Atomos, the portable video recorder manufacturer, has updated its HDMI-based recorder range with the Ninja Blade.
The Ninja Blade is built around the five-inch, 1200×720 IPS touch screen panel already used on the HD-SDI-based Samurai Blade unit. The screen resolution is 325 ppi (pixels per inch) and the screen has a 179-degree viewing angle.
Along with other Atomos recorders, the Ninja Blade can record on to off the shelf media, either solid-state drives or regular, laptop hard drives. The units are powered by dual batteries, with a range of options for Nikon and Canon cells as well as the supplied Sony NPF-compatible batteries.
The Ninja Blade can record 10-bit, uncompressed HDMI video from a compatible camera, in either Apple’s ProRes or Avid’sDNxHD codecs. This overcomes the memory card and recording time limit on most DSLR cameras, as well as allowing a faster workflow for events and long-form programme making. There is also an HDMI-out with loop through, so the Blade can be connected to an external monitor, or an electronic viewfinder.
The Ninja Blade uses the same firmware as the Samurai Blade, with on the fly screen calibration, as well as camera assistance features such as peaking, zebras and false colour. These work, even if the host camera lacks them as built-in features.
The Blade also has a headphone socket, allowing audio monitoring even where the camera has no headphone jack of its own, as long as the camera can output audio over HDMI.
But the main improvement over the Ninja 2, which will stay on sale as a lower-cost option, is the screen. At the recent BVE show in London, Atomos displayed both the Blade models and the Ninja 2. Whereas the Ninja 2 is mostly suited as a recorder, the higher-resolution screen on the Blade models makes them better suited as field monitors too. Adding HDMI, rather than SDI allows for connection to a wider range of cameras, not least because most pro video cameras now also support HDMI.
The Ninja Blade costs $995 in the US and £595/€749 in Europe.