Buying advice VX2000 versus VX2100 at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old April 11th, 2004, 02:44 PM   #1
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Buying advice VX2000 versus VX2100

I'm doing some research for my college aged son who will be taking some film classes this summer in Portland, Oregon.

Learned alot already from this forum, thanks. I probably will suggest VX2000 (used from buyer you can meet with in person; or new if still available) or VX2100. Naturally my son would like to think of himself as indie film maker but has not established clearly what he thinks he will use this tool for. He is a very good still photographer (film first and now Digital) and has taken enough workshops that he knows what he is doing with lighting, composition, etc. Thanks for any of your insights and experience - always great to find knowledgable people on forum that can cut your learning curve. This is a complex area.

1) 2100 versus 2000 I've read that very few here would upgrade to 2100 from 2000. Assuming one could get VX 2000 used and in very good shape for say $1,400 or $1,500 (and I realize that actual used price might be more like $1,800) would this make more sense than a new 2100 with warranty? I've bought some excellent used still camera lenses over the years even on Ebay so am not totally scared off on the used thing, but evaluating a used optic is easier than evaluating a used cam. I guess I am hoping that purchasing used cam from forum here or elsewhere with the oppotunity to actually see the cam would be a better value than buying new - any thoughts? As far as allocating budget already have excellent tripod and need only substitute pan head for ball head. Son did theater lighting in high school and hopes to pick up lighting equipment used.

2) Are there any decent sites posting image quality tests comparing Sony with say Canon GL1 and 2? I'm used to resolution charts and color checkers etc. but have not found out how "standardized" cam testing is done yet. (Just started this research this morning.)

3) Audio: a) Some but not all people complain about hiss problem with 2000 and some recommend the 3rd party $200 fix. It seems that 2100 has improved audio but perhaps not quite as good as the VX 2000 with the $200 fix. Do I understand that correctly? b) Some have indicated that Hiss problem can be remedied in post production. Is this fairly easy to do and not time consuming? Or does intervention/EQ whatever require different settings for each different part of your shoot?
c) Since some people don't even complain about 2000 audio it seems that at least initially one could live with it as shot, and if the production is really worth something then go back and tweak it eventually.
d) VX 2000 seems to offer an incremental audio upgrade approach. Use things as they are as you are learning. Eventually get pre-amp such as Beach DXA-8 and Rode NT3 mic or Oktava. Would the investment in such audio then be able to be used on say a Sony XL1S (or Sony XL2) a few years down the line?

4) EVF Viewfinder Definitely a concern that at least some people who have used VX2000 and VX2100 think the 2100 has a very hard to use viewfinder. Since this is a vital part of the user interface, I expect that the only real way to decide is to try it out in a store but unlikely one could test drive back to back the 2000 and 2100 unless you visit a really large metro area with a new and used department. Any comments on the EVF issue?

5) Battery As a cost factor is having to use the Sony batteries for 2100 rather than 3rd party option with 2000 much to consider. It seems that unless one does tons of shooting the difference in cost over two years would only amount to $50 to $80. Is that right?
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Old April 11th, 2004, 03:40 PM   #2
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The "$200" fix as you call it is not what i would recomend as an across the board upgrade. The fix has been around for a few years through the BBC, but at a much greater cost. With shipping and the required preamp/mixer the real cost approaches $1050 plus taxes.

Just so people understand, the result of the audio mod is much better quality sound than any of the prosumer cameras have as native. I would suspect better than many pro cameras as well. this isn'y just an equalizer.

I was happy with the VX2K audio as is, for a year and a half. It was only after i got involved with better mics , high quality mixers and a flash recorder that I started to be unhappy with the sound. It's not something that you do on a shoestring, to take advantage of the upgrade requires a fair expenditure.

Using a high output mic (ME66) and/or a MP1($300) preamp or a Beach DXA-8 ($370) will put you in a position to enjoy decent audio.

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Old April 11th, 2004, 04:24 PM   #3
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Welcome, Edward!

Wouldn't your "college-aged son who will be taking some film classes" need a motion film camera instead of a miniDV cam? Just a thought.

Quote:
my son would like to think of himself as indie film maker but has not established clearly what he thinks he will use this tool for. He is a very good still photographer (film first and now Digital) and has taken enough workshops that he knows what he is doing
Perhaps let him decide what he needs and wants? Another thought.

1) If you want to get a cam, I suggest buying a new one with a warranty. Never know what's wrong or what will go wrong with a used cam. I also suggest getting an extended warranty for your son and theft insurance.

2) What would you like to know about "image image quality tests comparing Sony with say Canon GL1 and 2?"

3) if you want better VX2000 audio I suggest http://www.gregjwinter.com/modification2.htm and reading the excellent posts at our audio forum. Re: "Would the investment in such audio then be able to be used on say a Sony XL1S (or Sony XL2) a few years down the line?" Most likely.

4) if you don't like the VX2 viewfinder may I suggest looking at a Sony PD170, Panasonic DVX100a or a Panasonic DVC200? Why not contact Allan from our MX forum to get you a used MX3000? That cam has a great viewfinder, plus the cam will cost you under $1000! Actually, you mention "Indie Cam." Wouldn't these cams be better---they're easier to hold?
  • Panasonic GS100 (great 16:9)
  • Panasonic DVX100a
  • Sony PDX10 (great 16:9)
  • GL2
5) There are lots of 3rd party batteries available for cams. Plus they're cheaper and just as good. Sounds like you should get your son a GS100 or a used MX3000, since cost concerns is the theme of your post.

PS: contact rejoso@jcom.home.ne.jp (Allan Rojoso) for the GS100 or MX3000. :-))
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Old April 11th, 2004, 06:35 PM   #4
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Welcome, Edward.

You've done your homework. It was a pleasue to read your initial post. I'm sure that your son will benefit from having his own motion picture camera around, be it film or dv.

I have never bought used dv gear, so I can't add to that thought.

Frank has a good point of finding out what your son might want, although it's possible that this is a surprise gift? Still, it's a lot of money.

I generally vote that everyone opt for native XLRs, if possible. This does away with the problematic minijacks.

For the less than the VX price, new, there is also the Panasonic DVC80 ($2k), that, while perhaps not quite as strong in very low light, offers XLRs, as well as excellent manual controls and a wider lens. This is a steal of a cam right now.

I shoot with the PD170, which, other than being black and white, has the same build and style of VF that the VX2100 has. You have to get your eye just so on it, as you would a microscope. It really isn't a big deal, unless you're used to the 2000, and have a hard time adjusting to something new.

The PDX10 does not have the manual control that the 2100/170, dvc80, and about-to-be-released Pana dvc30 have, although it does shoot brilliant video, 4:3 or 16:9, with very good XLR sound, in a small package. I stress manual control because I'm sure you son is used to having it. Or if it's not a big deal and he just wants a little something that shoots good video, the PDX is fantastic.
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Old April 11th, 2004, 06:49 PM   #5
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Thanks

As I would expect thanks for all the great informatin and suggestions. Greatly appeciated - gives me more homework to do.
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Old April 11th, 2004, 06:52 PM   #6
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Oops, I forgot about the Pana DVC80 (which has XLR's). Then there's also the JVC DV300---XLR's, no need for a lens hood and going cheap right now at B&H. :-))

http://www.bhphotovideo.com
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Old April 11th, 2004, 09:16 PM   #7
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Shawn, have you worked with both the 2000 and the
170 viewfinders? It seems to me the 2000 EVF is better,
being not as picky about where your eye is; not
so much like a "microscope", as you put it.
Edward, for your application, I would go with the DVX100a for the 24P, XLRs, and Cine gamma.
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Old April 12th, 2004, 12:40 AM   #8
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I haven't used the 2000, I only know that using the 170's VF is not a problem (nor is using a microscope, with a little practise...).
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Old April 12th, 2004, 02:33 PM   #9
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One point often overlooked is that in the move from PD150 to PD170 Sony cured one of the camera's big failings - that of the half-stop visible bumps put into footage by that silly aperture control wheel. Silly wheel? Yes, positioned in a stupid place such that it's hidden by the opened sidescreen for any low-angle work.

Did they carry over the modification to the VX2100? No they did not, and it's a failing that severely limits the VX2100's appeal in my book. The VX2000 is the better deal simply because it's cheaper.

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