View Full Version : PD170 vs. JVC 30GB HDD Camcorder

08-31-2006, 03:58 PM
Hi everyone,

I was told about this awesome site, and although I'm asking a question about the Sony PD170, I hope y'all won't get mad!

Basically I'm trying to decide between the PD170 (about $3800) and the new JVC Camcorder GZ-MG505U, 3CCD-30GB HDD ($1600) - See link: http://www.futureshop.ca/catalog/proddetail.asp?logon=&langid=EN&sku_id=0665000FS10075990&catid=23053

Specifically, which acquisition would be better quality? Using DVCAM tape/DVCAM Mode (PD170), or on Hard Disk (JVC)?

I'll be shooting a "streeters" documentary of only 40 hours, to be shown at a small conference (100 people), but hopefully accepted at MTV and community television in Canada.

Anybody have any thoughts? It's a $2000 difference which is why I'm asking!

Thanks everyone,

08-31-2006, 05:15 PM
I have looked at both, never owned either. Have own a couple of Sony Pro summer models, 950, PDX-10 and Panny 100A. Of the two you are considering I would go with the 170,. My point of view, for what it's worth. Having either DV or DVCam tape to record to makes all the difference in the world. Guess it comes from no exposure to Hard disk operations, all though I have thought about it many times, and still am for that matter. Don't know much about the jVC other than what I have read, heard no pros or cons anywhere about it. Might be a great item. Just don't know. The 170 though has a great track record and tape, low light capabilities, and two XLR inputs. Other than an operator who knows what he or she is doing, what would one need?

09-01-2006, 04:09 PM
It can record up to 7 hours of DVD movie-quality video, or over 37 hours in Econo Mode.

That sounds like MPEG2 compression, which is definitely not as good as DV/DVCAM. It's also bad for editing, you might only be able to cut on I-frames.
The PD170 has 1/3" chips, I don't know about the Everio, but the chips might as well be as small as 1/6" (I don't know, it doesn't say anything about chip size).
I only know the PD 150 and it definitely makes good, professional pictures. It's used by a lot of tv stations and production companies, so the PD would probably be the best choice.

09-01-2006, 07:25 PM
Hi there! Here's the JVC site with its specs:


Its chips are 1/4.5" which are smaller than the Sony's 1/3"
I would also be concerned about its compression mode, which is MPEG 2.
Im sure the Sony has better glass too.

I have used the PD-170 and I only have good things to say about the camera.
Ease of use and very dependable. Made strong and to last.

09-02-2006, 12:21 AM
What have this to do with DVX :undecided

09-02-2006, 05:22 AM
I would forget the PD-170. It is getting kind of old. Wait for Sony's new camera The FX7 . It should be announced soon.


The Cash
09-02-2006, 05:39 AM
White Knight, I think there is as big difference in quality of these 2 camcorders as is in price. PD170 is professional camcorder that has been used like a field camera for broadcast purposes for some time now, while JVC's model looks like a consumer model to me. I'm sure it makes nice images but with PD170 you can shoot really nice interlaced video, it main plus is the ability to shoot great video in low light. Also like someone earlier said. PD170 have 2 XLR inputs for professional mics, a focusing and a zooming ring for manual adjustments, ND filters and it is bigger so you'll be getting steadier shots.

I know it's a bit pricey but my advice is to go in the middle of those 2 cams and maybe try with Canon GL2 or Panasonic DVC30 or DVC60. Al those cameras can be used for really serious work, I know all of them have been used for broadcast purposes. For a price of PD170 you could get a DVX100B if I'm not mistaking, so decide on how much money can you spend on your camcorder.

Take care and good luck with your shootings.

09-02-2006, 05:42 AM
The DVX is cheaper with the rebate.

09-10-2006, 09:51 PM
WhiteKnight... I enjoy the best of both DV worlds; I own a PD-170 and recently replaced a stolen VX-2000 with a DVX-100A. The PD-170 will beat any camcorder in the same class in low light shooting - including the DVX and HVX & Canon camcorders (no offense to the die-hards). Here's the clincher... For run & gun interlaced video work... PD-170 hands down! For more "creative" indie endeavors... DVX or HVX camcorders. I got the DVX-100A to start with. There are real problems with the HDV cameras; compression, long GOP drop outs, focusing, etc. not to mention very expensive editing & DVD delivery hardware. Anyway, didn't mean to ramble too much... go with the PD-170... you won't be sorry!

09-13-2006, 06:22 AM
As a devoted DVX owner for years now, I needed to put together a remote three camera field kit for shooting live events. I went with the PD-170A's for this purpose, you really cannot beat the low light capability of these cameras in an uncontrolled shooting environment. I still have my DVX for the controlled shoots, they all have their purposes.

09-13-2006, 06:35 AM
To add a note, the PD170 from what i've experienced puts out atrocious video in DV mode. I've never tried DVCam mode because for some reason the cam my school has doesnt record audio in that mode..i think its broken

09-18-2006, 03:32 PM
Yeah and the tapes only last 40 minutes. The footage is better (More 'film-like') but the audio in DVCam mode is screwy. Remember Persona footage, Mal? There was a similar problem with a hiss of the PD150 when it first came out too, I believe. Don't buy the PD170. I've used it for the past year and it sucks. Buy a DVX... Or, if you're loaded, an XL2.

I agree about the PD's exceptional low-light handling, though. We shot an entire scene in near pitch darkness and the PD was the only camera to get stuff out. Will post a grab here soon.

09-20-2006, 11:48 AM
As promised, some grabs of how well the PD does in low light. Mind you, that light you see in the pic is a hand held torchlight. Yes I know thats rather unprocessional but this was from your n00b heydays last year haha. Anyway, the PD did rather well because apart from that light source, it was in complete pitch black darkness.