By comparison, the Miro "is super-light, and it can run off smaller batteries, which is another big advantage," he reports. Geduldick also rates the Miro’s compactness and user-friendliness. "It’s not this huge camera that’s slowing you down, and if you go from sticks to handheld, you can have a quick-release plate on it and just run-and-gun. It also offers multiple choices of mounts, including Canon and Nikon, and I tend to use it with the Canon and PL mounts—the PL for high-end glass like Ultra Primes and the Canon for being able to swap lenses out." He notes that L-series glass is "still really affordable and easy to come by."
The DP is also impressed with the Miro’s rugged design and dependability. "Vision Research knows that DPs will be using this camera in a wide range of demanding situations in the field," he states, "and this particular project really put it through a rigorous test." Although it was spring, the team ran into a number of weather issues, including snow. "We just went with it, and the shots of skateboarders in the snow looked great," he says. "And we had a couple of hiccups, like with any brand-new camera that’s being beta-tested, but both Abel and Vision Research were totally available to us to help us work through any problems."
The Miro’s competitive price point is another key factor, stresses the DP. "For a rental or owner-operator, this is much more attractive. You can probably rent the base kit for under $2,000, whereas the Flex and Gold and some of the other Phantom-series cameras run at over $5,000 for the fully kitted setup," he reports. "And if you’re buying it, you’re under $60,000, which is pretty remarkable for getting into the high-speed Phantom line. Do I wish it was even cheaper? Of course. In an ideal world, everyone would like to have high-speed in their iPhone, but this still offers amazing value."
As Geduldick notes, high-speed users are paying a slight premium not only for the high quality of the camera, but the end results. "The quality of the files is a 12-bit raw Cine file, and the higher bit depth is there, along with the color fidelity," he says. "And that resolution and color fidelity are two big reasons why you choose a Phantom over other high-speed camera packages."
In terms of storage, the Miro has internal RAM "so there’s a looping RAM buffer that’s recording," he explains. "And when the action stops and the person lands their trick, it’s a post trigger and records from RAM onto the CineFlash. In fact, I did a couple of variations. You can do one long take, then record that into RAM, and then it will also let you partition the RAM for more takes. Then you can remove your CineFlash, put it in its docking station and hook it up to any computer. So it’s pretty versatile and easy to use as it’s just drag-and-drop file workflow once the CineFlash is mounted."
Summing up, Geduldick notes that the new Miro isn’t a replacement for the bigger Phantom cameras: "It’s a new venture into smaller high-speed, and it’s not just for action sports. It can be used for feature films, documentaries and visual effects."
The Miro LC320S adds a new touch-screen LCD for efficiency
Vision Research has recently announced the successor to the Phantom Miro M320S. The new Miro LC320S adds an LCD touch-screen for monitoring as well as controlling functions of the camera, making the compact high-speed camera even more efficient and lightweight. The LCD also provides responsive and intuitive controls for camera operation, including record, trigger, trim, playback and save to CineFlash. Nearly all of the camera functions can be controlled via the LCD, including frame rate, shutter angle, resolution and color balance. The Phantom Miro LC320S is available in November 2012 with a list price of $56,400 and includes the maximum RAM, 12 GB. You also can upgrade your existing M320S cameras. Regularly priced at $7,500, the upgrade will be available for only $6,500 if ordered before October 31, 2012.