June 2014


Panasonic‘s latest VariCam HS updates the historic camera series with 12-bit, 4:4:4 AVC-ULTRA video acquisition, as well as efficient ProRes capture and "rampable" high-speed frame rates that promise slow motion at up to 240 fps in full 1080p resolution. The modular design of the VariCam HS includes a MOS 2⁄3" camera head that docks with a separate AVC-ULTRA recording module, which can be placed remotely and accessed through cabling. Promising 14 stops of dynamic range, the camera also boasts image controls over matrix, gamma, detail and Log capture. A variety of high-quality formats are available including AVC-Intra Class100 (1080p/24/30/60 and VFR up to 240 fps), AVC-Intra Class200 at twice the bit rate (up to 30p/60i) and AVC-Intra Class4:4:4 (at up to 30p). At bit rates from 6 Mb/s down to 1.5 Mb/s, the VariCam HS also encodes proxy files in parallel for fast and efficient file use. The AVC-ULTRA recording module is equipped with two expressP2 card slots and two microP2 card slots. List Price: Begins under $55,000. Contact: Panasonic Solutions Company, www.panasonic.com.


Blackmagic Design‘s 4K-capable URSA is offered as a complete studio camcorder solution, much larger and more robust than their previous cameras. With a large, modular construction that allows a number of attachments and upgrades, as well as an interior cooling system for achieving high frame rates, the URSA features a machined aluminum design with a very large, 10-inch, fold-out monitor, as well as additional smaller screens that allow you to preview settings, camera status and scopes from the side. The interior Super 35 4K imaging sensor has global shutter, 12G-SDI connections and dual CFast-based RAW and ProRes capture. The sensor and lens mount can be unbolted for swapping lenses, and the back end of the camera unit can be used without lens and sensor for other camera systems. The camera currently offers 60p, but future plans promise higher frame rates. It’s available in Canon EF mount or cinematic PL mount. List Price: $6,495 (Blackmagic URSA PL); $5,995 (Blackmagic URSA EF). Contact: Blackmagic Design, www.blackmagicdesign.com.


AJA Video Systems is now offering their first camera, the 4K/Ultra HD-capable CION professional cinema solution with cinematic PL lens mount, built-in ergonomic ENG shoulder-mount and in-camera ProRes capture at up to 12-bit, 4:4:4 resolution. With a large APS-C CMOS imaging sensor and global electronic shutter, the camera can output 4K raw data at up to 120 fps through four 3G-SDI outputs, or internally at up to 60 fps through the use of AJA Pak SSD media, currently available in 256 GB and 512 GB capacities. 2K and HD resolutions are scaled at the sensor for higher-quality images and lenses that retain accurate field of view. A power output connection is provided to add an electronic viewfinder, and back-focus adjustment is available for calibrating the lens to the sensor for the sharpest image available. An Optical Low Pass Filter and IR infrared cut filter are included to address aliasing, moiré and color saturation. Menu operations can be made from the operator side or remotely via web interface, browser or LAN connection. The durable magnesium chassis houses steel rosettes and integrated cheeseplates for adding accessories without the need for additional rigs. List Price: $8,995 (AJA CION); $1,295 (512 GB AJA Pak SSD); $695 (256 GB AJA Pak SSD). Contact: AJA Video Systems, Inc., www.aja.com.


Two new lenses have been released by ARRI. The Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5-18/T2.9 is the first superwide-angle from the company for the professional cinema market. Boasting a large imaging circle of 34.5mm, the UWZ lens has a telecentric optical design optimized for uniform field illumination to the corners of the image and modern digital sensors of resolutions of up to 8K with "no compromise in quality." ARRI’s LDS Lens Data System functionality provides metadata with zoom, focus and aperture settings. Distortion is measured at a level of less than 1% at 9.5mm and less than 0.1% when wide at 18mm, so lines stay straight throughout the zoom range. A new multilayer, antireflective coating minimizes flare and veiling glare, and the matte-box interface is interchangeable. The ARRI/ZEISS MA 135/T1.9 prime is also available, joining a family of seven Master Anamorphic cine lenses, each offering low distortion and suppressed image breathing thanks to an "almost" telecentric optical design that reduces chromatic aberration and vignetting. The iris diaphragm is composed of 15 aperture blades for a smooth and characteristic bokeh. The fast T1.9 aperture matches the rest of the set, which includes focal lengths at 35mm, 40mm, 50mm, 60mm, 75mm and 100mm. List Price: $58,900 (Ultra Wide Zoom UWZ 9.5-18/T2.9); $50,500 (ARRI/ZEISS MA 135/T1.9 Master Anamorphic). Contact: ARRI, www.arri.com.