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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
Sony PMW-300, PXW-X200, PXW-X180 (back to EX3 & EX1) recording to SxS flash memory.


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Old December 27th, 2010, 12:24 PM   #1
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atomos ninja, nanoflash, other options?

I currently have the EX1R and plan to plan to hopefully add the F3 to my arsenal. My question is. I have been debating purchasing an external recorder for a while now. the atomos ninja seems like the buy to make even though it only has an hdmi. What would the nanoflash offer me that the ninja does not at 1/3 of the price? forgive me if the answer is obvious but im slightly confused.

Any other options as far as affordable recorders welcomed?

I also would like to purchase a recorder that will allow me to eventually get 422 out of the F3.

Thank you everyone in advance, for your time and patience.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 02:02 PM   #2
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Ki Pro Mini - AJA Video Systems
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Old December 27th, 2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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atomos/nano

the aja is huge, but if you dont want to be mobile, and are on a tripod, it would work.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #4
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Don't confuse the AJA Pro with the AJA Pro Mini . . . or maybe you feel the Mini is big too.
It's just over 1lb.
Dimensions. Seems roughly 1.8"x4.3"x5.8"
http://www.aja.com/media_folder_web/...Dimensions.pdf

Nano Flash is 1lb
Dimensions seem to be
1.4"x3.7"x4.2"
so it is a bit smaller.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 04:09 PM   #5
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This question is better asked in the nanoFlash forum, but I will add my 2 cents why I prefer the nano.

1) Hot swap - ONLY recorder with hot swap which means your record times can be unlimited.

2) Files automatically close and continue recording onto other CF card. With the Aja, you must STOP recording before the CF card is full and then switch to the other card.

3) 50Mb 422 Long-GOP on the Nano is very similar in image quality to the 220Mb I-frame on the Aja; thus, considerable amounts of space can be saved when recording. (this is according to Mike Marriage's test)

4) The Aja is MORE expensive with equal recording times than the nanoFlash because it uses more than 4 times the space. And even at the nanoFlash's 100Mb Long-GOP, the Aja is still slightly more expensive. This is including the cost of CF cards.

5) the nanoFlash uses very little power when recording. I know the Aja Mini can't come close; thus, you would need more batteries for the Aja.

6) The nanoFlash is a PROVEN and RELIABLE tool.

7) New features are added to the nanoFlash multiple times a year for FREE thru firmware updates.

8) HDMI is not a secure connection whereas SDI locks.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 04:38 PM   #6
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I am still sorting out all the info on both the aja ki pro mini and the nanoflash. I can see how the aja might be more useful for the F3 later on. with its 10 bit. Does the EX1R have 8 or 10 bit out of the Sdi?

Given that i only use pro res when editing it seems like overall the ki pro mini might suit me best. I know there many posts on this but some fresh answers are helping me greatly

Also I dont want to forget the atomos ninja.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 05:24 PM   #7
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What are the record times per CF card on the ki pro mini? to compare too the nanoflash I cannot seem to find it on the site.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 05:24 PM   #8
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The Ninja - HDMI ProRes HDD or SSD Recorder
HDMI in only. It depends on how much you see that as a drawback as it's not carrying camera timecode for example.

I'd be concerned with HDD based recording. SSD at 256GB only 2.5 hours recording time (ProRes HQ but 4 hours ProRes) and they you have to unload . . .or can you buy a few 256GB SSDs and stop and swap apparently.
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Old December 27th, 2010, 08:50 PM   #9
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The biggest plus for the nanoFlash, and it's a huge one in my opinion, is that it is out now and it has a proven track record. Also, the company has one of the greatest customer service track records around.

The Aja Ki Pro Mini looks very intriguing but it isn't out yet and has been met with delays which is not unexpected. The Ki Pro has a pretty good proven track record and it remains to be seen how that technology translates into a smaller portable box. But Aja is a first rate company so, even though I'm sure first gen users will find faults and bugs with the Ki Pro Mini, I'm sure Aja will sort them out as quickly as they can.

The Atom, while falling into the very affordable range if looked at from a professional level, is a device I would not touch for at least 6 months to a year after release if you plan on using it in a professional capacity. It is a company with an unknown track record and I would have a very hard time using a HDD system in the field. Bumping, movement and the general lack of transfer speed for HDD's would concern me. Other considerations would be power usage and noise from the hard drive. SSD's would be another option but they are fairly expensive and both, HDD's and SSD's, take up a lot more space and are less durable than cards. Also, the lack of SDI connection is a big negative for me. HDMI is perhaps the worst connector every conceived and does not send timecode so for me, HDMI only has a big negative to it. It's one thing for a monitor to use an HDMI connector but if I'm recording to a device I better be able to lock the connection in. It would be way to easy to have the connector inadvertently knocked out.

The ProRes option is a plus if you're a FCP editor but for me the MXF files are great in my workflow.

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Old December 27th, 2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
7) New features are added to the nanoFlash multiple times a year for FREE thru firmware updates.
Not only multiple firmware updates but they actually listen and try to incorporate the features their users ask for.

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Old December 28th, 2010, 12:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by William Graydon View Post
What are the record times per CF card on the ki pro mini? to compare too the nanoflash I cannot seem to find it on the site.
As a reference, say you are shooting 1080p30...

if you are shooting (std) ProRes, you will need about 75GB per hour

if you are shooitng ProRes HQ, you will need about 112GB per hour

so on a 64GB card you will get between 45 and 50 minutes per card with std ProRes, if you are shooting ProRes HQ you will get about 30 minutes per 64GB card.

It should be noted that you cannot hot swap on the Ki Pro Mini. Not sure if the a long form single shot will gracefully roll over to the second card (maybe someone can confirm yes or no on this).

Obviously, if you are going to be using the Ki Pro Mini, it is going to be a for a particular kind of shooting style where there are short takes and if the shoot is longer you will want to have a DIT / datawrangler on hand. Best use for this unit, as far as I can see, is doing narrative or advertising kind of work.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 04:00 AM   #12
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The NanoFlash is a great device. I have 2 and they have a hard life shooting in all kinds of extreme weather and now I have the 3D kit for them as well. The noise floor on the EX1/EX3 is quite high so a 10 bit recorder would bring no discernible advantage. The compact file size from the NanoFlash can be a big help on longer shoots. It can do timelapse, overcranking and record both embedded audio and external audio. It also converts from HDMI to SDI and will give both HDMI and SDI out together. I can also use it as a proxy recorder to record very small SD or HD files to hand off to the client for offline editing. This proxies will have the same TC as the camera provided you use SDI or TC in. Card hot swapping is important and the codec is supported by NextoDI so location backups are easy. Thanks to the embedded TC in the cameras SDI stream you can set the NanoFlash to record when the camera goes into record, so no need to worry about pressing extra buttons on the recorder to start your recordings.

The Atamos Ninja, on paper at least is an interesting device. It promises much, but what will it actually deliver? Hard Drives are not going to be an option as recording media for anyone doing anything other than home movies due to reliability questions. It's one thing using a hard drive to backup and store footage where the drive spends most of it's time doing nothing and another shooting on one where it will be spinning all the time and subject to bumps, knocks and rotational forces. So SSD will be essential. SSD's are quite competitively priced these days and you will be able to by carriers for them from Atamos. It's 10 bit 4:2:2 and has a touch screen that also doubles up as a small monitor. If Atamos can get it right it should be a great device although record triggering via TC won't be possible.

The Ki-Pro mini should be another good device but in some respects I think the Ninja has some on paper advantages over it. For ProRes I think SSD makes a lot of sense, high performance CF cards can work out expensive at high bit rates and the ninja built in screen is a very nice feature. Coming from AJA the Ki-Pro should prove to be robust and reliable and the built in SDi is better suited to professional applications.

If you can wait until NAB I would. I suspect there will be other devices on the market by then that can do all that the above can do plus a whole bunch more. Also we should then know whether Atamos can deliver the goods or not.
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Old December 28th, 2010, 10:52 AM   #13
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Thank you all for the insight. I do plan to wait a few months at least before making my purchase so I will continue to do my research. All the information provided was very helpful!!
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Old December 31st, 2010, 06:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Stone View Post
As a reference, say you are shooting 1080p30...

It should be noted that you cannot hot swap on the Ki Pro Mini. Not sure if the a long form single shot will gracefully roll over to the second card (maybe someone can confirm yes or no on this).
Firstly, the Ninja CANNOT record 1080 30p or 1080 29.97p, nor can it record 720 24p/23.98/25. At least with the EX1/3 cams, there is a benefit to shooting with 720/24p because the sensor becomes more sensitive to light by roughly 1/3 stop versus 1080/24p - very handy for low-light conditions.

Secondly, the Aja Mini CANNOT continue recording onto the 2nd CF card as I stated earlier; thus, you must stop recording when the currently used CF card nears full capacity.

FYI, the nanoFlash can record to MOVs which FCP takes with no transcoding and they have a little program that can re-wrap MOVs to MXF for other NLEs.

8 bit vs 10 bit: at least with Premiere Pro CS5 and also After Effects, I have had no problem rendering heavy color grading & effects by using 32bit FP (source footage was 35Mb from EX1). As Alistair said, with the EX1/3 cams, 10bit adds nothing but wasted space.

Furthermore, I want the F3 and its sensitivity is good enough that 10bit doesn't waste space; however, I can't see the need for 10bit even with heavy grading and several effects. But if I do need 10bit, I can always rent the Aja.

The Ninja seams like a cool device but I would never rely on hard disks or even consumer SSDs even though I use Intel SSDs in all of my PCs. Why? Because the SSD controllers are not 100% reliable which show up as slight freezes during use. They have added ram to help buffer these hiccups but a slight hiccup during recording will cause problems. Moreover, most SSDs greatly drop in performance under constant use such as 75GB of data being continuously written to an 80GB drive. Many drive makers include software that requires the user to clean up the drive and sort of 'realign' the data in order to provide better performance.

FYI, all camera HDMI outputs are only 8bit so the Ninja can only record 8bits of info.

Last edited by Steve Kalle; January 1st, 2011 at 03:30 AM.
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Old January 1st, 2011, 03:54 AM   #15
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Firstly, the Ninja CANNOT record 1080 30p or 1080 29.97p, nor can it record 720 24p/23.98/25.
Good point, I hadn't picked up on that rather important issue. Seems very odd that it can't.
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