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Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?

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Jack Myers
Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 5:18:00 pm

Hello,
My name is Jack- I’m with a fishing show on Cape Cod called “On The Water”. We are currently in the process of upgrading from standard definition, to high definition- and I wondered if I could get ANY information from you guys that might help in the process.

Up until now, we shot standard def on Sony p170 camcorders- and we use mics with XLR inputs with wireless mic system. Then we have your basic DVC tape log/capture long hand and import into Final Cut Pro 5.0. Footage is stored on external hard-drives, then after being edited with Final Cut- we send it to a post production company for beta tape dubs and final proofing.

After researching cameras, we decided to go with the original Sony EX1- but i am still piecing together some of the info, and just want to make sure that I don't sign us on for anything that might screw up the rest of the production.

The questions coming from the higher ups are mostly about the SxS cards: costs, sizes, what sizes are compatible with the EX1. Can the EX1 record on any other media? And how do you transfer the files to the computer, any upgrades needed for Final Cut Pro?

if anyone out there is of a mind to share their knowledge about this, or refer me to someone who could- our team would be immensely grateful!
thanks so much,
~Jack~


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Craig Seeman
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 5:42:50 pm

I also used to shoot with Sony PD-170 and moved to Sony EX1 in late 2007.
I personally find card based shooting more robust.

Your EX1 workflow can have a lot of variables depending on your needs.

With SxS cards up to 64GB each, two cards in the camera can get you well over 7 hours of record time. That would pretty much end the need for tape changes. That might be enough to get you through an entire shoot day.

There are some very good SDHC card adaptors by MxM/Hoodman, MxR and a couple of others including Sony. SDHC are much less expensive that SxS but some find risks given QC with SDHC cards. Personally I've gone this route. Find two good cards and you're all set. It does give you the option to buy more storage in a pinch given the ready availability of SDHC. Some do that as an emergency only situation. Also, the lower cost of SDHC allows almost "tape like" use (assuming you're used to HDCAM tape stock like prices) and at least you can give a card to a client.

There's also many good recorders that will take the HD-SDI out, avoiding any compression by the XDCAM codec. The results are spectacular. The type of recorder you get depends on your needs. Some will record to ProRes, some Uncompressed, Some will use flavors of MPEG MXF.

FCP5 is a non starter and, given that, so may your computer be if that's what you're using. FCP7 was quite good at handling XDCAM EX wrapped as .mov but it's End Of Life although you might be able to purchase (not sure about upgrade) through Apple Phone Sales. Alas you'll have to consider another NLE such as Avid, Premiere Pro or maybe even FCPX (Where's that plugin Ian?) if you can risk using a feature incomplete 1.0 app (with lots of future potential IMHO).

In any case, workflow and backup plans are going to be critical. Use only XDCAM ClipBrowser or XDCAM Browser (both with CRC On) to copy the media from the cards. You may consider backing up to LTO tape, Blu-ray, XDCAM as Data disc, redundant hard drives. Ever the cheapo (I admit it) I use Blu-ray data disks.



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Jack Myers
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:26:05 pm

hey Craig-
thanks so much for the quick and informative response! We know that we will most likely have to upgrade our Final Cut Pro to at least a 7.0, no matter what camera we got- but do you think we will have to switch programs with the EX1?


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Craig Seeman
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:55:36 pm

[Jack Myers] "We know that we will most likely have to upgrade our Final Cut Pro to at least a 7.0,"

FCP7 is EOL though. It's only available by direct phone sales from Apple and it may require the purchase of a full version, not an upgrade. Although FCP7 does work in Lion, it's not longer being developed so at some point you'll have to change to something else. Personally I like FCPX but I do wish Sony would develop the direct plugin support so one no longer has to wrap to .mov. There is a plugin from both Sony and Calibrated Software to do that in FCP7.



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Bob Mark
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:22:41 pm

I would agree with what Craig said. I think the EX1 is a very flexible and reliable camcorder. It has so many control features and is easy to use, once you learn how it works. Be sure to dive into the manual. The other thing I would suggest is updating to the latest firmware. Currently, that is v. 1.26 (EX1). If you go the sdhc route, I would look at the websites of the adapter manufacturers. They have tested many cards and will have recommendations for you. If you have the budget, SXS would be a safer approach. If you do go with sdhc/sdxc, again I would recommend the firmware upgrade. Have a Sony authorized center do this for you. Good luck.

Bob


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Bob Jackson
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 6:52:50 pm

The Sony EX series is a great selection of cameras.
The sxs cards are very reliable, and the smaller SD cards do have some reliability problems.
Use them only if you can afford to loose your work, or have client pay for a reshoot.
I use a combination of both but prefer the sxs cards.

vidiot


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Craig Seeman
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 29, 2011 at 7:16:10 pm

[Bob Jackson] "The sxs cards are very reliable, and the smaller SD cards do have some reliability problems."

I don't think they have reliability problems. Certainly there are many professional photographers who depend on them (as well as CF cards).

The thing to be aware of is that QC falls into your hands whereas SxS is Sony's. MxM, for example does testing and lists the results. It's possible for manufacturers to change their process. If you buy from the adaptors recommended list and then test again to confirm that there's been no changes in the process or QC, they can be used reliably. I think many people are buying cards from unknown sources (Amazon, etc) and not doing thorough tests before sending them out into the field.



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Marek Bilski
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 5:31:26 am

Thanks Craig for your input. I'd like to confirm that yes, we test the majority or memory cards that we can get our hands on. Lately we have been testing, and testing to us means hundreds of hours or recording; a lot of ATP Pro UHS-1 which are very fast and reliable and even more recently with SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 32GB 95MB/s version...with great success.

As Craig said, SDHC memory is very reliable, provided you stick to professional grade memory cards eg Hoodman's Raw Steel. We have supplied ATP for almost 3 years (since mid 2009) with no issues or problems whatsoever. Out of the 1,000s of ATP supplied we may have had 2 or 3 returns during this time...but we test everything. Our camera has recorded over 9,500 (almost 10,000) hours of testing media and in general if you stick quality media, you won't have any problems.

Adapter quality is equally important. We see and follow the forums, and see too often consumers having cut corners by buying memory cards from companies which memory cards are targeted at a consumer level (meant to be used occasionally) rather than for professional use, with the incorrect camera's firmware version....

We accummulated a lot of information in regards to how the adapter/memory card and Sony camera successfully interact.

MxM Express


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Marek Bilski
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 6:19:07 am

Also, in regards to having the latest firmware version on your camera to give you the best compatibility, it is not necessary true, for the best results.

We'd like to clarify what we have learnt about firmware versions...

Initially when the EX1 was released, Express34 USB 2.0 adapters were not supported by the camera's firmware version.

Then, in late 2008, when Sony released their new USB 2.0 hard drive recorder, they made a new firmware version to support Express34 USB 2.0 adapters, but not necessarily SDHC memory cards.

There was initial success with some memory cards working, but due to constant manufacturer's production inconsistency - this caused instability on Sony EX cameras.

At that time, we managed to convince ATP to re-write the firmware on their memory cards which gave great stability and success!

Sony realised that users would not abandon the SDHC adapter therefore, they introduced their own adapter and released firmware in March 2010 where stability of memory cards was increased. Even consumer grade memory cards will work without media error, of course, though, there was always the issue of durability.

On the EX1, that firmware version was v1.20 and following up with v1.25. These 2 firmware versions in our testing are the most stable versions to have, in our view, the most stable and compatible with SDHC media.

Upgrading to the latest firmware version will not necessarily give you an advantage and in some cases will make your media incompatibile with your camera.

MxM Express


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Bob Mark
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 2:52:32 pm

Are you implying that firmware v. 1.26 has issues?

Bob


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Bob Mark
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 30, 2011 at 3:12:45 pm

Here is a link to info about the last few updates.
http://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/assets/files/micro/xdcamex/downloads/software/R...

Bob


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Marek Bilski
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Dec 31, 2011 at 12:45:51 am

Hi Bob,
We found in our tests that certain SDHC memory cards will not work as well as the previous firmware version. There is nothing to imply but that is what our test results produced.

Marek

MxM Express


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Bob Mark
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Jan 1, 2012 at 4:24:40 pm

Thanks Marek. Care to mention which cards? I have been testing Sandisk class 10 32GB Extreme HD without incident. Thanks.

Bob


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Marek Bilski
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Jan 2, 2012 at 9:25:08 pm

Hi Bob, Happy New Year!

We've tested PhotoFast 32GB Class 10 which we found occasionally produced a media error...same applies to Lexar 128GB Class 10 as it also produced a media error (infrequently).

Some non-branded memory cards with a Phison IC had issues.

We know that Sony's firmware can be selective as to which memory's IC will work best...

Regards,
Marek

MxM Express


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Bob Tompkins
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Jan 3, 2012 at 2:15:43 pm

Marek, this is very important information as I have just upgraded to 1.26. Have you made Sony aware of this? Obviously a firmware upgrade should provide added capability not less. It would be nice to know exactly which cards are affected. I can understand problems with a 128GB card and cannot imagine using one but if 32GB cards are affected I would like to know.



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Marek Bilski
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Jan 4, 2012 at 10:25:13 am

Hi Bob,

Unfortunately, we are not in a position to advise Sony eg., 1.26v firmware is not publically available... But be assured Sony is aware of our tested media page and adapters.
We prefer to list the tested working memory cards which are compatible and working (d/d Aug 28, 2011) on our site, and we will soon be updating this information again.

Regards,
Marek

MxM Express


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Bob Cole
Re: Assistance with HD upgrade! any info on Sony EX1 cameras and SxS cards?
on Jan 1, 2012 at 4:36:59 pm

[Jack Myers] "we decided to go with the original Sony EX1"

Just curious: why the EX1 and not the EX1R?

Bob C


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