VX2100 vs. PD150/PD170 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 December 13th, 2003, 02:52 PM   #1
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VX2100 vs. PD150/PD170

VX2100 is now selling at a pretty low street price here which I start to seriously look into buying one (which I originally waiting for DVX100A to come, which is at least USD1000-USD1500 more than VX2100 I guess).

I never use a VX2000 before, but used PD150 before. I want to know what's the differences between them (many said they are almost the same thing!) ? I know about VX2000 lacking of DVCAM and XLR. Mainly,
1. Picture quality
2. built-in audio (phantom?)
3. is it really hard to find a good mic if not XLR? Will the sound quality decrease if use a XLR adaptor on VX2100?
4. Any other "important" differences?

btw, my main interest is in narrative filmmaking and also weddings.

Thanks!
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Old December 13th, 2003, 04:53 PM   #2
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The 2000 is a good camera if a bit lacking on the audio side if you don't operate that area properly.

The 2000 does not provide phantom power.

Most pro microphones available come with XLR connectors. Those that come with 1/8" plugs are sometimes OK but don't stand up to serious use. Not to say you cannot get acceptable sound from them. But they tend not to handle extreme sound pressures well and are normally of fairly flimsy construction.

The picture quality of the 2000 is superb. Just like the PD150.

Forget DVCam. You won't need that unless a customer demands it.

I use 2 PD150's and a DSR-300. If I were choosing between the 150 and the 2000, it would be the 150 every time. If it were between the 2000 and almost any other camera, it would be the 2000.

Some of that is personal preference, a lot of it is having to shoot movie scenes quickly in inappropriate and bad locations while delivering a video quality that the talent can use for their demo reels.

This class of Sony cameras does that very well. Even when the light is so low that one cannot read. Which means that we can light a 'set' with a single bounce light or even a battery-powered light and still get OK video.

I don't have time to work with an XLR adapter . . . I did that with a VX-1000 before I and then the school bought PD150's. Won't go back. Nope Nope Nope.

The ability to adjust both audio channel levels independently is a necessity as far as I am concerned. As is the phantom power and the ability to switch channel 1 input connector to both audio channels.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 05:35 AM   #3
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Thanks Mike for your input. I think the major concern is on audio in VX2000/VX2100. I'll hold my horses for a while to see how's the street price of PD170 as well as Pana's DVC-80 (hope not wrong! I mean the one lacking of cine-gamma and progressive of DVX100) -- I haven't seen any of these cameras selling here yet.
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Old December 15th, 2003, 11:17 AM   #4
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I am in the same position as you are in looking for a new camera. But to replace my GL1. I'd recommend doing a search of the panasonic, canon and sony forums for tape and head alignment issues. I was shocked to see how many problems GL2s, dvc 80s and dvx100's are having compared to the vx2000 and PD150. I've seen several posters say how great these cams are then several posts later lamment about having reoccurring tape/head problems. Personally, my GL1 has been in the shop two times already with less than 50 hours on it for head/tape alignment issues even though I have treated it with extreme care, always used top of the line and same brand tapes, and cleaned the heads as warranted. It really makes me wish cam/hard drive storage was an economical alternative at this point.

These issues will heavily influence what cam I choose to purchase even though the sony cams don't have all the features that I am looking for. Bottom line.... I need something that works as promissed.

Regards,

Mark
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Old December 15th, 2003, 12:29 PM   #5
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It is important to understand the difference in service levels between the consumer and pro divisions at Sony.

While Sony does honor their warranties quite well, the level of service and hand-holding is very different.

Consumer service takes a while.

Pro service can start off with a 800 number call to a Sony support tech who can and will ring in Sony engineers and repair personnel if you have a question. If, like I did, you have a problem with a pro camera, they are much more responsive.

My PD150 had a problem that was caused by strong radio waves causing the OIS to slam around. Sent the camera back and they turned it around in just a few days. 10 months later, the idler bearing went bad during a shoot. I called the 800 number and complained about the second problem. Plus I complained about the OIS and radio waves (although we didn't know the cause at that time.

Sony had the camera picked up and replaced the transport while they tried to emulate the OIS problems. They could not so they just sent me a brand new PD150. It too has the OIS/radio wave problem but that's a shielding issue and cannot be solved except by turning the function off.

But Sony US turned handsprings to get the camera back up. I think the only way I could have had better service is if I had purchased the camera from Armato's instead of B&H.

In the meantime, I've earned a lot more than the cost of the camera in the 20 months I've owned one.

BTW, I rarely clean the heads. Probably not more than 3 times in the lifetime of the camera. I've probably not cleaned the heads on my DSR-300 or DSR-20 more than 2 times and the deck has about 1000 head hours, the camera about 700. We do the same thing at the local college and have VX-1000's that are 8 years old and have never had a head clog. Of course we only use Sony tape in Sony machines.
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Old December 16th, 2003, 03:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for bringing up the head alignment concerns. I'll check more into it. I've experience in using a JVC camera that can only work with JVC tape! Maybe we all should use the same brand of tape on camera!

I agree with Mike, head-cleaning is not a good practise unless it's necessary (ie: video signal was badly recorded).
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