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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 May 24th, 2009, 05:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
Well, I'm not sold on Louis' argument about the need for the more expensive Raw cards, but I must admit I find Jamie's response less than compelling and frankly a little insulting to Louis.
Leonard

We are all entitled to our own opinions and allthough I disagree with yours, Im not going get too sensitive about it and begin feeling insulted or get too dramatic about it!

Cheers

Jamie
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Old May 24th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #17
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Jamie,

I don't have any problem with strident disagreements or any of your opinions. They were well stated and perfectly valid. I'm skeptical myself. However I think its important to show respect for company representatives when they join our forum. Their input is valuable and its to be expected that they have a slant.

This is a recurring issue on all these forums and periodically a moderator will appear to remind people not to cross the line. In some cases threads have been deleted.

In my opinion "Thanks for the pitch" crossed well over that line. In fact Sony has made the same "pitch" about the reliability of their cards, but its a legitimate argument. I also recall threads being deleted here for criticism of Sony in the past.

Advertisers pay for these forums. Make it personally unpleasant and they will leave taking the forum with them.

By the way I welcome Louis to describe in more detail what kind of QC or standards differentiate their cards. The recent failure of Sandisk cards unfortunately makes me worried about all of them. On a gut level I trust that Sony has put a lot of effort in making these cards reliable as they have an entire product line based on it. So I'd like to feel that same confidence about the SDHC cards. Most users share those same concerns.

Lenny Levy
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Old May 24th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #18
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Well stated, Lenny. And it would still be nice to have some specs regarding the better failure rate of the hoodman raws. I'd be willing to pay double for them if they really did give better peace of mind.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 05:07 PM   #19
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No problems Lenny.

Allthough I dont believe I crossed any lines in calling a pitch a pitch, I accept your points without reservation.

Have a good day!

Cheers

Jamie
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Old May 26th, 2009, 06:18 AM   #20
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Just to point something that you have maybe not heard of:

It seems that a lot of fake Sandisk cards are being sold out there in the net, just do a quick google with "fake sandisk" to read some testimonials and photos comparing fake and original cards.

It's getting really hard to tell fake from original cards, because the design of the stickers and packaging is such a barefaced copy of the original Sandisk products that nobody would notice it without comparing with a real card.

I would be good to know if users having troubles with Sandisk cards have in fact being faced with those fake things.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 06:53 AM   #21
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Confirmed. And not only fake; also some "real" things from Sandisk do not seem to keep the standards (some people assess the failing units ratio to be as high as several percent).
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Old May 26th, 2009, 08:14 AM   #22
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Piotr--does it matter that the Hoodman's are class 6 and the ones Marek offers are class 4?

Suppose it will become moot when the sdxc cards come on the market.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 09:29 AM   #23
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Re Mike's question about class 6 vs 4. I gather that it doesn't matter re: recording, but what about download speed? Will class 6 cards download faster?

Also what kind of download speeds are people getting and does it matter if you use a USB adapter directly with the SDHC or use the MxR adapter in yout card slot.

I tried a sandisk card and got 1G/min using the adapter in my expresscard slot vs. 2 Gs/min with SxS. Using a radio shack "Targus" USB adapter it was slower, closer to .66G/min.
That's on a Macbook Pro. Does that sound right or can I get fster downloads. This is all; new to me with a borrowed card. I've asked hoodman the same question BTW.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 12:33 PM   #24
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Leonard,
In theory, the class 6 should be faster for write/read, for Sony EX camera the write is max out. However, the read will be faster.

You got 1G/min => 15 minutes to read (transfer) a 16 gb SDHC card is very good. Typical it will take 20 minutes for the adapter I have been using. (previously 2 other usb cards would take 30 minutes for 16gb).
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:25 PM   #25
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Class 6 Vs Class 4

If you can believe anything you read on the internet then I've read something that would indicate that one difference between Class 6 and Class 4 is in the wear levelling algorithm.
Wear levelling I also read is an issue as these cards are FAT32 and the FAT has to be written to a fixed location. Without smarts in the SD cards they'll wear out very quickly. Also these cards use ECC to handle failing cells. Presumably as these two algorithms kick in performance has to suffer and both will be doing more work as the cards are used more.
From my own experience with USB thumb drives not all are exactly the same. I've found at least one brand that would not let me boot Linux off it, major frustration trying to update a camera's software. Changed brand and the boot loader worked first go. Both cards work perfectly otherwise.

I'd also throw into this mix the considerable dramas Panasonic had with their P2 cards and corrupted clips. Final result seems to have been OSX was messing with something on the cards. I find that hard to believe without more details. At the same time Hoodman were going to build P2 cards at a competing price point but that seems to have not happened.

Several days ago I put a Sandisk / MxR empty combo into the EX1 and it tells me the media needs to be restored. No media on the card, all clips had been deleted. Previously the same card went into the EX1 with no error. This is troubling, what changed, card mounts OK, take card out, leave for a few days, try to mount again and problem. I'd done nothing to the card in the interim.

Also worth a mention that the EX's USB card interface is designed to work with a HDD recorder. HDDs are very different devices to flash memory, they don't use wear leveling, they do use ECC but they also have signficant RAM caches.

I'll gladly give Hoodman USD1,000 to replace all my SDHC cards if they can backup their claims by demonstrating that they have analysed what the EX cameras are doing and their cards will be 100% dependable in this specific application. I'm not concerned about 100% reliability. Anything can and will fail, even Sony's SxS cards, no matter how well built, I am very concerned about how dependable the design is in this specific application.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 09:43 PM   #26
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Bob,
Could you place that as an email to Lou Schmidt directly? I have no idea at all what your talking about, but it sounds meaningful, and his reaction would be valuable.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:22 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
Bob,
Could you place that as an email to Lou Schmidt directly? I have no idea at all what your talking about, but it sounds meaningful, and his reaction would be valuable.
Email sent. Lou probably doesn't have the answers at his fingertips, he may well have already read our concerns and is trying to get the answers for us.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #28
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Reply from Lou.

One of the most detailed replies I've ever received, I'm quoting it here with his permission as I believe it is of value to all of us. I had included an addition question in reply to a previous email from Lou, I include it only to avoid confusion over some of his comments:

Quote:
"Information indicates that your SDHC cards are using MLC flash memory and are not the same quality as your CF cards which use SLC?"
Lou's reply follows:

Quote:
Hi Bob,

For some reason my reply is still floating in cyberspace... operator error on my part I am sure... sorry for the delay... I will respond to your comments in the order presented...

That report was to show that Sony's ICE Team member- Curtis Pair has run the system and loves it. Over 50,000 hours of successful recording on EX camcorders has been logged world wide since the Australian launch of the product concept... At NAB all of the Sony ICE Team members sent customers over to our Hoodman booth... the low priced option for memory helped Sony sell more EX cameras.

SLC/MLC to our dismay, no one builds a controller for SLC in 4GB or larger SDHC capacities. MLC is the only option we have. Our 2GB SD cards are still SLC and are a great value to still photographers but obviously too small for video use. To build our own SLC controller has about a $6,000,000 breakeven point... no one is willing to pay the extra cost for SLC in the SDHC market...

Class 6 is faster at reading and writing than class 4... if you Google SDHC speed class ratings you will get the following data:
SD Speed Class Ratings
SD Cards and SDHC Cards have Speed Class Ratings defined by the SD Association. The SD Speed Class Ratings specify the following minimum write speeds based on "the best fragmented state where no memory unit is occupied":[6]
• Class 2: 2 MB/s - 13x
• Class 4: 4 MB/s - 26x
• Class 6: 6 MB/s - 40x
SD and SDHC cards will often also advertise a maximum speed (such as 133x or 150x) in addition to this minimum Speed Class Rating. One critical difference between the Speed Class and the maximum speed ratings is the ability of the host device to query the SD card for the speed class and determine the best location to store data that meets the performance required. "Maximum speed" ratings are quoted by the manufacturers but unverified by any independent evaluation process.
Wear leveling is not an issue with speed class. If the controller installed in the SDHC card has wear leveling built in, your card will wear level... a slight slowing in speed does take place with wear leveling. The controller we choose to use, supports zone-based wear leveling. Even with the slight slowing that wear leveling causes... our cards qualify for speed class 6.

We spent a huge amount of resources on the P2 project. Then EX cameras were launched and we felt that the express card format would be a better direction for future efforts... The SxSxSDHC system has proven the wiser choice for Hoodman.

Trouble shooting the Sandisk situation can be difficult... there are so many variables that can cause the problems... back tracking what you did with the card prior to ejecting it from the EX and downloading on your computer ... Does the Sandisk card work in other cameras or can you read the files on your computer? You can also check the pickups on the SDHC card and try to make sure you have a good fit... If you have not been able to get that particular Sandisk card to work, in your adapter will other cards work? You might send it back to Sandisk or if you want a quicker solution, you can send it to me at Hoodman and we can check it out for you. We have a FAQ section on our website that may help with procedures... for instance we noticed that it is best to eject the whole adapter from the EX camera and then eject the SDHC cards... Breaking the SDHC memory link while the RAW SxSxSDHC adapter is still in your camera may cause the camera not to recognize the new memory and will require you to eject the RAW SxSxSDHC adapter and reinsert the system complete with SDHC memory on board.
Hoodman Corporation

I encourage you to research your local camera store and ask about card failures. You can also search memory card failures on line...

Ex forums are not going to know much about failures yet because they just started using SDHC cards...
This is what I said in my first posting with regard to memory card failures:
It is learning curve for EX users saving a few dollars on memory... It will catch up with them. I encourage you to check out what top professional still photographers, who have had other brands fail on them, have to say about Hoodman RAW memory... you will find that pros who have been around long enough, do not view memory as a commodity. You will find the websites and emails of the pro photographers that you can email and ask yourself what their experience has been with memory over the past 10 years.
Pro testimonials... Hoodman Corporation
Hoodman RAW SDHC memory cards are guaranteed to work with the RAW SxSxSDHC adapter in EX1 and EX3 applications. All the technical research that shows how things should work on paper will never replace the in-field reports that a system works or it does not work. The Sony ICE guys say the SxSxSDHC system works. Over 7000 pieces are in the field... All working ... except for the occasional memory card failure (not a Hoodman RAW memory card failure) Over 50,000 hours have been recorded world wide. We do not sell a RAW memory card with each adapter we sell... We are happy to give the customer what he wants... we do feel obligated to inform our customers that their learning curve about mass merchant memory cards will take place. We only attempt to save them the pain of having to go through the learning curve.
My thanks to Lou for taking the time to write such a detailed reply.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 10:20 PM   #29
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And in this ring Ladies and Gentleman Lou's response to my questions yesterday:


Q. I was hoping you could give me any more information about what makes your cards different and more reliable that the mass produced versions. Is it simply quality control, different materials, etc. I notice one of your testimonials said they were actually heavier - is that accurate?

A. Components and Quality Control are the two variables that you have to work with to make trouble free memory. We only use Samsung Flash-Speed class 6 and SMI controllers.... you can buy cheaper, slower, Flash and less reliable controllers to save money... We use the best components available to build our RAW memory cards. The Build is where the QC comes into play... The job setters know that reliability is of huge importance... since we do not have production pressure to produce 100,000 cards at a time... we can stay on top of the machinery... tweeking so that we build better cards than mass merchant card makers can afford to build. Each RAW memory card goes through $5,000,000 worth of testing equipment three seperate times throughout the production process. It takes time to do all the testing and time is money as we all know well. [We are members of the] Pro Photo Dealer Channel... you get kicked out of pro camera stores because of card failures.

(Lou sent me a list of pro camera shops in my area that were members of the Pro Photo Dealer Channel and suggested I call them to ask about card failure rates. A good idea I thought.)

Q 2. I have read reports of the write protect tabs breaking on Sandisk and Transcend cards recently. Have you had that problem at all?

A. We have received 3 cards in 4 years from customers with write protect tabs broke off. One drawback to SDHC formats is that the cards are delicate because of their small size. Most damage done to SDHC cards is from people placing the cards in their pockets and sitting on them or bumping their pockets into the something... keeping the memory cards in the adapters or their jewel cases eleviates those issues. You can bend an SDHC card and break solders. Forcing an SDHC card upside down into a camera can break the card. You can run the SDHC card over with your car and that will kill it too. SDHC cards are delicate and need to be treated with care... Our cards are guaranteed for life... if the card is broke in two you void the waranty. The flash and the controller will not fail on RAW cards.
>
Q 3. How long have you been making the 16G cards?

A. We have been making memory cards for 4 years now... 16 GB SDHC cards went into production... in April of 2008. We have a top knotch manufacturing partner that has been in Silicon Valley producing memory cards since 1991. >

Q 4. I'm interested in whether I need to plan on getting an extra Raw expresscard card adapter just to download cards to my laptop. To determine that I recently tested the Sandisk Ultra II class 4 cards on my Macbook Pro in an M&R adapter and they downloaded noticeably slower than my SxS Sony cards do. (about 1 G /min vs. 2G/min for SxS) It was even about 30% slower running the SDHC card through a USB adapter.

Do your cards download any faster and if so is that because they are class 6 or is it because your cards are designed to be faster?

A. Our RAW memory cards come with an SDHC to USB 2.0 reader bundled together... a $20 value for free. Your express card slot in your computer will be faster so you might want to have that option for your downloads.

You will find that class 6 cards download about 30% faster than class 4 cards.

Q 5. Is it any faster to download through the USB card adapter you sell, and is that adapter any different from the many SDHC to USB adapters out on the mass market.

A. For SDHC cards both readers that we offer... the free one and our UDMA reader will download SDHC cards at the same rate... your express card slot will be your key to speeding up downloads.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 10:32 PM   #30
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OK now here's my experience this afternoon. I've just upgraded my firmware and have been testing with a friend's borrowed M&R adapter with a Sandisk 16G Ultra II card. He has had no problems and in my tests I hadn't until today.

Yesterday I tested the card in my camera and recorded 14.5 G of info and tried various ways to download to test dpwnload speeds. There was good footage on the cards. All was fine.

Today I brought the card with 14.5G already recorded to a job with my producers EX-1 with the new firmware. I wanted to show him he could use the SDHC option.

I put in the card and it showed 2 min remaining available time (fine). I recorded a shot then went to look at it in playback - Uh Oh the playback only showed me the new shot, not the previous 14.5 Gigs!.. I tried it again, tried it in clip browser - tried it in XDCAM Transfer. Nothing sees the other shots! The card however is full and the finder does show over 15G on it. ( actually I haven't looked in the BPAV folder now that I think of it.)

I'm trying to think if I did anything weird. I may have removed the SDHC card from the adapter while in the camera. its also possible that I ejected the card from my laptop without hitting command E on the Mac. Also I did not remember to hit the write protect tab on the SDHC card like I would on an SxS card so I may have damaged the info. The camera has not said media needs to be restored though. I also have not put it back into the camera that the misisng files were shot in yet.

This is spooking me though.
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