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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 21st, 2009, 12:32 PM   #46
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Bob, I don't think that the sloppiness of the DIT is an indictment of SxS cards. Those files would be JUST as lost if they had been shot onto SD cards and the DIT failed to copy them properly. So, your argument is invalid. Thanks for playing.
The implication being that if you have SxS cards you might not have enough of them to complete a days shooting. So you are forced with the choice of offloading and formatting the card on location. This is not ideal.

With SDHC you have no excuse at all for not having enough cards. I cleared 6 16gb SDHC cards in one day a few weeks back. In SxS terms that's about 3 grands worth of card you'd need to be carrying with you just for that shoot.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 01:05 PM   #47
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You're absolutely right, Marcus. And in a perfect world, I'd own enough SxS cards to cover any shooting situation. But, I don't. So, I got my MxR/SDHC combos with the intent to have reserve recording time available to me in the event that I could not schedule time to offload files during a "paid" shoot. If this was just a hobby for me, I'd buy nothing but SDHC cards. The only real problem I've had with the "offloading during the shoot" idea has been the Shotput software. I really truly wanted that software to be the safe way for me to offload, make multiple copies and prep the SxS cards for reuse, but the way I was treated by those people (Imagine Products) was insulting and shameful, to say the least. So, I use the ClipBrowser with CRC turned on. Oh well, life moves on.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 05:40 AM   #48
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Bob, I don't think that the sloppiness of the DIT is an indictment of SxS cards.
No, but it is an indictment of a workflow which forces a "copy and erase" step. It's easy to be critical of the DIT, but wiping the wrong card is an accident waiting to happen. Same for P2.
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Those files would be JUST as lost if they had been shot onto SD cards and the DIT failed to copy them properly. So, your argument is invalid. Thanks for playing. .
Not at all - because after copying the SD cards don't need to be wiped - they stay as their own backup. So Bobs argument is spot on. (And the cost saving of not needing a DIT may go far towards paying for enough SDHC cards.)

I'm old enough to remember the arguments when seat belt wearing was made compulsory in the UK. The people against at the time would argue that there were occasions where accidents had happened and the victims had been trapped by their seatbelts. Perfectly valid argument, but overlooked that for every life lost in such a way, about nine had been lost through NOT wearing a seatbelt.

And from what I hear it's a similar situation here. Providing the cards are checked before use, it seems that whilst a few people have lost material through faulty SDHC cards, many more have lost material through human error in downloading. Since you don't know what type of accident is awaiting you round the bend, all you can do is take the action that is statistically best. So I wear my seatbelt in a car, and don't use a "download and erase" workflow.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 10:05 AM   #49
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all you can do is take the action that is statistically best.
Do you have actual statistics about the number of accidents with the SDHC cards vs. the SxS cards?
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 12:55 PM   #50
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No, and I doubt formal statistics exist (unlike for car accidents). I'm going mainly on the basis of disasters I've heard about first hand, backed up by stories on forums such as this.

First hand, I've now heard of 2 disaster stories with P2, one with SxS. In each case, there was no fault as such with the hardware, in each case it was human error.

Second hand, I've heard of many more like that (Bobs being only the most recent) whilst the great majority of the SDHC disaster stories seem to come down to failure to test cards properly before first use. Generally those stories seem to be less catastrophic ("the camera stopped recording") whilst the P2/SxS ones typically involve the loss of at least an entire cards worth of data, and the loss not realised until much later.

I've heard hardly any stories of SDHC cards recording properly at the time, but going faulty later. At least they allow you to "download and keep", as opposed to "download and erase".
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 02:49 PM   #51
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OK, thank you.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 07:50 PM   #52
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I've heard hardly any stories of SDHC cards recording properly at the time, but going faulty later. At least they allow you to "download and keep", as opposed to "download and erase".
There are plenty of Media Error stories with the SDHC cards. I've had my own. Flash cards wear our, and Multi-Layer Cell (MLC) cards are lower quality. Most of the errors seem to be centered around switching between two different cards while recording and from pressing record before the CF write light has turned off. I can't say if that is the only problem. So, I would guess that it is better to use identical card types and capacities to deal with the card switches. Also, faster cards may reduce the time used to write the media, but I can't say for sure. I will say that I had trouble with both of my Transcend 16GB (green stripe) SDHC's and not my Sandisk Extreme III 30MB/sec 16GB SDHC.
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 03:08 AM   #53
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One issue that occurs to me is that some are not backing up cards. Instead now that many NLEs offer the ability to import shots directly from the cards the 'old school' paranoia is not being followed. To me this is very risky regardless of what type of media is used. It's certainly more risky when the cards which were rented have to be returned.

During a shoot there's many things going on. Director wants to check the shot and with tapeless this can be done very quickly and in some ways safer. Importing the shot straight into an NLE is a very quick and powerful way to work on set, one could even do a quick check on a key for the director. The real danger I see in this is a shot can get missed.

From someone who works in rentals perspective I wish for the day when there's a 100% reliable cheap media available for any of the tapeless cameras. If someone leaves a tape in a camera it's easy enough to know what to do. Files left on cards are not such a simple matter.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 12:08 AM   #54
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I'm seriously reconsidering using SDHC cards for future work.

I've had one Transcend card that has been nothing but trouble, I don't use it anymore, that was a few months ago.

I was on a shoot a couple of weeks ago and had a class 3 SanDisk card jam up on me with about 30 minutes of footage on it. I'd used this card for months without problems, now it isn't recognised by either my EX3, card reader or computer. It is completely dead.

I was lucky that here wasn't anything crucial on it, but I still had to go to my director and let her know that there had been "a problem".

I'm going to bite the bullet and buy some SxS cards, sure they're ludicrously expensive, but if something goes wrong again at least I don't have to tell my client that I lost their footage because I was cutting costs on memory.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 12:55 AM   #55
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" if something goes wrong again at least I don't have to tell my client that I lost their footage because I was cutting costs on memory."

A better investment of a few grand is a parallel recording device such as a Nanoflash which itself offers parallel recording to two separate flash cards.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 01:55 AM   #56
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I finally enquired about what SD cards are in my e-LCR adapters (bought already assembled 16GB ones) and discovered they are Sandisk Ultra II 16GB cards. Now I believe from memory that Ultra II are Class 4.

I haven't had any issues to date (touch wood)
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Old December 1st, 2009, 05:02 AM   #57
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correction: the card that failed on me was a Sandisk Class 4.

And whilst the nanoflash is appealing, it feels like more of a hassle to carry around an extra piece of gear on my camera.

I haven't heard of any reliability issues with SxS cards, does anyone know of any problems?
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:49 AM   #58
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Now here's something interesting....

At the weekend I ordered up some MXM cards. They arrived today and after some quick tests on the face of it they appear to be faster than the MXR's.

Put a new ATP card into the MXM, overcrank to 50fps and you'll get 3 minutes of recording (90 seconds real time) before the camera bombs out. Try that with the same card in an MXR and the camera quits after 22 seconds (12 seconds real time).

Faster chips in the adaptor? Either way it looks like there is more headroom.

All the tests were done with near identical moving images in the viewfinder.

Hope to do some more extensive tests soon.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 01:34 PM   #59
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Thanks for that Marcus.
Was that 50fps with a 25fps timebase?
That's very impressive!
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 02:16 PM   #60
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Thanks for that Marcus.
Was that 50fps with a 25fps timebase?
That's very impressive!
25 fps timebase, so yes I was very surprised. OK so it still bombed out after a few minutes but the fact it worked at all was surprising.

And it is the adaptors, not the SDHC cards because it was the same card in both.

When I get time I'll test this fully. But on the face of it there appears to be more headroom on these new adaptors. And headroom is a good thing for normal recording because I believe (and correct me if I am wrong) the camera writes in short bursts.

And kudos to MXM who got the cards quicker to me from Australia than it's taken a UK retailer to send me a new stills camera!
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