Best BD-R cost/reliability balance in 2020?

For years, I would buy Panasonic BD-Rs (mostly through eBay), but they are getting scarcer and more expensive now. It’s now cheaper to buy M-Disc BD-Rs.

But based on the available data, have M-Discs proven as reliable as Panasonics?

Also, how reliable are regular (non-M-Disc) Verbatim BD-Rs compared to Panasonics? They are much cheaper, but I suspect that they are probably far less reliable.

EDIT: My Blu-ray burner is a LG WH16NS40.

Personally, I would only choose M-disc or Panasonic made discs in 2020. The Sony 128GB are also a runner up if large discs are needed and you plan on storing them as well as possible. Right now I am running an outdoor test with these:

TDK 25GB made in Japan (used in someone else’s test outdoors) for comparison
Panasonic 50GB Printable
M-disc 100GB Non-printable
Sony 128GB Printable from Japan

My advice after having compared the above discs, so far, is that the M-discs are built physically better then Sony or close to the same or better then the Panasonic. They even feel better. The Sony feels more fragile then the M-disc or Panasonic and doesn’t have all the coating features that M-disc or Panasonic has. The coating on M-disc and even the Panasonic is really good! Because of that they clean up from the outdoors very well. Others just don’t compare physically speaking. The insides I don’t know yet, except to say they are tougher and are lasting longer then I thought they would, including the TDK! My burner is the LG BH14NS40.

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For archiving purposes I either use 100GB MKM Enterprise Grade Archive Discs that I once found on ebay (LG SAC35514001, PABF25RTHL) or Sony 128GB Discs (from ODC1500R cartridges or BNR4VAPS4 or S4PPGD4RB25). The MKM Discs have mid “VERBAT-IMk” (maybe with a tighter quality control during production process) and the Sony’s have “SONY-NQ1”. On my BD-R writer (LG WH16NS48 = BH16NS40), the Sony’s are far better than the MKM’s. Sony: LDC average 15.00, BIS average = 9, MKM/Verbatim: LDC average 29.00, BIS average = 13). I wonder, if the professional Sony 128GB discs (that can be found on almedio.co.jp) are even better than the normal Sony 128GB discs. I can’t say anything about long term stability. However, all discs >= 50GB use inorganic layers, so I wonder what’s so special about the 100GB M-Discs that also have mid “VERBAT-IMk” (so your writer uses the same writing strategy as for the normal 100GB Verbatims…)

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Great comment Tensik! I didn’t know those MKM’s existed. Tried to find them on eBay but couldn’t find any.

The Sony’s are amazingly good but physically speaking they are not as tough as the M-disc 100GB from what I have tested thus far. The M-disc is very slick feeling all around and the Sony I have to clean more after being outside for a month vs the M-disc. Of course for indoor, non-dirty storage the Sony’s are at the top. I believe Sony only makes one version of the 128GB discs and they go into both the ODC1500R cartridges and the ones available for sale on eBay with a print top from my understanding. They just came out with a 25-pack cakebox for the Sony’s which brings the price down a bit!

So to answer your question, I think the coating around the M-disc disc is different at least. I don’t have regular Verbatim 100GB discs on hand so I can’t say 100%. The only other disc that has something similar that I know of is the Panasonic 50GB discs.

Edit: And just for clarification M-Disc 100GB was built for enterprise use by MKM when the other sizes were for consumers. If you read what MKM and M-disc says in the following PDF I think it makes it clear that this is based on MKM technology: https://www.verbatim.com/includes/binary_details.php3?id=3380 (it is a PDF).

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What online reseller has the best price for the 25GB BD-R form of these M-Disc’s ???

Amazon and B&H each have a pack of 25 of them for $54.99 and free shipping.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PZAC38/

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1169250-REG/verbatim_98917_25gb_bd_r_4x_white.html

Verbatim’s own discs (Verbatim MID code) are very good & (so far) consistently high quality.

Verbatim DatalifePlus BD-R should always be Verbatim MID code (white-label, for professional/medical market). They are readily available for ~£25 per 25 tub here in the UK.

Very few retail Verbatim BD-R here are Verbatim’s own MID (& are normally only found jewel-cased, or rarely 10pk tubs). But in North America retail tubs of Verbatim’s own MID BD-R are (or at least were) readily available.

The most reliable way to identify which BD-R are Verbatim’s own MID is to look for the ‘MABL’ logo on the pack. So far, this has been reliable.