Atomos Ninja 2 – Must have for D600, A99, VG900?

If you've been following some of the new camera announcements this month with the Sony A99, Nikon D600, and Canon EOS 6D, you've probably heard a few references to 'uncompressed video output via HDMI'. In the lineup, Canon was the only one who limited this feature. There's plenty of benefits when recording from the HDMI output of your camera such as capturing to a higher bitrate ProRes format (instead of compressed MTS, MP4, MOV, etc).

Capturing directly to ProRes also speeds up post processing for those who still need to batch convert. It's also the same format the new BlackMagic Camera will have as an option when you're not shooting RAW. The high bitrate in the ProRes file maintains more information needed to push around color and exposure in post and can help prevent ghosting and pixelation from fast moving subjects that the internal compressed codec can't handle. Some cameras will benefit by retaining more information in the shadows and keep from blowing out highlights.

The Atomos Ninja-2 is one of those affordable devices that should pair up nicely with the new Nikon Full Frame D600, the Sony SLT-A99, or even the new Sony VG900. The Ninja-2 brings a higher resolution screen to double as an external monitor with features like Focus Peaking, Zebras, and False color. You can also dismiss that 10-12 minute time limit, because the Ninja can record continuously - a great option for Wedding guys that need the 'set it and forget' camera angle. I'm hoping to see some significant benefits when pairing the Nikon D600 to the Atomos Ninja-2 which should both arrive any day now...

find-price-button Nikon D600 Full Frame DSLR Video Camera

find-price-button Atomos Ninja 2 HDMI Recorder - via B&H Photo Video

find-price-button Atomos Ninja 2 HDMI Recorder - via

21 thoughts on “Atomos Ninja 2 – Must have for D600, A99, VG900?

  1. I have had great luck with the D4 and the Atomos Ninja-2. You can check out my rig on my blog site.

    I find that once set up, all I have to do is press the Live View button on the back of the D4 to start and stop recording and the Ninja-2 creates a new file with each start.

    With the ease of use, Focus Peaking, and the use of standard hard drives makes it a great buy.

    Dan at Vigorotaku

  2. pops

    I agree with Justin... Being a D800 and GH2 user I wanted to put it through it's paces. Sadly... I'm returning it after an hour of testing... There are definitely some issues. The easy to use caddy didn't even work. Anyway... I hope others have a better experience. It's not for me at this time.

  3. Justin

    I purchased one of these and have already returned it. The device seemed very buggy. It wouldn't always turn on and seemed like the stars had to be in the right alignment for it to work. We started to see the outer case start to come apart after just using it a couple times.

    The big things for me is that the logging to XML is only for FCP X and will not work in Premiere yet. Also to record you have to press the button every time since there isn't any working sync yet for the majority of cameras...

    Seems to me they put it out with a lot of future promises... I'll maybe reconsider it down the road but sure wasn't impressed.

  4. Tony

    Emm, since you will soon have every is duly upon yourself to have a non-category shootout. You have ------> all those cameras listed to the right under "Categories". Test them all...from HX9, 5D(s), 60D, t4i, GH2, GH3, NEX7, FS100, Sony A99, Nikon D600, etc, etc.

  5. Emm

    Post author

    @Hardy - The Canon Cinema cameras have this function. I think at some point this year they will need to offer this. The BMCC, GH3, Sony A99, and D600 I feel are getting more praise than Canon's 6D. That's my personal opinion.

  6. Hey Emm
    Do you think Canon will eventually put out a camera with uncompressed HDMI out (or hd-sdi)?

    What about Sony Action Camera, I'd love to get uncompressed HDMI out or even better a camera that will record time lapse as video like a Varicam does.

  7. Emm

    Post author

    @Leo - The Ninja-2 has some additional monitor features like Focus Peaking, etc. Some monitors like the SmallHD offer HD resolution while the Atomos Ninja is only 800x480.

  8. I've been on the fence about how I see technology going in the next 3-4 years. I almost bought a Ninja 1 but passed...then almost bought the 2 but passed again. It seemed like a good way to expedite my workflow while increasing the quality of product without buying new cameras. Now I'm ditching Canon altogether and buying 2 GH3s. The internal high bitrate was a huge factor in that decision.

    What's your take on the future of external recorders vs. cameras with high bit rate internal recording like the BMCC and the GH3? Surely the next gen of cameras will have even higher bit rates or even more support for formats like ProRes.

  9. @Steven while playing with the BMC at NAB, it really felt like more of a studio or traditional cinema camera to me. It is great if you are shooting in controlled conditions, but the ISO range is nothing you'd want if you are shooting in unlit environments. In addition, the rolling shutter was pretty bad, so handheld is going to be a bit limited as well.

    2k video is essentially 1080, so there isn't any significant advantage there. RAW is the big advantage of the BMC, but I am pretty dang impressed with the D800/D600 + Ninja 2 + Flaat profile for Nikon. It's an impressive setup, and coloring is clean.

    The BMC is an amazing camera. In time, as it develops, it may even be MY amazing camera. For now, though, I'm simply supporting their entry into the market "in spirit". 😉

  10. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - I'm not against the BMCC. I ordered one the day it was announced for pre-order. Still waiting on it to ship. The file formats of the BMCC will be better than H.264 from the DSLRs.

  11. Steven

    @Emm - I was looking at it from a video POV. Yeah the photo capabilities are nice to boot, but that's just not something that appeals to me as a video guy. As for the Full Frame vs the BMD Camera sensor, I thought the BMD camera shot 2k video. Isn't that better than any camera shooting 1080?

  12. Michael

    I like how Mac people talk like the world revolves around Mac, You only have to batch convert footage because you edit in a system that doesnt natively support the codec..

  13. visualmed

    thanks a lot. really good work Olivia.. great demonstration and this tool very helpful for having much controller with the image

  14. Emm

    Post author

    @Steven - There's a big difference between a Full Frame camera and the BMCC. There are pros and cons, but I you'll find the BMCC is not the end of all cameras. Plus the DSLRs are awesome photography cameras with a fast burst rate, fast auto focus, and high resolution.

  15. Steven

    Spending $3000+ on that setup is meh-ish. Why not just get the BMD Camera? You'll get Davinci Resolve with it to do post color work. I'm not knocking the Nikon at all, just looking at it as saving some money by taking the Ninja out of the equation.

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