½ inch Sony reel to reel

Sony 1/2 inch Portapak (EIAJ) / CV2100 / CV2000 open reel video tape
black half inch video tape on plastic spool, labelled Sony High Density Video Tape

Sony ½ inch video tape on 7 inch original spool

introduction to ½ inch Sony CV2100 / EIAJ video transfer

We are able to transfer all standards of ½ inch (EIAJ) / Portapak reel-to-reel video from the UK (PAL) and US (NTSC).

These commonly-used Sony branded V30, V60, V30H, V60H or V62 tapes often suffer from sticky shed syndrome and require careful treatment before it’s safe and feasible to replay them.

We can also digitise Panasonic EIAJ video cartridges that are usually labelled NV-xxxx

At Greatbear, we offer a range of delivery formats for our video transfers. We use the International Association of Sound & Audiovisual Archives Guidelines for the Preservation of Video Recordings, delivering FFV1 lossless files or 10 bit uncompressed video files in .mkv or .mov containers. We create viewing files as H264 encoded .mp4 files or DVD. We can deliver any other digital video files,  according to your needs. 

We can provide the appropriately-sized usb media for your files, or use media supplied by you, or deliver your files online. Files delivered on hard drive can be for any operating system MacOS, Windows or GNU/Linux and filesystems (HFS+, NTFS or EXT3).

Due to varying tape durations and their gradual physical degradation, it’s not always appropriate to create fixed prices for our services. We’ve found that assessing tapes prior to confirming costs a more accurate and fair method.

We offer free assessments please contact us to discuss your project.

½ inch Sony CV2100 / EIAJ video machines

  • Sony CV-2100 ACE x 2 (PAL CV format)
  • Sony AV-3620 CE x 3
  • Sony AV-3670
  • Hitachi SV 610 (PAL EIAJ)
  • Shibaden (Hitachi) SV620D (PAL Colour EIAJ)
  • National NV-8030 (PAL EIAJ)

½ inch Sony CV2100 / EIAJ video format variation

1/2” FormatTV StandardSony High Density 'sticky shed'
tapes treated
Colour Recordings Supported405 lines supported
5" diameter spool of ½ inch video tape resting on 2 boxes, one larger

½ inch video tape on 5" spool, with boxes for 5" and 7" spools

Sony AV-3670 CE ½ inch machine, labelled "Solid State Videocorder" with 2 spools

Sony AV-3670 CE ½ inch reel-to-reel video recorder

half inch video tape on spool with rulers indicating diameter 7 inches (17.8 cm)

½ inch video tape on 7 inch (17.8 cm) diameter spool

½ inch Sony CV2100 / EIAJ tape risks & vulnerabilities

These ½ inch open reel video tapes can be particularly tricky to transfer well, due to the often deteriorated state the tapes can get into, the age and lack of availability of spares for the machines themselves and the inherent lack of tape interchangeability that this early domestic format has.

In addition to the rarity of working machines and lack of spares, many of these ½ inch tapes have physically degraded over the years as they can be over 40 years old. Tapes which have binder problems, shedding oxide or tapes with mould growth must be treated before a successful transfer can be made. These types of problem are common with this format and Sony branded V60H, V62 and V30H Helical Scan tapes can sometimes be the worst. We have successfully restored and digitised a range of tapes, including part of a batch found at Bristol City Football Club.

While the quality is not high with this video format - which often has inherent visual issues such as dropouts, skew and head clogs due to shedding - the material recorded is sometimes of a very valuable nature and much less common than recordings made on later and often cheaper domestic equipment.

½ inch Sony CV2100 / EIAJ video history

Before Betamax and VHS, the main consumer video recording formats used half inch reel-to-reel tape with small suitcase sized recorders.

The relative affordability and immediate playback capability of the Sony Portapak (1967) made it a popular tool for artists, experimenters, and social commentators.

The EIAJ format in type 1, black and white was the most common format and will account for the majority of recordings. Type 2, colour specification also exists, and we are able to transfer both types, having Sony CV machines, Shibaden and Hitachi EIAJ models and even a Panasonic time lapse machine.