Sony DSR-PD170

Sony PD 170 Review

Summary: Great professional 3 chip SD camera with exceptional low light performance, XLR inputs, beautiful image and colors.

The Sony DSR-PD170 ($3,940 MSRP ) produces excellent video especially in low light. The PD170 has a low light sensitivy of 1 lux. This Standard Definition camera was the standard workhorse for many years. It includes three 1/3 inch CCDs each with 380,000 pixels.

Pros: The champion for low light shooting, balanced xlr audio inputs, gorgeous colors

Cons: Manual iris control and manual audio controls are both a bit awkward.

The auto white balance is surprisingly good, but like most can be easily confused when dealing with multiple light temperatures. Manual white balance is easy and fast. A Sony high capacity battery will run the camera all day.

Lens

Fixed optical 12 x zoom lens. Includes a separate 1.7 x wide angle lens adapter which is large and heavy but does a pretty good job and comes with its own lens shade. The autofocus is very good in most situations, one of the all time best autofocus setups. In addition to full auto, the lens has manual iris, focus and zoom. The focus and zoom rings are rubberized and textured. Built-in ND filters, 3ND and 6 ND.




Viewing

The electronic viewfinder is black and white 180,000 dot LCD with an adjustable diopter. The articulated LCD monitor can be used simultaneously with the viewfinder. Zebra stripes can be set at none, 70% or 100%.

Audio

Sound quality from the on-camera microphone is excellent. I have never heard noise from the transport or zoom motors of the camera. The best audio, however, is typically recorded from off camera balanced mics plugged into the XLR inputs.

The two-channel XLR breakout box is mounted on the right side above the handhold. You can select mic/line levels, 48-volt phantom power and select channel mixing and attenuation. Auto Audio Gain Control is pretty accurate, but manual control is available. You can see the VU meters on the LCD. Setting levels manually requires pressing a button then turning a dial. This is slightly awkward, but you get used to it.

Media

The camera records to DVCAM/DV tape only. There is no image quality difference between recording on MiniDV or on DVCAM.

If it weren’t for the need for HD, I would not sell my PD 170. It is well-designed and well built, a true workshorse. This camera is no longer made, but many used cameras are available.




Keep Reading...

Drive Recovery

Free Data Recovery for Harvey and Irma Hurricane Victims

DriverSavers is offering free data recovery service for victims of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma who have water damaged devices resulting from the flooding. Because exposure to water and air cause corrosion on electronic circuitry, they have set deadlines for these devices: September 15th for Harvey devices and September 30th for Irma devices. There is […]

Read More
Crash This Drone

Go Ahead Try and Crash This Drone

The new DJI Phantom 4 claims to have a crash avoidance system. And for $1400 you would think it should. Well, some crazy guys over at TechSmartt needed to test that claim. Can they crash this drone? Fortunately they made a video to document their attempts. And besides their attempts to crash this drone, the […]

Read More

Brilliant Video Sells Used Honda for $20,000

    This video has had over 6 million views in two weeks. They were asking $500 for the car. They received from Carmax a hilarious-but-real offer to buy the car for $20,000. They accepted and sold the car to Carmax. Here’s the Carmax video that bid $20,000 for the car.

Read More
The White Helmets

Oscar-Winning Documentary The White Helmets

Khaled Khatib working on the Oscar-winning documentary short “The White Helmets.” “The White Helmets” tells the story of a group of civilian volunteers in Aleppo who search for and rescue bombing victims. The White Helmets often claw out the rubble with their bare hands. They have saved over 78,000 people who were buried from the […]

Read More


2 thoughts on “Sony DSR-PD170

  1. Robert Hall Jr

    I feel that the pd170 is one of the best that sony produce, for wedding, corpet. short film, low lighting, back lighting, spot light, dvcam are all great features for professional videos shooting.However at present i am trying to learn to shoot with the film look with pd170 and I do welcome tips from one who have been able to achieve that operation, also please give me some critical comments on my web site thanks Robert from L&H video

  2. Wendell Alderman

    Does the pd170 have an onboard microphone? How do I set SP and LP for my tape record. THANK YOU?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Forbes Magazine calls VideoUniversity one of the best business-to-business sites for digital video production.
  • WINNER
    Videography Magazine's
    "Website of the Month" Award
  • WINNER
    PC Magazine Online "Best Desktop Video Site" Award
  • WINNER
    CyberFilm School's "FOUR STAR" Award