Cinemartin 8K Fran from €7920

Cinemartin has announced the pricing of their 8K Fran cinema camera. There will be three versions of the Fran camera available: Fran LT, Fran (STD) and Fran Plus. Prices start at €7920 (approx. $9000 USD) for the Fran LT. Now I would take this intro price with a grain of salt as this is a special price if you pre-order and leave a 10% deposit. The actual retail price will be €11995 (approx. $13600 $USD).

If you aren’t familiar with the Fran, they are 8K cameras with a global shutter with the ability to record RAW images onto removable m.2 NVME SSD drives. Cinemartin claims that the VistaVision sensor they will be using is the World’s biggest commercially available sensor you can purchase. With dimensions of 37 x 27 mm this equates to an area of 999mm. To put that size in perspective the RED Monstro VV sensor size is 40.96 x 21.6 mm which equates to 884 mm. The Arri Alexa 65 has a 54.12 x 25.58 mm sized sensor (1384mm).

In somewhat of a strange marketing spiel, Cinemartin says, “No matter if you drive a Ferrari, travel in a taxi Mercedes Benz, enjoy a motorbike, or go walking, now you can afford a true 8K workflow, in all steps, from the camera to TV.”

The introduction video is nothing short of terrible and is hardly a glowing endorsement for the camera. From the bad audio to the horrible choice of music, it is definitely not the right way to get customers interested in your product.

Three different versions

So let’s have a look at what the three different versions of Fran offer:

 

FRAN LT
  • Maximum resolution: 8K 24 MP (7920 x 3024)
  • Framerates: 8K 24p, 6K 30p, 4K 48p, 2K 96p
  • Global Shutter: Yes
  • Removable Lens Mount: No
  • EF Mount: Yes
  • PL Mount: No
  • Uncompressed RAW: No
  • Compressed RAW: Yes
  • Output frame formats: DNG, PNG
  • Post Software Output: ProRes
  • HDMI out: Yes
  • Thunderbolt 3 port: No
  • Stabilization: No
  • Programmable: No
  • Modular: No
  • Chassis: Aluminum
  • Retail price:  €11995
  • Intro price with 10% deposit:  €7920
  • Availability: 3-4 months

 

FRAN STD

  • Maximum resolution: 8K 32 MP (7920 x 4096)
  • Framerates: 8K 30p, 6K 48p, 4K 96p, 2K 120p
  • Global Shutter: Yes
  • Removable Lens Mount: Yes
  • EF Mount: Yes
  • PL Mount: 2019
  • Uncompressed RAW: Yes
  • Compressed RAW: Yes
  • Output frame formats: DIB, DNG, PNG
  • Post Software Output: ProRes, Cineform
  • HDMI out: Yes
  • Thunderbolt 3 port: Yes
  • Stabilization: Yes
  • Programmable: No
  • Modular: Yes
  • Chassis: Aluminum and Carbon Fiber
  • Retail price:  €17790
  • Intro price with 10% deposit:  €14995
  • Availability: 1-2 months

 

FRAN PLUS

  • Maximum resolution: 8K 47.7 MP (7920 x 6024)
  • Framerates: 8K 30p, 6K 48p, 4K 96p, 2K 120p
  • Global Shutter: Yes
  • Removable Lens Mount: Yes
  • EF Mount: Yes
  • PL Mount: 2019
  • Uncompressed RAW: Yes
  • Compressed RAW: Yes
  • Output frame formats: DIB, DNG, PNG
  • Post Software Output: ProRes, Cineform
  • HDMI out: Yes
  • Thunderbolt 3 port: Yes
  • Stabilization: Yes
  • Programmable: Yes
  • Modular: Yes
  • Chassis: Carbon Fiber
  • Retail price:  €25670
  • Intro price with 10% deposit:  €19995
  • Availability: 2-3 months

Introduction prices are valid until 31 December 2018. None of these prices include taxes. To order any of the cameras, through the Cinemartin website or from a shop, you must pay the reserve (10%), once your unit becomes ready to produce, you will be requested to pay the outstanding money. The camera only comes with a 1-year warranty( including parts and labor).

As you can see the biggest differences between the three models are when it comes to maximum resolution and frame rates. The Fran LT has a maximum resolution of 8K 24 MP (7920 x 3024), while the Fran STD (unfortunate name) has a maximum resolution of 8K 32 MP (7920 x 4096). If you go for the top spec Fran PLUS it has a maximum resolution of 8K 47.7 MP (7920 x 6024). Both the Fram STD and Fran PLUS can shoot in the same frame rates.

All three models share the same chassis (they just come in different materials), and the power consumption is claimed to be the same for all of the cameras. That power consumption is claimed to be a minimal power draw of 25W and a maximum power draw of 60W.

According to Cinemartin, “Fran does not heavily use compression. Any computer from this decade, with a decent GPU, works in order to process and display the 8K generated frames. All models come with debayer software, that allows sequence frames to be imported into most NLEs.”

Download some footage

If you want to download the introductory video in ProRes you can here.

Photo credit: Guillemo Castelloví

There are other clips you can download here:

8K 50 MP 4:3 – Birds (download in ProRes)
8K 24 MP 2.6:1 Ferrari Girlfriends 1(download in ProRes)
8K 24 MP 2.6:1 Ferrari Girlfriends 2(download in ProRes)
8K 24 MP 2.6:1 Night shoot 1(download in ProRes)

What else you need to know

The 50MP sensor Cinemartin were originally sprouting when they announced the camera is actually a 47.7 MP (7920 x 6024 pixels) sensor in the Fran PLUS. We were also originally told that the sensor would be 4:3 with dimensions of 37 x 24mm. It now appears that the sensor size is actually 37mm x 27mm, but is still capable of shooting in 4:3 for use with anamorphic lenses. The sensor is still a global CMOS sensor and shares very similar specifications with the CMOSIS CMV50000 sensor. Whether it is the same, who knows.

The camera still has a claimed 15.5 stops of dynamic range and will be able to shoot uncompressed (1:1) Bayer raw (up to 8K) and compressed Debayered (2:1) (up to 4K). The maximum data rates and frame rates are listed below for the top spec Fran PLUS

MAX DATA RATES

2500 MB/s using FRAN (media) M.2 1TB

2300 MB/s using FRAN (media) M.2 2TB

MAX FRAMERATES

30 fps at 8K full format (7920 x 6024)

48fps in 6K

96fps in 4K

120fps in 2K

 

Size and weight

The Fran 8K models weigh in at a claimed 4.2lb (1.9Kg) and have dimensions of 11 cm (w) x 15.8 cm (h) x 13 cm (deep).

Lens mounts

The Fran LT only has an EF mount that isn’t removable. The Fran STD and Fran PLUS have removable lens mounts that are EF as standard. A PL mount will be available in 2019.

CONNECTORS AND PORTS ON THE CAMERA

HDMI: Clean 4K60p output

Thunderbolt 3: To connect high-speed external drives

Mini Jack: Audio mic. input (mono) and output (stereo)

USB 3: To connect high-speed external drives

SD card: Load and store LUT’s and camera settings

There are no SDI outs on the camera at all, even the top tier Fran PLUS only has HDMI. This is a strange move no matter how you look at it.

DUAL ISO

Dual ISO to extend HDR. According to Cinemartin, you can use dual exposure, to take the same shot at two different ISO values to create a higher dynamic range raw file. I’m not quite sure why they are calling this Dual ISO, as this sounds more like an HDR function. Dual ISO normally implies you can run the camera at two different native ISO values.

EXPANSION MODULES

Cinemartin has designed the Fran to be expandable, at the least the Fran STD and Fran PUS that is. Each side of the camera will apparently have dock space for modules that will be developed for the camera. According to Cinemartin, they are in the process of developing an I/O module (with XLR audio in/outs and SDI out). There is no indication of when these will be available or how much they will cost.

RECORDING MEDIA

Fran will record onto removable SSD M.2 certified media. 1 TB and 2TB drives will be available. The prices for the media will be 1595 EUR for the 1TB and 2595 EUR for the 2TB.

GUI

The Fran 8K will have a small display screen on top of the camera. There will be a dedicated center button for instant REC., and two directional buttons. With a long press of the center button, you will be able to access the menu and set/configure the camera. For users who want buttons on the side, a side controller interface will be developed in 2019. The GUI doesn’t look particularly impressive and it seems like a strange option placing it on top of the camera. The display also doesn’t appear to show the user much information.

AUTOMATICALLY BACKUP

According to Cinemartin you will be able to plug a USB3 / ThunderBolt drive directly into the Fran that will automatically copy all the media you have shot. It is claimed that you will also be able to move or copy files with or without transcoding to either 2:1 debayer raw or, say after a recording session either Avid DNxHD/xHR or Prores, from Camera to your drive.

Doubts

I was originally doubtful that the Fran camera would ever ship. I still have my reservations, but in saying that I will give Cinemartin the benefit of the doubt. Making any digital camera is extremely difficult, just look at the struggles and delays both Blackmagic and AJA had. As this is a new camera, there is no way of independently verifying any of the claimed specifications Cinemartin has put out for the Fran 8K models. Until one actually ships I still remain very skeptical.

Back in July, we ran an article where Cinemartin told us that the camera would be shipping approximately 3 months after ordering (if you ordered in July). Well it’s now November (4 months later) and Cinemartin is now saying that the earliest anyone can expect a camera, in this case, the Fran STD, is in 1-2 months time.

On the surface, the camera seems competitively priced given its specifications, but they are just specifications, and this camera is still very much an unknown quantity. With the retail price of the Fran 8K PLUS being just over $29,000 USD, I just can’t see who would be buying this camera. If you are looking for a niche camera that isn’t made by one of the major manufacturers the Kinefinity MAVO LF is, in my opinion, a much better option for almost half the price of the Fran 8K PLUS.

None of the vision I have seen so far has impressed me at all. If Cinemartin really wants to be taken seriously they need to give the camera to someone to produce some material that potential customers want to see.

What do you think of this latest Fran 8K news? Are you still skeptical? Do you think the camera will ever ship? Would you buy one? Let us know in the comments section below.

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