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

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Old August 8th, 2006, 06:35 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Hamden CT
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Thanks for clarifying.

I could see how the barrel distortion is more noticeable when shooting buildings. I shoot mostly weddings, so it is not so bad.

I just started using the wide angle and I am smittened. I love framing the 1st dance and seeing the dancers from head to toe without having to use a bright light or shooting the toast and being able to frame the couple and the person giving the toast without being far away. This stops people from walking in front of me and gives me better audio because people hardly ever talk into the mic.

The bolex lens seems like a godsend and a good investment.

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Old August 8th, 2006, 08:54 PM   #17
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Location: Vallejo, California
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If the barrel distortion is a bother, there are digital filters that can be applied in Post to straighten the lines. And there are filters (sometimes the same one) that can correct the width distortion that you see at the sides of the frame.
Mike Rehmus
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Old August 28th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #18
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A bit late to this post, but....

I am about to buy my first serious camcorder and I'm wrestling with choices. I've enrolled in the Duke University Documentary Certificate program and I'll be taking classes for about two years. During that time I'd like to have a camera that will let me learn, and one that I won't outgrow. For these reasons I've become very focused on the Sony PD-170. BUT, as you can imagine, the HD crowd is very obvious and vocal in such a setting and they are strongly suggesting that the HDV format is where I need to be and that I should get the Z1 instead.

I read the Sony White Paper describing the HDV format and the GOP capture and compression process seems to me to have some significant potential problems. Having said that, I own a Sony HD TV and I love the 1080i look.

Most of my documentary shooting will be as a raw beginner. I have an iMac G5 computer with Final Cut Express HD 3.5 installed along with 512MB memory and a 160 GB HD. The chip speed is 2 GHz. I'm pretty sure it will be fine for SD, but I fear an upgrade is needed for HDV. I don't mind the investment, but I also remember buying a Beta VCR and finding that the world didn't like it as much as I did.

So, do I buy the PD-170, about $2700 after Sony rebate, or go the Z1 route, $4500 without a wide angle lens that is included with the PD-170? By the way, I believe I will be shooting in low light conditions, part of my documentary is focused on the terminally ill in hospice care, and having a candid way to shoot video without outside lights is important. I almost sold myself on the Sony HVR-A1U, but I'm concerned about the low light needs, and the fact that some of the functions I may need quickly will be buried in a deep menu format.

Thanks for the help, this site is terrific!!
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Old August 29th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #19
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Len, your post really deserves to start a new thread. But here goes: good on you for including so much background information - few people do this, simply asking' '' what's best?'' and leaving gaping holes a mile wide.

First thing to ask yourself is what does the client want? If it's 4:3 material your choice of the PD170 is bang on, top notch, nail-on-the-head aiming. If however you feel that 16:9 is the way ahead then it has to be said that the PD170 was designed in the VX2000 days of the year 1999, when 16:9 was good enough to be added as an image degraded add-on.

The PD170 sells for the same price as the FX1, and this sure makes punters wobble at the shop counter. But again, your background description leads me to believe that the 170 is right for you. Your pc will fly with the edit and you'll be able to output SD DVDs that all can play.

To calm you. The MPEG2 compression of the HDV format has not produced the horrendous dropout problems that many predicted. It's best to stick to nice clean tape and use the supplied head cleaner now and again, but fear not on that front.

The 170 sure does need the supplied wide-angle converter, whereas the Z1's 12x zoom is much more wide-angle right out of the box. It can still use one (I have a 0.52x with mine) but the unaided 32,5 mm (equiv) is pretty usefull.

You're right to consider the low light capabilities of these cameras. If you go the 170 route you'll have hand-on-heart knowledge that no-one surpasses you. The A1 is dire in the gloom, and the Z1 is not in the same league, though I must say the gain-up mode is very useable.

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