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Thread: do sony mini DV tapes mess up the cam heads?

  1. #1

    Default do sony mini DV tapes mess up the cam heads?

    I bought 50 sony mini dv tapes and I cant recall ever having to clean my head so much, i chewed through 2 tapes this month... Do the sony tapes gunk up the heads?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    I'm not sure how 'official' this is but there is anecdotal evidence (at least!) that Sony tapes use a different lubricant to other manufacturer's. When combined these different lubricants can clog up tape heads terrrible.

    It's generally considered best practice not to mix Sony tapes with anything else.

    The problem was supposed to have gone away but clearly hasn't.

    If you have this problem then I presume you previously used non-Sony tapes and now have swapped to them.

  3. #3


    yeah used panasonic

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Western Europe


    Hate to be a partypooper on the Panasonic tapes, but I tried a few of them last year in a Panasonic camcorder and they were dreadful. Then I switched to Sony and I've stuck with them ever since, as they have performed the best. I've also used TDK and the results are only fair to middling for them. I think it's a case of trying a few brands and sticking with the one the works best for you. The heads will eventually 'go' in all camcorders that use tape unless something else breaks before hand but under normal use you should get a good few years out of your camera first. Buy yourself a tape rewinder like what I did and that will help and get a good head cleaning tape (not something bought at the Saturday car boot sale at the local community centre).

  5. #5


    after 2 years would you reccommend a camera service? or just clean the heads?

    VX 2100

  6. Default

    I have been in broadcast engineering for 30 years. Started with 2 inch tape!, then to one inch, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch of all formats, and on and on. One big lesson we learned the hard way about heads is that when you have to suddenly clean often it is not the tape but the heads have worn out. A fresh head with proper penetration will self clean itself for the most part. Occassional clog from a bad spot can happen but when you have to clean every 10 hours of use or less it is a 90% bet that the heads are worn or one got damaged. Might be time for a service tech with the right tools and experience to look at it.

    I know that Sony tapes are rougher on heads. We used 3m a lot before they dissapeared but to clean a head before shooting we ran a Sony tape through the deck. Did wonders.

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