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-   -   Just purchased xl2, what tape should I use (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/canon-xl-gl-series-dv-camcorders/40713-just-purchased-xl2-what-tape-should-i-use.html)

Arlie Nava March 8th, 2005 01:37 PM

Just purchased xl2, what tape should I use
I just made my initial payment for an xl2. it should be delivered next week. What tape should i use? I am thinking of using sony DVM60 ME because it is the most widely available brand here in the philippines. But learning about this dry and wet issue about minidv tapes made me think twice.

I've learned from another thread that canon recomends using a "dry" head cleaner, and somebody said that cannon recommends "dry" tapes. Since sony is "wet", is it not recommended for the xl2, or can i use it as long as i stick to it?
Should i use "dry" head cleaner if i only use "dry" tapes, and wet head cleaner if i use wet tapes, or should it be "dry" cleaner even if i use wet tapes.

Chris, i am sure you can help me on this one. If i can't use sony for the xl2, please advice me on what brand and type should i use. Ive heard that panasonic makes both wet and dry, so if it should be pana, what kind?

Is it true that head cleaners are abrasive to the head?


Kevin Janisch March 8th, 2005 02:20 PM

I just got my XL2 yesterday, and my tapes arrived this morning. I went with Panasonic MQs as they are definitely dry, their online brochure states this. I previously used Fujis. Check out this thread for the details.


Pete Bauer March 8th, 2005 02:22 PM

Hi Arlie,

Congratulations on your new camera! I'm sure you're very eager to see it delivered. The wet/dry discussion is a frequent one and there's relatively little solid info about it...but here's a recent thread in which, thanks to Graham Jones Sr, there is a link to a Panasonic info sheet:


I'll stop short of making a particular recommendation, but will just say that I use Panasonic 63 minute tapes and a Panasonic head cleaner tape and I'm happy. I buy 'em for $5 a piece in boxes of 5 from Zotz Digital in Oregon.

Yes, the head cleaner tapes will warn you that they put extra wear on the heads. Just how much and how often you should use the cleaner is as open a question as the wet/dry mystery. Personally, I guesstimate about 15-20 tapes worth of use and do a 5-10 second cleaning per the instructions that come with the head cleaner tape. In reality, that may be either too much or not enough...it is just a guess.

Mark Sasahara March 8th, 2005 03:10 PM

Don't confuse the head cleaner with the magnetic tape.

The "dry" head cleaner refers to a head cleaner that doesn't use alcohol, or other liquid solvents to clean the heads. It just uses just the dry cleaner tape. A "wet" head cleaner uses a liquid solvent to aid in the cleaning of the tape heads. For the XL2, a dry head cleaner is recommended.

The "wet" magnetic tape refers to the use of lubricants on the Sony tape. I have switched from Panasonic to Sony and so far have not had a problem. I had the heads cleaned before switching over.

I use the PDVM-40N DVCAM tape. It's DVCAM tape, but it's in the MiniDV shell, so it'll fit in your camera. Be sure that the sales person understands what you are asking for. The slower tape speed gives you a full hour of recording on a forty minute DVCAM tape. I suggest the use of DVCAM tapes in the MiniDV cassette because the tape is of a higher quality and is more robust, so you get less drop outs.

A friend of mine who owns a DVX uses only the Sony DVCAM tape stock. Niether of us have had any tape/head issues.

Sony DVCAM Tapes:
- PDVM40DM digital Master series
DVCAM in MiniDV Shell, Chipless

DVCAM in MiniDV Shell, Chipless

DVCAM in MiniDV Shell, W/Chip

-Panasonic DVCAM/DV Tape
DV Master Tape
DVCAM in MiniDV Shell

Other lengths are available. I listed the sixty-three minute tapes.

Panasonic DV Professional Tape line:

Other lengths are available. I listed the sixty-three minute tapes.

Most peple have found that you pick a tapestock that you like and stick with that. I switched from the Panasonic tape to Sony tape after my XL2 came back from being serviced.

David Lach March 8th, 2005 06:00 PM

Well I use the Panasonic MQs with my XL2 and on my last personal project, I got 3 serious dropouts that compromised the movie as the dropouts occured on the good takes (Murphy's law I guess). This was such a disapointment.

I'm seriously considering switching brand. 3 dropouts on 7 hours of tapes (the camera was brand new, heads were clean) is ridiculous. If this had been a professional shoot, I would have gotten my ass fired.

Of course, if it was a professional shoot and I was acquiring critical footage, I would probably have bought an external drive to bypass the tape process altogether, but still, I find this dropout rate to be quite unacceptable. So much for the Pana MQs being the top of the line.

I like the Sony DVCAM tapes suggestion. I might have to consider that.

Mark, can I ask why you switched? What is your experience with dropouts (can you give some kind of rate with the Sony's)?

Tony Davies-Patrick March 9th, 2005 06:24 AM

Mark - your views on the PDVM-40N DVCAM tape have aroused my interest.

I was thinking of sticking to the JVC MiniDV tapes (either Standard DVM60ME or the pricier Pro versions), but the thought of using a DVcam tape that has stronger band-tape housed in a more robust casing - which may also make it less prone to problems with severe temperature changes - as well as the extra play time of up to 1-hour at LP from a 40-minute cassette, gives the PDVM-40N DVCAM a lot of positive aspects.

The prices of these tapes are a lot more expensive than the normal MiniDV tapes, but the added expense might be worthwhile. Iím not sure if JVC have similar DVCAM cassettes in mini-format, Iíll take a look.

One thing I find strange, if there are so many benefits, is that people who own the XL1/1s/2 series do not use the DVCAM tapes more often.

Are there any negative aspects at all about using a DVCAM tape that runs a lot slower over the heads than a normal MiniDV tape?

Mark Sasahara March 9th, 2005 11:47 AM

I haven't noticed any drop outs with the DVCAM tapes. A friend has been using them longer than I have and hasn't noticed anything either. The DVCAM tapes are almost without dropouts. The downside is that they are expensive. A case of the PDVM-40N's cost around $130 for ten tapes.

The DVCAM tapes are more robust because they are getting pulled through the tape transport at a higher speed than MiniDV, so the base and coating have to be stronger.

It's not really longer play time, it's the same length of tape as MiniDV, it's just that the information for DVCAM is spread over a larger area, due to the increased transport speed. You still want to run at SP, standard speed, for best quality. Running at the slower speed of MiniDV, puts less stress on the tape. No problems.

If you are shooting an important project, you will want to be sure to use the Sony, or Panasonic DVCAM tapes in the Mini cassette.

Sony tapes. Three different types of DVCAM tape to choose from.

Panasonic tapes. The top two choices are DVCAM tapes. Pro on the right.

I'll go to the tape forum, look around and see what people are using. I figured everyone knew. Maybe not.

Arlie Nava March 9th, 2005 12:00 PM

Thanks for the reply everybody,

that dvcam tape issue is interesting. I am already thinking of using it for my personal projects, that is if i can get them. As i mentioned already, sony tapes are the molst widely available here ih tne philippines, i plant to have my xl2 rented and theres more than 90% possiblity that client will be using sony unless i insist that i provide the tapes.

Will the DVcame tapes play on all minidv players or are there only specific brands/models that could play this back.

As for the panasonic, there is only one place where i am sure to get it if i ran out of tape. And taht won't be practical if im shooting far from that place.

Another thing, since my future client would use their own camera for play back and they most likely be using sony, they might not want to play another type/brand of tape. so if i am forced to stick to sony, am i being too stupid?

Mark Sasahara March 9th, 2005 02:30 PM

I don't think it matters the brand so much, but get the professional DVCAM tapes and stick with one brand. If you switch from sony to Panasonic, run the head cleaner tape through the camera a couple of times and you should be all set.

If you can have your client provide the tape, that's great, just make sure they get the right stuff and not have some stupid sales person tell them they need something else. It's better if you get the tapes yourself and then just charge them for it. You can mark that up since it's taking your time and effort to procure the tapes.

Just be sure you have more than enough tapes and batteries when you get on location. Sounds like you'll be somewhere remote. If you are shooting a one hour video, and you have a 5:1 shooting ratio, bring five tapes. If you are shooting at a 10:1 ratio, bring ten tapes. I always bring an extra tape, or two, for "just in case".

DVCAM tapes play in the MiniDV players, they are in the mini shell. There shouldn't be any tracking problems

Aaron Koolen March 9th, 2005 03:05 PM

I've used standard Sony Premium tapes for the 2 1/2 years I've had my camera. I never had any dropout's until April last year when I had a couple. I was unsure if this was either because I hadn't had my camera services in the year or so I had it (It doesn't get a lot of use) I switched to US bought tapes from B&H as opposed to buying locally. The ones from B&H are in the blue packet (Mine were Red) but were, as I understood the same sort of tape. Also, B&H was about 1/2 the price of buying locally.

Best thing, is whatever you buy, stick to it if it works.

Also, the XL2 doesn't shoot DVCAM, so it's simply miniDV on a DVCam tape. How can this help, unless they make their DVCam tapes better than the miniDV ones?


Mark Sasahara March 9th, 2005 03:31 PM

Correct, it's not shooting DVCAM format, I never said that it was. Yes, the quality of tape is better, that's what I'm saying, was that not apparent?

I'm using DVCAM tapes that are in the mini shell. They are labelled as DVCAM. The tape stock is a higher quality professional grade tape than the consumer tape.

Follow the links I posted and you will see what I'm talking about. There is a standard and a mini sized shell for the DVCAM tapes. For our cameras like the XL2 and DVX we use the mini shell cassettes.

Arlie Nava March 10th, 2005 03:21 PM

Ok, i think that DV Cam tape makes sense. Can I use both DVcam and regular tapes as long as they are from the same manufacturer, Or is that also bad for the cam's head? How about the head cleaner, should it also be the same brand?

Thanks for the tip mark! I'll always see to it that i have more than enough tapes when shooting. Being a professional editor taught me that having more shots gives you more edit options.
I won't be shooting anywhere remote soon, but the having to go to that one place where most tape brands are available is not a good idea if your busy shooting. Panasonic, TDK etc... are only available in that place and the traffic situation doubles your travel time. Sony is available everywhere. Im just trying to avoid wasting too much time to get a particular tape brand that is only available in one place.

Thanks everyone, you've all been very helpful.

Tony Davies-Patrick March 11th, 2005 04:22 AM

Your views have made me seriously think about changing from normal MiniDV tapes to DVCAM.

I'll use the JVC MiniDV tapes up until the project, run a JVC tape cleaner, and then only use Sony PDVM-40N DVCAM on the main filming for the rest of the year...as long as I can find a good source of the tapes new, in bulk, at the cheapest price.

Mark, these tapes - selling in Germany - must be the ones you mean? :


I'll be flying to Canada twice this year to do filming on the USA/Canada borders, so will probably be better off buying in USA to obtain the cheapest bulk price. Anybody know the cheapest place to buy DVCAM tapes in USA?
I'll keep my eye out for ones on Ebay, but I'll also need a reliable store that can post me extras if I need them in a hurry. I'm going to be filming for about 5-months, so that'll be a lot of tapes, and the total price needs to be within our budget.

Mark Sasahara March 11th, 2005 09:09 AM

Yeah, those are the ones. I don't know German, just be sure that your not buying five tape boxes!

There are a few places here in New York City that have pretty good prices. If you go to The Long Black Line forum, there are a few people looking for the best prices on tapes. Tapeonline.com came up a few times. If you buy in bulk, the prices should get lower.

I prefer the Sony or Panasonic tapes.

Tony Davies-Patrick March 12th, 2005 04:21 AM

Thanks for the help, Mark.

Please note, that I have just changed main server for my websites, and they will be offline for about 48-hours. However, this Domain is now active:


The other 15 Domaines leading to my different websites, including all the co.uk Domaines, will be back online within 48-hours.

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