NOTES comparing TRV900 to Many Other Models

Collected from newsgroup postings and email by jpb (beale

INDEX: Sony DCR-TRV900 vs...
From: "spanky" (spanky nada net>
Subject: Re: Sony DCR-TRV900 opinions needed [compare to V5000]
Date: 21 Apr 1999 01:33:27 GMT

Scott  wrote:
> I'm looking for any opinions on this camcorder.  I was looking at the
> optura, but for about $600-$700 for to get 3ccd's, it might be worth it.
> Just wondering what people think of this unit.

I just got one from Sony direct as a result of my V5000 Hi-8 having been
determined as 'uneconomical to repair' after a local repair shop butchered
it.  Anyway, here are my impressions.

I was wary of the 1/4" chips but figured what the heck - Sony was letting
me have it for 1800.00 bucks if they could keep my Hi-8 for parts.  I am
impressed.  A good friend of mine has a VX-1000 and when he saw the TRV-900
he said he was going to need to get one.  The camera appears to be
optically pretty decent.  I took it through some paces running up and down
from f1.6 to f11 and really could not see any variations in sharpness.  As
seems to be typical, the wider settings give the appearance of being a bit
soft but nearly as much as my V-5000.  I do animation and output work from
a DPS Perception card.  I threw a few animations into the inputs and the
recorded Mini-DV tape is incredibly good.  One advantage the 900 has over
the VX-1000 is the ability to use the unit as a Mini-DV deck for mastering
or transferring.

Color saturation is one of the first things I noticed.  So much richer than
Hi-8.  At one time I was trying to do some blue screen compositing with
Hi-8 footage and it was almost impossible.  There was just too much bleed
and noise on the tape for it to work.  Not so with the TRV-900.  Even
without going through firewire hardware (I used the y/c into the perception
card) I got such little noise and such sharp boundaries around my blues
that bluescreen composites will be a piece of cake in the future.

Another test similar to that was to capture footage via the DPS Perception
and ramp the saturation way up.  With Hi-8, U-matic, S-VHS etc. there is so
much noise that the saturation boost just looks awful.  With the captured
TRV-900 footage the saturation boosted images showed virtually no color
noise.  Granted, the images were taken in good light but so were the failed

I am impressed by this camcorder.  The camera seems pretty sharp and from
what I can tell... what you see is what you get on tape.

Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 00:52:25 -0600 From: Louis Capps (lcapps ibm net) Newsgroups: Subject: TRV900 verses Canon A1 Digital Well I just got my TRV900 after months of reading to replace my Canon A1 digital and thought I would post some comments for others trying to make the decision. Some of the others I considered were the Sony PC10 and Canon Vistura. I was always extremely happy with the Canon A1 picture since it seemed that videos always looked exactly like what I taped and that was not always the case for other camcorders I saw people use. So was considering the Vistura even though it was not in the same league as the TRV900. In the end, I felt that the Vistura low-light was not up to the TRV900 and decided on the Sony. Unfortunately it has not been sunny since I got the Sony so most of my experience is based on indoor videos and pictures. Pros - There are many features overall that make this one of the funnest camcorders I've used in a long time. Things like the flip-out display to show the kids a snapshot I just took of them, scanning the tape for stills and instantly writing them to floppy disk or being able to see what settings were used when a video was taken (it's recorded along with the video) are incredible features. - Overall I now know many "camera" aspects of the TRV900 are superior such as the CCD technology. I was concerned about finding a camcorder with the same or better low-light capability and did testing last night. When turning down the gain on the TRV to get rid of graininess, to my eyes the TRV900 looked about one F stop better than the A1. It also has the same low-speed shutter capability (down to 1/4 vs Canon's 1/8) which seems to work slightly better. While the A1 slow speed shutter gave a slightly jittery picture, the Sony was rock solid. - Lighter and smaller of course! - Zoom and focusing is much faster. Cons - While the technology seems superior, Canon seems to make a better auto function for getting the best recording under various conditions. For intance, when recording in low-light the Sony camera loves to drive the gain up to give a bright picture at the expense of quality. Not only does this make the picture look worse, it's not even representative of what's being taped since the video is now brighter than the actual scene. So I always have to switch to manual and drive the gain down and sometimes slow the shutter down one or two speeds. I'm sure my wife's video indoors will always be grainy since she does not know how to do this. I preferred the Canon's dimming of the picture and not overdriving the gain in the automatic modes. - The progressive scan mode picture quality is awesome! But why is there not a button to switch it on and off? It's just too hard to go through the menu to turn it on and off. I'm constantly doing this and it just seems crazy. In general I would like to switch ps on temporarily to take a shot and then go right back to normal mode (ps off) to continue the video. In addition, I'm very afraid my wife will pick the camera up and the ps mode will still be on and she won't know what's going on when the video seems jerky. At a minimum it would be nice if Auto Lock would switch this off. (I did notice that the memory card option seems to switch ps on automatically even if ps is off in camera mode but I don't have one yet.) ---If somebody knows a better way to swith ps on and off, please let me know. - Missing from the program AE modes I think is an indoor mode or maybe make the Candlelight mode adjustable. Candlelight mode always seems to go to 1/4 shutter which is way too slow usually (blurs everything) and the other modes don't slow the shutter down any which should be done to some extent under various indoor conditions. In fact, I've made excellent videos indoors at 1/30 and 1/15 speed and would have like to have seen these somehow included in an AE mode. - Tried to use the focus ring the other night and I found it very hard. The Canon's direct mechanical focus seemed easier, not sure if eventually I would get used to the Sony's focus or not. -------- Overall I think this camera is excellent and while I believe it can do incredible things with manual settings, it still has a way to go to become more intuitive in the auto modes.
From: "Ed Juge" (ed_juge zianet com) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: TRV900 verses Canon A1 Digital Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 09:36:54 -0700 Hi, Louis... Very interesting since I also just went from an A1 digital to a TRV-900. I first bought a TRV95 and was dismayed to find the picture was no better -- and in some cases worse -- than the A1 digital. I returned it. The 900 seems to be outstanding. The picture truly matches most of the better broadcast or DSS pictures we get. A few DSS signals are crisper, but not many. CNN's in-studio pictures are consistently better to my eye, but then I haven't found any other channel who consistently is that good. On the A1 and TRV95, for instance, when I would film something with a bookshelf in the background, the books looked like vertical stripes of slighly blurred color. With the 900, each book is quite distinct. I'm dying to get into some computer editing, but no time right now. I have a very fast desktop (450 MHz PII) and someone gave me a copy of Premier 5.0, so I think all I need is a firewire card and large HD. I agree with all of your comments. The A1 did an incredible job of shooting night scenes with no noticeable noise showing. I'll have to tinker with the gain settings on the 900 to see if I can get it to do as well. On auto exposure, it doesn't. Thanks for the hint!! I heard when you use the still photo mode on the 900, it AUTOMATICALLY goes into progressive scan. If true, you may not have to tinker with the menu each time. The fold-out LCD is really super for shooting over the heads of people in front of you... holding it at arm's length over your head... or other angles where it's tough to use the viewfinder. Having playback capability with sound is also awesome. BTW... I'm selling the A1, so transferred my old Hi8 tapes to the 900. Worked super. I'd almost swear the copies are (in some cases) better than the original. It's a great cam, and the only one I tried that I felt was worth moving "up" to from the A1 digital. And, incidentally, for anyone reading who has wandered into a store to look at these things... you really can't judge the picture quality from the demo setups in most stores. On a good TV, using S-Video connection, the picture quality is really broadcast quality. In the stores I looked in, you couldn't tell a lot of difference between it and 8mm. Ed
From: Brucer timelinedesigns com Newsgroups: Subject: VX1000 TRV900 features compared Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 20:17:35 GMT We've done a field comparison between the 2 cameras. We also have a brand new VX1000 for sale, $2695, WITH A 5 YR WARRANTY!. We bought it as a spare for a project and didn't need it. We had also been looking at the TRV-900 and here is what we found: 1. Most of the features and capabilities of interest to a serious videographer that are available on the VX1000 are now offered on the TRV-900 for less money (See our web page for details). 2. However, some features are not easily accessible on the -900. Most adjustments are controlled by the thumbwheel associated with the menu selection. While this is an efficient way of getting at menu items, it does not allow easy manual operation of the camera, as in setting the iris manually in a backlight situation, or adjusting shutter speed. Audio levels must be set in this manner as well, where the VX1000 has a convenient audio level control. Audio level indicators are more accurate on the VX1000. We found under the pressures of field use, with the TRV-900 one tended to use the automatic mode, comprimising quality, rather than deal with the complexity of getting to the manual adjustments. On the contrary, the VX1000 can be run in manual mode quite conveniently. 3. The on-off switch has been simplified and the handy Betacam "standby" mode available on the VX1000 as Photo Mode, is not available. (See our web page). 4. Because the camera is smaller, steadying the camera while handholding a shot is a challenge, and the stabilization can't make up for the extra movement. Low light performance suffers compared to the VX1000, probably due to the 1/4" chips (vs. 1/3") used on the -900. 5. When shooting handheld, for any reasonable stability and for visibility under outside lighting, one must use the conventional viewfinder. This is smaller than the VX1000 viewfinder, and harder to see, especially if you wear glases. Yes the technology in the TRV-900 is newer, but the implementation is better suited to non-exacting users. Bruce Rayner
From: rpn1 (Neuman - Ruether) Newsgroups: Subject: On the Sony TRV-900 vs. VX-1000... Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 20:41:29 GMT Tracey Craig kindly lent me her newly-acquired Sony TRV-900 to check out. I own a TRV-9 and two VX-1000's. Much to my surprise, the 900 looks quite different from the 9 - it is wider, longer, and with different control layout. The instruction book is Sony's usual opaquely- written tome. Fortunately, most items on the camcorder are well-marked, and easy to figure out without the manual. A little confusion is possible, though, when using the buttons on the rear in conjunction with the selector wheel. In general, the camcorder is pleasant to hold and control. The focus ring is large, but the mic is somewhat covered with the hand while it is being used, making recording while manually focusing difficult. Manual focus is fairly easy, using the viewfinders. In this sample, the normal VF settings for color balance, saturation, brightness, and contrast are close to what I see on my TV, making these finders very useful. (The TRV-9's panel gives little useful information except framing, and the 1000 VF can be set up pretty much to taste, as can the 900 finders.) I've never been happy with the color image of the TRV-9, so there is no contest here. Between the 900 and the 1000 there are noticeable differences, especially in color bias, making it difficult to mix footage unless the 1000 is biased considerably toward blue. The auto white balance of this sample of the 900 tends to be quite blue. Selecting a balance preset improves this considerably, but the image is still more blue than the 1000. Without a comparison, the 900 looks good. Sharpness differences between the 1000 and 900 (with sharpness tweaked up a bit in the custom menu) were very small, with some difference in the image character noticeable when the 1000 was run stock. Both camcorder lenses were surprisingly good to the corners wide open throughout their zoom ranges, but also surprisingly, the corners improved relatively little with stopping down. As expected, overall image quality went down at the smallest stop (f11), with best overall image quality from about f2.8 to f8, with the peak around f5.6. (I recently checked out one of those mega-buck Canon lenses for a pro camera, and the overall image quality was similar to that of the 1000, except for slightly better edge performance throughout. Though the corners were better, they still were not excellent until the lens was stopped down some. The high price gains one better edge performance, better zoom control, much better manual focus control, and constant- focus while zooming - but not better image quality over most of the frame area...) Both this 900 and one of my two 1000's remain in focus when zoomed. We come to the one BIG advantage of the 900: low light ability. There appears to be almost a two stop advantage for the 900 vs. the 1000 for equal picture brightness in marginal light. At maximum gain (both set to "-3db") in minimal light with the shutter speeds at 1/60, image quality of the 1000 at f1.6 was about equaled by the 900 at f2.8 - wider, and the 900 picture brightened compared with the 1000. Even at maximum gain and widest stop, the 900 image was useable and free of excessive noise. This is impressive... I tried both the large Kenko .5X made for the 1000, and the new smaller one made for the 900. The larger one performed better in the corners, and the smaller one did not vignette on the 900. For infinity subjects, using WA converters compromises image edge quality (best at f11, useable at f5.6), but these can serve well for interior work (good by f2.8, excellent by f5.6). I did not play much with the sound, but the auto-level sound of the 900 was free of noise, somewhat "full" in tonal balance, and louder than the 1000 (and it occasionally appeared to clip); the 1000 sound was more "nasal", was slightly noisier, and noticeably lower in level (using the built-in mics [and I have a thick windscreen on the 1000's mic]). The 900 mic is sensitive to wind, and it would be difficult to screen. The 900, with its progressive-scan feature, makes better-quality stills from moving subjects than the 1000. I had no trouble transfering footage from the TRV-900 to my computer, using the DPS Spark FireWire card. I edited about 8.5 minutes worth of footage in Premiere 5.1 and returned it to tape in the NTSC TRV-900 using the Spark ver.2 software, also without problems. Overall, both the TRV-900 and the VX-1000 are excellent camcorders, with the right mix of features (both also have excellent stabilizers and good AF...). With particular characteristics in side-by-side comparisons, one camcorder can show up the other slightly, but except for their very-low-light ability (and maybe the custom picture settings available on the 1000...), there is no clear "winner" - I like both, but would have problems mixing footage from the two without tweaking both the the color bias and the sound balance (internal mic) of at least one of them... Darn, Tracey prolly wants this TRV-900 back...! ;-) David Ruether rpn1
Newsgroups: Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 19:54:40 GMT > Thanks for the in-depth report. Would you mind posting the >model number of the Kenko WA lens? I believe that they make a .5 and >a .65? Do you know anything about how they compare? There are at least four Kenko .5X converters... (I have not tried the .65X.) The VC-050Hi comes in two versions, a large-front (the one you want for the VX-1000, and it is better in the corners than the new small one made for the TRV-900 - though the 80+mm front covers the mic nicely...), and a small-front one (same name, alas...). There is also a "pro" version (80+mm also, but flatter), unknown quality, and the small one (which snaps onto a retaining ring that screws into the lens front threads). The Sony .6X made for the Mavica also works well, though it is not "zoom-through". > I'm surprised that you found no noise on the 900 audio, as >this has frequently been mentioned as the camera's Achilles heel. I >just received a 900 (although the vendor can't supply the tape for it >so it just sits and looks pretty) for our multimedia lab, and due to >the poor reports on audio was planning on getting a couple of VX1000, >particularly due to the availability of the Beachtek 3 pin adapter for >them, but if the colors don't match well between the two cameras >without tweaking, I'd be better off getting another couple 900s. You can check it with earphones - if you hear mostly ambient sound in a quiet room, with little camera whine or zoom/focus noise relative to the background, you have a good one. People report different results, but two TRV-900's I have heard tape playback from have been dead quiet, and they make the unusually quiet VX-1000 sound relatively noisy in the audio pickup of camera noise... The TRV-9 is so noisy, you can clearly hear the camera whine even over traffic noise - this is more typical of the level of noise pickup of the compact mini-DV camcorders. BTW, unless you already own XLR mics, adding the XLR adapter makes little sense (and can be added to both camcorders...) since you are not bypassing the mini-plug, and the mini-plug is still single-sided [balanced-line mics are needed only with long cable runs, I would think...]). David Ruether rpn1
From: "Mark Robinson" Newsgroups:,, Subject: Re: Sony TRV900 vs. VX1000 Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 21:51:34 -0600 I recently purchased a TRV-900. My company owns 3 VX-1000s. I did a side by side in a poorly lit room in our production conference room. Both cameras on auto did very well. I thought the colors looked a little better on the TRV-900. More true to life. Obviously, the TRV-900 with its progressive scan produced a better still. I think the 1000 could have done better if it had progressive scan. They both read the lighting conditions and set themselves almost exactly identical. Neither looked grainy at all (the room wasn't that dark). Email me and I will send you several stills that I captured from each camera. I have yet to do an extensive test in our studio between the two cameras, but the bottom line is, would you need the extra features of the 900 or would you prefer the more professional feel of the 1000. They both take the same size filters and lenses.
From: "Bas" (greenfrogs bigpond com) Newsgroups:,, Subject: Re: Sony TRV900 vs. VX1000 From my comparison I have found the 900 better in pic quality than the 1000 which has alot more white snow or video noise even in Bright situaltions. Everyone complains about the low light ability of the 900 and this is only because people dont switch off the 18 DB gain the camera goes to automatically. I have althose compared the XL! and the XL! is only marginally cleaner than bothBUT twice the price. If my 900 had a proper handle than it would be better as its hard to pick up quickly
From makk Wed Nov 25 15:36:30 1998 Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 19:31:28 -0400 To: "John P. Beale" Subject: TRV900 / VX1000 image quality Hi John In a Usenet article you mentioned that some people that you spoke with say that the VX1000 has a better picture. From the shots shown on the following website it would seem that the TRV900 has a better picture. Check it out: Makk
I looked at and, though I can't read Kanji, the pictures do seem to show the TRV900 definitely has higher horizontal resolution than the VX1000. Looks like the TRV900 has 500 lines and the VX1000 about 450 lines, though that's quite subjective. This result is odd, because as far as I know the VX1000 actually has more pixels on the CCDs. John
From: "Tom Gietzen" (bravotom prodigy net) Subject: [TRV900 vs. VX1000] Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 12:05:04 -0500 I discovered you home page and I am in heaven. Wow. I am a professional videographer/photographer and been thinking about the TRV900 actually 2 of them. I like have a system where everything is interchangeable. I own the VX1000 and have made some quick checks against the 900 and the Canon. They were very quick and dirty checks but there may be some merit to my experience. I found the Vx1000 to be a little truer to some colors in very low impossible lighting conditions but hardly worth mentioning. We were pointing the cameras at a brass hinge in a door in this low light. The VX1000 showed the brass color whereas the 900 showed silver. The sharpness between the two cameras to the naked eye looked almost identical, even in low light. I do weddings and other small productions and when I briefly owned a Sony Hi8 99 I got spoiled with the view screen and the other bells and whistles. The info lythium is also great. Although I think the Canon 3 chipper is the most professional looking and layed out the higher price and green glitch problen that they were having turned me off and I think a lot of others. I made a few checks with this camera also a long time ago and found it to be only slightly better than the VX1000 in low light but it was easier to increase the light somehow than to buy a whole new camera system. Also the Sony picture seemed to be better overall. Tom Gietzen bravotom prodigy.net20
Date: Wed, 23 Dec 1998 07:30:09 -0700 To: The Cassie Tips List From: Carroll Lam Subject: Bigger ain't better The TVR900 is an even better 3-chip camcorder with it's analog inputs, large LCD panel, floppy attachment to grab stills, 16 bit audio (vs. 14 bit on the VX1000 -which is now my backup camera), quicker auto focus, night vision, etc....... [ed.note: Actually the TRV900 does not have the "night-shot" feature available in some other Sony camcorders. Personally I think its low-light performance is good, but not amazingly good. -jpb 12/23/98] -----Original Message----- I have a DSR-200 and a VX-1000, and I'm a big VX1000 fan. It's a handy size, with a look that suggests something more than consumer. It's just simple to use, without any quirks; and it's still a bargain for a 3-chip. MR SAMUEL E HURNE
From: Toneman (Tony) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: difference Sony VX1000 - Sony TRV900 ? Date: Tue, 11 May 1999 16:20:40 GMT >OTOH, the VX1000 has many supporters and is an excellent cam, especially if >you are using it in a 'pro' situation - looks do (unfortunately) count. > >GFB I am one of those who feel that looks count. I do weddings and othe things and I would never go in with a TRV900 even if the quality blew away a 3chip SVHS camera. However, I wouldnt use the VX1000 for the same reason. It may look more "pro" than a 900 but it still l looks like the older SOny Handycam with a bigger lens hood on it.
TonyFrom: custvideo Newsgroups: Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 12:33:08 GMT You people are living in the past!!!! People could care less what the camera looks like. I'll tell you what they care about and will remember forever. THE VIDEO YOU PRODUCE FOR THEM! With a TRV900 and DV300 on a pc and a few well place transitions and good lighting and audio and of course great camera work. That is what the client cares about. I've asked brides after the fact what they remember about my camera and most of the time they do not remember. I do get lots of feedback on the final video production. That is what counts! I sell weddings based on my past productions. I do not show them my camera and expect them to hire me. Sorry if I'm a little strong here, it is my experience. I've used a EVW-300 to shoot weddings and I'll take the 900 over it any day of the week. I can do tons better with the smaller camera. I get into places I could not with the truck. BTW...the video on the 900 far exceeds the EVW-300. Thanks to lossless firewire editing I can offer great quality in my wedding productions. It helps top things off.
From: custvideo Newsgroups: Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 12:29:05 GMT In article <373c446e.8667209>, vid1 (BT) wrote: > Are you saying the low light picture quality from the EVW-300 is worse > than the TRV900? Really? > Bob. To be honest, no I'm not. The 300 was great in low light. In fact at 18db the 300 was quiet compared to the 900. The big difference is in the format. The 900 color sn is FAR better than Hi8. Record color bars and then play them back. You will see what I mean. Also, the 300 was very hard to manage at a crowed reception. Not to speak of all the power I needed to carry. The 900's NP-F750 will do an entire wedding! No external batteries. At the end of a night I'm not sore from carrying around a bunch of stuff. This, BTW is my opinion. Oh, the external 3.5 LCD is a MUST. You can shoot over heads on the dance floor and see what you are doing. Not to mention how impressed the people are by seeing themselves. They become part of what I'm doing. It sets them at ease. I have made friends with people in conversation over the COOL little camera and all that it can do. Much easier then to get them on tape being in a friendly environment. Chris
Date: Wed, 06 Jan 1999 23:45:13 +0100 To: beale Subject: TRV900 / Panasonic DX100 Hi John, thank you for your very informative site about the Sony trv 900. I bought the camera 4 weeks ago, mainly because of its dv and analogue recording capabilities. My other camera is a Panasonic DX 100. When I bought the Sony I wondered which camera would perform better. From what I have seen so far, the trv900 is not to be positioned against the Canon XL1 or the VX 1000. The latter cameras cover the advanced amateur/semiprofessional range whereas the trv 900 competes with the Panasonic DX100. I mention this because most of the comparisons I have seen in the internet so far talk about trv900, xl1 and dx1000. To tell the truth my first impressions about the picture quality of the trv900 where not very good compared to the dx100. I started with the trv 900 entirely in auto-mode. The white balance in artificial lighting is better with the dx100 as is the grainyness of the picture. The autofocus seems to work better on my dx100 in lowlight-conditions. If put to manual the trv 900 performs equally good as the dx100. To my opinion the trv900 tries to get a brighter picture thus increasing the gain up to maximum which results in grainy pictures. The dx100 increases gain much more moderately which results in a better allthough slightly darker picture. The automatic white balance on my dx100 is more natural which might be caused by the external w/b-sensor. Compared to the panasonic the trv 900's automatic w/b under artificial light makes an unnatural warm (=red) picture. I would summarize my experience as follows: The dx100 is still a superb camera. In auto-mode it is almost unbeatable. The viewfinder is sharper. The ergonomy is much better (it has only four switches for manual operation). It is less heavy and more compact than the trv900. The trv900 needs more manual intervention. The picture quality is equally good as the dx100's if the cameraman overrides the automatic (especialy under low light conditions). The lens is worse mainly because of the bad f-aparture which reaches 2,8 (!) in tele-mode and because of it's poor wide angle. Main reasons for buying the trv900 are the excellent image stabilizer, bigger batteries (up to 8 hrs!), progressive scan, disc drive and memory sticks for still pictures and - of course - the s-video/dv-in port. If you want to be creative with still pictures etc. this is the camera for you. If you don't need super-steady-shot nor still pictures the dx100 (or the dx110 with dv-in) is still a very, very good choice. Kind regards Ekkhard
Note: as far as I can tell the Panasonic DX100 / DX110 is not sold in the US (Ekkhard wrote from Germany). In the MiniDV format, Panasonic's web site lists three consumer camcorders: PV-DV700, PV-DV710, and PV-DV910, and two "industrial" camcorders: AG-EZ1U and AG-EZ30U. The latter camera, the EZ30U may be the closest US equivalent to the DX100, but at SRP of US$4000 it is quite a bit more expensive than the Sony TRV900. See the posting for yet another opinion. -john
Subject: low light: Compare EZ1/EZ20/EZ30 to TRV9/TRV900 Email: Neuman-Ruether Forums: On Mon, 21 Dec 1998 07:50:35 +1100, "Graham Baker" wrote: >>>Anyone run any real world comparisons on low light performance of >>>these cameras? >>Low light (ONLY!!!) -- >> EZ1, excellent >> EZ20, ? >> EZ30, excellent >> TRV-9, poor >> TRV-900, very good >>First choice among the above would be the TRV-900 if >>good-sound/stabilizer are most important, EZ30 if >>low-light ability is most important... > Sorry, I disagree. I have an EZ30 and a TRV900 and IMHO the TRV900 is > better than the EZ30 in low light. Direct comparisons in a room lit by 1 > x 60W lamp shows there is not a great deal between them but the TRV900 > shows a brighter image with less noise. This is under 'full auto' > conditions. Using the 1/3 shutter in manual mode the TRV900 can give > excellent images, just as long as nothing is moving around - at that speed > things become very blurry very quickly. In reality probably neither the > EZ30 or the TRV900 would be as good as say, the XL1 or the VX1000 with > their larger CCCD's Thanks for the data point - it makes the TRV-900 even more attractive! In the list, I was best-guessing from combinations reported on here, and on what I have seen (I did not try the TRV-900 side-by-side with the EZ30, but the EZ30 was clearly outdoing my VX-1000's side-by-side even in moderate light levels... [and I had heard that the TRV-900 was slightly behind the VX-1000 in side-by-side comparisons, so..;-]). The low-light footage I have seen from the TRV-900 was excellent. The EZ1U is known for its low-light ability compared with the VX-1000 (which actually does pretty well, too, and as you point out, dropping the shutter speed [which the EZ1U can't do...] opens a whole new world of low-light shooting - if you can stand the resolution loss from dropping one of the fields, and the smear [it is often worth it, to pick up better color...!]). I have seen various stills "proving" the superiority of the (not very small, so not in the list above...) XL-1 compared with the VX-1000, but I found them unconvincing... (maybe the differences are more obvious in the actual footage...). I guess this narrows the mini-DV camcorder choice down a LOT! ;-) For around $2100 (on up even to $4000...!), the Sony TRV-900 looks like the choice! ;-) (I still like my VX-1000's, though, and I would miss the custom picture controls if I went to the remarkably able TRV-900...) David Ruether
From: rpn1 (Neuman - Ruether) Newsgroups:, Subject: Re: DCR-TRV900 and AG-EZ30 Date: Tue, 02 Feb 1999 03:48:30 GMT Dean Tran wrote: >Anyone has a direct comparation between the two in video quality and other > usages? Or someone can give me comment about EZ30. I took a brief look at two EZ30's, and have seen footage shot with the TRV-900... The picture of the EZ30 was excellent, I thought, even in moderately low (daytime) room light. There was a bit of "edging" from possibly excessive sharpening (and the picture was a bit less detailed than that of a VX-1000), but I liked the color balance, and the way it held good color in lower light. The stabilizer is useless. The AF was OK, but would search some in some conditions. I would check for noise pick-up in the audio... The picture of the TRV-900 was also excellent, but did not have the exaggerated edge effect. It appeared to be very good in low light. The stabilizer appears to be excellent, with no artifacts. The AF appeared good, with little hunting evident. The sound was a surprise - NO camera noise in the audio (I have never seen this before in a mini-DV camcorder with a mic built into the body - most have a very noticeable "whine"), and the mic sounded natural with voices. I lean toward the TRV-900, which seems to have a nice balance of well-done basic features. (I will be checking out a TRV-900 against a VX-1000 in a couple of days...) David Ruether rpn1
Subject: Re: trv900 / NV-DX100 Hello John, The DX100's correct name is NV-DX100. It is Panasonic's second 3-chip camera for the consumer market and available since approx. 1-2 years. (I think the first camera was called DX1 and it had three 1/3"CCD's so it was nicknamed "Queen of the night" due to it's excellent low-light performance) I cannot send you any still pictures, first because I don't have any, second because it would not make sense since the DX100 does not support progressive scan. The price in june was DM 5.000 but they have reduced it to DM 4.500 now because of the appearance of the Sony TRV 890/900 which cost DM 5.000/5.500. Panasonic has announced a NV-DX110 which will cost DM 5000 and it will support DV-in (actually I think they only will change the camera logo to DX110 and will activate a hidden firewire-input). I do not know the $-prices but my DM-prices may give you an idea. From what I know the DX100 is available worldwide. One word about picture quality in low-light: I realized that the DX100 stops increasing gain at 12dB in auto-mode. So the user normally does not see the grainy 18db picture. What a trick! They do not say a word about this in the manual. The Sony TRV900 goes up to 18dB if the automatic thinks it's too dark... So after this I think both cameras are alike if you do not use gain above 12dB. For people who need pictures for the computer or internet as well as a high-end consumer video-camera the TRV900 is first choice. It is a "creative-machine", while the DX100 is just very, very easy to use (still the results look professional, you would not expect it from such a small camera). But Panasonic's philosophy so far was the electronic image stabilizer which seems to be almost antique. Here the TRV900 is much better. Besides as a camera I use the TRV900 as backup-taperecorder for my Casablanca. I could not afford the firewire-interface for the Casablanca so far, which costs DM 2.800, so I use the S-video input of the TRV900. First I intended to buy a small Sony Mini-DV Taperecorder with integrated TFT-Display (I forgot it's name), which costs approx DM 4.500. But then I had the occasion to buy the TRV900 for only DM 4.400 compared to its normal retail price of DM 5.500. Second reason was that the Mini-DV-Recorder wasn't available due to month-long shortage. Third reason was your very inormative web-site (and links on your site). So that is the reason why I have the luxury of two cameras. Ekkhard (from Luebeck, Northern Germany, near the Baltic Sea)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 14:28:20 +0100 From: "Hans H. Hagberg" Subject: Re: TRV900 light sensitivity: hard numbers Hi John Here in Sweden we have a pretty good magazine called "Ljud & Bild" (Sound & Picture). They do very scientific tests of audio and video equipment which they publish without regards to what the advertisers may feel about it. BTW. that is the normal way in this country. Camcorder tests are published with a lot of hard data such as complete diagrams of frequency response and light sensitivity values. They even put it on the web ! The latest edition tested the TRV900, the Panasonic DX110 and a few others. The editorial material may be a little hard to digest for non-Swedish speaking enthusiasts. [...] regards Hans Hagberg PS. The magazine found the TRV900 to be the best miniDV they ever tested considering sharpness, low light performance and features. Clearly superior to DX100, DX110, XL1 and VX-1000 !
From: "Ron" Date: Sun, 24 Jan 1999 20:40:24 -0500 Subject: TRV9 vs 900 I'm the guy that several months ago said after seeing your page I had to trade in my TRV9 for the 900! - and am so glad I did. I set up a little 900 page (just so people I talk to in newsgroups) have a couple samples to look at. [...] I also have something you might find of value - as I know people often ask the difference between the TRV9 and TRV900. I didn't shoot much with the TRV9 while I had it.. but this is a sample of why I traded it on. Attached is a pic containing two images. I fly kites indoors (with a club as a hobby) and these two images were taking in the same gym under the same lighting conditions. Since the TRV9 has no manual white balance settings - the yellow image was the best I could get (for stills or video). On the other side is a TRV900 image. Setting the white balance for indoor (incandescent) setting didn't eliminate the yellow very well, so I switched to total manual and zoomed in on the white backboard (behind the basketball net). I hit "the manual white balance" and wow - very decent color considering the horrible light. No other color alterations were done to either image. These are as they came from the two camcorders. I hope they are of value to your wonderful site! Ron Kramer
From: rpn1 (Neuman - Ruether) Newsgroups:, Subject: Re: Sony DCR-TRV900 & Sony DCR-TRV9 Date: Tue, 02 Feb 1999 16:46:39 GMT On Mon, 01 Feb 1999 18:15:57 GMT, "John" wrote: >Can someone tell me the differences between Sony DCR-TRV900 & Sony DCR-TRV9. >Im looking to buy one of these cameras for video capture to my computer. >Does 1 have an advantage over the other? b Anyone who has one of these >cameras and is using it for capture, any comments. How about the lowlight >advantage of the TRV9, is it worth it. These camcorders look nearly identical, but are quite different in both sound and sight... The TRV-9 has a color image that often looks weak in color saturation in daylight (a polarizer can help), and very poor indoors, even during the day (turning off the stabilizer helps, since the shutter speed will drop from 1/100th to 1/60th, allowing the gain to decrease - but the image quality in color is no match for the VX-1000 or TRV-900). Unlike the TRV-900, the audio of the TRV-9 has a very noticeable "whine", even in fairly noisy environments. On the "9" plus side, the camera is fairly inexpensive, is small, has useful analogue inputs (both do), and (with older samples, at least) has the wonderful infrared ability (not especially useful for night shooting, but excellent for daylight B&W shooting where the image quality is very high, and very nice, especially when using a red or IR filter plus a polarizer to exaggerate the IR effects). The stabilizer and AF are first-rate on both the "9 and "900", but the noticeably better sound and picture of the "900" makes it a better buy (though the "900" doesn't have the IR feature and it is more expensive, darn! ;-). David Ruether rpn1
From: "Woof" Newsgroups: Subject: Re: TRV900 vs. TRV9 Date: Fri, 5 Feb 1999 10:20:21 -0500 John Michaels wrote in message ... > I have done my homework and have come to this conclusion: the trv9 is a > great camera, the quality is top notch, the nightshot is a nice feature, > the price is great. The 900 is a great camera, the quality is top notch, > the 3ccd is a nice feature, the price is 1000 more than the 9. Get it, > they are both nice cameras, enjoy the 9, you didn't miss out on anything, > and you saved $1000. The colors may be represented a little better in > the 900, but your family won't notice the difference. I recently went through the same decision -- I was all ready to go with the 9, until I saw the pictures side by side. There is a BIG difference in picture quality. I went with the 900 and am thrilled with it every day I use it. Now maybe the picture differece isn't worth $1,000 to you, after all the 9 is still a digital camera and should have a better picture than any analogue cam (I didn't cross compare dig. to ana.). In that case, I'd still suggest holding off until the Digital8 cameras come out in a month or so -- all the features of the 9 plus better zoom, cheaper media, and, I think, an improved Nightshot feature. All that and it seems to be around the same price point, if not cheaper. my 2 cents. Al
From: "Scott W" Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Q for Sony TRV900 owners (TRV9 vs TRV900 comparison) Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 23:14:53 GMT Hi! I purchased the TRV900. It's really really bitchin!! When I was shopping for a camera the choice for me was between the trv9 and the trv900. About a $1000 difference in price. I'm glad I spent the extra money. It was well worth it. After purchasing it, I did a test with it and my friends trv9. Here's what i did. Step 1: Put tape in my camera (trv-900). Shot about 30 seconds of a particular scene outdoors. Stopped recording. Step 2: Took the tape out of my camera. Step 3: Put same tape into my friends trv-9. Shot the same scene with all of the same settings for 30 seconds. Step 4: Took the tape and went to play it on the television using my camera. The difference was like night and day. The color saturation, vibrance, and color accuracy in the trv900 was fantastic compared to the trv-9. The trv-9 looked, well, bad compared to the trv-900. Also, in the trv-9 footage there was a slight humming noise. The trv-900 did *not* have any sound noise *at all*. BTW, we played the tape back on the tv set from my camera and his camera and the results were the same. The test wasn't that scientific, but it definitely made me happy that I paid a little extra money for the trv-900. My friend wasn't too happy on the other hand. :-( Hope this helps! Scott
From: "Robert Lindqvist" Newsgroups: Subject: TRV900 AUDIO WORSE THAN VX1000 Date: Tue, 2 Feb 1999 19:57:59 +0100 Hi all, whoppps. Wasn't my intention to make such big story out of this. I've done some more testing today, also compering with DSR-PD100 (brother DVCAM model of TRV900). All should remember that I'm in PAL and that there could be differences between PAL and NTSC TRV900's. Here is the story: YES I'm a salesman, BUT I also make musicvideos, documentarys, corporate stuff, infomercials etc. I first found out about TRV900 POOR audio the hard way in one of my own recordings. Looking through a couple of clips from a days recordings I didn't like the quality of the sound. I decided to use VX1000 for the rest of the shoot the next day. When I was about to edit this material I had to mask audio from the TRV900 recording quite much (both low and high freq). Where these shoots from TRV900 and VX1000 meet in the film it doesn't sound that good (now I had them head to head/side by side). The film contain same persons talking, well I simply had to mask VX1000 audio aswell. Later on I thought I must have done something wrong in the TRV900 recording and started to do some tests. I connected Sennheiser K6/ME66 (and K6 CL = -18db) and a Beyer Dynamic M59 to a BeachTek DXA-4S (and also Studio One XLR PRO), XLR adapter to TRV900. Later, same mics/DXA-4/XLR PRO and VX1000. ______NO DOUBT ABOUT IT VX1000 SOUNDS BETTER_________ I then connected K6/ME66 directly to TRV900 (XLR to minijack cable), better, but still worse then VX1000. Same poor result if i tried M59. Today I had the possability to try PD100. We tested with the same mics as above. Both with DXA-4S and with Sony's mono XLR adapter. With the Sony XLR adapter there is no sign of motor hum because of a built in low cut filter, but still more high freq noise then VX1000. When we tried DXA-4S we had about same noise as with TRV900 (we didn't have XLR PRO to try with today). I'm not a Super Duper Audio Freak, I have played my old TRV900/VX1000 tests to serveral people, all belived TRV900 audio is worse then VX1000. Sorry to say I don't have equipment to messure this, I only have my 32 year old ears. We listened through quite good multimedia speakers and headphones. Cheers, Robert Lindqvist
From: Ron Irving Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Sony TRV900 vs Canon XL-1 Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 13:06:32 +1100 I have an XL1 and a TRV900 The XL1 is better in low light. The image stabiliser in the XL1 is better than the TrV900 The XL1's mike is better than the TRv900's The TRV900 has a lot of extra features inbuilt that the XL1 doesnt have. The Progressive scan on the TRV900 produces better still images. If it comes down to price the TRV900 wins. I love them both.........(Why not get one of each?) Regards Ron Irving
From: delaluz4804 Newsgroups: Subject: XL1/TRV9/VX1000/TRV900 Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 12:52:08 GMT I have an XL1, a trv9 & a's another view of the trv900: 1. I like the TRV900 for low shots because of the flip out screen. You don't have to look in the viewfinder to frame the shot. The XL1 has a handle on the top, but I don't think it's better than the TRV900 for low shots. 2. The TRV900 has a manual white balance & iris control. 3. I don't think the 1 or 2 pound difference in weight would make the vx1000 any more stabilzed than the trv900. If you ever get a stabiizer the trv900 would be much better than the vx1000 becasue of the viewfinder. 4. I think the FP-750 battery will power the trv900 with the LCD for over 2 hours (maybe over 3 hours). After using the trv900 for a couple of days and the trv9 for 4-5 months I think the LCD is tremendous plus for all shots except those in bright sunlight. Just my 2 cents.
Subject: TRV900 & XL1 side by side Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 00:51:53 -0800 From: Victor Khong (moviemaker at sprint ca) Just got back from first night of another DV feature film being shot with Canon XL1 as "A" cam and my TRV900 as "B" cam. Some quick thoughts.. The XL1 is dead quiet with *no* perceptible motor noise. This is one quiet camera! On the monitor, I could not tell the difference between the XL1 and the TRV900. I equipped both cameras with Cokin's Sunsoft filter for diffusion and the removal of the dreaded "video-look". At this location, I could not control the color palette of the walls, tiles, drawers, etc. So certain things looked video-wy. When I lit for shadows - as in nightmare sequences, everything look way better. I find that video looks best either about 4 f-stops overexposed for an effect where it's blown waaay white or lit dark with lots of shadows and modelling. Anything lit flatly looks video-wy. Lighting, lighting, lighting makes the world of difference. The TRV900 was equipped with Tamron's 52mm +1, +2, +3 diopter sets. We used these for closeups of actor's eyes (acting dead), blood soaked fingers. It worked very very well. The use of the diopters gives the movie a look that one does not normally see on a DV production. The TRV900 handles it well with no flare and vignetting or perceptible distortions. Once again, I was thankful for the 900's flipout LCD screen. In tight angles and awkward positions work in a location kitchen in a two bedroom apartment straddlling the actor, the LCD screen enabled me to manipulate the camera in a way which would not have been possible any other way. Given that the TRV900 is half the price of the XL1 is nothing short of a testament to the great value our 900 is. Totally biased opinion on my part of course. ;-) The main disappointment or weakness of the TRV900 so far (this being my second DV feature movie) is the noise from the motor and the noisy pre-amp in the audio. If I had a wishing wand....... Victor K. --------- Victor Film Group DV Cinematographer/Director
Subject: just got my TRV900 (comparison to JVC9000) Date: Mon, 15 Mar 1999 20:29:16 -0800 From: Stephen Piacentini To: "John P. Beale" John, I just got my TVR900 and I love it! It is clearly better than the JCV9000 which I am taking back tomorrow. Everything about it is better. First, the view finder is superior as is the LCD screen (although I hear the 9500 has an improved screen over the 9000 but I tested that one too and I think the Sony has it beat!). The level of manual control is much better (i.e., JVC9000 could only turn gain on or off). The battery consumption is superior (the JVC burned the battery fast even in view finder mode). The ability to take photos to something other than tape is under appreciated! Who wants to have their tape interrupted by photos? And the floppy adapter is great in a pinch (at a friends house or something...just take the disk out and give it to them). Although I too have noticed that the pictures darken but this can easily be fixed in any jpg viewing program.) All of the little features that are too numerous to name now. Low light! yes, I'm sorry, but the hype over the JVC in low light is unfounded! I have both cameras in my possession now and I must say that I am more happy with the Sony. (when I say low light, I mean a room lit with only a 75 watt bulb or outdoors at dusk). Ability to fade sometimes and not other times without going to the menu! The JVC fade is in the menu and you must go through that to turn it on or off. Yes, the JVC has 10(?) fade modes, but I don't care. If I want to fade in or out, I push the fade button on the Sony.. It only does it when I want it to, not everytime I stop recording! Zoom control is much easier than the JVC one. The bar is larger and goes front (zoom in) to back (zoom out) instead of the JVC which is a tiny button that goes left to right. The Sony just seems more solid and durable. The two way firewall (record INTO the camcorder). The 9500 from JVC has this, but the 9000 does not. The Sony does. I am sure I will find many other advantages. Thanks for a great web page! Steve
From: gcrooks Newsgroups: Subject: Re: TRV900 or Canon Elura - DONE! Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 06:55:01 GMT I had the opportunity to check both the TRV-900 and Canon Elura together. Here are my observations: In bright light, the TRV-900 has better colors, but the Canon Elura was close. The colors differences seemed to be no grater thatn using Fuji vs Kodak 35 film, for example. But the Ultra is a one chip machine and cheaper than the Sony. THe Sony was slightly sharper than the Elura execept at the long telephoto range where the Canon lens was noticeably less sharp. This seems to be a major flaw. I hope itwas only a quality control problem and not a designv error. However, the Canon lens has less flare problems and this was without a sunshade! The Sony had better low light colors and noise. The Elura was more like my current Sony TR101 HI8. The Sony viewfider has better resolution. I felt that I could use the Sony VF for color balance checks. The Elura did not give me this confidence, but I am pickly about colors. You might find it ok. The Sony has less wind noise problems, but the Elura does have a wind noise filter. I quickly checked it and it did help; probably about equal or slightly better than the Sony without any filter. The Sony auto audio level control seemed to be louder and clearer than the Ultra. For normal voices, the Sony audio seemed much better. On music, I slighly prefered the Sony; they were very close on this test. The Sony InfoLithium battery was much more accurate and provided greater feedback than the Ultra. Sony really leads in this area, but the Canon does provide an external two slot charger vs the in-camera charger for the Sony. On the Ultra you could here the zoom motor. The Ultra transport motor was fairly quite considering its size. Due to the Ultra's mike being on top, you have to be more carefull in handling the camera to avoid additional noise pickup. The Ultra did quite well considering its price and size. I plan to go with the Sony TRV-900 or the PD-100, since overall quality is higher. The size and price of the ULTRA does make it a hard decision, however.
From: vulcan (vulcan) Newsgroups: Subject: Re: Is TRV900 good camcorder for amateurs? Date: Mon, 07 Jun 1999 05:14:36 GMT > How difficult will it be for an amateur to use TRV900 compared >to JVC DVL9500?. This will for shooting videos inside house with low >lights and out doors with bright sunlight. I will be in Fiji Islands >in July and videos that I have taken with other camera before use to >over expose. How well I would be able to use either TRV900 or DVL9500 >in these conditions being and amateur. I can't compare the Sony unit against the JVC, but can comment on the ease of use of the Sony for an amateur videographer. I spent a few college years as a free-lance pro photographer. I became such mostly because I spent some extra money on my first SLR, a Nikon. The camera was so good, I became literally a professional. Years later, I seem to have done the same thing in Video, and bought the TRV900 with amateur intentions. I can't say I have done any professional work, but the results certainly are to such a spec. Just as I grew into that Nikon, I expect to grow into the TRV900. I am having a blast with the fading line that separates movies from stills, and NLE opens huge possiblities. At the very least, I am having a blast! I took some awsome time lapse of a robin hatching last week, and the color and clarity are astounding. I cannot recommend 'underbuying' the equipment for an amateur. If you can even consider it, buy it. If you get into financial trouble, you can probably sell it on the web for a minimal loss. That loss won't nearly match those great amateur moments that just didn't cut it with an inferior camera. By the way, in this day and age, even the pros need cameras with ease of use for quick candids, news, etc., with enough depth for the tough shots. Trust me (and others on this group) when I say that the TRV900 handles both with aplomb. Let me just say this, my wife is getting milage from this camera, and she has never complained about its complexity or its weight. Even her shots look great. This was not so with our previous 3 camcorders. 'Nuff said. Vulcan
Subject: D8 vs. TRV900 light sensitivity, color rendition From: FriskySr at aol com Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 13:04:24 EDT In a message dated 10/13/99 12:20:06 AM Eastern Daylight Time, FJORDING at aol com writes: << << From: FriskySr I've owned a TRV900 for about a month now, after originally having bought a TRV103 Digital8 camera. My original logic: Sony + Digital = Good. At less than $1,000, Even Better. I was so disappointed in the low light performance of the D8 camera that I bought a 900, thanks to John Beale's web site and this mailing list. An expensive mistake, but I certainly do not regret having bought the 900. It's all I expected and more. >> I am surprised at that finding, as my employee bought a D8 machine, I think it was the 103, and it seemed to have about four times the sensitivity of the 900 in low light. At slow shutter it delivered a color image where the 900 showed a ghostly outline. It was producing a recognizable color image of the Bounty towel rolls in my office restroom with the door shut, using only light coming under the crack at the bottom. I could barely discern the item with the naked eye. I did NOT get into noise levels, as viewing was on the LCD for these informal tests, but the unit seemed quite hot. --Merek >> I have not run any tests in darkened bathrooms. By "low light" I was referring to indoor, ambient light situations, for example 200 or 300 watts of light from household lighting fixtures, spread over a 10' x 12' room, usually with the subject close to one of the fixtures. Comparing the TRV103 to the TRV900: 1) The 900 is 2 or 3 stops more light sensitive than the 103 in the same lighting conditions. 2) The 103 handles gain much more poorly than the 900. As soon as the 103 adds any gain, the image takes on a gained-up, washed-out look, with bad color fidelity. At +6dB, yellow streaks become visible on the image. (You can see a mild version of this phenomenom on John B's web site, on the D8 page.) At +12dB, the streaks become severe, and are even more exaggerated on the faces of people with dark skin tones, who look like they're suffering from severe jaundice. At +18dB (which occurs pretty quickly on this camera), the image is IMO unwatchable. The 900 at +18dB isn't pretty either, but it looks like the 103 at 0 or +3dB. Plus, unlike the 900, the 103 doesn't have any means of limiting gain, and no manual white balance, with the AWB tending to exaggerate the yellow streaks for certain kinds of light such as halogen. All of that said, the D8 camera produces a pretty good image under either outdoor or bright indoor lighting conditions. I shoot most of my footage under indoor ambient light conditions, and found that the 103 images under those conditons were unacceptable-- much worse than images shot with my old Hi8 TRV81. Richard Bergovoy
Subject: TRV120 Digital8 lighting comparison From: Roger Cowland (lenscape at one net au) Date: Feb 4 2001 You were asking about comparisions. I have a TRV900 and Sony TRV120 D8. The 900 being 3CCD comes out the best. The D8 tends to flare out on highlights, crush in shadows and does not appear to have the colour gradation that the 900 has, although I must say given the right conditions, lighting etc, it is sometimes hard to pick any difference. The bonus of the 120 is the 25x optical zoom and the niteshot. The niteshot is noisy/grainy, but the result can be really good. It has provided us with some stunning footage of seldom seen Australian night creatures such as Feathertail Sugar Gliders that were almost invisible to the naked eye. One other thing to consider is that having two different formats can be a pain at times when you find that some of your material is on both and you have to keep switching cameras while editing. Roger Cowland
Subject: VX-1000, TRV-900, DSR-300 Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 09:29:43 -0700 From: "Bob Watson" (bobw Exchange microsoft com) I just finished working on a video project where we used a VX-1000, TRV-900 & a DSR-300. The results were interesting and somewhat camera independent. The bottom line was those shots that were lit well (i.e. good exposure with practical lighting and/or good lighting setups) looked good regardless of which camera was used. The '300 had better depth-of-field control as well as better low-light performance but for the difference in price over the other 2 models you'd expect some advantages. If there was a lesson to be learned it was that time/money spent on lighting equip & how to use it goes a long ways to making a good image. What was most striking about this was that with good lighting setups you can get dynamite pictures from any of the cameras. Likewise, with bad lighting you could get bad pictures from any of them. Reviewing the tape from a properly lit scene it was hard (but not impossible) to tell which camera was used. Between you an me, though I think the '900's pictures look better than the VX-1000's. Operationally, aside from the weight, the '300 was much easier to use and control (IMO) so I can see why that form factor (i.e. the "beta cam" style) with manual everything would be the preference of professional photographers. That and the lens of the '300 is so much sharper and smoother to operate. I can understand why career photographers would be reluctant to give up their manual lenses and direct controls for a servo lens and 2-3 level nested menus (e.g. the manual volume controls). But if I have to carry the camera around all day, I'd certainly prefer the '900. -- bob
Subject: TRV11, TRV20, TRV900 compared in low-light From: "Paul Tauger" ( Newsgroups:, Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 11:45:54 -0800 I finally had a chance for a hands-on comparison of a Sony TRV-11, TRV-20 and TRV-900 in a low-light situation. The comparison was made at J & R Music World in Manhattan, thanks to a patient and knowledgeable sales clerk (quick plug: my only relationship with J & R is that I've bought from them in the past and recommend them, particularly for reliable mail order). J & R's camcorders are displayed in a basement showroom which also features home theaters and televisions. The overall illumination is low, and there are corners that are actually quite dark -- an ideal location for testing low light capabilities. J & R also had a monitor available for displaying video from the camcorders -- a necessity for evaluating image, as no camcorders' built-in monitor or viewfinder offers sufficient resolution to effectively judge the resulting image. Not surprisingly, the TRV-900 did the best, no chroma noise, clean, natural, well-saturated color. What was surprising, however, was the difference in performance of the TRV-11 and TRV-20. Sony claims a minimum lux of 5 for the TRV-11 and 7 for the TRV-20 (the TRV-900 lists a minimum lux of 4). However, despite the lower lux number for the TRV-11, the TRV-20 clearly performed better in low light. Both the -11 and the -20 exhibited some chroma noise that wasn't present in the TRV-900. There was enough noise to disqualify either camera from professional applications, but not from most amateur uses, e.g. vacation footage, etc. However, the -11 displayed markedly poorer contrast and an overall warmish, almost orange, cast as compared with the TRV-20. The image looked gritty and unnatural. So . . . based on this comparison, I do not agree with everyone who has posted claiming that the -11 and the -20 are essentially the same camera, except for the -20's higher-resolution still-imaging capabilities. Based on my comparison, the -20 gives a crisper, truer-color image in low light. Incidently, I also compared a ZR10 and found, frankly, no comparison. This camera produced so much noise in low light as to be virtually unusable. Though I'd love a TRV-900 for it's superior image, I've decided to go with the TRV-20, for its small size and light weight (I'm want a good camera to take on our travels), whose performance contradicts its relatively high lux rating, and which was demonstrably superior to the TRV-11.

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