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SmallHD DP4 vs Atomos Ninja 2 in Nauticam housings

SmallHD DP4 Atomos Ninja 2 GH3

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#1 Nick Hope

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 04:02 AM

I'm thinking of either the SmallHD DP4 or the Atomos Ninja 2 in Nauticam housings for use, initially, with a Panasonic GH3 in Nauticam housing.

 

I realise that the DP4 doesn't record anything and is just a monitor, but I don't see the recording of the Ninja 2 as particularly useful to me since it can't record 1080-60p, and the GH3 can't output more than 8-bit 4:2:0.

 

But the price of the 2 solutions isn't enormously different (approx $2100 with sunshade vs $2500), so I could go for the Ninja 2 anyway and be more future-proofed for other cameras. Can anyone tell me how the 2 compare for monitoring features (judging focus & exposure) and ease of use. Also, how do they compare in size and weight. I can't find the figures online, but of course the NA-Ninja2 looks somewhat bigger.

 

(edit: Just read Kien's reply to the 1st question on this blog post, but am interested in further views)



#2 buddy

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 03:52 PM

there is also a housing for the ninja 2 from Dive and See:

 

http://diveandsee.co...ater-monitors/1

 

I have this one and be quite happy with it. Shooting with 220 MB/sec to ProRes HQ or NDxHD. In water and including the recorder it is approx. 250 g negativ. comes with sun shield (removable) and wet alarm. Handling underwater is pretty easy, start recording and stop by push button, monitoring with zebra, false color and focus peaking, dedicated on-off button, etc.


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#3 Nick Hope

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Posted 31 October 2013 - 09:31 PM

Thanks Juerg. That's certainly another option, and I like that big sunshade.
 
Would be interested on views on that versus the NA-Ninja2 housing.

Edited by Nick Hope, 31 October 2013 - 09:32 PM.


#4 Pete L

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 09:35 PM

From what I can understand Nick, the ninja converts an 8bit 420 colour space to a 10bit 422 colour space.
Not sure how it does it but i read somewhere on their website that it doesn't matter if the camera outputs 8bit 420 as the ninja will record it as 10bit 422.
I am seriously looking at this option too but not on a GH3.

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#5 Nick Hope

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:42 PM

Hi Pete, Yes, I believe it can do that as well as 8-bit 422 (tech specs here and here), but I don't see a great benefit in recording all that extra bit-depth/file-size in the field if the info is not output by the camera in the first place. Isn't that a bit of a case of turd-polishing? I suppose it might stand up better to manipulation in post, but that conversion could be done in post anyway. I've never found the need to up-convert DV or HDV in post before correcting it (in Vegas). Please someone correct me if I'm wrong on this.

 

p.s. For a camera that can output better quality than the GH3 over HDMI, I think it's a winner, but bear in mind no 1080-60p.



#6 Ryan

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:53 AM

We'll have both options on display in our booth at DEMA if you want to pop over :)

 

The DP4 is a better screen, and significantly better in my opinion.  So if you don't need the  recording function it would be my suggestion.

 

The idea of recording with 10bit depth is that you can drop in a 10bit title or animation with no degradation.  If the video is any better it is because of the lower compression...    


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#7 Nick Hope

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:56 AM

Thanks Ryan. You confirmed my gut feeling.



#8 jonny shaw

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 06:45 PM

The underwater image will not be better if the camera outputs 8bit and the recorder records at 10 bit, it just like converting DSLR clips to ProRes 422, great for preserving what you have but it won't make the picture better.
Can't you record internally on a hacked GH3 @ a high 422 bit rate anyway?

I also believe there is a housing for the small hd super bright coming from a well known housing brand

If you want a nauticam dp4 housing I might know of two complete units for sale having been used for one two week shoot

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#9 Nick Hope

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:43 PM

Can't you record internally on a hacked GH3 @ a high 422 bit rate anyway?


No. The GH3 hasn't been hacked, as far as I know, and I don't think 422 was ever an option on the hacked GH2, was it?
 

I also believe there is a housing for the small hd super bright coming from a well known housing brand


Gates I assume? Are you referring to one of the DP7 monitors? Would be amazing but probably a little overkill for a little GH3.
 

If you want a nauticam dp4 housing I might know of two complete units for sale having been used for one two week shoot


I'm not quite ready to pull the trigger. Will give you a shout when I am, in case they're still available. Thanks Jonny!



#10 Pete L

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 04:01 PM

I'm looking at adapting one for the Canon XA20 which only records 8bit 420 colour.
Recording with the extra colour space would help with any banding issues, wouldn't it?
What about white balancing?
Do you guys think the ninja would make a difference to Manual white balance, ie; if doing a manual white balance at say 20m depth & the in camera white balance looks pretty bad (thinking along the lines of my old SR12 that when pushed too deep for W/B the sand would turn to yellow blotches), then would the footage recorded by the ninja be bad too or do you think it won't make a difference?
Does that make sense?

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#11 Nick Hope

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 10:50 PM

Pete, apparently the XA20 can output 8-bit 4:2:2 over HDMI.

 

As I understand it, the 4:2:2 high-bitrate footage should exhibit less banding, which is a good advantage and better for archival. But as always if you publish back to 4:2:0 (e.g. on the web) then a similar degree of banding will likely return, and not necessarily banding in the same places.

 

As for colour, I expect the captured footage will initially not look any "better" in terms of white balance etc., but 4:2:2 should give you more latitude to correct it in post.

 

I have never worked in anything but 4:2:0, so all the above is based on what I've read, not what I've done. Therefore it might all be wrong!



#12 jonny shaw

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 01:21 PM

422 will always handle the blues better and reduce banding but it will still happen with an 8 bit codec, I have seen some underwater footage from a 1dc and that did have banding issues. Working with 422 will give you a bit more in post but you still need to get everything right when shooting, what will make a bigger difference Pete is how sensitive the sensor is. When you start to get down to 20m in average vis <20m nearly all video cameras struggle.
Saying all this though, the reality is your delivery will be web, DVD, maybe Bly Ray and maybe TV correct. After all those compressions banding is going to pop up even if it was shot 16 bit raw etc

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#13 Pete L

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Posted 06 November 2013 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.

Nick, I did read that the XA20 does output 8bit 422 over HDMI which is great.

I would only be recording 25fps so the 50/60p is no concern to me anyway.

 

Jon, yep I was thinking the extra colour space & higher bitrate would be beneficial if I can sell some of my footage to TV or use for Blu Ray etc where someone may specifically want 422 colour etc, it could give me an advantage there.

I understand the footage will look the same as the in camera footage but having the extra colour space/bitrate could help me sell footage?

 

I will be using a Ninja for some topside work in the future with the XA20 so it makes sense to me to house it & have that extra colour space available anyway.

I gotta say, I LOVE how small & light the XA20 is & for this type of camera it has a very nice image.

 

Nick, it sounds like you may be better with the DP4 if you don't want the recording option of the Ninja?

What I have found is just how useful Focus Peaking is!

I don't have that on my HVX200 & I have become addicted to Focus Peaking now:)

I really can't wait to get the XA20 underwater & see just how it goes.

The GH3 with a DP4 would be a nice compact macro rig that is for sure.

Keep us updated on your progress.


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#14 SPP

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 12:12 AM

Hi Guys,

 

See attachment, hope it shed some light.

Photo of this type cannot be very good, but at least something to see.

 

I have not mess with the Ninja 2 color setting or contrast or whatevere.......at all.

Video source is from GoPro HD3+ Black. Light is long tube rather cool fluorescent lamp

 

The DP4 screen has always been warmer but it is a bit too warm actually in this test.

One thing for sure, DP4 seems to be a better screen in terms of resolution, at least for me.

 

I have DP4 Nauticam and one of the reason I got the Atomos N2 was because I am not happy with focus peaking of DP4 which is only white shade.

White shade for focus peaking is not so useful UW. Prefer red and yellow. My lousy eyes love focus peaking too... :pardon:

 

I am learning more what Ninja 2 can do, and if I like it I may get the Nauticam housing for it.

 

Happy shopping.

 

 

 

Attached Images

  • Atomos Ninja 2 & Small HD DP4 - DP4 as main input.JPG
  • Atomos Ninja 2 & Small HD DP4 - Atomos as main input.JPG


#15 Nick Hope

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Posted 10 November 2013 - 01:01 AM

I have DP4 Nauticam and one of the reason I got the Atomos N2 was because I am not happy with focus peaking of DP4 which is only white shade.

White shade for focus peaking is not so useful UW. Prefer red and yellow. My lousy eyes love focus peaking too... :pardon:

 

Thanks for raising that issue. I much prefer red focus peaking too. That's always how I set in-camera peaking, if available.



#16 thetrickster

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Posted 13 December 2013 - 04:38 AM

I've just got the Ninja2 (to go with a GH3)

 

Thanks for Nick for asking the same questions and thanks to Moray Eel for the additional info / shots

 

Rich


Regards, Richard

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Gear:  GH4, 12-35mm, 7-14mm, 8mm FishEye, 60mm, Atomos Ninja2, NA-GH3, NA-NINJA2, Zen 170mm Dome, Keldan Luna 8 CRI's

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