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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 26th, 2006, 08:02 PM   #1
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Is my PD170 obsolete?

I bought this thing a good year ago and haven't done much with it but would like to when I find time.

Am I crazy not to sell it? Has DV taken over yet?
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Old January 26th, 2006, 09:25 PM   #2
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Its certainly not obsolete. The PD170/150 is still considered by most to be the benchmark in wedding/event vidoegraphy.

I still use my 150 instead of my fullsize camera for a lot of my work and am constantly amazed at the quality of the image and I've been using the 150s for about 5 years. With all the talk about HD/HDV I still have to ask the question and that is WHY? First generation cameras, no true delivery system yet and frankly no one asking for it, at least none of my clients. I think the PD will live on for a few years yet.
Have fun with it
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Old January 26th, 2006, 10:30 PM   #3
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I just bought a PD170 in March of last year. HD still isn't my bag yet. HD takes up quite a bit more HD space and its more unforgiving in my opinion. All I need to do is shoot weddings and documentaries. Georg, I was feeling the same way, never seeing any posts about the camera. Don't worry Georg, your not the only one using the cam and certainly won't be the last. It's a great camera. Lets start our own board about the PD170. It'll be small, quiet and we wont know what the heck to say to one another. LOL.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 10:34 PM   #4
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of course it's obsolete! it was obsolete the moment the company manufacturing it brought out the next model....

then again, like don, i haven't been asked for anything other than dvd in the past few years. hdtv? 16:9? private clients have no idea what you're talking about, corporate don't give a toss as long as your product meets their budget and gets their message across, and as for tv - well if you've capture the tusnami wave on your mobiole phone, they'll pay the earth for it, they'll pay quite well for 4:3 sd of material they like, and only the bigger boys want hdtv 16:9....

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Old January 27th, 2006, 12:54 AM   #5
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Its time for u to maximise the usage of ur camera n cash in some money, whiile hd/hdv is still in its infancy years. My clients usually dont care/know what video formats r, as long as the goal is achieved, they will pay u, but of course there r clients who own wide plasma/lcd hdtvs at home n ask why the video quality isnt good, so u got to have the explaination witj u alwyas.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:32 AM   #6
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It's totally obsolete. I'll give you $100 cash for it right now. Just for nostalgiac purposes, of course. I promise not to use it to make money taking advantage of it's still-unbeaten low-light capabilities. Heck, I'm not sure it's even worth $100 since there are only about 1.7 billion televisions and computers left that can display video produced from it.

Enjoy your camera, it's one of the best. :)
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Old January 27th, 2006, 08:18 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
It's totally obsolete. I'll give you $100 cash for it right now. Just for nostalgiac purposes, of course. I promise not to use it to make money taking advantage of it's still-unbeaten low-light capabilities. Heck, I'm not sure it's even worth $100 since there are only about 1.7 billion televisions and computers left that can display video produced from it.

Enjoy your camera, it's one of the best. :)
Marcus, yeah, thats the ticket! The camera is a real P.O.S. If anyone has an old PD170 just sitting around, I'll take it off their hands just for parts. (wink wink nudge nudge).

I like my PD170. I don't care with all those HD Geeks say. Besides, every time I show up for a gig, people to marvel at it. I like the oooo's and ahhhh's.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Bloom
With all the talk about HD/HDV I still have to ask the question and that is WHY? First generation cameras, no true delivery system yet and frankly no one asking for it, at least none of my clients. I think the PD will live on for a few years yet.
The answer is that once you've seen HDV footage displayed on a decent HDTV, it's obvious that SD video is on its way out. Cameras like the PD170 will continue to be useful for a while, but viewing 4x3 SD footage on 16x9 TVs is a nuisance at best, and using the pseudo-widescreen mode in such a camera is no substitute for having proper widescreen footage (especially in HD).

As far as HDV cameras are concerned, we're already in the second generation if you count the early JVC models, and true HD DVD players will begin shipping in a few weeks. (I pre-ordered mine last night.) If people aren't asking for HD video maybe it's because they don't know to ask, and haven't been shown a decent sample by someone willing to offer that to them. Most of my recent clients already own HDTVs, so it makes sense to me to start offering them something which delivers the best viewing experience on such a display.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 01:41 PM   #9
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Thanks, everyone. Another question. I was using the 170 just today and was reminded that there's a constant humm that comes from the tape transport, I think. Is that normal?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #10
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Hum is normal as is the zoom motor at high speeds
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:31 PM   #11
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"The answer is that once you've seen HDV footage displayed on a decent HDTV, it's obvious that SD video is on its way out."

I completely agree. I think the question one must ask is how soon is that inevitability for my market and needs. For event video, it is hard to consider using anything but the VX and PD cameras for indoor events. The low light sensitivity allows shooting in almost any condition, from anywhere in the room. There is no substitute for flexibility during event shooting. There is often no time to set up lights or even a place for them. The best that one might do for lights is a single fill light on a stand at the back of the room. For now, there are ample reasons to keep a PD170. If I had the funds and needed a camera RIGHT NOW, I would keep my VX2000 for it's low-light capability and get a Z1 (or FX1) for it's HD and better overall features (a real focus ring!).
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:40 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
and get a Z1 (or FX1) for it's HD and better overall features (a real focus ring!).
As a VX-2000 and HVR-Z1 owner, I agree that the manual controls on the Z1 are much nicer. However it doesn't have a "real" focus ring. It spins round and round like the VX-2000 and only controls a servo motor which does the actual focusing. So there are no absolute positions for focus like a manual lens would have. Personally I do like the feel of it however. The zoom ring does have end stops, but it's also just an encoder that sends data to a servo motor, and the ring doesn't allow for very smooth zooms. The zoom rocker will let you do REALLY slow zooms with a little practice however.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault
For event video, it is hard to consider using anything but the VX and PD cameras for indoor events.
But then there's nothing to stop someone from recording in HDV in normal indoor lighting and then switching to a good low-light SD camera as lights go off, giving you the best of both options under a wide range of conditions. If you only record in SD you miss the impressive image you can get with HDV in normal lighting situations, while HDV does admittedly struggle in poor lighting. Something to consider until we get HD cameras with good low-light sensitivity at a reasonable price.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 06:46 AM   #14
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"If I had the funds and needed a camera RIGHT NOW, I would keep my VX2000 for it's low-light capability and get a Z1 (or FX1) for it's HD and better overall features (a real focus ring!)."

"...recording in HDV in normal indoor lighting and then switching to a good low-light SD camera as lights go off, giving you the best of both options..."

That's why I said I would keep my VX2000. What I REALLY want is a 1/2" CCD HDV-ish camera with 4:2:2 colorspace in the same form-factor as the FX1. I really don't want to be forced into using a shoulder-slung bigole hunka camera. I don't mind adding a stabilizer or shoulder-brace and the like, but I like the basic camera to be small for on-the-fly use. My opinion is that the Z1 should have 1/2" ccds and cost a thousand more to separate it from the FX1. Oh well, i can dream...
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Old January 29th, 2006, 12:19 PM   #15
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I'm a full time video professional. I use a PD-170. I do local cable spots, corporate video and, yes, weddings. Your 170 will get you the standard def that OVERWHELMING majority the above markets are still using.

HD looks MUCH Better but the REALITY is market pentration is not high enough unless it's in your business model/client base.

HD is MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE.
It isn't just the cost of the camera. With HDV you have to deal with additional render times, downconverts to deliver on SD. Entire setups to color correct. If you're a PROFESSIONAL you color correct some part of nearly every job, even Weddings. With HVX200 (DVCProHD) there's acquisition and archival costs although the render time obviously drops.

You spend more money on the whole work flow. With rendering, you're now spending more time on that work flow too. All this and only clients with HDTV can appreciate and likely only if they can play WMVHD at the moment. If you're selling beautiful down converts for delivery you should be charging more for the time involved.

Delivery - Factor in the costs for HDDVD and BluRay burners too! IF, BIG IF, your clients have bought the players to go with their HDTVs.

With the above, your clients had better be willing to pay for a major increase in rates for your additional gear expense, time, delivery. If they ain't, paying you've LOST money by transitioning to HD if you're a PROFESSIONAL.

There's no problem AT ALL if your clients are paying MORE for your gear and your time.

HD will become a profitable market and will overtake standard def or, if you target that specialized market with a higher rate now.

In the mean time that pretty HD picture (which I do love) will bankrupt your business if your selling it at a DV rate.

IF your clients are asking AND WILLING TO PAY for HD, then your PD-170 is obsolete and only then.

IF you're an Indy Movie or Doc maker and think your project longevity will bring you in MORE MONEY (syndication, re-release, convert to film) in the future then HD is now.

I'm NOT an Indy Movie maker. My clients don't/can't use HD. I'm not going to take the business loss.

I will convert to HD when I think the income potential is there. I still think we're about a year away from that and it still won't be for the majority of my clients.
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