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Old February 23rd, 2005, 10:57 AM   #46
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Actually no one uses the basic PCMCIA spec. today. References to that spec. are only used today for historical reasons I guess. The PC-card interface which ships today in most laptops is capable of handling much more than 1Gbps without problems. Actually a PC-card is the same as a PCI bus. So Panasonic should not have had to use anything but the PC-card spec itself.

It would be desirable for Panasonic to allow third party cards to work in the P2 slots. Technically, there would not appear to be any problem. However, Panasonic's product strategy might not want it.

I have voiced my opinion on this matter across several threads. I think Panasonic would be very foolish not to allow third party use of the slot.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 11:40 AM   #47
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Yeah, I'm right there with you on this Ignacio. I suppose it's a tough call for Panasonic to make regarding whether they will support third-party products.

Actually, does anyone know how that works? Would Panasonic be able to outright prohibit a third-party from making something that would work in the P2 slot? Sure, they may not cooperate with them in terms of giving the third-party all of the necessary technical information to develop such a product, but could they actually stop someone from reverse-engineering the P2 concept and creating a card that worked, albeit an unauthorized, unendorsed one? I know lots of scenarios where software/hardware solutions are "unsupported" by the parent company but are used to get the job done nonetheless...
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 01:19 PM   #48
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I guess they could require the card to have a chip with a challenge-response code, so if the chip is not there, the interface would not talk to the card, no matter how well designed. That's one way I can think of. There maybe others. The bottom line is, if Panasonic doesn't want third-party cards to work in the P2 slot, they will not.

If Panasonic doesn't care and doesn't work to make it difficult, then there is a high chance third-parties can easily reverse engineer P2 and make cards that work.

Of course the best scenario would be for Panasonic to help anyone that makes PC-cards for the camera, as they would be creating added value for their product, and thus they could sell more cameras.

But the history of electronics is plagued with stupid practices. Take for example Sony, where there have even been cases of different divisions that make products that are incompatible with each other, precisely in the solid state memory arena (sigh).
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Old March 7th, 2005, 05:56 PM   #49
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I would be very surprised if non-Panasonic-brand SD cards did NOT work in the P2 array. Panasonic will of course want you to buy their own branded SD cards, and they may very well withold comment as to whether or not third-party SD cards are compatible, but I'm willing to bet that they are compatible. Whenever we wind up knowing for sure one way or the other, that will be significant news at that time. Currently there are other P2 cameras out in the market; I'd like to find one of those shooters and get a definite ruling on this. All it would really require is one non-Panasonic SD card inserted into the P2 array to find out!
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Old March 8th, 2005, 05:50 AM   #50
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There is a very specific specification to make the P2 architecture work. It is 4 SD cards in a stripped array, that give it the speed, and it is not the speed for writing that is needed it is the speed that is needed for transfer of footage that is desired.

At this point I do not know of any other manufacturer that makes a P2 card. But that does not mean there won't be. Heck when we started with DVCPRO tape there was only us, then there was more demand and Fuji started to supply and then eventually Maxell. If there is demand, there will always be a suppy, if there is enough demand there will be competition.

Hope that helps,

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Old March 8th, 2005, 09:45 AM   #51
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> then there was more demand and Fuji started to supply

Oh isn't it curious that you mention Fuji! Fuji is making what seems to be a 40GB PC-card hard disk, of the kind that might be able to work in a P2 slot. Need I mention that it's cheaper than solid state, at a little over $1k?

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...=145689&is=REG

Note: at the time of this post it seems to be mislabeled at B&H as a 40MB drive. At that price of course it is impossible.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:21 AM   #52
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<<<-- Originally posted by Ignacio Rodriguez : > then there was more demand and Fuji started to supply

Oh isn't it curious that you mention Fuji! Fuji is making what seems to be a 40GB PC-card hard disk, of the kind that might be able to work in a P2 slot. Need I mention that it's cheaper than solid state, at a little over $1k?-->>>

You need to be careful in making assumptions that because it has a PCMCIA card connector that it will work. There has to be a dialog that happens iwth the camera. And since you do not know what is cheaper than P2 or more expensive, it is really conjecture. Tons of ideas out there and it will soon all become very clear.

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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:40 AM   #53
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Also Ignacio, I went searching for your card (see http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&l...+HG-40+PC+card) and it appears that it is not mislabeled; it is a 40 megabyte card which was a memory option for the (now very old) 1.4 megapixel Fuji DS-300 and DS-330; see http://www.fujifilmsupport.com/spec_...s330/spec.html. It seems that B&H is still showing the original price for this item from when it was first introduced. No wonder it's not in stock! Hope this helps,
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Old March 8th, 2005, 10:50 AM   #54
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Thank You Jan. Yes, I will be very happy when it all clears up, becasue then I will be able to decide whether I prefer a camera with a P2 slot or will prefer to deal with MPEG2 compression and tape from you-know-who.

Thank You Chris, you are right, it seems to be a very old 40MB card. What a pity.

Note though that I did not say hard disk was cheaper than P2, I said it was cheaper than solid state. As far as the market and it's current offerings are concerned, I think there is not a single case in which solid state is less expensive than hard disk storage, which is why I tend to think --and have advocated-- that standard PC-card storage should be allowed to work in the P2 slots. I can't visualize a normal use scenario where a hard disk's reliabilty and speed were not good enough and cheaper than solid state storage. Can anybody?

Uhmmm... sorry if I'm getting too carried away with this... I sure hope I am not starting to sound like... well somebody else, no need to mention his name.

I really just want the best technical solution and I have yet to be convinced that solid state is better than hard disk.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 12:54 PM   #55
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"I can't visualize a normal use scenario where a hard disk's reliabilty and speed were not good enough and cheaper than solid state storage. Can anybody?"

The reason I prefer solid state to hard disk is the reliability.
Hard disks are fragile, and while they are fine for dumping footage onto in the edit room, or even in the field if you have to copy your P2 cards to a laptop, I would rather be shooting to a solid state medium on the camera.

Hard drives can't take the abuse that solid state can.
On many shoots, my camera has to take quite a bit of bumping around, and I just don't think I could feel 100% confident with hard drives taking that kind of abuse.

So, while you are right that a hard disk is fast enough (and it actually may be cheaper), it may not actually be better.

Also, keep in mind, as you mentioned, we are only talking about today.
It is safe to assume that the HDX-100 won't be available for months. Meanwhile the cost of solid state memory will continue to drop. By the time any of us is actually making the decision to purchase, the cost issues may not be as relevant as they seem today.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #56
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> Meanwhile the cost of solid state memory will continue to drop.

And so will the cost of 1.8" hard drives.

I can see that for some battlefield-style work it might be preferrable to use a solid state, yes... but for everyday use? I mean not even the fastests tilts and pans would subject the camera to more movement than a portable hard-disk can withstand. And disk is by far more reliable than tape... otherwise why would anyone use the FireStores...
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #57
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While you may be right, I don't think there is any way to say that hard drives are equally as reliable as solid state.

They may be more than "good enough" for most work, but moving parts will eventually wear out, they always do. Moving parts simply means more potential for problems.

For example, just about two weeks ago I had a hard drive fail on my Avid (a drive that just sat in the edit room, and was never moved around as it would be on a shoot). It was a physical failure on the drive, not a software issue. The drive was about a year old. Granted, this is a rare case, and purely anecdotal, and I realize it is not the norm. My point is that the potential is there for physical failures with hard drives. The potential risk is drastically lowered when dealing with solid state.

As you said, hard drives are more reliable than tape.
I think it's safe to say that solid state is more reliable that hard drives are.

Hard drive shooting is a bit more expensive than tape shooting (up front). Solid state may be a bit more expensive than hard drive shooting (up front).

In the end, I suppose it's just a question of how much reliability you are comfortable with.

I could be comfortable with a hard drive, but I would prefer solid state, and would be willing to pay the added cost (if there is any) to be able to use it. We may just agree to disagree on this one, I really think it just comes down to personal preference and comfort level.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 01:20 PM   #58
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Well, there's also the power consideration. Solid state recording requires significantly less power than hard disk recording.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of both. I was, and still am, a strong advocate for the FireStore.
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Old March 27th, 2005, 03:46 PM   #59
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My experience over 4 years of digital still photography as follows:

1GB CF compatible microdrives owned: 2
1GB microdrives failed: 2
period of field use: 1year, and 7months, respectively.

number of regular CF cards owned: 7
failures: 0
oldest card: 4 years.
much heavier usage than the drives ever got.
Also, the drives were handled very carefully, as I was afraid of them from the git go.

This is simply my experience.

Of course reliability is always improving, and most of the normal sized drives I have had experience with, have been reliable. My bad experiences have been with teeny drives. From what I understand, things like FireStore have performed very well,
but I have no personal experience on that.

The idea of recording on a little drive in the P2 slot kinda scares me. Recording to a flash card doesn't, as has proved repeatedly to me. Dumping or recording my footage to a drive in the field, so i can keep shooting the same card, falls somewhere in between.
I believe it has slipped that the camera definetly has firewire port, so maybe FireStore will be the way to go, as soon as they can support it. Others thoughts on the matter would be appreciated.

Keep in mind that my clients are my living, and so paranoia regarding the safety of footage is both reasonable and prudent.

Im looking forward to the new camera, and I personally believe that it will all work out, I just wish I knew a little more about how.

For example, as Im not the biggest computer geek out there.
The P2 literature states only windows compatibility, so how does that apply to FCP HD, and Macs? Im ready to get into FCP, but theres that little nagging voice thats saying " You don't know for sure about how its gonna work with the P2 cards."
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Old March 28th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #60
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Macs can read Windows file systems and can usually write to them as well, so reading a P2 card in a Mac will probably work straight out of the box.
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