05:10 PM   #4
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Hi Reza,

Shawn's points are good (as always :-), however the 950 doesn't have the XLR's which were on your list. The PDX-10 is the big brother to the 950, pretty much the same as the PD-150 is to the VX-2000 and PD-170 is the VX-2100.

It does feature XLR's (which are removable, a plus in my opinion) and the same mike as the PD-170. It also has a more professional looking black finish, a high resolution black and white viewfinder and can record in DVCAM mode. But I think the biggest improvement over the TRV-950 is that it can shoot high quality 16:9 at pretty much the same resolution as 4:3. Another thing to consider is that the PDX-10 is part of Sony's Pro line and I've read that their service is much more responsive if you have a problem.

I don't know about CDN pricing, but in the US the PDX-10 is maybe $350 more than the TRV-950. If you want to add a short shotgun mike and XLR box to the 950 then you're going to spend around that much more anyway. I guess I just don't think the 950 represents as good a value as the PDX-10.

Also, note that in Asia Sony has released the HC-1000 as a replacement for the TRV-950 and is selling it for a somewhat lower price I think. This new camera hasn't yet been announced in North America, but we can probably assume it's coming. If you want a 950 you might try to wait a little while and perhaps there will be a price drop or rebate when the new model is announced. I know you said you needed it ASAP, but also suspect you won't be pleased if the price drops a few weeks after your purchase!

So if there's any way you can swing the few extra $$$, I think you'd be happier with the PDX-10 with its pro features. My only other thought would be a used VX-2000 which I'd think would cost something similar.

Oh - regarding the low light capabilities, I've never really understood those lux ratings myself. But since I also have a VX-2000 I have done comparison tests. The PDX-10 (and presumably the TRV-950 also) is about 2.5 f-stops less sensitive.

Let us know what you end up getting. BTW, you seem to have made two duplicate posts on this topic, so I deleted the thread that didn't have any responses.
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Old July 9th, 2004, 05:20 PM   #5
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I don't know how much the cameras are in CDN, but in USD,

PDX10 - $1850
VX2100 - $2400
DVC30 - with optional XLR block, $2300?

The PDX is identical to the 950 in video and low light performance, but comes with an XLR block for native XLR sound, has a 16:9 mode better than any of the other models in question, a b/w VF, and a DVCAM mode. The price difference bewteen these two cams here in the US is so slight right now that it's hard to justify the 950, imo. Don't know what it's like for you.

The Sony lux rating for both the 950 and the PDX10 is 7 (the VX2100 has a Sony lux rating of 1).

The Spot Focus function of the 950/PDX turned to be much less practical than the good ol' manual focus ring. No menus to deal with and so much less disturbance of camera. The 950/PDX unfortunately does not have a zoom ring. The VX2100 does. I shoot with both the PD170 and the PDX10, and have found, especially while handheld, that having independent rings for zoom and focus, right next to each other, is so very much faster to operate than a zoom rocker in the back and a focus ring in the front (950/PDX). On a tripod with a LANC based zoom control fastened to the tripod handle,, however, it's easier to deal with a rocker/ring combo.

Again, if you're serious about weddings, you will have a more flexible and sensitive instrument by going with something like the VX2100. Otherwise, many of the situations you've listed would allow you to enter them with a 950 and accessories.

One man's opinion, as always.

Shawn
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Old July 9th, 2004, 05:26 PM   #6
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Ya beat me to it, Boyd!

What he said, Reza.
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Old July 10th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #7
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hmm... ok well i may be up'ing my budget a tad since im going to be getting paid for work done w/ the camera, and in the same way maybe i can write it off.. heheh...

seriously tho, the warranties on these camera's are at most a year, and shipping and all will top up the price, most definatly.

i'm just hoping i have enough left for a decent computer to cut on.
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Old July 11th, 2004, 02:13 AM   #8
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Such very good replies in this thread. Nothing but good solid advice. I'd add that it's important that you get the right camera up front Reza, even if it means delaying the computer purchace. The thought that the PDX10 is much better value than the 950 is very true, and it's wide-screen mode makes the wide-wngle end much more useful. If you go with the 950 you'll immediately need to buy a Beachtek box + microphones + a wide converter, and you still don't have 16:9.

The closest upgrade is indeed the VX2100, but you'll not have XLR inputs, although reading your 'wants' list this would suit you a lot better...++indy shorts, music videos, commercials, documentary, wedding, skate, snow, corporate/web.

That little list cries out for a second hand PD150 in my view. It'll answer all the known problems the 950 experiences (smear, low light, wide-angle, zoom ring, batteries, manual readouts) and at the same time give you credability for those paid-for projects. I know it's out of your price range (is it? Work more overtime), but it'll actually save you money 6 months down the road when you come to sell the 950 when it's performance limitations have become all too apparent. And if the 950 has been replaced in the meantime, you'll kiss goodbye to a lot of hard earned CDN.

tom.
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Old July 12th, 2004, 02:45 PM   #9
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Reza, the 950 replacement has now appeared on Sony's website, although no pricing yet. For more info see this thread.
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Old July 29th, 2004, 04:25 AM   #10
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Hi Reza,

I am in Vancouver as well and also own a PDX10. You want one of these, trust me. It is so much better than the 950.
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Old July 29th, 2004, 07:27 AM   #11
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I agree Ronald. This might explain the very short life the TRV950's had (against its predecessor the 900). The TRV950 is the only mega-pixel camcorder in Sony's entire line-up that doesn't have a 16:9 use for the mega-pixel chip(s). I find this almost unbelievable seeing as it's the top end consumer three chipper. Its demise suggests the buying public thinks the way I do, too.

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Old July 31st, 2004, 11:19 AM   #12
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i recently checked out the pdx10 at provisions, and what a nice camera... it looks like a audio-hopped-up version of the TRV indeed... I am, however, leaning for the extra dough on the pd170 tho... it's all in due time tho. the ppl at provisions told me to keep my money, wait for a solid few reviews on the XL2 when it comes out, and to get that. hmm.. it'll be about 7000 tho, which is far past my price range...

the guy there said that if the XL2 is coming out, then he's sure that the next GL model should be at greatly similar performance with a lower price tag. I'm a Sony snob, but next to all the electronics on the XL2 and 1 are sony engineering, and the Lens on the PD170 is a canon.. heheh...

i'm in a bid dilemma still, I just want too many things. I want the camera w/ the most longevity, that is to say, i want it to cater to my wish list, noted above, with that price tag... I'm pretty sure it's going to be a fist fight between the 170 and the pdx10.

great advice from all of you so far tho, i appreciate it greatly.
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Old July 31st, 2004, 02:22 PM   #13
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A fist fight between the 170 and the pdx10, Reza? It's a no-contest knockout in the first 10 seconds. How come the PDX10 lasted 10 seconds? Well it's stills to memory stick are slightly better, it's cheaper, it's widescreen mode is much better at shooting test charts, it's side-screen is much nicer and it's a lot more compact.

But in all other respects it's an inferior movie-making tool - as you'd expect at the price. There's most definately a market for it, but the bigger chips and faster lenses of the PD see it off OK.

tom.
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