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Old April 18th, 2008, 02:21 AM   #1
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PD 170 Accessory Shoe Problem

I bought my PD 170 several years ago, and have loved using it, but the accessory shoe on top of the camera seems to have a very serious design flaw, and as a result I just paid $180 to repair a hard drive recorder that had slipped out of the accessory shoe during a shoot. The shoe on top of my 170 has three edges that are supposed to come in contact with whatever accessory that is mounted in it, but in my case, the back edge (the one that the arrow inside the accessory shoe is pointing to in the attached photo. It's also the edge that's furthest from the camera lens) is raised slightly higher (by a couple of millimeters or so) than the other 2 edges, so if I slide in an accessory all the way and tighten it, it's really only being secured by one edge (the highest one) of the shoe. As a result, any accessory will slip out very easily when the camera is tilted down, so it's a disaster waiting to happen. The way I've avoided this so far is by sliding the accessory (whether it be a hard drive recorder, microphone, or a wireless receiver) slightly forward so that it completely avoids contact with this higher edge in the back, and then tightening the accessory down to secure it to the 2 parallel edges only (but unfortunately, you've also now lost more contact with even these edges because the accessory has been moved forward). This is what I thought I had already done on the day my accident occurred but unfortunately the light in the room where I was shooting up was very dim so I must have slid the hard drive recorder in too far.

Anyway, I've never heard anyone else talk about this problem so I wonder if just my camera is defective or if all PD 170's are built this way. If the latter is true, what have others done to solve it? I'm actually thinking about filing down the higher edge so that it's even with the others, but the thought of doing this to a $2500+ camera makes me a little uneasy. BTW, the accessory shoes on my VX2100's have 3 equally high edges, so I've never had this problem with them.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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PD 170 Accessory Shoe Problem-pd-170-accessory-shoe.jpg  

Last edited by Gary Burlingame; April 18th, 2008 at 04:19 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 09:57 AM   #2
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Sony PD150 accessory shoe

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident - even more bad luck when you were aware of a potential issue but it still came and bit you despite your care!

Just looked at our PD150 and, interestingly, it's different to your picture. The back raised piece of the shoe (...the one the arrow is pointing to in your picture) is in fact LOWER by about 2, maybe 3mm than the sides - that's about 1/8th inch to most of us!

No idea why Sony changed this when they upgraded the PD150 to 170 - unless this is just manufacturing tolerances emerging and they should all be level? - which would make sense (to you more than anyone.)
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Old April 18th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #3
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when I first read this I thought maybe you just got a "monday or friday" camera ;-) but then iwent and looked at my 150 and 170 and I saw something I never noticed before. They ARE different. The 150 is like Andy's, the back is lower and the 170 is like yours. It's higher.
I have no idea why they would have done that-it makes no sense at all.
I keep a Litepanel micro on the 170 all the time and simply torque it down-it moves around a bit but has never fallen off thank goodness but now i will keep an eye on it-hate tolose a light because of a snafu on their part.

Don
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Old April 18th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for your responses and it appears that this is definitely a design flaw on all PD 170's. This problem could also cause serious injury and/or property damage. For example, if you were using a PD 170 in a balcony and had a heavy object (like a Firestore or a light) "secured" in the shoe, it could easily slip out and hit someone or something on the level below.

I've contacted Sony about this and will let you know how they respond.

Last edited by Gary Burlingame; April 18th, 2008 at 04:15 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 04:07 PM   #5
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I have two pd170's, they both have no third lip, only the raised plastic to stop something from being inserted too far.
I took a close up of mine to show that the raised area in no way was ever intended to help hold anything down. the really upsetting part is upon seeing how dirty my camera appears in the picture, now I have to clean it....
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PD 170 Accessory Shoe Problem-dsc02378.jpg  
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Old April 18th, 2008, 04:36 PM   #6
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Thanks, Allen. Yes, it's the raised plastic you're referring to that is actually causing this problem. I just tested 5 accessories (a Firestore, a Citidisk, a wireless receiver, an on camera light, and an NRG shoe tree that adds 3 more shoe mounts) with my PD 170 shoe mount and without exception, every one of them came in contact with only this higher edge when slid in all the way, and were thus not adequately secured. Sony could have easily prevented this problem by simply making the raised plastic the same heighth as the other 2 edges in the shoe--I see no reason why it needed to be higher. Like you've said, its main purpose was to act as a "stopper," but Sony has designed it in such a way that it can cause very serious problems.

Last edited by Gary Burlingame; April 18th, 2008 at 10:04 PM.
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Old April 18th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #7
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I'm not sure if this solution would work in this case, but I always add a locking screw to the foot that fits into a shoe. I use a drill and a thread tap, and get a short thumbscrew to go into the middle of the foot and tighten down against the bottom of the shoe. You also need to make sure that the edges of the shoe come over far enough to cover the sides of the foot. If you have an older type shoe, with exposed contact points, a thin layer of tough plastic needs to be fitted over them, to keep the screw from damaging them. On my HC9 and similar camcorders, a spring-loaded slide keeps the contacts protected, when using a non-hotshoe accessory. I've machined a narrower foot for its accessories, that fits into the small-size shoe it has. This foot has to have matching notches in its sides, to slip into the shoe. There are a few commercial hotshoe adaptors that accomplish the same thing. If you look closely at the large size of this picture, you can see the thumbscrew in the locking foot.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3064/...36a510d6_o.jpg
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Old April 18th, 2008, 09:58 PM   #8
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Thanks, Steve, but I'd rather avoid having to drill holes in all of my shoe-mounted accessories in order to do this. It also looks like you need adequate clearance for the thumbscrew, which some of my accessories just don't have. What I'll probably end up doing is filing down the higher edge in the accessory shoe so that it's even with the other 2. I think that would be the simplest, easiest solution since Sony probably won't be issuing a recall on a model this old.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 03:12 PM   #9
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Warning to all PD 170 owners

I heard back from Sony on this and their engineers have concluded that the design of the accessory shoe on the PD 170 is NOT defective, even though one of the edges is indeed higher as I described. They didn't give any evidence to support their claim other than to say that their testing didn't reveal any problem. They could not explain why one edge was designed higher than the others--that's just the way it is. So to all PD 170 owners, despite what Sony "concluded," I would strongly recommend filing down this higher edge of the accessory shoe so you don't risk having something slip out and cause serious damage and/or injury. I also think Sony is leaving itself vulnerable to a future personal injury/property lawsuit should such an event occur (and this camera is still being manufactured so the likelihood of this happening is increasing). I hope such an event never happens, but if it does, at least Sony won't be able to deny that they weren't warned about this problem.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 07:07 PM   #10
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Update

I just finished filing down the higher edge on my PD 170 accessory shoe (see attached image). It took me about 20 minutes. All 3 surfaces of the shoe are flush now (as they should have been when the camera shipped from Sony) and all of my accessories tighten securely without risk of slipping out. Before I began filing, I thoroughly covered any sensitive areas with tape (like the record and zoom controls on the handle) to prevent metal filings from getting inside the camera. I then used a dab of flat black touch up paint to cover the shoe area that had been filed down.

I hope all PD 170 owners who use their accessory shoe (especially if it's being used to hold a heavier object like a light or a hard drive recorder) will modify their cameras in a similar fashion to prevent serious damage and/or injury.
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PD 170 Accessory Shoe Problem-pd-170-accessory-shoe-modif.jpg  
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