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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old December 21st, 2004, 05:30 PM   #1
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tapes and the pdx10

i have bought the sony pdx10 and i havent used any tapes in it as yet - never recorded -

what type of tape do u current owners of the pdx10 use ?

and is their really a big difference in using dvcam tape ?

the manual reccommends dvcam tape what are your thoughts and suggestions?
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Old December 21st, 2004, 05:58 PM   #2
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I use the regular Sony Premium tapes, in the blue package (at least it's blue here in the States...). They are just fine, no complaints at all, and the price is right. I buy them by the box at tapeandmedia.com, I find them to be very good vendors.

I may have gotten one of the Sony Premiums with the camera--I can't remember now.

I've never used one of the DVCAM tapes, and don't really plan on it. For my purposes it seems a waste of money, and for little (if any) gain. I don't think they actually give you a better image--just more redundancy as far as the information on the tape goes (as I understand it). And less run time...
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Old December 21st, 2004, 06:07 PM   #3
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I have only used the Sony Premium tapes in my PDX-10 as well. Sometimes I shoot in DVCAM mode using the same tape. Search for "DVCAM" and you'll find plenty of discussion on this topic, both here and in the PD-170 forum.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 08:28 PM   #4
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I have been using either the Sony DVCam tapes or the Sony Premium DV tapes. I would only add this, whatever you go with, stick with it. Switching tape type at every whim has brought down many a tape deck andf camera.

If you start with Sony, stay with it. Just make sure you pack plenty of spares if you have to go out of town. You can't find professional tapes at the corner drugstore.

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Old December 22nd, 2004, 08:34 PM   #5
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Actually the Sony Premiums are pretty widely available in these parts. The "big box" stores all seem to have them: WalMart, Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA.
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Old December 27th, 2004, 03:38 AM   #6
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I'm using both DVCAM tape and Sony premium tape.

More accurately:

I'm using "DVCAM master series" tapes for archival purposes because I believe (hope) that they will last longer with less unrecoverable errors. Sony, at least, says so. It might happen, though, that when enough time has passed for anybody to actually benefit from the better tape quality the whole DVCAM format might be obsolete... On the other hand, if HDTV and HDV formats last as long as the current SD PAL/NTSC then maybe these DVCAM tapes are usable after thirty or more years... Well, anyway I feel more secure and better while using this higher quality tape. It's like an insurance, I guess. Go to www.sonybiz.net and search for the DVCAM homepage. They have a "DVCAM tape brochure" (PDF) there.

The DVCAM tapes are better protected against rough handling and dust (while backpacking) but they will also take more space. Bigger cases are also easier to use.

I'm using premium DV tape when I run out of DVCAM tape and cannot find it.

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No matter what tape you choose, make sure to use DVCAM recording mode. It gives you better sound quality
bacause the tape runs faster (less recording time) and thus records sound more accurately.

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You might also consider using tapes with an IC chip. Those DV or DVCAM tapes with an IC chip cost more but the end search function works even after you have removed and reinserted the tape. I find the end search function quite important as it makes it trivial to continue shooting even after rewinding and checking the few last shots.

And, if you are like me and swap tapes, shooting project A now, project B next and then continuing on project A, then you will appreciate A LOT the IC chips that let you use the end search function...

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DV tape vs DVCAM tape shortly:

- Image quality: Initially the same
- Tape life: DVCAM (master series or better) lasts longer
- Protection: DVCAM case protects better
- Space: DV tape takes less space

DV vs DVCAM recoding:

- Image quality: identical
- Sound quality: DVCAM format gives better sound
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Old December 27th, 2004, 08:27 AM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ralf Strandell : No matter what tape you choose, make sure to use DVCAM recording mode. It gives you better sound quality
bacause the tape runs faster (less recording time) and thus records sound more accurately. -->>>

Ralf, that's the first time I've ever seen this and I would have to question it. The audio is recorded as digital, not analog where tape speed would matter. It's the same 1's and 0's that would be recorded in DV SP mode. DVCAM does record "locked audio" however. See Adam Wilt's discussion of this topic here. He also summarizes the differences between formats in a table here.
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Old December 29th, 2004, 04:01 PM   #8
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Presumambly the new tapes made of HDV must be better than previous Sony DV and DVCAM tapes, if their hype is to be accepted. They are MUCH more expensive though.
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Old December 30th, 2004, 09:51 PM   #9
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On the tape speed issue, even if you are recording in digital, faster tape speeds help as the 1s and 0s have more space between them at a higher tape speed. You might say they have better resolution but that might confuse people. the difference between a 1 and a 0 are more distinguishable at higher speed. Therefore, errors are less.

You can also think of it this way, if you say "hello" at a slow tape speed, you are cramming all the information of the sounds that make up "hello" in a small space (digital or analog, doesn't matter for this example) but if you have a tape speed that's say. 1/3 faster, you have more space for the information that makes up the sounds of the word "hello".

Digital can be helped with a faster tape speed as can analog. Especially when it comes to dropouts and error handeling.

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Old December 30th, 2004, 10:04 PM   #10
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Agreed, the DVCAM format should be more robust. From a practical standpoint I think it's an open question as to how much this matters in everyday use. Some very nice camcorders only work with DV SP (DVX-100a, XL-2, etc) and I don't read many complaints about dropout problems from their owners.

I was just taking issue with Ralf's statement "It gives you better sound quality
bacause the tape runs faster (less recording time) and thus records sound more accurately."
I don't think it records any more accurately, the same ones and zeros would be recorded with DV SP. It might increase the odds that you can play the tape back more accurately.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 01:48 PM   #11
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OK, sorry, I wasn't precise enough. I'm shooting a lot for "archival purposes": children and such. Those tapes might be of great value after twenty or thirty years and so I am (too much) worried about dropouts and such. Thus I just keep forgetting that digitally recorded sound is equally good no matter what the tape speed. When somebody (hopefully) finds a forgetten tape from their childhood sometime in 2030 then the sound-to-noise ratio starts to play a role in the analog to digital conversion. The magnetism on the tape is analog... Well, its on DVD though and maybe on a harddisk also so maybe there is no point in my concerns...
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