At IBC AJA has shown the first footage from the CION camera. The footage was shot in 4K and has not been color graded. Image analysis is part scientific and part subjective. The subjective part of me likes what i see. It looks very pleasing and full of detail. View the clip in 1080p below. There’s also a clip from the IBC floor where an AJA rep shares a little more detail. We are taking CION pre-orders right now with a fully refundable deposit of $900. As a reward for your pre-order we are including $250 of store credit that you can use towards any purchase.
We are now officially taking pre-orders for the highly anticipated AJA CION camera. The camera is set to start shipping this fall. At $8,995 its an incredible value. It features a Super35mm 4K sensor and records internally to ProRes up to 444. The well-built CION is ready to be used on your shoulder strait from the box, no need to add extra rods or pads. Right now we’re rewarding people who pre-order the CION by including a $250 credit for additional accessories. You can put that towards media, batteries, lenses, or anything else that you might need. We’re very excited to meet the first camera from AJA. Post by Eric C. Petrie
We are now taking pre-orders for an unnamed manufacturers camera, and for Blackmagic Design’s new camera, URSA. The Blackmagic camera is currently selling for $5,995 (EF-mount). The unnamed manufacturer’s camera is selling for $8,995. We ask that you pay a 10% deposit to hold your spot on our pre-order list. The deposit is fully refundable should you wish to cancel. If there is a price drop between the time you put in your order and when the camera ships (like what happened to the BMD Production 4K camera) you will only be charged for the lowest price. As a thank you for pre-ordering with us we have a special offer for you. Unfortunately we can’t say what that offer is here. Call us to find out, 503-598-9142.
Why pre-order with Professional Video? When these camera manufacturers start shipping these cameras they disperse them fairly evenly across the country. We are a relatively small dealer. That means we don’t get hundreds, or even dozens or customers pre-ordering from us. Simply put, our wait line is shorter. With the last few Blackmagic camera launches we filled our back orders with in a few weeks. That means whether you’re in the front of our line or the back of our line we’re going to get you your camera quickly. Post by Eric C. Petrie
Above picture may or may not represent unnamed manufacturers actual camera.
UPDATE: AJA has requested that we remove specific mention of the CION camera from this post.
The annual NAB show has come and gone. It was a good year for cameras and it also saw the spreading of some interesting trends:
Dockable Cameras: What’s old is new again. The two piece camera concept, something big up through the late 90’s, is back. We saw two piece, head-dock combo cameras from Blackmagic Design with the URSA and from Panasonic with the new VariCam system. We’ll see if these dock systems catch on with more manufacturers and more models and if these docks actually pay off with the flexibility the makers claim
High Speed: We’re starting to get to a point where 60p is just expected in a professional camera. But we’re also introducing the concept that to make a “high speed” camera you don’t have to be Phantom creating thousands of frames per second. Most users are very excited about 120 or 240. For a lot of camera makers frame rates in this range are now becoming very tangible specifications. AJA, Panasonic, Sony, and even JVC all showed cameras that could reach the 120 threshold.
ProRes & Other Beefy 10-Bit Codecs: ProRes is starting to become the closest thing the video industry has ever had to a high end “universal standard” codec. Blackmagic, AJA, and even Sony and Panasonic all showed ProRes recording cameras. And we have more options for ProRes external records then ever, thanks to AJA and Atomos. Beyond ProRes the theme was 10-bit. XAVC and AVC-Ultra where shown off on many new models, all recording in 10-bit. In some cases the compression schemes have become so good we can get a 10-bit signal out of a 25mbps package. RAW recording is starting to become more readily available, though i wouldn’t quite call it a “common” feature yet.
Super35mm: Large sensor “cinema” cameras have been the growing trend for the last 3-4 NAB shows. This year the ratio of cameras that specifically use the Super35mm standard compared to smaller sensors was the biggest it’s ever been. Panasonic, AJA, Blackmagic Design, JVC, and Sony all showed new cameras that make use of this format. There were very few cameras shown with smaller traditional broadcast 1/3” or 2/3” sensors.
Shoulder Mount/ Improved Ergonomics: Generally speaking there weren’t too many cameras that required kitting out shown this year. There was a very pleasant uptake in ready to go cameras. The Blackmagic URSA, The AJA CION, the new VariCams, and the new JVC all use shoulder mount designs. Sony’s even gone to the lengths of improving the F5 & F55 shoulder mount. Those cameras are already shoulder-mountable, and always have been. But now they’ve gone totally ENG with a new control layout and new features via a docking sled. JVC even showed an economically designed hand-held camera with a large Super35mm sensor. For some reason that’s a concept that hasn’t really been that prevalent before.
Post by Eric C. Petrie
In a somewhat surprising, but not entirely unexpected move, AJA has revealed their entry into the world of 4K digital cinema cameras. They call it the CION. According the AJA the built the camera with a few goals in mind. Foremost, they wanted to design a camera that actually was a camera, not a unusable box. As you can see the camera has a very traditional camera design that could almost pass for an Arri Alexa or Sony F55 or Phantom Flex. This means you can actually take it out of the box, throw it on your shoulder, and start shooting. Another of AJAs goals was robust data capture. As you would expect from an AJA product the whole back end of the camera is based around ProRes.
What exactly can CION do? It has an 4K APS-C (near Super35mm size) CMOS sensor that features a global shutter. That means no rolling shutter or skewing effect. They utilize several filters in front of the sensor to virtually eliminate moire. All internal recoding is done using ProRes. In 4K or 1080p it can record 30p at 4:4:4 12-bit. In 4K that’s around 1200mbps. Or, if you need higher frame rates, it can record 4K or 1080p 60p at 4:2:2 10-bit. It’s interesting that changing your resolution doesn’t seem to have a bearing on limitations of frame rates or color sampling. It also features RAW output up to 120 frames per second. But that means you need an external recorder that is compatible with RAW 120fps. Hello Convergent Design? Of course using an external recorder sorta defeats one of the reasons for buying this camera, to have a clean, well designed, all-in-one camera system.
The camera will obviously be compared to the Blackmagic Design Production 4K camera that has similar specs but also features internal RAW recording. This will be one of those cases where it might come down to the small details. For example, the AJA can play back clips, delete clips, and reformat media in camera. That gives it a leg up on the Blackmagic. If the AJA allows you to retain all settings after a power cycle thats another leg up on the BMD. But the Blackmagic will always be cheaper. AJA CION ships this summer for around $8,995 Post by Eric C. Petrie