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Ikonoskop Finds New Financial Backing: Future of the A-Cam DII Preserved?

10.18.13 @ 5:17AM Tags : , , , , , , ,

IkonoskopThis past summer, Swedish camera manufacturer Ikonoskop announced that it would be temporarily halting production of its super16 RAW digital cinema camera, the A-Cam DII. Despite the fact that filmmakers around the world praised the A-Cam DII for its simplistic functionality and stellar image quality, the company stopped production due to a “strained financial situation” that was likely caused by high manufacturing costs and stagnant sales. However, Ikonoskop announced yesterday that the company is under new ownership and that they’re in the process of renewing their ecosystem. What could this mean for fans of the A-Cam DII? Read on for the details:

For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this odd little camera can do, here are some of the best examples of the delightful images that it can produce.

First, here’s Eddy Cardellach’s reel of gorgeous Ikonoskop footage:

And here’s Jonathan Yi’s short montage, Coney Island (which features some astounding color rendition, and some seriously sensual ice cream eating – maybe NSFW?)

Clearly the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII has some major potential in terms of its digital rendition of the super16 aesthetic. However, with a price tag that hovered around $10,000 for a fully functional package (at least that was the price 4 months ago), the camera wasn’t selling enough to justify the production costs. With Blackmagic taking the world by storm with their lineup of absurdly inexpensive cinema cameras, the other companies competing on the low-end of the cinema camera market were left in the dust.

With that said, Ikonoskop confirmed on their site today that the company is indeed under new ownership, and that they are working to rejuvenate their production and support ecosystem. Here’s the message that was posted on the Ikonoskop site early today:

Currently, we are in the process of renewing and improving the Ikonoskop ecosystem to better support our fellow community of A-Cam dII owners, users, and professional filmmakers.

And here’s what one of the new owners of Ikonoskop, Joachim Vansteelant, said in a message to existing customers:


In July, Ikonoskop filed for bankruptcy. Two A-Cam dII owners, Pete Teo and I, felt that it was important to find a way to continue supporting filmmakers with the only camera that facilitates creativity through simplicity and quality. So, along with an additional investor, we bought the Ikonoskop estate.

Currently, we are in the process of restarting the Ikonoskop ecosystem. Our focus during this time is on supporting you — our community of fellow A-Cam dII users. With this in mind, the first thing we’ve brought online is camera maintenance. If you happen to have a camera or an accessory that needs repair, simply contact us and we will work out the details with you.

Although it’s excellent that Ikonoskop has made a priority of bringing support back to their existing customers, who were left in the dark when the company filed for bankruptcy this summer, it will be interesting to see where the company goes in future.

It seems like Ikonoskop is certainly working on a new business plan in order to make their product more competitive in the growing low-end digital cinema market. In order to do that however, the company is going to have to price the A-Cam DII well below where it was previously priced. This could very well mean that more of the manufacturing will have to be outsourced.

With all of that said, Ikonoskop is going to have some serious competition, no matter where they price the A-Cam DII. With Blackmagic cameras finding their way into the hands of just about everybody (with the exception of the 4k,) and with the Digital Bolex’s release looming in the not-too-distant future, it seems clear that Ikonoskop will have to take some bold steps to keep their fantastic product relevant in a super-competitive market.

Here’s one more Ikonoskop reel from Joachim Vansteelant, just in case any further justification was needed for why the A-Cam DII is (and should remain) a valuable tool in the modern age:

What do you guys think? Are you surprised that Ikonoskop is back from the grave? What would it take for Ikonoskop to compete with Blackmagic and Digital Bolex? Let us know in the comments!

Links:

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COMMENT POLICY

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  • I think Ikonoskop was plagued by the extremely long developing time.I checked the Camera in Sweden almost 3 years ago.If that time they rolling out with a proper working camera.I think they could dominate this segment of the market.
    Right now they still trying to selling the same camera.Unfortunately It’s outdated now.
    By the way I really like the simplicity of the design and the footage of this camera.But simply they were not flexible enough,and in the past not really care about the user base.
    I hope this will change,and looking forward!

  • Nah, they’re gone.

  • Nice pictures but I wouldn’t put my money to save them.
    They should have gone for a simpler form factor, industry standard SSD storage.
    There is very little to gain from a BMPCC or Digi-Bolex.

  • Love the image from this camera! It will be interesting to see their new plan of action. All the best Ikonoskop!

  • I have one and I was really please to hear this.. that you can use a wide range of relatively cheap but profession S16 and N16 glass on it covering the whole frame is brilliant. Standard front ends, follow focus and aperture gears, proper wides and very long zooms! The image is massively gradeable and has a texture and quality the closest to s16m film I’ve ever seen. It’s not for everyone sure, and maybe if you’re a production company looking to cover all jobs it’s probably not the right choice. But for artists or clients looking for a soulful image that stands out from everything else, or for those who just love the film look but want smaller cheaper easier to use version of the Alexa then look no further.

  • Ikonoskop needs to cut the price of the A-Cam DII (1200€ is ok), launch new products, update its technology and be quick

  • That’s a sweet camera, weird form-factor tho.

  • Is nobody going to comment on the icecream?… Surely too young for that!

  • Rip the guts out of the Blackmagic and give it to Ikonoskop to repackage in their quite beautiful ergonomic housing. It would be a partnership in heaven.

  • If they get the existing camera rolling out in numbers with a price tag similar to BMCC when first announced, then I think they will do very well.
    Go Ikonoscope, the scene is richer with you in it.

  • They need a 4K camera and a manufacturing partner in Asia. A $10,000 2K unit ain’t going to cut it.

  • I don’t care too much about the resolution.I’m interested more in colour depth and compression.The Camerabody and the manufacturing is really on high level.Like Alexa or RED
    I think if they go to Asia for manufacturing,they loose quality.

    • 25 years ago, Asian brands like Goldstar and Samsung were considered only capable of the entry level loss leader quality electronics. Since then, Goldstar changed its name to LG and is making a $14,000 curved screen OLED. And, while the Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian based manufacturing plants are famous for their low cost offerings, they are just as capable of making the top quality merchandise. Or Apple wouldn’t go Foxconn and Pegatron for their iPhones supplies.
      .
      @Morton, they can check out the Balts or Hungary but the pay there is still fairly high compared to Asia. On the other hand, they may save on the import taxes in Estonia and such.

  • The biggest problem with the A-cam was the price. It’s a really nice camera, but not worth $10k.

    To make things worse for them the digital Bolex offers an upgraded version of the same sensor that was in the a-cam, plus many more features for $3299. And of course there are the BMC cameras, although I think the 4k model is the only real competitor to it, even if it is S35.

    For starters ikonoskop could offer a version of the A-camwithout the SDI module. That ought to cut costs considerably and allow them to sell a cheaper ‘base’ model.

    Maybe they can outsource some of the manufacturing. Maybe not to China, but lower cost areas within the EU.

    The proprietary memory modules are a problem, although enterprise class SSD drives aren’t exactly cheap either. They also need to hold more than 15 min of footage per card.

    Personally I would like to se them survive, but I think that will only happen if they can cut the price of the camera considerably. It’s a really nice camera and the ergonomics are better than their competitors.

  • Honestly… The footage from this Cam is nearly indistinguishable from the bmcc raw
    Stuff. If they want to approach a unique side of the market (since everyone is doing raw now) – they
    Should concentrate on adding higher frame rates? None of the lower priced raw options on
    The market offer anything beyond 30p. That would immediately turn a big ass “look at me” sign on over their
    Heads. Oh and come down a little on the price.. You can buy a super 16 raw camera that fits in
    Your pocket and records to SD cards for a thousand. $10,000 is ridiculous.. That’s something Canon would do.

    • Maybe on Vimeo, but you will see the advantage of uncompressed raw dng in the DI and doing fx work (greenscreen etc)

      • $10k was too much for the a-cam, but the pocket camera is no better than a DSLR with its jello rolling shutter and compressed recording format. Take a look at the feature list of the two cameras. They aren’t even in the same ball park. The BMPC is great for film students and enthusiasts, but the ikonoskop is a professional tool

  • I’ve worked with both the A-Cam DII and the BMCC. The A cam footage is much better in terms of color information and the look all together. I saw less anomaly artifacts and the form of the camera is really perfect. It can be used by itself fully functional for documentary or used for cinema. I’m a big fan though the price point should be around $5,000 realistically. They do include a lot more then the BMCC but not enough to justify the price. I like how simple the camera is. BMCC is better suited for amateur level/fun shooting plus black magic is HORRIBLE to work with, nothing but the worst experiences with their super heavy, horribly deigned camera. The A-Cam is simple and I love that about it. Resolution at this level is trivial. I’d take AMAZING 1080 over 2.5 or 4k. If you want to shoot 4k seriously and stop mucking about, you should step up to an F55, Epic, etc.

  • For the money it still cannot surpass the GH2 which is a revolutionary camera.

  • The Ikonoskop is a unique offering.
    Believe me I have studied cameras and footage in this space :)
    The Ikonoskop has a unique look.
    When working with a CCD sensor of this quality and size there is a lot of things the camera maker does that influence the final image.
    So basically there is no way to get the exact same image unless the same electrical engineers designed your camera. And there is definitely no way to get the same image from a CMOS sensor, global or not.
    I tried very hard to find a way to purchase the IP that lead to the awesome image they have achieved, but ultimately could not afford it. I’m glad they have found a way to keep that alive. It would be a real shame if that image path disappeared from the world.

  • Stay strong Ikonoskop. There is a fine-ness to the image that I really love. I think the big kicker is if they can find a way to stay competitive price wise people will be keen! I know I would love to use it on docs if it was competitively priced. The image looks so organic and the form factor is perfect for real world situations. I’d love to shoot on one. It is such good news that we are entering a new era of having options that are really stepping up the game.

  • FWIW, the new Sony A7 cameras are made in Thailand.

  • The ikonoskop was one of the best cameras that I ever put my hands on. Love the form factor and is pretty much exactly what I thought the blackmagic should have been. However, way overpriced… If they can get these down to be competitive with blackmagic prices I will buy one immediately, but I really would rather see them develop an upgraded version of the camera.

  • Like your post. Thanks for sharing and I will be back to see what else you have to share soon.

  • Thanks for this update. Ditto re: all above comments. Would love to have one at a much lower price. Also, I would be happy with 1080p or 2.5k, but don’t need 4k. ProRes preferable for those new to the area, with an option for RAW would be fine.

  • I have this beautiful and good working cinema camera last two years and we are fully satisfied with this camera result,if new management make some change like 2.5k,more frame rate,special software for rendering fast then it will be the world best camera We shoot three feature films on this camera and get best result on big cinema screen

  • Pierre Samuel Rioux on 10.26.13 @ 1:44PM

    Bolex digital and the Blackmagic it’s camera we own.
    Digital after 6 year they have no value on the used market they are obsolete so fast
    this why over 5k to 6k it’s expensive.

    Ikonoskop at the start with the 16mm camera look for the rental house and filmmaker how like to own there camera. They adapting the film-body concept to digital after.( a goo idea )
    Ikonoskop must stay with a better quality of the body and the image and target Rental House market
    if the camera could using great Super 16mm lens and matt box from film camera and filter it’s a +
    For the price yes 10k it’s expensive….maybe they should re-evaluate the way they record but i do not know if this could change there image quality. I like the way Blackmagic did but they should also give the possibility to record on smaller recorder standard with the popular DSRL for smaller project or for a single scene need.
    The question i will asking will be : Could you increase the quality by adding a 3 ship super 16mm ( one for each color basic ) and still using the super 16mm lens and get a 4 k image definition with using near 2k lens ?

    Filmmaker go to rental house when they have budget for the project if the budget is to low we shot with every ting we could find. I considered the Blackmagic more friendly for documentaries production, Bolex digital a interesting art and Indy camera and because of this I will considered a possible merger with the Bolex digital
    team and Ikonoskop then you have a company offer 2 interesting way to capture the image.

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