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Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old October 14th, 2010, 09:01 PM   #1
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MxM express recorder for Sony PMWEX1R

Im in the market to get more media for my sony pmw ex1r. I was gonna buy the Sony PHu 120R hard drive until I found out about MxM Express SSD recorder. I understand you can buy it with different size solid state HD's Has anybody heard anything about the unit, and does anybody have an opinion on the unit.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 04:42 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Michael Armao View Post
Im in the market to get more media for my sony pmw ex1r. I was gonna buy the Sony PHu 120R hard drive until I found out about MxM Express SSD recorder. I understand you can buy it with different size solid state HD's Has anybody heard anything about the unit, and does anybody have an opinion on the unit.
Not seen it in person as yet but it looks very promising. Ideal for conferences, and of course it's SSD so no moving parts. The MxM unit also looks like it is powered from the camera rather than battery, so no having to spend even more money on batteries.

The HD recorders of all varieties are really only suited to fixed position recording (i.e on a tripod). For mobile recording you really are best sticking with cards.

But the choice of an SSD over a platter based device is a no brainer.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 05:25 AM   #3
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One slight operational hitch: "Full camera recognition of the SSD recorder upon rebooting the camera."

Not sure but it sounds like you have to reboot the camera whenever you plug in the SxS connector.
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Old October 15th, 2010, 07:49 AM   #4
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I have a feeling this is the same for all HD based units. In anycase, given the potential length of recording time, why would you be removing it? You'd set it up for the day and would leave it.

I don't see it being a show stopper. You basically have a few disadvantages for the advantage of super long recording times. It's really of use for the conference guys.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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I've had the chance to test this unit briefly over a couple of days.
It simply works as advertised so there isn't much more I can say about it. That it is powered from the camera via the USB cable from the adaptor is very good, less cables hanging around the camera is a plus. The supplied USB cables are very solid unlike many. Because they are right angle the risk of one being unplugged by snagging is reduced as far as possible. A readily available velcro cable tie to secure the USB cable to the camera handle might be an option some users would consider.

To download the files one externally powers the disk housing. I didn't try using the USB interface for downloading, instead opting to switch the interface to eSATA. As I'm only running WinXP I did this with the PC powered down to avoid any possible issues with hot swapping SATA drives. As advertised the download was VERY fast. I don't know if hot swapping will work or not however for a fullish SSD the time lost restarting the computer is very minor compared to the saving in download time using USB. I understand from Marek that hot swapping is possible but I didn't have the opportunity to test this.

I also had the optional mounting kit fitted to the camera. It doesn't get in the way of anything although using it with the Hoodman Loupe might be an issue. For those with Olaf's camera plate the optional wing does seem to me a better path to go down. A small piece of industrial Velcro would hold the SSD and its housing more than securely enough or else a male / female cold shoe combo could be used.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 01:14 AM   #6
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I got mine two days ago ad have been running tests - it works.

I actually got the empty shell kit as I wanted to see if the hard drives that I have been using with my SI-2K would work with the SSD recorder - they do.
These are 200gb, 7200rpm units that had been recording 2K footage so I was confident about the data rate but didn't know about power consumption. So far no issues.
I screwed the disc into the unit, plugged it into the camera (PMW-350) and fired up. A message came up saying media not supported so I formatted the disc in camera and it came up with 677 mins of recording time.

As I'm only planning to use this recorder when I do conference head on shoots the fact that it is a spinning hard drive doesn't worry me - and I've got three of these discs hanging around doing nothing. If I was running around I'd feel a lot better with a solid state drive.

If you need to record a lot of footage, non stop - get one.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 07:18 AM   #7
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for info the drives that can be used in the enclosure are 2.5" drives (laptop style hard drives - or old ipod).
Also recording in the EX1 is limited to 80GB but you can go bigger in the EX1R.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 08:52 AM   #8
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This is an interesting device. I take it that it's powered via the SxS slot? With a 500GB drive, it could greatly reduce the power and space footprint for a poor man's device to offload cards at the end of the day by using the camera to transfer cards to this device.

Does anyone know if you can offload multiple cards from the other slot onto this device using the Camera's copy function?
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Old October 31st, 2010, 01:12 AM   #9
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Have just done a quick test copying from a small card to the MxM recorder - no problem.

So, yes, you could use this as a copy & back up unit in the field.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 02:56 AM   #10
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Thank you Rohan. I am curious what happens when you copy multiple cards to the MxM recorder. Does it maintain separate folders for each card or do they end up all in one BPAV folder as if you'd shot them all directly to the MxM?
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Old October 31st, 2010, 05:21 AM   #11
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Transferred four cards, shot over the last couple of weeks - all footage ended up in one BPAV folder. So not the ideal solution for back ups - I'll stick to my Nexto for that.

In clip browser, all the shot info of the original - timecode, date & time shot etc - is retained.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 12:51 PM   #12
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Here is what I ended up doing:

I bought two Expresscard to USB adapters:

DealExtreme: $11.65 USB 2.0 ExpressCard/34mm Extension Card for Laptops

Two SATA/ESATA/USB Laptop hard drive enclosures:

DealExtreme: $16.33 2.5" SATA/eSATA USB 2.0 HDD Enclosure with USB and eSATA Cables

I used a 160 GB SATA Laptop Hard Drive I had removed from my laptop a year ago to replace with a larger one. So that was free.

Purchased a second one that was cheap:

Newegg.com - Western Digital Scorpio Blue WD1600BEVT 160GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache 2.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s Internal Notebook Hard Drive -Bare Drive

I insert the two Expresscard to USB adapters into the EX1. Then I plug USB cables from the cards to each hard drive enclosure. Turn the camera on and it asks you to format each. When that is done it says you have 298 minutes each in slot A and slot B. That's nearly ten hours of recording for around $100 (for me because I already had one spare SATA laptop drive). Otherwise around $140-$150 (including the hard drives). The cameras will only format up to 84GB per slot so you lose some space on each drive, but smaller drives aren't necessarily cheaper. Transfer to laptop or computer using eSATA is faster. The eSATA cables are supplied with the Kingwin enclosures. The AKE expresscard adapters fit very smoothly into the camera's slots (they also go in all the way) and have the advantage over the MxM Express SSD recorder of accepting a full size USB male plug instead of their mini-USB plug which is not as secure. That in addition to the entire thing being a fraction of the cost.

The Kingwin enclosures do not come with a power supply. I used a spare USB Hub I had that has four ports. It puts out 5 Volts per port. If you have a laptop with you you can plug one of the USB cables into that for 5 volts. Dolgin has a battery adapter that takes a Sony BP battery. Lots of ways to get power.

By the way, expect to wait a few weeks for deliveries to the US from Deal Extreme. They are cheap and make good on their products, but they are in China so it takes awhile. I wasn't in a rush to try this experiment so it wasn't a problem for me to wait.

John

EDIT: Sony. If you are listening, how about a firmware update that allows more than 84GB per slot to be formatted?

Last edited by John Peterson; November 2nd, 2010 at 01:51 PM.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 12:59 PM   #13
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Now why didn't I think of that? Have you seen any issues arise?

Great solution.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:04 PM   #14
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How do you power the USB drives?
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 01:33 PM   #15
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Now why didn't I think of that? Have you seen any issues arise?

Great solution.
You might want to use a separate mini-USB male to Full USB male cable if you use a separate power supply. Otherwise - no. Click on the Kingwin enclosure link to see what I mean regarding their split cable.

John
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