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Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder

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Nancy Avery
Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder
on Apr 5, 2005 at 12:24:33 am

I have decided that the best solution for my budget AND to save wear and tear on my GL2 is to purchase a cheaper camcorder and use that for reviewing and transferring tapes made with my GL2. The DTE F4 sounds great but more expensive than a 2nd camcorder plus I found it sold out everywhere I checked and wonder if a newer version is due out soon.

From comments by other users it seems there may be a compatibility problem running mini DV tapes made in Canons on other brand's equipment. For instance I have heard that the JVC miniDV/VHS tape deck eats tapes made on this true? That possibility makes me wonder if I should only use Canon equipment (and forget about the JVC deck or another brand of camcorder) to run tapes made in my GL2.

I would appreciate any advice on this decision.


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Bob Hudson
Re: Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder
on Apr 5, 2005 at 2:46:46 pm

It has been my experience that you are better off not swapping tapes between Canon and other brands. For playing back tapes, you can use one the Canon DV camcorders that retail for $300 or less:

Bob Hudson
Consultant & Writer
Video, DVD and
Multimedia Production
Overland Park, Kansas USA

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Re: Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder
on Apr 5, 2005 at 8:31:22 pm

[Nancy Avery] "I have heard that the JVC miniDV/VHS tape deck eats tapes made on Canons"

There would be no reason for THIS to be true.

For instance, take 2 identical new miniDV tapes, shoot one in a Canon and the other in a Sony.
Play the Sony-recorded tape in the JVC deck, its OK.
Play the Canon-recorded tape in the JVC deck, and it gets "eaten".
I doubt THAT would be the case.

There are decks in all formats that get "hungry" for a tape now and then, but its not due to what camcorder they went through first (unless that camcorder physically damaged the tape).

But as to your bigger question...

Canon has a reputation that leans toward of INCOMPATIBILITY with other gear.
Its not so much that their tapes get "eaten", its that Canon-recorded tapes have playback "problems" when played on other decks/camcorders.

But it appears to be a problem that varies from individual unit to unit.
I have a GL1 which makes tapes that play just fine on my Sony and Panasonic DV decks/camcorders.
(But we won't talk about its lovely center-screen HOT PIXEL.)

I also have used an XL1 whose tapes will ONLY play on THAT XL1 (even after Canon service.)

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Donald Berube
Re: Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder
on Apr 6, 2005 at 11:52:41 pm

Based upon your comments, I'd recommend you consider acquiring a second DV camcorder such as an Optura 30. Not only will it address your immediate need to save wear and tear on your GL2 heads (assuming here that you are shooting daily/ weekly), you'll also have a second angle camera for those gigs where the need for added coverage is prominent. Added value is created when you can re-purpose your investment and you can offer more coverage. Advanced accessory shoe, DIGIC processor, native 16:9 WideScreen, Manual Focus Ring (and Auto Focus). This is a lot of camera and exceptional color detail for the money.

- don

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cirina catania
Re: Compatibility of recordings in other brands of camcorder
on Apr 27, 2005 at 5:21:52 am

Hi Nancy,

I've had several Canon XL1's and now have an XL2 - Have experienced problems after servicing the camera at the center when they have taken it upon themselves to re-calibrate it - rendering it incompatible with any other "deck." At that point there is not much you can do. You have to re-master any tapes shot with the incompatible camera, ie., place your original tape in the camera which shot it and dub to another standardized camera or deck. Then you will have a tape that is universally acceptable. The first time this happened to me I had shot over 30 tapes on location, returned and began logging only to discover what appeared to be video noise, or possibly stretch as well as sound problems. Do not dispair, however, once you remaster your tape, you'll be fine.

I have several decks (clam shells, etc.) but have switched to using a Canon Z85 (you can try the newer Z90 model as well) - It retails for about $400 which is substantially less than a 60i deck. Of course, for the 24p tapes, you might want to buy Sony's new compact HD deck which takes regular mini-dv's, the new hi-def mini dv's or dvcam tapes.

Another thing to be aware of is the difference between wet and dry tape emulsion. Never switch tape brands. Once you start using one brand of tape, stay with it, or you'll end up with residue which can cause all sorts of problems.

Hope this helps a little.


Cirina Catania
Firebird Worldwide, LLC

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