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How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)

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Bill Parsons
How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 29, 2012 at 1:26:32 pm

OK, I am crazy about the Panasonic HPX250, but not so crazy about the long downloads using the USB connector.
I am contemplating getting the 17" MacBookPro that has the Express-34 adapter and getting a PCI-to-E34 adapter, but see that this particular purpose, reading P2 cards, is not generally supported.
Is anyone getting a hi-speed download to a MBP and how?
tnx, Bill Parsons


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Steve Eisen
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 29, 2012 at 5:16:37 pm

You simply can not use fast and cheap in the same sentence.
I use the PCD-35. Offload a full 64GB P2 card in 19 minutes.

PCD35-Fastest Express 34. Retail $2200. I've seen used ones for around $1300-&1400
PCD20-Fast FW800
PCD-2 USB

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Helmut Kobler
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 30, 2012 at 7:47:19 am

The PCD20 is not nearly as fast as it should be given the Firewire 800 port. I've done tests. It's actually just as fast when using USB, so you gain nothing with FW800, speed wise.

I was disappointed that Panasonic didn't follow up the PCD2 with a USB3 model, but now they're transitioning the whole P2 line to SD cards, so maybe they're waiting to introduce an SD-based product down the road.

Anyway, yes, P2 users who can't use the PCD35 or the newer 3-card USB3 reader that Panasonic sells (also for over $2K) are stuck with slow speeds.

I recently got a Canon c300 and was able to buy a $50 CF card reader that uses USB3, and flies. $50 vs $2000+. That's one of the reasons that P2 feels stuck in the mud lately.

-------------------
Los Angeles Cameraman
Canon C300 (x2), Zeiss CP.2 lenses, P2 Varicam, etc.
http://www.lacameraman.com


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Tom Matthies
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 30, 2012 at 2:48:29 pm

Panasonic card readers have always been ridiculously expensive. No technical reason for it either. You'd think that a simple USB card reader would be much more reasonably priced? I use a small USB hard drive to offload directly from the camera in the field or just use my HPX-370 itself to offload to the archive drives on the editing computer.

E=MC2+/-2db


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Bill Parsons
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 30, 2012 at 3:49:01 pm

Thanks for the very enlightening comments.

When I saw the line-up of P2 camera's with the stupid P2 card, I figured I should wait for an internal SSD (solid state disk). After all, Apple can put 500GB of SSD in a laptop for $1,100. This compares favorably with the $2,600 I paid for 4 64GB P2 cards.

I ended up buying the HPX250 this year anyway because my cash flow supported the purchase and cut off my rentals. And I, too, am downloading from the 250 to the computer via the usb connex.

Annoyances include:

1. Long transfer times when using Shot Put Pro (as recommended-it's nice sw). It takes 6 or even more hours to copy 2 P2's to 2 HD's with verification.

2. When shooting, I backup live with a Firestore FS100-250. It holds as much DVCPRO HD footage as my 4 P2 cards. I will experiment with this drive via Firewire800 to see if it's faster than the P2 via usb intfx.

For now, I’ll continue using the usb D/L from the 250 to the HD. I’ll try only writing to one HD using SPP with verification and then use Carbon Copy Clone to reproduce the downloaded data to other drives. CCC has verification as well. This way, I’ll be moving data much faster than by usb port. Maybe CCC can operate against the P2 cards in the camera.

If I’m still in this little boat in a year, I’ll get a 17” MacBookPro with the Express34 port and find a PCD35 somewhere.

Nice camera, otherwise.


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Bill Parsons
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on May 30, 2012 at 5:28:33 pm

Steve, I find that I often justapose incompatible elements in my sentences. It's like telling the bride that I can't do something....

I will keep my eye out for a less-expensive PCD35.


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Steve Eisen
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on Jun 2, 2012 at 12:55:53 am

Keep looking. The lowest I've seen on Ebay was $700. Keep watching. You'll find one.

My PCD35 worked very well in my favor this week where I had a 2 camera shoot and recorded over 14 hours in one day.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Creative Pro Users Group


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Wolf Austad
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on Jun 3, 2012 at 11:12:11 pm

Ah, the Achilles heel of Panasonic: A small, fast and reasonably priced P2 card reader that works with a variety of standard computer interfaces. (Note to Panasonic: Micro P2 should have UHS-II interface for fast offload! Or faster... if there is something more future proof by next year. And in the meantime release a PCD3 with USB3 interface!.)

Anyway, here are some more workarounds for today:

Use multiple readers. My MacBook Pro has two separate USB busses. Mac Pros have a lot more. So PCD2 in one and camera in the other and you half your offload time. Your computer's CPU and your Runner Drives would have to be able to keep up, of course. If you use slow hard drives, there's not much point in this method.

A PCD35 or PCD30 will probably be faster than this, though.

BTW. I've been told that the larger Panasonic readers (PCD35 & PCD30) use custom PC-card chips (not standard PCMCIA chips), hence the higher speed (and probably price).

Also: Stay away from ShotPut Pro version 4.1.3 (downgrade to 4.1.2 or upgrade to 4.1.4) as I've found that version glacially slow for P2 offloads.

Aasulv Wolf Austad, fnf
Director of Photography
Los Angeles based


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Chris Lehmann
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on Jun 27, 2012 at 6:08:12 pm

[Wolf Austad] "Use multiple readers."

This works great for 17" MBPs. This setup will ingest three 32GB cards at once in around 20 minutes and the biggest expense by far was the PCD2.

HVX-200A > FW400 to FW800 cable > Firewire Port on MBP
PCD2 > USB cable > MBP
Fast External Hard Drive > FW800 cable > FW800 Express34 Card > MBP


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michael johnson
Re: How to read P2 cards faster (and cheaply)
on Dec 27, 2013 at 9:43:37 pm

Can you give me the part names for the acronyms you have listed. I cannot find the "PC2D" to USB to MBP? Wolf


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