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  1. I just noticed that I have been using Hi8 Tapes in my Sony
    DCR-TRV520 Handycam which is supposed to take Digital8 tapes.

    They seem to work but are there any potential issues?

    I found this Hi8 vs Digital8 definition, but will my Digital8 record 500lines on a Hi8?

    --- Hi8 uses the same tapes as 8mm and also records up to 5 hours, but it achieves a resolution of up to 400 lines. Digital8 records digital video onto an 8mm cassette that can hold 2.5 hours of video at a resolution of about 500 lines. ---
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    The only real difference is that digital 8 tapes are probably just a higher grade of tape . This is just my opinion . I am currently using Sony 8 mm tapes labled " Hi 8 / Digital 8 " . I have a TRV-350 and my manual states that you can use 8 mm , Hi 8 , and Digital 8 tapes in this unit . The only caution is that if you ues plain 8 mm tapes they may only play back in the unit they were made in .
    Keep it on the big cam !
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  3. Hi8 & D8 are the same quality (as are most 8mm computer backup tapes). Yeah, Video8 tapes are a notch down, but I've never seen a quality difference or noticed a lack of "portability". They just won't record in LP mode. But I feel better about a standard tape in SP than a D8 in LP anyway.
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  4. Member tim_k's Avatar
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    vtecwil,

    I'm going to be buying a camcorder for Christmas soon. I currently have an old analog 8mm camcorder. Because of problems with that cam, I was thinking of getting a new one that is Digital8 so it can read my old analog 8 tapes. From what I've seen, it looks like Sony is about the only one still making Digital8 cams. I went to their website, and it looks like the best one they have is the TRV350. So how do you like yours? Any recommendations or complaints? Thanks!
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  5. I have the TRV520 whcih is digital. It works fine but its large and can't take decent stills.

    Ive got my eye on the new DCR-PC330. It is an excellent video camera that also doubles as a good quality Digital camera (3.3Megapixels). I will wait for the price to drop.

    http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProduc...ycamCamcorders
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    timk, I am a big fan of D8 and see no reason not to buy one. In fact, I just bought a new one recently because the prices have fallen due to the rise in popularity of mini-DV, but I see no difference in the quality between mini-DV and D8. my 2 cents.
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    Thanks drewson. Have you transferred any analog tapes to your computer? Does it work the same as transferring digital, which goes over firewire?

    MachineMan, I guess that should be a good cam for that price. Way out of my price range.
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  8. I just checked out the TRV350 you are talking about. The 20x Optical zoom is nice. Its similar but a little smaller and fancier than my 3 year old TRV520. The i-Link (firewire) connection works excellent for captureing to avi and most software packages will recognize it. Also the nightshot works good. It should also have an analog composite out that you can plug into your TV, VCR, TVcard. I would recommend this camera if you are not concerned about size and high quality still.

    You can transfer the analog tapes throught the Composite out as long as you have a analog capture card in your computer. Firewire is the best way to transfer if you have a firewire connection on your PC but Im not sure what would happen if you move the analog data through firewire? I noticed it has "analog to digital conversion pass through" Maybe this the analog through firewire???
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  9. Member tim_k's Avatar
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    Yeah, I hope that you're right and that feature allows analog over firewire because analog capture is such a pain sometimes.
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    you can put your analog tapes in and FireWire out to DV, that's what the pass-through is intended for, but it also doubles as a quck and easy way to cap from TV etc.

    enjoy!
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  11. but it also doubles as a quck and easy way to cap from TV etc.
    Does this mean that you can hook the Handycam composite in/out to your TV/VCR/Cable out and pass the signal through the Handycam and back out the Firewire to your PC??

    That would be cool! and eliminate the need for those nasty analog capture cards.

    This will be a must have feature for my next camera
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    that's right, video and audio from the cable box into the camcorder and turn on the DV->OUT pass-thru setting in the camcorder's menu, and it turns it into DV on-the-fly.

    Andy
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    I am thinking about getting either a DV or D8 depending on a few questions that I have.

    1. I have access to literally hundreds of blank 8mm media. Most is data grade for 8mm backup purposes like the Maxell HS-8/112 media. I know that this tape does not produce decent quality analog recording on my current Hi8 cam. However, since D8 writes digital and not analog to 8mm media, can these tapes be used and produce the same excellent results as Hi8 and regular 8mm video media? What is the biggest advantage of the newer Hi8/D8 media? Is it quality or archival or both?

    2. Do any of the Sony models have RCA input capability?

    3. Have ready that the quality is indistinguishable from DV. Is this actually the case?

    thanks-
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  14. The Digital8 TRV350 that is being discussed is a DV camera that can take composite(RCA) in as a pass-through.

    DV is better quality then analog. If your are going to be making a home DVD then use the DV out (firewire) to capture to your PC.
    If your are just going to watch them on TV from the camera then you have to use the analog(RCA) out, which works fine.
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    OK, clears a few things up. How does Mini DV compare to Digital8 in terms of quality. Both I assume are 500 lines res, but are there other esoteric qualities that make one format better than the other or are both basically even in quality (assuming an apples to apples compare)?
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  16. Not sure about the quality differences. The MiniDV is a much smaller cassette and can't hold as much. The quality is probalty equivalent or better, but thats just a guess. All the latest fancy models come out with MiniDV / MicroDV.

    It would be nice if someone could add all these formats(Hi8, Digital8, MiniDV...) to the Glossary.
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    Originally Posted by tim_k
    vtecwil,

    I'm going to be buying a camcorder for Christmas soon. I currently have an old analog 8mm camcorder. Because of problems with that cam, I was thinking of getting a new one that is Digital8 so it can read my old analog 8 tapes. From what I've seen, it looks like Sony is about the only one still making Digital8 cams. I went to their website, and it looks like the best one they have is the TRV350. So how do you like yours? Any recommendations or complaints? Thanks!
    I tried buying a used handycam D8 off ebay and recieved a non functioning camera and am in process of trying to return it for refund now, "beware"

    I wanted one of the older models because they have larger chips in them and they perform better in low light ( according to the reviews )

    However, I went to Sears, they had a locked glass box with different cams in it. In a bubble wrap bag in the back of the cabinet was a SonyTRV-740. A discontinued store display. Everything was with it except for the lense cover and the 8 mb memory stck. $319 plus tax.

    Do your research on these D8's at Epinion, Amazon, CNET and CircuitCity ( .COM ).

    Have not used all the capabilities of this unit, but filmed my church service Sunday with it and my old 8mm Sharp View Cam. I am blown away at the difference in end quality when I transfered it to DVD. no problem with indoor lighting as of yet, but one photo shooot is hardly a true test.

    30 day return, full warranty, I am pleased for now.

    I was also considering a Canon z65, on internet for $339, Neither Sears or Circuit City hear will price match against internet. ( $499 at both stores )
    God Bless
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  18. Member Innershield's Avatar
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    MiniDV and Digital8 both record in DV. Definitely go with the Digital8. Each 2hr Hi8 tape will hold 1hr of digital footage. The tapes for Digital8 are half the price of miniDV tapes. They also have higher optical zoom than miniDV cams. I have a Sony TRV-740 cam and I really like it. $319 is an excellent price. It cost $799 new. I got mine from eBay for $650 new.
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  19. I work in a 1 hour photo lab in a major retial chain. I also sell cameras and camcorders. The model in discussion here TRV350 is a good choice for videos on either Hi8 or DIG8 film. But for still shots it's not very high quality, being only 640 x 480 in resolution. in other words under 1 Megapixel. Which is poor for 4x6 prnts but great for ebay or emailing grandma pictures. If you want a still shot camer and a video camera get one of both. the hybrids are not very great at both functions byt the time you spend $350 to $400 on the trv350 and $200 to $300 on a digital camera you still save over the hybrid unit. Plus as someone mentioned it has a good optical zoom at 20x. Disregard the digital zoom as it's too fuzzy in it's full extent. As far as the Hi8 or Dig8 debate goes, stick with the Dig8 if you are transferring the video to pc for dvd burning. it should be a better quality. You'll get about half the time of recording but at a higher quality.
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  20. tim_k:

    You have to make sure that the Sony Digital 8 camcorder that you are planning to purchase is capable of playing analog 8mm tapes. It seems like this important point is not mentioned and missing in this topic.

    Note that not all Digital 8 camcorders are capable to play back analog 8mm tapes. Only Digital 8 camcorders with built-in (ADC) analog-to-digital converter can do that. I was looking for Digital 8 camcorder one year ago, and purchased Sony DCR-TRV140. Within couple of days I found out that there is another model that was discontinued but still available in stores - DCR-TRV240. So I went and exchanged my TRV140 with TRV240. The difference in price was only $50.00 ($30.00 after negotiating with sales person), but feature wise TRV240 was exactly what I needed: built-in ADC, 25X optical zoom versus 20X, ability to adjust focus manually. And I did not care much about built-in still camera since there are so many great stand-alone digital cameras on the market, plus I already had one. The main reason I switched to camera with built-in ADC not because I can play back older analog 8mm tapes, but because I can pass-through analog video from VCR through my TRV240 and capture it on the computer via FireWire port, and no need in additional analog video capture device, and no more dropped frames during capture.

    I love my TRV240 because it does what I need the camcorder for: press REC button, zoom-in and zoom-out with high quality lenses and record DV quality video. Everything else can be done on the computer: editing, adding titles, audio backgrounds, voice-over, nice transition effects, etc. Why should I care about having camcorder with built-in stupid "Happy Birthday" or "Merry Christmas" titles, cheap video or transition effects that use the last frame of previously shut video while making transition? Why should I care about built-in 640x480 resolution still camera?

    I suggest you pay attention on features that I mentioned above instead of paying extra for features you will never need.

    (Edited): Sorry, I did not read the posts carefully, and looks like video pass-through has been discussed already. And may be all newer camcorders come with built-in converter as standard feature. In addition to what I mentioned above, I think Digital 8 camcorder is better choice than Mini-DV (10X optical zoom is a joke), and it is less expensive to buy Digital 8 without built-in still camera (don't know if you can still find one) and higher resolution digital camera separately.
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  21. Member solarfox's Avatar
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    In response to the original question:

    There is, in fact, no significant difference in quality between Hi-8 tape and "Digital8" tape. Sony is just trying to snow-job you into paying more for what is essentially the same tape stock. I've used a variety of Hi-8 brands in my own D8 camcorder, along with a couple of Sony's D8 tapes, and I can discern no difference in picture quality between them.

    In fact, it even seems to work fine with the handful of non-Hi-8mm tapes I have -- a few of which are 8mm data-backup tapes like the ones you're thinking of using, OSU -- although I, personally, wouldn't make a habit of using them for critical work. YMMV.

    As far as image quality between Digital8 and miniDV -- assuming that the two cameras you're comparing are feature-identical in terms of optical quality, CCD type, and so on, there should be no discernable difference since basically all a Digital8 camera is doing is recording DV-codec video onto a Hi8 tape instead of a DV tape.
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  22. P.S. I agree with solarfox: there is no difference in video quality between Digital 8 and Mini-DV camcorders. They both record in DV 720x480 29.97 fps (NTSC) video format. The only difference is the size, so you can carry couple of ounces less during your vacation, butÖ to be honest, I miss my big old Panasonic camcorder that I could put on my shoulder and shoot far object with 20X zoom without getting shaking video. Canít do that anymore, no matter what image stabilization feature I have on my camcorder and how calm my nerve system is during filming.
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    I have a Sony digital camcorder,

    i think i have been mislead by a store salesman again. i asked a salesman if it was ok to use Hi8 tapes in my camcorder to transfer VHS to my computer i.e tape off VHS onto the Hi8 then firewire to get the video footage onto my computer, he said no i have to use Digital8 so i bought a few digital8 tapes.

    My question to the learned then is , do i end up with the same file on my computer regardless of tape i use, if so i can use the cheaper Hi8 tape.

    I dont have passthru on my camcorder.
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    My question to the learned then is , do i end up with the same file on my computer regardless of tape i use, if so i can use the cheaper Hi8 tape.

    If dig8 and Hi8 are equal ,,,you will end up with same file on your computer. I am just blown away by this Sony compared to my sharp analog 8.

    However I had the chance to film my 8 yearold thanksgiving skit, outside in bright sunlight.

    In viewing it on TV ( RCA 36 inch, traditional screen/vs flat ) using the RCA cord from cam to analog in on tv,....there were sharp black edges on the children's faces. It would be sort of like taking a broad tip marker and outlining the sharp edges of a face. This disappeared on closeups.

    I wonder of this would disappear when tranferred as a digital signal rather than analog? or is this a problem with my camera?

    Happy Thanksgiving, pray for our troops in harms way.
    God Bless
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    For those on a budget D8 is better (cheaper) with very good quality and better then miniDV low light characteristics. This said I still prefer miniDV for it's size and weight. Smaller cam means you are more likely to use it and this is not just a thought. It's proven from many users experience that they carry pocket size cam more often with them. I'd say miniDV.
    And forget stills with camcorders. lens characteristics is such that pictures are always of less quality then still counterparts in the same resol. cat.
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  26. Member solarfox's Avatar
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    Digital8 is also a better choice (at least IMO) if you have already been using 8mm or Hi-8 for quite a while and have a large pile of existing footage on analog tapes that you'll want to get into a digital editor. Yes, if you get a miniDV cam that does passthrough, you could run the output of your old analog camera through it, but with a D8 camera you get to retain device control during capturing, which is very handy if you only want certain portions of the tape and not the entire thing...
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    solarfox- Thanks for the reply, it pretty much answered my questions. I make the leap and got the DCR-TRV350 a few weeks ago. I have shot about 30 hrs of footage both indoor and outside in daylight thus far and really like this unit.

    I setup a few tests to determine if the tape quality makes any difference. Logic tells me that since this is 100% digital and writing 1's and 0's that there will be no difference in tape type, but I wanted to prove this before being able to say that definitively.

    For the first shot I placed the 350 on a tripod. Using 3 different brands of tape; 1 data grade, 1 HI8 and the third a Sony D8. The lighting was consistent for all three shots. I made 1 minute clips of with each tape, unmounting the cam from the tripod to change tape. For the second test I used the line in cable connected to a satellite feed and recorded a live sporting event. Once again I captured about 1 minute for each tape. I took all three tapes with the six clips on them and imported them via Firewire using Vegas. In VirtualDub I edited the clips down to exactly 30 seconds each and frame-served them individually to CCE Basic using the exact same settings for each session. I placed all six in my DVD authoring app, placing chapter markers at the start of every new tape/event so that I could advance to the next tape easily to compare quality. I burned a DVD in Nero and played it back on two separate DVD players.

    The bottom line with the 8MM tapes is that there is absolutely no difference in tape quality from the data 8MM to the D8 on the DCR-TRV350. I cannot tell any difference in color, contrast, highlights, or sound on any of these tapes. Save yourself some $$$ and don't get the D8 tapes. It appears that Sony is trying to make extra money off something that has no provable benefit.
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  28. Two things -

    I have the 350 and while I in general like it, I can't believe the tape transport opens down and can't be used while the camera is mounted on the tripod - what idiot came up with that idea. I have had multiple other Sony camcorders and they all have a tape transport that opens up...

    Possibly the higher grade tape has some properties that may give you better retention over the long term, but I agree, if the signal is supposed to be digital, there should be no difference.
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    Agree on the bottom mount tape slot. I don't know if they were trying to save space, but it is a real pain especially if you use a tripod. My tripod has a quick release adapter that makes is a little better, but it is still not as good as having a side mounted tape slot.

    On the archival tape properties... the data grade tapes have proven retention times and data integrity values that were well established in the IT backup and record retention arena. Before switching to SDLT, we used these 8MM cartridges exclusively to backup multi-million dollar systems. Never once did we have read/write errors and we often had to retrieve tapes from storage that were over 7 years old. We went to SDLT silos largely because the 8MM format didn't offer enough capacity. I canít imagine that consumer based HI8 and D8 tapes would offer better archival properties.
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  30. bottom mounted tape slot is really for saving space, if tapes are mounted on the top, the cam would be wider to accomodate the tape mechanisms: video heads etc. along side with the camera lenses. in my opinion tapes would be thing of the past probably few years from now, tapes (analog or digital)degrades in quality over time the more you use it (play/record etc.) coz with its design in which the tape media basically comes in contact with the write/read mechanism of the camera,achieval properties is faily good if keept in a controlled invironment , but now companies are introducing DVD medias for camcorders which have better achieval properties and doesnt degrade coz uses laser for read/write....this is just my opinion though.
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