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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 27th, 2005, 12:02 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 4
PD170 Mileage

I am looking at several eBay auctions for the Sony PD170 and some are used cameras with low hours. I was wondering if anyone could offer some guidelines as to what would be "normal" usage hours for the four meters on this camera (operation, drum, tape and threading). Since I am new to video recording much less the PD170 I am not quite sure what those number refer to but it would be nice to have some idea of how close the camera was to needing repair. Does someone have numbers for any of these meters when their camera broke down? Thanks.
Allen Twarowski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 11th, 2005, 04:21 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 3

Hey Allen,
I am sorry I do not have an answer to your questions, but I to am interested in buying two PD-170s. I have not thought about buying any used ones because this is my first big purchase in this business and I really wanted to buy all new stuff. I have only done about eight weddings in the last two or three years using only hi-8 sony camcorders and editing with a Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer. I am really clueless about this camera and this format. Any information you might offer would be appreciated. I did not even know about the recording time on these dv tapes. I was so used to having 90 or more minutes on those hi-8 cameras. So after taping an event do you download the tape to computer and edit like that? I can still use my MX-1 I think but I guess it would be more time consuming. I am going to have to learn an editing software and purchase a whole lot more memory and computer capability before I even start all this, but that PD-170 looks really good. Anyway, good luck with your business. John Frost
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Old November 12th, 2005, 12:24 AM   #3
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I don't know the number but as a former video engineer who had to deal with changing the heads on decks, Sony was very upfront about the average number of hours the heads would last for a given model.

Since the 170 is considered a "pro" camera by their tech department you might simply call them and ask. They'll also warn you that any number is an "average" and can vary from camera to camera. It can be affected by the conditions the camera was used under. Cigarette smoke is abrasive for example as is heavy dust (where and how was the camera stored). Was the camera used to cover the fire department in smoke filled buildings for example. Things like that can cut the head life in half.

The PD170 is a great camera. It'll shot 60 minutes on a tape in DV mode, 40 for DVCAM but you can stick to DV in most situations. The earlier 150 model was rugged enough to be used by CNN in Iraq and by Frontline.

I used to shoot with a Canon L1 Hi8 camera so the more frequent tape changes is a minor bother but the quality is many magnitudes better.

Simply input the DV tape into your computer (still real time) and edit on your NLE. Get a second hard drive for your computer (internal ATA or SATA depending on your 'puter) since you should never use the boot drive/program drive for media.

For Windows consider Avid or Vegas. For Mac consider Avid or Final Cut Pro. I use Final Cut Pro.
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