AJA Video Systems has announced some nifty updates to their existing line of video converters and capture cards, but that's not why you're here. Surprising mostly everyone I spoke to, AJA's new CION 4K camera
has been announced with a $8,995 price point.
The ergonomically designed shoulder mount camera is capable of shooting UltraHD and 4K -- actually 4090x2160 -- as well as 2K and HD resolutions. Continuing the same ProRes workflow established by the Ki Pro product line, in-camera recording directly to Apple ProRes codecs, including 12-bit 444, is available for wide compatibility across the board.
CION represents a new direction for AJA.
High frame rate support is also available in the camera with the ability to output 4K raw data up to 120 fps via 4x 3G-SDI outputs. It can also record directly to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 60 fps.
CION features a PL lens mount for compatibility with industry-standard lenses. When recording in HD or 2K, the image is oversampled from the full 4K sensor, retaining focal length. A built-in filter combines an optical low pass filter (OLPF) to eliminate unwanted aliasing and moire with an infrared (IR) cut filter to produce appropriate colors. Additionally, a back focus adjustment means the sharpest image possible can be produced. Also included are several 3G-SDI and HDMI outputs, which are all simultaneously active and supply signal to a variety of 4K/Ultra HD and 2K/HD monitors.
The camera's carefully designed menu parameters are also remotely configurable via a web interface and can be accessed through any web browser via a LAN connection. The magnesium body is lightweight, and the camera design features industry standard connectors and mounts.
The camera design features industry standard connectors and mounts
Taking a bit of a jab at the idea that other camera manufacturers aren't prioritizing ergonomics and usability, AJA Video Systems President Nick Rashby pointed out that the camera was designed with the shooter in mind. Controls and port are in logical places for ease of use, a confidence monitor faces the operator, and the suede shoulder pad and wooden handle were added for comfort.
Summing up the feeling behind the release, Rashby said "It's weird to say 'camera' out loud." Implying that CION has been in development for four years or longer, he added that "CION represents a new direction for AJA. Bringing this sophisticated camera to market underscores our passion to support filmmakers, broadcasters and content creators. We are incredibly proud of CION. We believe that the thoughtfully considered design, along with a powerful feature set, will make it extremely useful and versatile for productions worldwide."
CION will be available this summer -- and AJA has mentioned that they know they're going back on a promise they made last year to only announce things that are shipping. They wanted to be able to talk about the camera at NAB this year. And can you blame them?
AJA also updated its Kona4 card, adding 4K output for high frame rates and developer support for new partnerships and some new mini converters including LUT-box which allows monitors to display accurate color space and look for any SDI video signal.
And here's the nitty gritty if you're into that.
Click to zoom.
- 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 (4096x2160), Ultra HD (3840x2160), 2K (2048x1080), HD (1920x1080). 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(TM) 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(TM) at up to 4K 30 fps.
- Lens Mount: Industry standard PL mount
- 4x 3G-SDI/HD-SDI outputs (4K/Ultra HD/2K/HD)
- 2x 3G/HD-SDI monitor outputs with overlay support
- 1x HDMI output offering support for 4K and Ultra HD or scaled 2K/HD
- 1x HDMI output for 2K/HD
- 2x mic/line/48v XLR analog audio inputs
- 2x LANC control ports
- 1x LTC input connector
- 1x reference connector
- 1x USB connector
- 1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
- 1x Mini TRS headphone jack
- 1x 4-pin XLR power connector
- 1x input power connector for attaching third-party battery plates
- 1x output power connector
- 1x Thunderbolt™ connector
- Optical Low Pass Filter and IR cut filter: An integrated OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter) reduces unwanted moire 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.
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