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Andrew Reid

Kinefinity KineRAW MINI review

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Aside from Blackmagic there's only one other company endeavouring to give us affordable cinema cameras at the moment and that's Kinefinity. The MINI is a smaller cut down version of their S35, shooting 2K uncompressed raw to SSD from a Super 35mm sensor. It has an option for 4K to an external record (Q1 2014) and it's a powerful piece of kit, though I have some reservations about usability.

Is the KineRAW MINI the early stages of a new Arri? A Chinese cinema camera industry?

Read the full article here

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Really AWESOME Review! Not only becuase of its thoroughness but you are 95% perfect on the formatting of the whole thing. Look for a PM from me for the other 5%. Well done is all I can say! Thank You!

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BMD and Kinefinity can't compete with Sony, Red, Arri, and Canon at the high end, but they can carve out niches for themselves at the lower end. Unfortunately, they have only a relatively small window of opportunity, as 4K will fairly soon invade the consumer market. I can envision an NEX-VGxx form-factor 4K camera from Sony within 2 years that will produce stunning images, particularly if it includes an OLPF and NDs. HVEC will be practical by then, and even if Sony hobbles it with 8-bit 4:2:0 encoding (which I hope they don't), someone may hack 10- or even 12-bit 4:2:2 out of it, or maybe even raw.

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So I bought one of these i think it ships sometime this week. Im a nikon user so the price to get the MK3 and CF cards and batts etc was getting close to the cost of this so I went ahead and ordered one. Oh and I also already had a smallHD monitor.

 

My only 2 concerns even after your review are 

 

1. 20FPS to monitor doesnt make me feel like I can count on my monitoring...do you think they will be able to optimize this and fix it via firmware or is it some limitation on hardware?

 

2. MONO? why on earth would you put mono in on a camera like this? I cant even comprehend this decision...

 

3. Do you think a speedbooster friendly mount could be on the way?

 

I hope I made the right choice, I really want the DR and the BMD cameras were very underwhelming for me. yes small and quick to use but the build and small sensor were not working for me.

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So I bought one of these i think it ships sometime this week. Im a nikon user so the price to get the MK3 and CF cards and batts etc was getting close to the cost of this so I went ahead and ordered one. Oh and I also already had a smallHD monitor.

 

My only 2 concerns even after your review are 

 

1. 20FPS to monitor doesnt make me feel like I can count on my monitoring...do you think they will be able to optimize this and fix it via firmware or is it some limitation on hardware?

 

2. MONO? why on earth would you put mono in on a camera like this? I cant even comprehend this decision...

 

3. Do you think a speedbooster friendly mount could be on the way?

 

I hope I made the right choice, I really want the DR and the BMD cameras were very underwhelming for me. yes small and quick to use but the build and small sensor were not working for me.

 

1. They are working on the monitoring performance. I think they can do it.

 

2. Mono jack - use it for sync and capture main audio on an external recorder like the excellent Roland R26. Use Plural Eyes to sync in post. Complexity of doing this is overblown, it ain't hard!

 

3. No E-mount or MFT mount yet but maybe it's possible.

 

Enjoy the camera! Get in touch with the dealer and Kinefinity themselves. They will be keen to have your input.

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BMD and Kinefinity can't compete with Sony, Red, Arri, and Canon at the high end...

 
...Yet
 

I can envision an NEX-VGxx form-factor 4K camera from Sony within 2 years that will produce stunning images, particularly if it includes an OLPF and NDs.

 

Please no NEX VGxx form factor ever again!! See what you mean though. Sensors and 4K are a Sony speciality.

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Really like the review.  But I'd like to see more than lockoffs at night to get a feel for the unit.  Looks very nice tho.  I do question whether anyone ever gets a job with any of these non-mainstream cameras.  Can anyone chime in?  Do you actually make a living running anything other than an Epic or Alexa?  I think I work a pretty broad range of productions in terms of budget, and no-one wants anything but these two cameras right now.  There's an occasional request for a C300, but that's it.

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agencies are like sheep , they just want you to use Epic or Alexa - most stuff on tv and 90% of adverts is done on those 2 cameras now with the Alexa running away with alot of work

I was trying the new Arri Amira last week at a trade show it is a stunning little camera

all the best bits of the Alexa in a smaller package and records to CF cards AMIRA records Rec 709 or Log C images using ProRes LT, 422, 422HQ or 444 codecs 14 stops of DF

http://www.arri.com/news/arri-amira-unveiled/

same sensor as the Alexa and 200 fps at 2k !!

 

 

 

ps was also looking at the new Phanton FLEX 4K camera on their stand an incredable 1000fps at 4k - yes 1000fps - the footage from it is stunning!!

 

http://www.abelcine.com/store/Phantom-Flex4K-Camera/

 

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So agencies are standardising around just two cameras? Man… I'm glad I'm not working for them :)

 

In many ways it makes life a little easier. It's much like as it was with 35-mm film (and still is, to some degree), when most productions were shot on either a Panaflex or an Arri 35BL as the "A" camera. (Is anyone still using the 35BL?)

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Thanks Andrew that all sounds great! If they keep up with the constant updates I think we have a winner.

 

My BMD experience was so bad I dont know if I'll go ad. My first pocket cam was split in half so I could see the circuits inside, I think it happened when i went to charge it it was left on and got pretty hot so the Glue split let go so id be careful guys with them. The second one had tons of green stuck pixels. The service from Michel at one of their distributors has been excellent so far so I cant wait to get it in my hands. it shipped today!

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sheep like , less of a risk as it is known to work

 

I don't quite understand that sentiment. Alexa and Epic are two cameras which have been proven in the field over and over to work and deliver the results that most high end productions need. If the budget is there for one of those cameras (or maybe the Sony F65) then why not? 

 

Sure newcomers are exciting for people like us, Kineraw, BMCC, DBolex, even the Canon ML raw, but if a few million $ are on the line (as well as your job and reputation), why would you not want to use something that you know works and works well?

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precisely the point I was making , you are not going to make an TVC for Ford using a 5D with RAW

industry standard cameras are the Alexa and Epic as they are proven and work

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precisely the point I was making , you are not going to make an TVC for Ford using a 5D with RAW

industry standard cameras are the Alexa and Epic as they are proven and work

 

I think it was the "sheep like" comment, which seemed derogatory, whereas Kays Alatrakchi was making the point that using industry-standard cameras isn't passively conformist but rather professionally prudent.

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thanks for test Andrew. do you plane to test it in crop mode in future? very interested to see how it will work with 16 mm lenses against BMPCC and Panasonic crop mode, especially aliasing and frame area size comparison.

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I got an email from Jihua yesterday and he says they have a Mini ready to send me now to re-calibrate the color balance with, I originally calibrated the color using the S35 prototype #3 and then they made some changes to the sensor and or OLPF that invalidated the color calibrations. 

 

Hopefully I will be able to re-calibrate the look groups to resolve complaints about the color balance.

 

Anyone who has purchased a S35 or Mini should send me sample frames as TIF or BMP files showing what they find unplesant in the color balance so I can see what kind of lighting was used, please tell me the workflow you used to get from DNG to TIF or BMP so I can know what part of the camera was involved as the conversion to Cineform or conversion from DNG in various workflows can give different looking results because of peculiarities unique to each program that is involved with each workflow option.

 

My email is: tempnulbox (at) yahoo (dot) com

 

My in box can only accept about 25MB so you need to send each sample image frame TIF or BMP in a separate email.  I may ask you what settings you had the camera using, such as K and Light type, output range override, monitor limits, look group, and analog gain override.

 

You should note that only the analog gain settings get burned into the recorded data, aside from that the RAW data recorded in the DNG files reflects the sensor ADC output for the most part.  Where the color problems come from is the program converting the recorded RAW data to match the monitoring LUT to get results that look like what you saw on the camera's monitor when you were shooting.  There are 3D-LUT made to go with the Cineform and be used by the Cineform codec, if you don't load those right you will not get matching results.  The DNG workflow is more complex as there is a way to use the 3D-LUT the camera generates for each shot, but only some workflows support that, otherwise the DNG header matrix values are used and those may cause off color results depending on the program that is converting the DNG files.  In my free de-Bayer program I ignore all the DNG header values and use files derived from the camera's monitoring tables, but that only works when the camera is fully calibrated something that was upset when they revised the camera, in that case my software allows for ignoring all meta-data and calibrations and re-calibrating each shot from the recorded RAW data, so any color issues don't need to be an issue if the workflow used can allow overriding everything and being manually calibrated to the recorded RAW data (in that case the camera settings don't matter much as well).

 

Hopefully after re-calibration the color issues will be less noticeable, but in order for people to be happy with the results you should contact me directly so I can send you some experimental LK5 and LT5 files to check out an comment on, maybe, so I get some feedback, having you complain to Jihua and him to relay such vague complaints back to me does not help me understand the exact signal processing path you used to get messed up looking results and since there are many possible workflows, each person's workflow will give different issues to deal with, so I need to know exactly what happened to try to reverse compensate to avoid it in future shots.

 

People should understand that the look of the camera's monitoring is OPEN, anyone can use my free programs to control the internal workings of the KineRAW cameras, they read two files called *.LK5 and EQUAL.LT5, those make internal adjustments to the camera's sensor and monitoring path and 3D-LUT generation when you set the K and ISO menus along with the analog gain override (as well as EI ISO curve in "expert" mode being active).   Those settings for gain and curve as well as matrix and saturation are all user programmable, although it takes some skill and knowledge to program the camera's internals correctly to get usable results.

 

The camera can shoot at native sensor balance, but the way the current three look groups work is to set the analog gain in the sensor's preamps to get neutral white balanced data, that has the advantage of giving a full 12 bits usable for all three colors, unlike cameras that record unbalanced data then clip one or two bits off the red and or blue to get white balance giving maybe only 10 to 11 bits of used data for the red and or blue, with the equal RGB signals in the KineRAW cameras you get 12bits all the time when the camera settings match the light on the subject.  That way of operating can result in fewer histogram gaps and smoother image tones.

 

So my points are:

 

1) The camera setup LUT are open and can be generated by anyone and installed into the camera to influence the monitoring and results.

 

2) You do not need to depend on Kinefinity.com (sm) to provide you with more camera "looks" you can make your own if you have the skills required.

 

3) You can share any LK5 or LT5 files you make with other KineRAW camera owners or users, as far as I know the S35 and Mini firmware both support the same LK5 and LT5 files so ones made with one camera will work the same in the other camera.

 

4) If they do send me a Mini I can try to make some extra look groups in addition to revised Kine709, KineCOLOR, and KineLOG so that you have more choices.  You should tell me what changes you are interested in.

 

5) Various workflows may not match the camera's monitoring and show clipped or off color results in spite of the data actually being recorded, there is no way to prevent users from messing up the conversion of DNG to RGB as that is outside the control of the camera or the camera's maker or myself.

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