AJA Debuts CION: 4K/UHD/2K/HD Professional Camera
NAB2014 has seen the release of several new 4K cameras or updates to current ones. AJA have released the CION –
Las Vegas, NV, NAB Conference, Booth SL2505 (April 7, 2014)— AJA Video Systems today announced CION, an entirely new professional camera. CION features an ergonomic design and is capable of shooting at 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD resolutions. AJA pioneered lens-to-post Apple ProRes workflows with the introduction of the Ki Pro product line in 2009; CION builds on this achievement by offering in-camera recording directly to the Apple ProRes family of codecs – including 12-bit 444 – for pristine image capture. ProRes codecs are well established in many post-production environments and offer wide compatibility with editing, color correction and finishing applications. CION enables today’s growing demand for high frame rate support and offers the ability to output 4K raw data at up to 120 fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs. CION can record directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 frames per second.
It is really good to see more new manufacturers releasing affordable 4K cameras with compressed recording formats as well as RAW recording and the current trend seems to be recording in a variety of Apple Prores. It is a great codec which gives fantastic images at reasonable file sizes which grade very well. It has become an industry standard in drama production, especially in the USA.
What will slow the uptake of these new cameras for documentary work, especially in the UK market, is the lack of an (older) 50Mbps codec which, despite being inferior to ProRes (only recording 8-bit images which do not grade as well) has become the de-facto standard for HD recording for British broadcasting. In fact the 50Mbps XDCam codec should really be considered the minimum level of acquisition codec that should be used, but is still loved by broadcasters ( the BBC!) as it produces smaller file sizes which alleviate the requirements for long term storage and duplication of material for safety.
It is unlikely the new cameras will receive any ‘upgrades’ to theses older codecs (my enquiry to Blackmagic about the URSA camera received the reply that they wouldn’t be adding support for this or other codecs). One outcome of these decision could see the UK market moving forward to better, 10-bit acquisition formats, but at the expense of having larger files to store and back up. Or we may be back to bolting-on separate recording devices like one of the Atomos or many other recorders. More stuff hanging off a ‘state of the art’ camera to make it workable in the current market.
- Sensor: 4K APS-C sized CMOS sensor with an electronic global shutter. 12-stops of dynamic range.
- Recording Formats and Resolutions: Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and Apple ProRes (Proxy); 4K (4096×2160), Ultra HD (3840×2160), 2K (2048×1080), HD (1920×1080). 2K and HD are hardware scaled from the full 4K sensor for high-quality over-sampled images and retention of field-of-view.
- Media: Record to AJA Pak SSD media available in 256GB and 512GB capacities. Transfer via Thunderbolt™ or USB3 with optional AJA Pak Dock; Complete 10-bit and 12-bit workflow from HD to 4K.
- Raw Support: Output AJA Raw via 3G-SDI at up to 4K 120 fps or via Thunderbolt™ at up to 4K 30 fps.
- Lens Mount: Industry standard PL mount
- Optical Low Pass Filter and IR cut filter: An integrated OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter) reduces unwanted moiré effects while still retaining vital image detail. The infrared (IR) cut filter produces high quality colors within the image by blocking unwanted light wavelengths.
- Back Focus Adjustment: The mechanical calibration of the distance between lens and sensor allows finely tuned adjustments to ensure the sharpest image quality possible.
- Industrial design: Lightweight magnesium chassis, built-in confidence monitor, standard playback controls and connectors placed to optimize functionality. Integrated “cheese plates” fitted to both the top and the bottom of the chassis provide easy mounting of accessories. All CION accessory connection points use open standards, including 15mm rods, 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes, and M6 hirth-tooth rosettes.
- User interface: Via operator side panel display, control knob and buttons or via LAN connection using a web-browser; no software installation required.
Pricing and Availability
CION will be available Summer 2014 via a worldwide network of AJA resellers at a US MSRP of $8,995. AJA Pak SSD media is available at a US MSRP of $695 (256GB) and $1295 (512GB). AJA Pak Dock is available at a US MSRP of $395. Optional CION accessories will also be available when the camera ships. For more information about AJA products please visit www.aja.com.
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