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

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Old April 21st, 2004, 07:59 PM   #1
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What do you use to download tapes?

I have been downloading tapes using my VX2000. I've finally decided to reduce the wear and tear on my VX by getting another device to download tapes. I am wondering whether it is better to get a cheap DV camera or a mini-DV deck. I am not aware of any reasonably priced decks that seem to work well. I believe that JVC makes some combo mini-DV/S-VHS decks, but they are pricey and some folks seem pretty disatisfied with them. Does anyone have one of these? How well do they work? Are there other options that folks would recommend?

A cheap camera seems a better value, but I'm not sure how inexpensive I can go and still get something that will work reliably for this purpose. Do I need to get a Sony cam to make sure that it will reliably play back my VX tapes? Any particular cameras that folks would recomend strictly for this purpose?

A third option would be to get an intermediately priced camcorder that could also take decent video. I could use this as a backup cam and also to download tapes. Anyone think this is the way to go? What camera would you recommend?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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Old April 21st, 2004, 08:37 PM   #2
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I use a DSR-20 for most transfers but if I were to buy something today for my personal use, it would probably be the DSR-11.

That said, I purchased 2 of the JVC units for the local college. They have worked perfectly for several years, attached to Apple G4 computers. They also will convert an VHS or S-VHS tape to digital on-the-fly and vice-versa. These were the units with '20' in the model number.

Reliable, relatively inexpensive and they do the job.

If you would rather have a second camera, I'd select one that I'd either like to use as a 2nd camera or as a vacation camera.

I have a DSR-300, PD150, and a PC-110 (which serves as a vacation camera and a third camera [great for altar shots and boom work]). For a while, until I got the 300, the 110 was my second camera.
Mike Rehmus
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Old April 21st, 2004, 11:00 PM   #3
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I picked up a Canon ZR-65 to use as a "deck" for $229 so I could save the wear on my PDX-10. I wanted to go with a Sony because they are compatible with the DVCAM mode, but I've started doing most of my recording in the miniDV mode instead of DVCAM, so it shouldn't be an issue. I can always use the PDX10 for stuff I film using DVCAM. With the VX2000, so long as you get a MiniDV camera, it shouldn't matter on playback.

It's been great having the second camera. My wife likes to use it (and I certainly prefer her using it instead of my PDX).

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Old April 21st, 2004, 11:18 PM   #4
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Hi Alan,

To answer your question regarding if you need to get a Sony to playback your tapes, that isn't really necessary. Just make sure that the camera that you get has good heads that are aligned (If you get something brand new, more than likely it'll be alright.).

As far as if you should buy a backup cam, it really depends on you. Do you make your living off the cam and if it were to go out on you (for whatever reason) would you face a hardship? Do you want to purchase a camera for $1000 plus that may or may not be used as a backup? Or do you want to purchase a $200 - $500 cam that can comfortably sit there as a deck?

I agree with Mike, the JVC combo decks seem to do well under normal circumstances.



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Old April 23rd, 2004, 11:02 AM   #5
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As seen by the blown firewire port thread that’s floating at the top, I'm now in the market for a cheap miniDV camera for a deck.

I'm a college student at Ohio University and I can say the JVC decks with miniDV and VHS are complete trash here at OU. They’re all our school has at the labs and they hardly ever play back without glitches and even seem to swallow tapes to the point that they must be sent back to JVC to be retrieved. This probably has more to do with them being used by a lot of people, but doesn't do anything to make me want one.

My question is this..

I'm borrowing a Canon ZR45 to capture with now, and yeah the quality is exactly the same but the thing couldn't be slower to maneuver with device control. I was spoiled by the insane speed my VX2000 would react to a stop and rewind to pick up a clip I had passed in Premiere capture. This ‘lil Canon labors and takes a good 10 seconds to switch up the mechanics to go backwards. To me this is a very important point in capturing/editing, it takes longer and is just really annoying. Does anyone know if any of the cheaper cameras react quickly with device control?

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Old April 24th, 2004, 01:28 PM   #6
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Go for the DSR-11 I say. Like a good tripod and a good microphone it'll stay with you for years and years, whereas you'll change your camera and your pc on a pretty regular basis.

The DSR-11 plays LP, SP and DVCam, so nothing will catch you out. It has an incredibly fast wind speed yet gently accelerates and decelerates to protect your tape. It's tiny and can be used vertically to shadow the desktop even less. A little fan means you can run it 24/7 and it feels as if it's armour plated.

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