Sunday, April 22, 2012

Selections from the Floor: NAB 2012 Take 1

I did make it to NAB this year and it was a lot of fun (and a lot of walking). I'll be posting about a few things that made an impression.

First up is a cool little camera made by Ikonoskop: the a-cam dII. Think of this thing as a Super 16mm Digital Cinema Camera. It sports a 2/3" CMOS sensor rated at 250 ISO. Whoa! Wait! Stop the whining! Yes, it's got a smaller sensor and yes it's a bit slow. But not every camera you shoot with needs to be rated from 800-36,000 ISO and include a VistaVision 17K chip. OK. So why do I dig this camera? Because it's got a feel and look all it's own. The camera is machined perfectly to sit in the palm of your hand and it is so well balanced with an appropriate lens (think Ultra 16mm Prime or DigiPrime NOT Master Prime) that it almost makes a hand held shoot comfortable. The a-cam shoots RAW CinemaDNG frames up to 30fps to internal SSD's for an HD or 2K finish. It's got a Global Shutter (a very good thing). And delivers a very specific, filmic image. The camera is not super clean like a RED or a Sony. It's got guts and texture. The images I demoed were very pleasing and film-like with nicely blown highlights.

The a-cam dII is shipping right now and will run you about $10,000 USD. With a bunch of SSD's and some interchangeable lens mounts (PL, B4, Canon, Nikon) expect to pay about 15K.

The last (but not least) super-awesome-cool thing about the a-cam is that there is a Black & White version. No. For real. You don't just take the saturation to zero in post. Ikonoskop actually built a camera without a Bayer filter and the results are way sweet. There's just a bit of test footage to look at (snowmobiles) but I can't wait to see more from the a-cam dII Panchromatic. By ditching the filter this camera gets better dynamic range and sensitivity (I think I was quoted 320 ISO).

More to come...

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