2008.06.22

I spent way more time than I should have trying to figure out why my Canon ZR800 wasn’t being seen by my Mac. I tested the Firewire cable, I rebooted, I re-installed QuickTime. The Sony PD150 worked fine, but the Canon was a no-show.

Canon ZR800

Finally I dug up this Camcorder HQ post by Doug Van Doren

Actually, there’s one HUGE caveat with that: the new Canon ZR’s 800-850 will NOT work with a Mac that has another FireWire device plugged into it. If you have an external hard drive, your iPod or anything plugged into one of the other FireWire ports on the computer and then you plug in a Canon ZR800 series camcorder and launch iMovie or FCP or FCE, it will crash and freeze the Mac OS.

This is a huge bug I recently discovered when I bought a new Canon ZR-800 and ended up crashing all three of my Macs (I tried it on them all just to make sure).

It was a nightmare. Here’s the technical article from Apple:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=61603

It does not mention the ZR800′s specifically, but trust me, it applies to them as well.

If there’s nothing else plugged into the other FireWire ports, it works fine. The only trouble with that is that most people like to use an external firewire drive to put their digitized footage on. This is a big problem if that’s what you’re trying to do.

Luckily I did not experience any real crashes, just the fact that iMovie and Final Cut sort of ‘stuck’ while the camera was turned on, and then resumed when turned off. The System Profiler also failed to show any Firewire device when the camera was on. Everything is fine when no other Firewire devices are connected, so there is a workaround… Still, it’s an annoying bug I hope can be fixed in the future.

One Response to “Canon Mini-DV Camera & Firewire Bug”

  1. RandyNo Gravatar says:

    So THAT’s what the problem is! Thanks for sharing your insight into that problem.

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