By technical editor Matt Allard:
In 2014, Atomos launched the Shogun 4K/UHD and HD recorder/monitor. Today they have announced a new addition to the Ninja line-up: the Assassin. It’s essentially a Shogun, but with the SDI, RAW recording, built-in conversion, Genlock and XLR audio connections removed. It offers HDMI-only recording in 4K/HD and the same 7″ 1920×1080 screen for monitoring, playback and editing. The size remains the same and it is 10% lighter than the Shogun.
Priced at $1295 US, the Ninja Assassin costs around 35% less than the Shogun. This should make it a good lower-cost alternative for cameras like the Sony a7S, a7R II and GH4 which don’t have SDI outputs. The price includes a handy soft case, SSD caddy and AC adapter.
The Ninja Assassin has HDMI-focused audio/video connections. Instead of the XLR breakout connector there is a single minijack input. This may actually be ideal if you want to feed sound from an audio adapter like the Juicedlink Riggy Micro or a simple shotgun mic like the Rode Videomic Pro.
It also ships with a nice red Armor Bumper for increased protection. It is of course removable (and if you can’t stand the red you can always buy a different colour as its the same as the one for the Shogun).
The Ninja Assassin still retains the screen size, resolution and scopes of the premium Shogun model. It delivers 325ppi monitoring functionality and a 7” screen size. Other key functions retained from the Shogun include 3D LUTs, video time lapse and anamorphic de-squeeze. According to Atomos it is the “only true 10-bit 4:2:2 professional recording solution for Apple, AVID & Adobe workflows and all with a price & weight amongst the lowest on the market”.
If you don’t need the SDI and RAW functions then the Assassin is probably a better option than going with the more expensive Shogun. Even though cameras like the Sony a7R II and Panasonic GH4 can record 4K internally, the Assassin will allow you to bypass their proprietary codecs by recording to the industry standard Apple ProRes instead. Internal recording time limits, which are commonly 20-30 minutes on compact system cameras, can also be exceeded by using external recording. A main beneficiary of this will be the a7R II, which can overheat leading to reduced recording times when shooting internally in 4K.
Colour can also be improved as most prosumer cameras only have 4:2:0 colour as opposed to 4:2:2 with the Atomos.
Of course, the Shogun is still the flagship product for high-end production that requires SDI Raw, Balanced XLR, Phantom 48V and HDMI/SDI conversion. Owners of cameras like the Sony FS7 should stick with this.
Personally, I would have liked to see a recorder with a smaller screen, or even a 4K version of the tiny Ninja Star HD recorder with no screen at all. Maybe Atomos will bring in something like this further down the track. For now, I’m sure the Ninja Assassin will make a lot of users who haven’t already opted for the Shogun very happy.
Ninja Assassin Key Features:
• Record more accurate, higher resolution colors (4:2:2, 10-bit) direct to visually lossless editing formats (the only brand to do both ProRes and DNxHR).
• No Record time limits – Recording externally to the camera puts an end to the traditional 30-minute recording barrier and allows larger media capacity.
• Professional shot setup you can trust on a calibrated high resolution 7″ monitor with over 320 pixels per inch.
• Anamorphic de-squeeze, the perfect companion for Panasonic’s GH4 and affordable Anamorphic lenses/adaptors.
• Easy to use professional monitoring tools including Focus Peaking Assist, 1:1 & 2:1 Zoom with silky smooth image pan & scan, False Color (skin tones), Zebra and Waveform/Vector Scopes for in-depth image analysis.
• Go back in time with Pre-Roll cache recording, up to 8 seconds of HD or 2-3 seconds of 4K so you’ll never miss that shot
• Video Time-lapse with up to 10 different sequences, speed ramp and scheduled start and end times over 24 hrs.
• 3D LUTs allow you to create a specific signature look or even recreate classic film stock instantly, with 50:50 split / LUT on / LUT off view, you can compare effects and make creative decisions on the fly.
• Playback for instant review and editing on the fly with a choice of 10 tags in both record and playback mode. Our NLE support means that whether you are Mac, PC, Apple, Avid or Adobe we support you.
Please see Ninja Assassin Product Sheet for a full range of specs and features (to follow soon).
The Ninja Assassin is available in stores now for a MSRP of:
US: $ 1295 ex. TAX
EU: € 1295 ex. VAT
GBP: £ 899 ex. VAT
AUD: $ 1899 Inc. GST
Please view the full list of resellers here: http://www.atomos.com/where-to-buy/