View Full Version : Digital 8 or Pure DV

9th October 1999, 10:54
Hai Guys

I am thinking about buying a digital camera.
I do not know which of the two digital 8 or DV gives us a better out put video quality.

Any respond will be much appreciated.


9th October 1999, 11:28
Go pure DV. You'll get more image quality for your bux. D8 really isn't any better in the quality department than Hi8.

I know it's tempting to use the cheaper 8mm tapes, but if you're not gaining much image quality over Hi8 why bother? Just to get IEEE-1394?

Price is no longer much of a concern. Panasonic has come out with the PV900 and PV910 DV cams which are excellent bargains.

The PV910 has image stabilization, S-Video out, composite out, IEEE-1394 (I-Link), 3" LCD monitor, built in light, 18x optical/300x digital zoom, built in still cam capability (~750 images/tape), digital effects, audio overdub and it delivers real DV quality.

I got my PV910 for $750 USD, very close to the price of the D8's with similar features. It's a ton of cam for the money.

The PV900 can be had for about $675 USD. It's missing a couple of features like the light and the LCD is only 2.5" but it's still got I-Link and is a helluva deal.

Dr. Mordrid

9th October 1999, 11:47
Same quality.

Just make sure you're not comparing apples to oranges. In other words, it's not fair to compare a 3 chip DV camcorder to a single chip D8 camcorder.

Compare the prices, then compare the quality.

With all due respect to the Doc, I believe his comment about D8 not being any better than Hi8 to be totally false and misleading. I can't fathom why anyone would say this.

9th October 1999, 11:50
Different strokes for different folks. The main factors are :

a) Firewire input (and mebbe output, see c)
b) Budget. D8 is cheaper than full DV
c) Geographical location. Much of Europe is still locked out of firewire output TO the Cam. The situation is getting better, but to the best of my knowledge the only enabled cams here in the UK are Canon, Panasonic and JVC (IE DV not D8)
d) Redundancy. How long do you want your solution to last ? If you are prepared to write-in a 2 year redundancy factor, D8 maybe fine for you. In the longer term DV will become the de-facto standard.

Grigory has a wealth of information on the D8 equation, and I know that he is very happy with his D8. I'm sure that he will chip in with his experience.

Doc, is there any difference at all between DV and mini-DV standard apart from the size/cost of the storage medium ?

9th October 1999, 19:13
im hoping to buy a DV cam beginging of the year.
in an ideal world id buy the Sony 3 chip TRV900
(i do hope thats the right product code, cos im tired and doing this from mempory :O)
but unless i happen to find 2,000 in the street somewhere i shall go for one of the DV8 cams
cos i know i can get a peice of software on the net costing about $30 that can activate the Recording options (the url esacpes me bu t i have it written down somewhere)
i think it works with certain panasonic ones too, but the DV8 for sure, as well as DV in, you get analogue SVHS and composite recording too, all for under 800 on my budget thats great

9th October 1999, 19:43
A quick question on the subject DV and downloading to hard disk.

Are we still limited by a 1 to 1 download time-video clip time? In other words if I have 30min of video will it still require 30min of realtime to input to PC? And if so when will this change?

HI8 is still good enough for most uses; it's the time of the input that annoys me the most!


Jerry Jones
9th October 1999, 22:27
I agree with Doc. As usual.

Go for the MiniDV. Digital 8 confines
you exclusively to Sony camcorders.

The fact JVC, Canon, Panasonic and Sony
all produce MiniDV camcorders makes that
format a safe bet. And the prices of
MiniDV camcorders are coming down.

That's not to say Digital 8 camcorders are
bad buys. But you asked for opinions and I
think you're getting more for your money
if you go DV.

One positive aspect to Digital 8: For
people living in the U.S. they offer
analog inputs so you can input legacy
analog video.

(I sympathize with the UK and European
folks who have to deal with the DV-In

There are several DV camcorders with
analog input capability, including the
Sony TRV900, the Canon Elura.

Currently we're limited to one http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/redface.gifne
video-to-harddrive Firewire transfer.

That probably won't change for at least
another year.

[This message has been edited by Jerrold Jones (edited 10-12-1999).]

Brian Ellis
9th October 1999, 23:12
IMHO, Mini-DV every time. The Hi-8/D-8 intercompatibility is a compromise which adds weight and bulk to the camera. DV is purpose-designed without compromise and uses tape coatings designed for just that job and that job alone. I feel that Sony (who have not gone the whole hog and produce both formats) are trying to do what they did with VHS-C, produce a rival format to try and corner a part of the market to themselves: it is just a ploy by the marketeers. Other than the ability to play Hi-8 tapes, the D-8 cameras offer no advantages over DV. If your fortune permits it, buy a 3-CCD DV.

Brian (the terrible)

10th October 1999, 10:20
Thanks for your explanation

Now I am going for DV instead of D8

10th October 1999, 11:02
Hey, it's your money. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif

Mark F
10th October 1999, 12:03
I went with D8 for the simple reason that I had a Hi8 cam, and can still play back my "older" tapes. It's a matter of economics, my EX has the old cam, and I needed a new cam, and I wanted digital and 1394. The D8 gives me what I needed in on product, therefor less expence.
If I were starting from scratch, or wasn't interested in Hi8 compatability I would have gone with DV. Again, as so often, the situation and needs, dictated the dicision. If in a few years if I upgrade my equipment, it'll be DV (based on current formats).

Just my thoughts,
Mark F.

OH NO, my retractable cup holder swallowed a CD

Keith Wiebe
10th October 1999, 19:56
I bought a Sony DCR-TR7000 and am happy with it so far. Much better quality than my Canon ES3000 hi-8. Recording into the RR at the second highest setting only adds a little background noise to the video and outputting to the D8 really makes 1rst rate archives. The quality is so much better than Hi-8 ever can be. I also have a shoe box full of old Hi-8 tapes I can play out and into a firewire card for better qualtiy still and I can run down to the grocery store to pick up an 8mm tape for under $4.00. Try that with DV. If I didn't have hi-8 tapes I might consider DV but I really think that the durability of 8mm will be better in the long run if the format catches on.

11th October 1999, 00:32

I don't agree with Dr. The quality issue of D8 vs nimi-DV is nonsence. D8 has industry-standard DV format in recording. It is exactly the same as for ALL DV and DVcam in terms of digital video data: 25 mbps data rate DV data.

Because the data format is the same, there is NO quality difference.
As for tapes, don't you think that mini-dv tape coating and other "quality enhancing" features were originally designed and implemented for Hi8 tapes?
As for the influence of tape coating on picture quality - do you see quality degradation when you copy image file on cheap and unreliable floppy? Strange enough, I cannot distiguish the quality difference between digital images stored on floppy and on UWSCSI server RAID. I have something wrong with my eyes ?

You can take D8 or mini-dv. If you buy 1 CCD device, you will get exactly the same picture quality.

I do not say the recording reliability of D8 is low. More, I have to say that it is very good. I have 5 TDK video-8 tapes, used multiple times. I could not see any image defect on these tapes. The same is also true for Hi8 TDK tapes, one Sony ME Hi8 tape that came with my camcorder, and for several BASF video 8 tapes.

Other advantages/disadvantages.
Tape cost. For me, it costs 2.5 $ per 65 minutes of video on good quality video8 tape, or $4 per 65 minutes on TDK Hi8 tape.

What about the price of mini-DV tape?

Format interoperability. How many of us used to play Hi8 or regular video 8 tapes on other devices? You always can record DV data to-from D8 device from-to any mini-DV device and PC via firewire.

Weight/dimensions. 3CCD Sony camcorder has the same weight and dimensions as D8. The cost is x4 more, and the cost of ownership (tapes) too.
Small Mini-DV camcorders have similar 1CCD and optical components quality as D8.
I also doubt that very small and light camcorder is good for quality shooting. Have you ever used built-in calculator on wrist watch?

Analog tapes. When you have ability to store digital video on cheap video8 tape, you can use camcorder as storage device. More expensive 3CCD camcorder, or small mini-DV devices are x3 more expensive in the cost of data storage. So, when I made a decision what to buy, I moved to D8 for this reason too. I decided that it is better to get SAME as cheap mini-dv picture quality, AND, in addition, multi -puspose PC video-editing-oriented solution. It proved to be effective even as analog capture device. I can afford mechanical wear of D8 parts while making DV from analog tapes I have left from VHS-c camcorder. The quality of DV video made from VHS is MUCH better than from RR_G or similar cards. I can record DV from VHS, leave digital video on cheap tape, and then use it in editing when I decide to do so. When I finish editing of all my analog tapes, I'll forget about analog.
the card like MIRO DC30 costs more and has no data storage advantage.
I can imagine that some time I'll move to mini-DV in 3CCD flavour. By now, I am happy with the quality I get from 1 CCD device.

All ideas that D8 1 CCD has lower quality than 1 CCD mini-dv are simply incorrect.

Now about the picture quality measures.
Sony camcorders use Sony DV codec, which is the same for all models. So, digital life of video is the same.

D8 camcorders use digital image stabilization that is also used in all low-cost mini-dv camcorders.
Some very expensive models, using also 3 CCD sensors, utilize mechanical stabilization. The weight and dimesions of such camcorders may be even more than for D8.
BTW, heavy and bulky camcorders work better for shooting from hand, because of weight and size. Compact mini-DV may give you more shakes than D8. If you plan to use tripod - do you need any stabilization?

1CCD vs 3 CCD. 1CCD devices use one optical sensor with pixels grouped by four. Each pixel in group has small filter cap. The video signal is produced by mixing data from these four pixels, producing luminosity component and two color difference components. Because of this mosaic structure, fine monochrome elements of input picture may become slightly colored. This is inevitable for a scheme used.
You can reproduce similar effect on regular TV. On some monochrome patterns, tri-color stripes on TV picture tube may produce colored moire. It is visible from close distance only.
The same is true for 1 CCD camcorder. If you look at the image on PC monitor, and have ethalon image from 3 CCD device, you can see the difference. If you compare two images on TV screen, the difference will be barely noticeable, because the conditions when color moire appear on 1CCD device are very close to the conditions when you get similar distortions directly on TV screen color stripes.

1CCD image artefacts may have adverse effect on digital editing. However, I could not find this by myself.

3CCD camcorders are much more expensive. Because of different price range, most of 3CCD devices have also better optical part, better edjusted electronic regulators, better gain and exposure control, more professional features such as manual control over most of shooting parameters, better arrangement of control elements. The last feature inevitably involve increasing of camcorder size. You cannot use all control buttons if they are too close to each other, or located in inconvenient place.
Combining together all improvements for 3CCD device, you get better picture quality, which can be explained as a combination of MANY factors, each having only small influence on the result:
1. Optics, AR coating quality, extra filters, ...
2. 3CCD
3. mechanical image stabilization ( better for hand shooting)
4. manual controlling of everything. Could be good or bad, depending on your action.
5. Better factory tuning and adjustment of auto-everything (gain,focus,white balance), fine-tuned analog to digital and back converters,... . This is the most expensive stage of any serial production. See car market for examples.
6. Comfortable shooting conditions. You don't shake camcorder when you adjust focus or push a button while shooting, because the control elements are located in proper places and have elaborated design.
7. Better viewfinder.

All these factors influence your results.

You see that there is no point for cassette type. It is just not important what tape is used to store data. You can imagine even hard drive of 14 GB inside the camcorder. Not too futuristic assumption for now.

So, I always laugh when I see comparisons based on tape names. Digital is always digital.
Inexpensive DV solution like D8 or mini-dv from the same price range are equivalent and give you ability to work in digital. D8 has lower cost of ownership.

Hi-end solutions are always better than low-end.
But now I have better idea how to spend extra 2000$ than to get 3CCD all-best "super very much better...MAX http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif" camcorder and be unable to see the difference on my TV set.


11th October 1999, 07:25

I have no Hi8 or video8 tapes with analog recording, so the ability to play them in DV via D8 camcorder is not an advantage for me.

Interesting note:

ALL analog tapes are recorded with ALL OR NOTHING principle. Luma signal modulates the frequency of carrier signal, and this FM modulated signal is recorded just as ANY digital signal: All or Nothing . So, your words about coercitivity and the difference between DV and Hi-8 tapes tell me nothing. The more coercitivity - the better is S/N ratio of FM modulated luma carrier. The requirements are the SAME.
As of data density, I am not familiar with details, but low data density of analog tapes is because of absence of ECC mechanism in analog world, and because of historical reasons. Today is just a time to re-design old mechanics and abandon 20 years old VHS compatibility.

Hi-8 tape has to be better than DV only in analog path of chroma carrier. This, however, does not limit coercitivity: FM luma channel is used as biasing for chroma subcarrier. It is almost the same mechanism as for audio tapes recording. Because of low signal level, and pure analog recording of downshifted chroma subcarrier, the tape quality MUST be better than for DV, especially in terms of tape coating uniformity to lower random level modulation.

Now, assume you record modem signal with 25 kbits per second on audio tape. Is it possible? Yes, because the bandwidth is only 4 kHz. Now, multiply the values by 1000. You get 25 mbps at 4 Mhz bandwidth. Do you see the analogy between Hi8-DV formats? Strange enough, the data density easily fits in Hi-8 tape. Note, for modems the limit is 33.6 kbps at a given bandwidth limit and S/N ratio probably below what we have in Hi-8.

Tape cost. Yes, I do video recording for myself. So, my explanations are given to those as myself and simply don't work for professionals. Anyway, the ability to spend x3 less money for tapes is good for me.
As for mechanics, if I use VCR device for editing on PC, I have to accept the wear. There is simply no way, until we get better recording-only solution as a replacement of analog devices and with reasonable cost. Now, the most cost-effective storage solution is another D8 camcorder used as DV deck and videocapture device. This is a side effect of Sony activity on "low end consuner DV market". It is strange enough, but what prevents me from using (or suggesting to use) this side feature, if I cannot find any better solution?
Again, I speak about home video editing, for which I only spend personal money and time, but not pay salary to anybody. Video editing as profession may change the approach, but it is a topic of another discussion. I always assume that a question "What shall I ... " comes from amateur.

About TV replacement. Maybe. It is 25" Trinitron with composite input.
To keep peace, I confirm that there is a BIG difference between VHS and DV on my TV http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif.

However, it is my turn to repeat that the quality difference is a sum of many factors that differ $800 1CCD device from $3000 3CCD device, among which the CCD design is only one factor. The others were listed in my previous post. To get actually better quality, you must work with professional device professionally. Using it for casual family shooting may give you worse quality, if you use advanced features incorrectly or not trained enough.

The type of tape is not an argument either.

Best regards,

Jerry Jones
11th October 1999, 08:17
Although I still believe Doc was
correct in most respects regarding
D-8 and MiniDV...

...I think he's been misinterpreted...

I don't believe he said D-8 was not
better than Hi8. I interpreted his
comment to mean the camcorder optics
probably aren't that much better than
Hi8 camcorders and he's probably correct
in that regard.

The compression schemes used by D-8
camcorders... I would agree with Grigory...
are the same as MiniDV. Sony has
published a pretty good FAQ at the
following site:


I've always been curious to know the
the truth about what a rep told me about
the "hidden" weakness of D-8... the speed
at which the heads must operate.

This particular rep told me Hi8 and
8mm tapes were not designed to withstand
that kind of speed. So my question would
relate to long term durability of tapes
recorded in Digital8 camcorders.

I think DV Magazine is going to be doing
an in depth review on these camcorders in
an upcoming issue. It should be interesting.

11th October 1999, 10:39

I can agree that long-term stability of tape is an issue for any new generation of recording devices.

However, it is always fun to see how Americans are looking only inside their own standards.
For NTSC, the tape speed of D8 is doubled in comparison with video8. This makes some observers to say that "the tapes were not designed..." The first such thought was published on Internet almost a year ago. And it is correct expectation in any event when somebody tries to move something at doubled speed http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

If you look at another side of ocean, you will find that PAL always used 1.5 of NTSC speed for video8 recording.
For PAL, the tape speed is increased by factor of only 1.5. So, the expectations of tape failure decrease greatly. Looking at my tapes, I don't see deformations of any kind.

Think about this: is it reasonable to make optics for better than 400 lines of resolution for Hi8? No.
Is it reasonable to make optics of >400 lines of resolution for D8? Yes.
What is the resolution of D8? I got 420 lines in PAL.
Inexpensive Hi8 camcorders have ~350 lines, you can check this.

Now, look at the CCD specifications for mini-DV and D8 1 CCD camcorders. Is there any difference?

So, the resolution of D8 is the same as for NEW 1 CCD mini-DV camcorders, and better than for Hi-8 models.

Now about lenses. Actually, any lens MUST provide 500 lines of resolution.
The lens quality is not only its resolution, but the level of geometric and chroma distortions (aberrations), the quality of AR coating. The cost of professional quality lens is very high and comparable to the camcorder price.
For equal price, mini-DV and D8 units the lenses quality must be similar.

Resolution itself is a measure of ability. The quality is not only in resolution. Signal to noise ratio, sync stability, chroma resolution and S/N ratio are very important. So, any DV device has much better image quality in comparison with Hi8.

Again, I tell about 1 CCD devices in ~1000 $ price range.

Remember - I drive Daewoo, but not Mercedes600 SEL, unfortunately http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif. However, I can use it in any weather any time and park under the window of my apartment, instead of garage with complicated security system. It also takes x4 less money for fuel.


11th October 1999, 12:54
Well two things:

No 1: I agree with This_Idiot regarding the lifespan of D8. It is a "phenomenon" like Beta where in the old days, the CD-I has been recently. Sony is the only maker of Digital8 cams. I know, I know, other brands has them too, but they're still ALL manufactured by Sony! DV is here to stay, also because TV-stations all over Europe are starting to use them for smaller asignments (can be operated easily by a single person.

No 2: If someone would buy a Digital8 cam - speaking of lens-quality - I'd for sure go for a Canon over a Sony any day. All the Canon cams are, as mentioned, manufactured by Sony, but they're equiped with Canon's own lenses, which are of much better quality than Sony's lenses! Take a look at Pro studio-cams, they're often made by Sony, but 95% of the time, they're fitted with a Canon lens.

OH! And I'd anyday buy a Pana DV-cam over a Sony Digital-cam - this from years of personal experiences of their drivequality and durabilty!

ASUS P2B-S, PII-350 (o/c to 412MHz), 128MB RAM, Cheetah 9.1 GB, Matrox Mill. G200SG, SB 64AWE, Plextor 32x CD-Rom, Sony CDU-924S CD-R, Canon BJC-7000 InkJet and Canon CanoScan 300 Scanner.

11th October 1999, 13:32
Wow, another forum script revision. Wonder what it will do.....

Anyhow, nice to see another intense discussion, I kind of knew it would get like this.

My original point was "strokes for folks". You can, if you wish, replace this with "bang for buck" or mebbe "my budget constraints.."

D8 certainly seems to be a good interim format for those that want to move from analogue to digital on a budget (and don't we all have those). A good marketing move by Sony, and no doubt they are happy with it. If we all had nlimited budget then we'd probably be going for XL1 and Digisuite (or something in a similar vein).

But the truth is that we don't. So what is important here is settling on a personal budget, and then trying to make the best match with available gear. That involves talking to other people that have come to similar decisions and to find out whether they think they made a mistake.

It's worth remembering that buying nearly anything today on a tight budget will result in an early upgrade (thus costing more in the long run). That's not a reason to invalidate an early purchase, but should be taken into account.

Keep chatting amongst yourselves folks, this is interesting.

11th October 1999, 14:21
As you all know, I'm no DV expert. As an amateur I am very satisfied with My D8 TRV103. Something that has not been mentioned yet is lens/filter diameter.

I have a large collection of 52mm filters for my Nikon lenses. When I wanted to get a polarizer for my D8 (everyone MUST have one), it was turning out to be a bit of a headache to find. I decided to puy a step up ring which cost me about $3.00. Now I can use the entire collection of filters & hoods, etc. that I have. I'm not sure if the Mini DV units have a filter diameter close enough to 52mm to get a step up ring.

Besides that I have to say the controls are well laid out and the camera has worked flawlessly for me.

Grigory, have you experimented with modifying the aperture under Program AE mode on your D8?


11th October 1999, 14:45
I'm always amazed at the half-truths and the absolute bullsh*t that comes out in discussions such as this. I don't have the passion or the patience (or admittedly sometimes the knowledge) to cover every questionable statement. Therefore, I'll limit myself to two things.

1) Jerry, you can interpret the Doc's statement concerning D8 "quality" any which way makes you feel the most comfortable. It seems pretty clear to me (and others) what he meant.

2) Brian, you have come out with the most ludicrous statement I've ever read at this forum:

"... there is no raison d'etre for Sony to have introduced a new format when there is a perfectly adequate one already available..."

I find it difficult to believe that someone as seemingly educated as you would state something so ridiculous. Are you suggesting that there be no competition between the manufacturers? Should we all simply be satisfied with an "adequate" existing format? Maybe we should all still be shooting and editing with VHS?. It was "adequate". Maybe we should all still be driving Model T Fords. They were "adequate". Hell, horses were "adequate".

All of us who have an interest in shooting video should be thankful that Sony came out with Digital8. Yes, all of us, even those of you who think that MiniDV is "adequate". It's this competition in the marketplace that has increased the features and brought down the prices of all the digital camcorder formats. Everyone of us comes out ahead, whether we shoot with Digital8 or MiniDV.


Since this is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I'd just like to express my thanks to Chris and Ant for being responsible for this site. It's great that we have a forum such as this to express ourselves in an open and frank manner. Chris, I hope that you are soon able to get your (un)employment situation under control. It has been loosely discussed here before, but if it gets to the point where a few dollars from the "regulars" would help keep things going, just let us know.

11th October 1999, 15:00
Hi Patrick,

It might be a good idea to seperate technical "excellence" from a marketing strategy. Sure, I agree that D8 will have a depressing effect on the lower end DV cams, and that's something that we can all be grateful for. But do you think that is what Sony had in mind ? Nope, they were trying to grab the lucrative bottom end.

Now that DOESN'T mean that D8 is a substandard product, and from Grigories post (I knew that he would have good post to make on this), it is certainly a good quality solution pro-tem.

Anyhow, I've not managed to get to the bottom of the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration yet. I know that the Americans celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers by cooking up those native Turkeys with Cranberries (yummee) and pumpkin pie (never thought that sounded very nice myself). What kind of ritual does the Canadian equivalent go through ?

Thanks for the applause, should I mention that it is the major intention of Ant and myself to be irresponsible and not responsible ? That is, to promote (and provoke) the total arena of useability of Matrox products.

And in another month or so I shall be asking for phone-voucher contributions so that I can keep on making posts like this one http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

11th October 1999, 15:26
Hi Chris, I'll refrain from saying anything more about D8/DV until the others have had a chance to take a swing at me. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Thanksgiving Day in Canada is much the same as it is in the States. There's more to it than this, but it's basically a celebration of the harvest at the end of the growing season. With Canada being a little further north than the States, our growing season ends sooner, therefore we have our celebration a month earlier. It's a great "New World" tradition.

Pumpkin pie is probably my favourite pie. Hot from the oven with ice cream on it, mmmmm....... The Doc might even agree with me on this one. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif

Brian Ellis
11th October 1999, 16:04

If you cannot see the difference between a 3-CCD and a 1-CCD camera, then you need a new TV set.

I repeat, the ONLY advantage of D-8 is the ability to play Hi-8 tapes, as a compromise.

As for tapes, Hi-8 ones are designed with a high-coercivity coating which will record levels over an approx. 60 dB range. Pure digital tapes have an even higher coercivity coating (similar to floppies) that are designed as all or nothing types, enabling a much higher data density.

There is another disadvantage of D-8: you are limited to one make of camera (and I hope it will stay that way). As you yourself say, feature for feature, there is no difference in the signal quality, therefore there is no raison d'etre for Sony to have introduced a new format when there is a perfectly adequate one already available, if not for pure marketeering. Sony must realise this, because they have attacked only the low end of the market, keeping DV for their better cameras.

Tape cost is a red herring. If you use it professionally or semi-pro, the time taken to shoot 60 min of tape costs MANY times more in just your salary than the difference between a Hi-8 and a DV tape. If you are an amateur, you will presumably re-record onto VHS after NLE and you can reuse your DV tape many times. To use your camera as a VCR will cost you much more in mechanical wear (whether it be D-8 or DV) than the cost of tapes. This is another reason why a dual purpose compromise so that you can play back your old tapes is a false economy: you wear out the expensive digital camera mechanics unnecessarily.

Brian (the terrible)

[This message has been edited by Brian Ellis (edited 10-11-1999).]

Keith Wiebe
11th October 1999, 16:49
I got my Sony TR7000 for $665 (I did see it advertised for $601 but doubt one could buy it for that). I sold my Canon ES3000 for $300 with a couple of batteries so my outlay was $365. For that money I got a much cleaner camcorder with nightshot and fancy ditital effects and a tremendously better archive vcr deck! If I went the DV tape way I would have had to keep my Canon and it would have cost me considerably more! I saved enough to perhpas buy a Canopus Raptor fire wire card and qualtiy will be that much better.

Jerry Jones
11th October 1999, 17:45
Patrick gazed into the stars and exclaimed
with awe and wonder:

>I'm always amazed at the half truths
>and the absolute bullsh*t that comes
>out in discussion such as this...

And you--presumably--know what
constitutes "bullsh*t" and "half truths"
everytime? Oh wise one... please share
your boundless wisdom with the rest of
us poor, miserable wretches. How dare
we even venture to soil your presence in this humble discussion forum?

Hey--Pat--It's robust discussion that makes this forum a worthwhile endeavor.

Hellooooo. Is anybody (are you) home?

Everybody is free to believe what he or
she wishes and, hopefully, learn in the
process. Your use of the word "bullsh*t"
is really something that strikes me as
both unnecessary and... frankly... I could do without it.

And... allow me to thank you... for giving
me the "permission" to interpret Doc's
statement "any way I wish." That's really
charitable of you to give me that privilege.

Why... how do the rest of us even survive without your "all knowing" and "all seeing" omnipotence?

Jerry Jones
11th October 1999, 18:06


I read the text by Adam Wilt concerning
Digital8 at the link location above.

In his description of Digital8... Wilt
says something about timecode not being
transmitted over 1394 where Digital8 is
concerned... casting--in his opinion--doubt
on whether batch capturing was possible.

This isn't true is it? I thought batch
capture was possible with Digital8.

11th October 1999, 18:11
http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Hey, this is fun Jerry (or is it Jerrold today?)

Jerry Jones
11th October 1999, 19:35
Actually, thanks to this discussion,
I'm giving serious thought to buying
a low end Digital 8 camcorder such as
the DCR-TR7000 to:

a) supplement my DV camcorder when a
two-camcorder shoot is warranted


b) use as an inexpensive digital deck


My JVC MiniDV has an annoying auto shutoff
feature that can't be disengaged unless
the camcorder is recording. So I'm
thinking a D-8 camcorder might fit the
bill... and give me that extra camcorder
that's occasionally needed.

[This message has been edited by Jerrold Jones (edited 13 October 1999).]

11th October 1999, 23:49
Jerry, if I may be so bold, I can answer your question addressed to Grigory. I want to help you reap the full benefit of your upcoming D8 purchase. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

Batch capture from a D8 camcorder is no problem if you are playing back digitally recorded tapes. It's only a problem if you use the D8 camcorder to play back analog recorded Hi8 or 8mm tapes. That's because timecode from analog recordings is not transmitted through the i.LINK connector.

I hope you're satisfied that you've messed up our nice little thread with that mega-long URL in your last post. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

(Maybe Ant or Chris can fix it.)

12th October 1999, 00:50
If you think you'll get rid of the 5 min. shutoff by buying a Sony cam, think again. Every Sony consumer grade cam I've had has that annoying "feature". So do many other cams. I agree: it's a royal PIA.

Other thoughts;

Let's not forget the real reason for D8's existance: keeping the Sony 8mm division in business a while longer while at the same time carving a niche market for Sony to have to itself.

D8 issues:

First let me say that I am not saying there is a digital quality difference between D8 and miniDV. There are issues of mechanical quality and reliability that can be as important as image quality, or even more so.

1. Tape and head life are problematic. Since D8 transports 8mm/Hi8 tapes at more than twice their design speed (8mm/Hi8: 14mm/sec, miniDV: 18mm/sec, D8: 29mm/sec) you run into durability issues for both the tapes and the heads. Note that D8 transports ~64% faster than miniDV as well.

PAL may transport at 1.5x NTSC (21mm/sec?) but where is the cutoff where 8mm tapes can't handle more speed? At SOME point these tapes will not take the stresses over time. I wouldn't want to be the customer who finds it.

A parallel issue: 8mm tapes of either variety do not have as robust an anti-friction layer nor as strong a substrate as tapes for the DV formats.

2. Hi8 tapes in particular have been susceptable to dropouts because of problems with the formulation of their coatings. This sometimes results in the subsequent flaking off of the coatings from the substrate.

In a Hi8 cam this means maybe a horizontal streak in some frames. In DV this could cause the codec to fall over the digital cliff and into a stream of DCT errors. At double the transport speed this is even more likely than on a Hi8 cam.

This has been getting better as time goes on but you still have to watch our for it particularly with certain major brands.

3. Because of #1 and #2 I sure as h**l wouldn't use a D8 as a DV deck. The wear and tear would likely mess up the tapes in short order, not to mention the heads if the coatings flake off. See #2 again.

4. Optics are another issue. Sony is making the D8 cams to a price and this is one area you can save a buck.

A friend of mine, who is also a photographer, recently purchased a Sony TRV310. On a whim we decided to run the U.S. Air Force Optical Resolving Power Test on our cams (mine: a Panasonic PV910) using the still capture modes.

Since D8's and DV capture at 720x480 any resolution problems should be the responsibility of the lens and the CCD.

GOTO RESUME unless you want to know the gory details:

In the Air Force test you place 5 USAF test charts on a wall with the spacing and distance to the cams focal plane determined by the lenses focal length. Since these lenses were both < 135mm the distance was set to 55 times the focal length of each lens at the zoom setting used for shooting. We used the minimum zoom setting for each cam.

One card is placed in the center of the visual field. The corner cards are placed with their centers 22" (56cm) above and below and 32" (81cm) left and right of the center charts midpoint. The corner charts are mounted with their bottoms facing the center chart and angled so their vertical centerlines intersect at its center.

To test you shoot a frame, magnify the image and look for the smallest line pairs that can be seen as separate lines on each chart. Then you score each chart individually using the line group and line pair numbers on an x-y chart.


The Sony lost. It had visibly less resolving power and showed signs of spherical abberation at the corners of the image field. The Panasonic showed no visible spherical abberations. Lenses are at least 50% of any photographic system so....

My friend took back the Sony and bought a Canon Vistura for $770 and change. No lens problems there and it shoots gorgeous video.

5. Consumer miniDV cams are now available in the same price range as D8 in many discount stores (at least in the US) so why? Example: the previously mentioned Canon Vistura.

6. Being a propriatary format support is a big issue. Remember Sony's last excursion into a proprietary consumer video format?

Dr. Mordrid

[This message has been edited by DrMordrid (edited 10-12-1999).]

12th October 1999, 01:12

I noticed a wide choice of smiles, very helpful http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

Jerry, I think that any review of 6 months old is actually not precise in our fast changing life.

What actually is possible, is to see the timecode on DV Raptor screen. You can use this timecode, transferred by firewire, to do batch captures.
Date code is used to make indexing. It is also transferred by firewire.

In DV RAPTOR, run Raptor Navi, insert tape, and select automatic indexing. Choose normal speed. After 1 hour you'll get all your tape indexed by clips recorded between start/stop button pushes (date code value jump is used for this).
Then, save index file and import it into Raptor video application in batch capture mode.
Push Capture and you will get all these clips captured in separate files. The accuracy is one frame. It takes some time, because positioning of tape is done relatively slow.
However, finally you get all clips on hard drive. Of course, you can edit the batch list to skip some files or modify their duration. Everything is done based on timecode and datecode recorded on tape while you shot video.

There is a problem here - the timecode must be continuous. The empty tape does not contain timecode. If you make empty piece on tape between clips, the timecode starts from zero. I am not sure what happens in this situation with batch capture. Probably, you have to take care about it manually.

It is possible in principle to make tapes with pre-recorded timecode from beginning to the end. In that case the timecode is not modified later. Actually I can do this in my typical shooting from beginning to the end of tape without any fast forward or backward moves.

Returning to tape lifetime and the suggestion to use D8 as analog capture card.

My typical shooting contains about 100 clips per 65 min (actual tape duration) tape. When I do batch capture and indexing, the tape is used multiple times in all possible transportation modes. So, single batch capture procedure is probably equivalent to 4-5 hours of plain recording/playback in terms of mechanics wear.
Add here at least two (three is more realistic) hours of start/stop shooting, switching camcorder ON/OFF, loading tape, unloading tape inside camcorder, ... and multiply by two.
Finally, you have up to 5 + 6 =11 hours camcorder mechanical wear per one hour of DV captured on PC.
I assumed that "pulsed" operation is x2 worse than plain recording/playback.

Finally, you have 2 hours per hour for analog captures, and 11 hours per hour for optical shooting.
So, making one hour of digitized analog tape is equivalent to 15 minutes shooting/capturing video in terms of mechanics wear.

You see that common 1-to-1 explanation of wear simply does not work.

Note, all these explanations were given for DV camcorder, I did not mentioned what kind of DV was in use. It is because Raptor cannot distinguish between mini-dv and D8 - both work equally.

Hope this is an answer about "mini-DV supremacy" in batch and other time code related operations.

Your assumption that only the cost prevents many of us from using Canon XL1 or similar camcorder is reasonable. However, the weight/dimentsions and other circumstances are also important. To use camcorder in summer vacation trip, it MUST have reasonable weight and size for this particular task. I agree that mini-dv is better suitable for travelling, but the cost and availability of tapes makes it less convenient than D8.

We have to take into account safety too. Not all countries are safe if you travel with very expensive camcorder. This is true all over Europe.

The possibility to find your rented car with broken window and stolen camcorder becomes higher with Canon XL1, because it is more difficult to hide it well. Hiding large size camcorder in a car may also damage it easily. Carrying it always with yourself can be too difficult.
Reasonable price/size/quality camcorder, such as small 1CCD mini-dv or D8, is better suited for me.

So, we always have to choose appropriate device, taking into account all these considerations.


12th October 1999, 03:12
Dr. Mordrid,

Thank you for detailed analysis of lense quality.

I'll let you know when I get my first defect on Digital8 tape. 4 months is not a time for this http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

What is still unclear for me:
How did you use camcorders in your tests. D8 camcorder in still playback discards one field, thus reducing vertical resolution by a factor of two. So, you have to capture and compare individual frames to see actual vertical resolution. I suppose horisontal resolution may also suffer because of field image interpolation over the frame in still mode.

Yes, Sony D8 camcorders have some parts that came from Hi8 models. Lenses, for example.
Your price comparison is correct, but for today, and for US. At the time I bought D8 in the end of March, the price difference was very much higher. All recent changes are due to Sony D8 intervention this spring (in Europe).
Living in Russia, I am able to buy any PAL camcorder, but the price policy here is different from the US.
We don't have developed postal order market, so we are always limited by direct buy. The prices behaviour is very often strange. We also have a lot of mind inertia here. So, the price of new low cost D8 camcorder starts from low values because the camcorder looks like ordinary Hi8, but the price of even low end mini-DV is kept high because all of them are looking as very modern high-end solutions.
I talked with sales persons - in spring some of them even did not realized well what is the difference between Hi8 and D8 at all. So, the street price overhead was kept at low level for D8 and at higher percentage for mini-DV. I suppose this was (and remains) true in many countries.
What was the result? The prices of new D8 models went down slowly, because they were well matched to the top of Hi8 domain. The prices of mini-DV went down fast because those who wanted better camcorder could easily buy compatible with Hi8 digital unit for less money. True high-end oriented buyers were searching for 3CCD devices and did not influence low end market prices.

Being interested, I looked at D8 and mini-DV prices in EU this August.
My "inspection" of Belgium, Holland, France, and Germany gave very similar results.
D8 camcorders were cheaper than the cheapest mini-DV models.
Furthermore, I found that my PAL camcorder has different optical system. Russian/Chinese (eastern PAL countries) version has x20 optical zoom and x18 digital, thus giving nice digit of 360x http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif.
EU model have 72x. I don't know what part is for optical subsystem, but assume that it is less than 20.
I have also different numbers of CCD pixels in the manual and on Sony Europe site.

So, Sony produces at least 3 different by optical path D8 camcorders. Your data for aberrations and resolution is valid for NTSC model. Other models may have different values. PAL models, for example, have better CCD in pixels.

I do agree with the statement that D8 is at low end of DV market. However, it still has significantly better price/quality ratio than any Hi8 and mini-DV camcorder.

The situation for me is similar to Celeron 300a (@464) and PIII 600 comparison: high price is not accompanied with acceptable for THAT price performance benefit.

Reliability tests of D8 and tapes are still going all over the world, let us see the results.


Brian Ellis
12th October 1999, 03:45

I like the catalogue of icons!

I think the likelihood of theft is a total non-sequitur. Anyone who leaves any form of valuable visible in a locked car is simply asking for trouble, whether the camera is anything between a throw-away 35 mm type up to the most expensive DV. I have travelled with expensive photo/cine/video equipment since the 1950s through 24 of the contiguous States, virtually the whole of Western Europe, including France, Italy and the UK, all notoriously theft-prone, Cyprus, Israel, Tunisia, Egypt, Kenya, India (incl Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi!), Indonesia, Sarawak, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore (14 times), Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Japan and probably elsewhere and never once (touch wood) have I had any equipment stolen. However, I am reasonably cautious. E.g. if I do have to leave equipment in the car, I make sure it is carefully locked away in the boot (trunk), out of sight. In any case, if you do lose it, you will lose either a D-8 or a DV: thieves are not sensible enough to leave the D-8 behind http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Brian (the terrible)

12th October 1999, 06:02
I have a sony d8 and a firewire card and the combination is very good, the only problem is the disk space required for dv captures.

DBK 99

12th October 1999, 07:20

My security idea came only from the necessity to put expensive and fragile device (and not too small in case of Canon XL1) in a back of hatchback car, already full with my baggage or anything else. The ability to damage camcorder becomes higher than in the case of D8 which I simply can take with me every time. Small mini-dv is even better for this.

The other thing is that it may also be more pain to drop expensive device and make it broken.
I am not so much careful person to take special care of dust, sand, and water.
BTW, D8 unit worked well on North sea shore under wind, not so strong rain, and, of course, sand everywhere.
Having already poor lense quality http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif I expect it will stay in unchanged condition longer than perfect and expensive lenses.


the happy d8 user http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

12th October 1999, 08:27
I hereby repost some of John Beale's views
on the matter.
For those of who not now of his website
already I strongly encourage you to visit it.
In my view the best website in the world
about the Sony TRV900

Happy reading!!


.....Then I tried a more stringent test:
I made a 30-second video clip in Premiere
incorporating two high-resolution still
frames and wrote it va firewire from my PC
to my TRV900 MiniDV camera. I read it back
into the computer via firewire and extracted
the two stills as BMP files, calling
this "1st generation". I then copied that
30-second segment on the tape from the
TRV900 over firewire to the TR7000, giving
me a second generation copy on Digital 8,
and then back to the TRV900 for a 3rd generation on MiniDV, and back etc. up to
the 9th generation (on the TRV900 at this
point) which I then uploaded back to the PC
again, and again extracted the two stills.
They look identical. I did a binary file
comparison on the 1st and 9th generation BMP
files and they are bytewise identical -
every single bit is the same. Looks like I
had no tape dropouts along the way! So, my
conclusion is that this works - the firewire
transfer is actually lossless - and you can
use the Digital8 models as an inexpensive
digital VCR for editing purposes.



Jerry Jones
12th October 1999, 10:38
Does anybody know if the Sony Digital 8
camcorders... with the auto-shutoff
feature mentioned by Doc... can be used
as editing decks. In other words, when
you switch the camcorder to VTR mode...
is there a way to disable the auto-shutoff
so that... using a DV Raptor... I could
use the camcorder's codec to maintain
my Overlay window?

Jerry Jones
12th October 1999, 10:46
Based on the link just posted...
(Thanks Iyvind--FANTASTIC WEB SITE!)

...I would guess there's a way to
disable the auto-shutoff feature
of the Digital 8 camcorders.

[This message has been edited by Jerry Jones (edited 12 October 1999).]

Jerry Jones
12th October 1999, 11:26

I think I'm swayed to the notion the
Digital 8 does have an advantage over
some one-chip MiniDV camcorders, namely,
the analog inputs.

When this discussion began... I didn't
realize Digital 8 camcorders **all**
have analog inputs... even the lowest
price models. That's a real advantage
where legacy analog footage is concerned.

But... I agree... the questions about
tape durability are valid.

It is encouraging, however, to hear about
Grigory's experiences to date.

I should point out that during my 11-year
stint in TV news, I remember many
internal discussions about tape formats.

We rejected Hi8 due to the very problems
Doc mentions... tape dropout... and we
adopted Betacam SP instead. I suppose Hi8
tape formulation has improved. But it's
still a question in my mind.

I think we can agree the optics of the
Digital 8 camcorders are going to be
on a par with the low end, one-chip MiniDV
but not on a par with those of the more
expensive 3-chip camcorders such as my
Sony DCR-VX1000.

What we need is enough time for some real
studies to be done to find out if MiniDV
does offer superior tape durability over time
than Digital 8.

Grigory/Pat... thanks for the confirmation
about the Digital 8 batch capture capability. Adam Wilt's Web site was based on very old, pre-product release information (his post suggests even digitally recorded D8 tapes may not be able to convey time code information over 1394--which is not accurate) and I simply posted it as a
means of getting my own questions about it
answered here. Thanks again.

12th October 1999, 11:59
I have seen the TRV103 sold brand new retail for $675.00 U.S. This model has the 2.5 LCD screen.

Regarding the dropout problem with HI8 tape, I have seen this alot as my brother has 2 Hi8 Sony cams. I have never had so much as a single glitch on any frame with my D8 camcorder. I am using Fuji MP120 tapes.

Of course time will tell how the bits will fare as the tapes deteriorate. But I *think* the error correction will overcome this. And common sense would suggest that using twice the tape per second would improve the prospects for data storage.

In the analog world, a wider tape has almost universally been associated with higher quality/capacity. Also in the analog world moving more tape per second results in higher quality. Could this not perhaps portend some potential for the D8 formats stability?

I am concerned about the possibility of flaking inside the camera. Does anyone know if the expense Evaporative tapes are subject to this? How about the good old cheap standard (not Hi) 8mm tapes, do they flake? If not, maybe we should use them in our D8s instead.


12th October 1999, 14:41
Hi Doc,

I am curious about what you said previously:

"If you think you'll get rid of the 5 min. shutoff by buying a Sony cam, think again. Every Sony consumer grade cam I've had has that annoying "feature". So do many other cams. I agree: it's a royal PIA."

I have two Sony Hi-8 camcorders. They both have a 5 minute shutoff if you leave the camcorder in "Camera" mode with a tape inserted and paused. If you take the tape out, you can leave it run in "Camera" mode indefinitely. In "VTR" mode, there is no 5 minute shutoff at all.

I guess I'm just wondering what it is that you (and others) are talking about in terms of a 5 minute shutoff being a problem? Are you wanting to leave your camera on, with a tape inserted, in pause mode for long periods of time? This seems like a bad idea to me... I guess I must be missing something.


12th October 1999, 15:54
Scrolling down this lengthening thread I've noticed a few things I'd like to comment on that Grigory hasn't yet analysed. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

DV standard - It's a myth that DV is somehow a "standard". A quote from earlier in this thread:

"In the longer term DV will become the de-facto standard."

First of all, there are two completely different formats of DV, full size and MiniDV. And even within the full size DV camp, there are at least two versions which are NOT compatible.

Besides, let's hope in a couple of years that the "de-facto standard" is not tape based at all.

Auto shut-off - As Rick has already explained above, this is also NOT a problem with any Sony camcorder that I've ever used. My current Hi8 model is the CCD-V801. Auto shut-off is designed to prevent the tape and/or the heads from wearing excessively during extended use of the Pause function in either Camera or VTR mode. If the camcorder is in Camera mode with NO tape in it, the camcorder will stay on indefinitely. If the camcorder is in VTR mode and the tape is stopped (not paused), the camcorder will stay on indefinitely. This is while using the AC adaptor. I believe it operates the same even while using battery power, but I can't swear to it.

Dropouts - This has been the biggest complaint I've always had with Hi8. I've had a lot of experience dealing with this problem over the years, and I've never been convinced that it is simply a tape issue. As I've stated many times before at this forum, it seems that the tape path alignment is so critical with Hi8, and any variation from "perfection" results in the viewing of dropouts in the picture. This was never a problem to anywhere near the same degree with regular 8mm, and from all reports it is not a problem at all with Digital8.

Although I've just stated that the tapes themselves are probably not the main reason behind dropouts occurring, I would advise against the use of "evaporated" Hi8 tapes. They were designed to be used for initial high quality recording of gathered footage. They were not designed for the use and abuse of repeated playback and/or editing. The only way those tapes should be used is to record material once, dump it to a different format for editing, and then toss the tapes. They may have improved since they were first produced, but the Sony evaporated tapes were notorious for shedding huge amounts of formulation onto the camcorder heads. This is not, I repeat not, a problem with the metal particle tapes.

NTSC vs PAL camcorder models - One thing that has led to a lot of confusion and needless disagreement is the fact that there are different models available with different features in different parts of the world. And because this is definitely very much an international forum, we often are unaware of what each other are dealing with. For example, here in North America, all Digital8 camcorders come with:

1) Digital in and out (through i.LINK, firewire, IEEE-1394, whatever you want to call it).
2) Analog in and out (through composite and/or S-video).

If you consider that there are MiniDV camcorders available here in North America that do NOT even have an IEEE-1394 connector mounted on the camcorder, is it any wonder that so many of us have been pleased with Sony's release of Digital8? The fact that Digital8 camcorders also have mic inputs, headphone outputs, etc, all at a price usually much lower than a comparably featured MiniDV camcorder, well, what's not to like? http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 13 October 1999).]

Brian Ellis
13th October 1999, 02:27
Well, we can now see who owns D-8 and who owns DV by their often-emotional justification of their purchases. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/smile.gif

Brian (the terrible)

13th October 1999, 09:58

I have to disagree with you about the LCDs. I have the TRV103 which has the smallest LCD at 2.5". I never film without it. It has worked well in all conditions. It really gives you a lot of freedom of movement and better awareness of your surroundings than having your eye stuck in the little viewfinder cup.

With the InfoLithium batteries, I never worry about running out of juice using the LCD. If I go out of town I can tape over four hours + watch some of it in the evenings with the built in LCD & speaker and not have to charge the batteries at all. I have one additional battery besides the stock one.

You should consider getting a cam with an LCD next time, I think.


13th October 1999, 11:10
I hope we don't start fighting about LCDs now! http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/wink.gif

Brian, if I'm one of the individuals that your last post was referring to, I don't own a D8 camcorder.........yet. http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/biggrin.gif

Phil Pugh
13th October 1999, 16:41
I actually own both DV (well JVC miniDV) and Sony D8 (TR7000E) .

JVC (can't remember model)
Plus points:
Small, easy to carry.
Well featured.
Good quality recording in normal lighting

Negative points:
Poor battery life. (about 20 mins)
Expensive batteries.
Poor sound (mic's on top of unit and picks up motor noise).
No external mic/headphone socket.
Poor low light peformance
Poor autofocus, and manual focus is not easy.
No DV In or Out.

Sony TR7000E
I have enabled the DV (and analogue) In on this.

Good low light performance
Good battery life (over 1 hour)
Manual focus ring - easy to use
Good sound
DV In and Out
External mic and headphone sockets
Well featured

'Normal' camcorder size - a bit bulky

I am consumer user - i.e. not professional and as such I am not too demanding. I don't go for LCD displays as they aren't very good in normal light and useless in sunlight. Add to this they consume battery power - but that's a personal thing.

The small size of the JVC is good for casual use but makes steady shots more difficult - it's so small it 'amplifies' any movement. (It also looks ridiculous on my large tripod!)

15th October 1999, 00:33
Considering tapes, I used continuous downgrading of their claimed performance, starting from Sony MP "Hi-8, Digital8", then with TDK Hi-8 MP, BASF Video8 High Grade Hi-FI, and finally use TDK video 8 EHG tape.

When I find any droppped frame on any of these tapes, I'll post a message immediately.

The only distorted frames I got were two or three in the beginning of single clip from many, probably because tape loading was not finished at beginning of recording. This is not a defect, of course.

One more funny glitch was with DV Raptor. Once I made tape index and launched batch capture. Camcorder moved to the very beginning of tape, and the first frame on that tape did not contain timecode. The application could not decide what to do and refused to continue. I had to FF tape for few seconds and start again. This time the tape was positioned at 00:00:00 timecode and everything worked well. I recommend to start batch captures from 1-3 sec timecode values. It is a safety measure you can easily take while shooting.

Canopus forum has lost all messages recently http://forums.murc.ws/ubb/frown.gif. On that forum, there was a message with a story of video8 tapes testing. Four D8 camcorders were used with 4 different regular 8 tapes. The tapes were recorded and then exchanged many times between different D8 devices. There were NO dropouts or compatibility problems.
This info made many of us thinking that Sony just wants more money for Hi-8 digital8 tapes, but this format itself is quite tolerant to recording media characteristics. This is not surprising, because digital storage can be accompanied by ECC, and, as I wrote above, does not necessarily mean increased recording density. By increasing the tape speed by a factor of 1.5 (compared with PAL), Sony actually decreased recording density on the same media, or used similar density of magnetic maximums and minumums per unit area, but used a large portion of data for ECC.

In addition, the tape transport and head mechanisms should have been redesigned on a basis of existing miniDV technology, because both formats are quite similar on tape.
Higher head velocity over a tape requires better tape contact with head drum. So, maybe the absence of dropouts can be well explained by only "mechanical" terms.


15th October 1999, 02:18

I'd like to present here some information as are the tape dimensions, tape and head movement speeds... Anybody can make own conclusions.

_______________DV__________________D8_____________ __Hi8
hor.res : ______500 rows____________500 rows_________400 rows
audio : __________digital(16/12 bits PCM)____________analog (FM)
audio dub. : ___Yes_________________No_______________No
FireWire : _____25 Mb/s_____________25 Mb/s__________-
Tape width : ___6.35mm______________8mm______________8mm
Tape size : ____125x78x14.6(DV)_____95x62.5x15_______95x62.5x1 5
Head speed : ___9000 rot/min________4500 rot/min_____1500 rot/min
Tape speed : ___18.831 mm/s_________28.695 mm/s______20.051 mm/s
Track width : __10mm________________16.34mm__________34.4mm

In source of this data was not noticed if it's for PAL or NTSC. But I suppose it's for PAL because it was in European magazine.


[This message has been edited by IvanP (edited 15 October 1999).]

15th October 1999, 05:57
Thanks for info.
As far as I know, the tape speed and datarate value is equal for PAL and NTSC.

PAL models can play and record NTSC via DV as well. They also can generate PAL or NTSC 4.43 analog from NTSC DV or analog video tape source.

Caution: if you try to use PAL D8 camcorder for NTSC DV editing, Canopus DV Raptor will show NTSC in monochrome in overlay window. Only NTSC 3.58 is supported for color decoding.

NTSC 4.43 video is displayed in color on multisystem TV.


25th October 1999, 16:06
Hey, guys! Just thought I'd bring my own research into this:


The Sony D8 camcorders do not shut off in VTR mode.

And though I haven't checked, I think removing the tape from the camcorder turns off auto-shutoff. Besides, you can just insert any old tape and hit record to keep it going while you're filming.

D8 format vs. DV format

Same thing. Different tapes, same format. 4:1:1 NTSC, 4:2:0 PAL, 25 Mbps, etc. Check out <a href="http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-tech.html">http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-tech.html</a>.

I personally don't mind using a D8 for now. I like having timecode, digital I/O, and bragging rights to those who bought the much more expensive stuff and didn't have to. That's the whole point of this site, isn't it? If you guys had the money to buy everything you wanted, why would you use RR's?

25th October 1999, 16:07
Hey, guys! Just thought I'd bring my own research into this:


The Sony D8 camcorders do not shut off in VTR mode.

And though I haven't checked, I think removing the tape from the camcorder turns off auto-shutoff. Besides, you can just insert any old tape and hit record to keep it going while you're filming.

D8 format vs. DV format

Same thing. Different tapes, same format. 4:1:1 NTSC, 4:2:0 PAL, 25 Mbps, etc. Check out <a href="http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-tech.html">http://www.adamwilt.com/DV-tech.html</a>.

I personally don't mind using a D8 for now. I like having timecode, digital I/O, and bragging rights to those who bought the much more expensive stuff and didn't have to. That's the whole point of this site, isn't it? If you guys had the money to buy everything you wanted, why would you use RR's?