Firewire issues with the F350

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I hate firewire!

When it works it’s great. When things go wrong it’s a nightmare!

My beloved F350’s firewire packed in halfway through a crucial edit yesterday. I had no way of laying back to disc. It had been working all day and there was no reason for it to have happened. Everything was all still plugged in, I just tuned the camera back on and nothing.

So it has to go pack to Sony for repair. I will be without it for ten days and this is going to be a complete nightmare.

It’s not my first camera to have had firewire issues, My Z1, A1e and HVX200 have all had blown firewire at some point. The Z1 was because my cat had chewed through the firewire cable and I hadn’t seen it. The others I have no idea why!

The great thing about the ex1 is it connects to the computer via the USB, so much safer. All these firewire issues stem from power being sent from the mac down the cable. I really need to find a solution to stop this happening again. It’s caused me so many problems and I am fed up with them!!

What I want is the U1 USB XDCAM disc reader AND for it be firmware upgraded to write as well! Hurry up Sony!

In the meantime my plans on shooting a cool new Extreme/ EX1 short tomorrow has hit the skids! I have been struck down by the Norovirus which is sweeping Britain and am hoping to get into the guinness book of records for furthest projective vomit ever. Mmmmm, nice! Linda Blair had it easy!

If anyone wants to send me chicken soup I will be much obliged!


  1. Hi Phil, Well sorry to hear the bad news on the cam and the virus. I have come across this problem with PC on scanners/digital cameras. You need a ESD(static discharge) firewire protector here is the link

    If you want me to send the soup do not forget the address but I am sure that the least of you worries let me know if I can help on this. Get well soon Mark

  2. Ahhh that damned Firewire. Here is my little story…

    As soon as I received my camera, I was curious to know if Adobe OnLocation would be a viable solution for extended recordings, also as a safety net to the SxS. I met up with my mate, did some tests, and everything seemed to work fine. Seemed to me this was a good back-up plan.

    Two days after that, I had to shoot a 3 hour corporate meeting. I was quite happy with my work-flow.

    The day before, I pulled out all of my gear, to set it up to make sure I was at 100%… I wasn’t. My LCD screen was dead, and my EVF was blooming hot, (completely unusable). Luckily the issues were localized, and the camera recorded to card and Firewire output was fine, but too late to get a replacement camera.

    So I went in to record the CMO and Marketing group without a working LCD or viewfinder. Mind you, attempting to monitor with a laptop and OnLocation is useless, the 1second + lag is terrible, not meant for a live shoot. But everyone probably knows that already.

    My shoot went fine, but 6 days after receiving my EX1, it went back to Sony, where it sat for 2+ long weeks. I finally have my EX1 back with a new LCD and EVF.

    ** In my return package the Technician enclosed a page on how to properly use the Firewire out. Basically, you have to power down the Camera and laptop, hook up the cable, then power everything up. Otherwise you run the risk of shorting a circuit.

    To say that I agree with your point about needing a solution to the Mac sending power down the cable, is an understatement. BUT using a 6-4 pin cable, those 2 pins that carry power should be terminated, and the camera side should NOT even receive power.

    I would love to know how to prevent any more flare ups caused by Firewire.

    My Suggestions:
    – Mac Book Pro with a 4 pin port
    (if AAPL is going to support Blu-ray, then why not?)
    – A 6-4 pin cable (or adapter) with proper termination of power

    Sorry for the long rant, you touched on a sore spot.

  3. I agree, the 6 pins supplying power from the macs is great for those lacie rugged bus powered hard drives but I have so many problems with firewire and macs it drives me potty!

    I bought the kramer spike protector but when I use it my mac for some reason doesn’t see the F350. Anyone else had this problem?

  4. Hi Phil,
    Bad news about the Norovirus, 3 days max apparently (but still contagious for another two after that!). Take it easy.
    Re: Firewire, we’ve always ran PC here, never had any damage/problems to kit. Only prob with EX1 and Avid at the mo is the fact you can’t edit the 35mbps natively, Avid have’nt got a solution yet.

  5. Thanks Andrew_h. I also had a talk recently with a pal who builds Avid systems and he mentioned a similar solution regarding transcoding to DNX, so there are options which is a relief!

  6. My first reasonable camera was a VX2000 over six years ago – plugged in the firewire hot, cold, only the Mac powered, only the camera powered, with battery or on mains – not one problem.

    Yet I seem to have fried the Z1 port three times now. After the first time I was very cautious (having discovered what the problem was); after the second time I was ridiculously cautious; after the third time, I gave up and shelled out for a deck, which just never gets unplugged.

    Admittedly, Sony fixed it twice for nothing, but I’m not even going to bother this time. Sorry to hear other Sony cameras do this but cheered that the EX1 does not seem to.

    South Bank film is terrific, by the way.

  7. Prime support picked my F350 up on Friday. It came back today all fixed. How good is that?

    Also Phil Myers at Sony was brilliant. He heard my F350 firewire had blown so he sent me the demo F355 to use in the meantime. Shame it arrived today the same day as the repaired camera came back. But I am so impressed!

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