When video capture quality, format continuity, and equipment reliability are critical to your production, Sony's DSR-PD170 is probably on your list of considerations. The PD170 offers high quality video capture in excess of 500 lines of resolution, balanced audio inputs that are line/mic level switchable, a professional format that integrates SMPTE compatible time code, and excellent low-light shooting capability. The camera weighs about 5 pounds with tape and battery. A plethora of accessories and options makes this Sony 3-chip camera easy to work with in virtually any shooting scenario.
DVCAM Format for Professional Shooting Environments
DVCAM is Sony's professional version of the ubiquitous DV format. The camera comes equipped with iLink for fast ingest into almost any non-linear editing system. DVCAM runs the tape at a higher speed than standard MiniDV, creating a more robust video signal and ensuring little or no dropouts.
Advanced CCDs and Upgraded DSP
The DSR-PD170 offers both outstanding video and still image capture. The 3-CCDs have 380,000 pixels each that deliver over 500 lines of resolution. In video mode, the digital signal processor (DSP) outputs a 480 line interlaced signal resulting in over 500 lines of high quality video. In still-capture mode, the DSP outputs 480 lines progressively. With recent technical improvements, the DSP now works more efficiently, the camera is more sensitive, and less light is required for great images.
Optical Image Stabilization
A digital circuit could effectively stop the subtle hand shaking while holding the camera. But that would degrade the picture in the long run. The DSR-PD170 has a system of motors that correct the angle of the lens hundreds of times per second eliminating minute variances caused by your hand. This system works prior to image capture thus does not affect the quality of your video.
Analog to Digital Converter Pass-Through
The PD170 can pass through an analog video signal and output a digital one and visa versa. Simply put, this eliminates the need for an outboard A-D/D-A converter box if the digital signal you need is Firewire (iLink) and the analog signal is composite or S-video.
Settable Time Code
Like its broadcast brothers, the DSR-PD170 can be set to start timecode at any time from hours to seconds. This allows you to effectively name your cassettes based upon the sequence you shoot them. Your first tape can start at hour 1, -second tape hour 2 and so on.
XLR Audio with Phantom Power
You will find 2 XLR inputs for industry standard professional microphones. Phantom power, a 48-volt power supply, can be supplied to special microphones that require such power. The XLRs can also input line level audio from, as examples, an audio cassette deck or VCR.
Time and Date Window Burn
Useful in legal and security environments, the PD170 will, with a menu selection, burn time- down to seconds- and date onto the tape in a window over the image.
Features New to the DSR-PD170
Larger magnifier for viewfinder monitor
Zoom rocker and record button on top handle
Iris control increased from 12 to 24 increments
Viewfinder and LCD monitor work simultaneously
Lens hood integrates lens cap
iLink cable strap makes it harder to accidentally pull loose digital cable
Wide angle adapter and its own lens hood included with camera
LCD monitor brighter for ease of use in bright light conditions