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Sandisk Pro Blade?


mercer
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After purchasing a Sigma FP a few weeks ago, I realized that the SSD route is really the only viable option with the camera. Sadly. As cool as the camera is with its tiny size, I think most users would have preferred internal recording to a larger memory card solution. I know I would have. CFExpress or whatever the newfangled cards are, couldn't have added too much to the size of the camera. The internal 12bit CDNG 1080p isn't any better than the video quality from my 5D3 w/ ML Raw and I don't think the Dual ISO for the internal CDNG modes share the same 3200 ISO rating that makes the camera so appealing to me.

That said, I do like the camera and the 4K image, so I've been testing a few SSDs and it seems that the popular Samsung T5 drive is either to0 difficult to get now, or is too expensive. According to the internet, the T7 doesn't seem to get along with the FP as well as the T5 does... which doesn't make much sense to me since it's a faster drive, but either way, that leaves only a few Sigma recommended options... the LaCie Rugged... and the Sandisk Extreme. The LaCie Rugged is an orange monstrosity that seems as big as the camera... so... NO.

I've been using the Sandisk Extreme and it works pretty well so far, but it's a little bigger than I'd like... so I searched online for some smaller drives. I found a Kingston and an Adata. Since Kingston is a better known brand, I decided to give it a go... and... it worked really well. It was recording for over a minute during my tests without issue. So I decided to take it out for a test shoot... again no issues... I recorded a bunch of clips without any issues... even a few that went over the 1-2 minute mark. So I thought... SCORE! This thing is tiny in comparison to other drives and the cost is reasonable enough... but then at the end of this test shoot... it decided to hiccup. Every time I hit record, there was a lag and the recording would barely last 3-5 seconds... so not a win. I then plugged in Sandisk Extreme and no issue whatsoever. Again this is weird since the Kingston is "supposed" to far outpace the Sandisk Extreme... like double the speeds. Maybe it has to do with internal heat, or something, I don't know, either way it didn't work.

I assume I'll just continue with the Sandisk Extreme SSDs and buy a couple more, but then I happened to notice a product called the Sandisk Pro Blade system. It seems marketed to video productions... they even use pictures of it being used with a BMPCC 6K Pro in their marketing. Now it isn't particularly small or cheap, but the mags are about the same price as the individual Sandisk Extreme drives and when shooting in more controlled environments, or when using a bigger rig, it seems very simple to just pop out a mag and replace it rather than unplugging the Extreme SSD, detaching it from the rig and then hooking up a new one...

Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I was just wondering if anyone has any experience with this system?

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I know its off topic but are you saying the internal CDNG 3200 iso isn't useful in HD or both HD and 4K? I have personally found 3200 iso to be incredibly useful, really one of the highlights of the camera for me. I just expose for the subject and it handles highlights really well, even though they appear to be blown in the camera monitor. 

I haven't heard of the Sandisk Pro Blade but it looks like a good solution. I have been using a 3rd Party SSD solution from Dark Power Lab, which I really like due to it being cordless. 

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1 hour ago, TomTheDP said:

I know its off topic but are you saying the internal CDNG 3200 iso isn't useful in HD or both HD and 4K? I have personally found 3200 iso to be incredibly useful, really one of the highlights of the camera for me. I just expose for the subject and it handles highlights really well, even though they appear to be blown in the camera monitor. 

So, I wasn't too clear there, but I saw on the B&H specs page, for the FP, that the native dual-iso, in internal cDNG (8bit 4K & 12bit 1080p) is 100 on the low-end, and 640 for the high. B&H specs aren't always correct, but they usually are. I need to do more research to see if that's the case. I'd imagine the image is still fairly clean regardless, but I am planning on only shooting on the two native ISOs on the FP. YMMV.

I totally agree about ISO 3200... it's one of the best features of the camera... in the woods, even in mid-day, bumping up to 3200 and using ND filtration makes a drastic improvement in overall IQ without the need for extra lighting, and/or reflectors. I love the way the highlights are handled as well. Even a bright sky that's basically blown out has a nice softness to it. 

I love the clean, modern image I'm getting from the FP, and it's small size, but if not for the 3200 ISO feature, I may not even keep the camera. I find my 5D to be an overall nicer shooting experience with only a minimal bump in IQ for the FP. The workflows are actually very similar so it seems like a great in-betweener camera for me when I need higher ISO or where a little extra resolution can be beneficial.

1 hour ago, TomTheDP said:

I haven't heard of the Sandisk Pro Blade but it looks like a good solution. I have been using a 3rd Party SSD solution from Dark Power Lab, which I really like due to it being cordless. 

In their marketing Sandisk try and sell that this product is already part of established professional productions and workflows... I think it may be a little hype. But it seems like a cool option.

I'm also looking at the Dark Power Lab option. I almost purchased their basic set up last week, but after looking at the cost and availability of the internal nVME drives, I was a little discouraged. It seems like the size could be outdated soon enough. I also saw on YouTube that they tend to get kinda hot. What brand nVME are you using? It seems Sabrent, Samsung and WD are the only options. I'm very run and gun, so overheating frightens me a little and compatibility is a concern. I may shoot a dozen short shots in as many minutes, and then jump right into a dialogue scene that I'm getting coverage for. I need it to be reliable. Shooting with the Kingston SSD the other day, which is not on Sigma's recommended list, basically made the camera unusable. I haven't had ANY hiccups shooting with my 5D and the ML Raw hack for over 5 years... so having my camera recording stop in the middle of a take was pretty disheartening. This isn't a hacked camera.

Perhaps the supplied cable has something to do with it... I read somewhere that 3.1 generation is important to how the FP operates with the USB-C. I believe the Kingston and others like the T7 are using 3.2 so even with the faster speeds, I guess there may be some kind of compatibility issue. I may buy a new cable and test it out because the size of those Kingston drives is pretty tiny. Sabrent also makes one called the Rocket Mini, so if you, and others, are using Sabrent nVME drives with your DPL, then that might be an alternative option as well. I think I need a little more testing and some research before I drop the money into DPl... even though that seems like the best option if it works and the drives aren't too expensive.

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3 minutes ago, mercer said:

So, I wasn't too clear there, but I saw on the B&H specs page, for the FP, that the native dual-iso, in internal cDNG (8bit 4K & 12bit 1080p) is 100 on the low-end, and 640 for the high. B&H specs aren't always correct, but they usually are. I need to do more research to see if that's the case. I'd imagine the image is still fairly clean regardless, but I am planning on only shooting on the two native ISOs on the FP. YMMV.

I totally agree about ISO 3200... it's one of the best features of the camera... in the woods, even in mid-day, bumping up to 3200 and using ND filtration makes a drastic improvement in overall IQ without the need for extra lighting, and/or reflectors. I love the way the highlights are handled as well. Even a bright sky that's basically blown out has a nice softness to it. 

I love the clean, modern image I'm getting from the FP, and it's small size, but if not for the 3200 ISO feature, I may not even keep the camera. I find my 5D to be an overall nicer shooting experience with only a minimal bump in IQ for the FP. The workflows are actually very similar so it seems like a great in-betweener camera for me when I need higher ISO or where a little extra resolution can be beneficial.

In their marketing Sandisk try and sell that this product is already part of established professional productions and workflows... I think it may be a little hype. But it seems like a cool option.

I'm also looking at the Dark Power Lab option. I almost purchased their basic set up last week, but after looking at the cost and availability of the internal nVME drives, I was a little discouraged. It seems like the size could be outdated soon enough. I also saw on YouTube that they tend to get kinda hot. What brand nVME are you using? It seems Sabrent, Samsung and WD are the only options. I'm very run and gun, so overheating frightens me a little and compatibility is a concern. I may shoot a dozen short shots in as many minutes, and then jump right into a dialogue scene that I'm getting coverage for. I need it to be reliable. Shooting with the Kingston SSD the other day, which is not on Sigma's recommended list, basically made the camera unusable. I haven't had ANY hiccups shooting with my 5D and the ML Raw hack for over 5 years... so having my camera recording stop in the middle of a take was pretty disheartening. This isn't a hacked camera.

Perhaps the supplied cable has something to do with it... I read somewhere that 3.1 generation is important to how the FP operates with the USB-C. I believe the Kingston and others like the T7 are using 3.2 so even with the faster speeds, I guess there may be some kind of compatibility issue. I may buy a new cable and test it out because the size of those Kingston drives is pretty tiny. Sabrent also makes one called the Rocket Mini, so if you, and others, are using Sabrent nVME drives with your DPL, then that might be an alternative option as well. I think I need a little more testing and some research before I drop the money into DPl... even though that seems like the best option if it works and the drives aren't too expensive.

I think the cable does matter. I have had no issues with my T5 setup, which I used on the last feature I did. I just did a little vacation and used the Dark Power option as it is just more compact. Internal recording was part of the reason I went with the FP, but using a cable kind of kills that. I do have the cable clamped on both ends when I use it.

The drive I have in the Dark Power setup is an NVMe PM991a 512gb ssd. No issues so far with it in 4k 12bit. I might get more drives for it if I hold onto it long enough. 

 

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10 minutes ago, TomTheDP said:

I think the cable does matter. I have had no issues with my T5 setup, which I used on the last feature I did. I just did a little vacation and used the Dark Power option as it is just more compact. Internal recording was part of the reason I went with the FP, but using a cable kind of kills that. I do have the cable clamped on both ends when I use it.

The drive I have in the Dark Power setup is an NVMe PM991a 512gb ssd. No issues so far with it in 4k 12bit. I might get more drives for it if I hold onto it long enough. 

 

Okay thanks. Do you remember what brand you're using? Also were you doing a lot of starting/stopping when using your Dark Power Labs set up?

I abbe to test the internal recording a bit more... I was hoping I'd like the footage more than I do. Like I said, other than the higher ISO capabilities of the FP, my 5D3 seems to look much nicer than the internal 1080p on the FP. Granted it adds some slow motion options. I think I need to go out and just test the 8bit cDNG. I hate the amount of data it burns through with the cost of SD cards, but it's definitely the most option of the camera.

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12 hours ago, mercer said:

According to the internet, the T7 doesn't seem to get along with the FP as well as the T5 does... which doesn't make much sense to me since it's a faster drive

I read this is because the T7 uses a buffer for very fast writes, but also it can get full if used for longer than it was made for. Since cameras are constantly sending a lot of data, that buffer fills up very quickly.

12 hours ago, mercer said:

Every time I hit record, there was a lag and the recording would barely last 3-5 seconds... so not a win

I had this happen with a T5 and 6kPro. I think it's when the disk is a certain percentage full, it slows down or something... Or maybe it is the heat. I've used the same drive a lot since then, and haven't been able to recreate the problem, but I've also not filled it up as much as I had on that shoot. I've also never had that problem with a T5 and the FP, although I mostly shoot to Braw with the FP, so it's possible I've simply not tested it enough to find any issues.

--

I've not heard of the Sandisk Pro Blade before, but it doesn't look much smaller than the Lacie Rugged disks. I think the DPL option is the most compact way to record externally, but it's also one of the more expensive routes.  

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10 hours ago, mercer said:

Okay thanks. Do you remember what brand you're using? Also were you doing a lot of starting/stopping when using your Dark Power Labs set up?

I abbe to test the internal recording a bit more... I was hoping I'd like the footage more than I do. Like I said, other than the higher ISO capabilities of the FP, my 5D3 seems to look much nicer than the internal 1080p on the FP. Granted it adds some slow motion options. I think I need to go out and just test the 8bit cDNG. I hate the amount of data it burns through with the cost of SD cards, but it's definitely the most option of the camera.

Yeah the 1080p is hit or miss. It can look very good but sometimes it is just noticeably soft. If it had 4k 60p then it would be a perfect camera for me. It's too bad they can't have like 2:1 compression or 3:1 that would probably open up the possibility of higher frame rates in 4k. 

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On 11/29/2022 at 9:31 AM, Anaconda_ said:

I read this is because the T7 uses a buffer for very fast writes, but also it can get full if used for longer than it was made for. Since cameras are constantly sending a lot of data, that buffer fills up very quickly.

Okay, thanks that makes sense. That may be the problem with the drive I was using. It wasn't really full at all, but I guess after a bunch of quick recordings, it was too taxing on the buffer.

 

On 11/29/2022 at 9:31 AM, Anaconda_ said:

I've also never had that problem with a T5 and the FP, although I mostly shoot to Braw with the FP, so it's possible I've simply not tested it enough to find any issues.

It's a shame the T5 drives aren't as readily available, or as cheap as they once were. SmallRig makes a side handle where the T5 can be inserted into the handle. It's a pretty nifty solution.

Can you confirm this... I just watched a YouTube video and the guy said the the picture profile was baked into Braw footage. Well, he specifically said that the OFF profile was baked in, but I assume that all are? If so, that's kinda weird.

On 11/29/2022 at 9:31 AM, Anaconda_ said:

I've not heard of the Sandisk Pro Blade before, but it doesn't look much smaller than the Lacie Rugged disks. I think the DPL option is the most compact way to record externally, but it's also one of the more expensive routes.  

I suppose it seems like I am contradicting myself... I probably am. My goal is to make the rig as compact as humanly possible, for most shooting, but I can see some benefits to rigging it out with a V-mount and using it on sticks and/or a dana dolly for more controlled shoots. In those instances, is my curiosity about the Sandisk Blade system.

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On 11/29/2022 at 11:33 AM, TomTheDP said:

Yeah the 1080p is hit or miss. It can look very good but sometimes it is just noticeably soft. If it had 4k 60p then it would be a perfect camera for me. It's too bad they can't have like 2:1 compression or 3:1 that would probably open up the possibility of higher frame rates in 4k. 

The 1080p wasn't necessarily bad, it's just nowhere near as good as on the 5D3. I really want the 8bit 4K to be better than my first test. I'd like to shoot as bare bones as possible and although the DPL is a solution, it still adds unnecessary bulk to the camera. But the storage for the 8bit 4K CDNG is pretty hefty and the SD cards are astronomical. We'll see. Like I said I want to do another test before I completely give up on it. I also want to test the 48p option.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/1/2022 at 4:48 AM, mercer said:

The 1080p wasn't necessarily bad, it's just nowhere near as good as on the 5D3. I really want the 8bit 4K to be better than my first test. I'd like to shoot as bare bones as possible and although the DPL is a solution, it still adds unnecessary bulk to the camera. But the storage for the 8bit 4K CDNG is pretty hefty and the SD cards are astronomical. We'll see. Like I said I want to do another test before I completely give up on it. I also want to test the 48p option.

How do you find 4k 8bit raw vs 1080 12bit raw?

If shooting to SD cards, I generally go 1080 12bit, but only because I haven't properly tested 4k 8bit yet. Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Back to the original topic, I'm a huge fan of the Dark Power Labs stuff.  I've been using the Sabrents that PC recommends in mine.  One thing that he doesn't mention (should you go that route) is that you need to peel off the heatsink sticker on it - the enclosure uses a thermal pad to attach to the SSD so it isn't needed anyway.  With the sticker attached, the enclosure is too tight.

Do they get hot?  YES.  When recording, it hasn't been too bad for me.  When dumping a full disk?  The enclosure gets uncomfortably hot.  That's going to happen with just about any extremely small/fast SSD during heavy I/O.

Anyway, I use the smaller enclosure attached to the EVF on my FP-L (no cage) and I use the DPL cage with the longer SSD enclosure attached on the bottom with my FP.  Either way, it's a pretty slick setup.  One of the things I like is that when I'm just shooting photos or don't need 12-bit, I can just unscrew the holder and throw it in my pocket.

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  • 1 month later...
On 12/13/2022 at 6:48 AM, Anaconda_ said:

How do you find 4k 8bit raw vs 1080 12bit raw?

If shooting to SD cards, I generally go 1080 12bit, but only because I haven't properly tested 4k 8bit yet. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Sorry for the late reply...

Honestly, I haven't tested either enough to say with certainty, but I wasn't impressed at all with the 1080p raw. Without question ML Raw from my 5D3 is vastly superior. The only positive being is the higher frame rates from the FP, but I VERY rarely need slow motion.

The 4K 8bit raw wasn't bad. It seemed like a really good compressed codec that you can bend a bit more with the raw settings.

I'm having so many issues finding an SSD solution that I really wish I could just shoot internal 4K 8bit raw but the SD cards are just too damn expensive... 10 minutes of footage on a 128gb card is just too limiting and at $150 a pop... too expensive.

With that said, I think the 4K 8bit could be useful for very specific projects... micro-short films where you may have a low shooting ratio... projects or sequences that may be finished in B&W or have a very basic analogue look... vintage S8/16mm type of thing. With the MC-21 adapter and a Canon IS lens, it could be a really interesting set-up.

On 12/14/2022 at 8:58 PM, eatstoomuchjam said:

Back to the original topic, I'm a huge fan of the Dark Power Labs stuff.  I've been using the Sabrents that PC recommends in mine.  One thing that he doesn't mention (should you go that route) is that you need to peel off the heatsink sticker on it - the enclosure uses a thermal pad to attach to the SSD so it isn't needed anyway.  With the sticker attached, the enclosure is too tight.

Do they get hot?  YES.  When recording, it hasn't been too bad for me.  When dumping a full disk?  The enclosure gets uncomfortably hot.  That's going to happen with just about any extremely small/fast SSD during heavy I/O.

Anyway, I use the smaller enclosure attached to the EVF on my FP-L (no cage) and I use the DPL cage with the longer SSD enclosure attached on the bottom with my FP.  Either way, it's a pretty slick setup.  One of the things I like is that when I'm just shooting photos or don't need 12-bit, I can just unscrew the holder and throw it in my pocket.

Thanks for this! I've been testing numerous drives from the recommended list and unofficial drives and I have yet to find an unofficial drive that works for any extended period of time with run and gun shooting. A few I've tested (Kingston) work for about 10-20 minutes of extensive shooting, but then will start acting up and stop recording after 5-10 seconds. I assume it's a buffering issue. The two recommended drives I have (Sandisk Extreme Pro & Samsung T5) seem to work without issue, but to be honest, I don't think I pushed them as hard as the unofficial drives because I just assumed they work.

The internal Kingston NVME drive I have installed inside a SmallRig enclosure is actually an okay set-up...

Sigma FP

That said, the DPL seems damn near perfect, except for the price.

I was regularly checking for a great price on an FP, but I needed a deal to make it worth it. For what I do, my 5D3 is more than enough for my needs. But I found an FP that was too good to pass up and I really like the IQ (and finally having a camera where I can use my Minolta lenses) but I still want/need to keep this camera set-up as stealthy and CHEAP as possible.

I guess I try one of those Sabrent drives. I tested the Rocket Nano drive and it didn't work at all. Thank God for liberal return policies. Do you know which version of the Sabrent NVME you are using? Is it the Blue or Brown Rocket?

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8 hours ago, mercer said:

That said, the DPL seems damn near perfect, except for the price.

I just recieved by DPL setup and it's changed how I look at the camera. With my previous setups, I either had a monitor on the back, or the loupe with an SSD on top. Both made the camera much bigger. But now I can shoot 4k 12bit for just under an hour on a 1tb SSD. 

Not having a cable coming out the side makes a big difference, and the extra width is justified by adding a cold shoe. It's more or less the same size as HU-11, but better functionality, as it houses the media and still allows access to the HDMI and 3.5mm input if you need them.

Of course, with the price it's only worth buying / testing if you're going to keep the camera, so keep using the t5 until you're sure you're happy with it. And I could very much recomend using Canon FDs.

(not my video, but it's stunning and a 'simple' grade by the sounds of it) 

 

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14 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

I just recieved by DPL setup and it's changed how I look at the camera. With my previous setups, I either had a monitor on the back, or the loupe with an SSD on top. Both made the camera much bigger. But now I can shoot 4k 12bit for just under an hour on a 1tb SSD. 

Cool, I'm thinking of doing the same thing. I really like the 12bit 4K and shooting at 3200 ISO with my small collection of Minolta lenses. But a lot of its appeal is that it's a tiny camera that shoots FF Raw. These external drives are the antithesis of that.

What internal SSD are you using with the DPL? And have you tried any kind of stress test with it? The issues I'm having with unofficial drives is that they're fine for about 10 minutes, then all of a sudden the recording stops... I assume due to buffering. If I switch over to a Sigma recommended drive, the camera works fine, so I don't think it's an overheating issue.

15 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

Of course, with the price it's only worth buying / testing if you're going to keep the camera, so keep using the t5 until you're sure you're happy with it. And I could very much recomend using Canon FDs.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to keep the camera, it's just finding the right setup for it. FD lenses are great on almost any camera. It helps that the adapters are also a little smaller as well.

 

15 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

(not my video, but it's stunning and a 'simple' grade by the sounds of it) 

Very nice sample from the FP, but YouTube compression torments it. Which really gets you thinking...

Sadly, in the comments, he mentions similar SSD issues with the DPL rack that I'm experiencing with unofficial drives.

It seems these NVME drives work if you're casually using the camera during a trip, on a walk, or at a family event. But if you're firing off a lot of shots successively, or planning dialogue scenes... I don't know if they're a great solution.

Damn.

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10 hours ago, mercer said:

It seems these NVME drives work if you're casually using the camera during a trip, on a walk, or at a family event. But if you're firing off a lot of shots successively, or planning dialogue scenes... I don't know if they're a great solution.

I shot with it all day on Sunday with no problem. Used a little over 500gb on a 1tb drive. That was all short clips though, I think the longest was about 5 minutes, but that was the last clip I recorded.

I'm now running a long test with the camera rolling next to me. So far it's gone for 20 minutes with 34 left on the SSD. I'll see if it goes all the way to the end and then report back. If all goes well, I'll record in 15 minute chunks until it gives issues or fills the card... Watch this space.

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My recordings capped out at about 25 minutes, which is exactly half the time I had left on the drive too, so it looks like it doesn't like going beyond 50% capacity. I'll test this over the weekend by putting500gb of footage from another camera on the SSD and then trying to record something to it with the FP. I'm also going to try shooting lots of small clips with the FP and see where I get. Perhaps there's a limit to the amount of frames in a folder, or having one very large folder... who knows.

One interesting thing I noticed is in the menu. SYSTEM > MEMORY MEDIA > USB STORAGE there's WRITE MODE options. Standard and Custom, but I don't really know what they mean... The manual says this though (p142)

Quote

MEMORY MEDIA

A data writing failure may occur depending on the USB storage (SSD) you are using. If this happens, changing Write mode may resolve such a failure.

While the USB storage remains connected, select [USB Storage] → [Write Mode], and change the mode from [Standard] to [Custom]. If [Custom] is set, the icon is displayed in orange.

https://www.sigma-global.com/en/wp/wp-content/themes/sigma/tool/s3_io.php?filepath=en%2Fwp%2Fwp-content%2Fdownload%2Fcatalog-resource%2Fcameras%2Ffp%2Ffp_Manual_FW_Ver.4.0_EN.pdf&show=1

I haven't been able to test if that makes things better, but it certainly sounds promising.

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3 in a row... 

With the setting I mention above turned to Custom, and shooting for 5 minutes at a time, I filled up the 1tb SSD without any fuss.

So I think, if you keep your shots under 10 minutes each, there's no issue with this setup.

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On 1/20/2023 at 7:12 AM, Anaconda_ said:

3 in a row... 

With the setting I mention above turned to Custom, and shooting for 5 minutes at a time, I filled up the 1tb SSD without any fuss.

So I think, if you keep your shots under 10 minutes each, there's no issue with this setup.

Thanks for the info. I've used the custom setting and still had issues with NVME drives. I never shoot a shot longer than 2-3 minutes and most are less than a minute. But they are consecutive, with little time in between. As I said, some drives will work normally for a while, but then after 10-20 minutes of running and gunning a bunch of shots, the recording will just stop and then that will continue from that point on.

Which internal drive are you using with the DPL? It seems the guy who shot the video you posted tested all of the DPL recommended drives and had the same issues I am having with these alternate drives. I figure I'll test a couple more and then maybe I'll try reflashing the newest firmware.... if that's possible.

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6 hours ago, mercer said:

Which internal drive are you using with the DPL? It seems the guy who shot the video you posted tested all of the DPL recommended drives and had the same issues I am having with these alternate drives.

Before ordering, I asked the DPL guy which drive he recomends. He suggested this SABRENT 1TB Rocket NVMe PCIe M.2 2242 DRAM-less Low Power Internal High Performance SSD (SB-1342-1TB)

That's what I ordered, and gave me the results above. I'm not about to shoot a long interview in cDNG, so keeping clips reasonably short is no problem for me. For anything longer, I'll shoot Braw... which just gave me an idea. Are these issues caused my the SSD or the camera? I'll plug the SSD into my VA and shoot Braw with the FP and see if it also cuts out before the disk is full.

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