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Old July 7th, 2009, 06:10 PM   #1
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Compact Flash Card Update...Please Read

Here's our latest summary of Compact Flash cards for use with the Flash XDR and nanoFlash products:

Transcend 32GB 133X and 16GB 300X CF cards
While both of these cards work fine in the XDR/nano, there is a well documented problem when using these cards on the MAC with Leopard OS. In short, Leopard can irreparably damage these cards during the "eject" process. Note that this problem has not been seen on the older Tiger OS, in PC applications or when copying CF cards to Nexto Drives. However, if you are using a MAC, we do not recommend the Transcend cards.

Update: Transcend has supposedly found a fix to this issue and is in the process of replacing defective cards in the sales channel. We will report any news as it becomes available.

Kingston 133X 32GB Cards
These Kingston cards have been quite reliable in the MAC and PC. However, Kingston uses CF card controllers from two different manufacturers. One controller works great, the other controller causes a Write Cache 2000 error in the XDR/nano (it also quite erratic on the MAC).

Kingston has generally replaced these "defective" CF cards with cards that work well in the XDR/nano (and the MAC). Trouble is you have no idea if the cards you just received contain the "good" controller. So, it's a real dice roll and becoming more difficult over time to get the proper replacement cards. If you have the time to swap out the cards, the Kingston's can be a great choice as they are attractively priced at under US $80. But, don't buy the Kingston, if you're in a real time crunch or want to avoid the hassles of a possible swap-out.

SanDisk Extreme III 32GB, Extreme IV 16GB
Although one of the more expensive CF cards, we have had zero problems with the Extreme III (good for bit-rates up to 160 Mbps) and the Extreme IV cards (good for all bit-rates) from SanDisk. No issues on the MAC or PC; solid performance.

Lexar 300X 16GB cards
Like the SanDisk, the Lexar cards have been extremely reliable, but a bit more expensive than Transcend or Kingston. The 300X card is good for all bit-rates.

IMPORTANT - Back-Up Your Data!
No matter which CF card you choose, we highly recommend that you back-up your card as soon as possible. The Nexto drive (NextoDI) is an excellent back-up / media management tool. We suggest that you copy your CF cards to the Nexto device first and then offload the card to your MAC/PC (We have never heard of a Nexto drive destroying a CF card).

Don't take unnecessary risks with your footage. If your setup supports redundant recording (tape + XDR/nano), then use both methods. Tapes fail, solid-state media can fail, batteries do run out of juice. While the reliability of the XDR/nano has improved dramatically over the last 6 months, we have not tested the unit in every possible scenario.

We have tons of success stories on the Flash XDR, including the Cash Cab program in Toronto (which has 8 XDRs for the last 8 weeks without any issues). But failures can occur. We believe the latest firmware is extremely reliable, but we simply do not have the resources to test every camera and every possible usage.

So, please don't take unnecessary risks, your video footage is too critical! Use a good quality CF card (the SanDisk is our current best choice), charge your batteries and backup your data. The XDR/nano will deliver some stunning footage!

Best-
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Old July 8th, 2009, 02:52 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
Kingston 133X 32GB Cards
These Kingston cards have been quite reliable in the MAC and PC. However, Kingston uses CF card controllers from two different manufacturers. One controller works great, the other controller causes a Write Cache 2000 error in the XDR/nano (it also quite erratic on the MAC).
Mike,

If one gets a "bad" Kingston, can it be noticed at once (e.g. it fails to format), or are the errors intermittent?

Thanks,

Piotr
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Old July 8th, 2009, 05:56 AM   #3
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Dear Piotr,

Yes, if one has a "bad" Kingston card, our format (initialize) routines will immediately detect it.

The Format process will detect that it is a bad card and give an error message.

Any Kingston card which passes the Format process is good and can be trusted.

No one has lost any footage because of this.

However, if one shows up on set, then attempts to Format their new cards, and they fail, they will not be able to record any footage unless they have other cards that are good.

We take this very seriously.

Originally, this was just a few isolated cases. We attributed it to "Old Stock", and it was limited to a few countries. But this has changed and we see quite a few bad cards from Kingston.

These same "bad" cards, will not work properly when tested in a Mac. They will most likely initialize, and will work with small files, but have always failed when a very large (many GB) file is copied to the card.

Our Format process does more that just format the card, we also test the card by writing a file to the card, then reading it back.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 06:19 AM   #4
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Thanks Dan.

Considering the Kingston 32GB is by far cheaper than the others (and its 140 Mbps capability would be enough for me on my NanoFlash) - would you consider selling 2 such tested and initialized cards along with a NanoFlash order, or is it too much hassle for you?

Where I live, it's extremely difficult to have items like this replaced after on-line purchasing...
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Old July 8th, 2009, 06:29 AM   #5
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Dear Piotr,

We would like to help.

It is difficult to find good Kingston cards these days, much to our dismay.

Also, Kingston has told us that they may not have good cards to replace the bad ones.

We do not have a stock of good cards.

One can not tell if a Kingston card is good or bad without opening the package and checking the lot number, or testing it.

Until we can find a source of good Kingston cards, we are not in a position to help.
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Old July 8th, 2009, 08:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
Mike,

If one gets a "bad" Kingston, can it be noticed at once (e.g. it fails to format), or are the errors intermittent?

Thanks,

Piotr
Hi Piotr-
You will see the Write Cache 2000 error as soon as the defective Kingston CF card is inserted in the nano/XDR.

Best-
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Old July 9th, 2009, 08:06 AM   #7
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IMPORTANT - Back-Up Your Data!
No matter which CF card you choose, we highly recommend that you back-up your card as soon as possible. The Nexto drive (NextoDI) is an excellent back-up / media management tool. We suggest that you copy your CF cards to the Nexto device first and then offload the card to your MAC/PC (We have never heard of a Nexto drive destroying a CF card).

Hi Mike,

I have just looked at the Nexto site. There seems to be a 2700 series and a 2725 series, does it matter which series one acquires?
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Old July 9th, 2009, 08:26 AM   #8
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Dear Alastair,

I have been using the 2700.

The 2725 appears to add P2 and SxS capability.

Personally, I like to buy the bare bones 2700, then add the best quality 500 GB laptop hard drive that I can find. I usually purchase a Seagate with a 5 year warranty.

It only takes about 5 minutes to install the hard disk drive.
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Old July 9th, 2009, 06:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for the reply Dan,

Although I have read your promotions I am still a bit hazy about the workings and benefits of the Nanoflash, however the 4.5" prerecord is a great attraction. You suggest fitting a 500 GB hard drive to the Nexto 2700, what recording time does that represent for my EX3?
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Old July 9th, 2009, 07:29 PM   #10
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Dear Alaister,

If you record, using the nanoFlash, at our recommended 100 Mbps Long-GOP, you will get approximately 39 minutes or so for each 32 GB.

This is approximately 609 minutes for 500 GB, or slightly over 10 hours of 100 Mbps footage.

Or 20 hours of 50 Mbps footage with 500 GB

Or even more if you use our 35 Mbps 4:2:0 mode. I calculate 28 + hours with 500 GB.

These values may be off some. A 32 GB card never store a full 32 GB and a 500 GB hard drive never stores a full 500 GB.

But, we typically see 39 minutes on a 32 GB card (which is not really 32 GB).
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastair Traill View Post
Thanks for the reply Dan,

Although I have read your promotions I am still a bit hazy about the workings and benefits of the Nanoflash, however the 4.5" prerecord is a great attraction.
Dear Alastair,

The Sony EX1/EX3's sensor is capable of outstanding quality, full 1920 x 1080 4:2:2 images.

When you record internally to your EX3 (or with an EX1 and most other cameras), you are recording 4:2:0 images.

In the case of the EX1/EX3, you are limited to 35 Megabits per second bit rate.

In other words, your camera provides a far better image via the HD-SDI output, than it is capable of recording and thus playing back.

With the nanoFlash, we take this wonderful HD-SDI signal, full raster 1920 x1080, 4:2:2 signal, and then record it at bit rates of 35/50/100/140/150 or 220 Mbps.

In other terms, if you compare the live image from your camera to a great HD-SDI monitor, you will have an outstanding image. If you record and playback that image, some quality is lost and you can see that it is a recording being played back.

If you record to our nanoFlash, you will not be able to visually see a difference between the recording or the live signal.

Also, under certain demanding situations, such as a great level of detail in the image, or motion in the image, or motion of the camera, the internal recording will be less than perfect, it will have visiable defect (artifacts) in the image.

Even if their is no motion, you will be able to see more detail in our images, as 4:2:2 provides more color detail than 4:2:0.

With the nanoFlash, at one of our "Master Quality" modes, you will be find any artifacts.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #12
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I am curious about the quality to size ratio of the codec in the nano/xdr devices, and that of the CineForm Prospect? I know the nano/xdr you can drag the files to your computer and use them as is. Another option is to connect the HDMI/SDI out of the nano/xdr to the BM Intensity card and using HDLink use CineForm to store the files. Not sure if that is faster than just using CineForm directly on the flash card when connected to the computer as a removable HD or not. I'd guess converting the file would be faster than playing from the HDMI out in realtime into the Intensity.. basically you wouldn't need the Intensity board then.

But.. since the nano/xdr already compress the image somewhat.. is there any more loss by using CineForm? If there is relatively no loss, but the file size is smaller that would be worth it for archival purposes. It is my understanding that the CineForm files are more conducive for NLE as well.. because it will create smaller files that you can use during editing..then swap them out for the full size file during render for maximum quality.

Anyway, I would be very interested in knowing if it's of any use to use the CineForm on the nano/xdr files since they are already compressed.. for either scenario.. first being same quality.. second being smaller files and more NLE capable using CineForm.. or not?

Thanks.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 08:05 AM   #13
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Dear Kevin,

If you use our 100 Mbps Long-GOP mode, or 140 or 160 Mbps Long-GOP mode, then quality coming out of our HD-SDI or HDMI outputs will be very good.

You could then use Cineform if you wish.

I will defer to Cineform users/experts to answer your Cineform questions.

I will say that you can use our Quicktime or MXF files directly, if you want.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 04:13 AM   #14
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recording to sxs and nano flash simultanously?

is it possible to record to sxs (ex3) and nano flash simultanously?
are there any limitations/problems when you record to both at the same time?

a backup like this is cost-effective and secure.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 08:35 AM   #15
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Sandisk rebate for SanDisk Extreme III 32GB

Just to let everyone know, Sandisk is having a pretty cool rebate:

Buy 1 card, get $40.00 back
Buy 2 identical cards, get $120.00 back
Buy 3 identical cards, get $200.00 back

There is a limit of 3 cards per rebate request and 3 rebate requests per household.

Here is the link on B&H: SanDisk Extreme III 32GB | B&H Photo Video
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