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Old November 26th, 2011, 08:55 PM   #1
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PIX 240 Reviews?

I've been looking around for reviews on the Sound Devices PIX 240 without success. I've found overviews of how it works, but not a straight-out review.

Anyone know of any? Anyone doing any?

Thanks.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

I'm writing the review this week and it should appear in the January issue of DigitalVideo (formerly DV) Magazine. They sometimes post reviews in advance of actual print publication.

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Old November 26th, 2011, 10:55 PM   #3
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Thanks Ned. Looking forward to reading it. (And just subscribed to DV Mag)
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Old December 7th, 2011, 06:15 PM   #4
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Re: PIX 240 LANC

Can anyone give me some insight into how the PIX 240's LANC control is working? Anyone using a grip zoom or some other sort of non-camera device to trigger the 240 to record or can anyone verify that this works? I have an Atomos Samurai in my possession and the LANC does not work in this manner at all (it actually appears that it only works on some units which is another story). It seems that the LANC needs to be looped through the Samurai back to the camera where the signal terminates. I am wondering if this is the same for the 240?

I have a 240 on order but it is not scheduled to arrive until later this month so if someone can shed a little light on this I would appreciate it.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:44 PM   #5
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Pix240 will work with a standard LANC connector. You must set the start/stop on the Pix menus to LANC. If by some chance you have a camera that is LANC compatible, with a Y adapter you can control both camera and Pix from the LANC controller.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 12:40 AM   #6
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Thanks, Ned. Exactly the info I was looking for, and hoping to hear!
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Old December 17th, 2011, 06:18 AM   #7
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

I just took my PIX240 on its first job. I was a corporate shoot on a big ship, and I was actually just using the PIX as a back-up device due to the fact I was shooting on HDV (Canon XH-G1)... and being on a ship for a week made me a bit nervous about tape mechanisms breaking etc...

Overall the device was great to work with - the menu system is really nicely set out - easy to navigate, and the LCD's on-screen display gives you all the info you need to ensure confidence when recording. The unit is a little more weighty than I'd like, but for doco work, its more important to have a sturdy well-constructed unit, so its a trade-off I'm happy to make. I was filming off the coast of Malaysia - and even in the bright daylight the monitor was usable for reference and framing, though I would not use it as my primary VF. Although the unit only has one mounting point, I found it well-positioned, using a mini magic arm to attach it to my camera bars/shoulder mount. I powered it via a hirose/D-tap to my Anton Bauer Dionic 90s. Approx 1 battery would last a day - shooting only about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs per day, but I kept the unit on for long periods at times.

One small issue I faced was that when entering FILES, PIX lists every clip - after about 4 days I had approx 500 shots, and PIX took over 30 secs to list them. It would be very useful if PIX could list clips by folders (or 'reels' as set out in the metadata) and thus allow us to select an individual folder/reel to list, rather than list EVERYTHING....

Playback of clips isn't as intuitive as I'd like - for example when I'd shot a sequence I went back to review the first clip in the sequence, but whilst playing a clip, there is no means to just press one button to select the 'next clip' - instead you have to stop playback, which then brings you back to the normal LCD screen, then you have to press the files button again, wait for the list of clips to load (which takes a while, depending on how many clips you have - as PIX doesn't seem to cache this info anywhere), and then select the next clip... Far too much button pushing and time taken... There really needs a simple 'one click' solution to selecting next or previous clip.

A couple of other issues I had - which I will look into over the next few days were: 1/ the PIX240 kept losing my setup settings and reverting to default. This seemed to happen on powering up, and happened at least once a day. I couldn't find any reason for it, and the first time it was a real bugger as I didn't notice - and it took me a while to work out why it wasn't recording... Luckily you can save your setup data to CF card or SSD, which I did, and that enabled me to quickly import the setup when the problem reoccured... HOWEVER, it screwed up my meta data clip numbering which wasn't fixed when I re-loaded my setup... 2/ I also had intermittent problems powering the Caddy* - at times the PIX would not read the Caddy drive, saying it was offline. I had experienced problems attaching my drive into the Caddy due to poor positioning of Caddy release latches that make it VERY difficult to screw in the drive (the latches lie right above the screws and get in the way of even the slimmest of screwdrivers)... Thus I was not confident it was correctly housed within the Caddy... I could regain power when wiggling the Caddy, which suggests a connection issue, but this is inconclusive at the moment, and I also noticed that the top of my Caddy's powered eSATA connection looks a little warped/bent which may mean that the connection is a little weak... But this needs further exploration on my part...

* Its important to note that one reason why I had this issue MAY have been because I thought I'd take the opportunity to experiment with a Seagate Momentus 750GB HDD - yes a HDD, not SSD - inserted into the PIX Caddy. I consulted Sound Devices beforehand to see if this would cause any problems/damage to HDD or PIX - to which I was told physically it would be fine, but obviously they do not support the use of HDDs... I don't know if the HDD requires more power and thus could be more susceptive to weak power connections, etc... As I say - it needs more exploration.

Other than that, the HDD worked a treat. I was only recording in ProRes Proxy, so I assume the low data rate helped, but I had no issues. It did take a couple of seconds to spin up into record - I expect a SSD would be quicker.. but as a cheap option, I'm definitely going to do more experiments... BUT I will still buy some SSDs for my main drives to ensure full confidence in the system.

Sorry if its a bit long-winded, but I've done a few searches and found very little user reviews of the PIX, so hope this will help those of you thinking of buying.

To sum up - the PIX240 gets a big thumbs up from me, it just has a few small issues (re. clip playback and losing my setup) that I'm sure can be resolved...

Cheers,

Chris
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Last edited by Chris Dickinson; December 17th, 2011 at 10:59 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 08:34 PM   #8
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Thank you Chris, very helpful.

Also very much looking forward to Ned's review. The most useful write up I've found to date is here: The Sound Devices PIX 240 Unmasked & Revealed ? Sound & Picture

I wonder if a Pix owner could tell us the weight of the unit, with and without caddy. Sound Devices don't list it anywhere. Thanks in advance.
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Old January 1st, 2012, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

According to my kitchen scale the recorder weighs 1lb 15.5oz and the caddy with a 256gig SSD weighs 4.75oz.
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 10:50 AM   #10
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Further to my previous post, I put my thoughts to Sound Devices and they will consider my suggestions about organising files and clip playback in future firmware upgrade.

They also suggested that the problems I had (loss of power to Caddy and PIX240 re-setting) were probably due to me having an unsupported HDD. I have just bought a couple of Sandisk SSD and have to say they are a much firmer fit than the HDD - I had previously felt some room for movement when I inserted the Caddy with my HDD which may well have caused poor connections leading to power problems, but the SSD fits more snugly, and thus gives me more confidence.

Cheers,

Chris
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 06:39 PM   #11
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Because the Samsung 470 series are getting hard to obtain, I've also been using the approved Sandisk SSD's in the caddy, and so far had 100% reliability!
(touch wood)
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Old January 2nd, 2012, 09:17 PM   #12
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

My review didn't make current issue, so it looks like you have to wait another month to read it ;(

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Old January 3rd, 2012, 11:32 AM   #13
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Soltz View Post
My review didn't make current issue, so it looks like you have to wait another month to read it ;(

Ned
Oh well. Worth waiting for.
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Old January 5th, 2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Ream View Post
Because the Samsung 470 series are getting hard to obtain, I've also been using the approved Sandisk SSD's in the caddy, and so far had 100% reliability!
(touch wood)
I believe the 470 is discontinued now, so Sound Devices had better get busy testing some more SSDs! I bought tow Sandisks and had a weird moment with one. For each SSD I have a caddy, and SSD1 had a real issue - when I put it into record, it tried, but then stopped and my PIX came up with a warning "Media is too slow"... I tried at ProRes Proxy and still it wouldn't record... So I swapped it into my other Caddy and it still wouldn't work. I turned the unit off and on, reformatted etc... still no luck. So I then plugged it into my MacBook Pro via Firewire and tested it by simply dragging a file across - SSD1 took 1 min 40 secs to transfer a 445MB video file. I then tried SSD2 and it took 8 seconds...! So, clearly something wrong with SSD1...

So, I phoned up the shop I bought it from and they said to bring it in tomorrow... But just before going to sleep I thought I would try it one more time - you know, just in case... And it worked! Tested all compression rates and it was fine..!

Can't work out what the problem was, glad its working, but of course I have a slight worry in the back of my mind that it may manifest itself again...

Weird...

Chris
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Old January 5th, 2012, 01:26 PM   #15
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Re: PIX 240 Reviews?

SD has now qualified the SanDisk and OWC SSD's. Check out their site.
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