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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
...plus TRV900, PD100A and other Sony DV camcorders.


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Old October 9th, 2002, 12:56 PM   #1
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Bog of Indecision

As advancing hobbyist I am ready to move up from Sony TRV 9 to 3 CCD. Lacking experience I am relying on forums like this one and many articles to help select among Sony VX2000, TRV950, PDX10 and Canon GL2. Have seen so much input now I am stuck in Bog of Indecision. Recognizing choice ultimately is personal preferences, my main concern now is that I don't overlook some critical distinquishing feature among these cameras so would appreciate input in that area and comments on my feelings to date. My feelings to date:: Seems like Canon GL2 is strong on "photography" features (good lens, and manual adjustment options), has a 30 fps progressive scan, and I have not read anything really negative (low light not as good as VX2000, but seems well rated by most). I think I would like this camera. However, here is an example of a "critical problem" that I might have missed without research--- I have read a lot about problems connecting Canon camcorders to digital video editing Premiere software I use and in particular my Pinnacle DV 300 capture card so that could ruly out GL 2 for me. Sony VX2000 seems to be low light king and overall good camcorder in this price range due to larger CCD's than others. Negatives I have read are weight balance (hard to hold for long time) and some issues with audio (infamous hiss). Seems really nothing to recommend buying TRV 950 in comparison to GL 2 or VX2000 other than small size (I have no interest in wireless internet gimmick). PDX10 has been described in some forums as "professional TRV950." Looks like with XLR input audio would be superior to TRV 950 but video and low light same as TRV950 --same CCD's I think as TRV950-- and I don't know why I would care about DVCam tape option. Small size /weight of PDX10 is appealing to me, but it seems the XLR and mike hanging on top (is that only way to get audio input??) compromises that benefit. However, an example of "critical feature" I mentioned earlier is the "native 16X9 format for PDX10-- of which there seems to be some debate-- which is not available in other camcorders I am considering. I don't know if that is in fact a "critical issue" or something I would kick myself for not having in the near future, but seems to be distinquishing feature. Sorry for length of this post, but would really appreciate comments from experienced people in this forum, thank you. My video is mostly "family" shots indoors and outdoors, filming vintage sports car races and WWII aircraft events, and occasional wedding as favor to friends. Also, I have a 3 megapixel digital still camera for stills so don't need that feature in camcorder.
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Old October 10th, 2002, 07:35 AM   #2
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I am basically making a similar decision GL2 vs PD150 vs PDX10

I am making travel documentaries.
PD150 low light winner nice optics sound good.
GL2 nice optics sound good x20 zoom no manual zoom
PDX10 16:9 good, low profile (looks less profesional which is a good thing for the countries I am travelling in) but hand held it's not stable in my hand.
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Old October 10th, 2002, 08:25 AM   #3
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Dennis

There are other ways to get XLR audio into any of these cameras. You can use an XLR adapter that attaches to the bottom, between the camera and tripod. There are at least three different manufacturers for these adapters.

PDX10 and TRV950 have the exact same lens and CCD's -- no difference.

Since you have already used a Sony camera, I recommend sticking with Sony. Sounds like the TRV950 would be perfect for you.

Keep me posted about your vintage aircraft videography -- that interests me as well.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 08:58 AM   #4
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Chris,
I'm not sure if additional XLR adapters can feed phantom power to mic. And pdx10 gives separate volume control for both channels when needed. I understood that 950 can control only both channels simultaneously.
But XLR adaptor for pdx10 takes camera's center of weight higher. When camera is handheld, it's bad to operate. I wonder why Sony did'nt make adaptor with attachment to bottom.

Dennis,
with pdx10 you have all same audio input options as with 950, incl. built-in mic, plus XLR-s.

regards, Margus
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Old October 11th, 2002, 10:01 AM   #5
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I've just gone through a similar decision process. My regret is that I didn't get a TRV900 several years ago. However, after looking at what is out there, I wound up with a VX2000. The TRV950 simply wasn't up to the task -- it's low light performance was so dismal as to make it unacceptable for my uses (amateur travel videography -- like you, I consider myself an advanced amateur). The downside to the VX2000 is its size and weight -- this is not a pocket camera (I'm used to a TRV20 -- quite a difference). However, though the VX2000 is bigger and heavier than I want it to be, it's still manageable -- I can carry it without feeling like I'm on an endurance hike.

Now for the good news: the video image produced by the VX2000 is, simply, fantastic. I researched camcorders very thoroughly before deciding on the Vx2000, and it seems to be universally regarded as putting out an expcellent image. Color is accurate and saturated (and can be adjusted to user preferences), autofocus is fast and accurate (no hunting), optical steadyshot is as good as any I've seen, and the camera feels rugged. I'm delighted with my purchase (my wife less so ;) ), and I have no hesitaton recommending it.

I got mine at J and R via mailorder -- total cost, delievered, was a tad over $2,300.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 12:10 PM   #6
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Thanks to All

Paul, Chris, Margus and ThreeSixty-- appreciate comments--always helpful to compare realworld experience with literature search. Paul, just so I am forewarned, what didn't your wife like about VX2000--might expect the same reaction from my wife if I opt for VX2000.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 12:46 PM   #7
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Re: Thanks to All

<<<-- Originally posted by Dennis Hull : Paul, just so I am forewarned, what didn't your wife like about VX2000--might expect the same reaction from my wife if I opt for VX2000. -->>>\

Hah! Pretty much everything. My wife HATES tech toys. If I told her I was spending $2,000 on a jacket, she wouldn't blink an eye. A camera, on the other hand . . .

Specifically, my wife prefers small and cheap (or cheaper) for cameras. She's seen Sony's microDV mpeg camera and thinks that's the way to go (she knows nothing about image quality, etc.). She'd prefer that I'm more inconspicous when I tape, which means a less obvious camera (though she always enjoys the finished product).

So, in summary . . .

She didn't like:

The cost.
The size.
The fact that it's a camera and not clothing.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 01:36 PM   #8
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Yeah, mine did not like the price of my XL-1...

Yeah Paul, mine didn't like the price of the XL-1. Then I did discuss it with her, unlike the way she both a few thousand dollars worth of furniture!!!

Anyway, Dennis if there is any way you can try those cams before you buy (or buy and return) I would do so. Most of these 3-chippers are pretty darn good. If you are already a Sony man I agree with Chris and take a look at the 950. Still I would try a VX2000 if I could before I would commit.

One other thing that is helpful. Try to learn a little about shooting with these gems before you buy. Some people will critize a cam before they know how to use one. Some of critisms I have read have been nothing more than operator errors. If you learn just a little about them you will quickly determine which one is for you.
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Old October 11th, 2002, 05:02 PM   #9
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Hi there Chris I was under the impression that the PDX10 or well the PDX10P did have high res CCDs and what's the deal with the "real" 16:9
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Old October 11th, 2002, 05:19 PM   #10
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"Real 16x9

For what's its worth there is a site I ran across that has an explanation about 16X9 as done by PDX10-- don't know if it is right or not but the site is www.creativevideo.co.uk/ and from home page go to DV Camcorder tab on left of page, scroll down to PDX10 description and in that description is a link to "true 16X9."
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Old October 11th, 2002, 05:24 PM   #11
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PS Nathan and Paul

Thanks for advice on evaluating new piece of 3 CCD sculpture; positioning it as object d'art may help wife accept--- which one balances best on end??
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Old October 20th, 2002, 02:29 PM   #12
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The 950/pdx10's are actually nice-looking uncluttered designs, fwiw.

But to add to a comment in this thread about the "inconspicuous" aspect of smaller cameras, I'd say that's a quality that has real benefits, and not just to soothe easily-embarassed spouses. Many subjects will be more natural w/less intimidating-looking gear pointed at them, and as it was also pointed out, calling less attention to yourself filming can be key in some settings.

Those are the best arguments for the 950/pdx10 over the other 3chip cameras, which do have some advantages (primarily, more lens focal range and audio control on GL2, and the vx2000/pd150 having best low-light range).

But not only is the 950 more compact, but w/the larger 3.5" LCD, more potentially versatile in handling in a variety of ways, befitting it's stealthy profile.

If size is of little importance, and camera will always be viewed through the VF, then I would choose the VX2000 or GL2, in that order, instead.
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Old October 20th, 2002, 02:37 PM   #13
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The 950/pdx10's are actually nice-looking uncluttered designs, fwiw.

But to add to a comment in this thread about the "inconspicuous" aspect of smaller cameras, I'd say that's a quality that has real benefits, and not just to soothe easily-embarassed spouses. Many subjects will be more natural w/less intimidating-looking gear pointed at them, and as it was also pointed out, calling less attention to yourself filming can be key in some settings.

Those are the best arguments for the 950/pdx10 over the other 3chip cameras, which do have some advantages (primarily, more lens focal range and audio control on GL2, and the vx2000/pd150 having best low-light range).

But not only is the 950 more compact, but w/the larger 3.5" LCD, more potentially versatile in handling in a variety of ways, befitting it's stealthy profile.

If size is of little importance, and camera will always be viewed through the VF, then I would choose the VX2000 or GL2, in that order, instead.
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Old October 21st, 2002, 08:07 PM   #14
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Bog

Thank you all for helpful comments and psurfer1 for my general hobbyist needs I don't think I will go far wrong with any of these cameras tending generally to the order you mention; VX2000 primarily for larger CCD's and benefits provided (low light, less tendency to vertical smear, etc); GL2 for the thought given to "photographic" benefits and possibly for the 30 fps progressive scan vs 15 fps of Sony's; then the PDX10 for size and "true" 16X9 and better audio features vs TRV950 although as others have pointed out can always add XLR to TRV950.
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Old October 21st, 2002, 11:15 PM   #15
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A small note on capturing and the DV300. There isn't an issue with the GL2 and the DV300 it's an issue with any camera that has been released in the last 6 months. It's to do with the driver software not yet supporting the GL2 and possibly the TRV950 etc. The same happened when the XL1s was released and it took a coupke of months for Pinnacle to sort out support for the new camera.
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