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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
Topics also include Sony's TRV950, VX2000, PD150 & DSR250 family.

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Old March 11th, 2002, 08:34 PM   #1
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I need a camera...now...which one?

Hello all,

My name is Dan and I'm a newbie. I'm 37 years old, live in Florida and have two sons. (11 and 10) I've worked in television for 20 years. Mostly news and I've pretty much done it all, most recently as a director/technical director. However I've finally escaped the grasp of local news for local government. I now work for county government television and will be producing, shooting and editing various programs.

Whew...hope I haven't lost you. The reason I told you my life's story is to, believe it or not, get some advice on buying a camera!

My Hi 8 camera (I know ancient technology) finally died and I need to replace it. The county is using Sony DSR-300's (4 of them) and also has a PD-100. Everything is DVCam or DV and I've got the itch. I'm not looking to make feature films, but I'm not ruling out doing some commercial production if the opportunity arises. Plus, the kids are still in the "home video memories" age and I have to get something soon.

I don't want to pay $3,000 for a camera. I don't really want to pay $2,000 for a camera either, but that seems to be about the lowest price for what I'm thinking of getting. I've been considering the Sony's: VX-2000, PD-150, PD-100. The PD-150 is pretty much out due to $. What about the PD-100 vs. the VX-2000? Or, is there a next level down Sony that is DV and accepts a wide angle lens? I'd appreciate any thoughts you all might have. I'm hoping to find a really good camera at as bargain a price as I can find.

Thanks for enduring this long post. I promise to keep the next one much shorter! :-)

Dan E.
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Old March 11th, 2002, 10:13 PM   #2
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Hello Dan and Welcome!

Congratulations on your recent career change. It takes courage and conviction to make such a maneuver, particularly with such a young family.

I am not a Sony user but am sure you'll hear from some of our folks here who are. The VX2000 generally seems to have a very good reputation. Some have reported some hissing in the audio circuitry but others reported (elsewhere) that the problem was with earlier models. Unlike the XL1s or PD150 (which many retailers do not routinely stock) you should be able to find someplace to get your eye behind a VX2000.

I do use a Canon GL1 which would be the closest Canon model to the VX2000. Unless you're a dyed-in-the-wool Sony user you should consider taking a look at the GL1, at least as a brand comparison to the VX2000.

Good luck with your new endeavors. And please offer up knowledge bits from your experience; I'm sure many of us would benefit from them.
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Old March 13th, 2002, 07:55 AM   #3
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Dan... Out of the frying pan...

I'm a Sony VX2000 user and really love my camera.**

**I would have much preferred the XL1 (at the time) but it was out of my price range considering I had to buy extra batteries, wida angle lens, a good tripod, etc. I, too have memory sized kids and wanted a way to archive these memories and digitize my old analog video.

That said, the GL1 is also an outstanding camera but there a few things I like about the Sony vs. the GL1:

I never thought I'd use the memory stick all that much but find myself with a couple of 128MB sticks and they come in very handy, especially when I'm out looking for locations. They also provide very nice slide show images for Mac's iDVD and they're easy to burn to a CD. I also find it easy to move file from my Mac to My PC via a USB reader.

I also use a Memory stick mask to "trick" my system into capturing a letterbox or anamorphic image.

The Sony feels better. Crazy huh? But it felt more comfortable in my hands than the GL1. You need to play with both to get a feel for yourself.

I think the Sony provides better low light performance, has a crisper image and has 1/3" CCDs vs. Canons 1/4" CCDs. (If I'm not mistaken)

I've never experienced the legendary Sony hiss but have found that it is almost a given that you'll need to invest in a good mic i.e. the Sennhieser or Azden SGM-2X.

The Sony TVR900 may also be a good unit for you as well.

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Old March 13th, 2002, 09:47 AM   #4
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You'll be happy with a VX2000

Its hard to play for less than 2 grand. Some of the older cams like TRV900 and such can be had for under $2,000, but always try before you buy.

Like the other poster said, early versions of the VX2000 had hiss problems. The latest ones don't.

The biggest advantage the VX2000 has over the GL-1 is low light performance. If you think you are going to shoot in frame movie mode (aka - progressive scan) the GL-1 supports that.

Either one really needs a different mic. The stock mics on these cams leave something to be desired. Old story, but still true.

No matter what, you will be happy with whichever cam you get. The truth is that none of them stink. Some just do better jobs under certain conditions than others.

After that, its all up to the videographer...

Nathan Gifford
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Old March 13th, 2002, 11:34 AM   #5
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I really appreciate all of your comments. I've felt all along that the VX2000 was probably the best fit for me. I am going to search for information on when the newer "hissless" 2000's started being manufactured and how to find them. I'll keep checking back here to see if anyone else has something to add. I'm probably a month or so from a purchase.

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Old March 19th, 2002, 10:28 AM   #6
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I too, love my vx 2000 - (if you can afford it - get it and it will soon 'pay you back!) but I do have to say that both the GL-1 and the TRV 900 are stunning cameras that will get the job done at a lower budget level and will both take wide angle lenses, filters, etc. I also find the vx 2000 more user friendly than the 'sony 150' - prefer the viewfinder and don't like the awkward weight of the extra audio gear ontop of the 150.
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