April 09, 2013

Atomos Samurai Blade looks sharp

Atomos announced its latest field recorder, the Samurai Blade, at NAB, which it promises will answer demand for a recorder that is also a fully fledged on-camera monitor.

It competes with the larger Convergent Design Odyssey7 monitor-cum-recorder on base price ($1,295), but unlike the Odyssey the Blade includes recording capability from the start, and will be the less expensive option if you don’t need the raw and higher-speed recording capabilities and extra screen size of the Odyssey.

“Atomos has now shipped a staggering 10,000 field recorders worldwide, and the Samurai has been a great success. For most professional environments it continues to be the go-to recorder or deck for many of our customers,” said Jeromy Young, CEO and Founder of Atomos.

To build on that success, Blade introduces the SuperAtom IPS screen, which Young claims is “super sharp, super bright, [with] super blacks – right down to the last atom. At 325dpi and a million pixels, this screen is spectacular. With full waveform functionality, the Blade is a monitor that records and a recorder that truly monitors. It's the perfect partner for the new wave of cinematic cameras,” he claimed.

The screen uses capacitive touch sensing, which apparently only reduces screen performance by about 5% compared to about 20-30% drop in quality when using the resistive touch used on the older models. Capacitive screens should also react better to your touch.

It is powered by the latest version of the AtomOS, version 5 (which is only available for the Blade), and has a 1280x720 5-inch touchscreen (up from 800x480) that offers users gamma, brightness and contrast control, as well as vectorscope and RGB/luma parade features.

“Atomos is raising the bar in the affordable field recorder segment,” claimed Young. “We’re the first to combine professional monitor functionality with recording and deck playout, all in a space-saving, camera-mountable portable unit.”

Like its Ninja-2 and Samurai predecessors, Samurai Blade allows the recording of 10-bit 4:2:2 images straight from the camera sensor directly to Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD editing codecs. It uses commodity 2.5-inch computer HDD or SSD drives. The Samurai Blade includes tri-level focus peaking, zebra, false colour and blue-only monitoring in addition to waveform, and has standard full-size BNC connectors for SDI compared to the mini-BNC used on the Samurai.

The Samurai Blade will ship in May with a list price of $1,295. In the meantime, Atomos is reducing the price of the Samurai to $995.

Ninja-2 supports more DSLRs

Atomos has added Ninja-2 support for many new DSLR cameras. “At NAB this year we have over 20 different cameras on our booth working with our field recorders,” said Young. “Of these, over half are DSLRs with 'clean' HDMI video output. This time last year there was only one. This is a great illustration of just how DSLRs and affordable large sensor video cameras are changing the world of professional video.”

It even showed a pre-release version of the Canon 5D MkIII working with the Ninja-2. “With this new firmware update from Canon, we have a clean HDMI feed, and a co-developed start/stop trigger and timecode over HDMI – essential professional tools. This combination is an absolute game-changer.”

It has also reduced the price of the Ninja-2 to $695. The Ninja-2 has been repackaged to appeal to DSLR users. The main recording unit remains unchanged, but the box includes a redesigned docking station, battery, AC mains adaptor, a single battery charger and shims for Canon and Nikon batteries.

Atomos also announced a price reduction for its new Ronin rack-mountable studio or OB recorder, from $2,195 to $1,995, which should now ship in May.

Atomos Connect AC Converters

Atomos also added two new AC-powered Connect converters, Connect AC H2S (HDMI to HD-SDI) and Connect AC S2H (HD-SDI to HDMI), to its converter line.

“These two new converters are the AC-powered, fixed facility counterparts of our recently introduced Connect converters,” said Young (pictured above). “We listened to customer feedback and learned just how much people hate external power adaptors - or ‘wall-warts’ – so we decided to eliminate them. Connect-AC converters are powered by a standard figure-of-8 cable that's more convenient and more reliable.”

Each costs $295 and includes test pattern generation and audio test tone. They can also be rack mounted via a $129 kit that holds up to four Connect-AC converters. 

The existing Connect converter units are also dropping in price to $295.

By David Fox

1 comment:

  1. So with the combination of the relatively high data rate of formats like ProRes, combined with 10-Bit capable recording, make a portable recorder a powerful addition to your kit.

    Atomos Ninja Blade