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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:39 PM   #1
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quality on 30/60/120/180 tapes

i've always understood things such that the shorter the tape (and when shot in SP mode) the better the quality. However, the different size DV tapes all boast different LP modes (vs vhs which will advertise a 6 hour tape with a 120 min sp mode or any other combination therein)

so if i get a 120 min SP tape and record in SP mode will there be a noticeable quality difference (or managability in timecode, or decay over time) from a 60 SP ? likewise will recording on 30s increase quality? or do they just simply pack more tape in the little thing?
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Old July 17th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #2
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To the best of my knowledge the longest mini DV tapes available are 80 minutes in SP mode. There are concerns over stretching with these longer, thinner tapes, and IIRC Sony does not recommend them for their prosumer camcorders. Your mileage might vary of course.

If you see tapes longer than 80 minutes being advertised then they might be the larger cassettes which fit in shoulder cameras and DVCAM decks. Or perhaps the times are measured in LP mode? Then again, maybe something new has come along that I've missed?...
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Old July 17th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #3
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I know on the 30 minute tapes I've used (Panasonics), they've just got the cassette half-full. I oddly enough learned this after one of their tapes jammed and reeled out and then snapped inside my camcorder, and I took apart the tape to see what the problem was.

I've switched to Fuji since then.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:45 AM   #4
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yeah 60 is fine. avoid the 80's if possible. i've seen way more dropouts/ bad tracking issues with them. some people list 120 on the packaging but they're just using the lp time. (lp with 80 minute tapes is the last thing you'd ever want to do.)
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Old August 1st, 2005, 01:10 PM   #5
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Stick to 60, tried and true. I have to say that oddly, the most problems I have had have been with 30 minute tapes...

ash =o)
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Old August 3rd, 2005, 12:25 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Matt Schoen
...so if i get a 120 min SP tape and record in SP mode will there be a noticeable quality difference...?
The length of the tape, and the recording speed of SP vs. LP have no impact on *image quality* in the digital domain of DV. Material recorded in the LP speed is identical in "quality" to the SP speed -- no difference there.

The primary difference is that sometimes a tape recorded at the LP speed will only play back properly in the camcorder that shot it. Not a big deal for a consumer, but in a pro environment involving different playback decks, different cameras it can be an issue.

There is a higher risk of tape dropout at LP speed than there is at SP speed, and longer tape lengths tend to break easier since they're made of a thinner base in order to fit into the same shell as the shorter lengths -- although your mileage may vary, as evidenced by Ash's report above.

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