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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 February 5th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #1
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sxs: format or not?

I just purchased a 32 GB sxs card. As a brand new card, would you recommend to format before using, or just start using it now?
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:18 PM   #2
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You'll have to format it, the camera will ask to format it as soon as you put it in the slot.

Paul.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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I just did a little test and slid 2 brand new 32 gig SxS Pro cards into a brand new EX1R and the camera didn't tell me to format the cards. All that came up was 116 minutes per slot of recording time.

To Allen: to be safe I recommend you do an in-camera format of your card anyway, just to be sure. It only takes a few seconds.

And why do I have all this new stuff to play with? Because my EX1 was stolen in December along with everything else that was either attached to the camera or in the Kata bag. In this case "praise be to insurance companies".

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Old February 5th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #4
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Not only would I format it before first use, I would also format it before EVERY use.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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I have two 32 GB SxS cards and have been using them for about four months now. I have never formated either one and use all clips delete on clipbrowser instead of formating. No problems ever...
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:09 AM   #6
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I also format before every use now. If you don't, you'll see that your record time available will go down as fragments on the card builds up. You'll notice this after a couple of months.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:25 AM   #7
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I also format before every use now. If you don't, you'll see that your record time available will go down as fragments on the card builds up. You'll notice this after a couple of months.
Interesting. I hadn't noticed that, and I've been using mine for almost two years. The 16-gig cards still show 57 minutes after I delete them on my Mac Book Pro (the usual trash & delete).
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Old February 7th, 2010, 03:39 PM   #8
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I also format before every use now. If you don't, you'll see that your record time available will go down as fragments on the card builds up. You'll notice this after a couple of months.
I've never seen that happen. I have a couple of cards that have not been formatted in about 2 years. They still have the same capacity.

I never reformat because I don't want to lose my Camera Data files I have stored on the cards. Delete all clips is the better alternative, in my opinion.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:23 PM   #9
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I've never seen that happen. I have a couple of cards that have not been formatted in about 2 years. They still have the same capacity.

I never reformat because I don't want to lose my Camera Data files I have stored on the cards. Delete all clips is the better alternative, in my opinion.
Exactly my thoughts, too. Never reformatted any of my 4 8-gig cards and none of them ever show anything less than 28 min. record time. I also preserve my camera profiles, too.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #10
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I never reformat because I don't want to lose my Camera Data files I have stored on the cards. Delete all clips is the better alternative, in my opinion.
Surely you must have a Harddrive backup copy of your Camera Data?

If you clear off all the data on your card then there should be no problem, but if you delete clips here and there, then you are going to fragment the data. You will stand more chance of a clip being corrupted if it is not a continuos data stream i.e. written to a fragmented card.

I do format my cards on a regular basis, but also delete unwanted clips. I guess what ever method you use, if it works for you then it has to be right.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #11
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WOW! Hey Allen I'll bet you're really confused now.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #12
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Thanks for the advice. Looks like I'm ok which ever way I go.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 06:46 PM   #13
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Surely you must have a Harddrive backup copy of your Camera Data? .
Yes I do, but what's your point? I never carry a computer with me on my shoots, so what good is that going to do me?

I have my EX1 and EX3 data files stored on all of my cards so I can reset the camera at anytime back to my personal defaults settings if I have changed something during a shoot.

My cards have not become fragmented. My cards have not lost any recording capacity. And I have never had a corrupted clip, a lost frame of video, or had any recording problem with XDCAM -- ever. I think your worries are unfounded.

Also, one more reason, that I forgot to mention why I don't reformat cards, is because all of my cards have individual names. I can see the name of the card on the desktop of my computer and in XDCAM Transfer and Clip Browser. If the card is reformatted, it reverts to "untitled". That does not fit my workflow. Ever try to read the label on a card when it is inserted in the USB drive? You can't.

But like you said, if you way works for you, go for it.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 03:11 AM   #14
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Doug,

The impression I had was that you only store the camera data on the SXS cards, hence the question "Surely you must have a hard drive backup?" .

Of course carrying a laptop about with you is not always practical. I agree with you that formating a card in the field is not a good idea, better to delete clips. I personally format my cards before any major job, just so I have a clean workflow. I also set my file names with a unique prefix, relevant to the job in hand. The camera data is stored in the camera and I have never lost or corrupted this, but just to be safe I have a backup of it on a small SDHC card.

We all have our own methods for working, what ever works for you has to be right.
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Old February 9th, 2010, 02:19 PM   #15
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I don't label my SxS (and CF nano) cards. I shoot, go back to the office, offload to at least 3 HDDs and label them. I dual record nano & SxS and after labelling and checking the nano recordings, I don't even bother to keep the SxS recordings.

Simple, quick, effective and so far no problems. I do have to format the CF cards each time though but I recall only ever reformatting 1 SxS card after the camera notice came up.
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