Atomos Samurai Blade  (1 of 4)

The original Atomos Ninja was one of the first reasonably priced portable HDMI video capture devices on the market. Some would also call it a field monitor, though the original 800×480 resolution screen left a bit to be desired. With the addition of the Samurai Blade to Atomos’s lineup you finally get a beautiful looking 1280×720 resolution monitor in the same form factor.

SmallHD AC7 (1 of 1)

At first I thought the price of the Samurai Blade ($1295) was a bit much, but when I started comparing it to the latest SmallHD monitors, the price starts to look a little more reasonable. Above is the Smallhd AC7 ($600) on the left and the Smallhd AC7 OLED ($1100) on the right. After wandering back and forth between the Smallhd booth and the Atomos booth, I started to realize that the screen on the  5″ Samurai Blade actually looked as good or better than the AC7. Sure the OLED version has better black levels than the Samurai or the AC7, but on the other hand the Samurai Blade also captures video in Proress 422.

Atomos Samurai Blade  (4 of 4)

If the firmware for the Canon 5d mark III ends up coming out before the release of the Blackmagic Pocket Camera i’ll probably be picking up a HDMI capture device and give up my place in line for the BMPCC. The question then is whether or not the 5d mark III firmware upgrade will allow you to have the on screen display while an HDMI device is in use. If that’s the case I could probably get away with using a Blackmagic Hyperdeck ($325) or Atomos Ninja 2. If Canon ends up removing this option I might use the cash I would have spent on the Pocket Camera and a few lenses to get the Samurai Blade.

Atomos Samurai Blade  (3 of 4)

The downside is that I’ll have to spend another $300 on the HDMI to SDI converter in order to adapt it to the 5dmkIII. On the plus side it will probably keep me for spending that money on a bunch of new lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. I’ve gotten used to the size and setup requirements of the 5d mark III, if I can record Prores 422 on the same camera body, do I really need to deal with the 2.88X crop factor of the Pocket Cam? I’ve already made a large investment in Canon glass. If I end up getting the Pocket Cam, there are a bunch of relatively reasonably priced M4/3 lens options I’ve been looking at, but then I’d have a bunch of glass that was only good on a single camera body. I’m still trying to decide if the Blackmagic Pocket Camera is the right fit for my shooting style. It’ll be awhile before my pre-order ships so i’ll have some time to think about it.

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