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Watch 'The Iron Psyche,' One of the First Films Shot on the Chinese KineRAW S35 Camera

11.21.12 @ 10:57AM Tags : , , , , , , ,

While it’s not available all over the world yet, the Kinefinity KineRAW S35 has made some serious noise across the filmmaking community, because it’s poised to disrupt the industry in a similar way as the (not yet shipping in volume) Blackmagic Cinema Camera. At a base price of $6,000 ($7K-$8K for a working package), the mostly non-proprietary 2K 12-bit Super 35mm uncompressed and compressed RAW camera is matched in specs (in this price range) only by the no-longer-available RED ONE MX. Specs are really only part of the equation, however, and it’s the actual image the camera produces that is arguably more important. Thanks to Matt Allard at DSLR News Shooter, we’ve got a fantastic idea of what this camera is capable of with his short film The Iron Psyche.

Here is Matt’s description of shooting the The Iron Psyche. The footage was all recorded in Cineform RAW and the slow motion shots were with the Sony FS700, not with the KineRAW:

The camera used was an engineering sample and not a production model.

It was edited in Adobe Premiere and the sound mix was done in pro tools.

It was very lightly graded, just the odd bit of contrast, saturation and black levels changed. We did this on purpose so people can see what the Kineraw image looks like. We did zero noise reduction or sharpening on any of the footage.

The camera itself does no in camera noise reduction. So what your seeing noise wise is exactly what’s coming off the sensor.

This short was filmed over two days in Cronulla, Rockdale and Lewisham, all suburbs in Sydney, Australia.
Lenses used were the Zeiss ZF2′s. 21mm f2.8, 35mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4 and 85mm f1.4. Additional lenses used were a PL modified 11-16mm f2.8 and a Samyang 24mm f1.4

I’m really liking the image coming out of this camera. I don’t think it’s perfect by any means — and I still personally think the Blackmagic Cinema Camera is the most cinematic looking camera in this price range — but there is no question you’ll be able to achieve some pleasant results. I think the skin tones are looking great so far, and of course with RAW, some of it will be up to you in post. I always harp on the importance of actually liking the image coming out of the specific camera you’re using, because in the end, that’s what matters more than straight specs. In my opinion, this camera has both going for it right now.

As far as the flaws, dynamic range looks like it may not be as high as RED’s MX sensor, and it’s certainly not as high as the BMCC. This may or may not be an issue depending on how you’re shooting and the look you’re going for. Since you’d be shooting RAW, however, you’ve definitely got a bit more wiggle room in terms of exposure, so you could underexpose a little bit to save those highlights from blowing out in certain instances. With all of the new cameras coming out, I think this is going to be one to watch, even with its various quirks.

Dan Chung, also of DSLR News Shooter, had a great in-depth video with the KineRAW, so if you missed it, you can check it out below:

As far as the footage goes, what do you guys think? Besides the lack of real slow motion capabilities (max is 720p 60), is this a camera you’ve got your eye on? Might you consider a purchase sometime in the next 6 months even with all of the other options out there? If you want to play around with some sample clips, you can find some links at the bottom of this previous post.



We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 51 COMMENTS

  • My biggest drawback i noticed was that in the basement scenes, the windows are blown out. The BMCC was tested and handled holding the details and keeping a proper exposure pretty well. This may have been an editing choice, but i would like to assume to be the first to shoot any decent footage, this would have been a test of the camera’s strength. This camers is still a big achievement in digital cinema, but still not properly impressed compared to other digital options.

    • He actually mentions in the longer post that he wanted them blown out. So he shot it that way, and its also pretty much ungraded so no attempt was made to recover them.

      • Do you think that blue skies in the background was more appropriate for the story?

          • @Ryan, Not necessarily, but I’m basing my comment on the fact that this was the first, I know of, this camera of such magnitude was being shot in real world conditions, so I would definitely try to show off it’s abilities. Grain was accounted for, which was pretty good, and no sharpening or color grading was done to show what the camera image could look like. If im going to show those particulars, why not dynamic range as well. Just a thought.

  • This camera really looks like a badly made Alexa copy… It looks really cheap and plasticy. I very much prefer the BMCC wish seems much better thought out and way better built.

    • honestly asthethics and looks are least of my concern, the main drawback of thid camera or any for trhat matter is that you technically are buying a a prototype . Black magic is cool with me up until feb and they get a pass because of communication and a brand name. If this camera breaks down then you may be shiiiit out of luck.

      so far its crazy to say but im leaning towards a 1 dc for stills and compressed 4k(longfer battery life) and c300 .

      red epic+bricks+media( even though 1dc and epic are almost same), no playback etc versus proven canons. and maybe a fs700 for highspeed.

      eithe that or 3 bmc’s if hey ever come out

    • The camera is very well made and built like a tank. It is a lot more solid than it looks. You would be very surprised if you actually saw one how good the build quality is.

  • Its definitely interesting, as you get a full S35 sensor. Was at an industry screening the other night, and a lot of people were asking around about the BMDCC. As soon as they heard about the lens crop, it was dead to them. That may change once it arrives, and starts working, but it IS an issue for non-indie industry acceptance.
    This KineRaw cam faces many problems for acceptance in the US market, (I can hear the ACs now!) but worth noting that the US is not its major market. I find that refreshing. :-)
    I thought the footage looked pretty good, and look forward to trying one out once someone in the LA area buys one. A ‘badly made’ Alexa copy that gave you RAW at full frame and would rent for about $2-300 a day sounds pretty useful to me.

    • I wasn’t talking about image quality but build quality. Now as far as image goes it looks pretty good but personally I wouldn’t buy a Playskool camera for that price…

      • thadon calico on 11.21.12 @ 1:29PM

        Of course not but u would shell out 3000 for a mark III or 1200 for a 60D with substandard imaging but equal build quality then kit it up making it 50lbs heavier than intended. Sentiments like yours r the inspiration for the “VIDIOT” DSLR video series posted a while back on this site

        with no better than vimeo and youtube aspirations, u judge a cam based on its body not image at price point!

      • Then yeah, don’t buy it. I’m assuming you’ve handled it? Just kidding.
        There’s a reason an ALEXA costs $75k, and this costs $7k, and not all of that is electronics. :-) That’s what I meant about ACs hating it.
        I will definitely try it out to see if its worth recommending to people – a personal cam doesn’t need to have the titanic build quality of a cam that rents a ton, unless you shoot in the jungle/arctic a lot. And hey, RED MXs are built like ships, and are/were a nightmare outside the studio.
        I think its important that its S35, with a lot of mount options. For a lot of people, that will overcome a lot of issues. Also means it must be possible for other manufacturers to do it at say, 8-10k.

        • >nightmare outside the studio

          Tell that to Fincher, Soderbergh and a bunch of other less known filmmakers that were shooting with this thing since the early days. They might not be aware of this.

          • Fincher had a pair of MXs made out of carbon fibre just for him. Soderburgh had ice packs on his MXs throughout Che. Go see Side by Side, or rent it. Love the MX. My point is that outer housing strength doesn’t always mean that a camera is more hardy in the wild. I’ve had whole shoots ruined by an MX going down due to heat, cold, or in one memorable case, vibration. But hey, its built to last!

        • I was simply comparing this camera to the BMCC which is much nicer. Image quality isn’t all and this camera just doesn’t look really serious. It looks like it’s poorly put together and is going to fall apart. The “chinese copy” feel is not something I value at all. The BMCC is 3000$ less and it looks like a more serious tool and way more practical since it’s more compact. I frankly do not see why this camera needs to be that big… The body looks like the bastard child of an Alexa and a Red One… not appealing at all!

          • Don’t comment on the build quality of the BMC until you put it in you hands. JESUS

          • Making comments about something you haven’t seen or touched in regards to build quality seems strange to me. This camera never had a single problem and i was using a engineering sample (this wasn’t even a beta camera). Even when a battery died during recording we never lost a single second of footage. You can have a idealistic view about things made in China, but i’m sure you don’t think your Mac computer or Iphone is badly made because it is from China. Talking about reliability, the BMCC camera still isn’t out because of production problems. Kinefinity is a company that consists of 5 guys. The fact that such a small company can manufacturer a camera like this is scary.

        • “There’s a reason an ALEXA costs $75k, and this costs $7k, and not all of that is electronics. :-)”

          Yep, and most of it is just industry elitism that likes to keep things expensive so indies and students aren’t using the same gear…

  • 12 stops is not enough…even with RAW. I would like to see a comparison of where those 12 stops sit, in relation to some other sensors.

    It’s good, but for a 2K RAW camera…at $6K, I wish it was better. Also, dumb lens mount….sigh.

    BMCC forever changed my perception of that price/performance index.

    My biggest issue is the origin of the company who makes it. China is the land of knock offs and super cheap manufacturing. Where labour is pennies and most of the worlds resources now sit. Not entirely confident about getting the camera serviced/repaired here in North America after the fact either.

    However, since the US isn’t it’s target market, I guess that isn’t a concern for them.

    Will definitely keep an eye on it. More competition is good :)

    • You’ve been spoiled by a camera that you don’t even have your hands on.

    • thadon calico on 11.21.12 @ 1:34PM

      oh the ignorance of my fellow American comrades. Your mainstream media has once again blindfolded you against critical thinking.

      where do you think your trusted imacs, MBP, ipads et all which r used in “professional” editing suits across the world r manufactured?

      the numerous gadgets u own in ur home have the made in China sticker is made in China.

      What were u saying about the ” the land of knock offs and super cheap manufacturing” ? Correcto!

      the cheap knock offs r sold to South America, Africa and rest of poor Asia and Europe who cannont afford to pay $500 for a tablet when a $60 “cheap manufactured” tablet can do the same exact thing and if quality is your biggest concern, I STRONGLY SUGGEST U PUSH YOUR IPHONES, IMAC AND IPAD OFF YOUR EDITING DESK

    • john jeffreys on 11.21.12 @ 1:39PM

      Such a gearfag. Also, Thadon is right in saying that China runs the world.

      • John, you have finally proved your usefulness to me. ‘Gearfag’ is brilliant. I know you didn’t invent it, and I may be late to that party, but I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

      • Proof is in the image. That’s all that matters. Have you watched the footage?

        At no point did I say China made BAD products. I said cheap…as in I expected their camera to be less expensive.

        This camera is twice the cost of the BMCC (who’s sensor and most of the guts are probably manufactured in China as well) and has the same output options (2K RAW) and similar feature set. So it’s a completely fair comparison of price. While the image is nice, it’s still has a bit of DV feel to it, whereas the BMCC has a much more cinematic look. I’m not the only one seeing this.

        I have no hate for the camera, as I said, competition is good. If Kinifity had north american distribution/service, it would make it a much more appealing solution, but as they don’t, I feel it would be risky to invest in their products.

        Doesn’t matter if my iphone was made in China, it’s serviced and warrantied here in Canada. I don’t have to send my gear all the way to China to get fixed, now do I? Also, China is the land of making shit for cheap…period…my apple products PROVE this, just look at Apple’s profits. Selling price has no determination of quality or cost to manufacture. I know this quite well. I used to work in manufacturing and software dev.

        Saying these facts make me a gearfag shows how ignorant you are. What relevant information do you have to contribute to the discussion about the footage released?

        Or are you just a fan boy John? Haters going to hate I guess.

        Lastly…yes, BMCC has hit a super sweet spot in price/performance. How can any of you argue that? They are having some manufacturing issues, this is no secret, but we’ve gotten more access to the camera’s output than with any camera released over the last several years. I’ve seen a LOT of footage from it and even gotten to play with RAW footage on my own computer. I have experience with this camera’s output. I know what it is and I find it superior to the KineRAW’s output.

        Thadon, you need to know that the knockoffs that come from China are not ONLY sold to poor countries, they are sold worldwide. There is no limitation to their distribution or inclusion to/from any market. The stigma of “cheap Chinese knock offs” is one that has been built on decades of experience in many diverse industries. You can get great stuff made in China and you can get horrible stuff made in China. The difference is going to be the company that sells it to you.

        Peace and love and all the rest.

        • You said 12 stops RAW is not enough, that is extremely ignorant. Do you know how many films have been shot with 12 stop RAW Fanboy?

          I canceled my BMC order when I began to see how the BMC community was shaping up, you guys make RED seem reserved and humble.

          • lol peole have no idea what they’re talking about…12 stops in RAW is not good enough??? Now cameras like Red MX are just obsolete and footage seems rubbish compared to the glorious BMCC… ohhh man… The hype is about to blow!

            It’s just silly.

          • john jeffreys on 11.21.12 @ 4:06PM

            Ha, do you know how many films have been shot with LESS than 12 stops of latitude, and not even RAW? lololol

          • these guys are great entertainment

          • I said more than just 12 stops isn’t enough.

            12 stops for a new camera is inadequate compared to every new camera being released. Even the new nikon D800 has more than that.

            If I called a new DSLR as inadequate for shipping with 6 megapixels, would you call me ignorant? Limited to a max iso of 800? These are all performance benchmarks of 10 years ago.

            I care more about DR than 4K. To me, 2K is plenty and having more DR lets me create a better final image. Again, have you looked at this footage and compared it? It’s not as good as other footage. Is it nice? yes. Is it usable? for sure. Is it as good as stuff I’ve seen from the Scarlet or BMCC or Sony? In my opinion, no.

            When watching the interview he says it’s got 12 stops DR. That surprised me as all the new crop of sensors seem to perform at least one stop better than that. So are they using old tech? That’s what it feels like to me and I voiced my opinion about it. Holy shit! What an outrage!! Total gearfag!! how ignorant!! He’s calling every movie made with less than 12 stops DR as shit!! no I didn’t.

            Again, for a NEW camera just being released, I expected better since everyone else does better. It seems like a step back and one that is hurting the image.

            Calm down and read my post again, this time without the attitude and hurt feelings, you’ll absorb what I’m talking about.

            There is no BMC community cause no one has the camera yet…so I don’t understand your logic on that one. So what camera did you buy then?

            If you go on any board for any product/industry/organization you will find zealots. I am NOT a BMCC zealot at all. Like I said, the proof is in the image and there is no camera for under a Scarlet’s price ($15K package) that I’ve seen that compares to the BMCC output. None. If the KineRAW performed better and had a nicer output, I would be ordering that camera over the BMCC right now. It does a lot of things right. (standard SSDs, connection options, open RAW format, etc) but it doesn’t produce an image that I like. I believe that’s chiefly due to the sensor. What’s wrong with me saying so?

          • You’re mistaken about the words that you wrote. You said “12 stops is not enough…even with RAW.” Thats not a smart comment this year or in 2052, period. Jeff Cronenweth seems to like 12 stops just fine, I think his experience outweighs the “experience” you have with downloaded footage from the internet. There are more variables to cameras than the marketing points of a BMC.

    • Kodak Cineon ™ 35mm film scanners have this range,

      1023-95 = 928/90 = 10.311 stops, most movies you have seen that have had a DI in the last few years have been processed using DPX files encoded to Cineon ™ LOG 90 standards, so that is the scanner range you have seen through the DI processing.

  • I’d be very worried about support and customer service with this camera. Simply becos this is the very first camera from this company. At +$6K I expect this to be bought primarily by professionals, who can’t risk downtime, and if it does happen, need excellent service. I think that’s the achilles heel of this cam/company, no matter how good it may be.

  • Not sure I get the backlash against this camera, it’s the cheapest super 35 mm camera that produces both 2 k Raw and compressed Raw (the latter is a huge plus). The images (which are the most important aspect) are fantastic and this camer will certainly have better ergonomics than the BMCC (not to knock that camera either). The battle tested MX is no longer available so this a great deal for a camera of this caliber. The camera company has been producing scientific cameras for many years so they aren’t even as green as Black Magic with this line of work. This will be a very cheap camera to rent and even own. Granted, you will need a separate unit for slow mo but still great images for a great price.

  • I swear…I wish Sony had done a spoof for BMCC fanboys…haven’t touched the thing but swear by it. Anywho, this image looks good…will try as rental for sure.

    • john jeffreys on 11.21.12 @ 3:04PM

      Dude totally. The camera barely even exists and it already has a following that is loud, cultish and incredibly defensive. Not to mention most of them don’t have much knowledge of digital cinema, they just want something that is better than their DSLR; but really, the BMCC, at best, is just a gateway drug to a red. It is better, in my opinion, to put the 3k towards nice lenses and then just rent whatever camera body suits the needs of your current project.

      • Totally agreed. Glass seems to be considered last, but is usually the most future proof. As for our fanboys, most people speak confidently after a few successful shoots with a camera. It’s pretty green to be so vocal without actual hands on time.

        • The camera is just a tool. Learning/using the camera is a technical exercise. What matters is the output. I’ve had hands on with the output from a BMCC. RAW output. it’s all it’s glory and it’s deficiencies. I know what I can get out of that camera. I’m supportive of that image, obviously. It’s a fantastic image. I’m not being green discussing the camera’s performance at all. I’ve played with the RAW footage from it quite a bit.

          Besides low resolution, highly compressed youtube or vimeo samples, I do not have (nor 99% of the people on this site) have any experience with the output of the KineRAW. The footage presented so far is weaker than footage I’ve seen from the BMCC…and the Scarlet…and in some aspects, the Sony.

          Technically, on paper, it should be superior in many ways that it clearly is not. Is that the vimeo compression? Possibly, but I don’t think so.

          Are you saying you believe that sample above presents better image quality than what the BMCC (since you all are jumping on it) delivers? Just curious.

          • I’m sorry, it is green to go all ape over a camera I haven’t actually spent time with. I have actually touched your magical box by the way. But congrats to you on your playground time with RAW. You deserve a pat on the back, or a cookie.

            To answer your question, I like the image from this cam. I also like BMCC’s image. What’s your point?

          • I’ve been told that BMCC does not have an OLPF filter, one is needed for Cinema use more so when there is camera motion and a good lens is in use, the KineRAW-S35 ™ has a 4K sensor that is downsampled to 2K RAW for recording and has a custom designed OLPF+IR/UV cut filter to get good control over aliasing and moire, something that does not look film like, if you want film like results the camera with the good OLPF filter is most likely going to be the one that shows less digital artifacts with good cinema lenses.

    • Not A BMCC fanboy, although I respect the images i’ve seen. But i’m sure the majority of the people that frequent this site haven’t touch, or ever will see, an Alexa, but the images and content it produces doesn’t disparage it’s ability. (I am in line with Joe and ordering a Red Scarlet, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t pick up a BMCC. lol) This camera seems good and if everyone thought about it, if Black Magic got Super35 sensors, this might just be the price point, if not a bit higher. You ask for a BMCC with Super35, well this should hold you over until that happens.

      • I respect the images coming off the BMCC. I even went to Black Magic’s pow wow here in NYC months back when they showcased it before “ship” dates. After talking to the rep, the cons outweighed the pros so I lost interest. It’s a rental, not a buy for me. This KineS35 looks more like the combination I’ve been looking for.

  • A very Philip Bloomesque video! In content, feel, structure, shot type, coverage, look…

    For my money, it looks more filmic than the BMC… I think it’s the grain, and the way it handles colours. Not sure. But the dynamic range, in this clip and the motorcycle clip, seems to give it an understated low contrast look that, as Joe says, might not suit every project.

    By the way, is it my imagination, or is the focus in the interview slightly soft on her eyes? Looks that way on this iPad anyway…

  • Looks very gradeable. The menus on the camera seem a little messy, but that might be fixed by the time it hits production.

  • call me retarded but i’m in love with their super8 sensor camera! :D i loved the look, surreal and dreamlike stuff.

  • Grant McCall on 11.21.12 @ 5:21PM

    It’s another tool to tell stories, which is great, but all this Camera X vs Camera Y stuff is getting so boring. Lately all people do is argue over tech specs. Who cares.
    The footage looked “normal” to me, I didn’t question it or care because I was interested in the story / content.

  • As soon as I started playing that short, I totally forgot that I should be paying attention to “how the camera performs”. I just just enjoying the short for what it is. It felt good. For me there were no noticeable “cracks” in the image that would have dulled the experience of watching this production. Isn’t that what counts? I feel like this camera could be a suitable tool for alot of things.

  • Been talking to the KineRaw guys for a while – here is latest info re pricing (received this morning)
    All grammer errors sic’d:

    Hi Mark,

    Sorry to reply so late.

    The Professional package is priced in China Mainland is around 9.5K USD. The standard package is around 8.5K USD, and basic one is 6.9K USD. No Tax included. You can get the detailed configuration of the packages at our website. Down payment is 20% of full price.

    Anyway, you can pre-order and buy camera with us directly, however you need to send the cameras back to China for post-service issue if local service are not finalized after you buy camera. And you need to cover all costs including duty/custom tax/transportation. You can also let your Chinese friends to buy cameras for you. And your friends clean all other things.

    As of KineKIT-Core, including three parts
    1. upper Handgrip
    2. Base plate
    3. Bridge plate

    You can visit our website for more information, we upgraded the website with much more photos showing the KineKIT and other accessories.

  • Got word from (sm) that they will be going to NAB 2013 in Las Vegas (in April),

    Quote: [Our booth number in this coming NAB is C12813.]

    So if you have wanted some ‘hands on’ time with their cameras, this will be the first time they are showing them outside China as far as I know.

    I’ve been shooting some additional test footage with both the KineRAW-S35 ™ and the prototype KineRAW-S8p ™ and may post that on my Vimeo page when I get it edited together. They are working on a demo reel for showing at NAB 2013, so if you have any suggestions of shots you would like to see you can email them and ask them to have one of their field testers shoot something like what you would like to see maybe so that when you go to NAB 2013 you can see how it turned out. They said they will have cameras there you can look over, and maybe the KineRAW-S35-mini ™ they are still working on, its a smaller version with the same high quality 100% true RAW DNG recording and S35 sensor with sub-PL mount for using a wide range of movie and still lenses, as I understand it, you can email them for detailed specs if you are interested.

    Also the MSRP and shipping should be lower for the KineRAW-S35-mini ™. So jot down booth C12813 if your going to NAB this year and say high, they have been developing these cameras for many years, and the larger KineRAW-S35 ™ has been in field testing in China (in addition to the one I got to do calibrations in the monitoring with). They said they are very busy putting cameras together to ship out, so, so far things seem to be going well for them.


    You cannot judge the quality of the images from the KineRAW-S35 ™ based on looking at some H.264 version, the raw data holds so much detail that some skill is required to blunt it enough to get compressed versions, using Cineform ™ YUV is a much better option for PC playback.