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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 23rd, 2008, 10:00 PM   #241
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Don't know.... As I mentioned, I only tested the Ultra II 4GB and the new 16GB Extreme III 30MB/s SDHC (Which I've been testing for over 6 days with no errors in all HQ modes.

Unless the 32GB Ultra II 15MB/s does not live up to their spec, I'm betting it will work flawless with all HQ modes.

As it stands now, both the Ultra II 4GB 15MB/s and the new Extreme III 16GB 30MB/s SDHC cards record all HQ modes with 40% data headroom to spare.
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 11:08 PM   #242
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Keith, I agree, It's Sony and how they are using the USB 2.0. These fast SDHC cards are fast enough to run the EX mode even at S&Q. Heck, we are able to overcrank 40 to 45 FPS of the max S&Q (60) FPS as it is now.

Based on my calculations the MAX data rate overcranking at 60FPS on 720 24P is 100mbps or 12.5MB/s. The Ultra II SDHC cards can sustain 15MB/s read and write.

Also, if Sony wrote the extra code needed for the new Extreme III to allow it to reach its 30MB/s data rate, this would be great. The Nikon D90 was designed to access the new Extreme III 30MB/s capability. I'm sure Nikon could easily program this in a firmware upgrade.
As we get a clearer picture of Sony's USB hard drive performance (or lack there of) and now these SDHC cards, it would seem that Sony has crippled the ExpressCard USB throughput. It is a safe bet to say that Sony is also watching the SDHC and Compact Flash cards leap forward in speed. At the end of the day, Sony and now JVC will naturally want to protect their SXS card revenue streams.

The only way to get around Sony's "imposed limitations" would be to hack the EX1/EX3 firmware. If computers, cell phones etc. can be hacked to achieve end-user satisfaction, surely these camera's can also. Radical perhaps, but is anyone up to the challenge?
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Old September 24th, 2008, 12:00 AM   #243
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Probably, preventing this is high on Sony's list of priorities. This, I suspect, is one reason that they aren't providing the firmware updates to the public and are requiring that a service center perform them.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 02:59 AM   #244
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The bottle neck may not be down to Sony. The kensington (and other) express card adapters have been around for a couple of years. They are cheap mass produced items that have a chip to translate the USB data to data that can be written to the card. It is likely that when the translator chips were designed memory cards were not as fast as they are now, so it could be that a large part of the issue is down to the translator chips. I expect that the SxS to USB adapter used by the PHU-60 hard drive uses a similar chip. Too be honest I'm not too bothered with S&Q. I have plenty of SxS cards and will continue to use SxS for all those jobs where you only get one chance to get the shot, or where I need S&Q.

Where low cost SD cards fit is for shoots where I need to hand over the rushes or where I can do a retake if needed. Now amazon are selling SxS cards and with JVC adopting them I am sure the price will continue to fall. When I got my first EX1 the 8Gb cards were nearly 600, now they are less than 300, a 50% reduction in just 9 months.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 04:05 AM   #245
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The bottle neck may not be down to Sony. The kensington (and other) express card adapters have been around for a couple of years. They are cheap mass produced items that have a chip to translate the USB data to data that can be written to the card. It is likely that when the translator chips were designed memory cards were not as fast as they are now, so it could be that a large part of the issue is down to the translator chips. I expect that the SxS to USB adapter used by the PHU-60 hard drive uses a similar chip.
Perhaps Sony didn't make a decision to 'hobble' it's Expresscard USB 2.0 speed, but the EX's don't seem to be taking advantage of the possible speeds available with the Expresscard adapters. The throughput required for maximum slomo is, what 12 or or 13 MB/second? We've measured even bargain SDHC cards in their Expresscard adapters at more than this, up to 20MB second through a computer's Expresscard USB 2.0 interface. Now perhaps an EX1 needs to do some things like reading some random bits while writing, and maybe the SDHC cards don't handle these random reads or writes very well and therefore fail at higher bitrates, but then it would seem that Sony's Expresscard-HardDisk solution should be able to do it as even 2.5" 4200RPM harddisks are much faster in transfer rate and random seeks than these cards.

In any case, I do agree with you, slomo is not used that often, and if we need it, we have our luxurious SxS cards available for that. This homegrown solution, however, does free us up to be able to carry a day's worth of media for what is used to cost to carry 1/2 hour's worth, and to jettison awkward and expensive offloading solutions. I'm going to enjoy not having to carry around my Macbook Pro to all my shoots to offload my SxS cards.

Now I just have to worry about losing these tiny SDHC cards!
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Old September 24th, 2008, 05:26 AM   #246
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indeed loosing SD cards is rather too easy :)
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Old September 24th, 2008, 07:10 AM   #247
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I'm not sure if the Kensington/SDHC will work in the Sony SxS reader which is PCIe based.
But, if someone has an expresscard slot on their PC, they could run the CrystalDiskMark to test the speed.

I'm willing to bet it will hit the 15MB/s SDHC speed. The bottleneck is Sony.
Portable hardrives have had data read and write rates over 20MB/s for a while now. Most are over 30MB/s.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 08:52 AM   #248
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don't forget that as well as writing the mpeg to the card Sony are also writing metadata at the same time. It's easy to write large single blocks of data but writing to multiple files at the same time is much harder and this will reduce the maximum achievable write speed.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 09:04 AM   #249
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True, but meta data is very small and is should be written once during each intitial record start. With the slower memory i've tested that has failed, it could run for a minute then fail writing data.

I would not be surprised if Sony did cripple the data rate for USB 2.0. This certainly explains why their own PHU-60K can't even support 13MB/s.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 10:05 AM   #250
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Well today i ordered the Sandisk 32GB Extreme 11 15MBs card and a kensington 7 in 1 adapter They should both be with me in the next few days.

I picked the card up from ebay at 88 ( cheapest I could find in the UK) and the Kensington for 12 from Amazon.

If it works ( and I don't see any reason why it shouldn't) I will buy another card and adapter and have nearly 4 hours of recording media in HQ without having to change out the cards.

All for 200. Never thought it woould all get so cheap so quickly.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 10:10 AM   #251
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Steve you meant to write SanDisk 32GB Ultra II 15MB/s, right? Not Extreme?

Let us know how it works.

Also, remember to try setting your EX1 to 720 24P S&Q ON at 40FPS.
Let us know if this works.

If so, the 32GB Ultra II are equal to the data rate (which it should be) of their 4GB Ultra II 15MB/a which I tested.
If it runs at 40FPS S&Q as outlined above, then that means there should be 40% data rate headroom above all HQ modes.

Please let us know.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 10:31 AM   #252
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Steve you meant to write SanDisk 32GB Ultra II 15MB/s, right? Not Extreme?

Let us know how it works.

Also, remember to try setting your EX1 to 720 24P S&Q ON at 40FPS.
Let us know if this works.

If so, the 32GB Ultra II are equal to the data rate (which it should be) of their 4GB Ultra II 15MB/a which I tested.
If it runs at 40FPS S&Q as outlined above, then that means there should be 40% data rate headroom above all HQ modes.

Please let us know.
Hi Steve sorry yes Ultra 11 15MBs. Had a horrible thought for a second I had ordered the wrong card but just checked and OK!

Hopefully it will be just as fast as the 16Gb but withy lots of extra capacity!
If these work fine with no hitches I will be selling 4 16Gb SXS cards on ebay in the next few weeks to get some money back.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #253
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I hear you there...
They are not cheap.

Keep at least one around for slo-mo effects..
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #254
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just my thought, will Sony release the next firmware and secretly block those Keningston and Lexar expresscard / adapor that we have tested so far in order to protect their SXS revenue?
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:47 PM   #255
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It's possible - but, you would have to send your camera in to have the software upgraded
which I would not.
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