VX2100E or DSR-PD170?



Hi everyone, my first post here.... I have been
shooting video using a Sony DCR-PC100E dvcam, and for what I have been doing,
PC100E has been ok. The results transferred to dvd are quite good.

Now after a year or so, I realize the PC100E has limitations, and I want better quality images, but without
spending a fortune on fully pro equipment, as my work is unpaid.

Looking at what's available, I have narrowed the choice down to a VX2100E
or a DSR-PD170, but don't know which to pick. I have looked at specifications until I am cross-eyed.
My shooting is mostly inside industrial buildings with low light levels, but using additional lighting
is not a practical option for me. Also, 3 ccd's seems like the way to go anyway. Not sure if
I need the fancier audio facilities of the PD170 - at least not at the moment.

How does the resolution of the 2 cams compare to the PC100E? Is spending all that dough going to
give me much better than I already have?

Thanks in advance...

Regards, Rob

Duncan Craig

Active Member

I'll explain why....

The VX2000/2100, PD150/170 are all essentially the same camera in terms of size, optics, image quality, facilities etc.

The original VX1000 set the standard for domestic 3CCD cameras, the VX2000 was a vast improvement though.

The differences are mostly cosmetic, and all fairly minor. The PDs have XLR audio input record DVCam and allow you to set the Timecode. The 170 and I assume 2100 have slightly better lux performance, so they work better in low light (a tiny bit better)

You may have guessed I have a 2000, which I use on corporate, broadcast as well weddings etc.

Its been a great performer which I wouldn't trade for a PD frankly, unless they were the same price. If you can't see any benefit to the PDs over VXs I would say go with the VXs. And seeing as the 2000 is cheaper get that.

The BBC bought about 100 VX2000s to give to Video Journalists, pictures are very very good, I edit with PD150/170 material all the time, it's the same as my 2000. Just a shame they are not 16:9. Put the best Sony wide angle you can find on it and the biggest battery. You'll get 5 or 6 hours of recording with the side finder out.

Of course you can add an anamorphic adaptor but they have severe limitations.

A lot of independant companies also use 150, and I edit a weekly primetime ITV show shot on a 150 and stretch it to anamorphic in post. The 150 is exactly the same as the 2000 in terms of picture quality. DVcam is of no use to anyone unless they are shooting in extreme conditions.


Many thanks indeed for your detailed response Duncan, and allowing me the benfit of your experience.

I have indeed taken your advice and have ordered the VX2100E, and with a bit of luck I should
have it in my hands today. Can't wait to try it out!

Normally, I would have seriously considered going for the earlier model as you had
suggested, but since I am in S.E Asia, I thought taking the risk of buying something second hand
a touch on the risky side. One never knows how things get treated here. (Actually, one DOES know...
hence that's why I wouldn't!). To import a second hand one here too risky also, chances are it would
disappear in transit. Hence lashing out on the new one.

Also, I took your suggestion and ordered the wide angle lens too, and the big battery. Though my
experience with video is limited, I have found that the view angle is never wide enough with standard
lenses (same problem with digital cameras). I can't for the life of me understand the seeming bizarre
preoccupation with extreme zoom levels. It seems wider angle and normal zoom levels much more useful to my
way of thinking.

As a matter of interest, here in BKK the retail price of the VX2100 is US$3075, and the DSR-PD170P
is US$4590, a difference of US$1515. Seems a lot!

Once again, thanks very much for your help.

Regards, Rob


Hi Duncan

I'll keep my eyes open for one here...I am sure it won't cost much to ship to the UK, I send stuff to the USA and Australia all the time. Will let you know if I can find one.

In the meantime, I am still waiting for the camera...a bit slow on arriving but all things going well I will have it tomorrow morning. Can't wait to try it out!

Regards, Rob


hey there,
i'm trying to decide between a vx2k, vx2100 and pd150 also so i thought i'd ask in here rather than start a new thread.
I will be using it for my 3rd year final project at uni, i'm gunna do a film based on skateboarding with poetry, music and a stream of concious thought all intertwined.

basically i can buy either a:
vx2k for £825 (2 years old)
a vx2100e for £1,00 (1 year old)
or a pd150 thats up for auction so probably 1,200+ (practically new)
Is the audio actually better on the other 2 cameras above the vx2k or just give you the ability to buy a better mic for them? I can't seem to find this out!

For the skateboarding i will obviously need a wide angle lens and would like the extra cash to buy 1, but would the better audio on the pd150 make a difference.
I will also be doing slow motion and sped up time when editing, is either camera better for that, in terms of progressive scan ect?

Hope you guys can help



Well-known Member
I have the VX2100. The PD cams don't necessarily have 'better' audio, but they have more tools on the camera to enable you to capture better audio. The equivalent facilities offered can be added to a VX camera with a Beachtek adaptor later, if you decide you need it. Perosnally, I couldn't justify the price difference of the PD170 over the VX2100.

I use the Sennheiser K6/ME66 combo through a 10db attenuator, and an adaptor to convert the balanced connector to a jack for the Mic In socket. If I had a PD170, I would be able to plug the mic in directly to balanced sockets, but my adaptor and attenuator cost <&#163;20 and give perfectly acceptable results for my use. If you were running a boom pole mic (but still connected to the cam) with a long cable, then the balanced cable run would be less prone to interference on the PD range, but if you use your mics cam-mounted then you should be fine.

Given your options I would go for the VX2100, as it is not much more costly than the 2000 at your prices. However, if the 2100 has been used everyday by a roving reporter and the 2000 has only been used twice I would think again. All things being equal I would recommend the 2100 as I have been delighted with the results. We used it a couple of weekends ago for a BBC2 programme, and they were more than happy with the results.

EDIT: None of the cams record progressive scan. Do all that in post, along with your slo-mo and ramping. I highly recommend the Nattress Film Effects plug-in for deinterlacing if you have access to Final Cut Pro.


cool thanks for your help,
the vx2k owner says he's used it for 20hours in last 18months and vx2100 says about 6 hours in the year that it's been out of the box, so if thats true i'm guessing you'll say that the 2100 is definetly the way i should go!?
I do have access to final cut at uni, but i edit so much more creatively at home when i'm tucked in my lil room all alone, but i only have adobe premiere on my pc! any plug ins or anything u can suggest for that software?

I read somewhere that the vx2100 did have progressive scan but not in 16:9 mode, but i would want it in 16:9 mode so i guess post editing it would be best anyway!
Also i read in a review that it actually uses the whole sensor when recording 16:9 by squashing the video up?? is this true or does it still crop the sensor like most cams and lose resolution?

Thanks for your help, i guess the mid range cam is kind of the obvious right choice, but saving £250 by getting the older model is so tempting, as is spending a bit more so you can get that better audio control that u just can't live without once you've heard of it!

oh yeh the vx2100 is local so i can also pick it up and try before i buy, does a 12month old vx2100e thats been used for under 10 hours for £1,100 sound like a great deal, or should i hold out and possibly get a better price? I have no idea really what second hand value these things should hold!

Cheers again!


Well-known Member
The VX2100 does have a form of progressive scan (low framerate) which is best ignored, along with it's fudged 16:9 mode. All these cameras will give some of the finest 4:3 images you can find in the price bracket, but none of them have a true 16:9 chip. You can produce a workable 16:9 version in post though, where software interpolation usually yields better results than the camera 16:9 mode.

Not sure about deinterlacing with Premiere, as I stopped using Prem after v1.0 Prem Pro, when I switched to FCP. When I was using it, the Magic Bullet plugin was always very popular, so that may be worth investigating.

You can get a new VX2100 for roughly £1800 if you hunt around, so I would say £1000 is a more realistic price.

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