Samurai_306-224x170The compact field recorder market sure got crowded in a hurry. In the past month alone the Atomos Ninja, Cinemartin, and Convergent Design Gemini have all been announced. Add the NanoFlash, AJA Ki Pro, Ki Pro Mini, and Cinedeck, and no matter what your external recording needs are, I'd say someone's got you covered. The funny thing is, each recorder definitely has its own niche carved out. The latest entrant, the Atomos Samurai, is a higher-end cousin to the Ninja, adding a higher-resolution 5" display, HD-SDI inputs, and timecode/genlock to the Ninja's featureset.

The Samurai will reportedly ship this summer for a price of $1495 (compared to the Ninja's $995 price). I'm not going to go into too much detail on the Samurai, since it shares many features with the Ninja, which I just wrote about; the differences are noted in the full press release below.

Link: Atomos Samurai

Press Release

Melbourne, Australia – March 22, 2011: Atomos is excited to announce the second of its industry-transforming external Apple ProRes video recorders, the HD-SDI-equipped Samurai. Samurai packs masses of power into a rugged, portable device that records, monitors, and instantly plays back ready-to-edit, visually-lossless Apple Pro Res files: all for only $1,500 USD. Samurai, as well as Atomos’ original Ninja, will be demonstrated at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention from April 11-14, 2011, at the Atomos Booth (SL9105).

Samurai builds on all the strengths of Atomos’ groundbreaking HDMI Ninja, namely:

  • Records, monitors and has instant on-board playback of ready-to-edit, visually-lossless Apple ProRes files - all in one portable, self-contained unit
  • Bypasses the image-degrading compression needed to squeeze HD onto in-camera flash storage
  • Eliminates capture cards and the time-wasting capture process by recording to a high-quality editing codec direct from the camera
  • Uses limitless and cheap removable 2 1⁄2 inch hard disks for the lowest cost storage in an external recorder
  • Records to SSDs (Solid State Drives)
  • Very low power consumption
  • Banishes worries about battery life with “Dual Looping”, hot-swappable battery operation
  • Recycles older cameras with obsolete tape and compression technology, and updates them with a modern, high-quality file-based workflow

Samurai adds:

  • HD/SD SDI inputs and pass-through
  • A bigger, 5” touchscreen/monitor with double the Ninja’s linear resolution (800x480)
  • Real-time hardware-based 3:2 pulldown for extracting 24p from 60i PsF recordings
  • Timecode and Genlock
  • Screen Flipping
  • Multi-camera support (with multiple Samurais)
  • 3D support (with 2 genlocked Samurais)
  • 14.4 V compatibility

Hidden inside Samurai’s compact design is a hardware implementation of the Apples ProRes codec; a bit-perfect rendition of Apple’s professional compression system that’s designed to leave your final images looking as good as when they first hit your camera’s sensor.

Atomos’ unique battery-looping technology means that you never have to interrupt a Samurai recording to swap power cells. Just unplug the old battery and replace it with a fully charged one.

Samurai makes it easy to get video off your camera and onto your computer, with FireWire 800, USB 2 and 3 interfaces built in. Apple ProRes works natively with Final Cut Pro and on any computer with the Apple ProRes codec installed (including suitably configured PCs).

Samurai is simple to use as well, with a no-nonsense, intuitive, high-resolution touchscreen that doubles as a viewfinder and playback monitor.

“Samurai is a truly revolutionary new weapon for the video production professional. With visually-lossless recording to inexpensive removable media at the camera and a long battery life, you can think of it as a new “back end” to every SDI and HD-SDI camera, new and old,” said Jeromy Young, Atomos CEO . “We’re starting to see video cameras that compete with 35mm film technology at affordable prices, and yet they’re crippled by the harsh compression necessary to squeeze HD video onto miniaturised on-camera storage. Samurai releases the potential of these incredible new cameras as well as older obsolete cameras, and brings cinema-quality video production to everyone at amazing prices.

[via FreshDV]