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07-28-2017, 04:20 PM   #1
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Why has no camera maker done this..?

I was thinking...people often compare buffer depths for fps, and card write speeds for memory cards etc..but phones are getting fast dedicated storage in addition to memory cards (many don't even have memory cards anymore). Why don't cameras?

Say we get a K1-II with 20 fps! Thats ~800mb/s, but sequential write like this is no problem for a (good) SSD. Sure SSDs cost a bit, but this could be a small one..say 16gb, maybe cheaper than the ram memory used today it could replace (not all of it but the buffer part), and with current 7fps that would be buffer depth of perhaps 450 images, or more than a minute of holding the trigger. And that's without emptying it on a sd-card while writing...

OR, we could have a disk of 256gb and not worry about cards (or one slot perhaps if wanting to get out the images that way for some reason). It would still be a fraction of the price of the camera ($100/each for a large batch?) and replace need to buy a card for most users. (No, size isn't a problem, there are usb-stick-sized SSDs with >1TB capacity so 256 gb is probably at most a couple of chips.

So as serious question, there must be valid reasons why no camera has this...what are they?
(And don't just say people need to take the card with them quickly swap etc - a card slot can co-exist while people get used to it, or when needing it, but there are much faster ways to move data than SD-cards lousy 90mb/s for the fastest ones..)

07-28-2017, 04:35 PM   #2
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A few things come to mind:

Volume requirements - where in a camera already crowded with necessary gear are you actually going to put it, and how are you going to lay the necessary wiring? By how much are you going to let an already fairly hefty camera grow? If you can't repack components around the new SSD (all of which eats up R&D time and money), you have to grow the camera, redesign the outer shell, completely retool the production line to build the new outer shell, and transfer the costs to the customers.

Weight requirements - when you're carrying it all day, every gram counts. And if the metallic outer shell expands, this pushes the weight up even further.

Power requirements - every additional thing you put into a DSLR eats milliamp hours.

Heat-sink requirements - these things get warm with use. You want to keep it far away from the sensor, or you need shielding, which gets back to the volume and packing issues mentioned above.

So... do you want a full-frame camera which is growing towards the size of a 645Z, when the current generation of mirrorless medium-format cameras is shrinking towards the size of a K-1?
07-28-2017, 05:29 PM   #3
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SD cards aren't the bottleneck when it comes to burst performance (as least in Pentax's case), but when the time comes UHS-II could always be used for much higher speeds.

As for why pro cameras don't have internal storage, I think that having a removable memory card adds a lot of flexibility and convenience, since this way you aren't forced to download photos when one card fills up, you can perform backups more easily, and you can store your media separately from the camera if desired. You can also use separate cards for separate shoots/lenses/customers and move them between different bodies as needed. Lastly, using external media is more future-proof since newer cards might exceed the camera's USB transfer rate.

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07-28-2017, 06:52 PM   #4
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The flexibility of the SD card slot(s) and SD card far surpass the use of a fixed camera internal memory system. The memory size choices of the SD card and the ability to remove or add memory in a very short period of time provides for an efficient/flexible system.

07-28-2017, 07:10 PM   #5
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I often have trips of 10 days or more and fill up a couple of memory cards. That's 10 days away from power, (take extra batteries).
07-28-2017, 08:17 PM   #6
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Two things. First, if the internal memory wears out, that's a costly repair or the whole camera is a write-off. Flash memory does have a limited lifespan. Second, what are the power requirements of an SSD--how much greater are they than those of an SD card? I have no idea, but I suspect it's greater (among other things, they have controllers that do some fairly complicated allocation work, and they need to be trimmed regularly, which is fine on a PC but will use precious battery on a camera.
That said, there certainly are cameras with internal storage, at least compact ones. The Samsung Galaxy EK GC 100, a weird Android-powered compact from about 5 years ago, had 8 GB internally (plus an SD slot).
07-28-2017, 11:48 PM   #7
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Smartphone makers want you to fill up your memory with pictures of what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner and videos of you with.cute cartoon animal ears and noses so you'll upgrade to a more expensive model.
07-29-2017, 12:40 AM   #8
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If you work on certain military or other government sites, you need to turn in an SD card to have your photos cleared by the security team before they can be released or taken back to your company. Also, if you're an event shooter, you may just have to hand over an SD card of photos for the editors to choose from for publishing. This makes removable media a must for professional cameras.

07-29-2017, 12:56 AM   #9
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The one major downside of having an "internal memory" in a Dslr is that if the camera for whatever reason bricks, any photos you had on there that you haven't off-loaded are pretty much gone for good.
07-29-2017, 04:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
A few things come to mind:

Volume requirements - where in a camera already crowded with necessary gear are you actually going to put it, and how are you going to lay the necessary wiring? By how much are you going to let an already fairly hefty camera grow? If you can't repack components around the new SSD (all of which eats up R&D time and money), you have to grow the camera, redesign the outer shell, completely retool the production line to build the new outer shell, and transfer the costs to the customers.

Weight requirements - when you're carrying it all day, every gram counts. And if the metallic outer shell expands, this pushes the weight up even further.

Power requirements - every additional thing you put into a DSLR eats milliamp hours.

Heat-sink requirements - these things get warm with use. You want to keep it far away from the sensor, or you need shielding, which gets back to the volume and packing issues mentioned above.

So... do you want a full-frame camera which is growing towards the size of a 645Z, when the current generation of mirrorless medium-format cameras is shrinking towards the size of a K-1?
Good points, but I'm not sure I agree/buy them:
- Volume: As I said, the "chip" is the same size or perhaps even smaller than an sd-card itself...removing one sd-card slot and the mechanics around it probably saves space instead, also the wiring is already there if using the same space, but probably could be optimized in a different way for even less space since it doesn't need to be accessible from the outside.
- Power: Maybe (or not) a bit more than an SD card, but since a whole highend SDD (EVO 850 for example) uses ~1.5w during write, we're probably talking less than half a watt here during write for one chip, and at other times milliamps, and then it's not even optimized for battery yet and could maybe be improved.
- Heat: Again, 0.5w wont produce any heat to talk about, far less than the sensor anyway.

So in this case I don't think that's the reason why

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:11 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
SD cards aren't the bottleneck when it comes to burst performance (as least in Pentax's case), but when the time comes UHS-II could always be used for much higher speeds.
Maybe not the card itself, but the storage system is (the burst rate goes down when the buffer fills, but with this you could store/offload the buffer faster than you can create data and thus never fill the bufffer)...the bus is slower than the cards today, but the bus can't be improved (after the camera leaves the factory) even if the cards are improved anyway so getting better cards in the future is except for storage size, usually never improving performance

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
]
As for why pro cameras don't have internal storage, I think that having a removable memory card adds a lot of flexibility and convenience, since this way you aren't forced to download photos when one card fills up, you can perform backups more easily, and you can store your media separately from the camera if desired. You can also use separate cards for separate shoots/lenses/customers and move them between different bodies as needed. Lastly, using external media is more future-proof since newer cards might exceed the camera's USB transfer rate.
Yes, that is what I meant with the last part, we could keep one of the two slots for this portability...but when you can store 6400 pics on just the internal memory, I think a lot of the usecases for it disappear (can wait till after the shoot (s)). (But agree that a number of usecases remain)

As for backup/offload I think we're thinking to much floppy-era think now...new usb or even wifi standards are much faster than even the fastest sd-cards now for offloading data so lets not put too much emphasis on "sneakernet" for data transfer (but yes, current Pentax cameras use almost 10 years old usb and wifi tech and are slower).

The last part I don't get "Lastly, using external media is more future-proof since newer cards might exceed the camera's USB transfer rate" - the camera wont be able to use that extra speed anyway then?

But in total I agree, there are some cases where 2 card slots are preferable, I'm just not certain those cases outweigh the advantages (for most) users?
07-29-2017, 05:18 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igor123 Quote
The last part I don't get "Lastly, using external media is more future-proof since newer cards might exceed the camera's USB transfer rate" - the camera wont be able to use that extra speed anyway then?
But you could stick the card in a faster USB reader and enjoy the improved transfer speeds.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if things change in the future, but I think the real answer is just faster and larger buffers for sports-oriented cameras.

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07-29-2017, 05:19 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
The flexibility of the SD card slot(s) and SD card far surpass the use of a fixed camera internal memory system. The memory size choices of the SD card and the ability to remove or add memory in a very short period of time provides for an efficient/flexible system.
I agree there are cases like this...agree that retaining one slot would be best to keep some of the functionality (while the space of the other would be used for the chip if assuming that the camera should not grow in size). But as I mentioned above...when you have room for 6400 images before full, and also 10x faster ways to offload the data than an sd-card usb3 reader, the incentives to switch cards "now" instead of offloading faster "tonight/tomorrow" becomes less appealing. But agree, valid point, but as I said to Adam, I'm not sure the benefit of this is greater than the SDD-variant (for example the never-filling-buffer-aspect since it offloads buffer->SDD faster than the camera can create data).

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
But you could stick the card in a faster USB reader and enjoy the improved transfer speeds.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see if things change in the future, but I think the real answer is just faster and larger buffers for sports-oriented cameras.
That is what I meant, you can get 90mb/s at most with a top-of the line SD-card and a good reader...even wifi AC-standard supports 1-2Gbit/s (~128-256mb/s) while "pure usb" (without the SD-card barrier) supports more than 1000mb/s with todays standard if only the camera bus had the capable SSD storage (and bus), and twice that speed will be possible soon with the usb 3.2 specified a few weeks ago.

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:25 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I often have trips of 10 days or more and fill up a couple of memory cards. That's 10 days away from power, (take extra batteries).
For some cases I agree we should keep one slot, but shooting 6400 pics (if 256gb ssd) is not always done even during that time? As for batteries, see above, the SSD chip won't neccesarily affect power draw very much (if reducing the buffer due to it, could even save battery life)

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bar_foo Quote
Two things. First, if the internal memory wears out, that's a costly repair or the whole camera is a write-off. Flash memory does have a limited lifespan. Second, what are the power requirements of an SSD--how much greater are they than those of an SD card? I have no idea, but I suspect it's greater (among other things, they have controllers that do some fairly complicated allocation work, and they need to be trimmed regularly, which is fine on a PC but will use precious battery on a camera.
That said, there certainly are cameras with internal storage, at least compact ones. The Samsung Galaxy EK GC 100, a weird Android-powered compact from about 5 years ago, had 8 GB internally (plus an SD slot).
The endurance of a consumer grade ssd (samsung evo 850 250 gb) is rated at 500Tib >16million shots - that's a bit more than the shutter =). As for power, I don't have numbers for sd-cards, but the ssd I mention uses 1.5 while writing, and contains several of these chips, so if just using one chip it would be less than 1w and reduce the need for a fancy controller, so I don't think that's the main reason it's not done either?

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:30 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Smartphone makers want you to fill up your memory with pictures of what you had for breakfast, lunch and dinner and videos of you with.cute cartoon animal ears and noses so you'll upgrade to a more expensive model.
=) Agree...but 6400 shots take awhile to fill, and I agree we should keep one of the two slots (the other slot's space being used by the chip) to avoid some of the drawback of having no card at all.

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 02:31 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by disconnekt Quote
The one major downside of having an "internal memory" in a Dslr is that if the camera for whatever reason bricks, any photos you had on there that you haven't off-loaded are pretty much gone for good.
Yep, valid point...but is it enough compared to the advantages? Maybe for most, not for me =)
07-29-2017, 05:55 AM   #13
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It would certainly prevent my habit of walking out of the house with no card in the camera. But, I still wouldn't buy it. I like just plugging my card into the card slot, starting my upload and walking away, with the camera and a new card in it.
07-29-2017, 11:06 AM   #14
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Data transfer from sensor to SD card in burst mode is not the same as maximum write speed of your SD card. Unless you can offert a sustained rate of transfer speed, you will loose data=images. At the same time you will produce more heat that has to be transferred somehow...
You will not find a lot of single pieces of technology worth $100 in any camera. You want to sell for $1000, parts should cost less than $300 in total.
07-29-2017, 12:40 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by zapp Quote
Data transfer from sensor to SD card in burst mode is not the same as maximum write speed of your SD card. Unless you can offert a sustained rate of transfer speed, you will loose data=images. At the same time you will produce more heat that has to be transferred somehow...
You will not find a lot of single pieces of technology worth $100 in any camera. You want to sell for $1000, parts should cost less than $300 in total.
Ok the cost part could be a point/reason, especially for pentax-pricing, if that's the price/economy of things...I was thinking along the lines "do everything as today, but add $150 to the price for a $100 part...but if adding $300 for a $100 part, that starts to hurt. I would have thought that at least Canikon or Leica would find it worth trying to sell a "no-buffer-limit"-camera like that even if the price goes up a bit, but perhaps not.

But I don't understand what you mean by the first point...I still think there must be a traditional buffer for handling that ("converting" the sensor readout burst to a more sustained ~500mb/s output), just that it could now be the size of ~2 pics (or say 128 mb) to handle an even sustained write speed to the ssd instead of todays 512mb-1gb?, and in the process make the buffer cheaper and less energy consuming....ssd-write speeds today for consumer drives are faster than the K1@7 fps (280 mb/s?) whereas the ssd:s are at about 500mb/s for traditional ones and double that for pcie-based ones, so it should be possible.

---------- Post added 07-29-2017 at 09:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It would certainly prevent my habit of walking out of the house with no card in the camera. But, I still wouldn't buy it. I like just plugging my card into the card slot, starting my upload and walking away, with the camera and a new card in it.
Yes, it seems many agree with you so perhaps the feature would "require" the menu option to only use the ssd as an extremely large buffer for those who always want to be able to empty the camera by switching card (without having to manually tell the camera to copy the contents to the card).

In my "dream" scenario I would hope some influence from the phone-tech: The camera detects the wifi when you get home (or maybe also external preconfigured wifi:s) and starts offloading without even touching it (if so configured - as complete "offload" or just "copy-but-leave-pics-oncamera-as-well"), either to a local NAS or similar, or to a cloud service.

If the wifi/net access is older/slower it can take half the night while you eat dinner or sleep (who cares in that case), or if you are in a hurry connect a cord (if we say the next model and it supports usb3.1 capable of fully using the ssd read bandwidth) to a computer (which also needs an ssd and usb 3.1 for top speed) and offload 500-1000mb/s or about 20 K1-raws/s or a 1000pic-shoot in less than a minute.

But I agree...an SD-card swap is perhaps 10seconds so that beats it for speed, so the option "copy contents to sd-card" automatically or manually would still be a relevant (and easy to implement) feature in some cases.
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