Meet AJA Video Systems’ awesome new CION 4K Ultra HD production camera

by on December 23, 2014

Stephan Jukic – December 23, 2014

The CION camera from AJA Systems has just been released for sale and it is one impressive piece of professional videography hardware. This is a 4K/Ultra HD/2K/HD camera that delivers top of the line video footage in every single one of those four different resolutions and comes packed with a wide variety of powerful professional features. It’s not without reason that the AJA CION was one of the most anticipated professional 4K production cameras to emerge at the NAB 2014 conference this year.

The CION is highly lightweight, ergonomically designed and comes loaded with a healthy bunch of connectivity features. It can shoot video in two different 4K settings, one at the more conventional “Ultra HD” setting of 3840 x 2160 pixels and the other proper “cinema grade” full 4K setting of 4096 x 2160 pixels.

Furthermore, the CION can easily manage 2K video recording and of course also does HD shooting and also lays claim to being the only camera on the market right now that can capture 4K to 12 bit ProRes 444 files in-camera. Through the use of removable AJA Pak SSD media, 4K videos can be recorded at up to 60p (60 frames per second) and the RAW output of the camera maxes out at 120p through a 3G-SDI or a much smaller 30p through a Thunderbolt connection.

The executives at AJA claim that thier camera is the culmination of an enormous investment in R&D, technical development and lots of passionate experimentation. Originally slated for release during this last summer, additional improvements and changes to the cameras specs kept pushing release back until now.

The CION uses an APS-C-sized CMOS sensor at 22.5mm x 11.9mm that also comes with an electronic global shutter that’s been rated by AJA for 12 stops of dynamic range. It also comes with a removable PL lens mount. All of the HD and 2K imagery captured with the CION is scaled down from a full 4K sensor image instead of cropped and thus captures a full field of view that doesn’t change across any capture resolutions. Furthermore, the CION comes with an integrated optical low-pass filter and an integrated infrared cut filter.

In terms of connectivity, the AJA CION really does excel in ways that few cameras can manage. It has absolutely no proprietary connectors or mounting points anywhere on its body and industry standard connectivity settings completely prevail.

Users that want to do on-set monitoring, can simultaneously output two different 4K/UHD feeds right along up to three 2K/HD feeds for a total of 8 different 2K/HD signals if 4K itself is not being used. The CION also has a LAN port and embedded web server feature for remote control of multiple CION cameras at the same time via web browser. Files can also be offloaded from the camera through an (optional extra) AJA Pak  Dock from which they can be transferred to PC via Thunderbolt or USB 3.0.

the AJA CION 4K Ultra HD production camera

the AJA CION 4K Ultra HD production camera

To give some idea of the kind of connectivity power the CION comes with, here is a fairly complete list:

4x 3G-SDI/HD-SDI outputs for 4K, ultra HD 4K, 2K and HD

2x 3G/HD-SDI monitor outputs with overlay support

1x HDMI output for 2K/HD

1x HDMI output offering support for 4K and UltraHD or scaled 2K/HD

2x mic/line/48v XLR analog audio inputs

1x LTC input connector

2x LANC control ports

1x Reference connector

1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection

1x USB connector

1x Thunderbolt connector

1x 4-pin XLR power connector

1x Mini TRS headphone jack

1x input power connector for third-party battery plates

1x P-TAP output power connector

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