Email Notes #2.

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

21) Wayne      Various TRV900 observations
22) Wayne      PAL Sony DCR-TRV900 Problems/suggestions
23) John D     Golf swing, hard case
24) Richard R  Careful: IR remote codes same as 8mm camera
25) Norm B     First try at a Reception
26) Arlo R     Review: wide-angle lenses
27) Carl V     Head noise question, JPEG title tip
28) Ryan B     Recording loud music
29) David N    Filters and lens hoods
30) Stephen P  Purchasing memory card, -3dB gain
31) Chris U.   Focusing problem in bright sun
32) Scott J    TRV900 page, Canon Elura
33) Chris      Non-Sony Lithium Batteries & Chargers (in Europe)
34) Michael F  SanDisk ImageMate drive
35) Merek G    Tech question on TRV900 exposure (sunny day=too bright?)
36) Ed M       16:9 non-letterbox, Candlelight mode, NP750 battery life
37) Steve P    TRV900 blocky pixel stripes (head clog)
38) Jay M      Where to buy / Prices / Warning: "Sony Dealers" that aren't
39) Rich D     TRV 900 with Edit DV/blue & white G3
40) Jon H      When is the next 3-CCD camera coming out?

From: Wayne Date: Thu, 4 Feb 1999 13:31:40 +1100 Subject: Various TRV900 observations; PAL model, editing Thanks for the terrific pages. Very valuable.. Particularly as the Sony manual and site are pretty poor. (took me the best part of a day to figure out that I couldn't turn digital zoom OFF because Prog scan was ON, etc etc). After 25 years as a computer 'expert', developer, etc. I can figure out just about ANYTHING ... but it'd be nice to get some better docs. Your pages helped me, so I thought I'd give you some feedback. Maybe even give a little back. I have a PAL TRV 900, radius firewire card, photo dv, moto dv, Edit DV, premiere 4.2 and 5.0. on a PowerMac 7300 under OS 8.5 - and just about every other bit of software known to man :) (we also run PC's, but I do all the serious stuff on Macs, - they're just better). Firewire is brilliant. The transfers are superb. The quality can be breath taking. There are very few downsides to the process. The major one probably being that full motion video consumes disk space at the rate of about 230 megabytes per minute. I use the cam mainly for stills - portraits, etc lifted from progressive scan DV. Also short video sequences for delivery on the web or CD. The ability to shoot continuous 'pics' of a model/group/scene at many frames/sec using various angles, zooms, settings, positions etc and then sit on the Mac simply picking the best stills is awesome. For this reason alone the cam 'kills' most conventional and digital cameras - the caveat, of course, being that hi quality 680*510 24 bit colour is sufficient for your needs .. - although the stills do scale well, true hi quality prints are not going to happen (although I have done some on a decent dye sublimation printer and gotten some very impressive results .. - at least the client loved them). Seeing as I am mostly interested in delivery on Web, CD or Video this doesn't matter to me. I had a friend over yesterday and did a shoot of him and his 2 kids ... 20 mins shooting, 2 hrs picking about 300 of the best stills on the Mac. (we probably could have picked another 500) I sent him away with a CDROM full of 'full bandwidth' BMP's) and a video dub. He and his wife were ecstatic. I did that 20 min shoot of a friend and a cpl of his kids in a sunny backyard with lots of green dark plants behind/around/over them - looking for portrait stills. I used manual exp most of the time .. F8, , F9.6, F11 in the bright bits. Gain was 0dB. Pics were great .. so were the stills. I switched to Auto .. similar scene .. aperture went to F1.6, gain to 18dB. Video was terribly washed out, stills were very poor. I still haven't figured out what happened.... > NTSC/PAL conversion question I had a related probelm. A US friend sent me an NTSC VHS I wanted to take dubs from. I have a domestic VCR that'll play NTSC tapes .. so .. tape in ..TV on, VCR video out to TRV900 video in .. press record .. I see the pic on the TV, nothing on the 900 LCD. I don't know whether the 900 didn't 'like' the NTSC signal or whether the VCR just wasn't passing a video OUT signal. Strange. It may be worth pointing out on the site (because it ISN'T obvious to most people) that you will virtually always get better pics if you transfer full bandwidth progressive stills to a PC/Mac via firewire than if you use any of the camera's built in 'snapshot to disk/card' modes. This is because the camera uses one of 3 JPEG quality levels, compressing by fixed factors of 4,6, and 10. JPEG is a 'lossy' compression algorithm - it throws away information. The process introduces (often) noticeable artifacts and can make the image difficult or impossible to edit/manipulate without drastic loss of quality. Two quick examples: scaling or changing the brightness/contrast settings in your image editor will often make the edges of the JPEG n*n blocks unpleasantly noticeable. Further, any 'sharpen' filters, like 'unsharp mask' - which will often greatly add to the apparent quality of the image - will sharpen these artifacts, too. The 'full bandwidth' BMP's I use - which have been/will be gamma corrected, enhanced, sharpened etc. are about 1MB in size (after aspect correction). SuperFine pics produced by the 900 are 150KB. There is as much as 8 times more 'real' information in the former. Once I've finished fooling with them, I can then save them as final quality JPEGs, which are of course, much smaller. I usually also supply the client with The 'full bandwidth' BMP's AND the raw, uncorrected grabs, for later reprocessing for different gammas, resizing, different purposes etc. Re progressive mode: 15 frames/sec appears to apply to NTSC versions. PAL is sposed to be 25 frames/sec, in progressive scan mode. PAL Stills are 680 * 510 when aspect-corrected, too. The sony PAL version manual says '...Takes an image every 25th of a second...". That's not what it looks like to me, frame by frame, over firewire. The image only appears to change on even numbered frames. Looks like they are doubling up .. and the manual is telling porkies :) But the firewire stills are brilliant ! Re Converting progressive mode: Although, when used as video, progressive mode can be 'jerky', it ought to be possible to use Premiere or similar to drop every second frame and replace it with an intermediate interpolation of the preceding and following frames. I haven't figured out how to do this yet, but it SHOULD give you excellent full rate video. As I said above, I reckon the sony manual/supporting docs are woeful. SONY's claim that the PAL cam '...Takes an image every 25th of a second..." in prog scan mode is simply a lie. What the world needs is a 'all you ever wanted to know about...' and "how to get the best out of your...." for the TRV 900. A bit like the many books available on software prods like Photoshop, premiere etc. That's it for now, I hope you find some of it interesting. Thanks again for a great site. regards from Oz, Wayne PS if you want to see some examples of some of the firewire grabs, let me know, and I'll put em up somewhere.
>Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 09:55:38 +1100 >To: >From: >Subject: PAL Sony DCR-TRV900 Problems/suggestions >Dear Sony Customer Service: (please copy TRV900 Product Manager) > >I am writing in regard to your video camera, a PAL Sony DCR-TRV900. I have >been using the camera frequently in the few months I've had it, and have >enjoyed it greatly. > >As good as the camera is, I feel improvements could be made. I would appreciate your >response to following observations/problems: > >1). POOR MANUAL >The Sony manual and site are pretty poor. (took me the best part of a day to figure out that I couldn't turn digital zoom OFF because Prog scan was ON, etc etc). After 25 years as a computer 'expert', developer, etc. I can figure out just about ANYTHING ... but it'd be nice to get some better docs. > >John Beale's pages (at ) helped me but what the world really needs is a 'all you ever wanted to know about...' and "how to get the best out of your...." for the TRV 900. A bit like the many books available on software prods like Photoshop, premiere etc. > >Want me to write one for you ? :) > >2). PROGRESSIVE SCAN >PAL is sposed to be 25 frames/sec, in progressive scan mode. The sony PAL version manual says '...Takes an image every 25th of a second...". >That's not what it looks like to me, frame by frame, over firewire. >The image only appears to change on even numbered frames. Looks like it's doubling up .. and the manual is telling porkies :) > > >3). TOO MUCH GAIN >I and many others find the automatic exposure to give too noisy an image in dim light. I suggest an option to limit gain in auto-mode, and/or enabling a wider range of user-input program shift (exposure compensation). The camera does have an exposure shift but its effective range is very limited. This change > would make the camera significantly more useful in dim light, >filming stage productions with dark backgrounds, etc. Several people have >mentioned the camera suffers by comparison to other cameras with the same >basic light sensitivity, but which simply don't use as much gain in >auto-exposure mode. > >4). AUTO EXPOSURE PROBLEM >There appears to be an intermittent problem with the Auto exposure. >For example: I did that 20 min shoot of a friend and his kids in a sunny backyard with lots of sunlit green dark plants behind/around/over them - in progressive scan mode, looking for portrait stills. I used manual exp most of the time .. F8, , F9.6, F11 in the bright bits. Gain was 0dB. Pics were great .. so were the stills. > >I switched to Auto .. similar scene, darker background.. aperture went to F1.6, gain to 18dB. Video was terribly washed out, stills were terrible. I still haven't figured out what happened.... This particular problem has recurred a number of times - Often in sunlit situations. > >A few days later I shot a (progressive scan) sequence of a couple and their dog in the same setting, in bright sunlight. The results were similar. The camera chose apertures of F2 and F1.6 and used a lot of gain. Video was very poor, (it looked greatly overexposed) Focus also drifted. >I really don't understand why the camera circuitry would choose to use these large apertures in bright sunlight. Can you throw any light on this phenomenon (pun intended) ? > >One problem, of course, is that I can only detect this situation on Playback - there doesn't appear to be any way to get the 'data/settings' to display whilst recording. The picture 'looks ok' in the viewfinder/LCD (as far as you can tell in conditions of bright sunlight) >Is there no way to get the 'data/settings' to display whilst recording ? > >I would appreciate an answer to the matters I have raised and look forward to hearing from you. > >And, overall, congratulations on a fine product. > >best regards, > >Wayne Pickett >
> Subject: Golf swing, hard case > John: > Thanks for your informative site on the TRV 900. I have a question that I > did not see addressed: I want to do a careful analysis of my golf swing, > so I need to be able to do freeze frame examinations of my hands (while > swinging the golf club) and NOT have them blurred. What is the best setup > for the camera to achieve this? Is there a SONY sponsored site to ask > TRV 900 questions? A contribution: I did not see any mention on your > site of a hard shell carrying case. (For a $2000 investment I would > think this would be very important.) Anyway, after quite a bit of looking > around I bought a Pelican case (#1400) for only about $55. Keep up the > good work. Regards, John Droz, jr. The only important thing here is for you to use a high shutter speed. Set the switch to manual control, hit the button for shutter speed (top one) and dial in a high number like 1/500 or 1/1000. For this to work well you will need to have a lot of light, eg. outdoors on a bright sunny day. Ok, and probably using manual focus would be better than relying on autofocus for a quickly moving subject. You can try progressive scan for the sharper stills, but since you only get 15 fps in that mode, normal interlaced scan may serve you better. It would be great if Sony sponsored a forum. I would surely have a link to it if I knew about it, but to my knowlege no such thing exists. Let me know if you find it. -john
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 19:16:37 -0400 From: Richard Roth Subject: 8mm uploaders beware! Hi John! It's been a while since I've written (things have been hectic!) but I've been checking out your website, and am impressed by its constant growth. For a current project, I needed to grab some frames from an old 8mm video shot way back in 1992. At first I used the "Apple Video Player" installed in our Mac, but the results were unacceptable compared to what the TRV900 produces. I decided to try uploading some 8mm video via the 900's RCA analog inputs. Everything went well at first - I was monitoring the sound through the 900's headphone jack and could see the 8mm video on the 900's LCD. I decided to let about a minute of analog video record onto the digital tape, so I could then step through frame by frame and capture the best photo. I started my 8mm camcorder playing, and pressed record on the 900's remote control. THIS WAS A BIG MISTAKE! As soon as I had pushed the record button on the remote, BOTH camcorders went into record! It took me about a moment to figure out why there was no image other than a record indicator on the 900's LCD, and was able to stop the 8mm master after losing only about 10 seconds of irreplaceable video! Apparently Sony has used the same set of codes for the 900's remote as well as my old 8mm camcorder, which is a 1990 Sony CCD-F77. The remote commander for the old 8mm is model RMT-502, and it is physically the same size and setup (minus a few buttons) as the 900's remote model RMT-811. I haven't seen anything in the 900's manual about the ability to change the remote commander's codes; however on page 138 of the manual is the following paragraph: "This camcorder works in commander mode VTR2. The commander modes (1,2,and 3) are used to distinguish this camcorder from other Sony VTR's to avoid remote control misoperation. If you use another Sony VCR in commander mode VTR 2, we recommend you change the commander mode or cover the remote sensor of the VCR with black paper." Since I don't know how to change the commander mode on either remote, it looks like it's black paper time! Anybody out there have some other ideas? At least I got some useable stills which were OUTSTANDING compared to the Apple video grabber - I would subjectively measure 2 or 3 times the resolution!!!... but next time I'll be more careful with the remote(s)! Hope this is of use to other 8mm archivers out there! Rich
Subject: First try at Reception To: (Norman W. Boe) Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 09:47:24 -0800 (PST) > Hi John, > Just shot my first reception with the TRV900. It was a familiar site but > brighter lit than usual. However I was very pleased with the low-light > performance and did not see objectionable gain-up in auto. The autofocus > was also exceptionally good. As others have noted, the colors are a > little bluish but since I run everything through a proc amp to get just > the right skin tones, it is no problem at all. I need a real dark > reception to be sure but I am very pleased with the camera in every way > and suspect it is at least one stop better in low-light than my retired > ES2500 as you stated (which statement caused me to buy the TRV900). > Regards, > -- > Norm Boe > Affordable Elegance Video Thanks for the info. My very unscientific comparison between the two also concluded about a one stop advantage for the TRV900 over ES2500. Just shot a large dance event this weekend; autofocus was good when I was on the platform shooting down, but it hunted a bit when I was at ground level with the wide-angle lens and had some of the ceiling lighting (indirect fluorescent fixtures) in-frame.
Subject: Wide Angle Lenses Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 10:14:17 -0800 From: Arlo Reeves I wrote you earlier about choosing wide angle and tele adapters for the TRV-900. I ended up choosing the Kenko KVC-050 Hi (0.5x) and Sony 1452H (1.4x) I don't have the Sony lens yet (B&H backorder), but I thought I'd give my review of the Kenko lens: o In low light settings (large aperatures) there is a lot of softness at the corners of the field (full wide). Smaller aperatures give much better sharpness in the edge of the field. o The anti-reflection coatings cannot prevent substantial lens flare when a bright light source is near or just out of the edge of the field. o The lens is not rectilinear, instead producing some fish-eye distortion. This prevents the lens from being using with QTVR Panorama software where multiple still images are 'stiched' togehter to create a panorama. The QTVR software I have does not accomodate fiseh-eye distortions. (I'm not sure if the Sony 0752H (0.7x) wide angle lens is rectilinear) Despite these shortcomings, I like the extra field of view provided by the 0.5x lens and this is why I chose it over the Sony 0.7x (though I didn't know of the Kenko's other weaknesses at that time). It gives terrific depth of field an is great in small rooms and even in the car. One must take care to either shield the lens from bright light sources however, and shoot in good light to maximize image sharpness. I would think that the Century Optics lenses (at $300-$400) would do a much better job, though I haven't used them. Arlo Reeves
From: Carl V. Date: March 9 1999 Subject: noise while recording > [...] I still have a couple of questions: > 1. In record or record-pause mode with the lcd closed I hear a rather > loud humming when holding the lcd side to my ear. When I remove the > tape it is practically silent. Recordings however do not show camera > noise. > Is this normal? > 2. Being no photographer I am bit bewildered by all the possibilities re > AE, exposure,shutter speed etc. Where can I find a comprehensive > explication of these features and how they interact on this camera. I'd > like to be able to use them , only I do not know what to use where. > > Let me contribute something too: > Re painless recording of .JPEGs made in the computer: > I use a little program called "Microsoft image composer".It can be > downloaded from the Microsoft site. > It lets me set the size of the picture exactly to 620/480. I can then > insert photo's, clipart, etc, and make the composition I want. > I save it as a Mvc-000n.jpeg on the floppy, and the camera reads it > without problems! Great and very easy way to make about any title you > can think of and no problem for transfer to trv900. > > Again many thanks for your excellent and informative site > > Carl V. > Belgium Glad the web page has been helpful. Re: humming- this is the situation I describe in the FAQ under the heading: * Is there any noise pick-up on the internal mic from the tape motor? "Normal" is a subjective word but it happens with mine too, anyway. My best advice is just play around with the settings and see what happens- you won't hurt anything. Use slow shutter (less than the standard 1/60th of a second, eg 1/30, 1/15 etc.) for dark conditions with slow action. Use fast shutter (faster than 1/60, eg 1/100, 1/500 etc) for extracting clear still frames of fast action. Use large apertures (eg. f/1.6) to reduce depth of field, and small (f/8, f/11) to increase depth of field. Also, try a book on photography or (advanced) video. Simple video books won't discuss shutter or aperture adjustments because a standard consumer video camera doesn't have these controls. -john
Date: 3/9/99 Subject: recording loud music From: Ryan B > I havent purchased the 900 yet but I am going to tommorrow. After > reading your website over and over, I figured that you would know > everything on the camera. I film alot of bands (mostly metal type > music). It gets pretty loud and I was just wondering if the mic on the > 900 would be affected in any way. I didnt want to break it. I was > thinking that I could just put an external mic in and place it somewhere > in the room further away from the band. Is there any special type of > mic that I need to buy? Also, will it damage the mic input if it is too > loud because I had music going through my stereo and had a plug going > from the headphones on the stereo to the mic input on my TR96 and after > that it didnt record sound at all. Anyway, Keep up the good work on > your page > > Ryan B Yikes. The mic input is expecting to see about 100 microvolts and your stereo can put out several volts into the headphones. Wouln't be surprised if that caused problems. You can buy a 30 or 40 dB attenuator adaptor jack from Radio Shack that allows you to do this safely, if you need to. I've used the camera's mic to record an acetylene cannon being fired at close range which has to be about as loud as it gets. I didn't notice any problems afterwards. Extremely loud music may sound distorted. One possibility, if you want to bother with external mics, is Core Sound: they sell small condenser mics often used for recording rock bands; one testimonial on their web page from a recorder says he was standing right in front of a speaker with sound at the "painful" level, but the mics gave undistorted output. I haven't used them myself though. -john
Date: 3/9/99 Subject: filters and lens hoods From: David N > Hi John. > Around Christmas, I was looking for a digital camcorder to record the > birth (and subsequent growth) of my new baby daughter. I wasn't sure > which one to buy, when I stumbled across your page. The incredibly > detailed information on your page is what convinced me to go with the > trv-900. And I couldn't be more pleased with it. Thank you. > Now, a question. I bought the filter kit from Sony which includes a > protective lens and an ND filter. The problem I'm having is that, when > either of those filters is on, I can't attach the lens hood that came > with the camera. The top treads on the filters are too shallow. What > should I do? Does video quality improve that much with the hood in > place? Should I go with hood and no filter(s) or filter(s) and no > hood? I'd love to hear (well, read, your suggestion. Thanks, John. > David N Personally I don't use the hood when I am using a filter, other than a clear UV filter which I leave always threaded on front of the hood as added lens protection. If you use the camera outdoors the hood can help reduce lens flare if the sun or a bright reflection is just outside the frame (or indoors, with a bright light). Optionally, you can buy a rubber folding hood for 35mm cameras which also fits the 50mm lens mount on the TRV900, and will more easily accept filters on the front. With painstaking care you can thread filters on the front of the Sony-supplied hood but it isn't convenient as you have no doubt observed. Glad you like the camera! Good luck... regards, john
From: Stephen P Subject: Purchasing memory card, -3dB gain Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1999 11:56:29 -0800 (PST) [about buying a PCMCIA Flash card for the TRV900] > is what I bought, for how much, and where after doing a lot of > surfing and calling. First, over the internet is much cheaper than > retail (as you probably know). Fry's electronics (one of the cheaper > places around here) had a 32MB card for $150. Alix, Inc had it for $112. > But you were right, the cheaper way to go is to get a compact card, get > the adapter, and get a compact card reader. Through Alix, I got a 32MB > compact card for $88, the reader (parallel port) for $55, and the compact > adapter for $10. FYI, Alix sells the 48MB compact card for $123. > Now for another question, in your "Tips and Tricks" section, "Will" says > that he reduces the gain by 3db. I guess he must shoot in manual mode > and I assume that this setting is preserved when the camera is powered > down. My question is,does this mean when the camera is in this mode and > it normally would have tried to jack up the gain to 9db in dark light, it > will only bring it up to 6db? and if the camera was going to set the > gain to 15db it would have stopped at 12db? (and so on)? I shoot mosly > indoors and want a good picture but not too grainy so I was thinking this > would help. The -3dB setting is a bit confusing, but according to the manual it is only effective in bright situations. In dark, the camera just goes ahead and applies maximum gain anyway. I wish there was a way around that but there isn't, as far as I know, short of full manual mode. -john
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 20:26:11 +1100 From: Chris U. Subject: TRV900E Focusing problem in bright sun At 12:52 PM 28/02/99 -0800, you wrote: >Thanks for the article. If I take my camera outdoors on a sunny day and >point it at a featureless object (cloud in the sky, for instance) it does >focus on the dust on my UV filter. But if I then point it at the horizon, >or anything on the ground, it right away focuses on that, so it isn't so >much of a problem on my model. Thanks for the info though, let me know how >it turns out. -john John, Thank you for the response and today a senior executive of Sony pointed out the recent addition to your FAQ's at your site. During this discussion we reached agreement that the cameras Noel and I have would be returned for a full credit at the retailer level. To Noel and I this is a disappointing outcome as we both really like the camera but in the harsh Australian sunlight it is inevitable that f8 or f11 are used by the camera. At either of these settings the minute particles of dust become apparent and ruin otherwise excellent images. We should point out that we have always engaged the inbuilt ND filter but this has not been sufficient to cause the apperture to be opened from f8 or f11. We both purchased the Sony ND filter kit and thorough testing yesterday, on a brilliant sunny day, still showed the problem on land/seashape shots where more than one fifth of the scene was sky. This occurred even when using the internal ND as well! It would appear that the camera loves 1/50 to shoot and aperture comes down in preference to an increase in speed. Manually setting aperture to f5.6 is a solution but adds an unnecessary complication like not using full wide-angle - it's all a matter of how far you want to compromise. All the testing we have carried out shows no difference between manual or auto focus as the problem seems more related to too great a depth of field. Sony's attitude has been excellent. We gather they are seriously working on the problem in Japan and we have no doubt a solution will come. At this time however there can be no timetable and we have decided to take a refund and wait for the next revision. In every other respect the camera is a gem.
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 08:42:31 +0900 Subject: TRV900 page, Canon Elura From: Scott J I'd like to thank you for the work you've put into your page, the best I've ever seen on the subject of digital camcorders. I was hot to buy the TRV900 but was looking for something a little less expensive. The 900 has lots of bells and whistles that I would probably never use, but what a camera! In the past week, I found out about the Canon Elura which seems to be a major upgrade of the Optura, and it looks like it has everything I need and many things that I want at a price which is about $600 less than the 900. One of the reasons I'm leaning toward this camera (due to debut in April) is because of information I got about Canon through references on your website. It's a goldmine of information, and I really appreciate it. Although some of the tech info is too technical for me to understand, I can comprehend in a general sense much of what you are talking about. You write well and comprehensibly. Thank you for your hard work. Your page is now one of my essential bookmarks for digital video. If you're interested, here's the site for Elura information. Scott J
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 Subject: Non-Sony Lithium Batteries & Chargers (in Europe) From: Chris [ed. note: I think when he says "accu" (accumulator?) he means battery] I have some information about alternative Lithium Accu's/chargers for Sony: VICAM MV-68, Universal Camcorder Lithium Ion Fast Battery Charger. Works with an power-adapter 220-240v or 110/120v or 12v via the cigarette adapter in a car. It can charge 3.6 or 7.2 lithum accu's, it needs aprox. 3.2 hours to load the NP-F730 What i don't like is the anoying beep sound for 3 seconds when inserting an accu or when it is ready with charging. (a beep like a fire alarm makes..very loud to my opinion) There a 2 lights on it, with green it is charging, red when the accu is full. Another charger is from Vivanco, CAR 2500L , it only weights 26gram, and will cost aprox 20 Euro (+/- 23$) (actually it's only an adapter-plate, it needs the standard power device AC-L 10 from the TRV900) Alternative Accu's are also available now, i've bought one for 95$ (sony price for the original NP-F730 is 125$ here in the Netherlands) Albipro Li-Ion ACCU Info chip 7,2V / 2700mAh compatible with the NPF-730 from Sony On the bottom of the accu i read the info: Infotech Lithium Ion Battery Pack For Sony / panasonic / Hitachi etc. Cells made in Japan Fully loaded this accu gives me 280 minutes of recording time when i must believe the battery-live indicator in the display. I can't tell anything about the quality yet... I just read about another company in Germany, Rowi seems to make alternative Lithium accu's too. (and i saw some Lithium accu's on Vivanco's webpage) Maybe you can use this information, all the best....greetz Chris
From: Michael F Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1999 00:18:56 -0500 (EST) Subject: SanDisk ImageMate drive Hi! First of all, I love your site. Anything I've ever wondered about my TRV900 has been easily answered on your site. I wanted to let you know that I purchased a 48mb SanDisk compact flash card and adapter. To get the pictures into my PC I purchased SanDisk's ImageMate USB drive and it works great. It's about the size of a standard mouse, and all I did to hook it up was plug it into my USB hub and install the drivers from the CD which took about two minutes. The drive has no power supply, just the USB cable. The drive is set up as a "removable disk" under "My Computer" in Windows 95/98 which allows you to drag-and-drop pictures back and forth from the drive just like any other drive. And it works FAST. There is also a parallel port version of the drive which is about $10 cheaper, but the USB version is said to be much faster. The USB version can be found for approximately $89. Take care, Mike
Subject: Tech question on TRV900 exposure From: Merek G Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:18:25 -0800 (PST) > I just got a TRV900, and I am generally very satified with the > overall camera, but I would like your input on one matter. It seems to me > that it does not have enough ability to deal with the light level when > shooting outside. I took some pics in still mode (though it is the same > in video) of my wearing a white shirt with a light-colored picture on it, > and the camera overexposed the shirt, washing out ost of the detail of > the picture. At the time, I was standing next to a life-size inflatable > zebra, tough subject, and the background was dark shrubbery. I would have > expected the cam to read the peak and set itself to limit the lightest > areas, me, to the 100 or so level, and not burn out the white > details. > This was on an bright but cloudy day, no harsh shadows, but almost as > bright as a clear sky. Thecamera had called for the ND filter, which I > had engaged. I also notice that it is very quick to ask for the ND > filter to be used. Even with it on in any reasonably bright outdoor > setting, it seems there is little headroom, using manual Exposure > control, to darken the scene. I am surprised that the smallest aperature > is only F11, and it really seems as if it would need something like F22 > to cope fully with the sun. I turn on the Zebra pattern, and any white > areas are striped, even if I close the lens to the F11 limit. Shouldn't I > be able to reduce exposure enough to make a daylight scene look dark, or > at least bring the white areas down from the 100 IRE saturated level? Is > this normal, that is, is this system so sensitive (I know it is, as it > can see detail and colors in areas so dim thatI cannnot make them out) > that it does not have adequate onboard resources to handle full sun, and > needs another ND filter added externally at times? Or could I have a unit > with a defect or misadjustment, that I should return for replacement? > Please answer, if you can, as soon as possible, as I do not want too much > time to elapse if I do have to return it. Quite a few people say they find better results using an external ND filter, in addition to the internal ND filter when operating in bright sun. I haven't noticed it so much but I seldom take video outdoors and when I do, I use a polarizing filter (good for about 2 stops). So my guess is your unit is performing "normally". It doesn't have a whole lot of dynamic range, no. I think the XL-1 for example is better that way, and of course pro cameras are. -john
Subject: 16:9 non-letterbox, Candlelight mode, NP750 battery life From: Ed Midgett Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 11:39:12 -0800 (PST) > I recently bought a trv900 and had to send it back due to some percieved > problems. when I got the new one i found out that these problems were > standard. > > 1. the 16:9 is a wide-angle, not a letterbox-confusing because the lcd > readout looks letterboxed even tho the vid outs are not showing that. > > 2. the candle light mode in ae also strobes the shot. > > I also sent back the Sony NP750SP "8" hor battery as it would not hold a > charge past 3:09 and the cam indicated it was FULL. > > The new battery they sent me ALSO would not charge past 3:09 on either > camera. Reading the fine print on the package, i noticed they wrote "up > to" 8 hours. Then I noticed the typical times listed in the manual for > this battery and saw that the most I could expect was 3:15 (for playing > only with LCD). > > My question is this.Does this mean that the NP750 will normally not > charge more than 3:15 on the trv900? I didn't expect to get a full 8 > hours, but losing over 3 hours charge on a battery that is advertised as > an 8 hour battery seems like a bait and switch (from a retailer-go > figure). > > I really appreciate your insightful site. Thanks for any advice you may > give. > > -ed midgett Sorry to hear of the miscommunication/misleading advertising. If you feel anything on my site is misleading please let me know. E.g. I do try to explain the letterbox/wide angle thing in my FAQ. True, "candlelight" mode achieves its sensitivity through 1/4 second exposure, which is certainly not full 60 fields per second video by a long shot, so you get a strong strobe effect. It's sometimes useful for very slow-moving subjects, or special effects. The duration of battery use depends on the camera you use it on, and the usage pattern (LCD viewscreen or viewfinder? recording or standby?). Note that the readout on the side LCD panel, and the times listed in the manual, is in MINUTES, not hours:minutes. My NP750 battery normally displays 305 to 315 minutes fully charged. This just over five hours. The TRV900 manual lists the expected recording time with various batteries somewhere around page 5 as I recall, and I think this matches. The NP950 battery may go as much as 8 hours (480 minutes) I don't remember. Somewhat less if you use the LCD viewscreen. The same battery will run a lower power camera (eg Digital 8) longer of course, I think they say 12 hours or so. The hour rating is not on the battery, but the combination of battery and camera model and usage pattern. As I recall the packaging does say something like "up to 8 hours" for the NP750 which is incomplete if they don't list the camera model that corresponds to. For the record, I'm not affiliated in any way with Sony and I don't speak for them. Though maybe I should? :-) -john
Subject: TRV900 blocky pixel stripes (head clog) From: Steve Persighetti Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 21:21:19 -0700 (PDT) > Firstly many thanks for a great web site. I found your site via dejanews > only after I had bought the TRV900 (actually its for my wife, to replace her > S-VHS monolith! We were actually after a DSR PD100 after the review in > April's DV mag but couldn't find one in a hurry). Fortunately your site was > very positive and not full of doom and gloom! > > To cut a long story short, I tested our new camera for 2 days (and probably > for less than 1 hour of filming) before we had problems with horizontal > lines of large blocky pixels. The suppliers (B&H in NY) said that the unit > was faulty and should be returned. Having had more time to look at the > manual I see that the symptoms are similar to those caused by dirty heads. > Have you any experience of this? I would not have expected this problem with > a brand new camera. > > [...] > Finally, having got a quick replacement for the defective camera, I am very > pleased with it. The features seem incredibly comprehensive. My wife is the > video expert but I expect to have fun with the digital stills and maybe some > editing. > > Thanks again for a great site, Steve Thanks for the news. Yes, what you describe is one clogged video head (of the two used for recording/playback), assuming you've got 50% bad pixels overall in large horizontal stripes. I did have that show up on my camera during playback briefly at some point after about 50 hours of use, but it went away after a few seconds never to return (I'm at about 180 hours now). Might be caused by a bit of dust caught in the head. There is a MiniDV cleaning tape sold which may solve it; I have one now but haven't had occasion to need it since getting it. The tape (Panasonic AY-DVMCLA) instructions say not to use it routinely, but only in case of an actual problem. -john
Subject: where to buy / prices / Warning: "Sony Dealers" maybe aren't Date: Fri, 9 Apr 1999 12:37:37 -0400 first off, thanks for your page. terribly informative. brilliant work. now, to the subject of hard cash - and where to buy. there's lots of talk about big discounts, making sure you get a full, new kit with sony warranty... and so on. i found a new and upsetting twist to this whole thing. first off, i called sony at 1-800-222-sony, and spoke with one of their reps. in a nutshell, not everyone who claims to be an authorized sony dealer is one. not even those who print it boldly in their ads. there are many who are outright liars. (especially in the new york/new jersey area, he said) he even told me he had a list of notorious offenders, but when i called back and spoke to someone else, they denied the existence of such a list. anyway, here's the twist: if the outfit is not an official dealer, you have no guarantee on the legitimacy of the merchandise. now, this i already knew, but had always interpreted it to mean that it could be an import without a sony usa warranty, refurbished or something else. but he told me something i never considered. say i think i've got the great deal (you know... like under US$2000 as of april '99) and i make sure it's all brand new..full missing bits or usa warranty..the whole deal. now, i think i've got an excellent deal, but what happens if the camera glitches out, i send it in on warranty and they say it's not covered because there's water damage? what? water damage? the rep told me that people will sell off goods from a warehouse at a discount because of problems with water leakage in the warehouse...a few skids of goods get 'damp' and they slash some off the price to unload them. unopened box, sony usa warranty, full kit... but it has moisture damage. how much moisture does it take to be a problem? i have no idea, but if i'm paying this much for a camera, i want to be sure my goods are pedigreed and that there's no funny business going on. sure, moisture damage is not affecting every single discounted camera out there, but this opens a new can of worms to be considered - including, but not limited to any other sort of improper handling. who knows what else could go on when you have no direct accountability between the dealer and sony? if they don't have to answer to the manufacturer, you could be up the creek. should you want to find sony authorized dealers, check their web site at and click the store locator icon at the bottom of the page. it will ask for your zip code. if you want to check out a dealer you found in a magazine, put their zip code in and see if they show up. if they don't, seriously question their legitimacy. jay macdonald
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 20:26:13 EDT Subject: TRV 900 with Edit DV/blue & white G3 Great site! keep up the good work. I'm using my new TRV 900 with Radius (Digital Origin) Edit DV and a 400 mhz blue/white G3 via the built in firewire port. I updated my firewire drivers with version 2. I've used both the batch capture module and print to video features with no problems what so ever. It appears to me that the tape transports in the 900 are better than those in the TRV 7 I was using, when being controlled by the computer (although not quite as snappy as with my DSR 30). The version 2 drivers have also solved the grey blockiness problem associated with Edit DV and the 400 mhz G3. Another aspect I've noticed with the 900 is the difference in still capture quality when using the PCMCIA card vs captures from tape. I compared two identical shots one from the card and another capured via Photo DV from tape. The pict was recorded on the card in SFN mode and the tape capture was done in progressive scan mode and captured via firewire using Photo DV. Although both resulting files are the same size and resolution the one from the card has much better detail and color saturation. I'm using a Viking 32mb PCMCIA flashcard which will store 161 stills in SFN mode. I'm using the PCMCIA card slot in my powerbook to import the resulting Jpeg files into photoshop. Very straight forward process. You can drag the files you don't want right off the flashcard and either trash or archive on your main drive. Rich Dykmans RD4TILE at
Subject: When is the next 3-CCD camera coming out? Date: Tue, 27 Apr 1999 13:33:54 -0700 (PDT) > [...] Thanks for the great info on my upcoming purchase...I may hold out > a little longer for the next Sony consumer 3CCD camcorder...any idea how > long I'll have to wait? Regards, Jon H It was several (three? four?) years between the release of the VX1000 and the TRV900, then another six months for the PD100 which is almost exactly the same as the TRV900 (DVCAM tape format just means they increased the tape drive speed by 33%, and they made a few firmware changes and added some stand-alone accessories; takes very little engineering effort.) A new model with any significant change would mean considerably more engineering. I don't even have any rumours of any new 3 CCD camera beyond the PD100. But I'd imagine any announcement would come from Sony's web page- I don't have any contacts within Sony, myself. -jpb
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