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August 2, 2012

The Kinefinity KineRAW S35 is a Sony F3 with RAW Output for Half the Price ($6k)

It's natural for anyone to be skeptical when a new camera is announced. We were skeptical that RED could actually make a camera that did everything they said it could do (I think they have finally delivered with EPIC and SCARLET). Right now there are still quite a few people who are skeptical of the Digital Bolex and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. The same also goes for a Chinese camera that just might surprise the world and be the most affordable Super 35mm sensor camera in existence. That camera, the Kinefinity KineRAW S35, is nearing completion, and we've got quite a bit of footage and an interview explaining the entire camera in detail. For a possible $6,000 shipping price, the digital cinema camera industry might just be looking over their shoulders at China.

These are courtesy of James Miller and Dan Chung of DSLR News Shooter. First is some footage that James graded, and then an interview that explains basically everything about the camera.

Yes, the representative for the Kinefinity is not a native English speaker, but Dan repeats anything that might be hard to understand (so let's be adults about that):

These are the current specs as they stand now:

  • Super 35mm sized CMOS sensor
  • Dual raw recording, uncompressed 12bit linear cinemaDNG (800Mbps) or 10bit log90 GoPro Cineform RAW (100Mbps), uses regular 2.5 inch SSD or HDD (shoot and dump)
  • KineRAW Mags offer guaranteed cinemaDNG speeds, but aren't necessarily required
  • 4K Sensor (2K recording)
  • 2K 1-24fps, 1080p 1-30fps, 720p 1-60fps. (Not yet finalized)
  • ISO 800 - 10,000 with minimal noise
  • 12-stops of Dynamic Range
  • Interchangeable lens mount, supports PL (standard), Canon EF, Nikon F, OCT-19
  • PL mount version 280mm*135mm*155mm, approx. 4kg.
  • Price: around $6,000
  • Availability: Soon in China, possibly before the end of the year worldwide

It's easy to be skeptical when nothing exists, but now there is a fully designed body and some actual, real-world footage to go along with it. At $6,000 (assuming everything works the way it should), this would really blow open the camera industry. With a 4K sensor, the KineRAW S35 only records 2K, but it retains the advantages of the 4K sensor, and that means you should be getting an actual, fully resolved 2K lines of resolution. Noise should also benefit greatly as much of it can be averaged out when the sensor is finally brought down to 2K.

The company may also follow in the footsteps of RED and allow the camera to be upgraded to be able to shoot 4K when they are ready to make that a reality. Since the sensor is 4K, all that remains for a possible 4K camera is the back-end hardware, which is far more difficult to do with uncompressed footage (slightly easier with Cineform).

For more footage, Dan Hudgins, who has been working with the camera, has told us that Kinefinity, the company behind the camera, has posted more footage to the their website. The links to that cineform footage can be found below. Here is what he had to say:

Kinefinity ™ has posted some more Cineform ™ clips on their web site for people to download...Be sure to also download the Cineform ™ codec and the 3D-LUT that go with those clips for color correction when you play them in Quicktime ™.

The 3D-LUT are mated to the ISO and K value used when shooting so need to be installed for the clips above [below] to play with the right “one light” color correction, the look group used is intended for having the shots graded, so graded results would look better. Various monitoring LUT can be loaded into the camera and selected with the encoder knob from a quick button menu labeled “look”, and depending on which “look” is selected the camera makes a corresponding 3D-LUT in each shot folder, in this case the same “look” was used for all my test shots so far, that are linked to above for those MOV files. You will also need to drag and drop the 3D-LUTs onto the Cineform ™ LUT tool in the Cineform ™ program folder.

As for Cineform:

Cineform Firstlight/Davinci Resolve/Speedgrade/Scratch could be used for grading/rendering. May use the Cineform decoder settings-->Demosaic Type-->advanced details to make image look sharper.

While this camera isn't quite a Sony F3, it's huge advantage is the fact that it will be able to record RAW. Kinefinity is also working on a Super 16mm sized sensor camera and a Super 8mm sized sensor camera. Both of those, however, are not nearly as exciting as the large sensor camera in terms of price/performance. If you're wondering where this company came from, they have been designing cameras for space and industrial purposes for a while, but this is their first time making a camera for filmmaking. Of course, until I have a camera in my hand shooting RAW footage, I'll remain the slightest bit skeptical about the camera -- but the company's track record along with some new footage and a working body is starting to make this camera look like it could be the real deal.

Links:

Sample Clips:

[via DSLR News Shooter - Graded & DSLR News Shooter - Interview]

Your Comment

90 Comments

I wouldnt risk being an early adopter for this product. The formfactor looks cheap and rushed. The menu system looks like its from the early 80s.

BlackMagic has made incredible products for years so the Digital Cinema Camera is far less risky.

August 2, 2012

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Ben Incahutz

"If you’re wondering where this company came from, they have been designing cameras for space and industrial purposes for a while, "

I feel confident they have the know-how to make a quality product. Whether they will at that price range, however, remains to be seen when the production model comes out.

August 9, 2012

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Jacques E. Bouchard

They have been developing these Digital Cinema Camera for many years now, and have gone through several generations of camera development and have been doing field testing and shooting with people in China that have experience in the film world.

See the note in my post at the bottom about their being at BIRTV 2012 booth 2B222 to talk sales and such with people.

August 11, 2012

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The footage looks good the price even gooder.

August 2, 2012

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"Availability: Soon in China, possibly before the end of the year worldwide".

Makes me want to wait till at least the end of the year before getting a BMC.

August 2, 2012

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I agree. I had set my sights on the BMC as my next cine-style camera, but this is even more attractive. I`ll be watching for the first production models to come out to make up my mind.

August 9, 2012

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Jacques E. Bouchard

The footage will say more than anything on the spec sheet. Look at the results, in the case of the KineRAW-S35 (tm) the results from the CinemaDNG (tm) frames shot with good lenses and processed in my software developed to support the camera are stunning. I'm still working on things, but if you want to see some samples so far you can email me at: tempnulbox [at] yahoo [dot] com with "no film school reader wants TIF frames" in the subject line. I can only send one frame per email reply since they are about 13MB, so may need to send several emails.

August 11, 2012

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There are news that the BMCC will be showing new features and changes at IBC. It's heard to have a super 35 mm...I don't know if full frame...also it's heard it will have a removeble battery. So i don't know but they say that one of this features will be true at IBC, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand again new delay on shippment.

August 21, 2012

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Jesus

Does anyone know the debayered pixel count of the BMC? If it's close to 2K, I don't see the risk in this camera.

August 2, 2012

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Travis Jones

it's a 2.5K Bayer pattern, vs a 2K Bayer pattern that you're recording with this one.
You could debayer that to anything you want.
If you're asking about real world, measured resolution... no idea yet, but it should be better than on this one (which, on the other hand, will have less aliasing issues, as it does an in-camera 2x2 same-color binning)

August 3, 2012

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Right, if the pixel binning is happening at the sensor level, the camera still needs to debayer that binned image.

August 3, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I think it doesn't matter if it happens at the sensor level, or at the encoder level: 4 red photosites are binned into one, and that one value is all you'll have when you get home.

August 3, 2012

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Which doesn't mean I dislike the image even a slight bit: I can very happily live with 2K RAW Bayer in 10-bit log space: it may have less real resolution than an EX3, but DR and color depth more than make up for that.

August 3, 2012

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Am I the only one not too impressed with the DR?

August 2, 2012

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Chris H

in the clip, that is... Saying you have wide DR on paper is one thing, useable is another.

August 2, 2012

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Chris H

What is usable depends on the subject matter, the lighting ratio, and the software you use to process the data at least as much as the quality of the raw data, but the data quality is good in the KineRAW-S35 (tm) in part because of the custom designed OLPF filter and the binning reduces the noise by summing pixels before recording.

August 11, 2012

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Well it's graded so how do you know what was there or not?

August 3, 2012

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Alex

You should not judge an uncompressed camera from the results on VIMEO, its very hard to get around the compression artifact issues. I have been helping them with some sample processing for their going to the BIRTV 2011 booth 2B222 to show, but the MPEG4v2 version of my uncompressed AVI are just a mess, so we are converting the uncompressed AVI to Cineform YUV format so it will play on their MAC at the trade show.

Its best to watch DPX files playback uncompressed or use an uncompressed AVI, not some degraded VIMEO video to make any kind of assessment.

Also the people making that demo video may not have experience with converting the Cineform (tm) footage or using the zebras in the camera, when outdoors the LCD can be hard to see so you have to keep the live waveform display in sight and adjust the grading to avoid clipping some of the highlights, also if you are viewing on a LCD monitor it may just be your monitor clipping the highlights off, so that is another issue as LCD monitors do not all conform to standard gamma or clip points.

August 11, 2012

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I won't concern myself with this camera until it has been on the market, used, and reviewed for at least 4-6 months. seems nice so far though but I'll wait for the real world users to get their hands on it.

August 2, 2012

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See the note below about their going into sales mode, its been in field testing for some time already, I've been working through various firmware updates as have the testers in China, so its going to be a based on working cameras that have been in use for years during development, this is not their first model they have been sending me raw data for test processing for MANY years now as the develop the camera circuits, its the other brands of camera that are the new comers and have not had a working camera for as many years probably. Kinefinity.com (tm) has even more years experience making astro cameras so knows how to make low noise sensor boards and how to market specialty cameras.

August 11, 2012

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Some interesting stuff from the video (for anyone who can't be bothered watching it):
-- no phantom power from the XLRs!
-- HD-SDI and HDMI ports are designed for monitoring only; they output in 8-bit
-- no internal battery
-- 4kg
-- possible noisy fan that gets noisier in hot environments and quieter in cold environments
-- this is a 2K model; might or might not be upgrade plan from 2K to 4K for people who buy this model
-- 800 is base ISO
-- includes focus assist
-- lots of onscreen info for monitoring, including waveform and histogram
-- available end of August in China
-- if you're overseas, and it breaks, you have to send it back to China

August 2, 2012

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I like you :)

August 3, 2012

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Can't help but feel that people are shittin' on this camera just because it's made in China. I mean, they have a working prototype and it was used by Dan Chung and they are letting you play with the files from the camera, has anyone used the BMC camera files yet? If you ask me this looks like a far much better contender to alot of people's savings.

August 2, 2012

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For what it's worth, I'm personally more excited about this camera than the BMC and think it's a better image-making box. In a production environment, the BMC has the advantage of slightly higher dynamic range, but that might be about it. Spec sheet says 2.5K from BMC, but the 4K to 2K on the Kineraw camera seems to produce a sharper result to my eyes.

August 2, 2012

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You need to see the uncompressed results shot with good lenses from the CinemaDNG frames. The Cineform (tm) cam look good also, but there are some limitations using the Cineform (tm) codec controls, with the actual raw data you can make fine adjustments to compensate for the lens f/ stop used and such to optimize the resolution, like in my free de-Bayer program. The results of a raw camera vary depending on the software used to process the information in the raw files, so its a matter of skill and experience to get everything you can out of the data, I'm still learning how to shoot and process to capture and maximize the tonal range, and its very hard to show how beautiful the results can be unless you have a 2K CRT monitor and look at the uncompressed TIF frames 1:1 pixel. You cannot judge anything from Vimeo or other compressed images using H.264 type compression, even the KineRAW-S8p (tm) exceeds what you can get to work in a MPEG4v2 version compressed at 6000Kbps. That is why I have been sending out uncompressed BMP frames so people can see what the movie version would look like off a 35mm film print taken direct from the uncompressed DI.

August 11, 2012

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It's primarily due to the obvious track record. Some people have associated China with cheap knock-offs - the same mentality that was applied to Japan 30-40 years ago.
Truth is, while there are still a lot of knock-offs, they've upped their game significantly.
For example, I recently got a Tilta HDSLR Shoulder rig which I adapted for the Scarlet, and I am thoroughly impressed with pretty much every aspect of it. It's robust, solid, practical and infinitely more accessible than much higher priced products from Zacuto or certain other UK manufacturers.
Yet when I mention it, it's shunned and criticized as being a cheap knock-off.
But wtv, my camera looks like a pissed off Decepticon so yea :)

August 2, 2012

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Its not a knock off of anything, circuit discussion with KineRAW (tm) cameras were under development before around the time RED ONE (tm) became popular and much before the ALEXA (tm) camera, I have been talking with them about this for like 5 years now, its a long term commitment they are making and have made so far.

August 11, 2012

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Also let's not forget the differerence in the crop factor of this one and BMC. BMC will kill all establishing shots unless you are in a wide open setting.

August 8, 2012

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Amir S.

At DCP size 2048x1080 the KineRAW-S35 (tm) gives great wide angles with the Angenieux 14.5mm I converted from EYEMO with the sub-PL mount on the camera you can swap many kinds of lens adapters on and off just like changing lenses but it has the advantage that you can align the FFD of the adapter then leave it on the lens so you can use older high quality lenses you may already have if you own a Konvas or Mitchell or even an Eyemo etc. As well as Arri (tm) standard mount lenses and PL etc. Because the sub-PL mount is set back you don't have the lens in a hole problem like some other cameras might, the adapter holds the lens out past the sub-PL mounting lock ring. I have made adapters for Eyemo, Mitchell NC, B&H 2709, OCT-19 and am using a M42 adapter in the Canon DSLR mount adapter to use SLR lenses.

August 11, 2012

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People need to flip their favourite electronic equipment over and look at the "Made in China" stickers.

My Chinese batteries last longer than the factory Canon batteries, and cost 1/10th of the price. :-)

August 9, 2012

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Jacques E. Bouchard

Great time to be a filmmaker.

At 14:30 it looks like the number next to the ISO button is set to 640. That suggests that the bottom range isn't 800, which seems more likely to me. Shooting in day light with a camera that only went down to 800 would seem impractical to me.

August 2, 2012

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Colin

It probably can go lower but I the spokesperson said 800 was the base - meaning you might sacrifice some dynamic range by going lower.

August 2, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Maybe. I'm trying to think of an instance where a lower ISO has resulted in less dynamic range and can't. Most of my experience is with stills, so maybe that's why I'm not coming up with an example, but still: I think of issues as resulting from a sensor being taxed, not under-utilized.

August 2, 2012

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Colin

Most of the still camera sensors are based around 100 or 200, so you'd lose dynamic range as you raised the ISO (which is true if you take a look at charts showing dynamic range for stills cameras), whereas more of the digital cinema cameras are based around 800 (meaning the lowest noise for the greatest dynamic range).

For example, this is the reason why a camera like the C300 has a locked C-Log mode where the ISO can't change. It's telling you that at ISO 800, that's the most dynamic range you're going to get out of the sensor for the least amount of noise. Certain sensors are designed a little better and can hold more dynamic range throughout the ISO range, but the way that different ISO numbers are actually achieved means that something has to happen to the signal, and it's not always good.

August 2, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Interesting. Thanks for the info.

August 2, 2012

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Colin

Joe, it does seem like approx 800 ISO is new base rate for most of the newer large cameras: Sony F3, Canon C300, Arri Alexa, etc. Besides noise threshold, most of these cameras have the most "balanced" dynamic range at this ISO. RED cameras have a base rate of 320 ISO, but a more balanced dynamic range at ISO 800. Even at their most balanced, most digital cameras inherently have more dynamic range below middle gray (shadow detail) than above (highlight detail). In most cases, the total dynamic range of the sensor remains the same - even when the ISO is changed. What happens is the full dynamic range shifts up or down the scale. Interestingly, when ISO is increased, there is more highlight detail, but less shadow detail. This can be a pain when shooting day exteriors because more ND filters may be needed. The opposite is true if ISO is lowered. You get more shadow detail, but of course lose light sensitivity - which means you may need more lighting footcandles.

August 3, 2012

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Alexa and RED have a base ISO of 800 =)

August 2, 2012

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Michael Soomon

I would not get worked up about numbers like 640 or 800, its a raw recording camera you can shoot with the 160 monitoring table (variable head room type) and the subject can be in shadows down at what would require ISO 2560 and grade the shadows up without loosing the highlights if you have the right grading tools, its not like an H.264 camera where you get block artifacts to deal with if you grade things up too much, with the KineRAW-S35 (tm) you have a full 12bits of sensor data recorded '100%' to the SSD to use in post production so its another cup of tea.

August 11, 2012

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I wonder how much intellectual property rights they broke to build this?

August 2, 2012

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moebius22

Well in all fairness they aren't a knockoff company, they've been building cameras, just not for cinema use. They have to license Cineform, so that's a good sign that they are doing this the right way.

August 2, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Are you really that ignorant? Do you really think that EVERYTHING from China is a copy and that they cannot make actual products themselves?

August 2, 2012

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john jeffreys

I was being sarcastic. I'm sure it probably works. It's initial quality on the other hand may be dodgy.

August 2, 2012

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moebius22

What makes you think that?

August 2, 2012

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john jeffreys

China has been absorbing the best manufacturing practices around the world at a time, and I believe that there are companies responsible for creating their own products as well, the film market, we movcam, which makes excellent products, such as the beautiful and useful cage for Sony F3. Honestly, the first impression I got to see the Cage to the Redrock Micro was C300 "Chinese copy creation."

August 3, 2012

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I'm very interested in this camera

August 2, 2012

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Lots of kneejerk stuff up there. Nice shout out for Tilta - their stuff is very good.

We had a lot less out of RED when they started. I'm personally very excited about this camera, and would be willing to risk $6 on it for S35 RAW. I'm certain there are probably compromises, but that footage looked very good to me. I didn't have a problem with the DR - skies in Asia always come up that white :-)

Look forward to seeing more. Great times.

August 2, 2012

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marklondon

Why do my fellow Americans always have to display ignorance on public forums? Almost every bit of electronic appliance or computers u own are machined in China! Wealthy Americans cant be that dumb and make all that money outsourcing manufacturing to China. China has the ability to manufacture high quality produce and have been doing just that forever, so why do you think that the build quality of this camera would be substandard just because its "Made in China". No disrespect to the lesser cities but I think thats where most of the ignorant Americans reside, cities with less culturally diverse population. I mean, a camera isnt out yet and people are knocking it because its made in China! So glad I grew up in NY

August 2, 2012

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THADON

just to add to my post, the poor quality products in china and knock offs are typically an arrangement between 3rd world countries and chinese manufacturers to manufacture products for cheap so that these 3rd word countries could afford to pay $30 for a touchscreen phone that does the same texting and calling functions as the $500 iphone we buy here in the states

August 3, 2012

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THADON

Only Americans indulge in such self hatred.

Foreign companies set up shop in China to do their production. Quality control issues often take some time to be sorted out in those arrangements. The Chinese have shown a talent for backwards engineering and such, but they still have initial problems building homegrown tech, such as jet engines for example.

August 3, 2012

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moebius22

They have just launch a space mission to the ISS..MANNED. Everything was homegrown.

August 3, 2012

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quobetah

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