Best Betas Ever Made

Once again I want to emphasize that everything below is based loosely upon the units specifications, features, performance quality and popularity among Beta enthusiast. I confess that a little personal prejudice does slip in here every once in awhile, but it is minimal. This is all in fun and please don’t mistake this list for the ultimate guide to ranking (stateside) Beta machines. Each category is based on how the unit is used to record.

Best Beta xI consumer model - standard Beta

The winner is: It has to be the SL-7200
Reason: This is the unit that started it all. When you are the only home video recorder out there how can anything compare! Of course many better units were to come later but this one still holds a warm spot in every Beta lovers heart.
Best Beta xI consumer portable model - standard Beta

None
Best Beta xI professional model - standard Beta

The winner is: SLO-383
Reason: By pure weight of it's picture quality, dual linear audio (for stereo sound), flying erase heads and superior electronics. Sony pulled out all the stops on this baby and it cost as much as a new car.
Best Beta xI professional portable model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SLO-340
Reason: No competition. It is a fine performer anyway.
Best Beta xI and xII consumer model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SL-8200 (and Zenith JR9000)
Reason: Only ones of there kind (both made by Sony).
Best Beta xII only consumer model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SL-8600
Reason: Only one of it's kind.
Best Beta xII only professional model - standard Beta

none
Best Beta xII only consumer portable model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SL-3000
Reason: Only one of it's kind. Still a good performer though.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - standard Beta, low end

The winner is: Sony SL-2300
Reason: Good quality picture for a very low price, simple to use controls.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - standard Beta, high end

The winner is: Sony SL-2500
Reason: Excellent picture, good special effects and quality electronics.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII professional model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SLO-420
Reason: See SL-2500 but add dual linear audio tracks for stereo.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - standard Beta specialty

The winner is: Sony SL-2410
Reason: Good quality machine that talked! (Limited vocabulary.)
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer portable model - standard Beta

The winner is: Sony SL-2000 (and SL-2005)
Reason: The best portable ever made. (A second generation of this unit appeared as the Toshiba V-X340 that was lighter and every bit a good, but was never sold in the US.)
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - BetaHifi, low end

The winner is: Sony SL-HF300
Reason: Easy to use clean design with durable mechanism.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - BetaHifi, high end

The winner is: Sony SL-2700
Reason: Quality mechanics and feature packed clean design.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII professional model - BetaHifi

none
Best Beta xII professional model - BetaHifi

The winner is: Sony SLO-1400
Reason: Only example.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer portable model - BetaHifi

The winner is: Aiwa AV-50M
Reason: Quality mechanics, good design and feature packed.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII professional portable model - BetaHifi

none
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - SuperBeta, low end

The winner is: Sony SL-100
Reason: Late design, quality mechanics with simple easy to use features.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - SuperBeta, high end

The winner is: Sony SL-700
Reason: Quality high-end mechanism with great features.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - SuperBetaHi-Fi, low end

The winner is: Sony SL-HF360
Reason: Great SuperBeta picture with Hi-Fi audio, quality mechanics and reliable electronics at a killer low price.
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - SuperBetaHi-Fi, high end

The winner is: Sony SL-HF1000
Reason: Most sought after of all Betas, I'm not going to list all the reasons why this one is a winner, you know them already. It's a beauty!
Best Beta xII and Beta xIII consumer model - SuperBetaHi-Fi speciality

The winner is: Sony SL-HF750
Reason: Just plain great! Unique, outstanding special effects, great picture, neat design, loaded with features, I love it!
Best Beta xII professional model - SuperBetaHi-Fi

The winner is: Sony GCS-50 (also recorded in Beta xI)
Reason: Pure picture quality and stability at its best.
Best Beta xI consumer model - SuperBetaMovie

The winner is: Sony BMC-1000K
Reason: Only one and it was great!
Best Beta xII consumer model standard BetaMovie - tube-type

The winner is: Sony BMC-100
Reason: The first all-in-one camera recorder, started a camcorder revolution.
Best Beta xII consumer model standard BetaMovie - CCD-type

The winner is: Sony BMC-550
Reason: Last and best of the standard Beta BetaMovies.
Best Beta xII consumer model SuperBetaMovie - SuperBeta

The winner is: Sony BMC-660
Reason: Only consumer SuperBetaMovie.
Best Beta xII professional model SuperBetaMovie - SuperBeta

The winner is: Sony GCS-1
Reason: Only professional SuperBetaMovie.
Best ED Beta xII and ED Beta xIII consumer model - ED Beta

The winner is: Sony EDV-9500
Reason: 500+ lines of resolution, rock solid picture with Hi-Fi stereo sound.
Best ED Beta xII and ED Beta xIII professional model - ED Beta

The winner is: Sony EDW-30F
Reason: EDV-9500 less tuner, timer and IR remote.
Best ED Beta xII and ED Beta xIII professional portable model - ED Beta

none
Best ED Beta xII and ED Beta xIII consumer model camcorder - ED Beta

The winner is: Sony EDC-55
Reason: ED Beta with professional ENG features.
Best ED Beta xII and ED Beta xIII professional model camera - ED Beta

The winner is: Sony EDP-10
Reason: See EDC-55
Best overall ease of use across the entire format - all models considered

The winner is: Toshiba
Reason: Simplicity seemed to be their main goal. Almost anyone could operate, program and control the bulk of their models.
Best overall durability across the entire format - all models considered

The winner is: Sanyo
Reason: Tough units that seldom require major repair to get them going again.
Best overall Beta for operational savvy and design - all models considered

The winner is: Sony SL-HF900
Reason: First pro-sumer feature packed Beta with a jog wheel, stunning performer, great picture, electronics powerhouse.
Best overall Beta for appeal and collectability - all models considered

The winner is: Sony SL-HF2100
Reason: Unique among all Betas, unlike any other.
Best example of Beta superiority in video recording - all models considered

The winner is: Sony EDV-9500
Reason: Unsurpassed, excels in all areas of video recording.

Big footnote: I know a lot of you are wondering why very few Sanyo, Toshiba, NEC, etc. units showed up in the above listing. These manufacturers made outstanding units but were forced to straddle a fine line between features, design and price. This ultimately placed then a notch or two below the Sony models that dominate most of the categories. It is unfortunate, but as Sony began to take over the dwindling Beta market the other Betamakers were forced to sacrifice features to compete against VHS (and Sony)! It was a downward spiral that eventually resulted in Sony being the only player in the Beta market. Also missing from the above are the clones that were made for other labels like Sears, Zenith, Pioneer, Radio Shack, etc. because they closely resembled a similar product from the original manufacturer.

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