S&V Q&A — February/March 2006 Page 3

THE TRUTH ABOUT TAPE

Q. I want to buy a new camcorder, so I called Sony about its high-definition models. I was told that the only way to record in HD is to buy its special HDTV MiniDV tapes - but I know JVC has a high-def camcorder that records on standard MiniDV. Do I really need to buy the HD tapes for the Sony, or is it a marketing ploy? Kevin Chupp Prescott, AZ

A. Al Griffin says: No, you don't need special Sony tapes to record high-def with the company's HDR-FX1 or HDR-HC1 camcorder - standard MiniDV cassettes will also work. But you should know that Sony's claims its DVM63HD tapes ($17 each) have 75% fewer data errors and 50% fewer dropouts than standard MiniDV cassettes. These problems usually cause the picture to momentarily freeze or break up into a random pattern of colored blocks. Also, a quick scan of online camcorder forums shows numerous Sony HD-cam owners reporting occasional dropouts when using the cheaper standard MiniDV tapes.

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