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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old November 11th, 2006, 08:39 AM   #1
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PD100A v. HC90

I have a single chip Sony HC90 which has a 1\3 chip and an RGP filter. I am happy with the picture quality although the low light quality could be better (I also have a VX2000).

I am wondering if anyone has any experience in comparing the picture quality of an HC90 to a PD100A/TRV900. The latter has far more manual control including the ability to add a mic. The lux rating for the PD100A is four while the rating for the HC90 is five. I wouldn't mind picking up a PD100A if the PQ is as good or better than the HC90 in low light.

Any thoughts?

Thanks

Curt
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Old November 11th, 2006, 09:54 AM   #2
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The PD-100A certainly has (had?) a loyal following - I was torn between it and the VX-2000 five years ago (I got the VX-2000 however). I gather it might be 1 or 1.5 stops slower than the VX-2000. I also have a PDX-10 which was the successor to the PD-100A. It was a completely new design, using even smaller chips so the low light capabilities were worse, about 2.5 stops slower than the VX-2000. But it had a cleaner gain boost, so that narrowed the gap a bit.

Do you need to shoot 16:9? I don't think the PD-100a will do a very good job of that (should be comparable to your VX-2000). The big upgrade with the PDX-10 was a high quality 16:9 mode. I could be mistaken about this, but I thought I read that the PD-100a could only shoot in DVCAM mode, and not DV SP.

Have you seen John Beale's website? It's probably the best resource for info on the TRV-900: http://www.bealecorner.com/trv900/
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Old November 11th, 2006, 01:31 PM   #3
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I would expect that the PD100A would have the better PQ, oweing to its 3 chip design, so colors should be much nicer.

But the PD100 shoots only in DVCAM mode, so a 60 minute tape is only going to run 40 minutes or so. The PD100A also shipped with XLR input, a shotgun, and best of all, a really nice wide angle. It also sports a very nice 31/2" LCD.

If you shoot any industrial work, it really is an ideal choice, due to its size, performance and rugged design. Its only possible drawback is in not having a 16:9 mode.

Personally, I'd grab a clean, 2nd hand PD100A. It's also built far better with an all-metal casing. I used one at work last week, and enjoyed using it again. It is slightly heavier, but who cares...I started checking on EBAy to see what they are going for.
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Old November 11th, 2006, 01:49 PM   #4
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thanks for these responses. I was surprised to learn that the PD100a only shoots in DVCAM mode. Is that the case respecting the PD150? That could be a bit of a problem. 16:9 isn't a big issue for me but what you have said confirms what I have read.

Are we certain that it only shoots in DVCAM mode?
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Old November 11th, 2006, 02:51 PM   #5
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Just about every Sony camcorder can play back DVCAM tapes, even if they can't record in that format. So you should be able to play PD-100a tapes in your HC90. The PD-150, PD-170, PDX-10, HVR-A1, HVR-Z1 and HVR-V1 all offer the choice of either DV SP or DVCAM recording. Evidently the PD-100 and PD-100a are unique in that they don't offer DV SP.
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Old November 12th, 2006, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Wolla
I would expect that the PD100A would have the better PQ, oweing to its 3 chip design, so colors should be much nicer.

But the PD100 shoots only in DVCAM mode, so a 60 minute tape is only going to run 40 minutes or so. The PD100A also shipped with XLR input, a shotgun, and best of all, a really nice wide angle. It also sports a very nice 31/2" LCD.

If you shoot any industrial work, it really is an ideal choice, due to its size, performance and rugged design. Its only possible drawback is in not having a 16:9 mode.

Personally, I'd grab a clean, 2nd hand PD100A. It's also built far better with an all-metal casing. I used one at work last week, and enjoyed using it again. It is slightly heavier, but who cares...I started checking on EBAy to see what they are going for.

I agree with its rugged capabilites, its built hard as a rock just like its successor. I happend to find a pd100a in my dads closet collecting dust. Used it, and was not to surprised with the quality of the picture, very grainy and washed out colors. Its sony's first entry line into dvcam camcorders, and has its share of flaws. The xlr input is worthless.

The Pd150 shoots in both minidv/dvcam, and has amazing low light capabilites, as well as great picture. The pd100a suffers with lack of lowlight, and the lamp doesn't help either. Go for a pd150 its much better,however, not sure how it compares to the hc90 but give it a try.
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Old November 12th, 2006, 06:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James Johanson
Go for a pd150 its much better,however, not sure how it compares to the hc90 but give it a try.
Since Curt says he already has a VX-2000, I'd think he would have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a PD-150...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curt Talbot
I have a single chip Sony HC90 which has a 1\3 chip and an RGP filter. I am happy with the picture quality although the low light quality could be better (I also have a VX2000).
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Old November 12th, 2006, 08:10 PM   #8
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Yes, I am familiar with the picture quality of the VX 2000/PD150. I am a bit surprised that the quality of the PD100A is viewed as grainy as everyone always raves about the quality of the TRV900 which I assume would be the same.

In any event, given the price that those cameras are selling for, I think I will likely consider an HC3. In SD mode I am hoping it will be a good match for the VX2000 and HC90 (it has the same lux rating as the HC90) although it clearly won't have the low light ability of the VX2000. I am not a professional, just an enthusiastic amateur, otherwise I would invest in another big camera (PD150).
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