OT - Mini DV vs DVCAM

randy-stewart wrote on 12/22/2003, 10:10 AM
I'm looking for a 3 CCD camera. Candidates are the Sony TRV-950 and the Sony DSR-PDX10. I'm told the 950 is a mini DV camcorder and the PDX10 does both mini and DVCAM. From what I can find out, the DVCAM recording will maintain audio/video sync whereas the mini-DV will eventually go out of sync over time. This was the first time I'd heard that the mini-DV format has that flaw. I haven't had a sync problem with my digital 8 camera but that may be because I've not done long documentries or wedding vows. Is this an issue I should be concerned with if I want to start getting into those areas? Will I be able to correct the sync problem in Vegas if I go with the cheaper 950. Thanks in advance for your help.


Liam_Vegas wrote on 12/22/2003, 10:21 AM
I have not heard of (or experienced) any problem with audio sync using my TRV900 over the past few years. I have taped 100's of hours of footage and never experienced this. Can you give a URL or a specific reference to the source of this idea?

One of the things that keeps me with the TRV900/950 (and now VX2000) rather than the PDX10/PD150 is that I do a lot of long-form conference/event taping where I need to use the LP mode of the Mini-DV tapes in order to capture up to 2 hours of continuous footage. The PDX10/PD150 etc although they support Mini-DV they do not support LP format.

That may not be an issue for you... but it is for me. The DVCAM format is a more robust format compared with Mini-DV and the LP mode in particular is often shunned as being unreliable (although in my experience it has been perfect for my needs).

Spot|DSE wrote on 12/22/2003, 10:31 AM
I don't know where you got the idea that MiniDV will lose sync over long periods of time, this is false.
DV cam has fewer dropouts, due in part to the fact that it moves about 30% faster than MiniDV. DVCam tape is made slightly differently as well, and has a stronger/better carrier to noise ratio. Sony claims it's +2dB better. I've never tested it, but John Fauer did, and illustrated it quite well.
Both tapes are 6mm, but DVCam records on a wider area of tape.
DVCam has locked audio, whereas MiniDV doesn't, but this does not equate to out of sync.
DVCam is more capable of abuse and difficult shooting situations, miniDV is usually more portable/smaller.
Find a copy of John Fauer's book on DV Cam, he's got all sorts of comparisons to Beta, DV, BetaSX, DVCPro, SVHS, and other formats. It's about 2 years old. "DVCam, a Practical Guide to the Professional System." I'm sure Amazon has it.
randy-stewart wrote on 12/22/2003, 10:35 AM
Thanks for your informative input. The source of this info is the local Sony dealer and discussions in the dvinfo.net forum at this URL: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=18457
Always great to hear from the experienced.
randy-stewart wrote on 12/22/2003, 10:47 AM
Thanks much for your input. I was weary of this when I heard it. Thanks for the education.
riredale wrote on 12/22/2003, 11:34 PM
Regarding unlocked audio:


Scroll down about a page to the heading "Locked versus Unlocked Audio" for a good discussion.

Bottom line: It makes no difference for our purposes.
randy-stewart wrote on 12/23/2003, 8:47 AM
Excellent resource! A wealth of info about this topic complete with direct answers to my (now unfounded) concerns. Avoiding an audio sync problem will not be a criteria for the buy decision. I can get the Sony -950 for $1699 or the PDX10 for $1999 locally. The $300 difference buys me the XLR adapter, better directional mike, and DVCAM capability on the PDX10 (not to mention an entry level professional camera). I'm leaning towards the PDX10 for the value. Thanks again for your input.
rmack350 wrote on 12/23/2003, 9:13 AM
PDX10 will read DVCam tapes in the small shell format. DVCam also comes in a large shell.

One advantage to the PDX10 is that you will be able to play some of the DVCam tapes others may give you.


Regarding Liam's long record time needs, I keep advocating for a software capture tool that functions like a direct to disk recorder. Imagine bringing a quiet PC to those conferences with a 200GB capture disk that can be started and stopped as your camera rolls, or keeps recording as you swap tapes. And, after 6 hours of seminars, everything is already captured to disk. (As far as I know, no software really does this yet. But you can get excellent disk recorders. There's a Sony product that can be controlled with the camera trigger and it buffers 8 seconds of video so that you can record the 8 seconds before you pressed the tit. But these are expensive. I'd like to see it built into the Vegas capture tool.)

Rob Mack
Liam_Vegas wrote on 12/23/2003, 9:43 AM
Maybe when I have enough money I will buy some of those direct-to-disk recorders (there are several now... like the Firestore)... but with a multi-camera shoot... sometimes with "roving" cameras it could get quite awkward (and costly) to have that setup everywhere.

But nevertheless I am looking to being able to do that someday.
farss wrote on 12/23/2003, 1:52 PM
Just a word of caution on the PDX10. It uses minute CCDs with lots of pixels so smear seems to be an issue with this one.
I've also heard of a reliability issue with the way all the bits got squashed into it. One of the PCBs can get cracked very easily if the camera gets a decent bump.

None of this maybe an issue for you so please don't write the camera off just bacause of what I've said, do some further research.
randy-stewart wrote on 12/23/2003, 2:25 PM
Thanks all for your inputs. Still researching both cameras. This is a great forum!
jeremyk wrote on 12/23/2003, 2:37 PM
I think another difference is that the PDX-10 has native 16:9 mode, whereas the TRV-950 crops the 4:3 image to 16:9. Not important unless wide screen videos are in your future (as I suspect they well may be).
PeterWright wrote on 12/25/2003, 9:13 PM

A laptop with Vegas and an external HD will give you direct to disk recording right now.

Recording won't be triggered by the camera, but you can start/stop manually.
Spot|DSE wrote on 12/25/2003, 10:52 PM
(As far as I know, no software really does this yet. But you can get excellent disk recorders.)
Hih? We do this regularly with Vegas. Capture straight from cam to disk. If you mean the stop/start functions, there are tools that do this too, but Vidcap isn't one of them.
We've started using the NNovia disk recorder along with the ADS disk recorder. Major timesavers!
RalphM wrote on 12/26/2003, 10:33 AM
Just to throw in my two cents - I've recorded hour long performances on a VX2000 with no loss of sync.

There is, of course, the EP mode on many MiniDv camcorders that will yield 90 minutes on a 60 minute tape, and 120 minutes on an 80 minute tape. I have not used 80 min tapes, and I rarely use EP mode, but I have never had a problem reading EP done on my camcorder or on JVC brand camcorders. Your mileage may vary.