DV Info Net

DV Info Net (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/)
-   Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-vx2100-pd170-pdx10-companion/)
-   -   Are you still using your PD170 (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-vx2100-pd170-pdx10-companion/108790-you-still-using-your-pd170.html)

Simon Denny November 25th, 2007 07:54 PM

Are you still using your PD170
Are you still using your PD170?
With so many cams out at the moment who is still using their trusty PD170 and what stuff are you filming with it?
Do you use it in 4.3 mode or 16.9 mode?
How does 16.9 mode come up on wide screens?

Is this camera just good for a door stop now?


Don Bloom November 25th, 2007 08:31 PM

The last camera I used for a doorstop was my last JVC2XB body which I paid thousands for and sold for...well never mind.
AFA I am concerned the 150/170 are still the king of small form factor SD 4:3 shooting. I use mine for everything from sprots and news to weddings and seminars and corporate training videos unless the client specifies and is will to pay for something else. After using a pair of PD150s for over 6 years and now a 150/170 combo (with a JVC5000 and a DRS250) thrown in for good measure I will keep on using the 150/170 until such time as HD becomes a necessity for me to stay in business or I retire which comes first. NO I hate the 16:9 from the camera - it squishes the image. When I need 16:9 I simply use a mask on the lcd and then crop it in post. It don't happen often.
So in answer to your question, no the 170 isn't a doorstop, yes I use it for just about everything I do and IF you have one that you don't want put it in front of MY door. (just kidding of course unless you're shooting NTSC)

Simon Denny November 25th, 2007 10:22 PM

Hi Don,
It's good to see some are still using this cam. I still think it's the best 4.3 cam in this style and price range.
Could you explain you work out in obtaining 16.9 from your PD170, I would like to try it out.
I use sont Vegas as my editor.


Don Bloom November 26th, 2007 06:56 AM

Since IMO the native 16:9 in the camera pretty well sucks and look ugly what I did a long time ago with my 150s was to make a mask that I tape to the LCD-a bit of clear tape just to hold it in place and no the tape isn't on the lcd screen. I place the tape on the frame around the lcd. The mask is cut to a 16:9 ratio and I shoot in 4:3 and simply use the mask to gauge my headroom and bottom room.
In post (I also use Vegas) I can either use Pan/Crop to adjust OR simply use generated media top and bottom to simultae 16:9 framing.
Is it real widescreen, of course not but honestly most laymen don't notice the difference. So IOW, I cheat

Craig Seeman November 26th, 2007 10:36 AM

My 170 is still my main and only camera. I find the competition isn't so much from HDV but from the Panasonic 100 series. So many people request that specifically usually because they want 24p.

I do have an EX1 on order but that still won't put my 170 into retirement. Clients who want to pay for HD will get that. I will not GIVE AWAY HD like so many people seem to do.

I want an HD camera that is significantly better than SD and I don't like HDV as a codec, workflow, the low light performance of the current crop of those cameras. The difference between the EX1 and other HDV cameras and certainly SD (170) is significant enough that I can safely tier my prices. Yet the 170 will give clients a quality product even when I have to shoot SD in low light.

For those who think "low light" is for wedding videos only haven't hit the corporate marketing segment that I have. I'm often shooting marketing videos in situations where bringing in lights are impossible.

Ray Bell November 26th, 2007 11:18 AM

Just came back from a shoot in Grenada with my trusty 170....

The magic of its low light performance in underwater work is just fantastic...

some say its a little too good...

Simon Denny November 26th, 2007 03:13 PM

Thanks guys,

Don do you use the preset 16.9 frame in Pan/Crop.
What are your project settings to do this?
And one last question
what are your render settings?

I'm trying to find a way to do this myself but i'm getting all confused with aspect ratios all over the place, any help? i would welcome.

Hubert Duijzer November 26th, 2007 03:54 PM

I have a VX2100, but that must be the same.

Recording on the VX 4.3
Vegas project properties PAL/NTSC DV widescreen
indeed the 16.9 preset in pan/crop (good for the most beautiful tilts you've ever seen ;-) )
render as widescreen (have a look at the pixel aspect ratio, must be 1,4568)

Simon Denny November 26th, 2007 04:09 PM

Thanks Hubert,
Thats the info i like. Whats the final output like on a wide screen? is there much loss in quality? or is 4.3 stretched on wide screen better?


Hubert Duijzer November 27th, 2007 06:12 AM

It looks good to me, but i haven't seen it yet on big HD screens. From what people say on this board, that must be terrible :-)
Can't see any difference on SD screens actually. I like this workflow because i can go 4.3 and/or 16.9. There's also some freedom to tilt around.

Stephen Jackson December 1st, 2007 02:27 PM

I still use my 170s for corporate work and for concert tours. Since we do a lot of work where we can't control the lighting like in clubs and auditoriums the 150/170s are the best for us.

I'v had my camera feeds outputed to large screens and the images had been great.

Giovanni Speranza December 1st, 2007 06:19 PM

I own a Panasonic HVX200, but i work in a TV network and there we use a lot of PD170

Simon Denny December 2nd, 2007 02:53 AM

Giovanni thats very interesting, what format do they use,4.3 or 16.9?


David Morgan December 2nd, 2007 11:41 AM

2 PD 170's
If u guys could take a look at my post regarding using two camera's timecode sync I'd appreciate a response....if there is one.

Mike Rehmus December 2nd, 2007 01:11 PM

I still use my PD-150 and DSR-300 to make training videos. I think the lifetime of the training videos (which just sell and sell and sell) is quite long and the market more readily accepts SD. In fact, I couldn't sell HD to my distribution channel if I had to.

BTW, think of training videos as a retirement plan. They just keep rolling along. You might have to refresh them from time-to-time but if the content is 'evergreen,' they continue to sell.

Don Bazley December 4th, 2007 09:44 AM

I launched my production company last year. I've worked in broadcast and non-broadcast for years (as well as teaching production for years) but eventually decided to set out on my own. This time last year I was wrestling with what cams to buy. SD or HD? As a (new) business owner I obviously wanted to keep overhead low. Since my company concentrates on weddings (just like people are dying all the time, people are getng married all the time... ha ha) low-light performance was also important. I ended up buying a VX2100 and a PD 170 used from a member here. I am very glad I did. For now, I don't anticipate needing to buy anything for at least another year. When I do I guess I'll go HDV (Canon vs. Sony... another thread:). For now the VX/PD combo does anything I want it to. In addition to weddings I'll also be doing some training videos (I'm merging my experiences in teaching/instructional design with video prod.). So far I have the funding for one (the important part) but haven't started on production of training videos. When I do I will be shooting in cheese production plants (yes, I am actually setting out to make a cheesy video:). I'm sure the PD170 will do well shotting in that environment. I'm happy with mine.

As I believe others have said here...When I do 16:9 I simply shoot normal 4:3 and pretend there is a mask covering the very top/bottom of viewfinder. In post I use a letterbox matte (comes as a Adobe preset but could easily be made with any graphics/title program). Just lay that matte over whatever you are editing and you'll have a pseudo 16:9. Average viewers don't know the difference and the 16:9 effect looks more dramatic for wedding montages. I also picked this trick up from am member here. It's not complicated at all.

If anyone is using the PD 170 as a doorstop, I wouldn't mind buying one for cheap as a spare. :)

Simon Denny December 4th, 2007 01:15 PM

Hi Don Bazley,
Yeah I love the PD170 and in low light this thing rocks.
With the letterbox matte does this show the full frame in wide screen TV or does it still have the letterbox in wide screen TV. I say this as Sony Vegas has a 16.9 letterbox mask but in wide screen TV it still retains the black bars top & bottom, I just had a thought that maybe its the way i'm rendering to MPEG format, I render as 4.3 template maybe it should be 16.9 format.

Can anyone confirm this?

Good luck Don with your filming.


Don Bazley December 4th, 2007 02:41 PM

I can't confirm anything on rendering . I edit and render 4:3 and yes, on wide screen TVs you do still see the letterbox (black bars on top/bottom). Works for me. :)

Jon Omiatek December 4th, 2007 02:46 PM

Yes, it still has years of shelf life. If people don't pay extra for HD, they get SD and PD170s


Kirk Graham December 5th, 2007 08:43 AM

We love our pd170 for filming our outdoor tv series, I can tell you for fact that the pd will go aleast 10-12 min more at dusk than the FX1 and for me that is the most important time. It will be in my production use for a good while.

Mark Bournes December 5th, 2007 11:14 AM

We use a couple of PD 170's for a triathlon show on Comcast. So yes they are still being used. A very good workhorse.

Allen Plowman December 5th, 2007 12:06 PM

I am currently upgrading to pd170's for making instructional videos. I am selling content, and so far no one has asked for HD. up to this point I have made 3 videos, close to 800 dvds sold so far. all recorded on a pair of sony trv340 s8. I have not had a single complaint, and most ask when my next video will be coming out. now if I could just access dvinfo classifieds so I could find another camera....

Andy Wilkinson December 5th, 2007 02:18 PM

We are still using my mates old PD150 as there are many times when my HC1 and my mates V1 still don't cut it for low light work (we're doing a lot of work for a cathedral at the moment.)

Anyway, like many others, most of our output is Std. Def. DVD's.

Great camera, although I still have n't worked out why the 16:9 landscape option on it records a slightly less high horizontal slit for the 16:9 letterbox (more like 16: 8.95!) than the other two cams??? - makes for a bit more work in editing all 3 camera shots together on projects in Vegas 7. Anyone know why this is?

James Fazzaro December 7th, 2007 02:20 AM

PD170 for live music acts
I've had my PD170 for a few years now, and it's been excellent for documenting live music events. It can handle dimly lit clubs, smoke filled bars and underlit bowling alleys (yes, one show was set at a bowling alley. Great show too). The low light performance is wonderful, and the colors are quite vibrant. It gives a pop to places that should just go phud.

Recently I purchased a Canon XH A1 on this forum, so the 170 is now my B camera on 2 camera events, however it is great in extensive handheld situations due to its relatively low weight. Unless I purchased a second A1 the 170 will still have a valuable place in my camera arsenal.

Simon Denny December 7th, 2007 02:29 AM

Hi James,
I think I have decided to get the Sony Z1 and use my PD170 as a back up.
How do you use your PD170 with the Canon when it comes to editing?
Do you shoot the PD170 in 4.3 or mask the screen to get 16.9 or use the 16.9 in the camera?


David Morgan December 7th, 2007 10:22 PM

I also own an A1. My GL-2 does not match it at all. How do u find the color match between a PD 170 and the A1?

James Fazzaro December 10th, 2007 11:35 PM

re: PD170 color/aspect
To Simon and David,

I have used the PD170 at 4:3 the entire time, the one time I turned on the 16:9 mode it was so bad I vowed never to use it ever. All it did was stretch out the picture and throw away a lot of info. I haven't really had a need to add letterbox to the PD 170 image as you also lose info, just not as destructively.
For the shoots I have used the A1 and the PD170 together I have just set the A1 at SD 4:3 mode. A bit backwards, but I white balanced both so that the two looks weren't too different, so colorwise you can get them to look similar. I imported the footage of a training seminar, and did find the 170 looks quite good when compared to the A1 SD mode. Perhaps I had the detail/sharpness set too low on the A1, but it had an odd lack of resolution, almost a smearing/creaminess to it, and some blockiness in the dark regions that the 170 did not have. It wasn't like the XL2 which I have intercut with the 170, the A1 seemed more compressed or something. I have definitely seen that the PD170 produces vibrant color without any tweaking at all, while the Canons you have to dig into the menus and work out your color schemes there, otherwise your blacks can be crushed and colors desaturated in the standard configuration.
I have shot tests in HDV 1081i mode on the A1, and this is where the camera truly delivers. As an SD camera it looks worse than the PD170. You can work with the two together out of necessity, but I'd almost go out and get a second 170 if the gigs were worth doing. That would be a real step backward. As is, the A1 in 1080i will get me through some shorts and perhaps a no budget feature or two, while the 170 I'll keep strictly for the rare business/events work I do.
And then I'll get a Red One and it'll become a moot point. HAHAHAHA!
Until that day comes... but seriously, I could do a few frame grabs to show and compare, I will be working on the seminar this week and should have some time to make a few stills for comparison. No color correction, just straight from the camera. Later on I'll be working on a music show done with both cameras, A1 also in SD 4:3, in a very dark and garishly colorful setting, I'll try to post some comparisons down the line. I will give the A1 credit for having a sharp flip out monitor, the 170 looked like mush after I shot with the A1 for an hour. Focus was easier and more readily defined.
Sorry for making this a really long post. I hope I somewhat helped out, if not I'll try again when I'm not about to fall asleep.

David Tindale December 11th, 2007 12:50 AM

PD 170 still rules

Just thought I'd add my two cents worth, I have been using a PD 170 for about 3 years and I can't fault it, especailly in low light situations, (I have worked a lot shooting in theatres and in pubs for bands). Also I was reading on ScreenHub that SD televsion signals won't be turned off in Australia till 2013, so there is quite a bit of life in the old dog yet.

I'm currently working for a company that uses Z1's and they aren't as good in low light or as robust in construction. If you're still getting good images out of your camera keep it, as the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"


Simon Denny December 11th, 2007 01:08 AM

Hi David,
I wont let go the PD170 it is a great camera for all things apart from 16.9 which I seem so keen on.
I have just bought the Sony Z1 as i speak so I'm looking worward to getting my head around this now.
I have just finished a three month long shoot with the PD170 in SD 4.3 mode and It has came up looking good on my TV, It will be intersting seeing this on my clients large widescreen. I'm a bit nervous as I have watched every micro bit I have just shot an I know it's gonna be stretched to the hilt... oh well.

Cheers mate


Simon Denny December 11th, 2007 01:15 AM

Thanks James.
I agree 16.9 in camera on the 170 is not so good but 4.3 I think It rocks.


Blake Cavett December 11th, 2007 08:45 AM

I have a Z1 and a 170. I'd love my Z1 a million times more if it could do in low light what the 170 does.

It's almost like having night vision!

Here's something I'm curious about though (because I haven't tried it yet). If I crop the 4:3 footage from my 170 down to 16:9 and use it with my 16:9 footage from my Z1... is there a noticable difference?

Andy Wilkinson December 11th, 2007 12:03 PM

PD150 versus the rest
Just finished a (Std. Def.) DVD in a Cathedral with low light...my usual habitat!... with 3 Sony cameras:

V1 on a Hague K12 Crane operated by my mate
PD150 (his) on a tripod operated by me
HC1 (mine) on a Manfotto Fig Rig for grab shots by me all around during the event.

It was a typical English dull winter's afternoon so light was mostly supplied by the Cathedral lighting.

Finished DVD all edited in Vegas 7 and DVDA4. We're very pleased with it (as indeed was the Bishop!) but....

The V1 has the resolution... but boy oh boy it's shots are dull.
The PD150 has vibriant colours but not the resolution of the above
The HC1 is like a worse version of the V1 and with noise starting to creep in.

Yep, the trusty 150's got some life in her yet!

I'm typically using it set to 16:9 mode but I gather that most people just shoot with it in 4:3 then crop to widescreen (or use a stuck on LCD mask.) Any advantages/disadvantages in either route to widescreen as I am assuming the video outcome is the same resolution (i.e. you've got less horizontal lines to play with in DV with the PD150's native 4:3 CCD's either way, right?)

Simon Denny December 11th, 2007 12:32 PM

Hi Andy,
What I would do Is mask the LCD screen on the 150 to a 16.9 frame and then resize the footage in your editor to the widescreen format.
This way you can move the frame around a bit to suite.


Bryan Wilkat January 2nd, 2008 02:23 AM

sorry guys, i feel like a traitor, i just jumped the boat last week. the xh a1 was on sale and my friend was willing to give me some decent cash for my pd170 and well... i caved and made the switch!
but don't let my actions influence any of you, the pd170 is an awesome cam and despite what some people say, it looks pretty sweet on an HD tv! (though, i saw it on a 720 tv, not 1080).
being my first cam i'll miss it, but i can't say i regret it either, heh.

David Morgan January 4th, 2008 02:59 PM

A1 and color
yep, I notice that the A1 is on the "cold" side when using the non-custom settings. However, for all these cameras, when doing theatre work, you don't have time to play with this. I'd love to do some experiments with custom settings but I'm there to record the show and generally spend all the time getting setup etc...

Steve Wolla January 5th, 2008 07:14 PM


Originally Posted by Simon Ash (Post 790768)
Hi Andy,
What I would do Is mask the LCD screen on the 150 to a 16.9 frame and then resize the footage in your editor to the widescreen format.
This way you can move the frame around a bit to suite.


I would be very careful doing this, as you are "enlarging" the image, and that will make for a softer look--a lot softer, if you are not very careful. I'd think that any more than a 5% enlargement would cause clearly visible softening of the image. That may be unavoidable or even desireable in some cases, but be aware of it.
I should qualify this by saying this has been my experience when doing this using footage from a VX2100 and XHA1 (on different jobs) both shot in 4:3 SD mode, and monitored on a 50" HDTV.
A lot depends on what you will watch it on.

Simon Denny January 18th, 2008 10:06 PM

Hi Steve,
Yes you are correct, croping in post and enlarging will soften the picture but what else can you do to get a 16.9 frame?

If you use the 16.9 in camera converter it looks even softer, so croping is the only way.

Any other suggestions would be welcomend.


Bob Hart January 23rd, 2008 09:05 PM

If mixing and matching the HDV and DV cameras, you can gain some wriggle room in the definition dilemma by using the HDV for your mid to wide shots and the DV for close-ups on humans. Softer on close-ups doesn't seem to matter as much as the detail in terms of apparent scale is still there.

In fact, some persons afflicted with the dreaded roadmap associated with age may appreciate a softer view of themselves.

HDV with gain on also seems to fall apart resolutionwise once the light level drops off. Add lots of movement like onstage at a rock gig and the PD150 on the close-ups will start to look a lot better.

You can cheat a little in the edit suite, scale down your PD150 4:3 frames a little in the 16:9 HDV box so that the top edges creep in and pan & scan the smaller frames randomly within the larger area in a little pretend creativeness (picture in picture) intended to cover your attempts to preserve "apparent" sharpness from the DV footage. It does not look too bad if it is not overdone.

Here is a more rough and ready two camera example, Sony Z1 and Sony PD150. The 4:3 frame was simply scaled to the 16:9 frame, not panned and scanned. The DV image was furthur softened by having an AGUS35 (poorman's MINI35) adaptor on front of the PD150. The performers prefer working in the dark. If you are sensitised to the occasional foul word be warned, one of the performers let one go at the beginning :-


Carlos Rodriguez February 4th, 2008 12:38 AM

we use 150's and 170's for broadcast news. My boss worked with betacam for many years, he's videotaped the pope, two presidents and the queen of England, not to mention tons of great rock bands. His excuse now is betacam is too heavy for him to carry at 59 (although he still hits the waves on his surfboard) but he loves the 170. I think his footage off the 170 looks nicer than the 150, he says the exact opposite. oh well.

Matthew Harris February 4th, 2008 09:37 AM

looking for a used pd150...any suggestions ?

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:57 AM.

DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2021 The Digital Video Information Network