Hi, I realize you may con



I realize you may consider that you are past the point of know return, but if you care to read it, here is a case for sticking with Digital 8.

A few years ago, I was a happy D8 shooter and went looking to buy another one from the latest models. What a disappointment. The latest models were cheap all the way, starting with chips that were a fraction of the size of the best D8 cams from earlier years. Understandably, Sony had given up on this format and was making its mark in the miniDV field. Since then I have bought two VX2100s and am immensely happy with the results as are many paying customers. This cam is truly the low light champ and that happens to be my forte (night shots/bands/events/clubs).

That being said, my favorite backup camera for shooting motorcades, underground subway arrivals, misbehaving diplomats, and whatnot around Washington DC is still the easy to carry around anywhere Digital 8 DCR TRV520. I also own the later bottom loading model D8 830, bought when Sony was still not giving up on putting quality in its D8 format cams. But, I think I really lucked out with the 520. It is quite possible that this was the ultimate D8 cam ever made. Thats what the articles and hype say, but I feel that way based on my own experience. I mix footage from this cam with VX2100 footage and do so without hesitation.

(The whole truth: With the 520, in darkened clubs, in order to get good color saturation with little video noise but capturing motion (a definite underground look but better than a lot of vintage performance videos you can buy from amazon), I needed to shoot at 1/15 of a second, i.e., slow shutter speed setting #2.)

The 520 takes firewire in/out as well as S-cable, making it compatible with the latest dubbing/editing gear, presumably for some time to come. If you do not have a problem with mail ordering, Hi8/D8 tapes will be available (e.g., from B&H etc.) for as long as you are. The electronics of images on the larger hardier D8 tape format is the same as for images on the smaller miniDV tapes.

Last November, someone coveted my original 520 cam enough to steal it. Two months ago, I won a bid on ebay and bought a used 520 for $305 plus shipping. The replacement has (so far) been as good as my original. If you go to ebay you will see that people are dumping the cheaper D8 cams by the truckload. However, you will see that at any given time there will be only 2 to 4 TRV 520s up for bid (i.e., based on recent history). The bidding starts out slowly but these cams end up with winning bids in the $200 to $400 range, representing a respectable percentage of their original purchase price ($800+). This was my first time bidding in 3 years and I won, although it took entering 3 bids in the final 70 seconds.

I dont know what D8 cam you own. If you bought when Sony was launching into the miniDV market, I can understand your desperation to get away from this format. If you bought one of the good D8 cams, than you already have some respect for the product. I think you could save money and also get very good quality if you went with a used D8 520 cam. I do realize there is a caveat emptor issue; you must ask yourself, do I feel lucky

Happy Shooting!


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