Saw, touched, and tested the new Sony PD-170 at DVinfo.net

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


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Old October 9th, 2003, 10:20 PM   #1
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Saw, touched, and tested the new Sony PD-170

I was at the Sony Fall Show in Montreal yesterday and today, hoping to see a glimpse of the new PD-170. Well there it was, a fully functional pre-production NTSC model.

The first thing I noticed was that Sony slightly changed the color. The front barrel is black (or rather dark coal). When I grabbed it, I immediately felt the added strength to the handle. It felt more solid then the PD-150.

The specs are not that different from what we have seen so far on the web: Bigger viewfinder, hybrid LCD, both VF and LCD on at the same time, improved sound (6dB), 1 Lux instead of 2, bundled 0.7 wide-angle with lens hood, dual speed zoom (switchable) and start/stop on handle, 24 step iris instead of 12, and taller handle. The rest is pretty much the same as the PD-150.

The low light capacity has been improved, not by the replacement of newer CCDs, but by optimizing signal processing. Just to confirm some points, the new PD-170 does NOT, and will NOT have the following: 24p, 30p, clearscan/syncroscan, scene file buttons, larger LCD, barrel markers, true 16x9 CCDs.

During my brief tests, the PD-170 performed as expected. I've long hesitated between the PD-150 and the Panasonic DVX-100. I've read as much as I could on both, read comparisons, heard testimonies; both cameras are very good, but one thing I know for sure is that I will never shoot 24p, or even 30p for that matter. As an event and corporate videographer, fluid motion it a must. I often find myself in hard shooting situations, and robustness is a must. The DVX100, although solid, is not as robust as the PD150/170. And when in doubt, I can always elect to record DVCAM as a security measure it the shoot is very important. We all know there are no second takes in event videography. All this to say that I pre-ordered my new PD-170 today. If all goes as planed, I should be playing with it in mid-November. Yep! That's right, you read well, mid-November.

Hope this sheds some light on the PD-170 arena.
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Old October 10th, 2003, 03:11 AM   #2
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Thanks for the report, Frederic. I am looking forward to this camera. How much did you pay (US$ equiv.), if you don't mind my asking?
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Old October 10th, 2003, 02:37 PM   #3
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Thanks for the report. However, the DVX100 felt very solid to me.


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Old October 12th, 2003, 12:38 PM   #4
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And for all this time....many people keep on saying that Sony PD-170 is just a rumor. *sigh*
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Old October 12th, 2003, 01:44 PM   #5
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Shawn: The PD-170 is supposed to be the same price as the PD-150, but with the wide-angle lens included. Because the exchange rate between US and CDN dollars vary wildly these days, I can't be sure of the exact price until the unit arrives in Montreal, but the expected price is $4600CDN, that would be approximately $3400US with the exchange rate. Mileage may vary, depending on where you buy it in the US. B&H will surely have killer prices as usual.

Joel: The availability of the VX2100, according to the Sony announcement on October 7, is expected to be available in December 2003.

Frank: I have tried the DVX100 a few times, it is far from a cheap camera, it is a worthy adversary to any camcorder in its price range. But turn the unit off, and lightly shake it a bit, and you'll here the optical stabilizer assembly moving. Although the fact that I made it move at power off did not alter the quality of the footage afterwards, the idea did not sit well in my mind. The construction, although in magnesium-alloy, felt slightly stronger on the PD170. But, and I mean but, this is in my own subjective opinion.

Lucas: Rumor? Yep! For a while, I thought that too, especially upon seeing the 17P PDF hoax.

Fred
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Old October 12th, 2003, 02:12 PM   #6
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Frederic,
Do you think it'll Canada before US, or simultaneously?
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Old October 12th, 2003, 03:06 PM   #7
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Fred. My MX300's optical stabilizer does this too.
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Old October 17th, 2003, 09:33 AM   #8
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Dave: My guess is that it will be available in the US first, and then a few days later in Canada. The US is Sony's HUB for North America, so to speak, so I would be truly surprised if it popped up in Canada first. :-)

Frank: So I take it its not un uncommon problem?

----

Back to the DVX100 and PD-150/170 battle!

I had the oppertunity to play again with the DVX100 this week, and the sleeping "confusion" monster woke up in me again. Man! I sure am tired of this internal debate. Found some more pros and cons between both of them... yet again! I really have to settle on one by the end of this month, otherwise I'll go insane. Besides, mid-november is coming up real soon!

My main concern right now?

- Synchroscan or Clearscan (same thing, different name), is the ability to match your shutter speed to a CRTs refresh rate. For corporte vids, it's a must.

- The LCD size of the Pana at 3.5" is a big plus for me (my eye sight isn't getting better). :-(

- Yet DVCAM recording is important for those extra precious shoots where probable droupouts are a big no-no!.

I really must think things thru. Any help is welcome. :-)

Fred
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Old October 17th, 2003, 12:37 PM   #9
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Do either of the cameras have clearscan capability?

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Old October 17th, 2003, 01:39 PM   #10
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DVX100 yes, PD150/170 no!

OK! I know... my choice is clear since I need synchroscan/clearscan. ;-)
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