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Sony XDCAM PXW-FS7 / FS5
Super 35 CMOS recording 4K to XQD media cards.


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Old May 14th, 2016, 04:46 AM   #1
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Card failures!

Not happy today. Had a shoot on the FS5. Used integral ultimaprox card. When I switched from 4k to HD the camera said it had to rebuild the database. No luck. After that the camera didn't recognise the card anymore. The camera even couldn't be switched off. The display kept showing the live picture. Finally I removed the battery. With sweat in hands I put the card in my macbook. No luck not recognised anymore.
Another card same brand same problem. Other cards seem fine.

Any ideas if this could be resolved?
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Old May 14th, 2016, 06:06 AM   #2
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Re: Card failures!

As with the EX1, we need to establish what cards are "good". SD cards are not born equal and there are many many counterfeits out there.

There was a superb article about 5 years ago that documented how substandard cards found their way onto the market by being taken out of the factories at night and sold in Chinese wholesale markets. The cards looked 100% authentic because they were.

Personally I only ever buy the top end Sandisk cards direct from Amazon themselves (not FBA or just cards listed on Amazon). These cards come direct from Sandisk so you know they've come through their own chain. Get cards with plenty of headroom in the transfer speed.

Touch wood I've never had a problem with a card since I adopted this practice.

Also the FS5 can shoot to two cards at once. Media is so cheap these days (forget the days of 500 quid for a 32gb SxS card) so it makes sense to shoot to dual slots. Someone on here suggested using slot 1 for your main day to day media and keeping a really fat card in slot B as the backup which never leaves the camera.

Personally I have have 'paired' my media. The same 2 cards that always go together and are rotated.

I still also perform a card test before any media is used in real life by filling the card at 4K. Again this just dates back to my paranoia from the early days of SD cards on the EX1 when things could be a little hairy if you didn't get everything exactly right.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 08:07 AM   #3
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Re: Card failures!

Don't go with off brand cards. You are not saving money if you lose footage. I stick with Sony or Scandisk cards. I also record in both slots at once when the shoot is critical.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 02:51 PM   #4
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Re: Card failures!

I know now that I have to check out what went wrong. But is there a solution for the corrupted cards. I see some ads on the internet recover companies or apps. But do they work?
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Old May 14th, 2016, 06:50 PM   #5
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Re: Card failures!

Yes. It'll be expensive. Try home utilities first. Disk Warrior, et al. Proceed cautiously.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: Card failures!

i've had some positive outcomes with R Studio dont know if theres a mac version tho
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:07 AM   #7
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Re: Card failures!

Another advantage of Sandisk cards is that (in the UK at least) they come with a voucher for free data recovery software.

Don't know how good it is, but worth mentioning.
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Old May 17th, 2016, 08:39 AM   #8
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Re: Card failures!

I'm sticking with Sony cards from now on due to the fact Sony's Memory Card File Rescue software now supports XAVC-S up tp 4k and also XQD cards... only on Sony cards though.

I don't think any other manufacture claims to be able to recover XAVC of any flavor or recover data from XQD as yet. Plus there is the fact that Sony could never suggest that a recording fault was caused just because you were using some other brand of card. Not that I'm suggesting that Sony would do such a thing:))

Sony Global - Memory Media Portal - Memory Card File Rescue Version 3.2

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Old May 19th, 2016, 04:52 AM   #9
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Re: Card failures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Brinkman View Post
I know now that I have to check out what went wrong. But is there a solution for the corrupted cards. I see some ads on the internet recover companies or apps. But do they work?
I had almost identical issues with my FS5 with a Transcend card. Frozen screen, had to remove battery etc. Transcend was pretty positive about the outcome and sent the card to Taiwan. But three weeks later they came back telling me the data was lost...

I contacted Sony and they said they have a better chance of recovering corrupted cards/data but only on Sony cards. I guess their message is clear... (but there are no guarantees...)

There are two factors here: the card itself and the way video is written to it. If both are from Sony, your best chances are with them.

Your chances of third parties restoring very complicated Sony software on a non-Sony card are very small, if not non-existent, sorry to say.

That being said, I refuse to give one single company a monopoly on anything and I am using Lexar cards in my FS7. Of course I did my research beforehand. Never had an issue with Lexar's.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 12:33 PM   #10
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Re: Card failures!

The camera and card supplier delivered the cards to a data rescue firm. Successful before they said. In a few weeks we'll know.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 03:31 PM   #11
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Re: Card failures!

I recently had a class 10 U3 Lexar Pro SDXC card supplied by Amazon (so not counterfeit from Market Place) go wrong on me. The lesson I learnt is to use simultaneous dual recordings on (equally) high spec cards.

However it is interesting to note how many reports there are of failed cards on the FS5. I wonder if Sony knew something about high corruption rates from the outset....and that's why we've got the simultaneous recording function?
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Old May 19th, 2016, 03:48 PM   #12
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Re: Card failures!

Nope.

It was a standard feature on my Canon C100 bought at launch in several years ago. Never had a card failure on the C100 or my recent FS5 (I only use numerous, fast Sandisk SDXC cards bought from amazon uk, not marketplace sellers). I have been lucky, so far.

But, by the nature of the way cameras write files to this relatively cheap "consumer" media, compared to the technology used to write to the SxS Pro cards I use in my Sony PMW-300 (and former EX3), it is never going to be as secure as rock solid media like that. I have been using SxS professionally for nearly 8-9 years without one single issue.

Bottom line. It is not likely to be a FS5 "problem".

Any cam you use to shoot critical stuff with that uses SDHC (or the faster SDXC cards needed for higher bit rates, especially 4.2.2 HD and 4K), ALWAYS use dual slot record and reputable, securely sourced media.
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Old May 19th, 2016, 04:14 PM   #13
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Re: Card failures!

Hi Peter,

I borrowed my friend's new Sony X70 the other day. He had some XAVC clips recorded on the SD card and said he didn't need them. The camera was set to the XAVC mode and I switched it to AVCHD and immediately got the "Database" warning issue. The contents of the card suddenly became unreadable!

I had planned to use my own SD cards anyways, and my friend did not need the clips on his SD card, so I did not investigate further to see if the XAVC clips were readable on a PC or anything. But is seems that the moral of the story is don't switch modes when there is already footage on the SD card - put in a different card first! That's what I will be doing moving forward if switching record modes.

Thanks
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Old May 20th, 2016, 05:18 AM   #14
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Re: Card failures!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Davey View Post

However it is interesting to note how many reports there are of failed cards on the FS5. I wonder if Sony knew something about high corruption rates from the outset....and that's why we've got the simultaneous recording function?
"High corruption rates" - What makes you say that? One or two cases? A tiny amount!

When SD adaptors for the EX1 became available these forums were full of problems. A few of us worked out what the problems were and how they could be mitigated and eventually Sony released a firmware update. This is nothing like those times at all and won't be until every second post in this forum is people complaining about losing footage and card problems.

Nothing has changed from the advice I was giving in 2009. You need good quality, fast, genuine SD cards and good working practices.

Slamming any old SD card into the camera is a disaster waiting to happen. Putting a card into a computer such as a Mac where files may get written back to the card and then putting it back into the camera without formatting is a disaster waiting to happen (this certainly was capable of confusing an EX1).

Only the other day I was dismayed to hear from someone that as they didn't have enough SD cards they were offloading and formatting cards on site. That stuff needs to happen in a calmer environment and the cards kept until the footage is transferred, verified and backed up. No footage exists until it is in two places!

While things can and do go wrong, risks can be mitigated. But time and time again I see evidence of remarkably poor working practices that save pennies but could cost thousands.


My tips:

Buy original media from a manufacturer who doesn't second source their manufacturing

Buy media from reputable sources (i.e. Sandisk fulfilled by Amazon)

Buy the fastest media you can. The write speed is the one that matters so you'll need to look at the specs.

Test any new cards before you use them in anger. Fill the card with 4K footage (ensure the camera is pointing at a moving source due to the VBR codec).

High quality cards are often more durable. Will state on packet if dust proof, waterproof, x-ray proof, etc.

Don't offload on site if you can help it.

Use transfer software that verifies the data. Eg Red Giant Offload.

Keep your cards clearly labelled and in a secure case in your bag.

Have enough cards so that you can rotate them.

First sign of any trouble, discard a card. A camera error or wear to the plastic. Have heard of people using SD cards that are falling apart. No!

Don't format your media until it is copied to hard disk and backed up.

Fully format the cards in camera before re-use. I do this the night before I next need a card. I never do this on site. One slip up in a high pressure situation and you've formatted a card you've just shot!

+ now we have dual shooting - Consider shooting on paired cards. A tiny extra cost that again helps reduce risk.


All of these things are small, but each contribute to reducing risk.
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Old May 21st, 2016, 12:24 AM   #15
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Re: Card failures!

Sony should have implemented XQD Media for the FS-5 camera. I was surprised to see SD Media when FS-5 was announced. Any way now XQD Media is also becoming cheeper day by day, who knows if Sony release XQD version of FS-5.

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