AJA Unveil Their First 4K Camera

by on August 1, 2014

By Matthew – August 1, 2014

NAB is an annual event at which companies show off a variety of cameras and other devices. AJA showcased their very first 4K camera at NAB 2014. Their CION camera was one that stole the show at NAB in Las Vegas.

The CION is a 4K/UHD cinema production camera from AJA. This camera shoots directly to edit-ready Apple ProRes 4444. It can record directly to the AJA Pak SDD media at about 60 fps, supported at 4K resolution, and at approximately 120 fps to AJA RAW output.

The camera has a 4K APS-C sized CMOS. That sensor includes 12 stops of dynamic range and an electronic global shutter. Its global shutter eliminates some poor qualities of the rolling shutter-based sensors.

At NAB the President of AJA Video Systems stated: “CION represents a new direction for AJA. Bringing this sophisticated camera to market underscores our passion to support filmmakers, broadcasters and content creators. We are incredibly proud of CION. We believe that the thoughtfully considered design, along with a powerful feature set, will make it extremely useful and versatile for productions worldwide.

AJA have opted for Pak media storage for the CION. That is more robust, high-speed storage that you can mount directly in-camera. It comes in 256 and 512 gigabyte storage sizes, and utilizes the AJA Pak Dock for transferring footage via Thunderbolt or USB3. According to AJA’s Bryce Button, Pak media is a better alternative than off-the-shelf drives because those drive pins weren’t designed to last for the regular inserting/removing of media that comes with video production. AJA’s Pak media has been built to last.

This camera includes a menu structure that does not have sub-menu navigation. Its selection knob gives you clear mechanical feedback when you make adjustments. The CION also has network-based control. As such, with a LAN connection you can remotely configure the camera from a browser UI.

AJA designed the CION for flexibility. They have adopted an open approach for adding accessories to the camera. Consequently, it includes industry-standard audio and video connections. It also incorporates HDMI and 3G-SDI monitor outputs for viewfinder and monitor additions, and the monitor outputs are always active even when shooting at 4K.

One thing the CION does not include is an EVF (electronic viewfinder). AJA have not packaged one with the camera, largely because there are plenty of third-party EVFs. As they designed their camera to take maximum advantage of accessories, a bundled EVF is not so essential.

AJA have scheduled the CION for a summer 2014 release date. It will retail at $8,995 in the USA. Below are a few of the CION’s specifications.

Sensor Type: CMOS, Electronic global shutter, 12 stops of dynamic range

Sensor Size: 4K APS-C sized, 22.5mm x 11.9mm

Filtration: Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and IR Cut Filter (combined)

Removable Storage: AJA Pak media

Lens Mount: Industry standard PL mount

Video Output:

4 x 3G-SDI Main Outputs
(4 x BNC connectors, 3G/1.485 Gbps)

2 x 3 G-SDI Monitor Outputs
(1x front mounted BNC connector,
1x rear mounted BNC connector, 3G/1.485 Gbps)

2 x HDMI Outputs
(1 x front mounted HDMI v1.3 Type A connector, 1 x rear mounted HDMI v1.4 Type A connector)

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