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Focus Enhancements FSH-200 Solid State DTE Recorder

At a street price of $899 I can see adding the FSH-200 and Compact Flash to my arsenal.

By Bruce A Johnson | August 12, 2009


Isn't tape dead yet? The tenacity of the recording medium that first recorded video in the mid-1950's is pretty impressive, especially lately. Almost a dozen hard-drive and solid-state recording devices have come to life since the turn of the century. The assets these formats bring to the table are formidable - most have no or many fewer moving parts than a tape drive, and all offer almost instantaneous access to footage. However, all of these challengers to the crown share one huge negative attribute - they are, on a minute-by-minute basis, from a dozen to a hundred times more expensive than recording on a tape. And how do you archive with them? A field tape is its own archiving solution. Still, the appeal of the upsides of non-tape recording are pushing more and more production companies into hard-drive and solid-state recording.

Focus Enhancements has been on the leading edge of this revolution for almost a decade. As hard discs simultaneously became larger in capacity, smaller in physical size and much more affordable, their products have tracked that Moore's Law-powered curve. The FS-3 came standard with a 40 gigabyte removable drive in an enclosure that measured 5"x 4"x 6" and required external power. The FS-4 added HDV capability, jacked capacity up to 80Gb, reduced size to 1.5" x 6" x 4" and includes a battery. The FS-5 took all that capability and added a 100Gb hard drive, packed it into a little black slab reminiscent of the Monolith in "2001 - A Space Odyssey" sized at 1.5" x 3" x 5" and added an internal (removable) battery and WiFi-powered remote metadata collection. A later software revision added video preview on the LCD display. What could they possibly come up with for an encore?


Not long after NAB 2009, I received an email announcing the FSH-200, the first Focus Enhancements product to lose the spinning disc and replace it with flash memory. The FSH-200 is physically identical to the FS-5 with one important exception: There is a slot on the right side to accept the Compact Flash card that replaces the hard disk. (At this writing, the only CF cards on the compatibility list are the SanDisk Extreme III in 16Gb and 32Gb capacities.) A rubber boot covers the slot both whether it is empty or occupied. IEEE-1394 (Firewire) is the port of choice for video recording, with a USB2 port used to offload files (assuming you don't want to remove the CF card from the machine.)

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DanConklin: | August, 13, 2009

Bruce, you are right, it’s finally looking financially feasible to add one of these to the gadget bag.

Bruce A Johnson: | August, 14, 2009

If time *is* actually money, the time saved not capturing in real-time could pay for it pretty quickly.


Gabi: | August, 21, 2009

Hi, Bruce. I will buy an FSH-200 asap. But first, please help me out on those two questions:
1. if i use a Canon XH A1 camera, do i need a minidv tape for the FSH-200 to work ? I saw this on a pdf from Focus web site (a list with compatibility camcorders). I need to be sure that i will get rid of minidv tapes forever smile
2. it’s pretty hard to find and buy large CF cards, i mean x333 speed and >32 GB. Can i use x233 CF cards instead and shoot in SD or HD video ? Thank you in advance.

Best regards,


george: | October, 19, 2009

i’m using a dsr 400p with fsh 200 and sandisk extreme III 32gb for shooting, and it works well. but i don’t know why when i put fsh200 on sony’s fx7 and dsr 250 i did NOT HAVE SOUND! do you have any ideea why? i tryed 44khz as well as 32khz its the same problem. i must say that on the tape the sound was perfect but on the CF was only noise.
thanks a lot !

videoguy34: | March, 22, 2011

Can you tell me if the FS-H200 Pro can record be set to record to tape and CF Card simultaneously .. but when it comes time to change the tape ... will the unit continue to record onto the card simultaneously?

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