greenspun.com : LUSENET : Shooting DV Films : One Thread

I am seeking information about the pro's and con's of the DSR PD100 vs. the Canon XL1. I called B&H in NY to get a quote for the DSR PD 100, they had never heard of the camera. Yet it is mentioned the newsletter as a possible replacement for the VX1000. Help.

-- Louise Hogarth (aqa@artnet.net), November 19, 1998


For what it's worth, I haven't been able to get any additional information on the camera from the local Sony pro dealer here either. Just based on the spec sheets, here's some things to consider between the two cameras...

DSR PD100: PROS: + mini DVCAM instead of mini DV format. The record time is less--I think the max you can get on a DVCAM tapes right now is about 40ish minutes--but you get a more durable tape format with locked audio. + is much less obstrusive if you are doing documentary work and want to be inconspicuous. + fold out LCD display looks nice + XLR jack is included with the camera (the XL1 requires the xlr adapter accessory, which is pretty much a must have accessory for the Canon) + comes with the wide-angle adapter

CONS: - specs looked like the 3 chips were smaller than the VX1000 and more like the TRV9000. If that's the case, my guess is that the picture quality will be better on the VX1000 and even better on the XL1. - small size and form factor will make it difficult to get steady handheld shots - only one XLR input I saw (Canon has two with the adapter, as does the VX1000 with the Beach Tec xlr adapter) - the wide angle lens adapter is nice, but not a ton of other lens options - the consumer camcorder look of the camera could be a disadvantage if you WANT to have the "big camera pro" look. - it looks like the controls won't allow for easy adjustment of many settings on the fly while shooting

XL1: + terrific image quality + ergonic design that makes it easy to change the exposure, shutter speed, gain, white balance, and line input levels while shooting + ability to use the Canon EOS lenses with the addition of an adapter ($450). Aside from getting terrific glass this way, you also get the ability to do marked / rack focusing; very handy for most staged shots and not really possible on the VX1000 or probably the PD100 because of the focus servo arrangement + looks pro

CONS - camera is a bit front heavy with the lens included - some of the "accessories" really should be included with the base camera, paritcularly the dual XLR adapter/shoulder pad - servo manual focus and zoom controls can be frustrating in some shooting situations (as they are with the Sony... just share the same problem)--again, can be fixed if you get the EOS adapter, lens, etc.... but, this option can get pricey for the lens and wide angle adapter you'll be looking at. Still, it's nice to at least HAVE the option with the camera. - you're not going to be unobtrusive with this camera

Anyhow, I love my XL1. I'm thinking about getting a DSR PD100 also for when I want to go really low-profile on a shoot. I'm sure that for videography and staged filmmaking I'll stick with the XL1. Up until now the VX1000 has played the role of the unobtrusive, durable, point and shoot camera for me, but the PD 1000 should offer some nice features in this area.

Anyway, that's my two cents, -- John

-- John Windmueller (jwind@cais.com), November 20, 1998.

I just got my hands on a DSR PD100 and I'm going to start testing it out tomorrow. I can't get over how small this sucker is! It looks very much like a consumer camcorder and is incredibly light (2 pounds I believe). I'll report back at the end of the week to let you know how it compares with my VX 1000, though I've heard it is capable of producing a superior picture. We'll see....

-- Chris Ward (Chris.Ward@Showtime.net), December 15, 1998.

I have to leave for a two week vacation, but I was able to do a quick, very basic test of the PD-100 vs the VX-1000. I set up a test display similar to one used in the November DV magazine to test a group of digital cameras. The only manual function I used was focus, otherwise the settings were performed by the cameras and I recorded to the same mini DVCAM tape.

Overall I found the camera's picture to be almost identical. The PD- 100 seemed sharper to my eye with slightly better color, while the VX- 1000 had a warmer, what I would call more professional look. However, the auto-white balance was obviously off on the VX-1000 and might account for the difference I was seeing. An engineer looked at both pictures and disagreed with me. He felt that the images were so close that he would simply buy the cheaper camcorder. That would be the PD-100, which I believe lists for $3000. American, though it would probably sell retail for around $2,500.

One thing I should mention from this early test. The PD-100 is so much easier to operate and I found myself loving that 3 1/2" flip out screen! It is a small, very light camcorder but I think I'll get use to that soon enough.

Of course, I'll do a more thorough test to really see what this camera can do, but I thought you might find my first impressions of interest.

-- Chris Ward (Chris.Ward@Showtime.net), December 19, 1998.

The DSR-100 is a 3 CCD DVCAM version of the single CCD DCR-TRV900.

It comes with a wide angle lens adapter that makes a world of difference when shooting in tight quarters and low light. My tests with the PD100 with the wide angle installed resulted in very good picture quality under very low light...as good as the XL1 in fact. It seems the big piece of glass collects light better than the fixed lens. I pushed some shots to 18 db and found little noise and excellent picture quality considering lighting available.

I highly recommend the DSR-PD100. We have sold number of them and have received excellent comments from users.

This camcorder has analog input which means that one can make DVCAM copies of analog source. It will play DV, DVCAM and PAL. It records DVCAM only.

Visit our web page for more information regarding the DSR-PD100 and FireMAX Studio NLE systems.

Charles F. McConathy President ProMax www.promax.com or 1-800-977-6629

-- Charles F. McConathy (mcconathy@promax.com), February 05, 1999.

I heard the DVCAM format of the DSR PD100 is no different in image quality to regular mini DV (only durability). Can someone confirm or deny?

-- ms (ms@joe.com), February 11, 1999.

The TRV 900 is in fact the same camcorder as the PD100 only it does not record DVCam. Three chips and everything. DVCam offers the same resolution as MiniDV. Its only advantage is durability. But the mini tapes are shorter and more expensive. However, of the two hours of footage I've shot so far with my TRV 900 on MiniDV I have not seen one single drop-out. To me, this is incredible. Hi8 has drop-outs galore. Since the PD100 is only slightly more expensive and offers DVCam and several more accessories (all usable with the 900), I'd say the little extra is definitely worth it.

-- Alexander Smith (ads220@is8.nyu.edu), February 17, 1999.

I recently read an excellent article, reviewing all of the major digital cameras now available, including the Canon XL-1, and the Sony TRV-900, VX1000 and DSR PD-100, in DV Magazine. According to the magazine, they tested each of the cameras, using hi res monitors and determined the resolution of each, by performing electronic tests. Both the TRV900 and the DSR-PD-100 achieved the highest resolution, at 470 horizontal lines. The Canon XL-1 and Sony VX-1000 cameras, in contrast, were only able to achieve 460 horizontal lines. The DSR-PD-100 and TRV900 are both identical cameras. The primary difference is that the TRV900 records in the MiniDV format, whereas the PD-100 records in what is called "DVCAM" (considered a more professional format), although they both record on MiniDV tapes. This results in the total taping time dropping from 60 to 40 minutes, because DVCAM tape runs through the camera faster. It records the signal on more of the tape. As a result of the faster physical tape running rate, the DVCAM format results in fewer, or no frame "dropouts". In addition, the PD100 comes with a wide angle lens, built in, which will save you about $200.00, as well as a built in XLR adaptor (critical to the use of professional "balanced" audio equipment), which will save you another $150-$225.00, depending on the model of XLR adaptor you would, otherwise, be forced to buy for either the VX-1000 or the Canon XL-1.

In short, the PD-100 has a higher picture resolution than an XL-1, is more compact, and is cheaper. The only negative is the horrible Sony customer service department. Canon, on the other hand, has an excellent customer service department, which stands ready to answer any and all questions.

-- Avery B. Goodman (ABGoodman@cwix.com), March 15, 1999.

I have my own question about the PD100. I just read somewhere that it shoots 30 full frames a second in progressive scan mode. Does any one know if it acctually shoots "FULL resoulution" frames like the canon Optura or Elura..... or does it double one of the fields like the Canon XL1 in progressive mode?

-- Cory Strassburger (effectzero@earthlink.net), July 02, 1999.

Sound problems with PD100.

I am suprised there hasn't been much discussion about this, but the PD 100 has an intrinsic problem that SONY has not figured out how to fix. When you use the XLR adapter, it does not cut off the camera mic, so that there is additional noise...quite a large problem for me. I sent it back once, and they apologetically told me that they realized the fix doesn't work, and they will call me soon to help me further. Please email me if you have any similiar problems.

-- Carol Leigh (info@bayswan.org), September 15, 1999.

I just finished shooting a DV feature. I used both the Canon XL1 and the PD-100. After about a week I never took the XL1 out of its case again. The image quality looked so much crisper on the Sony and it was very easy to negotiate through the menus and do quick on-the-fly adjustments. The fold out view-screen proved to be invaluable... occasionally when we would do an action shot or something that we needed two cameras on, I would hook the PD-100's screen up to the Canon as a monitor instead of the lousy XL1 viewfinder.

I swear by the camera and as far as editing I haven't had a single problem with the DVCAM format, while I have had a couple Mini DV tapes break on me in the past.

At about $2000 for the PD-100 versus $4000 for the XL-1, you get tons of bang for your buck including XRL and wide-angle adaptors. Superior image quality and a great ergonomic design.


-- steve petersen (steve@big-machine.com), April 07, 2000.

Can anyone tell me if this is the same camera as the Sony DCR-PC100?

If so, is there any actual resolution difference between the DCR-PC100 and the DCR-PC100E (PAL version - see link below)? Anybody own a PAL version?

This camera appears to have the HAD low-light resolution of the VX-2000 and higher resolution than the VX-1000, as well as being cheaper than either. Comments?

http://www02.bhphotovideo.com/default.sph/FrameWork.class?FNC=ProductA ctivator__Aattributelist_html___1918___188273___SODCRPC100E___REG___SI D=E141DC0BF80

-- David Voda (davevoda@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ