which 3CCD minidv camcorder



i am very interested in buying a camcorder.
i require the camcorder to do short films and have some entries in competitions both locally and internationally. my budget is around £2,500. i can only imagine the final product to be on dvd.

i have read several reviews but am undecided because of my ignorance in understanding certain specs and terms.

from what i have read the panasonic dvx100 has the edge due to its leica lens and progressive scan at 24p.
i have read that thanks to this progressive scan better vertical resolution is achieved. it also has a `cine` like gamma curve.

on the other hand there is the sony dsr-pd170. correct me if i am wrong but i have read that progressive scan on the sony is only 12p. how much do these progressive scan and gamma curve differences, amongst others things actually differ in picture quality.
is the dvx100 worth the price difference over the pd170?

another dilemma is that if i understood correctly the sony pd170 and vx2100 are almost identical in performance except for one being a dvcam and has XLR inputs while the other not. am i correct?
if so appart from the recording times does the dvcam format actually result in better picture quality. so would i be better off with the vx2100 and a DAT/minidisc?

i would rule out the canon xl1s only for the fact that it has interchangable lenses which will incure a greater cost. am i right in doing so, or is the price gap worth it? is the Xl1s better than the pd170?

how does the sony dsr-pdx10p (dvcam) and the panasonic agdvc30e compare to the above. i know that they both have XLR inputs but truely are they on the same leage as the above?

i would not like to buy the cheepest product now and regret my decission in a few years time due to the lack of professioanl equipment i have. on the other hand I do not want fency stuff that i will not use.
thanks a lot.


Hi thewheel and welcome to the forum!

You are after some fairly high end to professional equipment. I would love to try some of the cams you mentioned but like most of the people on this forum we are only consumers trying to get the 'best bang per buck' and therefore do not use this type of expensive equipment (sits back and waits a bunch of members to correct me :rolleyes: ).
I would suggest the best place to ask this type of question would be on the Computer Video mag forum that can be found Here. There are loads of profesional videotogriphers on that forum that are more likely to have used these cams.

Good luck,

Duncan Craig

Active Member
Your assumtions on the 150 v 2100 are correct. Both the same quality really. Both very similar to the PD150 and VX2000. Which you can get very cheap now.
I have 2000, and use 150/170s all the time.

DVcam has no obvious quality benefit, uses the same compression and data rate as MiniDV. It uses a wide magnetic track, so is more resilient to errors, humidity, heat etc.

The 150/170 uses MiniDVCam which I have no opinion on. Most people with 150/170s use miniDV only.

Check 2-pop.com for info on kit, also www.wwug.com, or creativecow.com for the Panasonic jobby.


hi Craig, MarkE19,
thanks for the links,
i would still like to ask Craig some questions though.

is the VX2000 very very limited in controlling gain? is there any gain conmtrol at all. do you think that the vx2000 would be enough for my purposes? sort of i am not a proffesional although i would like to obtain very good quality.

if i use an XLR-jack adapter with the vx2100 should i obtain good sound quality or does the jack/cam circuitry provide a bottleneck?

so you confirm that there are no major differences between the 150 and 170. however i think they are at the same price. if you have read any reviews on the 2100 do you feel that it is worth the price difference over the 2000?

thanks a lot.

Duncan Craig

Active Member
Check here:
http://www.vjcenter.com/english/english_con03.asp (click on the lens hood)

The gain control on the 2000 is OK, There's stacks of gain control, as well a 2 ND filters built in. Of course is has quite wide steps in manual mode. The 2100 has finer control, but in auto they both operate the same.

Of course the usual thing under shooting situations is to switch to auto the get the camera to expose the shot as you want, then switch to manual so the camera holds this exposure. They all operate in this way.

Racking (iris adjustment) the camera as you shoot is not something most people need to do under normal circumstances. But it is better on the 2100/170 that was one of the features Sony added to these newer models.

The 2100/170 have brighter screens, different built-in lens hoods, and operate down to 1lux If I remember correctly (the 2000/150 is 2lux I think). I always run 2000s and 150/170s with the top grade Sony Wideangle lens on so the new shape lens hood is a waste of time. The new screen doesn't bother me, The old and new cameras side by side give very very similar results in all areas. The new models do have zoom demand on the top handle, again not something I have used, as if I am holding the camera low I tend to leave on maximum wide.

So where the 170 beats the 2100 is the XLR inputs, you can by a Beachtek or Glensound box. Good if you want to run external audio kit on dual channels. I personally use a home made minijack to XLR cable to plug in my Pro audio kit. It's worked OK for me. Of course having the 150 would have been good for me, but not worth the extra cash frankly.

Progressive scan is crap on Sonys, But it's not much use on any camera where is doesn't work in true 16:9 too. I apply a film look in post production if I want film look as it often requires grading anyway.

The Panasonic 100 thingy is interesting, but my client who owns 150s as well as digibetas etc. looked at it and says the pictures are terrible, so he bought more 170s instead.

I'd recommend a VX2000, with cash left over for a good wide angle lens (VCL-HG0758), spare battery, decent bag, As well as this:


hi Duncan,
thanks a lot for your reply, the links you gave were great.
i have a clearer picture now.
i did not understand what is the Rugged lens flare protection.

It is between the 2100 and the 170 then. I would prefer to go to the latest models (but that is me). There are two things that attract me to the 170. one is that it has the wide angle lens included in the price and two that there is an extra cost for the Beachtek or Glensound for the 2100.
So the 2100+extras to the 170 price gap is minimum.

do you know if quality is furthure reduced when the footage is dumped onto pc for edited. I intend to buy some matrox editing card later on but for the time being i will do without it. someone told me that the PC circuitry is not optimum for video editing, does transfering to PC, editing and then recording onto a dvd lead to a further quality reduction.

thanks a lot.


Video capture onto a PC is always kept in the digital domain (as long as you capture via firewire that is) so there is no practicle loss of quality. Likewise when editing the footage. However when you compress the footage to MPEG-2 to copy to a DVD there is afair loss of quality due to the compression. How much loss depends on the encoder used and the settings used within the encoder. A high quality encoder such as the Canopus Procoder will cost a fair bit to buy (~£400) but will result in very good results, but you will need an authoring program to create your final DVD disk. If you want simplicity then something like Ulead DVD Workshop 2 (~£250) is an all-in-one package that also offers very good results and does full authoring including creating chapters and menus.



thanks a lot MarkE19,
may i please ask something else about the PD170 cause I think I missed this one.

Duncan about the PD170 you said: where is doesn't work in true 16:9.
I have read that in the 150 16:9 this was impossible, on the 170 I have read that altough the camcorder doesn’t possess one of Sony’s newer wide CCDs, but instead uses anamorphic lens techniques to squeeze a 16:9 aspect ratio picture into the 4:3 format recording.

So is 16:9 (although not true) of a good quality on the 170?

thanks a lot again guys.


Well-known Member
The 170 uses an electronic squeeze technique for 16:9 recording, the same as my VX2100. You lose resolution as this is not an optical method, and I never use the feature for this reason.

If you want full resolution anamorphic 16:9 from these cameras you need to buy something like the Century anamorphic adaptor, which costs about £750.
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