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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 January 13th, 2009, 08:51 AM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted OMalley View Post
Those of you who have the firmware upgrade...Can you still shoot on SDHC (MxR) fine?
I am taking my camera in today. Will report back.
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Old January 13th, 2009, 09:36 AM   #92
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Andy,

I appreciate it. I'd like to get my camera sent in soon, but not at the cost of losing the ability to record to SDHC.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:42 AM   #93
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Good news Ted. I got my EX3 firmware flashed (upgraded) on January 13th, from what was in the camera, version 1.02 to the new version, 1.03 and the camera has worked flawlessly since. I have put about 4 hours of record time on the camera using the SxS cards for the first 10 minutes and then SDHC cards using the Kensington adapter in one slot and the Delkin in the other. The SD cards I was using were the Sandisk Ultra 2 16gigers in both slots.

I wasn't horribly systematic or exhaustive in the way that I tested but I tried to go through torture tests and typical kinds of shooting that would cause the SDHC cards to fail.

The test probably most are interested in is the overcranking one. I shot as 720/24p at 48 frames several times without incident and then shot at 60 frames and it puked after a couple of minutes. All very typical from what we have experienced in the past using the SDHC cards. All this was done at the Sony Service Center before I left with the recently flashed EX3.

Since then, both that evening and today I have done about four hours of run & gun kind of shooting and it behaved well. No dropouts or media errors. I brought the material into Final Cut and see no aberations beyond codec limitations.

I am confident Sony has not compromised the ability to use SDHC cards with the USB/Express Card adapters and have no regrets about doing the firmware upgrade.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 06:59 AM   #94
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Thanks Andy for the update. All good to know :-)

Interestingly, on another thread on here someone posted that "Sony East Coast USA" are apparently not discussing the existence of this new Firmware with customers - but we all now know otherwise.....Very strange!
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #95
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Here's part two of what I have to report.

I had two illuminating conversations with people at Sony Canada. One calling in to find out about the existence of the firmware and do some general recon in order to determine the amount of risk I was placing my camera in when getting the firmware update. Like pretty much everyone here, although people are not saying much, we don't want the firmware to sqaush the ability to use SDHC cards for garden variety shooting needs.

Well in my first chat with someone in technical services I asked them about the firmware update and what sort of bug fixes the software was going to fix. He paraphrased the techsheet they had on the firmware (version 1.03, issued December 24th, 2008) update stating it was going to address the focus response when MF assist was engaged and deal with a bug relating to the IR Remote when the + button is used. So I said "Does the firmware update remove the ability to use the SD card hack?" Without missing a beat he said "No!" He moved on immediately to speaking about something else but later on he qualified his statement by saying it wasn't on the bug fix list. Finally I asked the gentleman if there was a charge for the firmware upgrade and he said "No not for bug fixes."

At that point I decided I was going to do it as I was in an adventurous mood and I had a potentially long shoot coming up where the camera would be on without pause for a few hours with lots of moving in and out on subjects talking in a panel/forum format. As you can imagine that is an ideal situation for the focus ring to lock up after half an hour of shoot time.

So I managed the following business day to get in touch with someone at Sony Canada on the West Coast where I live to arrange taking the EX3 in for the upgrade. I explained that I lived on an island and would ideally like to get the camera firmware flashed the same day I brought it in as it would take a lot of time and money for me to shuttle back and forth a couple of times to do this. They said "No problem. The EX3 firmware update is a priority for us so we intend to offer people same day turnaround service on this as long as people can phone in advance to set up a day. You have to bring it in first thing though as it takes a few hours to do the whole process." I then asked if there was a charge for this and that individual said "No it will be done free of charge for this update."

Next day. I phone in at 9:30 and leave a voicemail with my contact and arrive around 10:45, signed the paperwork and was told to come back towards the end of the day but it might be done around 2:30 pm. I went jonesin' around some of my favorite stores ended up in music department first checking out some sweet grand pianos & synths and then some sheet music. At that point I was getting quite bummed as I was looking at some Debussy... just shaking my head at the level of difficulty when my phone rings! "Your camera is ready for pickup!" I look at my watch. It's around 1 pm.

I beetle out and thank the receptionist profusely while I am furioiusly jamming in SD cards into the slots wondering if the cameras stealth ability has been nuked. "Do you mind if I just test out the camera here in the foyer, just to make sure the firmware took properly?" "No problem. Go ahead. I did the overcranking as I mentioned in the previous post and was convinced by the similarity of the way it was responding that all was well and I could leave.

I phoned back a few minutes later to talk to the individual and thank them for the level of service they had brought forward and they had done the right thing as there were/are a fair number of EX3 owners who are upset about the focus issue. That person agreed but carefully navigated around talking about that specific issue (can't blame them). I stated that the other reason I was calling back was to get some really clear answers on Sony Canada's position on the "free" nature of this upgrade and that my intention was to post this information on an EX3 forum that many/most of the EX3 owners internationally read. She said that Sony Canada has made a formal decision to do this upgrade at no cost to the owner and that it is a priority. Meaning in the West Coast office that they will do the upgrade as quickly as is possible as long as arrangements are made in advance so they can accomodate our schedules be they short or whatever. I repeated myself asking if it was OK for me to state this publicly and the answer was "Yes."

I mentioned that other Sony divisions in other countries were not following this course and I commended the individual that Sony Canada is doing the right thing in keeping these kind of customers happy. I also said making it a priority was smart due to the focus issue as I am sure Sony doesn't want this problem hanging around.

Finally, and it should be obvious to most. The camera has to go into one of Sony's service depots. In Canada there are only 3. One in Montreal, one is Toronto and the other in Coquitlam, a burb of Vancouver.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:13 PM   #96
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Can someone enlighten me please about this issue - I have never encountered it yet (after 3 months of operation) but I always keep the focus in full manual mode (no MF assist) and have never used macro. On top of this I always shoot quite short shots, never exceeding 15 minutes in length at any one time. However I will be having a shoot very soon of over 1.5 hours of continuous shooting - without pausing.

Is this scenario a possible situation where I may encounter this issue? Thanks
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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:24 PM   #97
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It is debatable Brian (check previous posts you will see several setting scenarios where the issue has occurred) but I would say "yes" to your question.

I have never used MF assist and I had it lock up on me 3 times on long shoots just like what you describe.

Last edited by Andrew Stone; January 15th, 2009 at 01:30 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #98
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Andy could you kindly indicate whether it locked up for you every time you had a long shoot or did it lock up for you on 3 times out of a number of long shoots? Basically I am trying to see whether it is an erratic symptom or a guaranteed symptom if one exceeds a certain recording time.

Since I rarely shoot for long times I'm not eager to send my camera away for an upgrade - hence I need to have a clear picture on the probability of encountering such a problem in my case. thanks
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:54 PM   #99
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Not every time and with an inconsistent frequency. In all instances I was not using macro or MF assist.

How I have managed with it since the problem became evident was to switch the camera off for a few seconds and then turn it back on during a redundant or off topic comment. I would use a cutaway audience shot or a dissolve to deal with the edit.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:12 PM   #100
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Mr. Stone, thank you for your detailed brief. Itīs indeed appreciated. Hopefully your EX-3 will perform as it should from now on :-)

Best,
-terje
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #101
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Andy, can you please pass along the phone number that you called for the update. Vancouver is about the same distance from my location as is Toronto. Thanks!
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Old January 15th, 2009, 07:46 PM   #102
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Barry I just sent you an email via the DVinfo forum tools. Let me know if you didn't get it.

Just so we are clear I will not post phone numbers of contact people at Sony on live on the internet. If you live in the mid-west or in western Canada send me an email by clicking on my name and the contextual menu will give you the ability to email me and I can steer you in the right direction.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 08:36 AM   #103
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Nothing came through. This is the third time, I've tried to PM folks on DVinfo and for whatever reason, it simply does not work. Can you kindly PM me at [] Cheers!

Last edited by Barry J. Anwender; January 16th, 2009 at 10:32 AM.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #104
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Email sent Barry. Might want to remove your email address before a spam bot picks it up.
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Old January 16th, 2009, 11:24 AM   #105
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I've tried to PM folks on DVinfo and for whatever reason, it simply does not work.
That's because we don't have a PM system on DV Info Net. Just use email for things you don't want to post to the message board.
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