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Atomos Ninja Blade vs Ninja 2 vs other recorder/monitor?

Atomos Recorder Monitor Nikon D5200 BMPCC

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#1 David Peterson

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 01:16 AM

I'm going to at last get a monitor, not just for the bigger display, but for the focus peaking and zebras (to name just a couple of reasons why).
 
Now the first question I need to resolve, is do I get just a monitor by itself (such as one of the SmallHD monitors) or get a combined monitor/recorder (such as from Atomos). 
 
Currently my situation is I'm using a Nikon D5200 plus a BMPCC that has just arrived with future upgrading plans of maybe perhaps getting a Panasonic GH4 in a few months from now. (slim possibility it might be instead a Sony A7S, or even a Samsung NX1. Could even be something that hasn't be released yet! I'm in no rush, I'll wait and see) So whatever I'm picking should be suited for what I've got now (& in the near future).
 
Am thinking I've narrowed down my decision to Ninja Blade vs Ninja 2. 
 
I'm leaning towards getting the Atomos Ninja Blade (it is worth it over the cheaper Ninja 2???), for a few reasons (let me know if they're good reasons or not! I'm just presuming here): 
1) I'm thinking using SSDs could be better than SD cards in the BMPCC (though not being able to record CinemaDNG raw to SSD is a pity)
2) having the ability to tag good/bad takes on set with AtomosOS seems like it could be a big time saver when doing rush edits. 
3) no time recording limit with the Nikon D5200 (if I got just a monitor, I expect I'd then get a Blackmagic Design: HyperDeck Shuttle as well. Well, or maybe maybe wait a few months to see if NikonHacker removes the recording time limit on the D5200)
 
But on the flip side the Ninja 2 is significantly cheaper.... so I wonder, is the older Ninja 2's screen satisfactory for pulling focus or is the Blade's high resolution screen going to be a huge bonus here?
 
Probably the biggest point of confusion I have between the two is how the Ninja Blade and Ninja 2 run different version of Atomos OS (with the Blade having the newer version of course), as I can't seem to clearly find any info on what specifically is the benefits of that. (such as around workflow around tagging clips on set and then in post)
 
 
Thoughts/criticism/suggestions? I'm all ears!

Edited by David Peterson, 06 October 2014 - 01:17 AM.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 03:50 AM

The Blade series recorders have displays which are vastly superior to those on the older type. I have both here and the improvement is enormous. They also have a waveform display. I would, without question, get the Blade version if that was the choice. That said, the SmallHD stuff is considerably more sophisticated just as a monitor. Don't automatically go for the OLED version if you go that way - OLED is high in contrast but lower in actual output, so it can still get overwhelmed by sunlight. Evaluate carefully and make your choice.

 

I don't think any of them are really useful as a critical focus evaluation device. They're either not big enough or not full resolution.

 

Also, if you're looking at an A7S, consider waiting for the Atomos Shogun, which would allow you to record 4K.

 

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#3 David Peterson

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 06:08 AM

I was kinda thinking about the Sony A7S or GH4, but the cost of the A7S together with a Shogun just seems too pricey for where I am right now (a starting out professional). Plus there is the issues I've heard about the A7S which has made it slightly off putting for me. 

 

Am now planning on sitting out the next these current first initial generation of affordable 4K cameras and waiting another 6 to 12 months, in which time there will then be the next generation ration of them (a GH5 perhaps, or Sony's next one, or maybe Nikon or Olympus will bring something out) or the A7S (or GH4) will have seen a big price drop to make them too tempting to resist. 

Until then, I'm going to instead invest my spare cash into things which don't depreciate so fast such as lights and lenses (I purchased 6 lenses today! Two of which is the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 for Nikon F mount, and the Panasonic 14-140mm). 


Edited by David Peterson, 06 October 2014 - 06:10 AM.

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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 08:35 AM

I was impressed with the A7s, but it's a horse for a very particular course, with its huge sensor. Rolling shutter is moderate.

 

GH4 is extremely flexible, with its sensor windowing option. Also, the HDMI output on the GH4 is 10-bit, which something like a Ninja can - I believe, but double check - record. The A7s is 8-bit. But the pictures on the A7s, for all its foibles, are really very, very good.

 

Buying things like lenses, lighting, light control, grip, cables, batteries, and almost everything except cameras is likely to be a better long-term investment. But the camera may still be worthwhile.

 

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#5 David Peterson

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 09:09 AM

I'm certainly leaning more heavily for the GH4 than the A7S, as they each have their pros and cons but I reckon in the end they more or less cancel each other and they're very equal to each other. Thus it makes more sense to go for the much cheaper one!

 

Buying things like lenses, lighting, light control, grip, cables, batteries, and almost everything except cameras is likely to be a better long-term investment. But the camera may still be worthwhile.

 

 

Exactly what my thoughts have been! I purchased 6 more lenses today, and there still is a few more holes I'd like to fill in my lens collection. Plus I can certainly do with more and better lighting. Ditto for sound, there is a couple of mics, blimp, and a boom pole I'd like to get. And many more little items, such as getting 12V DC power packs. 

Oh.. and at this rate of gear accumulation, saving up for a van makes sense too!

 

Thus as I already have three very nice 1080p cameras (GH1/D5200/BMPCC) I think I can sit out the 4K upgrade bandwagon for another 6 to 12 months (if I can resist that long...). 

 

The only camera I might get in the near future is the Sony RX100, as I'd like to get a tiny but powerful camera in my pocket that I always carry with me (currently I'm using a Canon ELPH 100 for that, which is running CHDK). 


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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 10:50 AM

Don't buy more gear than you can afford the crew to operate.

 

I now own way, way more stuff than I can possibly operate solo, and crew are expensive.


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#7 David Peterson

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 02:05 PM

Ha, very true! I certainly am approaching this from the perspective of being mostly 80%+ of the time a one man band. 

I'm not going to be buying a dolly and tracks or a big jib, not only are they too expensive, would need more people for that!

I'm an aspiring DoP and wedding/corporate/events videographer. So mostly I'm focussed on camera, lenses, and accessories. With other areas (sound, lighting, grip, etc) just going to get enough to cover me with the basics from the "one man band" perspective, and for the odd shoot I'm a "DoP" on and they don't have proper specialists covering each role then I may just as well prefer to lend out my gear for it rather than having the film suck too much and distract from my hopefully beautiful cinematography ;-) (for instance, I was the DoP on a short film last weekend for a 60hr Short Film Challenge. I ended up supply all the lighting and sound gear, otherwise they'd have had nothing! Although for sound I only brought along my HTDZ HT-81 together with a Zoom H1, and a spare monopod as the boom pole! Although I do also have a Tascam DR-60D & Rode NTG-2 back at the office, I thought I'd leave them behind rather than risk getting them damaged by teenagers accidentally when I'm not watching! As the cast was entirely teenagers, and most of the crew aside from the adults of myself and the "producer" who I roped in to operate sound. Ah well, was still good experience adding another short film to my belt, and I got to use it as my first short film with my newly arrived Blackmagic camera as "A cam"). 


Edited by David Peterson, 06 October 2014 - 02:08 PM.

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