The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
Sony’s DCR-VX2000 mini DV camcorder, is designed to replace their very popular VX-1000. But will this new camera take the world by storm like the original did? New improvements include a 2.5 inch LCD monitor and a still photo capability with Memory Stick® media.
Here’s what the guys and gals at the Video University Sony DV Forum say about this camcorder. The following are some of their most salient comments, but keep in mind that these are mostly written by new buyers so these are not necessarily objective. Let’ start off with my favorite kind of camera test… (unless it’s MY camera!)
VX 2000 Drop Test
As Rasheed reports in the VX 1000 Forum:
“Dropped my new 2000 from shoulder height, while shooting, it bounced twice, the eyepiece broke off, the battery popped out. It kept on ticking just fine and seems unharmed. I’m impressed.”
Posted by Bob on May 23, 2000
Well, I have had an afternoon to use the VX1000 and the VX2000 side by side for evaluation purposes. Here are a few comments if anyone is interested. I recorded the same scenes on the same tape – first in one then the other and played it back on a big screen monitor afterwards. The VX1000 has about 500 hours on it, the VX2000 new of course. The cameras are very close to the size and appearance. The viewfinder on the 2000 is much crisper. The LCD screen is small but handy to save having a monitor along for better portability, I generally use a 13 inch so not much help for me. It will allow you to take your eye out of the viewfinder for general framing – panning- zooming. The digital zoom is much better (less grain) on the 2000, if you ever use it. The 2000 does a much better job in the lowest light situations as claimed. Won’t set the world upside-down but definitely less noise and better colors in the picture. Medium low light – no push (gain) at F1.6 or F2 were pretty close, the edge to the 2000. The rest of the iris openings they were again close with the edge to the 2000. It is easy to think the 2000 is delivering a much nicer picture because the viewfinder picture is so much better but they are fairly close when played back on the monitor.
The manual (although servo) zoom is very nice to have back. I fumbled with the 2000’s controls a bit only because of my unfamiliarity with it, and my many hours with the XV1000s. I think that the 2000 would be somewhat easier to manipulate once you got familiar with it. The 12X zoom is, of course a little nicer than a 10X, but you won’t be able to throw away the wide angle or tele lens if you usually use them. Being able to use any of the different size Lithium Ion batteries is very handy and a great improvement. I liked the 2000 overall and if I were buying a new cam would choose it over the 1000, but I won’t be tossing any of 3 VX1000s I use for long time. They are ‘tried and true’ workhorses that will continue to earn for me for years to come. Most of my work ends up on VHS (UGH!!) anyway, so most of the beauty of the digital picture is lost. (Editing is a dream with digital) I truly hope the 2000 will be as trouble free and as rugged as the 1000 is and has been. Sony seems to be light years ahead of the pack for relibility and lack of weird problems with their digital cams. The 2000 is a fine cam and I would prefer it to any of the other 3 chip miniDV cams out there. I have a couple of them reserved at a local Sony dealer (for $2699.00), if anyone is having difficulty locating one.
Re: VX2000 Review
Posted by mike on May 24, 2000
All of your statements are true. The VX2000 is a great camera. I have been using it for the last week and love it. The still picture feature is nice as well…. Actually, you can load images onto the memory stick and key a logo, for instance, onto your video. Lots of other nice features…. the color is awesome.
One concern is the Progressive Scan mode that everyone’s been talking about…. I think the Canon’s GL1 and XL1 leave the Sony behind in this department although I can fake a similar “progressive” look with adjusting the shutter to 30.
I purchased the camera for 2795.00, and bought the Century optics .55 fisheye/wideangle reversible lens–325.00….. It is indispensable. I also got a Pelican hardcase for 100.00 There is plenty of room for everything in the caseand then some…. All in all, a great setup.
VX 2000 Wedding Footage
Posted by Bob Bernasky on May 27, 2000
I did something i haven’t done in a long while. I got home from last nights wedding and watched the footage i shot on my new vx 2000. I was excited to compare it to my vx1000. It truly is much better in low light situations…contrasting light shots were not severe as in the 1000. The focus ring is much more managable than the 1000’s…(not one misfocus)…and the viewfinder is phenominal. The colors in the viewfinder are hotter than on a monitor, but they can be adjusted (excellent color and detail on a monitor)… and the lcd screen can be manipulated accurately show a truer picture.. Ohhh…and the freedom from the battery cords of the vx 1000 simplifies everything….and the vx 2000 is stingy with battery cosumption…. i used the supplied battery and the standard lithium battery from my 1000….i didn’t need the 960 extended battery at all. All in all I am happy with my purchase and would recommend the vx 2000 to any one
Posted by Roy Kikuta on May 28, 2000
Comment: I don’t see an overexposure problem per se on mine, but I just sold my GL1 and the picture certainly is different. The VX2000’s picture seems contrastier, and that may give the impression that the picture is overexposed (less saturated). I’ve gone from a VX1000 to the DSR-200 to GL1 and now to VX2000 and the picture was different on each. You could use the Custom Preset function to set up your camera to your taste, or better yet, you should try another VX2000 and see if it’s a problem with your camera. One more thing – I had a real scare when I was playing with the camera in a low light situation and whenever I moved it around, I got a lot of the “jaggies” (not really pixellation, but more stairstepping along edges of objects) – it turns out that I had left the progressive scan (ps) mode turned on. Turning ps off solved my problem. Aloha.
Why I went from GL1 to VX 2000
Posted by Roy Kikuta on May 28, 2000 at 18:38:26:
: Roy —
: what were the reasons that persuaded you to go from the GL-1 to the vx-2000
Reply: I want to caveat my response by saying that the following is my personal opinion (for what it’s worth) and there are many people who frequent this as well as GL1 sites whose opinions I respect that I don’t want to offend… there were lots of technical reasons, but the bottom line was that I simply like Sony equipment. I’ve owned a string of Sony cameras and am used to the features provided and the way they are implemented on the camera. For example: manual focus – I like the way the control is laid out – “AUTO/MANUAL/Inifinity”. Sometimes, during manual focus mode, I’ll want to quickly go to infinity focus – all it takes is one tap on the control button. It’s probably a minor feature for most people, but I’ve come to depend on it. The one-touch “backlight” and “spot” exposure buttons have already proven useful to me. The VX2000’s manual (servo) focus seems to work much better for me – again, it may just be that I’m used to the way Sony implements this function.
I like the fact that the VX2000 uses non-proprietary (i.e., RCA phono) A/V connectors for analog I/O. I like the fact that there is a Sony factory Service Center (that I’ve come to trust over the past 20 years) just 30 minutes away. I like the manual (servo) zoom ring on the lens. Small stuff that people will laugh at – like the fact that the VX2000 lens cap is well-designed and doesn’t keep popping off and also that I can get the strap off without cutting it. I’ve seen lots of concern about writing continuous time code to tape when you need to change tapes in mid-stream – a non-problem for the VX2000 – if you use tapes with IC memory. You simply tap the “end search” button and the camera automatically searches for the end of the last recorded segment, ensuring unbroken time code. I like the deep battery well on the back of the camera – you can use large batteries without having it protrude much beyond the camera’s body.
One feature I’m really excited about is the Memory Stick system for storing still images – not that I’ll use the “Photo” mode on the VX2000 much, but because I’ll be buying a separate digital camera (DSC-S70) for stills that also uses the same Memory Stick. Because a 64Mb Memory Stick will only store 5 uncompressed max resolution image files, I’ll use the VX2000 as a mass storage device by downloading the Memory Stick to tape. There’s a bit of risk with this idea because Sony hasn’t said whether the two are compatible-but I’m eager to try anyway. I could go on, or talk about the disadvantages of the VX2000, but for me, it comes down to personal preference – not strictly rational, nor necessarily based on technical need.
VX-2000 vs. XL1
Posted by Cody on May 27, 2000
for starters, they’re at different price points. the XL1 goes for around 3000-3500. the VX2000 for about 2700-3000. the XL definitely has more “pro” features…XLR inputs, B/W viewfinder, removable lens system… a more fair comparison to the XL1 will be the PD 150..it also has XLR inputs, B/W viewfinder, etc.. and will sell for the same price as the XL1. for your application, you have to decide what kind of shooting you will be doing… do you need the camera to be unabtrusive??? if so, the loud white and red coloring, and bazooka-like XL1 is not the camera for you.. the VX will be much easier to conceal, and you will have the flip out LCD screen, if you need that… um… also look at the coloring… the XL1 tends to be kinder to the warmer colors, with a soft look, while the sony tends to like the cooler colors with a very crisp (sometimes critisized as too crisp) image…. hope this helps..
Re: VX-2000 vs. XL1
Posted by Ken G. on May 27, 2000
In Reply to: Re: VX-2000 vs. XL1? posted by Cody on May 27, 2000 at 04:23:59:
Just wanted to make a correction on the above comment that the XL1 has a B&W viewfinder. It comes with a color viewfinder, and a bad one at that. The contrast and brightness change acording to where you place your eye over it. A B&W viewfinder is available for the XL1 as an option for about another $1500. XLR inputs are also an option from canon for about another$300.
Posted by Bob on May 27, 2000 at 12:47:41:
In Reply to: Re: VX-2000 vs. XL1? posted by Cody on May 27, 2000 at 04:23:59:
The XL1 does NOT have XLR audio inputs. The XL1 interchangeable lens feature is useless except for a very few people that are willing to spend 2/3 of the price of a VX2000 on a replacement lens that attempts to overcome the shortcomings of the original lens. The picture is considered by most to be sharper on the VX1000 than the XL1 and the VX2000 is sharper still. (VERY strange considering the extra $1500 that the “pro” lens adds to the price of the XL1) The XL1 suffers from a host of lens related idiosyncrasies some the factory has repaired to the joy of the owners – others not. The viewfinder on the 2000 should end the “B/W VF’s are better” crud once and for all !! You gotta see it to believe it. The VX1000 has built a reputation of being the most dependable DV camera on the market, period! A little soon to tell but I will bet you a doughnut that the 2000 will also. In my opinion (which is biased from 1000’s of hours of VX1000 use) you will get twice the camcorder for a thousand less by choosing the VX 2000.
I do not like the manual zoom
Posted by Dale L. Poff (Aqua Productions) on May 25, 2000
I do not like the manual zoom. When you turn it it has a delay in it before it starts to move and also when you stop turning it has a delay in stopping. Also if you move it very slow it will not move at all.
Also what we have heard about the greens is true when you look through the LCD but when you look at it on a monitor it is fine.
What I have seen the picture is very close to the VX 1000 in good light however in low light the VX 2000 is munch better. Now you need to be careful because the LCD is much brighter on the 2000 than it will be on a monitor.