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Canon XA and VIXIA Series AVCHD Camcorders
For the Canon XA25, XA20, XA10 and all VIXIA / LEGRIA Series AVCHD camcorders.

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Old May 7th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,357
Strange SDHC Tale

A friend has a 32 GB SDHC card he uses in his Sony HD (HDR-AX2000) camcorder that suddenly he could not read in his camcorder or import files from into FCP 6. Putting the SDHC cad in a card reader on WIN 7, WIN XP or his MAC showed nothing. All offerd to "format" the card. The various "media recovery" programs we tried also showed nothing. Apparently the partition data on the card was lost. Enter the XA10.

On a whim I placed the card in the XA10 slot A, with the write protect tab ON. When battery powered (but not when AC powered) , the XA10 actually saw some of the "lost" video on the card (in an AVCHD folder) and I was able to play it in the camcorder. Connecting the XA10 via USB to the Win 7 PC, using Win Explorer I was able to see the nominal directory structure on the card while in the XA10. In addition to teh AVCHD folder thatI could play, there was an AVCHD_BK folder from who knows where that had additional "lost" video (MTS) files in it, and I was able to copy them to the PC, most of the files play OK.

(Because the SDHC card was from a Sony camcordeer, I could not use the XA10 to copy files to a card in Slot B, and the XA10 wanted to initialize it due to the no apparent highlevel partition.)

While this is not 100% success, it is far better than any of the "media recovery" software I tried could do with the SDHC card in question. Some of the files in the AVCHD folder were slightly cross-linked with a bit of stray footage at the start of a file (probably one cluster worth). No idea what corrupted the card in the first place. Sadly, I ran another "partition recovery" program and it appears to have done an automatic repair of sorts that trashed some of the data on the card. But at least I was able recovered the important stuff, like the owners visit to his newborn grand child in the hospital.

Loving the XA10. YMMV.

Don Palomaki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2012, 07:48 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 1,534
Re: Strange SDHC Tale

Perhaps we need a dedicated forum for card issues across manufacturers, models and formats along the lines of "The Long Black line" for tape.

May I suggest "The Portal to a Parallel Universe."

[Declaration of Interest/Intent: If I could afford one just now I would buy a Canon XF305 right away.]

Last edited by Colin McDonald; May 7th, 2012 at 09:19 AM.
Colin McDonald is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2012, 08:47 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Antrim, Northern Ireland
Posts: 1,569
Re: Strange SDHC Tale

Maybe "The Long Black Line" could become the "postage-stamp-sized piece of plastic"?

Not sure I can afford to buy an XA10 when a card goes doo-lally though...
Mike Beckett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 7th, 2012, 10:14 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 4,357
Re: Strange SDHC Tale

A update. Apparently the Sony camcorder will rename the existing AVCHD folder AVCHD_BK if it detects a problem with the file structure or files on the memory card and then create a new AVCHD folder with a "good" file structure. The reason being to allow attempts to "recover" the files from the _BK folder outside the camcorder environment (e.g., from Win Explorer). The _BK folder is not seen by the camcorder except that the space is not availabel for recording.

Apparently the partition recovery software automatically established a standard PC data-type prtition, which is a no-no for camcorder-use SDHC cards. The sad thing is that the software did not request confirmation of the action. Now to try find a low level hex editor application that can read/write the card at a low (e.g. sector/cluster) level, or at lest one that will non-destructively restore the proper foramt.

Moral - - - When investigating problematic cards, always enable write protect until you are ready to make irreversable changes to the card! (But I already knew that - I just ignored my better judgement trusting to someone elses' software.)
Don Palomaki is offline   Reply

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