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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 November 16th, 2007, 06:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I mentioned in another post that, with firmware upgrade, EX1 will also take much less expensive cards (which Sony will apparently certify)...
Why would Sony offer a firmware update that allows their competitors to cash in on their exclusive market? Anyway, I'm in favour of it!
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Old November 16th, 2007, 06:39 AM   #17
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Because selling more cameras is more important than selling more cards I would guess. Keep in mind there will certainly be advantages to using their's or Sandisk cards (faster xfer) but the cheaper cards will be there for those needing to buy a bunch for longer shoots or to hand to clients after the shoot. They want those folks to buy the camera too.

You can well ask why partner with Sandisk too. It seems Sony's strategy is different than Panasonic's P2 strategy. I think Sony is taking a very different approach than they did with their Memory Sticks.

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Why would Sony offer a firmware update that allows their competitors to cash in on their exclusive market? Anyway, I'm in favour of it!
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:06 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
Because selling more cameras is more important than selling more cards I would guess. Keep in mind there will certainly be advantages to using their's or Sandisk cards (faster xfer) but the cheaper cards will be there for those needing to buy a bunch for longer shoots or to hand to clients after the shoot.
Don't hold your breathe on this. The EX1 simply won't work with lower performance cards in overcrank modes.

Quote:
They want those folks to buy the camera too.
No they don't, they want "those people" to buy the HVR-S270U and its little brother.

Those cameras record HDV and DV to standard compact flash cards.

They can roll tape simultaneously and they can switch between them for very long running programs.

Quote:
You can well ask why partner with Sandisk too. It seems Sony's strategy is different than Panasonic's P2 strategy. I think Sony is taking a very different approach than they did with their Memory Sticks.
I think that they've seen the reluctance people have to buying into P2, and they want to avoid that by bringing costs down right away.

We'll see other third party manufacturers. They will all be cheaper than Sony cards- but it'll be a long while before SxS gets down to CF prices because of their very high performance.

If you are a shooter who needs to hand footage to a client at the end of the day, then look hard at the HVR-270U and its little brother (HVR-Z7u?)
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:13 PM   #19
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Even in overcrank mode you're only pushing 35Mb/s onto the card. On the market today there are plenty of compact flash cards that can support rates well in excess of that (SanDisk Extreme IV supports 320Mb/s).

Surely it shouldn't be too hard (and therefore inexpensive) to make a Flash-based ExpressCard that supports similar data-rates?
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Old November 16th, 2007, 04:17 PM   #20
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I've just read the SxS spec... They support transfer rates up to 800Mb/s... which is nice for offload (if you have drives and an interface that supports it), but not really necessary for this camera to work... surely?
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Old November 16th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #21
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Alexander, Juan Martinez' Power Point showed that a $190 8GB card might be a typical price for a certified card once the firmware upgrade happens.

The data rate is 35mbps VBR so as long as it can handle that I'm not sure how overcanking changes this. Granted I understand that there may be circumstances that a short spike in the data rate can go over 35mbps but generally I can't see why there'd be a an issue shooting 720p60. I have a hunch this is why Juan Martinez said the cards would be certified. He was quite clear NOT ALL CARDS would work but he said there certainly will be some that they believe will meet the specs.

While these cards may be more expensive than CF, the price differential between such "certified" cards and Sony/Sandisk cards should be significant.

$190 compared to $500 for an 8GB card is significant and realistic according to Sony.

What prices are you seeing on 8GB CF cards currently?

I'm seeing between $90 and $170 for 8GB CF.

Handing HDV tapes to a client??!!! That's a NIGHTMARE. Canon, Sony, JVC all have record modes that are incompatible with each other's cameras/decks.

Offload to laptop and burn DVD-R or DL-DVD for a client along with the Clip Browser and there's NO WORRY about deck compatibility. In fact the client doesn't need a deck AT ALL. You've handed them the MASTER FILES and you have a back on your laptop hard drive or you can burn a second set for yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Ibrahim View Post
Don't hold your breathe on this. The EX1 simply won't work with lower performance cards in overcrank modes.

No they don't, they want "those people" to buy the HVR-S270U and its little brother.

Those cameras record HDV and DV to standard compact flash cards.

They can roll tape simultaneously and they can switch between them for very long running programs.

I think that they've seen the reluctance people have to buying into P2, and they want to avoid that by bringing costs down right away.

We'll see other third party manufacturers. They will all be cheaper than Sony cards- but it'll be a long while before SxS gets down to CF prices because of their very high performance.

If you are a shooter who needs to hand footage to a client at the end of the day, then look hard at the HVR-270U and its little brother (HVR-Z7u?)
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Old November 16th, 2007, 06:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Alex Leith View Post
Even in overcrank mode you're only pushing 35Mb/s onto the card. On the market today there are plenty of compact flash cards that can support rates well in excess of that (SanDisk Extreme IV supports 320Mb/s).

Surely it shouldn't be too hard (and therefore inexpensive) to make a Flash-based ExpressCard that supports similar data-rates?
Please don't point out inconsistencies in the following statements to me, I'm just repeating what I was told.

According to a Sony "sales support engineer" they are actually handling way more data than that in overcrank modes, and thus they need a far faster card.

Although the spec for SxS is 800Mbps, the engineer told me that the main reason they specified it so high is to deal with potential fragmentation of the SxS card's FAT32 file system. They only "need" about 100Mbps, and spec'd up to 400Mbs for "margin."

I thought, like you, that the EX1 used 35Mbps VBR all the time, which even some very cheap CF cards can manage readily.

The good news, if this is true, is that the camera is recording lots of actual extra frames in the same file/compression structure as "regular" 24p or 30p.

That might be worth putting up with high priced media for.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 08:47 PM   #23
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Alexander, the 800mbps is the xfer speed not the write speed. Juan Martinez made it clear the first time I heard him mention support for other cards that the biggest difference will be in the xfer speed.

I suspect that the "certified" cards will be able to meet the write specs needed but will be much lower than the 800mbps xfer speed. I wouldn't doubt that the "certified" cards are ones that make the 100mbps spec but not the 800mbps spec.

Since he mentioned a firmware update, there'll probably be something that recognize the write speed to allow the card to be used in the EX1 at the time Sony can certify such cards.

I don't this has any impact on "overcrank" but will have significant impact on xfer speed.

I can't see how any cards will record extra frames though. They'll simply be slower xfer speeds for the data that's there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Ibrahim View Post
Please don't point out inconsistencies in the following statements to me, I'm just repeating what I was told.

According to a Sony "sales support engineer" they are actually handling way more data than that in overcrank modes, and thus they need a far faster card.

Although the spec for SxS is 800Mbps, the engineer told me that the main reason they specified it so high is to deal with potential fragmentation of the SxS card's FAT32 file system. They only "need" about 100Mbps, and spec'd up to 400Mbs for "margin."

I thought, like you, that the EX1 used 35Mbps VBR all the time, which even some very cheap CF cards can manage readily.

The good news, if this is true, is that the camera is recording lots of actual extra frames in the same file/compression structure as "regular" 24p or 30p.

That might be worth putting up with high priced media for.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #24
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Before I even go on, take this post with a grain of salt.

I haven't used these cameras in serious production, only at a trade show- and we all know what that can be like.

I am repeating what I was told by two Sony SSE's on separate occasions.

I didn't get to test or verify this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Seeman View Post
I suspect that the "certified" cards will be able to meet the write specs needed but will be much lower than the 800mbps xfer speed. I wouldn't doubt that the "certified" cards are ones that make the 100mbps spec but not the 800mbps spec.
800Mbps is the spec for reading. SxS must read at that speed. I can't say for certain if that is a peak or sustained specification. My talk didn't get that specific. I think its a sustained read speed though.

Why do I think that?

The sustained write speed is around 330Mbps. I'll be back to this.

Quote:
Since he mentioned a firmware update, there'll probably be something that recognize the write speed to allow the card to be used in the EX1 at the time Sony can certify such cards.
Well, its Sony, and we know their format track record. This thing is too good.

So how could they complicate this?

I suppose the could allow "tiers" of certification. The notion being that the tiers correspond to the various grades of tape.

So we may see SxS that can only be used for recording SP mode. Maybe any expresscard 34 flash drive would be allowed to work at this level.

We may see SxS that can record HQ mode.

We may see "Master Grade" SxS that can support overcranking.

For the record, I don't think we are going to any inanity of that sort.

I think there will be certified SxS that will support all the camera features- and that's it officially.

I'm coming back to this.

Quote:
I don't this has any impact on "overcrank" but will have significant impact on xfer speed.

I can't see how any cards will record extra frames though. They'll simply be slower xfer speeds for the data that's there.
Take a look at the specs for Sony's SR Motion system. One SSE specifically mentioned SR Motion for comparison. Of course that is a very high end product.

I think that the XDCAM EX series is offering a low end version of those capabilities.

If I am recording 60p for 1 second I get 60 frames in 35Mbits of data.

By comparison, if I am overcranking to 60p for 24p playback for 1 second I'll get 60 frames in 83Mbits of data. Exactly as if I'd recorded 24p for 2.5 seconds.

See the difference?

So, why specify over 300Mbps to manage 83Mbps?

FAT32 fragmentation.

With an "XDCAM" & "Cinealta" badged product Sony wants to assure the ability to record so long as there is space. Even on a highly fragmented SxS volume they need to sustain 83Mbps

So, their systems engineers estimated that they needed 160Mbps sustained write to get the job done on fragmented volumes. They doubled that for the specification to provide assurance that the media could meet the requirements.

So.. this would be an absolutely amazing feature if its true. Almost too good to be true.

Why do I lend it credence? Two SSE's told me the same story with lots of details that match up. Could they have been having me on? Sure. Could they have been misinformed by some third party? Sure.

I am going to believe it tentatively. I am trusting like that.

I am eager for someone to check this out specifically.

So back to non certified Expresscard flash drives. (I expect that only drives certified to work with XDCAM EX will be badged SxS)

There may be some ability to work with uncertified Expresscard 34 flash drives. Sony may throw us a bone on this because they want SxS to succeed wildly. They don't want to beat P2, they want to crush it so shamefully its mom will disown it.

It may not be supported, but lets face it- if we wipe our cards every time we take them out of the camera, fragmentation won't be an issue.

In that case even a fairly low spec card should work well enough for almost every camera function. The theory is that a card that can sustain a mere 200Mbps with no fragmentation should work perfectly.

If theory proves not to jive with reality and it doesn't work, or if it doesn't work well, well Sony warned you.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 04:58 AM   #25
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so, will somebody provide a CF adapter to tap into the CF connector and link to a raid CF adapter or an IDE 2.5 disk ?
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Old November 17th, 2007, 05:33 AM   #26
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Looks like a real backlog to be sorted and won't hold my breath on one this year.
Back to the original topic: I do not believe it is a real backlog, for me it looks like a hype generating trick sort of marketing game.

Tell you why. Obviously there is a number of units out for demonstration purposes worldwide. Many of us even had the chance to hold one in our hands for a while.
Are these all hand made unique mocks? I doubt. All the machinery for plastic and metal molding etc. must be in place. Same applies for the machinery producing the circuits. The software support went as far as having FCP support. It seems everything is in place apart from the stocks...?

Weird, right? Are they worst in logistics and cant keep a deadline with pre orders lining up? For me it seems they are pretty good in logistics as they provide us with answer to any issues popping up (Mac support for one).

Weird, if you will see (again) that Sony will come out with the EX around Xmas. Or EXmas if you like :)
Maybe they think around Xmas more people will be willing to buy it, mostly if the early adapters (those with pre orders) will create bigger noise before the holiday season.
I have seen it last year with the V1U. And maybe that time there was a good reason for Sony doing it. Remember the "which one is better choice" kind of debates between the V1U and Canon A1 camps, let alone HVX and others.

But now there is no serious competition around, EX created its new category, all they have to do is to open the tap and sell.

The market has identified itself:

1. superior over HDV? Yes, the format is approved by the big ones, like Discovery Channel. So HDV guys may have started saving up.
2. Superior over HVX? There is a debate, but it seems people leaning towards the EX.
3. is the price competitive? Yes, even vs HDV
4. good for wedding video? Yes, excellent low light
5. run and gun? Perfect
6. Indie films? At least as good as the HVX

So why the delay? I cant think of anything but Sony's misperception of the Western world: they can be conquered only around Xmas... :)
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Old November 17th, 2007, 06:44 AM   #27
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The word that I was given was that if you don't get one in the current reduced shipment then you'll be waiting until the next batch in February.
Having worked in manufacturing I can understand how this happens to some extent. The production schedule allocates so much time to build X units. If there's time overrruns the quantity produced gets cut back and as this was the first run the estimated time to build could have been off or there were yield problems in say the optics or whatever.
Certainly what you don't do is keep the line making one product to meet quantity while the overall schedule falls apart for everything else. Sony seems to build large batches usually or for high end kit builds subassemblies.
The explaination might be something else altogether of course. Maybe they decided to cutback the initial release to just the early adoptors in case we find problems. We're generally more willing to work through bugs and more tolerant of things having issues.
Or maybe there's still more features to be added via firmware updates and Sony wanted to limit the number of units that'll have to be updated in the field. Again those of us who rush to order the latest toys tend to be a bit more tech savvy.
Probably we'll never know the real reasons but somehow I don't see an EX1 as a stocking stuffer, not that I'd mind Santa giving me one but I was told as a child not be greedy or Santa wouldn't give me anything.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 07:14 AM   #28
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Back to the original topic: I do not believe it is a real backlog, for me it looks like a hype generating trick sort of marketing game.

Weird, if you will see (again) that Sony will come out with the EX around Xmas. Or EXmas if you like :)
Maybe they think around Xmas more people will be willing to buy it, mostly if the early adapters (those with pre orders) will create bigger noise before the holiday season.

So why the delay? I cant think of anything but Sony's misperception of the Western world: they can be conquered only around Xmas... :)
Well I don't think it is a marketing game when you have someone call up offering you 4.5k sterling for a product when that person will go elsewhere with the chance of getting it.

Sony are not waiting for christmas....this isn't an action man for £20 here, this is a pro product that semi pros or pros will buy. That decision to buy is not dependant on seasonal cheer.
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Old November 19th, 2007, 10:57 AM   #29
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So...one came in...one went out....one person in the UK will have one tomorrow for sure...
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Old November 19th, 2007, 02:52 PM   #30
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what do you mean?
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