Update on TRV950 (950 should be listed under VX2k companion now, eh?...) at DVinfo.net

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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 26th, 2002, 02:05 AM   #1
psurfer1
 
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Update on TRV950 (950 should be listed under VX2k companion now, eh?...)

I had mentioned earlier that some local Sony repair cntr tech had claimed on the phone that he could fix it there. This sounded fishy, and bypassing them as entry point probably saved me a good month of downtime. I sought out the camcorder engineering dept at Sony, in case this turned out to be some serious early production problem. After checking out mine, the head support engineer relayed the message that no, this was the only camera they had seen or heard of w/this problem. He wasn't yet sure about what was causing it, either. I couldn't speak to him directly (told his English skills were limited, for one thing), but I have no reason to doubt the assertion. I asked a number of 950 owners to check their new cameras for this, and got back mostly replies of either no problem, or the surprise, I expect, of seeing smear for the first time after seeking out high-key, contrasty subjects that could induce it.

-----------------------
Good strategy that.

I'm glad to hear that the problem is not representative of the 950 camera class.

I had thought that the problem was probably normal for the camera after looking at the sample frames. Glad I was wrong.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 02:18 AM   #2
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Btw, before anybody starts screamin' and hollerin' about my above-included little 3-way "showdown"... That was a fairly brief and informal test, shooting the same subjects with all cameras on Auto. (And all 3 have fairly comparable range in custom presets available to them with which to alter their look.)
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Old August 26th, 2002, 10:54 AM   #3
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OOPS

OOPS,

I thought I was posting a reply using the quote button and, apparently clicked the EDIT button. Afterwards I discovered I had cut out a fair amount of your post. It was NOT for purposes of censoring your posting which I find very interesting.

Please repost the entire thread if you can.

I'll go off and write, "I shall not click the edit button on other's posts," a thousand times on my bedroom wall.
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Old August 26th, 2002, 02:22 PM   #4
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You are forgiven.

Whoah. That's not much left of the original lengthy post I wrote, up at the top of this thread. I did not write the comments (Mike's) that are seen below the dotted line, which read as if he viewed sample frames from My 950, which he did not. No one would have mistaken that first camera's defect as normal.

Sony apologized and quickly (<10day turnaround) sent me a replacement 950, that is far more controlled for smear, and has not exhibited any of the dramatic FX-like red smear curtain of the first. That one was a pretty early production example; these things happen. (See the GL2 threads for other new model teething troubles.)

I'm happy w/the performance of the replacement. Is it smear-free in all high-key settings w/strong contrast? -no, but it's level is tolerable. Not like that of a broadcast cam, or as I recall, my old VX1000, but this little Sony's picture is much sharper, arguably the best in miniDV at this time.

An informal test I made, running tape through the TRV950, GL2, and VX2000, showed all three at about the same level of picture quality, with the little added sharpness of the 950 noticeable in the fine detail of the facial CU; the GL2 giving a (maybe) bit more pleasing rendition of a somewhat contrasty wide shot. The VX2000 still easily holds it's own here though, and blows away the other 2 in really low light. Generally, I see the video quality of the three as running neck & neck, w/slight differences. Make your choice based on other criteria.

I was also curious to hear
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Old August 26th, 2002, 02:39 PM   #5
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...from other owners of these 3 cameras, descriptions of the situations that exceed their limits to handle extreme contrast, and produce smear. (If you haven't found them yet, you will.)

I'd like to stress not trying for a pump-up-your-purchase "Mine's the best" competition here. This board seems a little more level-headed than some, and an accurate comparing of notes could be useful. The 950 is not the greatest in this regard, but nothing's perfect...
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Old August 26th, 2002, 05:31 PM   #6
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How much of a weight difference between Vx2k and 950 with batteries loaded. In other words, how does it feel in your hand?

Thanks
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Old August 26th, 2002, 11:56 PM   #7
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There is a big weight difference between the 950 and the 2000. I found that I needed both hands to hold either camcorder stable so the weight increase of the 2000 is not as apparent as if you were to hold the camera with one hand only. If that is your intention, test out the 2000 vs. the 950 and see if you can use the one handed approach. I can't, so the issue is much less important to me. I also use the camcorder on a Sony tripod with built-in LANC controls. This is a really nice way to use either the 950 or the 2000 because you don't have to touch the camera itself to turn it on or off, to zoom, to record a photo or to start or stop recording. You can also use the tripod as a monopod if you get one of the smaller tripods. They fold together easily and you can carry the camcorder and tripod as one unit and stabilize it very well, without planting yourself in a fixed place. Some of the tripods have quick release plates and this is also a nice thing to have so you can quickly remove the camcorder from the tripod and hold it free handed. Give the tripods a try while you are testing out the weight issues. The 2 handed technique in conjunction with a light tripod make for a very nice combination.
Steve
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Old August 27th, 2002, 01:11 AM   #8
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My feelings about the TRV950 & Vertical Smear

Psurfer1 was kind enough to alert me to the problem of vertical smear with the TRV950 about 2 weeks ago (I think). I sort have lost track of the time frame involved, but when he brought the issue to my attention, I found that I had the vertical smear he was describing to a degree that was not acceptable to me. When I took my very first video, of an irreplaceable day in time (stupid, I know), I noted some streak on the viewing screen but didn't think much of them. When psurfer1 brought this issue up to me several weeks after I shot the video, I examined my tape in full, both on the camcorder viewing screen and on my TV and found that the 30 minutes of tape I had shot were filled with vertical bands, white or multicolored, which I later learned were the vertical smear problem. I hadn't even been aware of this "smear" as a potential problem, as I was not very camcorder savvy and no review, of the limited ones available at the time I purchased my 950, mentioned vertical smear. I have subsequently learned that this is a known characteristic off CCDs and some camcorders do a better job at minimizing the problem than others. Yesterday I tried a VX2000 and found that I had a hard time inducing any smear and when I did, it was short lived and didn't ruin the rest of the scene as the smear of the 950 had done. Granted, I tested the VX2000 for a short time and in very different circumstances from the tape I shot with my 950, but still, I could see that the VX2000 did a superior job at managing the smear compared to the 950. I have decided that I cannot live with the potential of the prominent smear seen with the 950 and feel that I shouldn't have to set up every shot I take to make sure smear won't occur (if that is even possible). The 3 experts who looked at some stills I took from my tape and sent to them, at all felt that the smear wasn't really that bad considering the difficult lighting conditions I was shooting in. I still found the smear to be excessive to me, as an amateur just trying to take good "home" video. So I sent my camcorder to Sony, as psurfer1 did. There the experts who decided his camcorder had a major problem different to the smear issue replaced his camcorder. As you have read above, he decided that he can live with the amount of smear he gets in the shots he takes and in his particular situation. On the other hand, the same Sony techs found that my camcorder met all the specs and that it had nothing wrong with it. In otherwords, the smear I found to be excessive, was not deemed to be so by the Sony experts. As the very generous (with their time) 3 guys who looked at my stills had already told me, my opinion that the smear I was having was excessive, was wrong. It was to be expected. I never dreamed that the type of "smear" I was getting could be considered normal, not excessive. To me, the tape I shot of that 1 day in time, was ruined by the smear. The conclusion to this saga is that everyone needs to be aware of the issue of vertical smear when using CCD technology. They also need to know that the amount of smear may vary from camcorder to camcorder and definitely will vary depending on the shooting situation. To me though, the 950 does not do a good enough job at minimizing the smear as I would like it to do. The higher end VX2000 seems to better meet my demands and does a much better job of controlling the vertical smear issue. I am willing to take the negatives of the VX2000 such as the weight, the "older" technology, and the lower quality Still Shots, to have less problem with vertical smear. So I will get rid of the TRV950 ASAP and switch to the VX2000. I will do this to satisfy my need to have less "worry" about the deficiencies of the TRV950. Especially with regard to this issue of dealing with difficult lighting situations and the resultant smear which is bound to occur. I don't want to have to set up my shots to avoid the situations that exacerbate the smear problem and thus, to me, the TRV950 doesn't fit the bill as the "high end" camcorder I can live with. Some will find it perfectly acceptable and some may not even realize there is this "problem" in certain situations. But for me, and others out there who want to be sure that the camcorder is minimizing the vertical smear phenomenon, the VX2000 is the camcorder to buy, not the TRV950.
Steve
(Sorry about the length of this post, but I thought the issue of vertical smear is important enough that a through report to bring it out into the open is necessary, so that people can make educated choices, when they purchase their "High end" camcorders.)
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Old August 27th, 2002, 09:56 AM   #9
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If you are not satisfied with your 950, then take the issue up with Sony management. All the way up to the President of North American operations if necessary.

Can I interest you in the concept of paragraphs in a long post?:-)))
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Old August 27th, 2002, 10:00 AM   #10
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Will do next time!
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Old August 30th, 2002, 06:24 PM   #11
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My final (yea, right) reply on this topic:

I have now had the chance to compare the TRV950 and the VX2000 side by side. I don't find the size and weight issue a big problem. The added features right on the VX2000 body like exposure control and ND filtration are quite nice to have.

BUT, the most important thing is the picture. RIGHT! Well there is no doubt in my mind that the VX2000 is far better in that area. When I went back with the VX2000 to reshoot the areas I had shot previously with the TRV950 and had excessive vertical smear (in my opinion at least), with the VX2000, I had NO SMEAR. It was unbelievable to see the difference in the picture and the way the VX2000 camcorder reacted to difficult lighting situations. The VX2000 won out in every instance over the TRV950. To me this was and is very important.

Maybe SOMEDAY Sony will make a small camcorder (like the TRV950) to function as well as the VX2000, but they haven't done it yet! The VX2000 is a quantum leap ahead of the TRV950 with respect to the amount of or LACK OF vertical smear, at least for me and the way I shoot video.

As an beginner, the VX2000 is way more advanced a camcorder than I need. I love the pictures though, so, in my book, it was worth what I paid for it and the anguish I went through to finally get it.

I must again say a word of GIGANTIC THANKS to psurfer1 for all that he has done. He know what I'm talking about, and I must also admit that Sony measured up and came through, when making the customer happy was at stake. Way to go Sony!

Thanks again to everyone else who reads this, who taught me so much in so short a time, about camcorders, CCDs, and video making. You know who you are! Much appreciation.

Steve
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Old August 31st, 2002, 09:14 PM   #12
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Thank you forrests. You've been very helpful. I live in place where I don't have luxury to try them out.
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