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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 March 31st, 2015, 04:58 PM   #1
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SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

I've been using the EX1 at work for years with MxR adapters & SDHC cards to great results. I'm looking into the PXW-X200 and can't find much info about using adapters & SDHC cards in the X200.

Anyone know limits to the X200 w/ SDHC? Only 35mbps XDCam EX MPEG2? Can I do XAVC-Long 35? Can I do any 50mbps if I have a fast enough adapter & SD card?

Thanks!
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Old March 31st, 2015, 07:51 PM   #2
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

I have an old Sony MEAD-SD01 SDHC adaptor in my X180, only allows AVCHD on it. Waiting on a Hoodman SxS adaptor, they say can record just about anything on that and on SDXC also. Will report my findings. The X200 manual should state what formats will record on what adaptors, I know my X180 manual gave different codecs slaved to SxS, XQD, or SD with adaptors. Sony Europe site is usually good about having download links in support tab for these cameras.

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Old March 31st, 2015, 10:06 PM   #3
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Ive been searching for this info as well.
I tested out the Sony MEAD-SD02 SDHC Card Adaptor that came with my x160 last weekend.
I could record Avchd, 35MB Mpg2 and 50MB Mpg2 422 with no problems on to SDXC 60MB write speed cards.
I tried XAVC L and it recorded, but consistently failed within the first minute of recording .
I just ordered 2 SDXC 85MB write speed cards, will see if they go any better when they arrive.
Im pretty happy with 50MB 422 though, would rarely use the better codecs anyway.

Has anyone tried an alternative to the Sony SD02 adaptor?
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Old April 1st, 2015, 08:43 AM   #4
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

One thing to remember is that different record settings in the camera may require different file formats on the cards. Everything from the EX1 can be recorded using FAT32 - meaning that no file would be larger than 4GB. SDHC cards come in FAT32 format. However, SDXC cards come in exFAT format (allowing larger file sizes.) In addition, in order to switch my PMW-200 from 4:2:0 to 4:2:2, I need to change the recording file format from FAT32 to UDF. Haven't played with the PXW200, so not sure what card formats are required for which formats, but that's where I would start looking for card compatibility issues...

Gerald - I saw you wrote 'write speed' in your text - but I usually take these numbers with a grain of salt. It seems to me that the manufacturers of SD/sdhc/sdxc cards state speeds that aren't sustainable. I do tend to believe the card speeds of the SxS cards however. You might want to try some R/W speed testing on the cards and see whether it changes at some point during a long transfer. I've been using several different brands of SDXC for my A7s (recording at 50Mbps XAVC-S) with no problems, but the same card that transfers out (reads) at 85MB/s will often only write consistently at 10MB/s.
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Old April 1st, 2015, 10:39 AM   #5
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Thanks for the note Dave, but do cards really care what they're formatted to? I've formatted cheap consuer USB flash drives from FAT32 to OSX Journaled so I could transfer large files. I would think it is more about the read / write speed than FAT vs exFAT vs UDF.

---

Doing more reading & pricing... I'm now also wondering about XQD cards & adapters. They seem a lot cheaper than SxS cards & look like they would be more than fast enough for even 100Mbps (112Mbps?).
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Old April 1st, 2015, 12:36 PM   #6
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

I think the adapter may add a level of complexity as well. I have an old Hoodman adapter that will work fine with the EX1 and F3, but with the same SDHC card in it that works in those cameras, I'm unable to format it in the PXW-X180.

Yes, the XQD cards look like a good option, priced somewhere between SD cards and SxS cards. Have done some shoots with them using a producer's FS7's, and our download speeds were amazingly fast (transferring to an SSD hard drive).
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Old April 1st, 2015, 02:15 PM   #7
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Love View Post
but do cards really care what they're formatted to?
Cards don't but the camera does, at least from my days of owning a PMW200. 35mbps XDCamEX was FAT, 50mbps XDCamHD50 was UDF. Not entirely sure what the X200 has added in terms of complexity there... file system type is usually defined by codec in pro level cameras, especially Sony. It doesn't JUST write media files - it's a comprehensive file system.
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Old April 1st, 2015, 04:48 PM   #8
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Exactly Shaun. I'm thinking I have SDHC cards that work well in a EX1 w/ MxR adapter at FAT XDCam EX 35Mbps MPEG2. I'd love to use them exFAT XAVC-Long 35 Mbps.

If a EX1 can write to those cards at 35 Mbps, I'd hope that a X200 can do the same write speeds but a better codec & card format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerald Webb View Post
I tried XAVC L and it recorded, but consistently failed within the first minute of recording .
Gerald, are you saying XAVC L at 35Mbps VBR wasn't working? Or were you doing 50 Mbps FBR? But 50Mbps MPEG 422 was recording fine?
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Old April 1st, 2015, 10:30 PM   #9
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zach Love View Post

Gerald, are you saying XAVC L at 35Mbps VBR wasn't working? Or were you doing 50 Mbps FBR? But 50Mbps MPEG 422 was recording fine?
Apologies, when I tried it, it was at the default 50Mbps when it failed.
Just tried it again, XAVC L 1080p 25fps @35Mbps. Did a backyard torture test like I used too with the hacked GH2, lots of bushes, grass etc in very bright light with a high shutter speed.
Did about 5min without failure.

Why would 50Mbps XAVC fail, but 50Mbps MPEG be ok? Same card. A Transcend 128GB UHC3 Capable of 60Mbps write speed (as stated on card anyway).
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Old April 1st, 2015, 10:42 PM   #10
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

The cards require consistent high write speed, and if you're using a file system format the camera can't write to efficiently, the recordings will fail.

Get Sandisk U3 cards instead of using Transcends. There has been widespread experience of Transcends not delivering on consistent write speed since they use the cheapest components. Even when they advertise Class 10, the minimum write speed will be lower than 10MB/s for cheaper cards. Sandisk Ultras are the most notorious example of this, if you format a 64GB Sandisk Ultra to FAT32, the write speed halves.

It is impossible to format a SDHC or SDXC card as UDF. If you use SDXC, stick to exFAT. If you use SDHC, stick to FAT. NEVER attempt to format a SD card to UDF.

For newer cameras, The new MEAD-SD02 is what's required moving forward. The 02 was made with the F5 and F55 in mind, but newer firmwares in mind as well.

I use XQD cards on the dated EX1R and it works wonders. The adapter is a passive electrical adapter since you just re-map the XQD card's pins to ExpressCard. Sony officially supports it up to my latest firmware update: 1.31. It will support all combinations on the X200.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 05:49 PM   #11
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Thanks Jack!

I never thought about using XQD on a EX1 / EX1R, but now I'm kind of interested.

Why should I "NEVER" format a SD to UDF? (I assume "SD" covers SDHC & SDXC.)

---

We used to use Transcend cards, then a new batch stopped working with some of the MxR adapters so we switched to Sony 32GB SDHC cards, which just (literally) fell apart. Have been using Sandisk (I forget what line) & I really notice a difference when formatting (well, "initializing") the cards in a Canon C100 b/c they complete so much faster than the older SDHC cards.
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Old April 2nd, 2015, 08:42 PM   #12
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Re: SDHC recording w/ adapter in PXW-X200

Sandisks (genuine ones) have far better flash chip quality control and can sustain high write speeds for longer. Transcends wear out faster and it's write speed slows down over time faster.

The reason why you should never format an SD card UDF is because the cards were designed for wear leveling (evenly using the flash cells instead of over-using certain ones wearing them out faster) is only designed for specific file systems. SD cards don't know how to deal with mapping bits to flash cells for UDF as efficiently as the file system it was originally formatted for. Write speeds suffer no matter what card you use due to this fact and you shorten the card's lifespan.

Sony initially (and probably still) prohibited UDF formatting on the PMW-200 cause they have no idea how SD cards react to the UDF filesystem. Just don't. Stick to FAT or exFAT.

You must have the absolute latest EX1R/EX1 update to use XQD. For older EX1s, if you already did your hardware upgrade to at least 1.26, you can update to the latest update that supports XQD. I have not tested the newer series designed for the FS7, so those are not guaranteed to work with the EX1R/EX1.
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