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Old October 13th, 2011, 06:30 AM   #1
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PIX240 First Impressions

I got a demo PIX240 yesterday. Played with it a bit last night. Will be doing more with it over the next week or so.

First impressions - Its very nice and well built. A little heavier than I would prefer for camera mounting. The monitor is OK for footage review and settings control but in my opinion it is not good enough to use as a viewfinder for anything other than framing. It has no focus or exposure tools. No way will it replace my SmallHD monitor.

I took everything out of the boxes and put it together as soon as it arrived. The first thing I noticed after putting it all together and powering it up was the SSD refused to format (several attempts). I did a factory reset on the recorder and it worked fine after that. I have no idea why it refused to work the first time. I kept getting "Format Failed".

I shot some video of what could be seen from my desk in the house with a few different settings. I plugged in the SSD to the computer and opened Media Composer 5.0. The DNxHD worked perfectly in Media Composer. I'm going to record more using all the available codecs as soon as I can.

A couple of things that need updating/fixing:

1. It does not support the SDI remote record flag from the F3. It has support for Panasonic and RED but not Sony. I called Sound Devices and they told me that they haven't tested the F3 with the recorder. Hopefully they will add that in an upcoming firmware release.

2. I updated to the latest firmware (v1.02) but have been getting some odd "Media Errors" when recording is triggered via the SDI timecode. Since it doesn't follow the Sony SDI REC flag I set the recorder to record when it sees the SDI timecode run. When the error occurs recording STOPS. It only seems to happen during record initiation. Once it was running it was fine. So if you aren't looking at it to make sure it started you may be in for a surprise when you look back over your footage. I did not see this happen if I pushed the REC button itself. Only when using SDI timecode for triggering the unit. I ran the SSD through its paces on the computer. No errors with the drive were found. I'll be watching this thing closely to rule out a bad SSD.

3. Expand support for SD cards other than SanDisk. My Lexar Pro 60MB/s cards exceed the requirements for the recorder but the recorder refuses to format them. A 4Gb 30MB/s SanDisk card I had laying around formatted and worked fine. I suspect the card brand may be locked in the firmware. To help figure it out Lexar is sending me their top of the line card to test. If this one doesn't work then for sure its a firmware thing. Personally I don't plan to record on CF cards. I would only use CF as a backup in case something causes me to run over the limit on the SSD. Its a nice backup feature to have.

More to come.
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Old October 13th, 2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Thanks, Chris

I have one on order and will be reviewing it in print, as well.

Interesting about F3 flag. I have an F3 and will stay on top of that issue.

Spoke with Jon Tatooles at the CCW show in NY who confirms that SD will be looking at firmware fixes and well as additional features.

I am awaiting mine anxiously.

Ned
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Old October 13th, 2011, 02:19 PM   #3
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

I briefly looked at it at IBC.. I hope they make a 19" inch rack version as well.. Would be perfect to replace traditional recorders.. :)
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Old October 13th, 2011, 03:35 PM   #4
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Today I have not gotten any media errors when triggering the recorder via the SDI timecode. I have pushed the record button on the F3 over and over. Its worked perfectly today. Not a single error.

Also formatted the SSD a couple of times and had no errors there either.

The only difference between yesterday and today is I've not inserted a CF card in the recorder since turning it on. I'm going to experiment some later and see if that was the cause of the problem.

The weather here in central NC this afternoon isn't the best today. I have doe a bit of recording with the PIX240 and so far everything that has come out of it has looked fantastic. Not tried the 8bit codecs yet. Only the 10bit ProRes and 10bit DNxHD. Tomorrow I may be in a studio environment and will see what I can do there.
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Old October 14th, 2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Good to know about the media errors. I still jealously await mine.

Which SSD are you using, by the way? I purchased a Samsung 470 256gb, which I am now looking at...
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Old October 14th, 2011, 08:27 PM   #6
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Sound Devices has put out a new firmware version already. Version 1.02 can be downloaded here - PIX Firmware Download | Sound Devices, LLC

Andy
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Old October 14th, 2011, 09:20 PM   #7
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Andy,

Jon seemed to imply to me that retail units will ship with 1.02 already installed.

Ned
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Old October 14th, 2011, 11:08 PM   #8
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Soltz View Post
Good to know about the media errors. I still jealously await mine.

Which SSD are you using, by the way? I purchased a Samsung 470 256gb, which I am now looking at...
Yea, I'm using the one they sell specifically for the recorder which is the Samsung 470.

The media errors I was getting before have not returned. We recorded a good bit with it today. It worked perfectly.

S-Log from the F3 recorded in 4:2:2/10bit looks fantastic! Obviously after some adjustment that is.
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Old October 15th, 2011, 09:33 PM   #9
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Tomorrow I'll be doing some behind the scenes shooting for a web series so I've been working to get everything rigged up and ready. Going through the manual for the PIX240 and basically pushing every button and changing every setting.

One thing that struck me while going through the audio configuration was that there is NO option to use SDI audio in conjunction with the XLR inputs on the recorder itself. Its either or but not both.

Thats going on my wish list for future firmware updates.
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Old October 16th, 2011, 06:20 AM   #10
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Thanks Chris.
I look forward to my PIX 240 arriving.
All the best.
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Old October 17th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #11
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

My sources have indicated to me that Pix 240 is now shipping. Pinged my dealer to verify.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 09:08 AM   #12
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

If you are at the front of the wait list you should be a happy camper very soon.
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Old October 18th, 2011, 12:18 PM   #13
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Thanks for the encouragement, Chris.

I don't know where I am on Abel's list but hopefully in the first shipment.

Ned
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Old November 7th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #14
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Here is an update.

I just finished using the PIX240 on a real project. I spent 2 days shooting a short film in the Raleigh NC area with the F3 and the PIX240. We didn't shoot LOG but did shoot Cinegamma 4 on the F3.

The recorder was set to trigger on time code run via the HD-SDI "A" output on the F3. The camera was set for 1080p23.97. We recorded to the 256GB SSD using the ProRes 4:2:2 10bit (this was for a FCP workflow).

I am happy to report that everything ran fine and we had no issues with the recorder at all. I did run SxS in camera as well just to be sure. As far as the screen on the PIX is concerned I can confirm it is not great for focusing or exposure. To be specific on the exposure issue if you judged exposure via the PIX monitor you would seriously underexpose your footage. I'm not one for using how a monitor "looks" to judge exposure anyway. Use the tools your camera has to get it right. Be aware.

One of the things that I really liked was the illuminated buttons on the recorder. There was NO question if it was recording. After a while the AD didn't even ask if the camera was rolling when called the shot. He could see that huge glowing RED record button. :)

This was an indoor shoot so temperature was not a problem. I never felt it get more than warm. The F3 was warmer. The recorder stayed powered up the majority of the day. Only during setup changes from the jib to handheld to steadicam was it shut down. I ran the camera/recorder hand held for an hour or so and the battery life was not as bad as I expected. Using a 96wh battery to power the camera and recorder looks to provide about a 3-4hr runtime (based on running for an hour+ and the battery dropping to 75% of capacity). I'll do a run to depletion soon to confirm this. I don't trust battery power gauges.

What we reviewed on set looked great. I expect the editor to be pleased. It is a very nice recorder for the $$.

If there is anything specific you want to know about the setup feel free to ask.
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Old January 29th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #15
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Re: PIX240 First Impressions

Just wondering if someone could tell me roughly how long the PIX240 takes to boot up and be ready to record?
I liked the look of the Ki Pro Mini until I found that it takes about 40 seconds to boot up! The Nanoflash takes 5 seconds.
Cheers,
Steve
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