The SL-HF1000 and EDV-9500 are considered the best because they're editing decks designed for top quality recording. I owned the SL-HF900 and EDV-7500 that had many of the features of their big brother machines and were designed for playback. In my experience, while not having their big brother machines to compare, they gave the best picture quality. Confirmed by reviews back in the day that because they were designed for playback, they provided a better picture than their big brothers.
I also owned the SL-HF2100 and found the picture quality good, but below the two machines above. It's main claims to fame were the ability to record High Band Beta Is*, the compound recording heads, the flying erase head and clean special effects. Sony threw everything they had at it, possibly as a last hurrah.
Bottom line is, these top of the line machines while the best, aren't necessarily the best for playback today, especially given the premium they command.
I've posted about this before. Back in the 90's I had 20+ Betamax(s) and IMO, in terms of picture playback quality, the best machines were in order, EDV-7500, SL-HF900, SL-2100 and oddly, SL-HF650, a midrange machine. I can't find it offhand, but there's a thread on this forum for feedback on the best picture quality machines of all tape types. AFAIK, the only Beta recommendation is the SL-HF860 by Deter. I had one and didn't think it did that well.
Inarguably, ED-Beta was the highest quality videotape system available to general public and arguably the EDV series had/has the best playback quality. The EDV-7500 and EDV-9500 (EDV-7300 and EDV-9300 in Canada) were the only ED-Beta available in North America and were aimed at the Prosumer market. However, I've found out that in Japan they had several home models, The EDV-5000, EDV-6000 and EDV-8000 which are available on eBay
for much less than the North American models. There's not much info on them, but from their design and features, they're definitely made for home use.
Originally Posted by latreche34
Maybe the most popular, In the capturing world best means plays all types of tapes, has S-Video out, manual tracking, manual DOC. Best back in the day it just meant most features such as editing, flying erase head, vivid colors with digital processing...etc none of these needed when you capture. So the best Betamax in the capturing world is a Superbeta with S-Video out or an ED Beta deck.
Other than the ED-Beta line, only the SL-HF2100 has S-Video out. Thinking about it, that's probably why my EDV-7500 had the best picture.