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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old June 11th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #1
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About taking pictures with VX2100 - need help!

Hello. Sorry for such the dumb question, but I have the VX2100 and was wondering if I needed a memory stick to save still pictures I take, or can I just take them straight on a dv tape (if so, how exactly do I do this), if I do need a memory stick, can you recommend me one? Thanks guys...

edit - found out the answer, nevermind but thanks!

Last edited by Jay Butler; June 11th, 2005 at 12:03 PM.
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Old June 11th, 2005, 12:11 PM   #2
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Hi Jay,

If the 2100 is the same as the 2000 (and I believe it is in this respect, someone correct me if not) there are two ways to take stills.

(1) In memory mode. Click the Photo button to save image to your memory stick. You'll need a memory stick for this option.

(2) In Rec mode (as if recording video.) Click the Photo button and the camera will save 4 seconds or so of a still image.

If you use (1) above, you'll get a 640x480 (square pixel) image. If you use (2), your frame will be 720x480, you'll have to squeeze it back to 640cx480 to use it as a still.


Matt Ockenfels

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Old June 13th, 2005, 01:10 AM   #3
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When you put the VX2100 into still-picture mode and record to the Memory-Stick, the camera automatically shifts to progressive scan. This can give you a better image, if the subject or the camera is moving. Also, in this mode, the mechanical "progressive shutter" is engaged. Listen to it click, just like one on a film camera. There's even a special noisemaker inside to emulate the sliding sound of automatic film reloading. This shutter is very fast and may further improve the clarity of moving subjects. Or not! The mechanical shutter lowers the amount of time that light can enter and will not perform well in low levels of ambient light. This effect is similar to what would result if you set the electronic shutter to a very fast position in video mode, in low light. If your still pictures on the memory card are dark and under-exposed when taken in low light, then you'd be better off to stay in video mode in those conditions.

You can capture still pictures in post-production, from video footage, that will have the same 640 X 480 pixel size as you get in the Memory-Stick still mode. These can be captured directly from tape to an external device by FireWire, with an analog connection or transfered inside the camera to the memory card. Unfortunately, they did not provide a USB port on this model. However, I can put my VX2100-recorded Memory-Stick into my GV-D1000 DV VCR, which has a card slot and a USB port, to transfer pictures this way. Also, my computer and my external Zip drive have Compact Flash slots and I have a card adaptor for them which accepts a Memory-Stick. A separate and inexpensive card-reader would be a good accessory for the VX2100 for those without these options.

If you set your camera to progressive scan in video mode, the still pictures you can derive from the footage may be sharper. However, video taken in this 15 frame-per-second progressive mode will be near-useless for motion video purposes, unless the image field is perfectly still. I have shot a lot of 15 fps progressive footage with mine, thinking it would be better for grabbing still shots later. Mostly, I have regretted this, as it has rendered some good scenes unusable for anything but stills. The VX2100 seems to produce some very good still-captures from tape footage, even when the video was shot in standard interlaced mode, especially when a faster shutter speed was used. So, after experimenting, I mostly shoot in interlaced mode and get both good video and nice still captures. Considering all this, I can see no good purpose for the 15 fps progressive mode on this series of models, except as it is used with the mechanical shutter in the memory mode.

You can also use the separate video-photo capture, which records several seconds of a single frame to tape, in interlaced video mode. I regard this as a waste of tape and it disrupts your flow of video footage, complicating the editing process. You can get better results by just letting the tape roll and grabbing frames from it later.

The VX2100 produces the best 640 X 480 stills I've seen from any type of camera. They have enough quality to carry good sharpness for Internet purposes, but use only a small amount of bitspace.

Last edited by J. Stephen McDonald; June 13th, 2005 at 01:37 AM.
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