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Old March 19th, 2008, 12:55 PM   #16
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Hopefully some improvement in the OIS too ;-) (sounds like the SR12 is better, so maybe the CX9 will be too). I haven't heard that any CX9 has been announced (has it?), so it might be a while before we know the answers.
No CX9 announcements yet, but it seems many would be surprised if we didn't see one in the not too distant future.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 09:24 AM   #17
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Just thought I would let everyone know that I recently purchased the SR12 and was very disappointed to read about the low-pressure issue in the manual. Well, I spoke with a product specialist at Sony who said the camera IS designed to operate in low-pressure environments. Although they couldn't give a reason as to why it states that in the manual. Maybe as a pre-caution? I don't know....I will find out soon, as I plan to do a lot of work with it well over 12,000 feet.

Has anyone actually had the camera malfunction at a high elevation?
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Old May 29th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #18
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I will find out soon, as I plan to do a lot of work with it well over 12,000 feet.

Has anyone actually had the camera malfunction at a high elevation?
Although it would be great to settle this issue for sure, if you're going to do this, you might want to ask the product specialist if he/she is willing to back up their statement with a promise to repair your camera free of charge if the hard drive gets damaged at high altitude.

Standard hard drives *do* have problems at altitudes over approximately 12,000 feet. Although HDD camcorders are fairly new and most people don't take them that high, you don't have to search too long to find numerous reports of damaged HDD ipods on the net. Sony would either have to use a special (i.e., expensive) pressure sealed drive or have taken steps to make sure that the HDD stays completely spun down when recording to the memory card (which appears not to be the case).
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Old May 29th, 2008, 03:48 PM   #19
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Dave, That is a good idea to talk to ask the product specialist for the guarantee, I will try, but I do have insurance on the camera as well. So I'm willing to take my chances b/c the sole reason I purchased the camera was to be able to hike it in to high alpine areas, as it is such a lightweight camera. I will reply to this post as soon as I test it out at a high elevation.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #20
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Nick, just out of curiosity, what will be the highest elevation you will be using the camera at?

There is almost certainly some safety margin built into the 12,000 ft. limit, so I wouldn't be surprised if things work OK at 13,000 ft. or so, maybe even higher.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:48 PM   #21
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Dave, I don't know for sure. Most lakes I plan to fish aren't any higher than tree line, which is usually about 12,000 ft. But I would like to get a time-lapse or sunrise/set shot at the top of a peak, which would be about 13-14,000 ft.

So you think I'll be ok?
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Old May 29th, 2008, 11:11 PM   #22
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Dave, I don't know for sure. Most lakes I plan to fish aren't any higher than tree line, which is usually about 12,000 ft. But I would like to get a time-lapse or sunrise/set shot at the top of a peak, which would be about 13-14,000 ft.

So you think I'll be ok?
I don't know for sure. I've never taken any kind of HDD with me on hiking and climbing trips, so like you I'm just going from what I have read. You should be OK at 12,000 since the manual sort of guarantees that. Above that would depend on how much safety margin is built into that spec, unless, of course, the camera really is designed to go higher as you were told by the Sony person.

I do know that there are reports of damaged ipods, and in the U.S., outside of Alaska, you can't get higher than 14,500 feet. The "red line" for non-pressure-sealed HDD's must be somewhere in that range.

Like you, most places I would use the camera are below 12,500 or so, but I don't want to preclude using it at peaks and higher passes, so I decided to limit my choices to solid state memory cams. I've pretty much decided on the HF100, but am waiting until I actually need it since the prices are still dropping.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 04:02 PM   #23
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Nick I am very interested in your findings. I am going to be using my SR12 at 10-12000 ft in early August.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 03:14 PM   #24
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One possible aspect of this could be how much bumping around the cam/HDD can take. If I understand it correctly, since the HDD is vented, as the air pressure drops and the air gets "thinner" the layer of air between the heads and the platters would have less "resistance" to any bouncing around.

IF this theory holds any water (air?), careful handling while the camcorder is on might allow use at higher altitudes, within reason. Tripod use would for instance be workable... running across a snow field not so much...

I believe someone in another forum actually removed the HDD and the cam still worked on the MS Duo... I'm sure the warranty is void at that point, but it suggests that with dual record, it's still the equivalent of the memory stick cams even it the HDD dies...
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Old June 4th, 2008, 11:51 AM   #25
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If you plan to record above 11k ft, I would suggest you at least take the precaution of only recording to a Memorystick. Although the hard drive does power up even in memorytick mode, it would minimize the risk.

The hard drive is basically the same model that is used in IPODs, in fact, there is a report on a blog of someone that swapped hard drives from an IPOD to an SR1. The SR11/12 use a little different HDD, but I'll bet the newer IPODS may even use the same drives.

If you do a little research, you will find that this is a very real issue, and that IPODS have been effected, but whether 11,000 or 12,000, or even 10,000 is the magic number is difficult to pin down, as there is a safety margin in the stated numbers. As another member mentioned, there is also the issue of whether the drive merely becomes more susceptible to bumps or not.

If you really want to be safe, you can set the camera to memorystick mode, and then easily open the camera (not recommended in the field), and disconnect the HDD cable. The camera will report a HDD error, but function normally. If I intended to do much high-altitude recording, that is what I would do. As it is, when I go skiing at 9,000-11,000 feet, I set the camera to memory stick mode, and take my chances. If my SR11 HDD fails, I figure I'll upgrade my camera to a SR13 with a bigger HDD :)
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Old June 4th, 2008, 12:05 PM   #26
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If you really want to be safe, you can set the camera to memorystick mode, and then easily open the camera (not recommended in the field), and disconnect the HDD cable. The camera will report a HDD error, but function normally.
It's cool that you can do this, but if there are two cables to the HDD, make sure to disconnect the power cable as well as the data cable. If the power cable remains attached, the HDD will still spin up even if the data cable is disconnected.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 01:06 AM   #27
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I'm surprised to hear that altitude is such an issue with HHDs. I have spent a fair amount of time in the Himalayas. It is common to see lots of laptops and other HDD hardware as high as Everest Base Camp (17,500'), and even Advanced Base Camp (20,000') on the North side. One consideration may be that, unlike iPods and HDD VideoCams, the laptops are usually sitting stationary while in use. Or, maybe there were more problems than I was ever aware of.
Interesting topic since I just bought an SR12. Maybe I better stick with XDCam for those kind of adventures.
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Old June 21st, 2008, 03:48 AM   #28
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Highly likely that a stationary device is less prone to failure - the problem supposedly is that the reduced density of the air provides less support for the heads "flying" over the platters, so this would tend to suggest the drive CAN survive, but don't bump it around too much.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 02:42 PM   #29
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I just thought I would let everyone know that I've been shooting my SR12 all summer well above 12,000 ft. I haven't had any problems with it. The highest I've shot is about 13,000 ft.
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Old August 14th, 2008, 03:02 PM   #30
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Great info Nick. This should help SR11/12 owners that venture into high altitudes since this has been a long standing, unresolved question.
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