AJA breaks into camera market with 4K CION

Cinematic camcorders

AJA CION camcorder
4K Pro Res built in: AJA’s CION features a PL mount, 4K and uncompressed recording. Picture: AJA
Capture card and video recorder manufacturer AJA is branching out into the camera market with its first production camcorder, the CION.

The CION is a 4K/UHD and 2K/HD camera based around and APS-C sized sensor and a PL lens mount, for industry-standard lenses.

But the camera is also designed around AJA’s video recording and storage hardware, using the company’s PAK media cartridges. These are based on SSD technology, and allow the camera to capture ProRes footage at up to 4444 quality, and then transfer the footage directo to an editor using a USB3 and Thunderbolt media dock.

The camera itself is a full-sized, shoulder mount design, closer in style to ARRI’s Amira or the upcoming 4K camera from JVC than Blackmagic’s new URSA or Sony’s F55. The camera comes with a top handle based on the industry standard 15mm rod system and there are rod mounts under the lens for attaching accessories such as matte boxes and follow focus gears. AJA is also fitting cheese plates to the top and bottom of the camera.

The modular design carries over to the power system, which is via Vlock batteries, and viewfinders and monitors. The CION has dedicated HDMI and SDI monitoring outputs, so users can choose their own EVF or monitor – or reuse existing kit.

The CION also boosts a wide range of connection options. As well as internal recording to the PAK drives, there is a built-in Thunderbolt port, which can output 4K at 30fps, and a LAN port for configuration and control. The LAN port allows camera control, via a laptop over the LAN, and synchronisation of multiple cameras, including setting timecode. For audio there are two side mounted XLR inputs.

As a ProRes based camera, AJA is pushing the open nature of the workflow for CION footage, but the camera will also work with a range of AJA hardware and software, including TruZoom, which lets editors and directors choose an HD region of interest from 4K footage.

The CION, which was announced at this year’s NAB, will go on sale this summer. The US recommended price is $8995, without a lens, with PAK media starting at $695.