Email Notes #4.

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

61) Joon L       Problem buying TRV900 from CCI
62) David B      Comparison of video and film
63) Jay A        Unix/Linux based XV for JPEG on TRV900
64) George D     Poor performance in LP mode
65) John G       VCL-0752H and its Lens Hood
66) Joaquim P    Schoeps CMBI preamp for pro sound
67) John B       Panasonic PV-DV950 3CCD camcorder
68) John T       Video Direct vendor, good experience
69) Peter        TRV900 resolution approaches BetaSP
70) Aaron        Experiences with TRV900 + SPK-DVF2 + Low Light Caving
71) Beno         Bad deal from CCI Camera City
72) Don N        One Year's Experience with TRV900
73) Mike E       Usage Report, Travel in Middle East
74) beta         Buying a TRV900 - a short story..
75) MrSpewey     Experience with Columbia Audio&Video
76) Anon         Poor Customer Service (Regency Camera)
77) Rafael       Hot pixel problem fixed
78) Brian        TRV900 missing serial number

Subject: problem buying TRV900 from CCI 
From: Muindoe at yahoo com (Joon Lee)
Date: Oct. 27, 1999

> thank you, john! your site was and still is the best site to get
> information regarding to trv 900. i had ordered from CCI(camera city
> inc., NY).  i found the store thur mag. with the trv 900 listed as
> 1,799.99. when i called the place, i found that one that they had
> advertised were made in Taiwan not from japan. note: their is $100 extra
> for the made in japan. to make a long story short, i got my camera for
> $1,899.99 plus the shipping charge of $69.00, 4 year extended warranty
> for 249.99 and UV filter for 39.99. but, thing that pissed me up was the
> $114.11 freight charge that was not mentioned anywhere during the phone
> conversation.  i am going to call the CCI tomorrow regading to the
> charge. but, i will not recommend this place for anybody. there salesman
> are very pushy and it was too much of hassle to order camcorder.  
> ps: john does other places charge freight?

I hope you can get the matter settled.  The companies I recommend in my

will tell you the shipping charge, which varies if you want UPS ground, 2nd
day air, overnight etc. As pointed out in the consumer survey I mention in
the FAQ,

...every single CCI customer responding gave CCI the worst possible rating.

PS. AFAIK all Sony cameras are made in the same place. It is a standard mail-order trick to say the advertised price was for the cheap Taiwanese/Malaysian/Etc. one and the good Japanese one is $XXX more. -john
Subject: Comparison of video and film
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 14:02:27 -0700
From: David Brandvik (brandvik at usc edu)
[...] I am a grad student and am in post production in a documentary and have access to an AVID NLE system. I transfer the dv to digibeta and then digitize the images to a hard drive. I use the digibeta tapes as masters and will work from an edl generated by the AVID to finish to tape.

During production I used an external sennheiser shot-gun mic on a boom. I'm not sure of the model #. I used a simple cable that converted from xlr to the mini plug with no problems whatsoever. I was careful to clamp the cable to my tripod so that the weight of it would not damage the mini-plug jack. I monitored the sound through cheap headphones. I also used a cheap ($100) sony stereo microphone that attached to the accessory shoe. The sound quality from all the mics used was great. I was shooting outside a lot and to combat the glare from the sun I manufactured a shade for the LCD screen from black card stock and black paper tape - it worked great.

I love this camera. One of my professors shot a film on DVCAM this summer for blow-up to 35mm. I convinced her to blow-up some of my footage from my 900 as a comparison. The results were amazing. As long as the lighting was "filmic" and consistent there was almost no way to differentiate not only between the two formats but also between material that originated on film and digital. Amazing and liberating.

--David Brandvik

Subject: Unix/Linux based XV for JPEG on TRV900
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 13:57:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Jay Adams (jka at synopsys com)

Here's some info regarding still photos.  This has to do with
displaying still photos produced on a computer on the TRV900.  I've
had success using JPEG files produced by xv running on Linux.  In
fact, I don't even have to size them to 640x480 to get them to work.
Any size JPEG produced by xv seems to work.  The camera just displays
the upper-left-most 640x480 pixels.  If the image is less than 640
wide or 480 high, the camera fills in a blue background.  The index
display doesn't work regardless of the size of the image.

xv lets you set an image quality (in the range of 0 to 100) for the
JPEG file when you save it.  I have found that the default setting of
75 results in visible compression artifacts when displayed on a large
(36") TV screen.  I had to increase the quality to 95 to get rid of
all the compression artifacts.

xv is a fairly standard X-Windows-based image display and edit
program.  Off hand, I don't know where it can be downloaded, but I'm
sure it's not hard to find.  I believe xv uses the cjpeg code for
doing JPEG encoding, so the standalone cjpeg program will probably
also produce usable files.

- Jay

Subject: Poor performance in LP mode Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 14:30:52 -0200 From: "George J. Dietz" (gejodi at home com) I have exchanged two trv 900 cameras in the past month. I tape school plays of my children and they run about 70 minutes before intermission. Both cameras have bad break up i guess called pixelization, when recording on LP. I called Sony and they told me that this is normal for this camera when recording on LP. If i knew that or if they advertized that i would not have bought this camera. To get a good quality tape they recommend you record on 60 minute instead of 90 minute how lame! If the picture distorts this much when recording 90 minutes it forces you to record only in sp so why use false advertizement and say you can record up to 90 minutes. Please post this as im sure there are people who might want to purchase that are unaware of this fact. George Dietz
Subject: VCL-0752H and its Lens Hood From: "John Ghanem" (jghanem at mediaone net) Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 23:24:09 -0500 I'd like to contribute to the web-site by stating my experience with the VCL-0752H wide-angle lens and corresponding lens hood. I purchased the lens a week ago from Sony on-line, which promptly arrived the next day (most impressive!) While very impressed with the quality of the lens which duly satisfied my 'wide-angle' need, I was astonished that it did not ship with a lens hood (?!?!). The lens flare was pretty bad. So I broke down and, using the information from your web site, called Sony Professional Parts and ordered the lens hood that is shipped with the DSR-PD100 (part # 305284901) despite its outrageous $75 price tag (how can they charge this much for a lens hood?!!?!) Anyways, I received it the next day, (woot!). FWIW, its a very nice lens hood, with a square piece within the hood that covers some of the lens, in a fashion very similar to its smaller TRV900 standard-issue lens hood. After I took the hood out of its packaging it was in no way apparent to me how to install the lens hood. After about 5 min, I began thinking "Oh no!, I just blew 75 bucks (plus 15 shipping!) for nothing!" The hood had a threaded surround, but there is no place to screw it on to the 0752H. To make a long story short, I snipped off the tiny proturding notch on the hood which prevents it from seating flatly aginst the 0752H and used the rubber surround (which is removable) of the 0752H to 'attach' the lens hood to the 0752H. It installs quite cleanly and tightly using this method. I'm almost certain that it was designed to be put on this way, save the snipping and the no-need for the threaded surround. I can only imagine that the WA adapter that comes with the PD-100 is slightly different and has a threaded receptacle to receive the lens hood. Whatever, 30 min later, I had it 'installed'. Two big pluses: 1) Lens flare is DRAMATICALLY reduced (no vignetting whatsoever either!!), and 2) it protects the big 0752H glass nicely (very similar to how the standard TRV900 lens hood protects).20 In summary, I'm very pleased with the performance of the lens hood, the 0752H, Sony's consumer on-line ordering and Sony Professional Parts division. Nit-picking, the only dismay I had was the relative hack-job I needed to perfrom (no instructions with lens hood) to install the lens hood. Another satisfied customer, - John Ghanem
Subject: Schoeps CMBI preamp for pro sound Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 05:45:47 +0000 From: Joaquim Pinto (filmebase.lda at netc pt) We do documentary films and are now starting a project on a small fishing community in the Azores islands. We are using a TRV 900. The picture is surprisingly good for such a small camera. We did 3 documentaries in Brasil (Rio de Janeiro) using a VX1000. One obvious problem with both cameras is how to get a decent sound. We have been recording a lot to DAT, but of course sometimes recording directly to the camera is more practical for editing. (By the way, I earn my living as a sound engineer for films). After a lot of testing I guess we found a very good choice; Schoeps manufactures a special version of their CMC preamplifier (ref. CMBI) that does not need 48V phantom powering (it uses an internal 6V battery instead), so we can use the large range of Schoeps capsules. Their small hypercardioid MK41 is really good, and as you probably know, is one of the top choices in feature film recording. The CMBI design is quite clever. It includes a -15dB attenuator, so even on automatic gain we get good results both in quiet and noisy locations. There is a on/off switch, but disconnecting the cable automatically cuts the microphone battery power. Another clever feature: when using a single microphone, the signal from the stereo mini-jack is sent to both channels. Using their special cable splitter, one can use 2 microphones for stereo operation. It is really a pity that the TRV900 microphone amplifier is low quality and there are no line inputs. We suggest visiting Schoeps's web page in Germany for more information: Another alternative we tested with good results: Using standard 48V phantom microphones and a Wendt or Sonosax mixer. The signal is split to a DAT and a small UHF transmitter. We use the new UK manufactured AUDIO 2020 multifrequency diversity receiver at the camera side. Joaquim Pinto, Nuno Leonel Lisbon Portugal Subject: Panasonic PV-DV950 3CCD camcorder Date: Jan. 15 2000 From: John Beale I found the new Panasonic DV950 in a local electronics store (Fry's) today. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the TRV900, making it one of the smallest 3-CCD cameras available. It lists for $2700 and the mail-order price at the time of this writing is around $1800, near the current TRV900 mail-order price. Apart from size I like the TRV900 better. The DV950's flip-out viewscreen is smaller, it doesn't have a flash card for stills, no slow-shutter mode, and digital rather than optical steady shot. I suspect the resolution (effective pixel count) is lower than the TRV900 but don't know for sure. There is a menu selection for "movie" or "frame" mode which is a 30 fps (25 fps PAL) progressive scan mode, which an advantage over the 15 fps progressive mode of the TRV900. The DV950 does not have analog output on the camera, you need a separate docking station for that. It apparently does not have A/V inputs at all. Two years ago this would have been an attractive camera, but currently I would still choose the TRV900 as the price/performance winner. According to a post from Tom DeGraw, the PV-DV950 is in fact just the AG-EZ30 with a different model number, sold through Panasonic's consumer division. (The AG-EZ30 is about two years old, with an original list price near $4000)
Subject: Video Direct vendor, good experience Date: Fri, 14 Jan 2000 11:47:53 -0800 From: "John Tarvin" (johnt at hot-spot com) I just wanted to give some positive feedback on a vendor. I purchased my TRV900 NTSC in mid-December from an on-line vendor. Price was great! Just under $1,800. I had looked at some of the sites about TRV900 for BAD vendors and this one was NOT listed on any. Anyway, when I got my NTSC unit, the cover on the LCD was silk-screened TRV900e PAL, even though the unit was definitely NTSC and worked just fine. I emailed the vendor. No response. Emailed again after the holidays. No response. So I decided to call. The dealer spoke to their Sony salesman. They had me FedEx the unit back to them overnight on their FedEx account and they shipped a replacement unit to me next day FedEx. Great service, though no one can figure out how that unit got out of Sony the way it did. I was frankly a little worried initially, my being in CA and them in FL. But, they turned out to be, in my opinion, a truly reputable dealer. The company is Video Direct Distributors and they can be reached on the web at That's my two-cents worth of positive feedback in today's world! John Tarvin
Subject: TRV900 resolution approaches BetaSP From: amadeus (amadeus at iafrica com) Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 23:17:14 +0200 I don't tend to go by what the specs say only - like how many lines and how many pixels, etc. What I can say is that I put the y/c output of my PD100 into an a-grade composite monitor and looked at it, comparing to footage that I see daily from fullsize professional cameras with BetacamSP backs - and wow do you have to know what to look for to spot the difference. You could do a professional broadcast comercial on this little thing and nobody would know. I used a 15kg HitachiC2 with a Betacam back and a canon lens before I got the PD100 - now my whole camera is lighter than than the batteries for the C2, the PD100 costs as much as the tripod that I used for it, and I'm making the same quallity pictures - even though BetacamSP supposedly captures 750 lines and DV 500 lines - you won't see it. Peter > From: "Kevin Shaw" (kevinwshaw at softcom net) > > I was told by a salesman at a Wolf Camera store in Orlando, Florida that one > of the local TV stations there is now accepting footage from high-end DV > camcorders because the quality meets their standard of "more than 500 lines > or resolution". In fact he said they're giving reporters TRV900s to use for > shooting background footage instead of using their professional equipment > for that particular purpose. Incidentally, he also mentioned that they > haven't had any Canon GL1s available for display in the store yet because > they're shipping them directly to customers from their warehouse.
Subject: Experiences with TRV900 + SPK-DVF2 + Low Light Caving From: (aaron at lists usinteractive com) Date: Thu, 10 Feb 100 20:36:31 -0500 (EST) I recently took my TRV900 and my newly purchased SPK-DVF2 Sports Pack (from Henry's in Toronto) caving in West Virginia. It was an interesting experiment. My primary concerns were: 1) shock: from being dropped/knocked/smashed/etc on hard rock. 2) low light: there is NO light in the cave. 3) waterproof: it is a wet cave and there was a good chance of being completely submerged. I set the camera to a -3dB gain shift so that the camera wouldn't turn gain all the way up to 18dB as the background around a subject faded completely to black. On information gleaned from your underwater page I bought a few packs of desiccant and wedged it into the sports pack under the camera to absorb moisture and prevent fogging. The outside temperature was around 80 degress and humid. The inside temperature was around 53 degress. This took care of any possibility of fogging or condensation. I also upgraded my headlamp from a single halogen to a carbide lamp w/reflector AND halogen. I realize that most videographers won't be using a carbide at the next wedding they film but it turned out surprisingly well in the footage. The carbide provided an all around glow and I was able to aim and focus the halogen on the subject matter as I held the camera viewfinder up to my face. Regardless the camera never went below 15dB. It is DARK in there. I did not use the viewscreen with the Sports Pack primarily because I was concerned with battery life. The trip into the cave lasted about 8 hours and I only own two NP-F330 batteries (approx 80 minutes each). However I did notice that with the Sports Pack, you can't see the viewscreen unless you hold the camera level with your head. If I'm going to hold the camera up to my face level I might as well use the viewfinder. The Sports Pack, although not made from a heavy duty plastic provided ample protection from bumps, drops, and crunches. The strap was easily mounted over my shoulder to leave two hands free for clamouring over boulders when not filming. Also, I did end up submerging the camera in a creek bed and had no problems. I ended up with about 4 tapes filled with footage from three days of various caves. With lots of editing I should be in good shape. Below are some links which show cool cave stuff and hopefully the quality of the TRV900 under some unique conditions. All pictures are interlace. You cannot switch to progressive while the Sports Pack is sealed. Also, Progressive is one stop darker and I needed all the help I could get. Photoshop was used to lighten some of the pictures. The sole light source for most of the pictures: MVC-0051.JPG Another group member explaining our path: MVC-0059.JPG Some formations: MVC-0068.JPG MVC-0071.JPG MVC-0075.JPG Another person shot: MVC-0159.JPG Hope your readers find it interesting. Best, Aaron
Subject: Bad deal from CCI Camera City From: "Beno Ghitis/Microcom" (microcom at colombianet net) Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 20:33:28 -0500 Dear Gentlemen I would like to comment my experience when buying a camera from an internet site called CCI Camera City. I feel other internet buyers should be warned against doing business with above site. For your information, I initially arrived to the site address of CCi Cameracity by reading your page After looking up prices over the web, I decided to purchase a JVC GDVL 9500 digital camcorder. One of the best prices for this camera was advertised by CCi Camera City ($1,199). No special purchase conditions were attached to this offer on their web site. Since I live outside the USA, I asked my sister in law in Miami to purchase the camara and have it sent it with a relative to my country. She called CCi Camera City to confirm the price. The seller tried to convince her for half an hour over the telephone, that she would be better off by buying, along with the camera, a tripod, a filter and a case, all for a bargain price of a few hundred dollars. She told them that she had specific instructions to buy only the camera and a 5 pack of tapes. The store finally convinced her that by paying $180 on top of the $1,200 she would receive the 5-pack of cassette tapes and an upgraded battery (the battery that comes along with the camera wass no good, they explained), plus a second extralarge battery. My sister, not knowing the real price for the accessories, agreed. She was already being ripped off as a battery, plus 5 cassettes, for $180, is outrageous. However, when the store told her that the camera was not in stock, my sister in law cancelled the order because, she explained, the person who would bring the camera to my country was to travel in 10 days. The store didn't want to lose the deal and told her that they would assume any special or rush delivery costs if needed. And so it was agreed. When the camera was delivered to me a few days ago, I noted that all the components wree packed in wrinkled plastic bags. All the elements, inluding the LED screen, were full of fingetips and dust. There is no doubt that the camera was not new from factory but had been a return, a reburbish or a demo. The only battery was the one advertised in the manual (no upgrade was done) and nor the extralength additional battery nor a single cassette, arrived with the order. On top of that, the credit card bill, instead of coming for $1,380, came for $1,569. My sister in law called the dealer who boldfacedly told her that he just "forgot" to deliver the cassette 5-pack.He also "forgot" the extra battery. He had no explanation as to why the original battery was not upgraded. As to why the bill came up to nearly $1600, he said that it was no business for the store to sell stand alone cameras, and so he will send, for the additional $200 he charged, the tripod and a plastic case for the camera. My sister in law then told him that she would return the camera but the seller replied that if she did, they will charge 7% over $1600, plus $120 for the rushed delivery. I believe that the public and all Internet users should be warned about the commercial tactics of this company. Legal measures should be also taken against schemes like this which are clearly oriented to rip off the public. Beno Ghitis Microcom Colombia microcom at colombianet net
Subject: One Year's Experience with TRV900 From: Don Norris (dondotcom hotmail com) Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 I purchased my TRV900 from CAMERA WORLD on 7/13/99 ($1,999 for camcorder, $199 for Federal Warranty Service Corp. extended five year warranty). Took camcorder in for SONY Service in Burbank on 7/8/00 got it back on 7/22/00. Presenting problems after 12 months of ownership - three crinkled tapes (two Panasonic one Sony - occurred after two months of ownership), - a very strange black 'meltdown' image that happened after the camera got EXTREMELY hot during an outdoor taping (occurred after four months of ownership -- sent image to JB for his opinion "...possible overheating..."). - Diminished sound level with lots of hiss and barely audible audio. (First noticed after eleven months of ownership). Sony Service comments: "Camera was eating tapes. Damaged tapes cannot be reused. Drum has been checked for excessive noise." "Constant software jam replaced parts, cleaned and/or lubricated functional check, specification measurement." For you engineer types - part# X39484441 is the only part listed. It looks like a plastic gear about 1/2 inch in size. $209 is what I would have been charged for labor, if I had not had the extended warranty. In 12 months of ownership, I have logged approximately 50 hours of usage. Positive experiences: Camera size (size does matter). Quality of images (cost ratio for image quality is exceptional); and the grammar lessons from Doc Grady and others! e.g., i.e. and ei ei oh It's off to work I go. Don Norris
Subject: Usage Report, Travel in Middle East From: Mike Ellis (mikellis swbell net) Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2000 07:33:31 -0500 Hello John, I am a TRV900 owner who has been enjoying the list and your website for quite a while now. I've had the camera for about a year and a half with no problems to date, just got back from a business trip to Israel and thought you might enjoy hearing the field results of a "non-photographer" owner. I use the camera in a strictly utilitarian sense - no "babying" or special precautions as to its use. Since the day I bought it, I have used only the Sony Premium tapes (no chip). It was interesting to read later on the list that using a single type of tape might help reduce crinkling problems etc. My rationale for sticking with this tape was more of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" variety. Having worked with a lot of finicky technical gear over the years, I have learned (often painfully) to minimize variability in setup to maximize uniformity of results. I have only the NPF750 battery and the tiny one the camera came with. Have not bought one of the bigger ones yet as I have never run out of battery power with the NPF750 even during a full day of touring around. Admittedly I am not one of those guys who keeps the tape rolling all day and then edits it down later, I am pretty much goal-oriented in my shooting and once I record the scene I am interested in, I move along. The 750 is not too large or heavy, and provides plenty of power for the "shoot and run" tactic I normally employ. I tote the battery the camera came with as a spare. One final note on the camera itself, I do not use a UV filter etc to protect the front surface of the optics, I prefer the minimum # of air/glass interfaces in the optics path possible. I leave the Sony supplied hood on the camera at all times, I find it helps with lens flare and also keeps casual accumulation of dust on the lens to a minimum. If the lens gets dirty I clean it, with the standard lens-cleaning kit (couple of puffs of air to remove abrasives, apply a drop or two of cleaning solution, clean by dragging lens wipe across it with no pressure). I am persnickety about clean optics, but the paranoia amongst the hobby-pro photography types about cleaning the lenses amuses me. On to the trip. I read all the message traffic on cases and tripods and such, but was not particularly enthused at the idea of lugging a caseful of gear around with me to the Holy sites. Quarters are often cramped and a shoulder bag in a heavy crowd can be a major pain in the backside as well as a signpost saying, "Please steal me, expensive camera inside." After some thought, I decided to go with a simple but effective solution - I wrapped the camera in a piece of bubble wrap about 1x1.5 feet long, slapped a couple of big rubber bands on it to keep it in place, and put this into one of those big drawstring "goody bags" that you get for flying in first or business class overseas. In the bottom of the drawstring bag I carried tapes, batteries, etc., and just put the camera in bubble wrap on top of it. This made for quite a well-padded cocoon for the camera, one that survives the rough handling through X-rays and luggage compartments quite well. Once in-country, while touring around, I carried the drawstring bag in a small nylon backpack that I wore on both shoulders, not just slung over one - makes it harder for someone to do a snatch'n'grab that way. I carried the camera slung around my neck when I was shooting, or put it back into the backpack when I was shopping, eating, etc. - left both my hands free when clambering about ruins and with the backpack there was plenty of room to carry bottles of water, maps, portable computer etc. This technique worked extremely well in practice, and my $15 backpack was the envy of my fellow travelers who were lugging around camera bags, souvenirs, and bottles of water jammed in pockets, especially when we were in very crowded conditions. I'll never lug around a camera bag again on a trip. I used the TRV900 in a variety of conditions with nary a hitch. Judaean desert heat and dust, Mediterranean seashore heat and humidity (ugh), damp and clammy tombs and ruins, bright sunlight, dark recesses, you name it. Used the auto settings most of the time, and by and large the camera does a good job. Took a lot of progressive scan for stills when there was enough light to get good results. In dim light the camera seems to dial up the default gain a tad aggressively, can get grainy results if you aren't watching. HOWEVER, the low light performance was better in some cases than I had expected. Dropping to low shutter speeds brightened up scenes to a remarkable extent, often showing much more detail than was visible with the naked eye. This worked great touring areas at night, when I considered the graininess an acceptable tradeoff for otherwise invisible detail. One interesting aspect of the camera's performance in low light involved old paintings and mosaics in the ancient sites, for example, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The interior is dim and poorly lit, even the best maintained paintings are hard to make out, much less those that have been darkened by soot and accumulated dust and grime. Often the paintings presented a dull uniformly "monochrome" appearance to the naked eye, but I found that low shutter speeds with the TRV900 would bring out the colors to a remarkable extent, allowing one to see detail and vibrancy in the viewscreen that was far beyond what you could see with the naked eye. This may be an expected result to more sophisticated video users, but it surprised me and astonished my companions. In fact, it astonished some of the priests in the facility, for example one man told us "I have looked at that painting for years and never saw the colors of their robes before." Every time I did this, I ended up with a crowd gathered around "Oooh"ing and "Ahhh"ing. Grainy? No doubt. But still, most enjoyable footage. I can also report that the Sony charger works well with 50 Hz power supplies. Israel uses 220 V supply with a different plug, so an adaptor transformer was needed to step down to 110 V with a US plug config. (Should have seen the transformer the hotel supplied, it was about the size of a gallon jug of milk and weighed at least 20 pounds!). I charged the battery every night while sleeping, it was always fully charged in the morning when I woke. Good for about 4 hours of taping duty, which was more than adequate for my purposes, never got below around 100 minutes of capacity. This is with lots of zooming and switching back and forth from viewscreen to finder, etc. Used about 5 and 1/2 hours worth of tape over there, this during a 2 week business trip where I tried to squeeze in every minute of sight seeing I could. No tape problems encountered. I had a cleaning tape with me, but never had to use it. As far as annoyances encountered, they are the standard complement. As all users know, the LCD screen is useless in sunlight. Indoors or at night, it is a marvelous tool. Viewfinder image is very dim in sunlight if you have glasses, however I wore my floppy "boony hat", and just curving the brim downwards gave me a good enough sunshade that I could see well in daylight use. When it was REALLY bright I draped my bandana over the finder to make an impromptu eye cup, worked quite well in fact. (Bandanas - the duct tape of the outdoors world). There is a distressing tendency for autofocus to wander during low-light, low-contrast situations, this seems to be characteristic of most autofocus cameras and I have never found a way forward other than to drop into manual focus. Manual focus worked OK, the ring can be tough to use if you have large and/or fumbly fingers. All in all, I thought the camera performed quite well. No crinkles, no jams, no battery failures. Count me in as one of the "pleased with the TRV900" users. Regards, Michael Ellis
Subject: Buying a TRV900 - a short story.. From: beta at tampabay rr com Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 12:44:22 GMT Newsgroups: Well.. finally broke down and made a decision... I lurked here, read every related thread, followed links, read websites by the score (thanking the powers that be for beale's corner) and finally decided on a TRV900. Then the question was.. where to buy one? I saw a large gap betweeen half a dozen "online" mail order houses and everyone else. There were prices between $1,679 (theweb-shop) to about $1,880 (Profeel). Then there was evryone else.. up around $2,200-$2,300 - B&H, Camerworld, the "known" names. Tried to figure out why this was... were the lower group ALL rip-off artists? Doubtful... but then, why are the "known" places ALL so much higher? Appearantly what you see is NOT what you get on the higher groups advertised prices. I have since learned that if you call them, you get a better price... heh, but still not nearly the same as the "lower" group. Well, I checked the ratings websites... read a lot more here... and finally decided I was goign to roll the dice and try one of the "lower" half dozen since I'm poor. I write this now in order to maybe help someone else who is going through such an agonizing decision. After all, for us poor folks, spending $1,800 on a single item is... well, a BIG deal. Suffice it to say that, upon closer inspection, most of the "lower" pack have a "gotcha" somewhere. The TRV900 is a highly desirable camera and is on "backorder" many places. Even Sony... if you buy one from them today, the salesman will tell you that it will most likely be two to three weeks before it ships. If you read the fine print on a couple of the "lower" groups websites, you'll see that they disclaim any timeliness in shipping quite clearly, due to them not being a "warehouse" and therefore having to depend on their suppliers for your shipment (i.e., have it dropshipped). This of course leads to the complaint I have seen in the NG many times.. that is, time. They say they have it and will ship it out today.. only to find out three weeks later that it is on backorder. This is the first "gotcha" and it's really on you, for not reading their information closely (perhaps on them if they actually lied about having the item when you ordered). The other, however, really set me off and that is really why I am writing now. CCI Cameracity ($1,699 on their website) was where I tried first, thinking to maybe get a really good price first, then work my way up if I felt there might be problems. I thought I might have gotten lucky on my first try.. talked to the guy who answered and he assured me twice that they did indeed have one right there, in stock, for the price offered. He tried to sell me a couple additional items, but their prices were well out of the ballpark for similar items I already had on my "buy" list. When I turned them down, (along with an extended MACK warranty that would have cost me nearly $400 over the life of the warranty), we set about determining a final price... All of a sudden he pops up with, "OK, plus 9% shipping that comes to..." and I said "Whoa! What kind of shipping is that?". He replies, "Huh?", "What kind of shipping does 9% (!) of the total cost buy me?", "Oh, well.. uhm, that's just normal ground". I couldn't believe me ears, so I asked again a couple of different ways, just in case he might be having trouble with English or something. He assured me that no, *9%* of the total for shipping was normal for them whereupon I proceeded to explain to him that that was ridiculous, no one would charge $150 for shipping a single camera and that I didn't appreciate their methods of trying to get a higher price (which is all it was, I am betting if I had bought the warranty there would have been a standard $30 or so shipping charge). I also told him to cancel the order and not charge my card, etc. We'll see.... Anyway, this confirmed my suspicions that the "lower" group was probably all about some kind of hustle or another.. but still.. like I said, I'm poor, so I had to try again. This time I got lucky! Top Choice Digital advertised the unit for $1,788... one of the higher ones out of my lower group. But, I thought I had seen something good about them in one of the threads here, so I decided to give them a call anyway.. 800 number, no sweat off my nose. I was very careful in asking all the questions before giving out my CCard number this time...the guy assured me they had one in stock, sitting right there, in the unopened box with all accoutrements, etc. and the price was correct. No wild additional costs of any kind to try and boost the price. Whew. Of course, he DID go through all the accessories trying to sell as many as he could (realizing few buy JUST the camera) and was able to give me competitive prices after talking to his "manager" several times on many of them, so I purchased from them. Paid the extra $20 for overnight shipping and, lo and behold, I am now the proud owner of a TRV900.... FINALLY. What it ended up looking like for me was, that $1,850 or so is some kind of general price point they are all trying to hit, one way or another. Those advertising at $1,880 (Profeel, 1-877camcorder) would probably have gladly sold me just the camera, at the advertised price, plus basic shipping and that was it. Those selling below that price all seemed to want to boost it to there either through sales of peripherals or just plain made up charges. Bottom line is, though, you do NOT have to buy from Camerworld or B&H in order to get your cameras.. you just have to buy CAREFULLY elsewhere and perhaps save yourself some money. Oh yes, and about two months ago now, I saw a thread here where some dingus flatly stated that everyone in the thread was washed up, you couldn't buy a TRV900 for less than $2,300 because he had one on Ebay selling for that much and everyone else advertising lower prices couldn't get them. WRONG. It just takes a little work is all... and the satisfaction for NOT paying inflated prices to "know-it-alls" is well worth the little extra effort. Kind of long, but hey, I'm waiting for batteries to charge up. :P Now, if I can just get the piece-o-cr*p version of Minerva that came with my DC1000DV to actually output a usable CD, I'll be a very happy camper.... beta
Subject: Re: Anybody have experience with Columbia Audio&Video From: MrSpewey (mrspewey at aol com) Newsgroups: Date: 20 Sep 2000 04:43:42 GMT On 20 Sep 2000 01:48:44 GMT, (GGlennrose) wrote: >Looking to buy the Sony PD150, and these guys have the best prices, usually buy >from B&H and Cameraworld. Hoping to hear some feedback from customers before I >take the plunge???? Thanks in advance for any replies....... I second the below. I and my family have bought two camcorders, three televisions, a DVD player, and God knows what all else from them over the last 15 years or so, and they've been great. << From: (Bob Ford) I have bought several items from Columbia and I usually deal with Jim Simpson. In fact, I just ordered a tripod from him about 4 or 5 days ago. My experience with every purchase has been NOTHING but positive. The equipment arrives exactly as he says it will, double boxed, very carefully packed and NO gray market or bullshit of any kind from him or Columbia. This is the only mail order house I have ever bought from and I bought my first things from them because of a personal recommendation from a friend. Go for it.... you will not be unhappy with any of your business dealings with them! Bob Ford Images In Motion ------------------
Subject: Poor customer service (Regency Camera) From: Anon Date: Nov. 28 2000 Hello, and thanks for your info about the Sony DCR TRV900. While I was reading through your page I noticed some question about Regency Camera and if they were for real. Well let me tell you how real it was. Last weekend I spent some time at my local Sony vendor and was greeted with a friendly staff but a list price of $2200. I decided this was the time to try out and comment on the lowest priced TRV900 out there. I called to order the TRV900 at Regency Camera about 1 half hour before they closed. The camera was listed for $1579.00. First thing the company did was take my credit card number, and then transferred me several times. Without mentioning any charges, they begin setting up my order. I asked for two day delivery, which was 7%(no sales tax). They then asked as usual if I need filters or batteries, which I declined. They then offered wide angle lenses and tapes, which I also declined. Ever time I declined the accessory I heard tension in the orders voice. They then asked which warranty would I like. Since I have already talked with Sony and plan on going direct, I declined it. Apparently there was no choice, the sales man said I had to by his USA manufactures warranty which he claimed is the same as the Sony warranty (?). I then took the 1 year which was $79.99. I asked for the total and it came to $1971.18, a difference of $392. Thinking that 7% on $1579+79 is only $1775, where is the other $196 coming from, so I asked. This seemed to irritate the orderer due to the arguing answer I received. He said it is for the additional 5% for insurance (even though 5% is only $107). So like an idiot I took the bait and ordered it. I'm a person who likes honesty, courtesy and believes in customer service for the customer. Within 10 minutes of hanging up, I realized how non of the above was in my favor. So I decided to cancel my order and buy my camera at the local Sony vendor for list. I called back and mentioned to the first person that I would like to cancel my order. She put me on hold and that was it. The company was open for another 15 minutes and I couldn't get through. I finally got a recording and left a message with my name, conformation # and telephone#, and said I would like to cancel my order. I then logged on their web site and e-mailed the company same cancelation. This is where it really gets good. The next morning I called and got transferred to the wrong services several times and had to keep calling back. I finally got through and told them I wanted to check on a cancelled order. The man said it wasn't cancelled and asked if I would like to cancel it with a fee (fortunately I checked my credit card and made sure it didn't go through, and then put a hold on the account). I asked how much was the fee and he told me $98! He said the fee was for his time on the phone for ordering! (all 5 minutes!). Remembering that I was phone jockeyed around, I said "that's bullshit". This is when it got real ugly on his part. He told me that he will raise the fee because of my language, and went on yelling how he is sick of scared people like me wasting his time and that his time is very valuable. I told him my time on hold is very valuable, and he replied the he could care less if I was on hold for ten hours. I refused to pay the fee and told him my credit card was on hold, and he flipped out. He said if he didn't see a check Fed Ex' d to him the next morning he would send a collection agency after my ass (using some of his words). He then actually threatened me by telling me he has guys out here in California that with take care of me. He also said he would call me every midnight until I cry like a little baby, and would have wished that I had never had done any of this. I told that he was making threats and if he were aware of that, and he told me threats where just the beginning and blah, blah, blah. I told him I wasn't paying the late fee and cancel my order. He then hung up on me. Not taking kindly to threats I called upon friends and relative who are in New York to see what kind of scam all this was. Unfortunately I had to go to work, but my friends and family looked into this. One relative (with a law background) called the company, and got through after their customer service line was busy for 30 minutes (unusual?). Finally she got through and the one guy she got a hold of didn't believe that anything like that would happed. He said that I might have called the wrong number. So my relative then asked if the order was canceled, and he replied that it had all ready been processed. He was reminded of the phone message and the E-mail that they received canceling the order. I believe that it was the mentioning of the attorney that made the man cancel the order. So, if you want to be slithered around, talked down to, called a cry baby, threatened and you have an attorney on your side, I belive that Regency Camera is a fine place to shop. (name witheld)
Subject: Hot pixel problem fixed From: Rafael (rafael sf at mac com) Date: May 2 2001 I recently bought a TRV900 (via the internet) and noticed that a hot pixel shows up with slower shutter speeds. I read your email of 5 May 1999 replying to another writer about this issue. The pixel is noticeable at shutter speeds as fast as 1/30, and does seem to worsen at higher temperatures or after the camera has been on for awhile. It's unacceptable to me, because I tend to use the slow shutter settings, and I'm also a perfectionist about my images. It's past the time that the vendor (Profeel) will consider exchanging it, but the camera is still under the original 90 day warranty. Do you think Sony will allow me to exchange it? Rafael -- Date: May 29 2001 I took my camera back to the Sony Service Center a second time, along with a videotape with example images of the problem and a detailed note. They evidently were convinced, because they replaced the CCD prism block and the hot pixel problem is gone. The camera was under the 90 day warranty, and so there was no charge. They also extended the warranty another 90 days for the work they did. Rafael
Subject: TRV900 missing serial number From: Brian C Lao (mooseclao juno com) Date: Sat, 8 Dec 2001 03:45:01 I bought my trv900 online from Camera World of Oregon back in April of 1999 and have used it regularly since. Recently my camera started recording with audio dropouts. I decided to send it to the Sony Service Center in Fremont. To my surprise Sony sent my camera back saying the serial number sticker was missing and therefore could not be legally fixed. I quickly made several calls to the Sony Customer Service center in Florida and to Camera World of Oregon. I have come to the conclusion that neither of them can or will help me out. Sony cannot legally repair my camcorder without the serial number sticker on the bottom. Despite the fact that I have my serial number from my sales reciept and confirmed with Sony that my camera is a genuine Sony product made for the U.S.A., they still need to see that sticker on the bottom. Camera World is just plain unwilling to help me even with my sales reciept. I can unsderstand Camera World's view to some degree. They are also unwilling to give this loyal customer with many other purchases from them with a special deal on another trv-900. I am absolutely positive that the serial number was not attached to the bottom of my camcorder when I opened it. One of the first things I did when it arrived back in April of 99 was engrave my name and license number on the bottom. I know that there was no label affixed there because I almost used that indented spot for engraving but later decide against it. Anyhow, I always thought saving sales reciepts, knowing serial numbers, sending in warranty cards was important. The most important thing for camcorder owners is to make sure you have a serial number affixed to the bottom of your camera and that it stays there. According to Sony Customer Service they have no other identifiers in or around the camera other than the serial number label. My dilema is further complicated because private service centers are not trained by Sony to service mini-dv cameras. So basically I am stuck with my unfixed camcorder and left wondering what could have happend. My guess is that someone at the factory that day forgot to affix a label. Either that or a gray market camera somehow ended up in a U.S.A. authorized box because I still have the box as proof as well. Oh, another lesson learned is that just because you purchase from an authorized retailer it is best to still check over the goods, if you know what you are looking for.
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