View Full Version : Good and cheap? Betacam SP


BJG
03-07-2009, 05:23 PM
This is a newbie-what-camera kind of thread, so apologies if it's been covered loads of times.

I've been thinking along the lines of trying to get hold of something like one of the DV favourites, eg an XL-1 or AG-DVX100, though these are really a bit out of my my price range. But I've been reading 'Digital Moviemaking' by Scott Billups (published back in 2000, so things have probably moved on a fair bit). He comments on the high quality of Betacam SP, noting that: "An innovative person could conceivably put together a good used Betacam SP system that would drastically out-perform many of the prosumer quality DV-cam systems for a similar budget", and I'm wondering if that's still true. For instance, there's an auction just ended on Ebay for three Betacam SP recorder/players including a Sony PVW-2800, which I think originally carried a price tag around $25K. The whole lot was offered for 100, and there was only one bid.

I appreciate that technology moves on and gets cheaper - but there's surely some serious build-quality in these older systems. There are Betacam SP cameras on Ebay that have also plummeted in price, and I'm thinking the lenses on some of these old, expensive professional models may be better than the current "prosumer" crop...? I don't know where these fit into the 24-fps-film-look debate though.

Apart from the inconvenience of having to run your tapes through a video capture card, are there any major caveats here...? And speaking of video capture, is the process likely to hammer the quality without an expensive capture system...? I presume the transfer could be done digitally, but I don't know what equipment would be needed. Or should I leave this stuff alone and save up for a decent DV alternative?

indietalk
03-07-2009, 05:28 PM
There was probably a reserve price on that auction, there's no way Betacam SP kits are selling that cheap. If they are, send me some links! :lol:

BJG
03-07-2009, 05:29 PM
This is the one just gone.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&item=180332085544

I was so tempted to bid on this. But it looked like there were others...

indietalk
03-07-2009, 05:32 PM
My bad, thought you meant a Betacam SP pro camera.

If I were you I'd stick with prosumer cameras, like mini-DV, and HDV.

BJG
03-07-2009, 05:33 PM
That's what I figured. But...what's the catch...?

indietalk
03-07-2009, 05:36 PM
I don't think there's a catch, Betacam is not digital, the better is DigiBeta. Digital is easier to deal with than analog if you are going video. Betacam SP cameras are still expensive though.

BJG
03-07-2009, 05:44 PM
Right, I was getting confused with the digital format. I was looking at things like this Sony BVW-300P PAL Betacam SP for 400 (Item 270351705111), but these older broadcast-type things, you can't get hold of any reviews or comment.

I'll stay on the beaten track. Cheers...

barnaclelapse
03-08-2009, 09:17 AM
I don't think there's a catch, Betacam is not digital, the better is DigiBeta. Digital is easier to deal with than analog if you are going video. Betacam SP cameras are still expensive though.

May I ask why?

I'm seriously just curious, even though I'm sure it's a really obvious answer.

indietalk
03-08-2009, 01:33 PM
May I ask why?

I'm seriously just curious, even though I'm sure it's a really obvious answer.Well, since all new stuff is digital, more stuff is available for your set-up that is compatible, that's all. I don't know that last analog format used for consumers, Hi-8? I don't think anyone would suggest going that route except for practicing.