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Re: Difference in P2 cards

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Clark Cooper
Re: Difference in P2 cards
on Feb 15, 2012 at 10:33:39 pm

XG can be ignored, it is just part of a model number.

Chronologically, the four series are H, R, A, and E. As Panasonic puts it, "The four main differences are the transfer speed, price, card lifetime and the type of flash memory utilized". You're not likely to come across many of the original H series. The H, R and A series have all been discontinued in favor of the E series, which has the fastest data transfer rate (1.2 Gbps, or 1200 Mbps). I think savvy shooters quickly realized that the even the "reduced-life" E series was going to outlive the P2 format itself — unless you really do shoot with these cards to FULL capacity, TWICE a day, EVERY day for 2.5 years — and that realization put the slower A and R series in an early grave.

Having said that, I know some news crews for whom the A series still makes sense. They're gathering and dumping footage multiple times per day, and they do this day in and day out. The A series card can dump footage at 800Mbps, given the right card reader and hardware. But The PCD2 USB 2.0 Single-slot card reader is going to slow you down to around 300 Mbps anyway. So if you'll be using the single-slot USB2 reader (and it's a perfectly fine reader for many applications), you might as well go with the older R series (640 Mbps). If you use a Firewire 800 reader, then the A series is a great match.

There are only a few expensive devices that can read the E series cards at their full speed. What we need from Panasonic is a USB 3.0, single-slot card reader, then the E series cards would truly be the optimal card.

I HAVE seen a P2 cards truly fail (go irreparably bad) just once (out of at least a hundred A, R and E series cards we've owned over the years), but in that case user error was suspect. It happened to be an A series card, but I don't really think it would have made a difference. Panasonic simply swapped out the card for us.

In short: Unless you need ultimate speed, no matter the cost, or until Panasonic releases a USB 3.0 single-slot card reader, buy what is most affordable. They're all ROCK SOLID!

Clark Cooper
Abbey HD Camera Rentals

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