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Flavors of Sony SxS

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Bob Cole
Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 17, 2011 at 9:19:37 pm

My apologies if this obvious question has been addressed, but I searched and came up empty:

Sony sells two levels of SxS cards, e.g. the SBP-32 32GB SxS "PRO" (B&H $796) and the SxS-1 G1 32GB (B&H $580). The less expensive flavor seems to have 1/10th the lifespan (but still plenty) and require some firmware upgrades to work with older EX1/3 cameras.

Is there any meaningful difference (reliability, mainly) between these cards?

Bob C


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Ian Cook
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 17, 2011 at 10:34:30 pm

Hi Bob,

The only functional difference is the shorter lifespan on the -1A cards.

Best,

Ian Cook
Sony Broadcast and Professional Company


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Bob Cole
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:10:00 am

[Ian Cook] "the shorter lifespan"

Thanks Ian. My "reliability" question is: does the shorter lifespan come as an unpleasant surprise (i.e. you lose media), or is there some fair warning that the card is dying?


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Don Greening
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 12:30:36 am

According to my Sony source there is some sort of prompt or message that comes up in plenty of time to make arrangements to replace the card. Remember though, that the economy cards are good for 5 years of (almost) continuous use before they give up the ghost. That's a whole lot of recording.

- Don

Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Ian Cook
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 3:27:29 pm

Don is correct. The camera will prompt you when the card begins to near the end of its lifespan.


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Michael Palmer
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:22:36 pm

Ian,
Great to hear there will be a warning, so can you tell us just how the camera is capable of diagnosing the condition of a media card.

My guess is that the latest firmware creates a counter file held on the memory card and when it reaches a given number it reacts. Perhaps this is another reason for the reduced record time with the newest firmware.

I'm sure many here would also like to hear the technical differences of the 2 types (SLC / MLC) of SxS memory as well, and does the camera also know the difference?

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Ian Cook
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:44:33 pm

The card keeps track of read/write cycles and automatically triggers a warning when you start reaching EOL


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Brent Dunn
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 4:48:55 pm

Well, I guess eventually we'll all find out. I hope it's not like the idiot light our cars used to have when you were low on oil. Once it came on, it was too late.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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Michael Palmer
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 5:34:00 pm

I agree.

It would be great if there was a diagnostic program to evaluate the memory cards.

Here is a PDF I have posted before and thought was interesting.


http://www.supertalent.com/datasheets/SLC_vs_MLC%20whitepaper.pdf

Good Luck
Michael Palmer


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Bob Cole
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 6:00:46 pm

Bottom line: assuming that the camera will be obsolete before the card is "used up," is there any reason to buy the more expensive cards?


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Don Greening
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 8:25:09 pm

[Bob Cole] "is there any reason to buy the more expensive cards?"

I suppose it all depends on the environment in which you're using the cards. Assuming that the more expensive SxS is single level cell technology and the less expensive one is multi-level cell tech then there are distinct advantages in favour of the higher cost ones:

  • better endurance
  • more extreme operating temperature range
  • lower power consumption
  • faster write/erase speeds
  • longer write/erase endurance - 100,000 cycles as opposed to 10,000 for the SxS-1


If the SxS-1 card is operating in higher than recommended temps there is a real risk of losing data.

MLC technology is considered consumer grade and SLC is industrial grade. Thanks Michael P. for posting the PDF file.

- Don

Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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Bob Cole
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:07:34 pm

Excellent points. If I were an Arctic explorer my question would be solved. But you do solve it anyway: [Don Greening] "100,000 cycles as opposed to 10,000"

At a guess, I currently run about 300-400 hours of tape a year. A pair of 32GB cards will hold 3-4 hours, requiring at most 100 cycles a year. In 100 years, I'm going to have to replace those cards. So, in 2111, I'm going to regret being such a cheapskate.

Thanks Don. I hope that my math is correct, and that my attempt at humor doesn't sound sarcastic -- I'm just trying to put this in perspective. I really appreciate your taking the time to put this all in black and white.

The only question I have left is whether it's smarter to have a bunch of 16GB cards vs. half as many 32GB cards. Is it better not to have as many eggs in one basket, or is better to have fewer eggs to manage?

Oddly enough, I went about this tapeless revolution backwards. Expecting to launch fully into it after my first experience with an EX3, I bought an LTO backup system to store the media. Now, I'm finding that there are just as many issues at the outset.

Bob C


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Don Greening
Re: Flavors of Sony SxS
on Jan 18, 2011 at 9:28:41 pm

S'okay because I too am a sarcasm aficionado.

Your question about the too many eggs in one basket is a good one and oft asked. If you're shooting with SxS I'd recommend larger cards and fewer of them. If you're talking SDHC then I'd say smaller sizes and more of them. It's all about risk factors. I've never had recording /transfer issues with SxS. Ever. I could also say the same thing about SDHC.......because I've never used them.

- Don

Don Greening
Reeltime Videoworks
http://www.reeltimevideoworks.com


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