Kineraw-s35-front-224x145It'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.


Sample Clips:

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