Despite the plethora of products, there were just a few main headlines at the Cine Gear Expo 2019. They were all pretty straightforward and easy to understand. So, here they are and why they caught my attention:
Panasonic Introduces the S1H Mirrorless Camera
There was quite a buzz taking place a few days before Cine Gear that the Lumix Division of Panasonic (its consumer camera division) would have a big announcement at Cine Gear. Since it was rumored to be a Lumix, most of us imagined that the company would announce a new camera, like the GH5 and GH5S or S1 and S1R. That’s assuming it was going to be a new camera,
Many thought Panasonic would be announcing specs and have at least a mock up of the upcoming GH6. But Panasonic threw a bit of a curveball and instead introduced the S1H, a full-frame mirrorless “big brother” to the recently introduced S1 and S1R cameras. Panasonic emphasized that the new S1H would be capable of 6K-resolution recording in an anamorphic-friendly, 3:2 aspect ratio as well as 16:9 4K recording at 5.9K resolution. (It did not mention how many megapixels the camera would be.) Other features included the following:
- 6K/24p (3:2 aspect ratio)
- 5.9K/30p (16:9 aspect ratio) video recording
- 4K DCI & UHD 4:2:2 10-bit 60p
- Claimed dynamic range of over 14 stops
- 4:3 Anamorphic mode
- No recording time limits
- Release time Autumn 2019
My Take on the Panasonic S1H: As a technical achievement, the S1H breaks new ground in the price-and-value equation. A full-frame 6K camera for $4,000 is grounds for excitement.
That said, the demo material that was shown by Panasonic didn’t look especially impressive to me, but I chalk that more up to artistic choices than to actual technological capability of the camera. Plus, I’m split in my reaction to the camera. It has amazing specifications and capabilities for a camera in its price range, and it’s continuing to blur the lines between what a mirrorless camera is and what a digital cinema camera is.
Panasonic said at Cine Gear that their strategy is to unify the Varicam, EVA1 and Lumix divisions and bring them all closer together so the new S1H, coupled with the recent huge price reduction on the Varicam LT, are tangible results of this new direction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Panasonic put this new full-frame imager into a more digital cinema-centric camera in the near future, which is interesting. Of course, I would like to test and review the S1H when it becomes available; it has a lot of potential to become the most interesting camera release of 2019
Atomos Neon Cinema Monitor/Recorders
Atomos made a big splash at the show, unveiling their new line up of high-end cinema monitor/recorders they’ve dubbed “Neon”. If you’ve ever seen or used the Atomos Sumo line of monitor/recorders, think of the Neon lineup of Monitor/Recorders as the new Sumo units, but grown up for high-end cinema/episodic TV work, both on set and in edit bays and high-end boardrooms for client presentation.
Available in 17-, 24-, 31- and 55-inch configurations, the Neon series allows capture from any HDMI, SDI or Quad Link SDI source. HDMI 10-bit uncompressed, right up to 12G-SDI 12-Bit, 4Kp60 RAW can be recorded.
Also, all the models are capable of recording ProRes RAW from compatible cameras, ProRes HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes LT, Avid DnX, DnX HQX, DnX HQ, DnX SQ, DnX LB, and Cinema DNG RAW.
My Take On The Atomos Neon Monitor/Recorders: Up until this point, Atomos has mainly appealed to smaller production companies, one-man bands and indie filmmakers with low cost, fully featured recorders and monitors. I bought an Atomos Ninja Blade for my Canon C100MKI four years ago, and it has been a great tool. I recently bought the Atomos Shinobi SDI monitor for my gimbal shooting. So, overall, I’d say I like the company’s products.
That said, these new monitor/recorders are stepping into a new customer space with prices ranging from $4,000 to $18,000. The panels look great, although I am not sure there is such a big market for monitors with built-in video recorders. Once Atomos gets into the higher-end monitor market, competing with Canon, Sony, Flanders Scientific and others for high-end reference monitors, they will have to build up a reputation that they honestly don’t yet have in that space. But it’ll be interesting to see how they fare once the monitors are out in the wild.
Fujinon Premista 28-100mm T2.9 and 80-250mm T2.9-3.5 large-sensor cine zoom lenses
I was able to take a look at both of Fujifilm Fujinon’s new Premista large-sensor cine zoom lenses. But first, a little background: Fujinon has always made excellent television and cinema optics. The current lineup of their excellent Premiere and Cabrio lenses, plus their low-cost MKX cine zooms and all of their B4 mount broadcast-type lenses, might leave you wondering why they felt compelled to come out with yet another lineup of lenses.
The answer is simple: it’s the recent introduction of full-frame/LF digital cinema cameras.
All of Fuji’s existing cine zooms were for S35 imagers. With the recent popularity of so many new FF and LF cameras, the company felt compelled to introduce a new lineup of cine zooms that could cover a large-frame image circle. Both zooms cover a 46.3mm image circle, which means they are compatible with all current large-format digital cinema cameras. Both lenses also feature an eXtended Data port. This port transmits essential lens metadata through both a Cooke/i interface on the mount itself and a 4-pin LEMO connection on the lens body.
My Take On The Fujinon Premista Zooms: Last year, after evaluating the Canon C700 FF and taking a look at the growing popularity of FF/LF camera systems, it occurred to me that there were relatively few FF cine zoom lenses on the market. Also, for many of the manufacturers that did offer LF/FF cine zooms (Zeiss and Angenieux, to name a couple), the cost can be rather high.
And while they’re far from inexpensive, the list price of the two new Fujinon zooms is $38,800 for the 28-100mm T2.9 and $39,800 for the 80-250mm T2.9-3.5. That’s actually very reasonable for lenses in this space.
In short, when you play with the cameras that Hollywood uses, like the RED Monstro, Sony Venice and the Arri Alex Mini LF, quality optics to cover that size image circle aren’t cheap.
Be sure to come back and visit our HDVideoPro blog for our continuing coverage of Cine Gear Expo 2019.