Atomos Jumps in with ProRes Raw Recording via Ninja V

Sony played its mirrorless cards this morning with the announcement of the Alpha 7S III camera ($3500), featuring a new 12.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS image sensor with a claimed 15 stops of dynamic range when recording using Sony’s S-Log3 gamma curve.

Despite Canon’s 8K move with the recently announced EOS R5 mirrorless, not to mention the 12K surprise that came with Blackmagic’s larger-form-factor Ursa Mini Pro, Sony has built the latest A7S for 4K and 4K only.

It’s due to ship in September.

Recording Options

The A7S III can record 10-bit 4:2:2 4K at up to 120p internally to two CFexpress Type A media slots (UHS-I and UHS-II SDXC/SDHC cards are also supported) and can output 16-bit linear raw 4K over HDMI.

Atomos quickly announced an update to its Ninja V monitor-recorder ($599) that records the 16-bit linear footage as 12-bit ProRes Raw at up to 4K 60p.

And, yes, that means 120p 4K recording is available, for now, only on board the A7S III. “We would love to unlock that [on the Ninja V], should Sony allow that to happen,” Atomos CEO Jeromy Young said during a press briefing announcing Ninja’s support for the new camera’s 4K workflow.

The A7S III also offers its 10-bit 4:2:2 output over HDMI, allowing the Ninja V to record 10-bit 4:2:2 log or Rec.709 ProRes or DNx files at up to 4K 60p, Young noted. He drew attention to the Ninja V’s 1000-nit HDR display and HLG and PQ/HDR10 support, saying the combination would be a solid choice for inexpensive HDR production. And he suggested productions using Sony’s FX9 may be drawn to the A7S III as a great B-camera option.

Alongside the camera, Sony debuted CFexpress Type A memory cards with capacities of 80 GB ($200) and 160 GB ($400) and a new CFexpress Type A/SD USB 3.2 Gen 2 card reader ($120). Both are set to ship in September.

More Features

On-board movie recording modes include All-Intra and XAVC-HS (H.265), and an HLG picture profile is supported for HDR. Color-gamut settings include S-Gamut, S-Gamut3 and S-Gamut3.Cine for better matching with other Sony pro camcorders on multicam shoots.

Autofocus has been rethought and revamped for this installment of the A7S line. This is the first A7S camera with Fast Hybrid AF, combining phase-detection and contrast detection techniques with real-time tracking and eye autofocus features. Sony said its new Bionz XR image processing improves eye detection by 30% over its previous generation engine. The A7S III also has five-axis image stabilization to help steady shots in Active Mode; because it narrows the shooting angle of view, Sony doesn’t recommend using it when shooting with a 200mm or longer lens.

And Sony sought to assure users that heat management was a focus of the new camera’s engineering despite its fan-free and vent-free design, claiming that it can record to 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 files for an hour or longer without a break. Atomos co-signed that, saying that customers should be able to record 4K raw to the Ninja until the A7S III’s battery runs down.

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