In 2012, 3D Guru Al Caudullo (3DGuy.tv) judged the Atomos Ninja the “Best External Video Recorder” for 3D. I had a chance to visit Atomos (Victoria, Australia) at CCW 2014 and see not only the current versions of the Ninja, the Ninja 2, Ninja Blade and Ninja Star, but also the recently introduced Shogun as well. Shogun was announced in April, 2014 and first shown in the US at InfoComm in Las Vegas.
The Shogun is a monitor suitable for use as an on-camera viewfinder. As a viewfinder, the Shogun has a 7.1” screen with WUXGA resolution (1920 x 1200) for 320 ppi. It conforms to the Rec. 709 color standard for HDTV and has native frame rates of 48 – 60Hz, making it suitable for displaying 24Hz cinema content as well as 50 or 60Hz TV content. The screen is a touch screen, allowing the user to control the display, the recorder and the I/O. At CCW, Atomos was showing the Shogun mounted on both the Sony A7S DSLR and Sony FS7 digital cinema cameras as a viewfinder and 4K recorder.
The Atomos Shogun is much more than a viewfinder, however. It will also record 4K at 30 frames per second. That’s progressive, of course. There is no 4K interlace standard, thank goodness. In addition to 30P, it will also record 4K 24P and 25P. If, for some strange reason, you want to record with a 23.98 or 29.97 frame rate, it will do that too. I hoped these fractional frame rates had disappeared with interlace, but I guess not. Input to the Shogun is 4K-SDI, 12G, 6G and HD-SDI, SMPTE 3G/1.5G-SDI and HDMI 1.4b. The video loop-out has all the same formats. There is internal format conversion – you can input and record in one format and output in a different format.
As a recorder, the Shogun records uncompressed 10/8 bit 4:2:2, depending on the camera. For 4K recording, this is up to 30P. Recording HD content can be at speeds of up to 120P, assuming your camera can maintain that frame rate.
At the heart of the Shogun and all other Atomos recorders is the AtomOS operating system. This OS provides all the control functions, including monitor assist functions needed for camera control, waveform monitoring, control recording and playback functions and review and editing of files.
At CCW, the Shogun was shown with Sony cameras but it can be used with virtually any 4K or HD camera, including ones from Canon, GoPro, JVC, Nikon, Panasonic, Phantom and Red. Other Atomos monitors/recorders were shown at CCW, including the Ninja Blade on a Canon 5D mark 2 and the Canon C100, and the Ninja Star on the GoPro Hero 3+. – Matthew Brennesholtz