As you'll know, we've seen a big influx of cameras focused on upping the picture resolution and others battling with dynamic range. This week, AJA announced their 4K CION camera is now shipping, so I checked out some of the specs and test videos that they produced to see how it weighs up against the competition!
To see that these pictures are ungraded is pretty stunning. The colours are very natural, as well as the dynamic range, quite noticable in the first couple of shots of a lady with light skin on a textured background, and a lady with dark skin on a muted background. The detail usually lost in hair keeps its definition without fringing, and the shot of the eye shows how 'clean' the image is.. Watching the video, I get more and more amazed at the quality of the light captured 'straight out of camera', without grading or corrections.
The release of the CION comes shortly after the delayed release of the Atomos Shogun, a 4K recorder and full HD monitor, which allows images to be captured 'straight from the sensor' in a higher codec and format than recorded in camera. Atomos teamed with Sony to ensure the A7S and FS7 are compatible for 4K recording, which opens the floodgates for video producers to capture high quality video content for a considerably lower price than a high end camera. The recording media is standard 2.5" SSD's, via HDMI or other connections, meaning the Shogun can be teamed with many DSLR's and video cameras to be used as a primary recording device (many RED cinematographers use the Shogun for secondary proxy recording), and enhance the video functions to analyze the quality of both the image and sound.
The other end of the spectrum with internal 4K recording, of course is the Panasonic GH4 which I have worked with before. Ergonomically, for run and gun shooting it has a great form; small camera body and micro four thirds lenses dramatically reduce the kit you need to carry, as well as having a great power consumption rate. The GH4 captures 4K at a crop factor of 2.2x, which inherently means you are double the focal distance closer to your subject, but it does so at a high bit-rate of up to 100Mbps. Although in low light the camera does not stand up to larger sensor cameras, with a £1000 price tag and options to add gamma adjustments, it seems like a no brainer, right?
2015 is going to hold some very exciting developments in the world of cameras, and the way the picture and sound is recorded, I believe. We have yet to see any competition from Canon, apart from the C100 mark II (I don't believe this is a competing camera), so it will be interesting to see how they market their high end Cinema EOS cameras now that there are many 'just-as-good-if-not-better' solutions out there from other manufacturers. By NAB I expect there to be announcements from Canon, which I look forward to seeing because it will determine whether I remain a Canon videographer or move over to another camera system like many have done so before me.
On that note, it's time for me to put the feet up in front of the telly and munch on a mince pie before I head out later on this afternoon for a wintery walk around the countryside!
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year, and remember, capture moments that matter :)