Here's the first reel of ungraded footage from the AJA CION:

And here's all of the technological information that you might want to know about the above clip.

The UltraHD 23.98 fps normal speed shots were acquired in camera as ProRes 4444; the slow motion shots were acquired as ProRes 422 with the camera operating at 59.94fps and files saved in-camera as 23.98fps.

Every shot is presented exactly as it was photographed; no exposure adjustments, color correction or image manipulation of any form took place in post-production. The studio shots were captured using three point lighting utilizing both the supplied PL lens mount as well as a third party EF lens mount. With the exception of the umbrella shot, which utilized a single 1K light, the remaining shots were captured with available light. CION�s white balance values were specifically selected to match the needs of the scene and, in certain cases, auto white balance was also utilized. CION�s in-camera color correction modes were also employed during the shoot. In the scenarios presented, �Skin Tones� and �Normal� settings were selected throughout the filming. The version in the reel is the 1080p downconversion of the UltraHD ProRes 4444 master file.

Despite the fact that the video is heavily compressed for presentation on Vimeo, it's clear as day that AJA is really on to something in terms of color science. The skin tones in the above video are incredibly beautiful on both of the actresses, although there might be a very subtle shift towards magenta in some of the shots with the caucasian actress. It's also very difficult to tell how well the camera is performing in terms of dynamic range because none of the shots (with the exception of the shot pointed directly at the sun) were capturing anything too difficult luminance-wise. With all of that said, the footage still looks great.

In case you missed AJA's original marketing video for the CION, which contains another brief look at some footage, here it is again.

And here are the specs that we currently know about the camera.

  • 22.5mm x 11.9mm Super 35mm sensor with a global shutter
  • 12-stop Dynamic Range
  • Lens Mount: PL (positive lock), replaceable
  • Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF) and IR Cut Filter (combined)
  • Removable Storage: AJA Pak media (proprietary SSD)

    Recording modes
  • 4K (4096×2160), Ultra HD (3840×2160), 2K (2048×1080) (2K limited to 60p)
    • Progressive 23.98 to 120 fps
    • Apple ProRes 4444 or Apple ProRes 422 to 30 fps
    • Apple ProRes 422 to 60 fps
    • SDI output support for 119.88/120 fps (SDI 1-4 Raw) (2K limited to 60p)
  • 1080 HD (1920×1080) progressive 23.98 to 60
    • Apple ProRes 4444 or Apple ProRes 422 to 30 fps
    • Apple ProRes 422 to 60 fps
    • SDI output up to 60p

  • 4x 3G-SDI (main), 2x 3G-SDI (Monitor) (AJA RAW 4K at 120 fps)
  • 2x HDMI
  • Thunderbolt (limited to 4K at 30 fps)

    Audio Input
  • 2x 3-pin balanced XLR connectors with dedicated line/mic/48v phantom
  • Audio Output
  • 1x 3.5mm Headphone Jack

  • 1x Reference Input (BNC)
  • 1x LTC (BNC for Timecode)
  • 2x 2.5mm LANC connectors
  • 1x LAN RJ45 connector 1 Gbps

  • 7.4 lbs / 3.4 kg (with top handle attached)

  • AC Range: 100-240 VAC 50/60Hz
  • DC Range: 12-18Vdc, 5A maximum, 4-pin XLR or 2-pin input connectors
  • Power: 38-42W typical, 45-47W maximum
  • (Note: does not include power draw from 2-pin output connector)

Despite being one of the most exciting cameras on the horizon (and definitely the most beautiful), there are still a few things that we need to know about the CION, the most important of which is ISO performance. Currently the AJA website has no information regarding which ISOs the CION will be able to shoot, though from talking to them at NAB it may be in the 200-800 ISO range. The CION is likely sporting the same sensor as the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, so it might be sensible not to have expectations that the CION will be a stellar low light camera. With that said, the fact that the ISO information hasn't been released yet indicates that the AJA engineers are still hard at work trying to pull every last bit of sensitivity out of the sensor. If they can manage a clean 800 and maybe even a usable 1600, the CION will definitely be one of the most well-rounded cameras on the market.

In terms of availability, a representative from AJA informed me that the camera will, in fact, begin shipping soon. As for what that actually means, I have no idea. It could be two weeks or two months. However, AJA as a company has a solid track record of delivering products on time, so I don't expect the wait to be all that long. However, considering the fact that this is their first venture into camera manufacturing, there could very well be some unforeseen obstacles, as there were with the Blackmagic cameras. Either way, keep your eyes peeled, No Film Schoolers, because the arrival of the AJA CION is imminent, and it will almost certainly take the independent filmmaking community by storm.

Source: AJA