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


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Old June 21st, 2005, 10:59 PM   #1
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2100 vid quality?

I've been looking at the XL2 and 100A for a few weeks, but have just received two projects that do not require progressive or native 16:9.

I will be putting together a variety of training videos that I will output to DVD. Later, I'd like to just play around with some film-making. Since I'm still relatively novice with my camera skills , I'd like to have something that would be easy to use yet will not limit me to a great extent. I work at Best Buy and would like to buy the camera there because of their awesome service plans (and they don't know any better than to cover all the accessories for these cameras including the batteries). My options are...

1. dish out the $$ and go for the XL2

2. get an FX1 and mostly shoot this stuff in SD (I'd use dvfilmmaker to convert to 24p when I'll play around w/ my film-making later)... that way I'll have high res and progressive for quality transfers to film

3. get the vx2100 for now and put it to work (because it's all I would need for now)... it does do 16:9 (lower quality) and I can de-interlace it just like the FX1 if I wanted to play with some film-making.

I'm having a hard time finding some sample footage of the vx2100... but I'll take everyone's word on it that it'll get the job done well.

Anything else I'm missing out?
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 07:17 AM   #2
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The 2100 will give you very good footage in 4:3, and it should be better in low light situations (really dark places).

Other than that, the XL2 and FX1 will give you a lot of other options. Both of them are larger and heavier than the 2100 - in the case of the XL2 it is MUCH larger and heavier. I think you have identified the differences pretty well; the XL2 gives you progressive scan, 24 fps and native 16:9. The FX1 doesn't have progressive scan or 24 fps, but it will give you native 16:9 and future HDV capability.

I have a VX-2000 and a HVR-Z1U, and IMO there really is no contest between them. Sony has obviously listened to user feedback and improved many of the shortcomings on the VX/PD series. The dedicated iris control is practically worth the price of admission by itself and will give you smooth changes in manual mode which the VX-2100 can't do. The viewfinder and LCD screen are much, much better. The picture profiles give you far more control than the VX's custom preset does and the shot transition feature is terrific. There are lots of other upgrades in the area of control. Shooting in HDV mode and setting the camera to downconvert over firewire gives you a better image than using DV mode, and also gives you HDV source tapes for future use.

True, the VX-2100 does have a 16:9 mode, but it's not very good. The camera crops the image down to 360 vertical lines, then stretches it back to 480 to make it anamorphic which destroys all the detail. Take a look at these comparisons by enlarging in Photoshop:

http://www.greenmist.com/dv/16x9/02.JPG
http://www.greenmist.com/dv/16x9/06.JPG

So you'll have to decide whether these tradeoffs justify the price difference. I think Sony has positioned the FX1 to replace the VX-2100, and the rumor is that they ended production on the 2100 and are just selling off existing inventory (just a rumor, but you will find some discussion of it in the "area 51" forum). For me, the only reasons for buying a VX-2100 would be:

1. Price (possibly a very important reason!)
2. 100% sure that you only need 4:3 video
3. Need the absolute best low light capability
4. Feel that the FX1 is too large and heavy
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:10 AM   #3
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Choices, choices... awesome response! The dvfilmmaker deinterlaced footage is great too... FX1+dvfilmmaker = a lot of options... I DJ school dances on the side for a fairly large DJ company in FL... If I could use the same camera to make some promos for it, it would be yet another use for it... that's the only time I could see needing very low light sensitivity. I'll just have to light my subjects better with the FX1... I've found it very tricky to film these types of events because we've got very bright, focused lights moving all around, with very dark areas inbetween... so there's a lot of contrasting lighting.... strobes sometimes too.

However, I've seen low-light tests done with the FX1 where the gain on it rivaled shooting with a 100A... I'm financing most of the gear @ 0 interest, so I won't take up a lot of my working capital either way... 4900$ credit limit at best buy right now... But it would be easier to make the project have a positive cash flow if I were to use the VX2100 -- and most of the money could be reinvested in other equipment.

For these $$ projects, the VX2100 would do everything I need -- but then I'd want to PLAY AROUND with the 16:9 and 24p -- just my own endeavor on that lol... so I'm just weighing it from a business standpoint... invest in the VX2100 now ($2250) and get the work done and pay off the gear and then some, or get something more expensive and pay off some of it with the procedes, but having the gear around to play with in my spare time for other stuff.

If it makes any difference, some of the shooting will be in a small plane... wide-ish angle with the stock lens would be ideal.

What's your take on a 4 year service plan that covers the whole camera including the battery? If I didn't really want that, I'd open up my choices to a couple other cameras like the 100A and DVC60
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:16 AM   #4
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Based on these threads, you might want to consider the service plan with the FX-1:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=46256
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=44855

Of course, they could also just be isolated incidents....
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 03:37 PM   #5
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Tough call but I wouldn't go for the VX2100 if you have any remote interest in widescreen. Of course the FX1 is about $800-$1000 USD higher than the VX2100 unless you know of someone selling a used one (hint hint). :)
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tommy Haupfear
Tough call but I wouldn't go for the VX2100 if you have any remote interest in widescreen. Of course the FX1 is about $800-$1000 USD higher than the VX2100 unless you know of someone selling a used one (hint hint). :)
I don't have a problem spending an extra grand... I have a problem spending 2 extra grand (the XL2). BUT... I will know all of the specifics within 24-48 hours on the projects... and hopefully I'll be able to more clearly define my budget. I wouldnt mind spending 5K on the XL2 and all of the accessories I need for it IF I'd have a cash flow of 4K over the next few months with these projects. I'd swallow the other 1K as a tax deduction.
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