Here’s an original video overview with commentary on the Atomos Shogun, emphasizing camera tests and comparisons, rather than a critical review. Mentioned at the beginning, you should start with Atomos’ own introductory video, if you haven’t already, for an explanation of the Shogun’s menus and features in-depth. The product is shipping now from the usual places, e.g., B&H Photo and Video, and Adorama.
These results show only slight differences, but they are precise. For apples-to-apples comparison without deviation, there’s always a compromise between getting things into perfect docile alignment, and pushing devices to their respective limits using shot diversity and severe motion. I chose the first approach here, for formal comparison, but subsequent field work will bear out the other more instinctual types of comparisons (and I’ll be looking forward to seeing your samples).
As explained in this video’s commentary, I was satisfied by the proof here comparing 10-bit 4:2:2 via ProRes HQ (Shogun) against 8-bit 4:2:0 via .MOV (GH4 internal), ironically by way of deduction: the capture looked identical between the Shogun externally versus the BMPCC internally, both recording at 10-bit 4:2:2 via ProRes HQ. The design philosophy at Atomos is right-on: they are leaving sensor design to the big industry vets, while pushing the envelope on this recorder/monitor side where it’s usually neglected in camera bodies. I look forward to mating the Shogun as often as possible with the GH4, but as I mention in the commentary, V-Log couldn’t come soon enough. For now, as you’ll see during each sample, I’m relying upon the FilmConvert plug-in to match footage between different camera color spaces, for common ground. (FYI, they are giving 10% off using exclusive code FOCUSPULLING at filmconvert.com.) And 10-bit 4:2:2 capture really shows its “colors” when you grade footage heaviliy, which I do.
I “obey” the 180-degree shutter rule always, because a camera test is useless if it doesn’t approximate field use, and good cinematographers are obligated to capture correct motion blur (for the sake of their audiences)! Thus all of these shots are locked down to a shutter speed of 1/60, as I’m shooting at 30 frames per second. My GH4’s ISO was at the minimum 200 in movie mode, though I cranked up to 600 or so after the sun went down. Rather than fiddling with the shutter speed (boo!), I compensated by opening up my aperture on bright lenses, including the lovely Leica 42.5m f/1.2, and the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8.
Thanks for watching, and for a quick look behind-the-scenes from this shoot, and for full-resolution comparison stills, here’s the photo album from Flickr: