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Old February 16th, 2006, 10:39 AM   #1
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Citidisk HDV Final Review

STAY FAR FAR AWAY!!!!

First let me start by saying the owner (I think) has been great communicating with, and quick to try to help although the language barrier makes it difficult for him to understand some of the problems some times...

So here is my full fledged review of the Citidisk HDV;

I recieved the 100gb model a little before christmas and I also ordered their extended battery which was OOS and didnt come in until early january.

My first impression was I liked the look and the feel of the device - it was small but felt secure and durable (more durable then it looks!). Upon first using it there is a litle switch you need to turn on in the back using a pen tip or paper clip to turn on the internal battery - when I moved it to the on position, it snapped off - no big deal but pretty cheap if you ask me...

I hooked the device up to my GL2 and recorded about an hour of footage - first thing I noticed is when I hit record with my GL2 with a tape in the deck, the citidisk did nothing - I had to manually hit the record button on the back - again a small issue that I figured was firmware (which it was). After recording I hooked up to my editing suite, copied the files to a local harddrive and brought them into premiere pro. Something was wrong with the file format - since the device is fat32 it break large files into "seamless" 2gb file, approx 9 minutes each. The first file in the recording worked perfectly - the next one matched up perfectly and it worked seamlessly with the first, however the 2nd file showed it was 18 minutes long - when the first 9 minutes were up, the file became corrupt - it was showing more time then it actually had. I tried every file format and finally found that .MOV worked flawlessly so that gave me hope. I contacted customer support (the owner) and he gave me an RMA and I sent it back and a few weeks later got a new one with the extended battery.

The extended battery wasn't that impressive - it does what it says it will do, but its just an akward connection and very ackward to mount unless you use the belt pouch.

With the second citidisk I got I started right away recording (the internal battery switch did not break this time!). First thing I noticed is when I hit record on the GL2 the citidisk started working as its supposed to. I recorded about an hour, used the play back feature from the back of the citidisk (very very lacking design) and saw my clips. I detached from my camera, attached to my PC and voila - everything worked PERFECTLY! I was excited...but that excitement quickly faded when the device would no longer sync with my camera - or my computer. I tried 3 different pc's and a mac and not one would read it - the lights on the back of the citidisk would just blink rapidly.

I contacted the owner again and again was issued an RMA - sent it away and earlier this week got drive number 3. They told me they replaced the entire device which is not true because there was a scuff on the casing from the first device and its still there - so they may have replaced something internally but I feel if a product dies within the return period it warrants a brand new one not a fix - but thats just me...anyways...I record about an hour of footage no problem, sync to my computer, copy the footage down and begin placing them on the time line and then I notice there are random clips of just mosaic noise, and then with the clips that do work, every few of them has a weird humming noise in it which I never experience. That was the last straw - I gave it a fair shot and now I have had it with the device and requested a full refund, which they better honor since buying the device I have never had a fully functional one.

Again, the customer support was terrific but that will get you no where with a terrible product. Maybe in a few years they will have something there - but for me it looks like its time to try out a firestore fs-4...

As for mods - I created an under camera mount for the citidisk - which was simple to do and also an external battery;

Battery - made out of a radioshack RC car battery, very slim and light - allowed the device to run for about 6 hours and cost a total of $25 with all the connectors, solder, etc.

Under camera mount - about $20 - made out of a radioshack project box - one of the little plastic ones used fort circuitry, etc - it fit well - it was a little wider then I wanted but close enough. I lined it with a nonslip rubber so the drive fit in perfectly and the battery I made layed on top of it. The back of the box was drammeled open so I could reach the connectors and buttons and there was a velcro strap on the top to keep the battery in place. The box was mounted to the camer using a thumbscrew and to the quick release by gorilla gluing (I love that stuff) a nut to a predrilled hole and just screwing the quick release in place - it worked well! If I get an FS-4 I would like to figure out something similar but that give me easy access to the display panel - wether it be relocating the display or just being able to slide the drive out easily.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

-Matt
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Old February 20th, 2006, 10:56 AM   #2
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I have 3 ADS pryo drives, same as the citidisk. I haven't had any problems with the drives. I actually upgraded them from the orginial 30gb drives to 80gb drives.

I was thinking of buying the few hdv models. So it does or doesn't work with hdv?

We use bescor battery packs to power our dv drives for the full 6hrs of space.

Here is a bracket I made for the fs-4
http://www.trulux.com/pictureuploads/web-IMG_1369.jpg
http://www.trulux.com/pictureuploads/web-IMG_1370.jpg
http://www.trulux.com/pictureuploads/web-IMG_1371.jpg
http://www.trulux.com/pictureuploads/web-IMG_1372.jpg

I use velcro to the bottom of the citidisk and then attach it to the bridge/handle on my pd170's.

Jon
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Old February 20th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #3
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Hi Jon,

This may seem like a stupid question: but why are you showing pictures of your bracket supporting an FS-4 when you said you are using it for an ADS pyro drive?

This is a bit confusing. How does it support the pyro drive? And which do you like better, the pyro or the FS-4, and why?

I hope that it isn't too many questions at once.

Cheers
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Old February 21st, 2006, 06:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon East

I use velcro to the bottom of the citidisk and then attach it to the bridge/handle on my pd170's.

Jon

As stated in my first post, I use velcro to the bottom of the citidisk and then attach it to the bridge/handle on my pd170's


Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Fink

the quick release in place - it worked well! If I get an FS-4 I would like to figure out something similar but that give me easy access to the display panel - wether it be relocating the display or just being able to slide the drive out easily.

-Matt
The brackets are in response to how to mount a fs4 to your camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Kohl
Hi Jon,

This is a bit confusing. How does it support the pyro drive? And which do you like better, the pyro or the FS-4, and why?

Cheers
I love my citidisk units(ADS Pyro Drives)- They are identical but just sold my ADS Tech. I owned a FS4 for about 3 months and didn't like the LOUD LOUD LOUD fan that comes on after using it for a few minutes. It's also very heavy and large compaired to the citidisk. The best part of the fs-4 is that you can play any clip you captured, the citidisk only plays the last clip you captured on your camera. My only complaint about the citidisk drive is that if you supply an external power source, which I do(a bescor 12v power pack) and you unplug it while recording you lose that section of your recording. IE(it makes 2 gb sections, you only lose the current 2gb section. I just make sure that it doesn't come unplugged. It's the same with my pd170's if I have them plugged into via ac power and unplug it the camera turns on and off.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Jon
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Old February 21st, 2006, 08:55 AM   #5
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Thanks Jon,

This isn't really a question (at least not one that can be answered). I wonder why the ADS Pyro works well and the Citidisk not. I mean Citidisk is brought out by Shining, and Shining is the maker of the basic Citidisk/Quickstream/ADS Pyro devices. It would make sense if one of the re-packagers of the original model would be less stable than the original, but in this case it seems as if one of the spin-offs is better than it's supplier.

Or maybe I'm missing something
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Old February 21st, 2006, 12:03 PM   #6
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Maybe it's the HDV model. Mine is the DV only model. They are giving me mixed signals on upgrading the unit and after reading your review, I wonder if I should even upgrade the units. Considering I still shoot a ton of DV.

We have a citidisk dv unit as well and its has the same internal stuff, just a different name on the outside. So it's the same just sold as another brand.

Jon
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Old March 23rd, 2006, 02:32 AM   #7
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CitiDISK HDV -tested and works fine

I've recently tested both FS-4 and CitiDISK HDV with the XL H1 camcorder. The main reason to go for a disk is the lack of an appropriate deck for XL H1, and second, my experience suggests that decks require constantly maintenance when used heavily. So, I've been looking for a disk to store the HDV signal and which fits the needs of wildlife videography.

The FS-4 is otherwise fine, but it's bit large, and also, the external power has to be at least 12 V. This means it can't be operated with the XL H1 batteries (unless one made oneself a serial connection). So, this pushed me to check CitiDISK -which accepts 6-18V external power input- although Matthew's review was discouraging.

Eventually I found that everything else works fine, except the so called QPLAY (playing the footages back to the camcorder's EVF) does not function in HDV mode. In DV mode there's no problem. Second, the timecode is not transferred to the hard disk. But, I have no problems whatsoever with footages longer/larger than 9min/2GB. CitiDISK chops long footages into smaller parts, and each part is just fine.

In post, if I import the m2t file to Premiere Pro 1.51 or 2.0, the first frame is not shown properly. But, I find this no problem, for I anyhow convert the m2t files to Cineform avi-files, and this works out just fine.

Summing up, I find CitiDISK a decent device. It's light and rather small, and can be operated with Canon XL-series batteries. It takes up 7.5 hours of HDV streams, and the cache/buffer can be set from 0 to 6 seconds. This is a very useful feature in wildlife videography, as the typicaly problem is that one is always late in hitting the rec-button.
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Old August 31st, 2006, 11:32 PM   #8
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Citidisk HDV and Sony HDR-HC1

I purchased a unit direct from the company only a fortnight ago to test to see if the product was worthy for my applications and decide if i was to become a distributor in australia.

The company was very helpful and i got the unit in two days from payment from taiwan. Quick service.

I tested the unit shooting with and without tape inside. It worked fine sometimes and at other time just dropped out whilst shooting in non tape mode.

Weird.

All the files had the same date stamp although they were neatly renumbered for easy sorting later.

The dropped files were short and not playable at all.

Out of the ten various length shots i took. 3 had serious frame drop out and one was completely unusable although it might be interesting for art.

I told the company and they recommended a firmware upgrade and reformatting of the disk and to try with the tape in.

I checked the firmware. It was the latest. I formatted the disk and again tested. Again... similar problems. I then tried this with the tape in the unit. It worked fine. I checked the files. They were all good although i did note a number of dropouts in places.

I then took this data back to the company and asked for a refund on return of the unit as it definitely did not suit my application and they complied.

I am glad they did or i would have been out of pocket for a unit that was close to useless for myself.

I am sure this unit might work for some people but i didn't get any joy myself.

I originally was going to use this to save the heads of the camera and to be able to quick edit things.

Looks like it is back to tape for myself until something that is proven to work comes out.

C
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Old September 6th, 2006, 06:58 AM   #9
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Christopher, did you try to store HDV or DV signal?

After your message I tried to store DV signal my CitiDISK HDV (without a tape in XL H1), and found the same you talk about: Got some additional files containing almost nothing on the disk, and some files (about one out of ten) were corrupted.

However, I've used the CitiDISK to store HDV signal for months and have not had a single problem during this time. The device has been extremely reliable although most of the time I don't put a tape into the camcorder at all.

It's a pity that these devices have their shortcomings. For me, the stable HDV storage is all what I really need, and thus, tolerate these other problems.
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Old September 11th, 2006, 01:19 PM   #10
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Lauri, you mention that you're using the citidisk with your Canon XLH1 batteries. Is an added attachment needed to do this, or is the mount on the citidisk somewhat universal for these type of batteries?
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Old September 12th, 2006, 09:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricia Lamm
Is an added attachment needed to do this, or is the mount on the citidisk somewhat universal for these type of batteries?
CItiDISK has no connectors for the Canon batteries. I made the adapter myself, which is not difficult.
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