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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.


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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:07 PM   #1
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Does vx2100 have the same lowlight quality of pd170?

Does vx2100 have the same lowlight quality of pd170?

Thinking of using vx2100 as a third cam into a wedding (and for taking shots for SDE)

Thanks!!!
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #2
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same glass, same circuits, same dsp. Same camera different wrapping.

Don
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:22 PM   #3
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Just one more question: Is vx2100 lighter than pd170?

Thanks for your reply above :)
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Old May 28th, 2008, 04:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fellipe de Paula View Post
Just one more question: Is vx2100 lighter than pd170?

Thanks for your reply above :)
The only thing that adds extra wheight is the XLR breakout box and the shotgun microphone but that difference you hardly notice.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 02:28 AM   #5
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I own both cameras, but because the PD 170 has a manual control for the gain (and the VX2100 does not), the PD 170 is a better camera in low light. Being able to increase the gain (but not too much or you'll see more grain in your shot) manually is a big advantage in low light situations. That being said, however, both cameras will match really well most of the time and you can always tweak the gain & saturation levels in post if they don't. I typically use 1 PD 170 & 2 2100s for the weddings I shoot and have never had a serious matching problem in the 3 years I've been using these cameras.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #6
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both cameras will match really well most of the time
Is there really a difference in the image between the two? beside the extra gain control I thought both camera's share exactly the same characteristics?
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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:56 AM   #7
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Let me say this about that. :-)

I have used a DSR250/150 combo-a DSR250/170 combo and a 150/170 combo and even though all those cams used exactly the same EVERYTHING internally and the same glass there was and is a slight difference between them. There will always be that on stand alone cameras. I say stand alone because they're not going thru a triax to a CCU to be controlled by the unit.

HOWEVER, the difference is so small that in some cases I don't even bother doing anything about it.

Go ahead with the 2100/170. Set them as close as possible to each other then go shoot video and make money ;-)

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Old May 29th, 2008, 02:11 PM   #8
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Noa:

If both camera's exposure controls (including the gain setting on the PD 170) are set on automatic, you shouldn't notice much difference in brightness levels between the 2 cameras. If, however, you activate the manual gain control on the PD 170, you can manually increase the brightness level for that camera higher than that for the 2100 (which doesn't have a manual gain control), and then you will definitely notice a difference in brightness levels between the 2 cameras.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Gary Burlingame View Post
Noa:
If, however, you activate the manual gain control on the PD 170, you can manually increase the brightness level for that camera higher than that for the 2100 (which doesn't have a manual gain control), and then you will definitely notice a difference in brightness levels between the 2 cameras.
Can you clarify that a bit? The VX cameras have the same ability to add gain, it is just implemented differently. In manual mode on the VX when you turn the exposure wheel the iris opens to its widest setting for whatever zoom level you're at and this is indicated in the viewfinder by "OPEN". If you continue turning the exposure wheel past this point it starts adding gain in 3dB increments. So in really dark conditions you can have the iris fully open and add the same amount of gain which you could add on a PD series camera.

Where they differ is that you can add gain to ANY iris setting on the PD series (+6dB gain at f4.0 for example), but that shouldn't really help you in a low light situation, does it?

The other slight difference between cameras is the shutter speed setting. On the PD you can set any shutter speed you want. On the VX you can also choose any desired shutter speed, but you need to set it BEFORE setting the iris. If you set the iris first (in manual mode) and then change shutter speeds, the iris opening will automatically change to compensate, then you can change to any desired iris opening.On the PD you can change shutter speeds without affecting the iris.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 10:18 PM   #10
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Good call, Boyd--my bad. I guess I hadn't used the VX2100 enough to know about accessing the gain manually in the method you described. So you're right--it should perform just as well in low light as the PD 170. Another difference between the two, however, is that the iris wheel on the PD 170 adjusts the brightness level in smaller increments than the VX 2100 (it actually has twice as many increments as the 2100), so when you are using the iris wheel, the changes in the brightness level will be much more subtle than with the 2100. But if you're going to be cutting away to another camera anyway, this probably won't affect you. It's the single camera shoots that will pose more of a challenge.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 04:09 AM   #11
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so when you are using the iris wheel, the changes in the brightness level will be much more subtle than with the 2100.
That's my main complaint with the 2100, eventhough it's easily adjusted you clearly can see when you do this and it doesn't allways look that nice, especially when you adjust it with the camera set on a fixed position.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 02:54 PM   #12
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The gain on the VX2100 is exactly like the gain on the PD170 - the only difference being that the VX has to be at max aperture before you can enter the gain-up mode. As this is how you'd run with the PD170 (unless you like adding grain or want to get away from the first two stops that show vignetting) the cameras are indeed identical ...

...except for one really important real-world difference. And this difference can indeed make movies look better from the PD170 (but not the PD150, note). It's to do with the exposure dial. On the PD170 you can turn this while filming and smoothly and unobtrusively alter the (locked) exposure. You can't do this on the VX2100 and the half stop bumps (even in the gain-up mode) are clearly visible on screen.

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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:00 AM   #13
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It seems to me that two or three years ago, it was observed that the VX2100 had a more effective noise-reduction system than the PD170 and because of that was able to produce usable and clean footage in very low light, that the PD170 couldn't equal. A couple of people with both models confirmed this. I've never used a PD170, so I can't say if that is true or not, but my VX2100 does wonders in light so dim, I have trouble seeing the subjects directly, without using the VF.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:16 AM   #14
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I'm pretty sure people are seeing poroduction line tolerances, nothing more. Why on earth would Sony nobble the pro version? It simply dosn't make commercial or business sense.
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Old June 24th, 2008, 05:38 AM   #15
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Are you sure they weren't comparing the VX-2100 to the PD-150? Sony evidently used a slightly different CCD block in the VX-2100/PD-170 as compared to the VX-2000/PD-150 and one of the improvements they touted at its introduction was a cleaner gain boost.
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