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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old January 7th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #1
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Problems with switch from miniDV to DVCAM tapes

I am sure this has been posted somewhere, so I apologize if it is redundant... but if anyone can re-direct me it would be welcomed.

I own VX2100 and have used Sony miniDV only, but considering switching to Sony mini DVCAM for durability/dropout prevention. I do alot of shooting in 3rd world situations that offer no "re-shoot." To date I have had no problems with Sony miniDV's but I noticed some discussion about better durability with DVCAM. I guess the main question is if I switch do I still need to have my heads Pro cleaned even though it is same Company?

Thanks,
C. Michael Fairman
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Old January 7th, 2006, 03:20 PM   #2
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Hi C. Michael,
I think you'll find that DVCam is more influenced by the recording mode of the camera than the tape stock. Certainly your VX2100 won't record Dvcam and the DVcam tapes are quite a bit more expensive for no real gain.
They'll work, but you won't get the supposed security of using DVcam on a DVcam tape.

If you look around the forum many shooters, including myself are using Sony Premium and having no probs...(I'm using them with an FX1 and even in HDV mode I've had no problems in a year of shooting, and 50 odd hours.) Shoot standard SD on these and even in 3rd world situations my guess is you'll be fine.

cheers
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Old January 7th, 2006, 09:12 PM   #3
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DVCam tape is indeed more rugged and the cassette enclosure is made stronger and probably more accurately whether you are talking about the full-size or mini-DV cassettes.

DVCam and the cassettes labeled as such were designed for the linear editing environment of the broadcast news field trucks. Lots of tape reuse, lots of slamming it back and forth on their decks.

So it certainly will take more abuse from that standpoint. Should be more environmentally stable too.

But frankly, if you are shooting in an environment that is as tough as you say and there are no second opportunities, that's where I'd be go all the way and shoot in DVCam format, Not DV.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #4
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I like this option better, but it is not as portable: get a second small miniDV camera that uses the same batteries as your primary. Send the primary's video out the firewire to the firewire input of the tiny camera. This way, you can get two copies of your tape simultaneously. I used to do this during weddings with my VX2000 and a TRV900 that I kept in a camera bag with a waist belt.
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Old January 8th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #5
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Thanks Folks, all of your advice is very helpful. I've never had any issues with Sony miniDV's tapes is past, but I was curious none the less. Anyway, Thanks again.
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Old July 31st, 2006, 02:28 PM   #6
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I am going to use the PD170, if i want to shoot on dvcam do i need MiniDVcam tapes or can i just use miniDV?
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Old July 31st, 2006, 02:36 PM   #7
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You can use any mini DV tape. The format of the data on the tape and the speed at which it runs is different, but it's still the same 1's and 0's and it will record in DVCAM just fine on regular tape. Of course, Mike has listed some other possible reasons why you might want to use DVCAM tapes...
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Old August 1st, 2006, 01:14 PM   #8
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is it always better to use new tapes with nothing on them instead of recording over old footage? less dropouts? or no differernce?
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Old August 1st, 2006, 10:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Antoniou
is it always better to use new tapes with nothing on them instead of recording over old footage? less dropouts? or no differernce?

I have the same question... is there a loss in quality if you record over all footage?

and also... is there any difference between the different mini dv tape brands? It seems like sony alone makes at least 3 versions
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Old August 1st, 2006, 10:43 PM   #10
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Guys, the signal is digital, not analog and tape quality as you mean it means nothing. As long as there is enough recording medium on the tape backing, it will record a perfect signal.

I always used the cheapest Sony brand in my Sony cameras and never ever have had a drop-out.

The only time I use DVCam tape is when I use my DSR-300 which is DVCam only. Even when I turn advertising in to the TV station, it is DV tape recorded in DVCam.

As for reusing tape? Yes, you can do so and I've done so. But DV tape isn't designed for much reuse (DVCam is). And if you buy it in bulk, it is so cheap compared to the effort and other expenses that its expense is down in the noise level.
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Old August 1st, 2006, 11:18 PM   #11
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I have been doing a test reusing DV tapes. I've recorded 10 times on two tapes, almost filling the tapes, and have no drop outs. The tapes are pannies 83 minutes.

I don't know if 10 times is a lot, but I feel that this is the limit of the tapes. After 10 times I am ready to move on to another tape.

Part of me wants to continue the test, but I am starting to get worried that the tapes can't take much more use/abuse.

However, I am careful with the tapes by always keeping them in cases and storing them properly.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 01:34 AM   #12
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You will find information about the difference between MiniDV tape and DVCAM tape, when used in a MiniDV camera, at http://www.taperesource.com/mini_dv_tapes.html#article5


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Old September 10th, 2006, 10:46 PM   #13
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I don't know if this has been mentioned as I didn't read all the responses and don't get to these boards as often as I used to, and it may be slightly off topic but, something to keep in mind is that even some of the lower level consumer Sony camcorders will actually play back DVCam tapes. It's not advertised but, I shoot with a PDX-10 and can play back the DVCam tapes in my DSR-11 or other DVCam deck AND my lowly consumer TRV-18 camera as well. I hear several other Sony consumer camcorders will playback DVCam as well. Just something to keep in mind.

Sean
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