I'll just put it out there: I'm a huge fan of tape, namely MiniDV tape. Sure, logging and capturing took a hefty amount of time but the convenience was what I missed most shooting video on tape. Owning close to 100 MiniDV tapes filled with memories and projects, I've only had one fail that I sent for repair, and I lost one tape. Other than that, everything is still in tact and sitting pretty. Switching to a tapeless workflow, investment in external hard drives took a while for me to adapt to, let alone tapeless cameras integrating different frame rates was what attracted me to the cameras of today (it started with the Panasonic HVX200 and their 720p60 option). Thus, my first tapeless format was the Panasonic P2 format, fast forwarding to what I work with today: AJA's built-like-a-tank Pak Media SSD cards.
Upon receiving this, it felt quite heavy than I'm normally used to—P2 cards for Panasonic's camera line and everyday SD cards for DSLRs. The package for the Pak card is constructed conveniently making sure the media doesn't fall out during travel or transit. Speaking of the package, you can see the pictures above that the package design underwent a little facelift making it easier on the eyes to read as opposed to the bolded text (the box on the right is the most recent package design).
I used to own a Panasonic GH4 and wanted to include AJA's Ki Pro Quad as a camera rig to be network-approved in shooting all projects big and small. Then I underwent a complete pause wondering if I could invest in something more beefy and solid that can do the job without the hassle of busting the limits of a DSLR. After selling it, I went with AJA's very own Cion camera (review coming soon!) and not having to worry about any "middle men." Even with that decision, recording to the Pak Media was a breeze and smooth sailing. Looking at the pictures above again, it's slightly longer, thicker and less 'plastic-y' than the Panasonic P2 card.
Pak Media comes with various flavors: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. The cards also come in both the HFS+ and the exFAT file system, which is an enormous plus for both Macintosh and Windows (PC) online/offline video editors. Both cards I owned, pictured here, are the HFS+ but I have no problem having my PC read, mount and offload the footage from the cards.
I called AJA's Tech Support asking if certain cards are only compatible with specific devices. He told me all devices work with all cards, which, from my point of view, is a GOOD THING. Honestly, other companies make it so difficult forcing us to purchase certain cards because of "advanced, upgraded hardware" built and installed in the cards that only the newly released cameras can read. Yeah, nice try on the upselling, manufacturers; You sure fooled us. (By the way, AJA's Tech Support, and even their receptionist, were extremely nice and answered all my questions. Thumbs up on the customer service!)
You can tell that the Pak has the gold pins exposed, the bottom part to where you insert the SSD card first, which requires serious care. There are countless online threads talking about the exposed pins of the Nintendo (NES) cartridges and how to clean them from time to time, so keeping that in mind, it's best that you care for the pins on these cards since there's nothing to cover them from dust or scratches. Also on the topmost part of the card, you'll notice a small bulb. That's an LED indicator telling the media operator that the card is currently in operation with what ever device you plug this in to. It is crucial that whether you're formatting or mounting the card, the LED indicator is flashing/blinking to give you a sense that it is running. Oh yeah, I did say this is an SSD media which means as sturdy it this is, you should treat it like an external SSD hard drive: Handle with care!
I don't think I've ever raved so much over media like this. AJA has certainly outdone themselves and accessories/items like this definitely shows it. I know, as videomakers/filmmakers, we take media for granted until that dreaded day when it all fails on us unexpectedly. Thank goodness for review articles that remind us what it is we're recording our precious projects to and how much do they stack up compared to other media. Yeah, the price of media is our main concern, but take a step back and realize what makes media like this work and why it's worth considering.
I've used SD cards, P2 cards and even the Sony SXS cards (the days when I used to own a Sony F3 camera). All due respect to the other professional and proprietary cards out there, but AJA's Pak Media does the job for me, hoping it'll be the media for you! Well done, AJA! Highly recommended!
|Item||AJA Video Systems Pak Media|
|Description||Because it matters.®
Fast, reliable solid-state storage
• High-speed SSD performance.
• HFS+ file system for easy mounting.
• Sturdy construction provides long-term reliability.
• Reinforced drive connection for increased durability.
|ISBN / Bar Code number||1PK01580|
|Item Contents||Pak 256 / 512 / 1000 / 2000|
|Item Release||2015 (????)|
|Item Specification||Professional Accessories|
|Brand / Company||AJA Video Systems|
|Product / Item Number||104583-00 (????)|
|Other||AJA Video Systems, Inc.
Grass Valley, California
Made in the USA.