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


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Old May 15th, 2011, 07:12 AM   #1
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Replacement for the PD170

There are many more cameras on the market now than when the PD170 was introduced and I was wondering if any particular camera has risen to the top in the same way the PD170/VX2100 did years ago?
Within similar price points of course, build quality,etc.
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Old November 24th, 2011, 11:03 PM   #2
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Re: Replacement for the PD170

Although this is an old post, I'll give my 2 cents for others that may be wondering the same thing. First off, like you said, there is a wide variety of great cameras out there for a wide range of needs and budgets.

Sony Z5U - (Tape Based) If you were looking for a camera in the basic format and size of the PD170, I would have to say that the Z5 is as close to it as possible since it is tape based and roughly the same size and featureset. The low light rivals and even exceeds the PD series cams. But it is HDV and going on 5 years old technology, therefore becoming an obsolete camcorder many might say. The Canon XH-A1 is another camcorder similar to the Z5. It is 3 CCD's and not quite as good in low light, but a very nice camera indeed, especially when it was first released. Both are in their later days of production and newer cams have technology that is even better (see below). If you want tape-based, these are good choices though.

Sony HDR-AX2000 & HXR-NX5U - Probably the closest equivelent of the PD cams in the Sony lineup in an AVCHD format. Non-tape based.

Sony EX1R - This is sort of the gold standard of Sony's camcorders now. It's more money than the cameras listed above, but In some ways it IS to the Sony line today like the PD150 once was in its day. The EX 1's are used to 'film' all sorts of broadcast shows and documentarys. The EX1 would blow the doors off any PD cam. If your budget allows, this would be one to look at.

Panasonic AG-AC130 - Similar to the PD series in many ways. Pretty new cam, Great reviews so far. New technology, priced great

Canon - XF100 - Great, compact little camcorder from Canon. It's going to be smaller than the PD's but isn't that what made the PD's great in their day: compact size?

Canon XA10 - Not really so much of an equivelent to the PD's in size, or even some features (even smaller than an older Sony TRV30, or TRV950 in size), but it shoots incredible video for such a compact camera. Better low light than the PD's, XLR jacks. Would be one to look at if you are looking for a new cam in a very small format. Lots of features. Most features only accessable via the touch screen menu system though.

I'm sure others will chime in with divergent suggestions too. Hope this helps..
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Old November 25th, 2011, 09:54 PM   #3
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Re: Replacement for the PD170

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Knobbe View Post
I was wondering if any particular camera has risen to the top in the same way the PD170/VX2100 did years ago?
None have been as successful as the PD170 (actually the PD150).
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Old November 25th, 2011, 10:09 PM   #4
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Re: Replacement for the PD170

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Originally Posted by Mark Goodsell View Post
...Sony Z5U [/B]- (Tape Based).....
Just to clarify.... The Z5 has a compact flash recorder as an accessory, the MRC1K. It adds recording to compact flash and attaches through a proprietary interface that lets it be powered from the camera battery and for it's information to be displayed on the viewfinder.


EDIT: They use the Z5 on the Deadliest Catch and I think I've seen it a number of times on Dirty Jobs.
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Old December 27th, 2011, 10:24 PM   #5
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Re: Replacement for the PD170

Back in the hay day of the PD150 it WAS the only game in town in the handheld format that had broadcast capabilities with a robust featureset. It wasn't until Canon released the XL1 and later when Panasonic released the DVX100 that there were credible challengers. And actually, Canon was pretty quick to get out the XL1. It might be debatable weather you group the XL1 with the PD150. As a sidestream note: I also remember that back then, there was a Ford vs Chevy type of debate between the VX2000 and the GL2. Given the competition today, I don't think any handheald camcorder will stand alone in the way the PD series did.

However, if you ask the question: 'What handheld camcorder, or camcorders out there today bundle a featureset that has put them at the top of the handheald crop, have stayed there for a meaningful length of time, is commonly used for broadcast use and top end videography work (in today's world, of course), much the same way the PDxxx cams were in their day' ...I think you'd have to give that title to the Sony PMW-EX1 and EX1R, don't you guys think? With an honerable mention to the Panasonic HPX250. The EX1 series with it's 1/2" chips seems to have become the defacto camcorder which other handhelds are commonly measured by. It's a little larger than the PDxxx cams. One might also say that the Canon 5D DSLR is the parallel of what the PD150 was in its day. The 5D was/is ground breaking like the PD's were and more or less stood on their own for some time until the competition caught up.

But for a less expensive modern camcorder for event type work in the same size as the PDxx cams capable of broadcast and outstanding low light capabilities (like the PDxxx cams had), the new Panasonic AC160/130 and Sony Z7U or AX2000 would be the ones to look at. But yeah, there are So many great choices out there.

One thing that I think that is kind of misleading when you look on B&H's website, there are a lot of older technology cams you can still buy that make it seem like there are more cams available that meet today's standard than there really are. If you removed cams like the DVX100, GL2, AH1 and so on the choices dwindle down and there aren't quite as many.
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