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


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Old January 5th, 2006, 04:24 PM   #1
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Need advice on which camera to buy.

Hello,
I'm new here. I'm 17, and my hobby for a while has been making somewhat short videos of all kinds, and editing them. I'm sure a lot of you do this kind of thing for a living, and I figured y'all would know best. I'm looking at the VX2000 or the PD-150. I want to buy the best camera I can afford, my budget is around $1800-$2000. I used a PD-150 at school earlier today, and I really liked it. The VX2000 is obviously cheaper, but I've heard the audio isn't that great, and also, I need this camera to last me a long time. I'm learning about manual controls, but I usually do everything auto (I use a pansonic PV-GS120 currently.).The only downside I can think of about the PD, besides the price, is that the shotgun mic could be bulky in some situations. I was hoping you guys could inform me about other pro's and con's of both models. I really appreciate it. Thanks,
-Rob
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Old January 5th, 2006, 04:27 PM   #2
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Sorry... wrong forum... could a mod please move this to the VX and PD forum? I wasn't able to delete the thread like you can on some forums.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 04:49 PM   #3
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Hi Rob and welcome to DVinfo. The VX and PD are great in low light, have reasonably good manual controls, and produce nice results in 4:3. But since you want the camera to last awhile you should think about how important 16:9 is to you. If it's important then these cameras probably aren't the best choice, they just chop off the top and bottom of the image to make 16:9, which makes for pretty low quality.

I suppose the HVR-HC1 might be worth a look if you're interested in HDV and can live with the lack of complete manual control. I moved your post as requested, but you might also consider the PDX-10 - read through our forum for some insights. Less sensitivity in very dark places, but great 16:9 quality. It has XLR's and the same shotgun mike as the PD-150, but they are all removable and the camera also has builtin stereo mikes. The camera is also noticeable smaller than the PD-150 which would address your concerns about bulk. You also get DVCAM, a nice LCD screen and BW viewfinder. It comes from Sony's pro division which means better warranty service, and can be bought new for less than your budget.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 05:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
Hi Rob and welcome to DVinfo. The VX and PD are great in low light, have reasonably good manual controls, and produce nice results in 4:3. But since you want the camera to last awhile you should think about how important 16:9 is to you. If it's important then these cameras probably aren't the best choice, they just chop off the top and bottom of the image to make 16:9, which makes for pretty low quality.

I suppose the HVR-HC1 might be worth a look if you're interested in HDV and can live with the lack of complete manual control. I moved your post as requested, but you might also consider the PDX-10 - read through our forum for some insights. Less sensitivity in very dark places, but great 16:9 quality. It has XLR's and the same shotgun mike as the PD-150, but they are all removable and the camera also has builtin stereo mikes. The camera is also noticeable smaller than the PD-150 which would address your concerns about bulk. You also get DVCAM, a nice LCD screen and BW viewfinder. It comes from Sony's pro division which means better warranty service, and can be bought new for less than your budget.
I sometimes like to shoot in 16:9. I almost always do it in post, however. Another one of my questions is does the PD150 have a built in mic? or am I restricted to the shotgun mic all the time? I'm also going to use this camera on vacations, family movies, etc. What are considered "high" hours for the drums, threading, etc? I would think that because of the cost of these cameras, they are built to last for a while. What kind of maintenance should I expect to be doing, and how often?
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Old January 5th, 2006, 05:06 PM   #5
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The PD-150 doesn't have an internal mike. It's probably a little big and heavy for a "vacation cam". The only reason I mentioned the 16:9 issue is because you plan to keep the camera for awhile. Several years down the road letterboxed 16:9 may not seem as acceptable when more people have widescreen TV's. But of course that's just one of many trade-offs you need to consider when buying a camera in your price range.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 05:37 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
The PD-150 doesn't have an internal mike. It's probably a little big and heavy for a "vacation cam". The only reason I mentioned the 16:9 issue is because you plan to keep the camera for awhile. Several years down the road letterboxed 16:9 may not seem as acceptable when more people have widescreen TV's. But of course that's just one of many trade-offs you need to consider when buying a camera in your price range.
Hmm. I suppose it isn't too big of an issue about the internal mic. The shotgun mic isn't that long. I could always use my other camera for vacations.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 06:08 PM   #7
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Since the microphone that comes with the PD is removable, you can always do that or even reverse it.

I wouldn't necessarily call it a shotgun. It is just sort of a 'microphone' without much sensitivity. It doesn't sound all that bad but it has to be rather close to the sound source to develop any signal amplitude.

The good news is you can tape it to a broomstick and use it for a boom microphone.

I do not carry my PD on vacation. It is way too large. I use a PC-110 for that. But more recently I've returned to carrying a digital still camera. As a travel expert said recently, "You can travel with your eye on the viewfinder or leave the camera behind and enjoy the vacation!"
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Old January 5th, 2006, 07:05 PM   #8
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The audio on the VX series is 1/8" stereo. The quality is fine if you have the correct mic for these cameras. I primarily use an expensive Lectrosonics wireless system and I get excellent audio. I wouldn't mind having more input options, but I believe audio for movie shorts should be done in post anyway.

For your budget, you could get a nice used VX2100 (the newer vx2000) and a Rode video mic that has the 1/8" input. It is considered a decent shotgun mic and is affordable. If you want it to last a long time, consider getting the newer PD170 or VX2100 cameras.

The VX built-in mics are decent and you can add a shotgun or wireless later. If you are doing a movie short, get a decent mic for your computer and home studio for re-dubbing audio in post production. It is the only way to get the best audio quality.
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Old January 5th, 2006, 07:23 PM   #9
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VX2000 v. GS 120

I currently have both a VX2000 and the GS 120. Difference is night and day in most shooting situations. You will enjoy the VX or PD Sonys. The image is far superior than the GS 120. Available light shooting is far superior too. If you are worried about a mic in the future, if you go the VX series, which seems to be what you should do given your requirements, you can easily bolt on the and XLR adapter so you can go with better mic systems.

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Old January 5th, 2006, 08:05 PM   #10
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I think I want to go with the PD, just because of the included XLR and the extra few features. I heard that the body of the PD is more durable than the VX too. I've never really heard of the DVCAM format before I looked into the PD. I've never seen anyone use them, nor have I seen them for sale. I'm assuming you can use MiniDV just as well, right?
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Old January 5th, 2006, 08:30 PM   #11
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DVCAM is just a different way to write the data to tape. The same 1's and 0's are there so the quality is the same. You can use regular mini DV tapes but the recording speed is faster for DVCAM so you only get 40 minutes on a 60 minute mini DV tape. You don't have to use DVCAM mode, it's an option. You can also record in regular DV SP mode (60 minutes per tape).
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Old January 5th, 2006, 10:18 PM   #12
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The chassis are essentially the same for the VX & the PD.

You get much better support and service for the PD from Sony.

For me, the advantages of the PD over the VX made the decision to buy a no-brainer.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 10:08 AM   #13
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Thanks very much everyone for your insight. I'm going with the PD.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 07:44 PM   #14
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I'm a PD-170 user but I'm surprised no one suggested the PDX-10. It has native 16x9 chips. Not good in low light but it's a smaller and less expensive 3 chip camera.
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Old January 7th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman
I'm surprised no one suggested the PDX-10.
That's probably because you didn't read the whole thread (see above):

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
you might also consider the PDX-10
However Rob has already stated that he plans to buy the PD-150
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