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Focus Enhancements FireStore
Specifically for the FireStore DV Direct-To-Edit Disk Recording Solutions.


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Old June 13th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #31
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Opinion on FS-4

Sad to have to chime in with a negative response as my first posting but here it is nonetheless. I have reported my fs-4 drives to focus enhancements tech support prior to posting here. I'll let you know how that works out.

My company purchased two FS-4's about four or five weeks ago. We also purchased the extended runtime batteries and field kits. As stated by other authors, it just doesn't make sense to build a unit that can capture for three hours continuous and a battery that will only run an hour and a half! The units arrived, seemed to be built well, albeit not like the proverbial "tank" but good build nonetheless. We were immensely excited over the concept of going tapeless, as we shoot tons of footage and are paying out a small fortune for tape.

We received the drives, read the manual, installed the cables to the cameras, powered the drives up, set the preferences and shot a few times including a couple projects.

Drive1 transferred files effortlessly at first. Transferred over 90 mins of footage in about 8-9 mins! Then upon stopping service from computer, then stopping service on the drive and stopping service from that screen, we re-connected the drive to the computer, the fs-4 drive operating system crashed and has never came back up. It does the same operation that several users have reported. The lcd lights up and acts like it's loading up but never reaches that point where any text shows and the drive goes into an endless loop of powering up then down until you have to remove the battery to get it to stop. I tried the system restore as instructed from this forum but it was not successful.

Drive2, did a little worse. Powered up, worked fine. Shot one project on it then upon hooking it up via firewire to computer, we smelled plastic burning inside the drive casing. The computer never was able to access the drive via firewire. Files are actually still on the drive. Subsequent testing showed the computer firewire card to be fully operational when we connected a consumer camera to it by firewire and the camera worked perfectly. The drive actually did connect when we first received it but after shooting a project, it would not connect at all when we tried connecting it again.

Needless to say we WERE extremely excited about going tapeless and using the firestore drives (and even purchasing more drives). Now we're not so sure. I wouldn't say they are crap but it's hard to be positive when you lay down 1500 bucks for two drives that become useless only after the second useage of them. The concept is a brilliant one but the execution leaves quite a bit to desire. I would recommend to Focus Enhancements to work on these challenges quickly before another company comes along and executes the same idea, only better! Anyone remember K-Mart?

I'll let you know how the support system fares in a few days.

-V-
Vincent Edenfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 01:03 AM   #32
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Vincent,

Would love to hear what results you get after all the problems you've had with the FS4. I returned mine some time ago, and are experiencing back-order problems with receiving a replacement. Brian at Zotz has been working on it for me in getting me another unit, but I've been getting frustrated, and I'm in fear of upon receiving a new unit, that'll I'll have problems again. You can see my earlier posts her pertaining to my problem with the unit. Got to use if for a whole five minutes. Didn;t even get as far as being able to hook it up to my G4. B4 I packed the faulty unit back up to ship out, I was trying the unit one more time, and then one of the battery connectors on the unit broke off. i think it happened due to the dam battery is so hard to take off. This has got to be one of the worst designed units I've ever experienced. I think they definetly need to go back to the drawing board as far as I'm concerned.

Joe
Joseph Andolina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 07:10 AM   #33
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FS-4 Warranty Support: positive experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Andolina
Vincent,

Would love to hear what results you get after all the problems you've had with the FS4. I returned mine some time ago, and are experiencing back-order problems with receiving a replacement. Brian at Zotz has been working on it for me in getting me another unit, but I've been getting frustrated, and I'm in fear of upon receiving a new unit, that'll I'll have problems again. You can see my earlier posts her pertaining to my problem with the unit. Got to use if for a whole five minutes. Didn;t even get as far as being able to hook it up to my G4. B4 I packed the faulty unit back up to ship out, I was trying the unit one more time, and then one of the battery connectors on the unit broke off. i think it happened due to the dam battery is so hard to take off. This has got to be one of the worst designed units I've ever experienced. I think they definetly need to go back to the drawing board as far as I'm concerned.

Joe

I'm in complete agreement with you Joe. I also talked with Brian at Zotz concerning purchasing new cameras and got around to discussing the FS-4's. I won't get into that discussion as previous posts have pretty much ran the gamut of the Firestore problems. Needless to say, Brian has heard much of that from customers.
I CAN say that I have had a positive experience with my warranty claim. Phil with Focus Enhancements (F.E.) instructed me by phone where and how to send my drives in for warranty repair and that it would take four weeks to get them back. I received the drives last week after a four week period. They both function properly now as far as the operating system and primary hardware is concerned but still do not connect with my computer's firewire interface (out of three computers). I am going to bring them home and check with my personal computer. Phil at F.E. (my contact person) has been very good at keeping me updated on the progress of my repair, best that he could. Every time I emailed an enquiry he checked the status and replied promptly. So, I would have to say the warranty repair was a positive experience albeit not an outstanding one. Waiting on drives for four weeks was NOT a positive experience :) If we had solely relied on those drives, we would have been out of business for four weeks and that is totally unacceptable.
Brian has mentioned an alternative to the FS drives. I will be checking into those very soon. It's really a shame for F.E. as we would have purchased many of the drives in the near future if the units had performed reliably. We will not be purchasing any more of them at this point. Maybe if their build issues get resolved and they become MUCH more stable then we'll try them again once they "get it together".

-V-
Vincent Edenfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 04:05 PM   #34
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Vincent, I'm interested in hearing more about what Brian might be suggesting for an alternative. He didn't mention to me two days ago about possible alternative(s), in case I don;t get a chance to contact him for a bit, can you share what Brian might have in mind whe you get more on that? Would be much appreciated. Brian has certainly expressed to me about his concernes with the FS4 lately. Including all the shipping costs back and forth of just trying to get a good unit. I am definetly ready for suggestions, and I hadn't even had a chance to actually really test drive a unit yet other than my short lived moment!!!

Joe





Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Edenfield
I'm in complete agreement with you Joe. I also talked with Brian at Zotz concerning purchasing new cameras and got around to discussing the FS-4's. I won't get into that discussion as previous posts have pretty much ran the gamut of the Firestore problems. Needless to say, Brian has heard much of that from customers.
I CAN say that I have had a positive experience with my warranty claim. Phil with Focus Enhancements (F.E.) instructed me by phone where and how to send my drives in for warranty repair and that it would take four weeks to get them back. I received the drives last week after a four week period. They both function properly now as far as the operating system and primary hardware is concerned but still do not connect with my computer's firewire interface (out of three computers). I am going to bring them home and check with my personal computer. Phil at F.E. (my contact person) has been very good at keeping me updated on the progress of my repair, best that he could. Every time I emailed an enquiry he checked the status and replied promptly. So, I would have to say the warranty repair was a positive experience albeit not an outstanding one. Waiting on drives for four weeks was NOT a positive experience :) If we had solely relied on those drives, we would have been out of business for four weeks and that is totally unacceptable.
Brian has mentioned an alternative to the FS drives. I will be checking into those very soon. It's really a shame for F.E. as we would have purchased many of the drives in the near future if the units had performed reliably. We will not be purchasing any more of them at this point. Maybe if their build issues get resolved and they become MUCH more stable then we'll try them again once they "get it together".

-V-
Joseph Andolina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 04:49 PM   #35
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FS-4 Alternative

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Andolina
Vincent, I'm interested in hearing more about what Brian might be suggesting for an alternative. He didn't mention to me two days ago about possible alternative(s), in case I don;t get a chance to contact him for a bit, can you share what Brian might have in mind whe you get more on that? Would be much appreciated. Brian has certainly expressed to me about his concernes with the FS4 lately. Including all the shipping costs back and forth of just trying to get a good unit. I am definetly ready for suggestions, and I hadn't even had a chance to actually really test drive a unit yet other than my short lived moment!!!

Joe

Yep, it's a shame there aren't more players in this technology as it's not really a huge technical challenge design wise. In my opinion, it's a hardware problem as far as designing a unit that's dependable. Basically the whole thing is just a notebook hard disk in a case with it's own operating system and firewire interface. Heck, Dell is selling complete desktop computers with monitor for less than these things! Granted the desktop doesn't have the portability, but obviously most are performing longer than the FS drives! hehe
Just think, if you suggested someone buy a laptop for 750bucks with a GPL operating system such as Linux, a firewire port, 1-80gb 5400rpm hard disk and a 2inch monitor and battery that runs for an hour and a half for 750 bucks, they would call you an idiot but buy one of the these FS-4 drives and they call you...well, nevermind.

Bryan suggested looking at the Nnovia Quick Capture dte drives. I checked the info out at B&H's website (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search). The build looks a little better but haven't been able to find anyone that's used it yet so I can't make any comments on dependability. Seems about double the price than the FS-4. If the drives are better than the FS-4's then it is a good investment to me. I'm trying to find anyone that has used them to see what their experience has been so far. I'll let you know what I find.

-V-
Vincent Edenfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 05:04 PM   #36
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Would appreciate it. I quickly gave Brian a call, he was too busy to really take the time to talk, so i didn't push it, but he did say briefly that he's really not sure about reliability for anything else at the moment. So, at the moment, i'm still awaiting a replacememt FS4. I guess we'll see. But, please definetly keep me and others posted on what you might uncover.

Joe


Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Edenfield
Yep, it's a shame there aren't more players in this technology as it's not really a huge technical challenge design wise. In my opinion, it's a hardware problem as far as designing a unit that's dependable. Basically the whole thing is just a notebook hard disk in a case with it's own operating system and firewire interface. Heck, Dell is selling complete desktop computers with monitor for less than these things! Granted the desktop doesn't have the portability, but obviously most are performing longer than the FS drives! hehe
Just think, if you suggested someone buy a laptop for 750bucks with a GPL operating system such as Linux, a firewire port, 1-80gb 5400rpm hard disk and a 2inch monitor and battery that runs for an hour and a half for 750 bucks, they would call you an idiot but buy one of the these FS-4 drives and they call you...well, nevermind.

Bryan suggested looking at the Nnovia Quick Capture dte drives. I checked the info out at B&H's website (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...ughType=search). The build looks a little better but haven't been able to find anyone that's used it yet so I can't make any comments on dependability. Seems about double the price than the FS-4. If the drives are better than the FS-4's then it is a good investment to me. I'm trying to find anyone that has used them to see what their experience has been so far. I'll let you know what I find.

-V-
Joseph Andolina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 07:06 PM   #37
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Vincent,

have you stumbled across this thread and review? http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=25843

Joe
Joseph Andolina is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 19th, 2006, 07:39 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Andolina
Vincent,

have you stumbled across this thread and review? http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=25843

Joe

No I didn't but the review at http://www.digitalproducer.com/artic...e.jsp?id=25508 is a pretty thorough one. Check out the Nnovia website video demo:
http://www.nnovia.com/demo.html

I'm more interested in real world usage and review from actual users though.

-V-
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