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


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Old January 14th, 2004, 12:03 PM   #1
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Buyer's Remorse?

Well I have one day to decide whether to keep my vx2100 or send it back. I originally purchased a DCR TRV70 at a local Circuit City and took it back due to the low light performance. I ordered the vx2100 from B&H and got it a few days ago. I was pleasantly suprised when I fired up the vx and saw the quality of video it produced. The 1 lux is simply amazing. It can see things that I cannot. Everything about the vx is great with one exception. The thing is huge. That maybe an exaggeration but it really is large and heavy. I primarily need it for stage/theatrical performances and vacation/family use. For stage/theatrical use the size is a non issue because it will be mounted on a tripod. My concern is with vacation/family use. The camera seems too large to comfortably tote around for casual use. The DCR TRV70 was perfect for that. I looked into the Sony 950 but am turned away by the vertical smear problem. The 70 had that problem also.

My question is, for those of you who have the vx2000/2100. How many use it for casual use and is the size a problem? If I could squeeze the guts of the 2100 into the body of the 70 that would be a perfect camera for me.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 12:25 PM   #2
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I have a PD150 which is the sames size as the vx2100. Yes these are big and heavy cameras. Great for money jobs, bad for vacations. I wasn't planning on it but I kept my original mini DV camera, a cheap and dirty tiny JVC unit for those fun projects.

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Old January 14th, 2004, 03:46 PM   #3
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I have the pdx10 and will never look back...for me it was choice of the 150 or the smaller footprint, perhaps you should look into that camera
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Old January 14th, 2004, 03:53 PM   #4
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check out a gl2 they are much smaller then the vx and i use it for skateboard/snowboard and family vacations. Its not to big and not to small
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Old January 14th, 2004, 04:04 PM   #5
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I have a VX2000, which I use for travel video. When I want to carry it around with me, I remove the hard-molded lens hood and replace it with a collapsible rubber lens shade screwed into a UV filter. This cuts both the size and weight a bit. I also replaced the Sony strap with a longer one which lets me carry it bandolier-style.

Though I would prefer a smaller form factor, I don't find the VX2000 too onerous. If the TRV950 had been a true upgrade of the original TRV900, I'd probably have gotten that for its smaller size and weight. However, the TRV950 has dreadful low-light performance and just a lot of stupid gimmicks (Bluetooth? Who needs Bluetooth on a video camera?). That left only one choice for high-quality video: the VX2000.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #6
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If you're not hung up on Sony and can handle a little less "performance" in low light, check out the XM/Gl2. I had this issue when I was looking for a cam. Should I get the VX2000, or should I get the GL2....Hmmm....Haaaaa...Eerrr. Then I went and tried them both at the store. After about 30 seconds of holding the VX2000 I though, 'Bugger that, I'm not hand holding that for any length of time' and I'm not a particularly small dude. 186cm, 87kg. It just felt like a brick compared to the Gl2 which was a little shorter if I recall and was way lighter and better balanced for me.

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Old January 14th, 2004, 05:40 PM   #7
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The 2100 is a jewel when taping stage plays. Most other cameras are not as good at this. I've done four complete plays and innumerable stage events. Some so dim it was hard to see but the cameras came through with no problems. In fact, the PD150's I use are better at low light than my DSR-300.

As we speak, I'm editing a locally produced performance of The Sunshine Boys with dim and bright lights across the stage. While the DSR-300 I also used has better image processing, it cannot match the 150 in delivering bright and low-noise video.

Sunday I'm taping a MLK awards ceremony and while I'll have the DSR-300 covering the entire stage, the PD150s will be head-hunting the MC, the featured speaker (Bubba Paris) and the folks receiving the Awards. I'd not trust too many cameras to do that and come away with outstanding footage.

The 2100 can do it all. Cameras not capable of very low light performance will not be able to shoot some plays. It also does one heck of a vacation video. Get a padded packpacking bag from an outfitters store. One that has a drawstring or a fold-over velcro flap. Many also come with an over-the-shoulder strap.

That said, as others have suggested, get a small pocket camera for your vacation and enjoy having a backup. Use it as your VCR in the edit suite instead of the 2100. My PC110 fits in my pocket and doubles as a still camera too.

The small camera can also double as a B-roll grabber in plays where the lighting is adequate.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 05:48 PM   #8
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I havew a trv 20 and a VX2000. The TRV 20 hasn't been off the shelf for almost a years and I do a fair bit of travel.
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Old January 14th, 2004, 11:44 PM   #9
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I have a PD150 and a TRV50. I almost never bring the TRV50 with me anymore. I even took the PD when I took the family sledding a couple of weeks ago. Yeah it is big but man I love the video I get from it.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 05:33 AM   #10
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I'd hate to see you give up the new cam because of this, and it sounds like a number of people can deal with the size when traveling.
Gosh, I would keep it, use your inky dink for now if you really think you cannot travel with the bigger gun, and get something better for traveling later on.

FWIW, though, the PDX10(trv950) shoots most stage scenarios very well.
I haven't dealt extrEmely dark scenes yet, but I bet Boyd has....
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Old January 15th, 2004, 06:16 AM   #11
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Jason, I prefer smaller cams, but if I had a VX2100, I would not return it. Shoot some weddings with it; make it pay for itself. I friend of mine takes his VX everywhere. He keeps it a small shoulder bag, along with filters, 2 adaptors, batteries and tape. You'd never know there was a VX in his bag, but when he pulls it out, it reminds me seeing a rabbit being pulled out of a hat. :-))
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Old January 15th, 2004, 07:39 AM   #12
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LOL !
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Old January 15th, 2004, 11:40 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for their encouragment. I looked back at my dad's firts camcorder. That thing recorded on regular VHS tapes. The vx looks microscopic compared to it. Considering all this thing can do and fit into something the size of the vx, it is truly amazing. Compared to some of the tiny camcorders of today, it does look large. Taking the lens hood off does help. I have decided to keep it and get a bag for it. I am going to do a search for one on the forum but if any of you have any quick suggestions of one that is easy to travel with I would appreciate it. The vertical smear and low light problem with the 950 has made me overlook the vx size. By the way, this forum has not only helped me decide on which camcorder to ge, it had inspired me to do more with it than stage plays and home video. How many of you have gotten bitten by the bug once you got your vx?
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Old January 15th, 2004, 12:29 PM   #14
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Jason, I'm glad to hear you're keeping the VX2000. I should have said in my post that I, too, have a TRV20 which is now used exclusively as a poor-man's miniDV deck, and for nothing else.

For a travel bag for the VX2000, I'd recommend the Lowepro Minitrekker backpack. This thing is great. It easily holds the VX2000, with or without wideangle lens adapter. It's got lots of compartments for other stuff, too, and even has a little pouch on the back so you can carry a full-size tripod if you need one. When I do vacation -- uh -- travel videography, it's one of my carryons (of course), and this is what I can get in it:

VX2000, Optex wideangle adapter, portable MD recorder and mike, shotgun mike, 10 miniDV tapes, rain cape (for the camera, not for me), monopod, four batteries, camera light, charger, filters and collapsing lens hood AND Canon 10D DSLR with two lenses, batteries and charger, and I still have room left over. Once at our destination, everything extraneous comes out, and I just carry what I need for the day's shooting, usually the two cameras, a spare battery, some extra tapes and the MD recorder. There's room left for a sweater, a folding umbrella or two (for rain, not lighting), and the odd purchase (usually books) that I'll make a long the way. The Minitrekker is a well-constructed backpack, with a chest and belly strap, which makes it very comfortable to wear, even when crammed full with very heavy gear (I just got back from a trip to Spain -- one of my stops was a cave with prehistoric cave paintings. Video and photos weren't allowed, so everything went into the backpack. I spent a couple of hours climbing around caves with all this gear on my back and didn't experience any discomfort, other than the disappointment of not being about to shoot).

Incidently, the vertical smear you mentioned is a concommitant of Sony's HAD CCDs -- it's the tradeoff for extraordinary low-light sensitivity. You'll find that, under some circumstances, the VX2000 will do it, too. It will happen with pin-point bright light sources against relatively dark backgrounds. I don't find it much of an issue, as I like the effect. If you're shooting stage, I don't think you'll ever see it unless you catch the stage lights in your shot, or there is a pratical lamp used on stage.
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Old January 15th, 2004, 03:48 PM   #15
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Good for you, Jason. We'll make a filmmaker out of you yet! :-)
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