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Old September 30th, 2007, 07:37 AM   #1
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Will Panasonic stick with P2?

The choice of PCMCIA cards for the P2 format seemed a bit "short sighted", given the virtual demise of the card in favor of the smaller flash cards. The fact that PCMCIA manufacturing plants are virtually nonexistant now is troubling to me. I'm basically trying to decide whether to keep investing more $$$ into P2 cards and hope Panasonic sticks with the format for future upgrades of the HVX200, assuming there will be an HVX200a or something along those lines. Thoughts?
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:53 AM   #2
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I understand the SxS card won't work as fast as P2 though.
The speed of P2 allow as to use the 100Mbps DVCPRO HD.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 09:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Kaku Ito View Post
I understand the SxS card won't work as fast as P2 though.
The speed of P2 allow as to use the 100Mbps DVCPRO HD.
Sorry Kaku, I don't believe that's correct. The SxS uses the much faster Expresscard 34 interface which has a higher bandwidth and transfer rate than PCMCIA based memory cards. I'm referring to the higher quality SxS that the new Sony camera uses.

-gb-
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Old September 30th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
All Panasonic P2 camcorders use a 4:2:2 color space and employ intraframe encoding, meaning each frame is independently recorded. Sony’s new XCAM EX utilizes a 4:2:0 color space, and encodes via long GOP interframe compression, in which the camera’s processor must fill in the motion gaps between key frames.
I don't understand why Sony is still going with 4:2:0 and GOP. It doesn't make any fiscal sense to shoot HDV to a card... you might as well stick with tape. The whole point/advantage of shooting to P2 instead of tape is that you can shoot DVCProHD, which you can't shoot on cheap miniDV tapes. If there was no price/quality advantage to shooting to card, I'd stick with tape because it's way cheaper and the footage is already archived.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 11:45 AM   #5
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Have no fear, the P2-PCMCIA form factor isn't going away anytime soon. The biggest mistake people make when evaluating P2's viability is comparing what's going on in the general consumer electronic market vs. professional applications.

Panasonic chose the multi-module SDRAM-PCMCIA form factor for several reasons, the main 2 being: data rates both for current and future infrastructure and, robustness/reliability. Regardless what's happening globally to support consumer PCMCIA form factor Panny has made long-standing contracts with manufacturers to support the development and deployment of the P2 media for many years to come.

- P2 cards are designed and certified to over 30k of insert/remove cycles for the same P2-card into the same slot (assuming normal usage, not being slammed-hard by an over-enthusiastic user, as I've seen done many times). The new SxS card from Sony will not come close to that amount of usability or robustness. Just like CF, SD, XD and other solid-state media those connectors will not last more than 7k cycles. I can speak from experience on that, as I have worn out a handful of Lexar and SanDisk CF cards in my D SLR's over the years.

- P2 cards are designed to work in any P2 camera or device, both current and future. SxS will only work in the new camera; it will not talk to the "older" XDCAM cameras or even the upcoming 2/3" inch XDCAM model, which is still going to be Blu-Ray based (if my info is correct).

- SxS is "theoretically" rated at a higher maximum bitrate than P2's theoretical bitrate. That's marketing hype at it's best; XDCAM doesn't shoot a bitrate higher than 50Mbs so all the extra headroom available in the new format will be unused by the camera. The same is true however for P2 (currently); P2's theoretical maximum is 640Mbs however DVCPRO has 50% more data than XDCAM at 100Mbs.

- In real world experience, data transfers from either SxS or P2 are going to be about the same. It doesn't really matter what the media itself is capable of, the bus speed of the computers/connectivity we use it always the limiting factor. On a Mac for example you'd move off about a gig of info in just under a minute regardless which media it's coming from. Forget about theoretical speeds, real-world numbers NEVER come close to the maximum's listed in glossy ad campaigns.

Panny's commitment to P2 media is long-term and well thought out, and is designed to be used throughout it's P2 lineup, not just in a limited number of cameras or applications. Will P2 be around 15 years from now? Doubtful, but then again this is the first time that a new media of ANY type was designed to be used as a de-facto standard across an entire line of cameras and equipment from any manufacturer.

For me, the consideration of how long the P2 form factor will remain becomes a non-issue. With the advent of items such as the Colorspace Icon worrying about media becomes irrelevant and it's now a question of "which camera?". Just as Panny did with P2 and HD aquisition, Jim is doing with RED, now Colorspace is about to change how we think about "media".
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Old September 30th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #6
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I'm not a huge fan of P2, but from what I gather (and not only from Robert's comments above) it is that from a professional point of view, it is the best investment in terms of image quality at the moment, and probably for at least a few more years.

I have spent so much money on 35mm, 16mm and videaotape stock over my nearly 40 years of working as a professional director/cameraman that I laugh whenever the criticism of P2 revolves around cost.. first of all, the costs will, and are coming down.. secondly, for a professional filmmaker, the costs are amortised over so many budgets that it works out to be way cheaper than even DVCAM (don't even think about film) after very few projects. When I go back over my past documentary budgets I am amazed at how much more I'm making now because I'm not having to buy tape or film - AND I'm adding rental for the cards.

My complaint about P2 would aplly to all "tapeless" formats. There has yet to be developed an affordable, reliable, professional well-thought-out system for archiving and backing up the mountain of imagery that I'm accumulating daily.
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Old September 30th, 2007, 05:14 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jon Wolding View Post
I don't understand why Sony is still going with 4:2:0 and GOP. It doesn't make any fiscal sense to shoot HDV to a card... you might as well stick with tape. The whole point/advantage of shooting to P2 instead of tape is that you can shoot DVCProHD, which you can't shoot on cheap miniDV tapes. If there was no price/quality advantage to shooting to card, I'd stick with tape because it's way cheaper and the footage is already archived.
Jon, you aren't shooting HDV to a card, you're shooting XDCAM HD to a card. Both are 4:2:0 MPEG GOP, but the similarities end there.

Price and image quality are not the only two advantages of tapeless vs. tape acquisition. In fact, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Both P2 and XDCAM HD disc or card, offer many benefits and time savings over tape in the acquisition process.

-gb-
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Old October 1st, 2007, 12:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
I'm basically trying to decide whether to keep investing more $$$ into P2 cards and hope Panasonic sticks with the format for future upgrades of the HVX200, assuming there will be an HVX200a or something along those lines. Thoughts?
Panasonic has converted their entire HD lineup to P2, excepting only the VariCam, which will eventually be updated to a VariCam II and go P2 at that point. Their "best" new camcorder, the HPX3000, is exclusively P2.

Look at the customers they have. It's not you and me and Kaku and a few other DVInfo users; they've gotten massive broadcast organizations like the Fox network and the Australian Broadcasting Company to commit to exclusively P2. The BBC is the latest one; the BBC is almost certainly going to announce their decision to migrate to P2 soon. They've already standardized all production from their Factual Studios to be done on DVCPRO-HD (with HDX900s) and they've rumoredly commissioned Adobe to include P2 support across the CS3 lineup (which is why, in a very short amount of time, CS3 will be getting a free update).

The 32GB card comes out in November. The 64GB card is said to be "right around the corner," which I interpret to mean NAB in April (but we'll see about that). Panasonic has basically bet the entire broadcast business on P2, and they've been doing extremely well with that. They're probably now in a position of that they couldn't change away from P2 even if they wanted to. They have long-term contracts with massive broadcast organizations who have committed to abandon other formats and exclusively use the P2 system, so there's no way panasonic will decide "oh, I think I'll change my format today."
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Old October 1st, 2007, 12:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Greg Boston View Post
The SxS uses the much faster Expresscard 34 interface which has a higher bandwidth and transfer rate than PCMCIA based memory cards.
The ExpressCard bus is faster, but the underlying memory isn't much different. P2's maximun transfer rate doesn't begin to approach the theoretical limit of the PCMCIA bus. Sony could easily have put their SxS technology in the PCMCIA form factor and it'd be every bit as fast as what it is now.

SxS claims 800mbps, P2 claims 640mbps. There's a difference there, but it's basically a wash, especially when you consider that the PCMCIA bus is capable of 133 megabytes per second. Panasonic could make P2 cards faster than Sony's SxS cards if they wanted to; it seems like all they'd have to do is RAID six chips together instead of four. That'd increase the throughput and put them close to a gigabit per second, and still within the PCMCIA bus speed.

Of course, I keep nagging them to come up with a P3 system, where they'd use an ExpressCard core memory system in a PCMCIA adapter shell -- that way they'd maintain 100% compatibility with all existing cameras and hardware, and also have direct importing into today's ExpressCard-only systems too. Kind of like a miniSD card works -- it's a removable core module but comes with a full-sized SD adapter.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 12:34 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bill Edmunds View Post
The fact that PCMCIA manufacturing plants are virtually nonexistant now is troubling to me.
$69. Problem solved.
http://www.addonics.com/news/product.../adexc34cb.pdf
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:27 AM   #11
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Steve,

I'm looking forward to iDVR for archiving the data.
http://www.ivdr.org/iVDR/ivdr_e.html
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:47 AM   #12
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I was debating between buying P2 cards and FS100 (or something similar).
I went through various firewire and USB drives to experiment what would be the best for me.
Simply, a couple of 4GB P2 cards and making backup at the site on those portable drives didn't excite me much. Epson P5000 was the most reliable one, but the backup takes too long.
I also experimented recording on MacBook Pro with LaCie Rugged drive. it is nice to be able to monitor with larger screen on mac but it is too much hustle to take them around.

Then after seeing the P2 drive updated with firewire 800 port and also has five P2 slots, I decided to go with 6 16GB P2 cards (2 for HVX200 and 4 for HPX555). Now I feel so complete. I don't think I'm going to keep buying P2, maybe change them to 32GB when I make lots of money and sell the 16s.
If I need more cards for some longer shooting job then I would rent some cards. My point is, if you once buy them, you wouldn't worry so much how are they are going to be. So far, none of SD cards or compact flash cards that I had bought failed. None. I don't expect the P2 cards to be bad for a long time.

Sony seems to go after resolutions and more calm visuals with their video market and since Panasonic always support things like olympic they are more aware of motions. I chose P2HD because I need more for motion than setting the cam static and shoot nice scenery. Actually for the nice scenery, I carry around HV20 for that.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 03:55 AM   #13
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forgot to mention,

the duel adapter has been working great for me, too. If I need to copy the contents on P2 cards out on the road, then I use MacBook Pro with Duel adapter, also LaCie's LittleBig Disk (2.5 inch RAID drive that works with bus power!).

Only problem with Duel Adapter is that with the current driver software, the MacBook Pro won't shut down when the apapter is inserted to the ExpressCard34 slot. The computer would restarts by itself even though I select the "shut down" command. But unlike how Panasonic describes in their site, you won't have to restart the computer every time you insert and take out the P2 card as long as you unmount it from the desktop first.
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Old October 1st, 2007, 09:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Barry Green View Post
The ExpressCard bus is faster, but the underlying memory isn't much different. P2's maximun transfer rate doesn't begin to approach the theoretical limit of the PCMCIA bus. Sony could easily have put their SxS technology in the PCMCIA form factor and it'd be every bit as fast as what it is now.

SxS claims 800mbps, P2 claims 640mbps. There's a difference there, but it's basically a wash, especially when you consider that the PCMCIA bus is capable of 133 megabytes per second. Panasonic could make P2 cards faster than Sony's SxS cards if they wanted to; it seems like all they'd have to do is RAID six chips together instead of four. That'd increase the throughput and put them close to a gigabit per second, and still within the PCMCIA bus speed.
I wasn't claiming anything about actual transfer rates. I only wanted to state to Kaku that the Expresscard 34 bus architecture allows for a faster transfer rate than PCMCIA, because he thought the opposite was true.

-gb-
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Old October 1st, 2007, 09:54 AM   #15
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I wasn't claiming anything about actual transfer rates. I only wanted to state to Kaku that the Expresscard 34 bus architecture allows for a faster transfer rate than PCMCIA, because he thought the opposite was true.

-gb-
Greg,

Thanks for the clarification.
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