Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder

If anyone cares, the Atomos Ninja HDMI recorders are in stock. The little box will capture the uncompressed video out of the HDMI port of your professional camera and save it directly to FCP friendly format ready for editing. For some cameras, this means capturing a higher bitrate than the compressed file saved to the media card. It could be a great time saver for those who could use the format. (Canon and most other DSLRs need not apply). I was curious on it's initial release (which failed), and then finally gave up on waiting...

find-price-button Atomos Ninja - Portable HDMI Recorder

19 thoughts on “Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder

  1. Fabdex


    I've tried my Ninja with my T2i, and the HDMI out doesn't fill the whole frame: it's letterboxed+pillarboxed (black bars on the side AND the top/bottom). And that is WITH Magic Lantern, either in photo mode or video mode, without hitting the record button.

    There are no graphics over the image, so it is in fact "clean" but to end up with a usable image, one would have to zoom-in to fill the whole frame while editing and that would defeat the purpose of recording in 220 Mbits/s Prores.

    The image I get when using my GY-HM100 camcorder with the Ninja is nothing short of amazing at f1.8. The Canon doesn't even come close in terms of "clean" signal.

    So my T2i will continue recording at about 50 Mbits/s on the SD card: it serves it's purpose.

  2. JonF

    Theres absolutely no reason why this shouldn't work with a GH2. Cannon users are out of luck though.

  3. Dave

    Like Chris said, the ML menu has allowed a CLEAN live view for some time now. I own a T2i, and I can guarantee you that it does! Don't know why there is so much doubt about this, as there are groups on Vimeo who have folks that have tested this....Look it up!

  4. jarrett towe

    It will be interesting to see if the upcoming sony nex-7 will allow a clean output...

  5. @Bernd, Thanks! I guess when you do put it like that it makes a lot of sense to pay a bit extra. Although I must admit the wait has truly turned me off to go the Ninja route again, will read a bit and reviews and see if I change my mind.

    @Emm, I was not aware of that option neither nice tip! But then you get only about 3 minutes before the camera shuts off on you all of a sudden.

    But its a start.

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @Serge - You can also record from the live view (without hitting record), but still the HDMI display is not clean.

  7. Chris

    Magic Lantern has (for about 4 or 5 months now) had an option to completely clear the screen so you get a completely clean, uncompressed HDMI output. Granted it's 4:2:0 and 8-bit.

    I very much doubt this would fit into most user's DSLR workflow though. It's obviously aiming more top end.

  8. Emm

    Post author

    @chuck - Actually on the Canon cameras, you still can't get rid of everthing from the HDMI display. Those grey bars are still floating around. I believe it's also a compressed HDMI feed out (even when not recording), unlike other cameras.

  9. chuck

    I have read a lot about the Ninja online, and many people have come to the same conclusions as yourself regarding the output issues through most DSLR's. However, I think your misunderstanding the potential workflow using an external recording device like this. If you use the record button on your DSLR, the HDMI output changes to a lower bit rate, in order to allow the internal processor to focus it's output on the onboard memory card. However, if you don't hit the record button on the camera, you will continue to get a "clean" feed directly from the camera's image sensor, bypassing any onboard compression. In the canon's for example you'll get a 4:2:2 10 BIT output via the HDMI output. Compare with the onboard, H.264 heavily compressed codec, providing the opportunity for serious aliasing. You can disable all the text on the display by scrolling through the info button.

  10. Bernd

    Just for the record: The ProRes format of the Ninja is not "FCP friendly" only, but can be used by every other major NLE like Premiere, Media Composer, Edius and so on as well. The necessary decoder can be downloaded from the Apple website for free.

    @Serge: The HyperDeck Shuttle is a nice piece of equipment, but when comparing prices, don't forget that you get only about 20min. of recording time with a 180GB SSD. And you can't change its internal battery, which lasts - at least I have been told so by a colleague who owns this recorder - a little bit over one hour only. The Ninja on the other hand with its double battery system can run for an unlimited time if necessary.

  11. Emm

    Post author

    @jarrett towe - Yes it will capture the video feed coming from the HDMI, but DSLRs and MFT cameras aren't quite there yet.

  12. jarrett towe

    Does this work without having to hit the record button? If so, doesnt it render cameras with no manual controls for during video recording to essentially have that capability? I'm thinking of micro four thirds cameras with no manual control during recording specifically as an application, if the particular camera would allow you a viewscreen clear of hud. Too good to be true I suspect.

  13. Fabdex

    I just ordered one this week: should get it next week. I'll be using it with a JVC GY-HM100, boosting the bitrate to 220Mbits/s !

    I've given up on a Magic Lantern update that would provide uncompressed 1920X1080 HDMI output without graphics: people have been speculating on that for many months and there isn't any movement in that direction.

  14. Mik

    Maybe a future update of ML will make Canon's DSLR able to "hide" all these informations when recording, in order to get clean HDMI output 😛

  15. Emm

    Post author

    @Nate - Canon DSLRs and many others don't have 'clean' HDMI outputs. You'll end up recording the black bars, the red dot, or text on the display.

  16. Nate

    Why wouldn't this be helpful to Canon HDSLR users? Skipping the transcode step to ProRes seems like it would be helpful regardless of the manufacturer of the camera.

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