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Atomos Ninja / Samurai / Shogun
HD-SDI field recorders supporting a variety of codecs.


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Old November 15th, 2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

Hi guys,

I think the title says it all really, but im looking to purchase an external recorder and the Ninja 2 has caught my eye for both price and features. I was wondering if the screen is really useful enough to use as a field monitor compared to more specific units such as the SmallHD Dp4? Its a similar size and i really want to keep the number of external gubbins on my rig to a minimum so it seems perfect, especially with its assist features. Is the screen resolution/image good enough?

Any insights very welcome.

Rob
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Old November 16th, 2012, 04:31 AM   #2
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

If you are just looking at the screen on its own I wouldn't say it was good enough to make judgements about focusing and exposure but the tool-set that Atomos offer with the Ninja 2 does make it a much more compelling product.

The peaking does help with focusing - but I find with my Fs100 that the expanded focus function as well as peaking is very good indeed. And the false colour mode on the Ninja 2 is excellent for both judging exposure and judging the use of picture profiles on the camera. It's very quick and easy to understand and is a real boon. Also on offer is a zebra function that can be set at the level you like and a blue only function which can give you a black and white image which some people use for focus as well.

It's good as a monitor but it's great as a recorder.

I've just put some pictures up on my blog about the ninja 2 and its functions which may be of help to you.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #3
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

I found the color on the Ninja 2 to be a bit off. Not sure if it's supposed to be accurate or not, it seems pretty dark though compared to the image on the camera lcd.
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Old December 8th, 2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

You can adjust the brightness of the Ninja2 screen. Just go to Menu/Display and slide the bar further to the right to make it brighter, left to make it darker. No color adjustment of the screen, if there was it would really confuse the user. My display is a tad on the red side, but I do not use it to show accurate color.

I got the Ninja for multiple reasons: for the hi-rez monitor and for recording ProRes as well as Avid codecs from my either my Z7U or Z5U. Now I do have to buy new cams to get broadcast quality. The producer loves to see the HD screen to check interview shot before rolling. Much, much better display than the original Ninja (which I bought and sent back). The screen measures 4.5 inches diagonally. If you want larger screen, look at samurai, or buy separate screen and use Ninja2 HDMI out to feed it. I love the fact that you can flip the display, which is what I do, so the HDMI cord goes out the right instead of the left.I just updated to new 4.01 firmware for Avid codec, which was a piece of cake. I just love this thing.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

I use the my Ninja2 as my main shooting monitor for most of my shoots.... the new zebras, peaking and false colour settings help a lot.

Lots about the Ninja2 on my blog: Sean J Vincent Blog

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Old January 21st, 2013, 02:20 PM   #6
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Gradin View Post
You can adjust the brightness of the Ninja2 screen. Just go to Menu/Display and slide the bar further to the right to make it brighter, left to make it darker. No color adjustment of the screen, if there was it would really confuse the user. My display is a tad on the red side, but I do not use it to show accurate color.

I got the Ninja for multiple reasons: for the hi-rez monitor and for recording ProRes as well as Avid codecs from my either my Z7U or Z5U. Now I do have to buy new cams to get broadcast quality. The producer loves to see the HD screen to check interview shot before rolling. Much, much better display than the original Ninja (which I bought and sent back). The screen measures 4.5 inches diagonally. If you want larger screen, look at samurai, or buy separate screen and use Ninja2 HDMI out to feed it. I love the fact that you can flip the display, which is what I do, so the HDMI cord goes out the right instead of the left.I just updated to new 4.01 firmware for Avid codec, which was a piece of cake. I just love this thing.
I wanted to correct my post above. I meant to say that I do NOT have to buy new camera to get broadcast quality. Sorry for this mistake and that it took me this long to correct it.
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Old January 21st, 2013, 11:15 PM   #7
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

Hello. Considering a Ninja, couple crazy questions: when using the Ninja with your Z5, do you need to press the record button on the ninja everytime you want to record, or does it automatically detect the hdmi signal and start recording when you hit the camera record button?

Also, what about boot-up and delay time? For instance, a lot of times when I'm working in the field on trails or in situations where it's not scripted, I often find myself in situations where some new action occurs and I need to fire up the camera (Z5) instantly and start shooting to capture the spontaneous action. Could you describe how such a workflow situation would occur with the Ninja? I have a z5 BTW.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old January 22nd, 2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

Mark, unfortunately the Ninja 2 will not detect the Sony Z5U record button. This camera apparently has an older version of HDMI that does not output the trigger signal. No matter, I just hit record on the Ninja (bottom right on the monitor view) and always make sure my TC numbers are rolling to confirm I am recording.

I would not use the Ninja for run and gun situations where I am literally running with the camera, hand holding, chasing animals, people, whatever. At least not with mechanical HDD. An SSD would work in this situation, just too expensive a solution for me. I use it primarily when I am on tripod, some hand held work, but not moving on my feet too fast. For real run and gun, I just shoot on tape (or use Sony MRC1 from my Z7U).

The Ninja 2 does power up fast, about as fast as the Z5U. Make sure you update to latest firmware from Atomos website, very easy to do. I have it mounted on rear shoe of Z5U (I use Varizoom swivel shoe mount so I can adjust angle), batteries, hard disk and HDMI cable (I use 3 ft. BlueRigger, very robust), all in place. Just be careful that camera with Ninja mounted does not get tossed around much, especially if you use HDD. In this situation, keep Ninja 2 in supplied hard case as much as you can between shoots.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 10:24 AM   #9
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Re: Ninja 2 - A competent monitor alternative?

I use the Ninja-2 on a Canon C100 and it's a great solution. Fully compatible with HDMI timecode/triggering. I mostly record to ProRes HQ, but I have a project I'm shooting on Saturday that I will probably record to ProRes LT, mainly for ease of ingest into a Final Cut Pro editing system (I always record AVCHD internally as well, for backup).

I had a some technical issues with it when I first got it, but Atomos has been great in helping me get everything ironed out. As for using the Ninja-2 as a monitor, it works great, but I make use of the tools (false color, zebra, and peaking) and never use a monitor as an "eyeball" solution...in fact, I make so much use of tools, I rarely count on displays for anything other than composition and never have a clear picture in my head as to what the final image looks like color-wise until I take it home and play it on my IPS monitor.

The only issue I have is that there are no guidelines (already sent in a request to Atomos tech support). Was shooting a project a few weeks ago that the client desired to matte to 2.40:1 and primarily used the built-in LCD for that, but a few times we had to rely on the Ninja-2 as the primary monitor and basically had to guess at the composition. I feel a little antsy about taping across the touch screen, so hopefully they will add that (you can output the guidelines from the C100 over HDMI, but I don't want that on the recorded footage).
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