Mini DV Camcorder FAQs

  1. What are the differences between the Mini DV tape format and Digital 8?

  2. What are the differences between Mini DV and the DVCPRO formats?

  3. Why do Panasonic Mini DV camcorders use metal evaporated tape?

  4. What is an i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) PC interface?

  5. Do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders come equipped with an i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) PC interface?

  6. How can I make copies of my Mini DV recordings?

  7. Can I play tapes from my analog camcorder in my Panasonic Mini DV camcorder?

  8. What are the benefits of the SD Media?

  9. What is a 3-way PC Link?

  10. Do Panasonic Mini DV camcorders have NightShot™ capability?

  11. What type of audio do Mini DV camcorders use?

  12. What are the shutter speeds of Mini DV camcorders?

  13. What is Program AE (Auto Exposure)?

  14. Do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders take still images?

  15. What type of batteries do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders use?

  16. Are there any optional accessories for Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders?

  17. What are the warranty terms for Panasonic Mini DV camcorders?


1. What are the differences between the Mini DV tape format and Digital 8?

  • Size
    The Mini DV tape format is approximately 56% smaller than an 8mm tape, so Panasonic digital camcorders are smaller than comparative Digital 8 models.

  • Record Time
    An 80-minute Mini DV tape in LP mode provides you with 2 full hours* of recording time, while Digital 8 is capable of only 90 minutes of recording.

  • Latest Digital Technology
    Mini DV was developed as a future digital video format in 1994, while the 8mm technology that Digital 8 uses was developed a decade earlier, in 1984. The DV format is supported by over 56 companies worldwide, ensuring compatibility with other DV equipment, while Digital 8 is currently supported by only two companies (Sony & Hitachi).

* 2-hour tapes are sold separately. Requires the use of an optional 3-hour battery.

2. What are the differences between Mini DV and the DVCPRO formats?
The main distinction is that DVCPRO is for professional use, while Mini DV is a consumer digital video format. Also, while both share the same digital compression technology, the tapes differ in size: Mini DV digital camcorders use a tape 1/12th the size of a VHS tape, and DVCPRO camcorders use a slightly bigger tape.

DVCPRO camcorders do, however, have adapter packs that allow them to play back Mini DV tapes. DVCPRO camcorders also typically offer higher resolution than consumer Mini DV digital camcorders.

3. Why do Panasonic Mini DV camcorders use metal evaporated tape?
Metal evaporated tapes provide higher quality output and lower noise levels than other tapes. They also use a Diamond-Like Coating (DLC) layer to protect the metal evaporated particles. DLC is Panasonic's own technology.

4. What is an i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) PC interface?
Also known as FireWire™, IEEE 1394 is an industry standard digital interface that allows for 2-way communication between either two compatible digital camcorders or between a digital camcorder and a compatible personal computer without any deterioration in sound or video quality.

FireWire™ is a trademark of Apple Computer Inc. i.LINK™ is a trademark.

5. Do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders come equipped with an i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) PC interface?
Yes.

6. How do I use the iLINK™ (IEEE1394) PC interface to transfer video and still images to my home PC?

To transfer video or still images to your home PC, the following items are required:

  • IEEE 1394 DV interface cable (4 to 6 pin version)
    This cable enables you to physically connect your digital camcorder to your PC (Macintosh® or IBM-compatible).

  • IEEE 1394 host adapter card*
    A host adapter card must be installed in your PC. This is the port which allows the DV interface cable to connect to your PC. Some of the newer PCs come equipped with IEEE 1394 host adapter cards already installed.

  • Video & still image editing software
    Software allows you to transfer and edit the video and still images on your home PC.

  • Complete video and still imaging editing packages are available from a number of companies including: Canopus [1-888-868-2533] and Adaptec [1-800-442-7274].

    * IEEE 1394 host adapter card required for both Macintosh® OS and Windows®. Must have Macintosh® OS (version 7.6.1 or later) or Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000 or Windows NT (4.0 or later) to use adapter card.

  • 7. How can I make copies of my Mini DV recordings?
    Using the S-video (available on select models) or NTSC composite video outputs on the camcorder, you can easily connect to your VCR or other compatible camcorders to make copies of your tape. To make digital copies with no loss in picture quality, use the i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) PC interface to connect to similarly-equipped Mini DV camcorders or other digital products equipped with an i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394) interface.

    8. Can I play tapes from my analog camcorder in my Panasonic Mini DV camcorder?
    No, but you can use the analog input (available on the PV-DV852, PV-DV952 and PV-VM202) to record your analog tapes onto digital Mini DV tapes for later viewing.

    9. What are the benefits of the SD Media?

  • Small Size, Large Capacity
    A thin, lightweight SD memory cards measures just 1.26 x 0.9 x 0.08 inches, and also has an exceptionally large capacity, making SD media incredibly mobile and convenient.

  • Quick Transfer Rate
    When uploading large amounts of data, such as mega-pixel still images, a quick transfer rate is crucial. The SD Memory card's efficient transfer rate gives it an advantage in this area.

  • Advance Copy Protection
    The SD Memory Card incorporates encryption technology developed for DVD, and so provides reliable copyright protection and management based on coding and mutual authentication-access technologies that comply with SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) standards.
  • 10. What is a 3-way PC Link?*

    The 3-way PC link is a feature available on 2002 Panasonic Mini DV camcorders which gives you three convenient ways to transfer images to your computer:*

  • CARD LINK
    Card Link is a PC connection that lets you transfer still images between the included SD Memory Card and your PC. The Memory Card can be thought of as "digital film," so you can take still pictures and then transfer them to your computer1. If the card is full, just remove it and replace it with a fresh card, or you can selectively erase any or all of the images from the card and reuse it. You can even create your own images on the computer and transfer them back to the Memory Card in your camcorder.

    The Card Link enables you to separate your still images from your video, and allows you to take an unlimited number of pictures since it can easily be removed and replaced. An 8MB or 16MB SD Memory Card (depending upon model) is included with all Card Link models.

  • PHOTOVU LINK
    The PhotoVu Link lets you easily transfer still images form the Mini DV tape to your computer* with an RS-232C serial cable (optional cable) or an USB cable (available on select models). This way, even if you didn't hit the PhotoShot™ button prior to shooting your video, you can still capture photo stills.

  • i.LINK™ (IEEE 1394 PC Interface)
    The industry standard IEEE 1394 PC Interface (also known as FireWire™) is a digital interface that enables 2-way digital communication between either two compatible digital camcorders** or a digital camcorder and a compatible PC***.

    When 2 compatible digital camcorders are connected, the interface produces duplicate copies of personal recordings without any loss in picture quality. Each copy is a perfect clone of the original!

    When you connect the Mini DV camcorder to a compatible PC, the interface allows you to perform economical, non-linear video editing right on your computer, with virtually no deterioration in picture or sound quality.

    Please note that PV-DV52 does not include 3-Way PC Link.

    * Card Link and PhotoVu Link (USB) driver software included for Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, Windows® Me, Windows® 2000, or Windows® XP preinstalled PC with USB port. (PV-DV102, PV-DV202, PV-DV402, PV-DV602, PV-DV702). PhotoVu Link (USB) driver for Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, Windows® Me or Windows® 2000, or Windows® XP preinstalled PC with USB port (PV-DV852, PV-DV952, PV-VM202). See Operating System Compatibility chart (link).

    ** IEEE 1394 cable is required for this application.

    *** IEEE 1394 adapter card, IEEE 1394 cable, and software are required for this application.

    i.LINK is a trademark.

  • 11. Do Panasonic Mini DV camcorders have NightShot™ capability?
    Yes, but it isn't called NightShot. NightShot is Sony's version of the same feature, which allows you to shoot videos in the dark. The Panasonic version of this feature is called MagicVu IR Filter (0 Lux). The MagicVu feature (available on the PV-DV402, PV-DV602 and PV-DV702) allows you to shoot video in near-total darkness. You can use MagicVu to shoot video in BLACK & WHITE, GREEN or BLUE.

    12. What type of audio do Mini DV camcorders use?
    Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) stereo, the same type of audio used for audio CDs, which produces clear quality recordings. PCM audio offers two recording modes: 12-bit or 16-bit recording.

    13. What are the shutter speeds of Mini DV camcorders?
    Panasonic Mini DV Digital Camcorders are equipped with a high-speed shutter that can be set to AUTO or to one of several different shutter speeds (shutter speeds vary by model).

    • PV-DV52, PV-DV102, PV-DV202, PV-DV402, PV-DV602, PV-DV702 shutter speeds:
      Auto, 1/60, 1/100, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000, 1/8000
    • PV-DV852/952, PV-VM202 shutter speeds:
      1/60, 1/100, 1/125, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500, 1/2000, 1/3000, 1/4000, 1/8000
    • In Progressive PhotoShot Mode with PV-DV852/952 or PV-VM202:
      1/60, 1/100, 1/120, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, and 1/500.

    14. What is Program AE (Auto Exposure)?
    Program AE (available on all Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders) enables automatic adjustment of shutter speed, iris, and gain for various outdoor and indoor situations.

    There are 5 different modes available:

    • SPORTS: Ideal for fast-paced action like sporting events.
    • PORTRAIT: Provides a focus on the main subject of the image, leaving the background slightly out of focus by changing the depth of field.
    • LOW-LIGHT: Preserves the mood of dim light settings without altering picture brightness.
    • SPOT LIGHT: Neutralizes the additional brightness created by a spot light.
    • SURF & SNOW: Compensates for excessive illumination from sun glare to produce a clear picture.

    15. Do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders take still images?
    Yes. With the PhotoShot™ feature, our Mini DV digital camcorders can capture still images on the tape or Memory Card (available on select models).

    16. What type of batteries do Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders use?
    Rechargeable lithium ion batteries.

    17. Are there any optional accessories for Panasonic Mini DV digital camcorders?
    Yes. The following is a list of optional accessories:

    Optional accessories may not be carried by all Panasonic retailers. To locate a dealer nearest you, please call 1-800-211-PANA or use our Dealer Locator on this site.

    To order accessories directly, please call our Accessory Order Line at 1-800-332-5368

     

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