When it comes to video, DSLRs and compact-system cameras have recently come into their own, offering decent video right out of the box. The issue comes from the fact that most cameras are limited by their built-in hardware and software, which limit recording speeds, and rely on codecs such as AVCHD to provide video in a nicely compressed form. With 4K video quickly aiming to become the standard video size, this problem has only increased. Atomos has solved this problem with their line of external recorders, the latest being the 4K Shogun recorder.
What the Shogun essentially does is attach to the camera through an HDMI or SDI port and access image data directly from the camera’s sensor. The Shogun then records this data in a high-quality 10-bit Pro-Res file to a external SATA hard drive, allowing you to take better advantage of colour depth and dynamic range. Some cameras such as the Sony A7S will only record 4K if an external system is attached. It should be noted that files sizes of uncompressed video are not for the faint of heart, with a 1TB hard drive only recording about 2.5 hours of video. Though, with the cost of a 2-TB hard drive sitting around $120, it will not be too much of a strain on your budget.
The Shogun also boasts one of the most beautiful monitors on the market, with its 7.1” 1920 x 1200 touch-screen monitor. Even when shooting outdoors in sunlight, it was not too hard to make out all the controls on the screen. It was easy to use and very responsive.
The set-up of the shogun is another attractive feature since it is, for the most part, a plug-and-record system. Atomos has once again proved that it is the benchmark for menus and user interface, keeping their main control system to 6 buttons on the touch screen. After spending only about 10 minutes going through the menu, I had a strong grasp of the controls.
The hardware and design of the product itself shows care in every detail. Coming in a weather-resistant carrying case, the Shogun includes many of the essential accessories to get your unit up and running quickly. The recorder itself feels solid and ready to take on the rigours of both on-location and studio shooting.
From its great design to its easy learning curve, the Atomos Shogun is a must-have for anyone looking to get the most out of their video. With the Shogun, it has never been easier to understand and access your camera’s best video quality. For more information on the Atomos Shogun 4K Recorder, $2280 (street), visit atomos.com or thecamerastore.com. But before you do that, check out this hands-on test video!