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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 March 27th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #1
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Cheap Firestore alternative for the EX1?

I was wondering whether this device would work with the EX1:

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=370169

Theoretically at least you should be able to plug the device to the camera and transfer all the data to the external hard disk with the push of a button. The only catch is that you would have to stop filming. That is, unless you have the Sony external SxS card reader, a battery for the reader and a second card. Then you could even backup while filming continuously!

If this works then it would sure beat lugging a laptop around or spending so much on those cards! And with the external card reader plus battery it would be like having a Firestore, only for a fraction of the price.

But does it work? Has anyone tried this out?
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Old March 27th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #2
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This is just an external USB harddisk enclosue. The 2.5" disks (usually) are bus-powerd (no need for a poweradapter), this one aparantly also has a battery power pack. You have to add a 2.5" IDE disk to use it.

George/
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Old March 27th, 2008, 03:13 PM   #3
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O.K., so you need to add a drive inside... would it work, though?
If so, I think Atilio is on to something... Because frankly, I'm not looking forward to dragging a laptop around with me on a shoot (for one thing, I'm afraid of losing it; i.e. having it stolen)...
Malcolm
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Old March 27th, 2008, 10:56 PM   #4
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You might consider the recently announced EliteHD camera mounted DVR unit from Fast Forward Video which records JPEG2000 video to a hard drive via HD-SDI. XDCAM-EX support is specifically mentioned.

There's also the soon to be released Flash XDR from Convergent Designs which records MPEG-2 video (I-Frame or Long GOP) to cheaper Compact Flash cards via HD-SDI.

SG
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Old March 28th, 2008, 05:49 AM   #5
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Interesting stuff Steve! Especially since such recorders should provide an even better image quality than recording to the SxS cards. But neither product is available yet. The Convergent Designs recorder will be released in a couple of months and will have a price tag of $5000. Do you know when the Elite HD will be released and how much it will cost? Judging from the name I wouldn't expect it to be a bargain.

The point is: right now if a EX1 user wants to travel just with the camera and perhaps a tripod and at the same time be able to record, say, ten hours of footage, the only option for him/her is to buy a whole bunch of SxS cards... and spend about $10,000!

The mentioned harddisk enclosure with a 200 Gb disk could hold more than 10 hours of footage for under $100. Quite a difference, huh?
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Old March 28th, 2008, 12:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atilio Menendez View Post
I was wondering whether this device would work with the EX1:

http://www.scan.co.uk/Products/Produ...oductID=370169

Theoretically at least you should be able to plug the device to the camera and transfer all the data to the external hard disk with the push of a button...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Atilio Menendez View Post
...The mentioned harddisk enclosure with a 200 Gb disk could hold more than 10 hours of footage for under $100. Quite a difference, huh?
Sorry to say - no, this isn't going to work.

The reason is that the EX1 does not have an operating system, (we used to call it a DOS, a disk operating system), that will run an external hard drive via USB.

When you plug your EX1 into a computer, the computer sees the EX1 as an external drive, that's what the USB port is set up for.

There's a little more info in this thread.

Now if you could plug an external hard drive into an SxS slot... And the hard drive was fast enough... And the EX1 allowed it (it won't, per firmware discussions in this forum)... You'd at least be plugged into where the EX1 does manage storage.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 05:56 PM   #7
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Seth, you say that "the EX1 does not have an operating system, (we used to call it a DOS, a disk operating system), that will run an external hard drive via USB." Correct. I am aware of that.

Then you say that "When you plug your EX1 into a computer, the computer sees the EX1 as an external drive". Correct again. The computer is the host, the EX1 the guest. And that is precisely what the little device is designed to do, to act as a host for another hard drive. It has its own battery and "mini DOS" if you want to call it that way. According to the description on the linked web page, it works with all sorts of external media, digital cameras and camcorders. So the only question is: will it work with THIS camcorder?
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Old March 28th, 2008, 06:31 PM   #8
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I imagine it ought to work, assuming the EX1 does not require any special drivers and works as a standard mass storage device when connected through usb or has an SxS reader that is usb and is acts that way. But then i dont have experience with those pc-less transfer devices. ive seen other ones though that claim to be able to copy between all kinds of storage devices. those might be easier since you can have one host device and several inexpensive hard drives, or even use one with built in RAID1 for redundancy. Of course assuming this works, that still doesnt really let you record 10hrs of video straight, it just allows you to dump your SxS card to drives without a bulky computer. i suppose if you have two cards, it might let you keep recording continuously if you dump one card while the other is still going, as long as there is a way to format the card after dumping without having to stop recording. personally i might say invest in a UMPC since those are not bulky, can be had for much less than a firestore, have a lot of other uses, and definitely can transfer footage between devices and even its internal drive.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #9
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Yes, Noah, it won't let you record straight, just dump your footage. A UMPC is for sure nicer, and lets you check whether the dump has been successful or not. But the little hdd-enclosure is smaller than any UMPC and just £12! I will sure give it a try as soon as I get an EX1. I think that of the two options are worth a try before spending almost $1000 for a card which will store less than an hour of footage.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 07:39 PM   #10
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for important footage, though, you might want to consider a RAID or something. or at least copying twice to two different HDDs. BTW here is a link to one such device that would allow various hard drives and configurations to be used. http://www.aleratec.com/usbcocrplpa3.html (manufacturers website)

this would be a bit more modular, allowing the use of any kind of hard drive, multiple hard drives, etc. i dont know, however, if it has the ability to provide enough power for bus powered hard drives.
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Old March 28th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Atilio Menendez View Post
A UMPC is for sure nicer, and lets you check whether the dump has been successful or not
Sorry to have to ask... what is a UMPC?
thanks, malcolm
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Old March 28th, 2008, 10:46 PM   #12
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ultra miniature PC ?

For the EX1, you have to find if the camera is UMS compatible.
Devices which support this standard are referred to as MSC (Mass Storage Class) devices. While MSC is the official acronym, UMS (Universal Mass Storage) has become common as an online jargon. It means the device sticks to some standard that allows him to be seen as Mass storage without adding a special driver.
The gadget you mentioned above is probably relying on this standard.
The main problem could be the file system used by the EX1. For compatibilty, most UMS compatible devices are using FAT or FAT32.
the model you mentioned can only operate with drives using a FAT32 partition.
the write speed of this device is about 1.5gig/minute, so a 16 gig card will ask for 25-30 min transfert time, provided the camera in UMS mode is delivering that speed.
Currently when using Digital camera with Compactflash card (even the fastest ones at 40Mb/s), the speed is limited by the camera to a slow 4-5 Mb/sec. At that speed, a 16gig card would take several hours for backup....

there is no issue with drive size since you can find 2.5" drives up to 250gig.(but formatting a disk bigger than 32gig in FAT32 is not straight forward).
the problem is you will not be able to check if the transfer is ok or even what you have transferred. So you must be pretty confident in the tool to blindy erase a card without knowing if your data have been transferred or not.

Frankly as you said above, the price of this device is very low, so buy it , test it and if it is not working with the EX1 you still can use it as a regular USB disk for your laptop or a backup device for your digital still camera.

Last edited by Giroud Francois; March 28th, 2008 at 11:24 PM.
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Old March 29th, 2008, 07:19 AM   #13
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Noah, thanks a lot for the link, that little device is EXTREMELY interesting! Among other things it is a CF card writer/reader, so it could be all that you need to dump footage from the EX1 to CF cards, which are just as reliable as the SxS cards but MUCH cheaper... (and smaller too!)
Edit: The gadget even allows you to check if the transfer is ok and select specific files/folders to transfer.

So two questions remain:
1) Does it work at all?
2) How long does it actually take for the device to backup a SxS card?

I guess these questions can only be answered by actually testing the ting. I don't have an EX1 yet, but perhaps someone would like to do a little test? It would love to know that I won't have to spend so much on those ridiculously overpriced SxS cards!

Giroud, that's some useful information there. But there is something I don't understand. You state that "the write speed of this device is about 1.5gig/minute, so a 16 gig card will ask for 25-30 min transfer time." Shouldn't that be about 10 minutes?

You also state that digital cameras usually limit the transfer speed to 4-5Mb/sec. But in this case we know that the camera (the EX1) doesn't limit the transfer speed in that way since transfers per USB to a computer are quite fast.

So it all depends on the little device. If it works and is able to backup at, say, 4x realtime, then these are VERY good news for many of us!

Greetings,
Atilio.

Last edited by Atilio Menendez; March 29th, 2008 at 09:00 AM.
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