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


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Old October 2nd, 2002, 11:55 AM   #16
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Graeme,

In the US, Sony sends the smallest battery they make with anything from the PD-150 downward. I purchased a DSR-200 some time ago (in the US) it came with a battery that seemed powerful enough to only light up the viewfinder, not actually deliver any run-time. I assumed that the 250 was also shipped with a small battery. Different country, different Sony policy I guess. I bought it new directly from a Sony employee who ordered it specifically for me.

Like you, I would expect the 40 battery to run it for a long time. At least the 3 hours Dan speaks of because of the 250's internal similarity to the PD-150. The PD-150 (5.4 watts with LCD open)will run for over over 4 hours (real world experience and I've never had the time to run one to exhaustion) on the largest battery (NP-960) sold for it. That battery will supply 38.8 watts when new and at its optimal operating temperature.

Looking where I suggested in my last post, the searchable on-line Sony manuals, I found a run-time estimate of 190 minutes for the BP-L40 battery. The 60 is listed at 420 minutes and the 90 at 700 minutes. The power consumption is listed at 12.1 watts with LCD. Wow! What a difference a larger transport and viewfinder make, I guess.

Given that these numbers are for batteries in new condition and at the optimum temperature (LiON batteries, especially the 40, according to Sony, suffer significantly lower capacity as their temperature drops) and allowing for a bit of Sony optimism, I'd not expect the 40 battery to be able to run out a full 3 hour DVCam-mode tape load.

I agree that the Sony battery prices are incredibly high. Even knowing that LiON battery packs need to have expensive internals to insure that they don't burn up when they are charged, the prices seem excessive.

What Sony wants, in the US, for a pair of 60 batteries and the charger will eat up $1500 or so. I'd look at IDX, Frezzi (E.U. source I think) and maybe even Anton Bauer for batteries. Even AB isn't much more expensive for their best. An alternative, if you don't need extreme mobility, is a battery belt. I think one can still get a 14.4 volt NRG belt with spare clip-on battery set and a rapid charger for around $1,000 U.S.

Guess I'm glad the PD-150 will run so long on much less expensive batteries.
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 01:03 PM   #17
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<<<-- Originally posted by Graeme Brown : Which batts do you use Dan? Cheers. -->>>

I called the other camera man to ask what sort of batteries he uses (since he owns the DSR-250 and I the PD150) and he replied "I use the 40's". Hope that helps.

:)

-Dan
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Old October 2nd, 2002, 01:08 PM   #18
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It sure does, thanks Dan. I was pretty sure that the dealer was trying it on, and I had already decided to spend my money elsewhere anyway - this just confirms it.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 10:13 AM   #19
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When I bought my DSR-250 earlier this year the dealer sold me a battery setup made by a Chinese company called Swit. The batteries were a little cheaper than the BP-40's but are 56w units.

I recently did a family wedding using up two 124min tapes but only one battery ( and for at least 25% of the time I was using the LCD display without turning off the viewfinder )

I have to say that I was impressed and think the DSR-250 is the most frugal power user I have come across.
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Old October 9th, 2002, 09:23 PM   #20
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OK guys, other than battery life, how do you like the 250 and 200 in general? I run a Canon XL1 now, and am looking for a camera to give me the capability to do a 2-camera shoot. I am attracted to the more conventional, over-the-shoulder form factor of the DSR250 or 200, versus the "all 6.5 pounds are resting on your right hand" style of the XL1. Any suggestions/opinions?
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Old October 15th, 2002, 09:03 AM   #21
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Steve - thanks for the info. Sony quote 190 mins for the 40's, which agrees with what everyone (except a certain London dealer ) says.

TGG - I ordered a DSR250 yesterday, so I'll let you know soonish.

Mike - took your advice and ordered the IDX batts & charger. THe price was about the same as for the Sony stuff, but the IDX batts are 50w and I prefer the charger. Price for either IDX or Sony was about $1050 plus tax ($1275 in total)
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Old October 15th, 2002, 11:47 AM   #22
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I'd take the image of a DSR 250 over that of the XL1 any day. You may find that if you mix the footage of the two cameras you'll be spending a good deal of time doing color correction in post. It has been my experience that you'll also have one really crisp image (the 250) and one kind of muddier image (the XL1). This occurs mostly in wide shots as the XL1 handles close images considerably better than it does distance images. In low light situations the 250 and XL1 images are going to be extremely different (with the 250 looking much better).

That's been my experience, anyway.

-Dan
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Old October 15th, 2002, 03:42 PM   #23
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Is that a back focus issue on the XL1? I know I have been really impressed with its closeup work.

Is the 200 close to the 250? I have a chance to get a low-mileage 200 is why i ask.
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Old October 15th, 2002, 05:55 PM   #24
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I've never seen or used a 200 so I can't answer that. But I'm sure someone else can. The XL1 closeup footage has always looked fine to me, it's distance shooting where I've seen it suffer (and, of course, low light). I'm not a techie, so I can't say if it's back focus or not. I only know that I've shot plays, weddings, and construction sites using both camera and the XL1 footage has been sub-par (compared to the 250) in non close-up work.

By sub-par I mean the XL1 footage has been darker, granier, and not as sharp. I've heard it said that the XL1 can deliver a better picture if you take time to reset the manual settings everytime you move the camera but on many of my shoots there is simply no time for this.

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Old October 15th, 2002, 09:24 PM   #25
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When one starts thinking about the price point over $5000, then I start looking at all the alternatives.

For that amount of money, I want a step up in sharpness and color clarity from my PD-150.

At the community college where I was, until recently, the Cinema and TV Lab Tech, we had 1000's, 900's, a 200, and a JVC DV550.

Of all those cameras, the 550 is the most impressive to me.

I recently purchased a used DSR-300 to which I added my old Fujininon 14X lens.

The difference between the my 150 and the 300 is subtle but real.

Low light - I think the 150 is a match for the 300 in low light in most regards.
Black levels - The 300 delivers subtle diferences in black that the 150 misses. This applies to well-lit scenes too.
Overall sharpness - Images of distant objects tends to be crisper as well.
Handling - The DSR-300 just handles faster with the manual lens.

And at the $5000 level, you should get added goodies like skin tone detection for smoothing out wrinkles, An ability to change the skin color without changing other colors, black compression and expansion, fairly good audio, lots of options on how the video will look, etc.

Guess what I'm saying is that as soon as you get to that level, you should look at a few more cameras.
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Old October 16th, 2002, 12:05 AM   #26
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To answer your 200 vs 250 question, NO, the 200 and the 250 are world's apart. Sony brought out the 200A fairly quickly but now I cannot remember what the issues were other than poor performance in low light levels. I haven't compared the 200 to a VX-1000 in really low light so I don't have a reference for you.

That said, in good light, the 200 is an adequate performer. I'd just not use it for weddings where I know the light will be low unless I can use an on-camera light.
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Old October 17th, 2002, 06:57 PM   #27
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OK so we have 2 cams with low-light issues, the DSR200 and the Canon XL1, but just one with clarity problems on the longer shots (the Canon which is what I now have). And the 200 at least solves the weight-and-balance problem of the XL1, since the 200 is a true over-the-shoulder config.

Actually, I always keep a Frezzi on top of the cam, it's just a matter of plugging in the battery belt. I haven't really seen any cam that I liked in poor lighting. Resetting every time I move it is hard for me too, since a lot of what I do is run-and-gun like Dan.

So, is the 200 enough of an improvement over the XL1, or do I need to hold out for a 250 or even a 300 (might be overkill for corporate video)
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Old January 26th, 2003, 09:44 PM   #28
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Learning Curve on DSR250 From DSR200

I currently shoot on DSR-200 and love the camera (I think IM the only one). In the next month, I am hoping to shoot a peace with a local television DSR-250. I am just wondering what is going to be different, and if there is a steep learning curve up to it.

Thanks in advance
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Old January 26th, 2003, 11:48 PM   #29
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In terms of performance, you will see a tremendous improvement in difficult conditions. The ole 200 was OK with enough light. But not so good in dim light. Which is why they brought out the A version so quiclky IIRC.

Go get the manual on-line before the day of the shoot and you can discover the differences fairly easy. This URL should get you close: http://bssc.sel.sony.com/Professiona...SC&p=2&d=10001
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Old January 29th, 2003, 04:57 PM   #30
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You shouldn't have any trouble. The 250 is probably closer to a fully professional camera than it is to the old 200. One of the exceptions being the way you have to set time code in the menu. That's not vey intuitive. You will need to spend a little time with the manual.

I used mine right out of the box, after adjusting the sharpness up a bit. It was cranked down way too low. You need a good monitor to adjust this; you don't want to get it too high or you'll get the dreaded edginess. Later on when I began using it for b-roll type shots with the DSR500, I went into the menu again and cranked down the color saturation and got the colors to match very closely. I don't know if they all come with the saturation cranked up too high or if that's just the way mine was.
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