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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:03 PM   #1
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PD150 - MiniDV vs DV Cam mode

Hello one and all-

Here's my quandry...after consulting these boards to try and figure out what the grinding noise was coming from my PD150 I sent the cam to Sony for repair. They fixed it fine I guess, for 600.00...told me the heads were filthy, tape path filthy, etc (drum has just 130 hours)

When I purchased this PD150 a few months back, after deciding that my Canon GL2 had reached its limits, I continued to use the Panasonic Pro Quality DVM63PQ that I have used for years in all my other cams. Sony tells me in their return letter that I'm better off to use the 150 in DV Cam mode, as compared to mini-dv.

Maybe the previous owner was using consumer grade tapes and the change from Sony to Panasonic Pro tapes could be the culprit?

So, I am confused! The 150 shoots in both DV Cam mode and mini DV mode. I use mini DV promarily because I can shoot 63+ mins in mini DV mode, and let's face it, the tapes are much cheaper too. DV Cam mode gives me just 40 mins...and I can use another Sony mini DV cam for uploading to FCP.

So, the advice I am seeking is: Can I continue to use the Panasonic Pro mini DV tapes from here on in as I have always used, or shall I just get used to 40 min shooting times and higher expense, shooting the DV Cam mode and tapes? If the latter is the case, why is the cam available to shoot in both modes...confusing!

Compared to the GL2, this 150 is incredible, especially in low light venues! I just don't want to have to face another $600.00 to have the tape path cleaned!

I'd appreciate any and all suggestions and guidance -

Thanks very much -

Ross Warren
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Old February 14th, 2007, 04:54 PM   #2
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I've been shooting with 150s (well now down to 1) for about 6 years and have always shot in DV mode and for almost as long have used the Panny 63PQs. The only time I have ever had a problem is if I had a bad tape which happens every once in a while. My JVC5000 had nothing but those tapes thru it and my DSR250 has had the same diet also in DV mode-no problems.
I know there are some people who will disagree and suggest shooting with the Sony tapes but frankly I don't see the difference as long as you're not switching back and forth or just using whatever is handy-that WILL gum up the heads.
As for DVCAM some have said it gives better quality-again just my opinion but I don't believe it.The information is the same 1s and 0s and with well in excess of 10000 hours of tape run on my 150 now and without having any problems I'd say your probably safe to shoot in DV mode with the Panny tapes. BUT thats just me.
OOPS I meant 1000 hours-man if I could get 10000 hours I sell the technology and be RICH! ;-)
Don

Last edited by Don Bloom; February 14th, 2007 at 07:01 PM.
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Old February 14th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #3
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DVCam was developed to handle the extreme stress caused by news crews using linear editing systems in their mobile trucks and re-using the tape at least 10 times.

There is no signal quality difference between DV & DVCam, as pointed out before, you cannot screw up ones and zeros unless they are missing. So use standard DV tapes even if you want, for some reason, to record in DVCam.

Frankly, DVCam is a waste of money for those of us who use non-linear editing systems and don't recycle tapes. I finally got a Sony REP at NAB to agree with my conclusions.
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Old February 15th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input

Don & Mike -
Thanks for your responses! So, I'll continue to use the Panny DV tapes and hopefully will not have any more related problems. Thanks for clearing up this confusion.

It's showtime!

Ross
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Old February 15th, 2007, 08:37 AM   #5
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Ross,

Please do not read into my response, an approval for using Panasonic tapes in a Sony camcorder. I do not.

It is my belief, based on more than a few years of working in industries that sold both machines and supplies, that the supplies sold by a company for its machines are, at a minimum, as good and probably better than those made by a third-party. That is because the company understands the design parameters of the machine and designs the supplies to optmize its performance.

A good example of this is when people use Xerox copiers with 3rd-party paper. Not nearly the jam-free results as when Xerox paper is used. The difference is Xerox knows what the specs are for paper to work correctly with their copiers whereas those competing on price alone really don't care because their customers only focus on price.

Logically, Panasonic, while a good company, has no incentive to make their tapes maximally compatible with Sony camcorders while Sony does.

The only reason Sony doesn't state, "Use our tapes or you might damage our camcorders," is certain US laws. Don't misunderstand me, I would not state that their position would be factually correct or not, just that they risk lawsuits by all other suppliers of tapes if they made that statement.

The cost difference between Sony and other tape brands, when measured against the cost of a production is insignificant and should not, in my opinion, be a determination of tape brand selection.
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Old July 15th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #6
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We always record DVCAM on standard MiniDV tapes. DVCAM has better error correction or somesuch that makes it less susceptible to dropouts. But I'd never by mini-sized DVCAM cassettes. I'm pretty sure there isn't much physical difference in the tape between MiniDV and mini-size DVCAM.

Whenever we're using full-size cassettes, however, we use Sony DVCAM because the price difference is pretty minimal, and if we need the run time that comes with full-size cassettes, it's probably Pretty Important and worth the extra.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 06:48 PM   #7
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DVCAM does not have better error correction. It uses a faster tape speed to record 'better' ones and zeros. Meaning that more tape is used to record each bit. But if the ones and zeros are recorded OK in the first place, there is no difference.
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