KineRAW-MINI Pre-Ordering Has Begun, Get a 2K RAW Super 35mm Camera for Just Over $3,000
This one came as a bit of a surprise back in January, and now it looks like pre-orders have already begun. The KineRAW-MINI, a new camera from Kinefinity, has an identical sensor to the KineRAW-S35 (which is shipping in China). However, it forgoes some of the fancier aspects of the larger S35 -- like Cineform and dual SSD slots -- to create a compact and much more affordable version. We've now got some preliminary pricing information that should make this a very, very interesting option when it starts shipping next month (likely in China first). Check out more details below.
First, check out some new photos of the camera (thanks to Cinescopophilia for the heads-up):
Here are the specs on the camera:
- Super 35mm CMOS Sensor
- 12-bit Uncompressed CinemaDNG (Cineform is optional to a recorder they don’t make yet)
- 2048 x 1080 // 1920 x 1080 // 1280 x 720
- One 2.5″ SSD Slot
- ISO: 80-10,240 — Base of ISO 800
- Dynamic Range: 11.5 Stops (up to 13 stops in log)
- Electronic Canon or Interchangeable Kinefinity Mount
- Monitoring: 720p with 2 HDMI Outputs
- No Fan or Phantom Power Audio
- Optional Handgrip with Battery
- Power Consumption: 8-10 Watts
- No On-board Monitor or LCD
Here are a couple photos of their order form. I've translated the document (using Google, with some changes to make it clearer), and converted the prices based on the current exchange rate between the Yuan and the Dollar:
We should keep in mind that these are the Chinese prices converted, so it's not clear yet if these will be the exact prices when the camera is made available internationally. There is also an $800 deposit for the camera (which is refundable), and the first 100 buyers get a discount.
As you can see above, the price of the body starts at a little over $3,000, but that includes just the "brain," very similar to RED's EPIC and SCARLET cameras (which it shares an uncomfortable resemblance to). To really get the camera working, it's going to cost another $1-$2,000 for media, batteries, and monitoring, but even at $5,000, a RAW Super 35mm 2K camera is pretty remarkable, especially since all you can find in this price range are 8-bit 4:2:0 1080p cameras. They are also offering package deals which get you started in terms of power and SSDs -- the most expensive of which is still under $6,000. While the MINI can take off-the-shelf SSDs, you are guaranteed not to have any dropped frames with the speedy KineMAGs.
In my last post I said where I thought this camera would fit in, especially at the prices above, and I think the only obstacle going forward will be support in the US. As of right now they don't have any distributors or repair facilities here, so the camera would need to be sent back to China. With these low prices though, I think that situation could change much sooner.
There have been many complaints about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera not having a larger sensor (it's a little smaller than Micro 4/3), but they made that compromise for overall image quality. The Cinema Camera
has more dynamic range (Update: it may still have more, but Kinefinity's documentation has changed for the S35 camera to only list log dynamic range which puts it at 13 stops. We'll have to wait and see if anything changes for the MINI camera, as their original specification listed 11.5 and 13 in log), which is clear from the samples of the KineRAW that I've seen so far, and Blackmagic's sensor may actually resolve a higher resolution image thanks to the pixel-binning down to 2K on Kinefinity's 4K sensor. The one advantage the Kinefinity sensor has besides its physical size is that it can go all the way up to 10,240 ISO.
It also shares one major feature with the Cinema Camera: uncompressed CinemaDNG. While these clips should be a little bit smaller since it's 2K or 1080p as opposed to 2.5K, uncompressed RAW makes for some very large files (as we talked about in this post). It's the price you pay for a cheaper camera. They do plan on making a Cineform recorder which would give you compressed RAW with the MINI, but it's unclear if the product listed above with that name is actually the recorder or is the cost of the Cineform software itself that allows you to convert in post.
RAW cameras are now within reach for almost any filmmaker -- the MINI makes the 3rd available for under $5,000 -- but RAW has its own workflow hoops that one must jump through in order to get to a final product. CinemaDNG is an open codec, but it's not NLE-friendly, so it's a bit more complicated than just bringing your footage into your editor and cutting away. As computers get faster and CinemaDNG gets broad NLE support, this will be a non-issue -- but we're not quite there just yet.
We should get more information on international shipping for both of Kinefinity's cameras as the company is expected to be at NAB.
What do you think of the price? How do you think this compares with the Digital Bolex and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (which are all around the same price)?