Product Type: Sony digital camcorders
Newest Review: ... a good few brilliant youtube tutorials that talk through how to set up, run and use the camera to get the best out of it. One of the major... more
The Original Documentary Favourite is Still a Good Introduction to the Pro Market!
Sony DVCam DSR-PD170
Member Name: thedarkfighter
Sony DVCam DSR-PD170
Advantages: Now cheap, light, good introduction to pro cameras, CCD sensors
Disadvantages: Tape based, awkward out port type, Standard def
First thing: This camera is pretty old! The last major Standard definition hurrah and the jewel in the crown of standard definition shooting. The model was released in 2004 and it definately shows its age in no uncertain terms! The camera is no handycam in weight terms but in pro terms its pretty much a feather. The control layout is pretty simple to get to grips with if you put the effort in to learn the camera. There are a good few brilliant youtube tutorials that talk through how to set up, run and use the camera to get the best out of it. One of the major advantages of this camera is that it has a 3 CCD sensor system which is a bit better than the current CMOS style sensors which still haven't entirely caught up with in terms of quality. The CCD sensors also mean that there is no rolling shutter effect on the camera. The footage that comes out is at 50i in the UK so is a full SD interlaced picture. There is no option to shoot progressive which is very disappointing but the camera isn't short on options, most importantly, the option to use 1.77:1 (16:9) aspect ratio. The screen is ok for its time but compared to modern screens its utterly mediocre. The viewfinder however is superior to a fair few modern ones as it is black and white so you can form a picture based on luminance value through it. It has a full zebra function to show when highlights are clipping due to massive overexposure. The picture quality is pretty impressive for standard definition and you SD footage will have never looked so good in interlaced before but low end pro HD cams make the picture quality of this look average. The microphone they give you with it is utter tripe so I recommend using an external to do the job. This camera is a great introduction to how to work with pro gear although tape takes a bit of work to get used to and is quite restrictive in terms of editing options as you always need a tape deck or 9 pin IEEE1394 cable but this camera won't be dead yet although it has been outclassed by many since.
Summary: Great introduction to the pro world and great Standard Def camera but past its prime
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