About Mini DV tape and DVCAM tape.
By Dr Ivan B. Tonklemousse; 21 December, 2003
This is one of the most frequently asked questions and fortunately the answer is relatively straight forward:
PAL Mini DV tape and DVCAM formats share an identical 4:2:0 25Mb/s (25 Mega bits per second) data stream, therefore in theory there can be no difference in the quality of images recorded by either format.
However, DVCAM tape runs around 33% faster and the tape heads record the data onto a physically wider (helical-scan) track on the tape – That’s why a Small DVCAM Cassette has a running time of 40 minutes compared to 60 minutes on mini DV.
The effect of this is that the same data is spread across a larger tape area and therefore a higher number of magnetic particles within the tape. This helps to reduce errors caused by drop-out which can be induced by minor tape imperfections.
Drop-out is almost always present when playing back anything recorded on magnetic tape, but its normally very cleverly concealed by drop-out compensation circuitry.
This means that in the real-world the difference is usually hard, if not impossible to see, but in reality, by definition DVCAM must be a slightly more robust format and that is a good thing, especially for critical applications.
It’s a typical example of “Better safe than sorry!”
If I had the choice between 2 otherwise identical camcorders, one Mini DV tape only and the other DVCAM I’d take the DVCAM model every time!
Article kindly provided by CVP .
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