I have been re-using the same miniDV tape for two years now (just for our home videos). In that time I may have used it about twenty times. I have not noticed any degradation in image quality.
I know that tapes are cheap, but as I haven't had a problem yet, I've continued to reuse them. After how many uses of a tape should I expect to see some loss of quality?
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The MiniDV tape format includes robust electronic error correction. The tapes might be wearing dropouts already but the chips are compensating. Or the tapes may be fine.
You should keep a eye out for pixelation errors that don't respond to head cleaning.
If it were me, I'd use fresh tapes for anything important.Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
the problem will be that when the tape goes bad, it will only be noticeable on playback and whatever you shot will be lost. the camera won't warn you it isn't recording or only partially recording for the entire tape.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
Since tape is so inexpensive (especially if you shop around), it just isn't worth the risk of a bad shoot to reuse tape for any shoot that is important. In my opinion, it's best to use new tape on any shoot that matters. It's fine to reuse tape when you are practicing shooting or anything that is insignificant but as aedipuss says, the camera won't tell you there is a problem with your tape when you are shooting; you won't know until it's too late.
Everytime you use a tape you lose magnetic particles so I would do as others have said and buy a new tape for important events.
BTW:You should fast-forward and rewind new tapes to prevent slack.You should also use a head cleaner every three months to prevent build-up.
I've read a lot of literature over the years that suggested it was not a good idea to re-record over miniDV tapes. Since they are inexpensive (especially in bulk), I have never reused one, so I cannot speak from personal experience. Just thought I'd pass along the conventional wisdom, for what it's worth.