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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old October 22nd, 2003, 08:56 PM   #1
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Outdoor/fishing videographer advice needed!

Hi everyone,
I've been reading everyone's posts for a while now and I'm finally ready to take the plunge into the world of three-chips. Here's where I'm going with this...

I'm taking outdoor (mainly fishing video), so I'm largely at the mercy of mother nature as far as conditons go, so I'm trying to take into account the fact that I'll rarely have the ability to manipulate my environment.

I had originally had it narrowed down to the gl-2 and vx-2000, but the VX won out due to its lowlight and workhorse reputation (which im often in), and the long zoom is really not a priority for my situation.

So I was just about ready to purchase it, when I started reading about the newer DVC-80. I would also consider the vx-2100 when it comes out, but I'm looking to make the purchase before a shoot I'll be doing very soon, so that camera may be out of the running.

Does anyone who has experience shooting similar video have any opinions before I lay a couple grand down on a camera I'm hoping I'll get many years of use out of.

Are there any factors I'm overlooking?

I really appreciate any help.

j
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Old November 3rd, 2003, 09:21 PM   #2
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It's a tough decistion. I only know the DVC80 through it's specs (never used one). The specs look great. Reviews have also been good. If I were buying a new cam today, I would take a serious look at the 80. That's probably the cam I would get. But that's for the kind of shooting I do. One of the features I like about the DVC80 is the wide-angle lens. To me, that's the way it should be. I would think it might come in handy for landscape and up-close fishing stuff too. You can add a external WA but that's just one more item making the VX just that much more front-heavy. The VX2100 closes the gap on a lot of the other advantages of the 80. Is there any way you can compare these cams in person?

You might zip over to the Pana group (on this site) and ask questions there, if you haven't already. I understand that the DVC80 does NOT have AGC (automatic Gain Control - audio), but that might not be a factor for you. On the other hand, it might ...if you want to use automatic features. I have also heard reports that battery life on the DVC80 isn't that hot (according to users). You should check this out to see how valid the report is and if it is a factor for you. I can say from experience, the VX2000 with the 960 battery will last a whole day of shooting easily.

The DVC80 also has a better LCD, Viewfinder, Exposure control, Wider angle lens, XLR audio than the VX2000. Like I said, the VX2100 closes the gap on a lot of these features. So, if you can't wait, the 80 might be your better bet. But get the full scoup on the cam's weaknesses on the Pana DVC80/DVX100 N/G. I do like the feel of the VX2000. It's a solid cam.
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Old November 4th, 2003, 08:09 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mark Goodsell : the VX2000 with the 960 battery will last a whole day of shooting easily. -->>>

That's a very good point that a lot of people miss WRT the VX-2000 and PD-150. The NPF-960 batteries are amazing. I have run for 6 hours with the LCD screen on the whole time and the battery still claimed to have several hours left on it. In fact, I've never run one all the way down. When I got my VX-2000 I picked up 2 NPF-960's but Ihave never needed more than one on a shoot. I don't think any of the other prosumer cameras have this sort of battery life.

Also, the larger battery will help balance out a wide angle adaptor. I think Mark hit most of the weaknesses of the VX-2000 as well. The LCD screen is pretty small and dim. The color viewfinder is horrible. Audio isn't so great, even with an XLR adaptor, but it's probably fine for most uses.

Some of these weaknesses are addressed by the PD-150. Have you ruled it out due to price? Are you interested in 16:9 for your outdoor scenes? Neither of these cameras will do a very good job of that. You might also give a thought to the PDX-10 which has real 16:9, records DVCAM, has a nice BW viewfinder, better LCD screen, XLR inputs and cleaner audio. Should be about the same price. Drawbacks are worse performance in very low light situations, smaller CCD's. One nice thing for outdoor use is the size, considerably smaller than the VX-2000, only weighs 2 lbs. If you remove the XLR block and mike it's really compact, and still records audio through builtin mikes. WA adaptor lenses and filters are much cheaper with its 37mm lens.

Just thought I'd mention another option that you might not have considered. No experience with the DVC80 but I read good things about it. I have had a VX-2000 for several years and it's a great camera, but I have used it very little since I got my PDX-10.
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Old November 4th, 2003, 10:32 AM   #4
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There has been a lot of discussion about the PDX-10's propensity to streak in high-contrast situations. That could be a killer in a water environment.
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Old November 4th, 2003, 07:15 PM   #5
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Thanks a million for the replies guys. I actually ended up going with the DVX-100 after deciding that I could afford to shell out a few more bucks and handling it a local retailer. Just got back from a trip to NC and havent begun to delve the surface of the camera, but took some great shots in 24p that are blowing me away.

Thanks again...
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Old November 5th, 2003, 05:15 PM   #6
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water shots on dvx100

Jay: I think you made a good choice with the dvx100 from what ive heard it is a good camera. however i have a question, (i know you said you have only scratched the surface on getting to know the camera but maybe you can help). How did your shots come out when you shoot in 24p mode, especially water shots and rapidly moving water/ fish/ action etc... I shoot for a lot of surf and extreme sports videos so im curious to know how the dvx100 handles these situations especially in 24p???

Ive currently got a vx2000 and its good for this kind of shooting however it sometimes gives the footage that "live" video feel which im working on in post to give a nicer feel (yes yes, more like film). Ive also been boosting the shutter speed up to around 250 on bright sunny days which works well for a different effect but im still interested in how the pana's 24p mode would turn out in these same situations. Does anyone shoot the same kind of thing and/ or does anyone know how the images look in 24p mode? The only downside is the small 10x lens
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Old November 5th, 2003, 05:26 PM   #7
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Tim,

I know exactly what you mean by the "live" feel and I think this cam has exactly what you're looking for. I interlaced both 60i footage and 24p to get an idea of how much differently they shot and the differrence was tremendous. While the 60i takes gorgeous shots (much better than what i was used to), the feel of the 24p just takes the cake.

It handled well in both bright conditions and overcast ( although the contrast on the sunny days was better) and well on moving/action shots. The downfall was the manual focus, which meant my hand always had to be on the ring to make sure I got the right shot.

I don't think you'll be dissapointed at all with this camera.
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Old November 6th, 2003, 03:59 PM   #8
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Hmmmmm... definately food for thought. Is there any way you could post some outdoor or high contrast grabs (i know, hassle hassle im sorry :D) to have a look at? Either on the thread or through email? frame_25@hotmail.com Im swaying towards trading in my VX for this camera the more i hear about it....

Cheers. Tim
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Old November 7th, 2003, 07:26 PM   #9
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Last summer, I shot a cable show for Adventures in Fishing off the coast of Mystic, Ct. using the VX2000. I decided to use this camera instead of my JVC GY DV500 at that time because of the smallness, stabilization and the lasting battery power.

To say the least, I was able to get low shots of the net, high shots from the bridge and most of all I was able to keep my shots steady when the boat was rocking or hit a wake. The large camera was difficult to manuever.

The clients raved about the DVD quality of the finished project.
I was astounded by the quality as well. The biggest issue was battery power which is a non-issue with the 960 batteries.

Lastly, I have used the Panny DVX100. Battery power is a MAIN issue. Further, I refuse to wear the Panasonic external battery packs on my belt. Also, I prefer the look of the SONY. However, this is my opinion.
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Old November 7th, 2003, 11:28 PM   #10
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Excuse my nievity but im assuming that Panasonic hasnt produced any long life batteries for the DVX100 except for a belt pack???? Thats definately a big downside along with the small 10x zoom for what could be a really good camera.
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Old November 8th, 2003, 10:03 AM   #11
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Tim,
I'm working on getting those frame grabs for you, but they keep coming out sub-par.


I bought an additional 5400 mA battery along with the 2100 that came with it and I didnt have one problem with battery life. Its expected life is around six hours.

j
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Old November 9th, 2003, 07:38 PM   #12
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no probs Jay, cant wait to see them!
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