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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old September 6th, 2007, 10:24 AM   #1
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Expresscard or Expresscard Pro?

This may be too early in the game to know but does the XDCAM EX need to have the expresscard pro cards to operate?

Or can it use the normal expresscard?

The brochure introduces the expresscard pro, but the specs say expresscard.

The pro version is pretty expensive: 16gb for 700 euros.

There is a 32gb normal expresscard on Newegg for $479 us.

Quite a difference there!
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Old September 6th, 2007, 11:07 AM   #2
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I believe they're the same, however with the word "pro" comes certain "guarantees" of performance and longevity. Like CF for DSLR's I don't doubt that any Expresscard will work with the EX, what I do doubt however is a guaranteed level of speed and data integrity ratio.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #3
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Sony made a presentation at DVExpo East (NYC) a few weeks back which mentioned that there were two card types. I believe they said that the standard "non pro" variant could be found for about $200 for 16GB but the main difference would be xfer speed. Of course they didn't mention anything about file corruptiion issues but if the slower cheaper ones are otherwise reliable then that might be the route to go if you need to hand a client a "tape" after the shoot.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 07:46 PM   #4
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I checked the expresscard at newegg and it is only 8MB/S (64 Mbit/s) writing speed. Expresscard pro is about 100MB/S (800 Mbit/s). It is about 11 times faster but I don't think you need that much speed for recording 35Mbit/s (4.3MB/S) on PDWEX1. Regular expresscard should be fine for recording but uploading is going to be very very slow compare to pro version. Ex1 comes with an USB2 reader and USB 2 is limited to 480 Mbit/s. To get the full speed, I think a Firewire 800 reader is necessary.

check this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbps
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Old September 6th, 2007, 10:17 PM   #5
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Bora, interesting info. Sony didn't mention exactly what the speed difference was but did say it was significant. They did say the slower cards would work though.

It'll be interesting to see where pricing goes on the slow cards compared to Pro over then next few months. The slow cards may well get closer to solving the "tape" issue for shooters who need to hand something over to the client.

Even with DV tapes I'd get clients who's next job was to find a way to play back that tape if they didn't at least have a consumer DV camera to use. With the Express card they may be able to playback the clips with a recent laptop.

Which brings me to the next point. I believe the fastest transfer speeds will be with computers (e.g. laptops) with Express slots like MacBooks or Sony Vaios. It would be nice to desktops with built in Express slots.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 10:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for your help.

The slower cards mights be a good option if it allows one to buy more storage.

The last thing you want to happen is to run out of storage space on a gig!
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Old September 6th, 2007, 11:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bora Yenal View Post
Regular expresscard should be fine for recording but uploading is going to be very very slow compare to pro version.
I saw one review which said the read speed on standard Expresscard memory is several times faster than the write speed, so maybe transfer to a computer wouldn't be too bad. Plus not only are you limited by the maximum bandwidth of your transfer connection, but also the maximum sustainable write speed of the receiving transfer device. Most single hard drives can't sustain more than ~30-50 MB/sec write speed anyway, so anything faster than that on the Expresscard could be wasted unless you're transferring to a good RAID setup.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 11:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bora Yenal View Post
I checked the expresscard at newegg and it is only 8MB/S (64 Mbit/s) writing speed. Expresscard pro is about 100MB/S (800 Mbit/s). It is about 11 times faster ...
Your comparing read speed to write speed. Sony state the cards can read at 100MBps, the NewEgg card writes at 8MBps, however it reads at 18MBps. Slower, to be sure, but not 11 times, more like 5.5 times. Sony do not state the cards writing performance (there is little advantage to the writing performance being a lot over 35Mbps (4.4MBps) though you need some tolerance.

Some may be able to afford and use the very high speed Sony sticks, many (like me) will not and just want to be able to not stress about running out of Flash on a shoot.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 12:01 AM   #9
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I guess we're all waiting to see what price SanDisk will do with this format.

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Old September 7th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #10
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So has anyone actually heard confirmation on whether the EX will be able to use regular express cards?

The Sony Australia brochure states pretty explicitly that SxS cards are 'the' media that the camera records to, and at roughly the same price as P2 they aren't as appealling as I had hoped.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 04:06 AM   #11
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The PDF brochure simply says under "Media Slot", "ExpressCard compatible"
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Old September 7th, 2007, 04:34 AM   #12
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See what Simon has to say on this; sounds promising:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showpost....33&postcount=7

Looks like much is depending on the policy Sony adopts (and of course on real differences between the pro and regular cards, which we cannot know yet, apart from what specs are saying).
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Old September 7th, 2007, 08:10 AM   #13
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It is my take that all of the Sony literature "suggests" the use of Expresscard Pro because they want you to buy their proprietary product.

This looks like one of those 'run it by legal' to imply something but not exactly say it.

Just looking at the profit margin in selling a 16gb expresscard for $950 usd, they would enjoy your business.

Lets hope they give the option (looks like it) to use the normal variant cards.

It would be a new look for Sony, which would be refreshing.
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Old September 7th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Kenfield View Post
So has anyone actually heard confirmation on whether the EX will be able to use regular express cards?
According to the Sony rep at IBC, no, it is exclusively SxS. If you have direct questions you want asked, go to ibc.mikkowilson.com and send Mikko a text message. He's reporting live from the show floor and will try to get your question asked and answered on his news feed.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 12:08 AM   #15
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Thanks Barry, I feared as much. At least recording times are reasonable on the cards, hopefully some third-party manufacturers go after this market segment and those card prices come down a little. (though from the sounds of it, two 16Gb cards would suffice for a day's shooting)
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