How I got a 950

Martin Imber

E-mail: 100732.1474*
Web URL:
Current Beta Machines: SLHF950, SL-F1, VTC-M40

I have a number of Beta video recorders, but my best ones are a Sony SLHF 950, and a Sanyo VTC-M40, as well as a Sony HVC400P and SLF1UB outfit.

We first went Beta when my dad bought a Sanyo VTC6500 (I have it - still works). Two years later a friends uncle sold me the F1 outfit (late 85), which I used heavily for about 5-6 years, I still use it occasionally, but there are so many camcorder people out their now it isn't as interesting a hobby - but you can bluff as a broadcast cameraman!

About a year after introduction, Sanyo M40s plummetted in price to �300, so my dad bought one, and soon after bought his first VHS deck. In 89 I bought my 950, and used that, the 6500 and the F1. I moved out for work reasons, and bought a big Sony TV and also a NICAM decoder for the 950. My father bought an S-VHS deck when the Panacronic VHS HiFi started playing up, so I got it and still use it when it works for pre-recorded, it is usually on line input so I can get direct from the M40 to the TV scart.

Later my dad bought another VHS deck and I got the Sanyo M40, and I have run the 3 HiFi videos the same for the last 7 years.

The 950 was fitted with a NICAM decoder (I drilled holes in the back plate and made new leads), it also had new heads in January/1996. The next video to pack up was the portable - but it needed a new K plug on the camera lead.The M40 needed new heads in Dec/1998, and I got the penultimate set.

The SLHF950 and the M40 both are used everyday, and are very reliable, I also have a prerecorded SuperBeta tape but thats another story.

I am a railway enthusiast, and as well as videoing them I collect prerecorded tapes, most are Beta, a few that noddy system, but one is special.

In 1985 when the GWR 150 celebrations were on. A large number of special trains were run, a large number through Gloucester - the highlight being a month of steam hauled trains 3 days a week Swindon-Gloucester, all just before I bought an F1.

A few years later I bumped into the producer who did the tape of the Swindon Gloucester services (I rode behind a Castle and a BR Standard)and I enquired about a copy - "none left on Beta but I can do one, but you will have to get the tape", so I asked what deck he had (a non HiFi), I saw it in his studio - a basic late one, I think it was an SLF30, or SLF25, so I suggested using my own deck (a Sony SLHF950). Due to this I think I probably have the only prerecorded PAL video in SuperBeta. The video was shot on Umatic.

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Submitted Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:53:04 GMT