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Last chance to order your early 4K raw AXIOM Beta - a Linux based open source camera


Andrew Reid
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AXIOM Beta

 

Key points

  • Top spec option - Super 35mm sensor, 4K raw output, global shutter

  • Alternative options - Micro 4/3 and 16mm sensors for 2K but other benefits like 13 stop dynamic range

  • External recording via 3x HDMI

  • External control via portable device (like smartphone or remote control)

  • €1600-2300 euros for early adopters

  • Price of retail 4K S35 model rises to €5990 euros after crowd funding campaign so get yours in the next few hours to benefit from the low price

  • Linux based OS


The crowd funding campaign for the AXIOM camera ends in just hours and has been a massive success, surpassing the funding target early.

The open source cinema camera is backed by Magic Lantern, Philip Bloom and other leading lights of the DSLR community. It's the people's camera, taking control back into our own hands. What's interesting is that it also unleashes Magic Lantern's extraordinary ability for the first time outside the closed platform of a Canon DSLR. They now have hardware they can work directly with the manufacturer with, without any need to reverse engineer a DSLR.

This for me is the future of Magic Lantern. To be their own open source camera designer and manufacturer along with AXIOM.

Go to the Indigogo campaign today to get your camera!

Don't wait much longer, as early units are significantly discounted. After the end of the funding campaign, retail prices will be offered instead.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Wow that price. That's dslr territory. Only reason I wouldn't go for such a good deal is that cmv sensor. The lowlight performance is nor for me, but I agree it's very futuristic, imagine the possibilities with newer off-the-shelf sensors coming out all the time. 

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Poor blackmagic.

 

How so?

1.) The retail price on these things is well above what BM is charging for their current cameras.

2.) Then there is that whole development process thing.  I'd be surprised if we see a retail unit on the market in 2015.

3.) For the Super 35, DR is listed as 10 (15 in HDR mode, which i assume means a loss of resolution). Let's see how that works in practice. 

 

Don't get me wrong. I hope the Axiom is awesome. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

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How so?

1.) The retail price on these things is well above what BM is charging for their current cameras.

2.) Then there is that whole development process thing.  I'd be surprised if we see a retail unit on the market in 2015.

3.) For the Super 35, DR is listed as 10 (15 in HDR mode, which i assume means a loss of resolution). Let's see how that works in practice. 

 

Don't get me wrong. I hope the Axiom is awesome. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

 

Dear BM community manager (because you seem to pop up whenever BM is mentioned on this forum), sooner or later open source is going to put BM out of business. (the under 5000$ camera business)

You can see how that DR works in practice with the BM 4K production camera, then there are the other chips you can order. Seems the same as BM offerings, doesn't it? Just open source, so you don't have to pray for someone to fix it, you can do it yourself.

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There cannot be TOO MANY CAMERAS for me! :) :)  However...

 

o. The cost puts it out of the reach of most amateurs

o. It's trying to do too much, too fast and reeks of "vanity project" for all.

o. Commercial users will require commercial support and ML has a poor record of delivering that kind of reliability.

o. If a 3rd party offers commercial support can they survive on just one platform, against other better capitalized providers?

o. There are very, very few people who can/want to developer software--PERIOD.  I cannot stress this enough.  So what's the benefit to them?  In fact, it's a negative because no one wants to feel responsible for something they're uncomfortable with.  In short, VERY, VERY FEW PROFESSIONALS would use anything but a rock-solid, time-tested platform on a real shoot.

 

o. What happens if a serious flaw prevents the first batch of cameras from working?  Who will pay? 

o. Didn't Ricoh try interchangeable sensors?  Some ideas are good in theory but NEVER work in practice

o. Why can these guys do what BM can't?  Because they'll work for free?  Because they're smarter?  Because BM is dysfunctional?   There needs to be a GOOD reason for it to be sustainable.

o. I don't hate the camera makers (even after Panasonic wouldn't fix my GM1  :( ).  Open Source, and other social virtues can get awfully expensive and I'm not sure people will be forgiving when their $2,000 camera keeps resetting because of some shitty capacitor buried in a circuit-board.

 

My opinion, they should take the money and try to create the lowest-price open-source camera, start small, and build up.  Plan for it to take 3-5 years.

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Well, to be fair, this project has been in development for several years.. they've completed many landmarks before this beta phase started and I think the goal is admirable. I do have concerns though, but they're mainly over the profitability and their need to spend a lot of time designing the firmware for each sensor (this is largely FPGA design). Then they will have to deal with a very demanding crowd of users (understatement). I think it's going to be for a niche market, within a niche market, but they say they are committed to keeping all technologies open source, so we all can benefit from the ongoing research. 

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 but they say they are committed to keeping all technologies open source, so we all can benefit from the ongoing research. 

 

I agree with everything you say.  As for open-source, I spent a LOT of time on ML, which is also open-source, but in the end the BMPCC just WORKED.  The whole project is aimed at what filmmakers want with not enough attention to what they will USE, or what they can afford.  

 

I learned a sh_t load about photography working with ML, for that I am ETERNALLY grateful to people like A1ex.  However, I was able to start with a used 50D, and with Adnrew's guide, was up and running for under $400.  The Axiom project is priced at the semi-professional level, if not professional.  How many young filmmakers, programmers, are going to have $2,000 to pay for a body?  From my experience on this blog, not many!  

 

Finally, when I was working for ML people BEGGED for features and fixes.  But there wasn't enough A1ex, or the other about 5 real devs to do the work.  I don't see how Axiom can grow as an open source expensive platform where ML couldn't.  Guess we'll have to see!

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This sort of modular build is reminiscent of Red where I can say as a former Epic  / R1 owner, the body is the cheap part. To be functional on a pro level costs a fortune (my package was about 150k USD, the "brain" was a fraction of that) .

 

But let's start with the basics a semi-pro needs to be functional.

 

Axiom Body (2or 4 grand at retail).

4k recorder

EVF

On board Monitor

Media (whatever it uses)

AB or Vmount Battery system (four batts, charger, batt plate)

Baseplate and rods

Mattebox

Canon Adaptor (the semi pro won't be buying PL glass)

ND IR Set (Axiom has no built in ND)

SDI Module (Price?)

Hand Held Rig

 

Put in your estimates, add it all up and tell me does it cost less than Sony's proposed price of an F7s? Will it be as functional without built in ND's? Will you be using or buying more lights with its less than stellar ISO? Will you lose set up time lugging a battery system instead of small internal mount batts that'll get you till lunch until you have to change? How well will it talk with Canon EF Lenses? Is your Alphatron or Zacuto EVF driving you nuts already? Are you better off buying a used Red 1 MX with better ISO, IQ and established workflow?

 

How much do you really save?
 

Things to think about before pulling the trigger on any system.

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Only 10-stop of DR, that's not good.

 

I agree, but in all fairness, it's the same sensor that's in the AJA Cion and the BMD s35 4K cameras. Sadly, there's a paucity (and by that I mean a virtual absence) of off-the-shelf 4K sensors with decent dynamic range. A custom sensor could be designed and fabricated through a company like Alternative Vision, but it would cost two to four million dollars and likely take at least a year, and God only knows how good the results would be. Quality control and yields, yada yada. And then there's all the work that has to be done to write the code that makes the sensor usable.

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Only 10-stop of DR, that's not good.

 

This IS probably one of the areas where this camera could hit a home run.  Nikon has the best DR of any camera (stills) and it uses Sony sensors. Since Sony cameras don't have the same DR, it leads one to believe Nikon has some really good firmware/software that writes sensor data to memory (RAW).   Sigma Foveon cameras have 8 stops DR, but at 100 ISO deliver medium format quality because of the sensor design...  DR does not equate to color quality.

 

Anyway, last I was at ML they were working on ways of writing two different exposed images at the same time, then using HDR techniques, to give a higher DR image.  With the Axiom you should be able to program this.  For example, you could program it to take 72 frames, each set of 3 frame -1, 0 and -1 EV.  Then software could use them to fix blow-outs, dig out the shadows, etc.

 

Unfortunately, it looks like AXIOM is spreading itself very thin.  The camera, without easy to use development tools and libraries, will experience a bottleneck of having too few devs.  Again, if there isn't an easy path (tutorials, libraries, etc.) to learn ML, why will AXIOM be different?

 

But again, if money is no object, this is the camera that may push DR technology ahead in powerful and creative ways.

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I agree with everything you say.  As for open-source, I spent a LOT of time on ML, which is also open-source, but in the end the BMPCC just WORKED.  The whole project is aimed at what filmmakers want with not enough attention to what they will USE, or what they can afford.  

 

I learned a sh_t load about photography working with ML, for that I am ETERNALLY grateful to people like A1ex.  However, I was able to start with a used 50D, and with Adnrew's guide, was up and running for under $400.  The Axiom project is priced at the semi-professional level, if not professional.  How many young filmmakers, programmers, are going to have $2,000 to pay for a body?  From my experience on this blog, not many!  

 

Finally, when I was working for ML people BEGGED for features and fixes.  But there wasn't enough A1ex, or the other about 5 real devs to do the work.  I don't see how Axiom can grow as an open source expensive platform where ML couldn't.  Guess we'll have to see!

 

yep i agree, but there is another possibility of end user; people that want to make or modify their own camera and would love all the info   :)

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This IS probably one of the areas where this camera could hit a home run.  Nikon has the best DR of any camera (stills) and it uses Sony sensors. Since Sony cameras don't have the same DR, it leads one to believe Nikon has some really good firmware/software that writes sensor data to memory (RAW).   Sigma Foveon cameras have 8 stops DR, but at 100 ISO deliver medium format quality because of the sensor design...  DR does not equate to color quality.

 

Anyway, last I was at ML they were working on ways of writing two different exposed images at the same time, then using HDR techniques, to give a higher DR image.  With the Axiom you should be able to program this.  For example, you could program it to take 72 frames, each set of 3 frame -1, 0 and -1 EV.  Then software could use them to fix blow-outs, dig out the shadows, etc.

 

Unfortunately, it looks like AXIOM is spreading itself very thin.  The camera, without easy to use development tools and libraries, will experience a bottleneck of having too few devs.  Again, if there isn't an easy path (tutorials, libraries, etc.) to learn ML, why will AXIOM be different?

 

But again, if money is no object, this is the camera that may push DR technology ahead in powerful and creative ways.

72 frames becomes a data pig. After more thought, I feel the Axiom is a non-starter. DP's who shoot for a living need software with a support system in place as well as pro standards such as SDI, Proper EVF, etc. Semi pros / Amatuers won't foot the bill for the all the trimmings you need to make it work. At less than 200k in development funds raised , I' m more than skeptical. Sorry to piss on one's parade, but this article in general overlooks what really goes into t a functioning camera system. 

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