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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 25th, 2013, 01:13 PM   #1
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Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Noticed someone selling an EX3 on Ebay and instead of the SxS cards they had a pair of these DigiGear brand Expresscard Adapters and a pair of Transcend 32gb media cards. Claimed to be recording on these at the highest HQ setting.

According to the description, this DigiGear adapter is designed for use in SxS systems up to 64gb.

All the reviews for it say it does, in fact, work flawlessly in the Ex1 and EX3 camera. That seems plausible since the Class 10 SDHC/SDXC cards are rated for a minimum of 10MB/sec transfer rate (80Mb/sec) and the data rate for XDCAM at the EX3's HQ setting is only 35Mb/sec. Plenty of head room.

Anyone using them? The Adapter is only $30 and you can get 32gb cards for around $25... or less.

For me, as a renter, the cost of the cards can be deadly. I paid $75 for a 32gb SxS last week. I'd much rather go this route, own the cards, and not have to do the transfer until I get home or, if I do have to hand off the files on location, still have them on the cards should issues arrive later on.

So for a $25 (32gb) card that gives me about two hours worth of shooting. I can easily afford to spend $100 to have a set of these to go all day.
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Old November 25th, 2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

I use adapters...mine are MxM brand. they really haven't presented any issues.

I will say they seem to close the file a bit slower after you stop recording that an SxS card does...a double-punch can create a problem, but I think I did that once or twice in the first week I had the camera and I haven't since...and I started using them on the original EX1...

I would recommend getting 16 GB SDHC cards unless you need to roll continuously longer for some reason (and I span files regularly without issue). I'd rather risk a data failure on a small, cheap piece of media in the smallest increments possible.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #3
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

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I use adapters...mine are MxM brand. they really haven't presented any issues.

I will say they seem to close the file a bit slower after you stop recording that an SxS card does...a double-punch can create a problem, but I think I did that once or twice in the first week I had the camera and I haven't since...and I started using them on the original EX1...

I would recommend getting 16 GB SDHC cards unless you need to roll continuously longer for some reason (and I span files regularly without issue). I'd rather risk a data failure on a small, cheap piece of media in the smallest increments possible.
Am now using my MxM cards with 16gb and 32gb Sandisk Extreme and a few older 16gb ATP cards. Good media is the key. The MxM adaptors themselves are long proven to be reliable.

My view on 32gb cards is that I'd rather half fill or 3/4 fill a 32gb card than fill a 16gb card right up.

Also key to test media before you first use it. I leave my camera pointing at a TV screen with fast moving footage on it and shoot overcranked to 50fps until the card is full. If the card can cope with that, it will be fine for normal use.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 08:55 AM   #4
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Marcus: "I'd rather half fill or 3/4 fill a 32gb card than fill a 16gb card right up."

That's fine too...most users aren't that disciplined.

If you aren't rolling continuously, you can half-fill any card you like.

These days I think the most under-recognized risk in the industry outside of the feature entertainment sector where bonding is part of the business, is how much of your day's work is at risk sitting on media inside a camera drive that can be destroyed any number of ways while the camera is being operated, moved, power cycled, etc. through a normal shooting day...

Smaller mags just forces better work habits. It's all personal preference of course.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 09:42 AM   #5
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

"your day's work is at risk sitting on media inside a camera drive that can be destroyed any number of ways while the camera is being operated, moved, power cycled, etc. through a normal shooting day..."

Tim:

Are you suggesting to remove the card from the camera when not shooting... moving, loading in and out, breaking for lunch??


BTW: Do you folks use the SXS card reader to ingests these cards or a simple memory card reader for the SD card direct?
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Old November 26th, 2013, 10:29 AM   #6
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

I advocate off-loading media cards at every opportunity as opposed to when a card fills up, as many crews tend to do.

My point about the card being in the camera is that any time the card is in a drive that can write to it, an error by the operator, an interruption or power glitch while recording, a camera malfunction...anything is capable of not only corrupting a shot, but of possibly corrupting the whole card format. Of course, a card removed from the camera but not backed up is still in jeopardy from being misplaced, magnetically corrupted, or just crushed in a pants pocket...

Admittedly this is a bit of an extreme viewpoint, but I've had shoots where I have multiple actors, emergency vehicles, miles of road blocked off...scenes with medivac helicopters landing on location and taking off... Even if you discount the crew wages, grip truck, generator truck, car tow rig rental expense...not to mention the insurance bond for such things...re-shooting because of the failure of one SDHC or Compact Flash card (or even SxS or P2 card) really illustrates how disproportionate our expense in production is from our investment in storage of the work product...and therefore how strange our faith tends to be in a small piece of silicon we could lose in a mug of coffee storing even a couple hours' work...

As far as using SDHC cards in the Expresscard adapters, I've always just taken the SDHC cards out and used either a plug-in USB "dongle" SDHC reader, or more often the reader in a laptop to transfer the data.

One interesting advantage I've found is that if an SDHC card gets cranky because of a strange file write or something, I can hard-wipe it by re-formatting it in the computer...then the camera requires it to be reformatted in-camera, and on a few occasions, that has cleaned up little issues.

I have had a couple of SDHC cards just sort of "wear out" over the years, but I've found that in the 2 or 3 occasions where I've had a card that the camera reads but the computer doesn't, using the camera to transfer between the card slots to another card has typically done the trick...then I semi-retire the card to the GoPro case...where they seem to work fine at the lower bitrate.
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Old November 26th, 2013, 12:47 PM   #7
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Tom:

This is all great information and much appreciated.

Thanks : )

George
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Old November 27th, 2013, 05:22 AM   #8
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

I never take the SDHC cards out of their adaptors. I use a USB expresscard reader to transfer them. SDHC cards are small and easily lost. The only time I take them out is when they need to be replaced.

Also be aware that transferring footage on location when under pressure is not always a good idea.

Find a procedure that works for you and stick to it.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 09:11 AM   #9
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Marcus said "Also be aware that transferring footage on location when under pressure is not always a good idea."

I agree, that's why I'd like to own a batch of SDHC cards and not have to do a transfer until after the shoot is over or back at the office. Their low cost over SxS now makes this a reality for me.

Staples is selling ScanDisk 16gb Ultra SDHC 30MB cards for $10 on sale until Saturday. Just picked up six last evening and plan to stock up on another six.

Will take the advice posted here and not fill them up. Perhaps 40 minutes or so and then swap them out.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

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Originally Posted by George Odell View Post
....BTW: Do you folks use the SXS card reader to ingests these cards or a simple memory card reader for the SD card direct?
I have a single Hoodman Raw Expresscard and SDHC for emergency backup. It does not work in the SXS reader from Sony.

There are many many many threads on SXS vs SDHC adapters. Caveat Emptor.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 05:00 PM   #11
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Yes, there is quite a lot of information about using SDHC going back to 2007.

All kinds of theories about upgrading to the most recent firmware for the best results, which brand and type of card to use, which brand adapter, etc. If it works well for over-cranking and up to what frame rate. How much slower the transfer is when compared to using the SxS cards. How reliable the cards are.

I guess the point is, it can and does work but it's up to the shooter to test out the adapter and cards prior to any "paid" job and remedy any issues first
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Old November 27th, 2013, 05:32 PM   #12
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

i have a PMW 200 and i have a 64 Gig SxS card in Drive A and a Sony MEAD-SD02 Adaptor with a Sandisc 64 Gb SDXH card, in Drive B.

The adaptor is used primarily as a backup or if the SxS gets filled up. I tend to not take the card out of the adaptor constantly, because i think that wear and tear might cause faults with it.

with the adaptor I lose the capacity to use UDF format and hence cant shoot the 50 Mbps MPEG HD422 codec.
So while the adaptor, at least for me is a cheaper option, there is a trade-off in recording quality.
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Old November 27th, 2013, 06:07 PM   #13
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Odell View Post
...I guess the point is, it can and does work but it's up to the shooter to test out the adapter and cards prior to any "paid" job and remedy any issues first
I concluded that there's better reliability with SXS over the long term. SDHC may work for the test, but in my mind, the vast majority of problems/help/lost everything stories are SDHC. YMMV

I think the big gain with Sony gear is that you have the chance to use the most reliable electronic media known. With other cameras, you don't have the choice.
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Old November 28th, 2013, 05:16 AM   #14
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

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I concluded that there's better reliability with SXS over the long term. SDHC may work for the test, but in my mind, the vast majority of problems/help/lost everything stories are SDHC. YMMV
Funny how you rarely if ever hear these stories of losses any more. When I first got my EX1 in 2009 we were running at about 1 person a week on this forum with a problem of one sort or another.

Firmware has been updated and Sony even now produce their own SD adaptor. Cards and adaptors are now also faster.

Sony cover themselves with this "emergency use" only caveat that other manufacturers don't seem to bother with because they've got a warehouse full of SXS cards that they are knocking out with a huge margin. Fair play to them, that's business.

Problems never happen with SxS cards? Take a look through the forum yourself! I know someone who had a totally dead SXS card. It happens. Tapes used to go wrong as well.

One of my suppliers is listing a 64GB SXS card at over 845 + VAT. That's a steep ask

Other newer cameras have SD card slots built in because the manufacturers have realised they can't pull the wool over the customers eyes any longer.
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Old November 28th, 2013, 06:34 AM   #15
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Re: Expresscard Adapters... do they work?

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Originally Posted by Marcus Durham View Post
...Problems never happen with SxS cards? ...I know someone who had a totally dead SXS card. It happens. ...

The record here on DVINFO is clear. Whenever the topic comes up, you defend SDHC. I know someone who had a totally dead SDHC card. Now what? Oh, wait. Problems with SxS are less frequent than SDHC. Oh. OK. SDHC is the cheap route. Caveat Emptor.
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