Meet the Atomos Shogun: The Most Portable & Affordable External 4K Recorder Rig on the Market

by on September 25, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – September 25th, 2014

When Panasonic first unveiled the GH4 4K mirrorless DSLR camera that everybody seems to love now, they also claimed that their new shooter would soon be compatible with external HD and Ultra HD recorders thanks to its internal HDMI output or the SDI outputs of the camera’s YAGH add-on interface unit. However, they never actually released a portable and decently affordable 4K recorder of their own and alternatives were nowhere to be found at a decent price.

In between then and now, professional camera accessory maker Atomos announced and presented its Shogun 4K recorder at NAB 2014. The company promised that the recorder was to be a portable system designed for the very latest professional 4K Ultra HD cameras such as the GH4, Sony’s A7S and select other brand models.

However, since their initial promises, little or nothing was actually heard again about the Shogun, despite the fairly sizable demand for a product just like that amongst video professionals using these cameras.

Until now.

At this year’s Photokina event in Cologne, Germany, held recently, the Shogun was once again unveiled but in live action mode this time with a fully functional model being demonstrated to interested video professionals.

While unfortunately, the Shogun model on display isn’t quite as handheld as the word “portable” would lead one to hope for, it is still small in comparison to many competing rigs such as the Hyperdeck studio recorder from camera maker Blackmagic and it’s also a cheaper rig overall.

Furthermore, for that lower price and relatively compact size, it comes with a screen attached to it.

The Shogun is in essence the world’s first 12G-SDI and 4K HDMI monitor/recorder in one. Designed, as we already said, particularly for the HDMI output signal of the latest professional Ultra HD cameras such as the GH4 and A7S, the Shogun is also the first recording platform that can take full advantage of the a7S’s 120 frames per second 720p recording capacity while also being fully compatible with the camera’s other video capabilities as well as those of the GH4.

The Atomos Shogun 4K camera recorder rig is particularly aligned for cameras like the Sony a7S

The Atomos Shogun 4K camera recorder rig is particularly aligned for cameras like the Sony a7S

This impressive recorder grabs 10-bit video at a 4:2:2 ratio onto a single SSD memory or, if you prefer, RAIDed HDD drives. These are captured using ProRes, Avid DNxHD codecs or Uncompressed RAW Cinema DNG formats.

The accompanying monitor is also a pretty neat little rig, featuring a 7 inch touchscreen display in Full HD at 1920 x 1080 pixels with 400 nits of brightness and a 48, 50, and 60 Hz multi-frequency operation that allows super monitoring and playback of an assortment of input frame rates.

Additional features on the Shogun include Genlock for synching different video sources, a WiFi feature for remote controlled operation through Android or iOS devices and the ability to set up your shots in a variety of formats that include waveform along with other framing, exposure and focus tools.

According to Atomos, the Shogun, which a lot of video professionals might be interested in, will be shipping for sale in October of this year, at an expected retail price of $2,000.

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