My Trip to BH Photo (PD170 doesn't look as good) at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 18th, 2004, 10:26 PM   #1
John Carey
 
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My Trip to BH Photo (PD170 doesn't look as good)

I have had my sights LOCKED On buying the PD170 for a few weeks. I have been researching what camera to buy for over 2 months. I was about to purchase the PD170 today, until the salesman at BH showed me the DVX100a. I don't know what to think now, the way the salesman made it look, and what he showed me, the DVX100 has the PD170 beat in all spects. (maybe not low light) I want to read a few short sentences on what people DONT like about the two cameras. From what the salesman showed me, there isn't one mode or feature on the PD170 that the DVX100a can't handle. But than again, maybe he makes more commission on a DVX100a. Someone please help me out with this. Also, Ive done a ton of searching on the boards, and I am still not sure. Please help out as I am always willing to for others when they are in need of help?
 
Old February 18th, 2004, 11:43 PM   #2
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Not quite what you're asking, but from what I understand, BH salespeople don't work on commission.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 12:05 AM   #3
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John,
Isn't it fun to think you know what you want...until you see something else?

(I doubt that the salespeople at B&H are compensated on a commission basis.)

Selection really depends on your realistic assessment of your planned uses and, to some degree, your comfort / skill level with cameras.

The PD150 (and now the 170) is a great all-around general-purpose camera. Its design has withstood the test of time across many amateur and professional applications. (I have never owned one, btw.)

The DVX100A is a tremendous ground-breaking camera. (I own a 100 and 100A at this writing.) I won't recite it's features; you can find them many other places. In my opinion its overall distinction from the PD170 is that it's designed from the ground up for digital filmmaking. The camera's variable frame rates, various imaging settings and its lens system are not -really- designed for casual shooting. Focusing, for example, is basically completely manual. (Yes, there's an auto assist feature but it's not as quickly responsive as auto-focus on most other prosumer cameras.) It takes time and -much- practice to become skilled with manual focusing.

So, again, rational selection depends on application. For general family-style shooting, event coverage and just plain old goofing around the PD170 is probably the better selection.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 01:39 AM   #4
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Ken, I couldn't Agree more

Wow Ken, you know whats up! PD-170 was in my eyes, and nothing was in its way, until the DVX100a caught my eye. We can all agree, the DVX100a gives you alot more features, a zoom ring, and cool stuff like that. However, yeah, I feel the pany is for people that want to shoot films. Definetly a cool feature to have, but I am more into filming concert footage, documentaries. So the features such as "Steady Shot Ease" And "Comfort to hold camera for hours without a tripod" are huge factors. The only real time I change the way I shoot is, if I want somewhat of that "film" look, I throw the thing on 1/30. But hey, does the Pany or Sony have any features each other doesn't have as far as 16:9 goes?
 
Old February 19th, 2004, 01:52 AM   #5
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But hey, does the Pany or Sony have any features each other doesn't have as far as 16:9 goes?
I am not firmly grounded in the PD170's 16:9 features so I cannot offer accurate comment on comparisons. I can, however, say that neither camera has native 16:9 CCD's. The DVX100A offers two modes of 16:9; a squeezed mode and a letterboxed mode. Of course you can use an anamorphic accessory lens with either camera.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 09:18 AM   #6
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I am more into filming concert footage, documentaries. So the features such as "Stead

If you don't care for (or need) the 24p capabilities of the 100(a), you might want to consider the DVC80. This is the same body as the 100 but lacks the "film" moded functions of progressive scan. This camera is targeted at electronic news gathering applications. What it lacks is the progressive mode of the 100 and it only shoots in 60i. But may be cost-effective solution.

I would also add that the DVC100 and 80 have some of the best balance of any video camera I've hefted. Even my wife could handle the dvc100 and felt it was lighter than the GL2 or VX2000; all the while being heavier!

Sorry to add to the dilemma but the 80 is so close to the 100 as far as physical appearance you may want to save a few bucks.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 10:38 AM   #7
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I live ten minutes from B&H and, when I was looking to buy my camera, I made a bunch of trips there. The salesmen always tried to steer me to other cameras, even though I came to look at and ask about the PD-170, which is what I eventually bought.

I don't know whether they make commission or not, although a friend of mine who works there once mentioned something about "points," which I didn't ask more about. I love B&H and don't doubt the integrity of its help, but I also have had the worst service there from the guys in the pro video department. They're usually swamped and don't often have time to help. Could be the times of day when I go.

That being said, I think the Panny is a great camera. I don't think you could go wrong buying any of the cameras mentioned so far in this thread. I was looking at the Panny, but I *do* a lot of low-light shooting. I'm also waiting more for HD in the future than 24P.

What kind of shooting do you do?
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Old February 19th, 2004, 02:11 PM   #8
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If low light isn't a concern, and it sounds like it might be, the Sony PDX10 is also pretty darn great, with excellent in-cam 16:9, the best in it's class. Not nearly as good in low light as the PD170,though.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 05:17 PM   #9
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Having purchased cameras as far back as the early 70's, I can tell you that the camera store is the worst place to purchase a camera. It just isn't the real world (it maybe lit to make everything look good and even have jells over the windows) and you cannot spend enought time with the camera to do a lot of good. Fondle time counts big here.

You just have to get the camera out into the real world and use it in the applications for which you will buy it. Nothing else comes close to telling you if the camera is right for you.

Any of the cameras mentioned above will deliver great results. As long as they are used correctly in an application for which they are designed. For ENG and general use, the 170 is pretty unbeatable. The 80 may work as well but it doesn't have the use history of the 150/170 family.

For film work, I'd probably pick the 100A as long as I couldn't afford a pro camera. But I'd pick a pro camera in a heartbeat over any of the prosumer cameras for a feature film or documentary (as long as the size didn't get in the way).

In the long run, it's ease of use that counts. What fits your personal style and 'fits' into what you are doing.

I don't take my 150 or 300 on vacation. Too big for my wife (if she will be a second pro shooter, this can be a real issue) and really too big to lug around. I take a compromise camera (in my case a PC110) that is easy to carry and takes good pictures in reasonably competent hands.

If I had to pick just one camera for amateur use, it would be a Sony 950 or 900. Still one of the best smaller cameras with great low-light capability.
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Old February 19th, 2004, 07:30 PM   #10
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wow thanks for the help, however

However, I am still stuck on this point. Besides low lighting, is there ANY advantage of taking the PD170 over the DVX100a. I will digress. The 100a offers all of those gamma and 24p modes, I dont plan on using them soon, but for the extra 200 dollars, its worth it for the future. So here is the main issues that I am still yet to find anyones opinion on:

1. What is easier to hold steady (Without tripod) PD170 or DVX100a? What have you found to be more comfortable?

2. Sony advertises they have a "Super Steady Shot", is the stability system superior on the pd170 or dvx100a?

3. Raw picture, do they have a significant difference in chips, lenses or overall picture quality?

4. What is a Tougher Camera. What can take "more of a beating" I have heard that sonys in general can take a beating. But how about the PD170 in comparison to the DVX100a.

Thanks alot guys.
 
Old February 19th, 2004, 10:27 PM   #11
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John,
You're entering the Analysis Paralysis zone. This isn't a once-and-for-all decision. Based on your previous remarks you should get the Sony.
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Old February 20th, 2004, 12:22 AM   #12
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John,
I went through the same game. I finally made the leap and bought the Sony over the Panny and XL1s. The picture is great, (it's a bit lense heavy), the sound is terrrific, and it fit my needs for durability and low light sensitivity. Not to say that the other two lack these attributes, but the Sony is time tested...good enough for me. If at some point I want interchangeable lenses or more gamma features etc, well, I'll worry about that when the time comes. For now those are not requirements for me. You can drive yourself nuts looking at every little detail......
Best of luck
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Old February 20th, 2004, 12:48 AM   #13
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I just wanted to say, John, that if durability is a major concern then note that the PD-170 (along with the vx2k I have) has a body made largely of metal, while I believe the DVX is mostly plastic. That means (1) if you drop the Sony, it probably won't explode on you, but (2) if you add the big np-f960 battery (and you *must* add the big battery) along with, say, the cheap-but-nice Kenko wide-angle adapter I use, the camera weighs more than my mom...
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Old February 20th, 2004, 01:23 AM   #14
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God I love Panasonic right now, I wish Sony would catch up.
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Old February 20th, 2004, 01:34 AM   #15
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hahaha

Thanks for the help, I think im just going to have to stick with sony for its low light capabilities, ease of use (over the pany) and its tough construction. Thanks alot



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