Questions I had before getting this unit:
The Panasonic GH4 already records in 4k, so do I really need the Shogun for it’s 4:2:2 10bit ProRes files?
The Sony a7S does not have 4K, so will the Shogun be a welcome addition to that camera?
Tools (Scopes) What I love about this unit
- Vectorscope! In realtime you can correct the white balance, especially with the zoom feature!
- Love the 2:1 zoom on the image, great for getting focus in 4k.
- Love RGB parade makes white balance easy. Realtime feedback. The camera’s parades are useless because they are not in real time.
- Peaking is great!
- I loved using false color to light my green screen evenly.
Things I Don’t Like
- Shogun recorded image has more contrast than the Slog2 version from the internal recording, I think that is a Sony issue
- Sometimes it made the image worse, a7S skin softening, perhaps that is a benefit for me. Notice how it starts out fine and then adds the skin softening effect.
- Gh4 has Luminance Level issues, 16 255 appears to be working like 0-255.
Update on Skin Softening
This following is from Wolfgang Andrae:
Hi Dave, this is Wolfgang from 1meter60 Film in Germany. I “solved” the problem with the soft skin tone: It’s only happen when you don’t start the recording directly from the a7s. When the a7s is in standby mode and the person in the picture doesn’t move, the a7s picture-processor begins to soften the person/picture. (Maybe it’s for the time compressed internal recording?) But when you start the recording on the a7s the softness go away and all the details stay (in 4k mode the a7s doesn’t record internally but it shows in the display, that the Shogun records). When you start the recording only on the Shogun, the a7s doesn’t recognize that the Shogun is recording and still produce this strange softness. Maybe this is the same with your a7s/Shogun. Greetings from Germany Wolfgang
Steve K wrote in the comments:
I think the skin smoothing thing is a Sony thing — happens as well with Odyssey 7Q+. Unfortunately, as of now, I can’t get Odyssey to trigger with A7s record button.
Where or When Do You Use the Shogun?
- Is it too big for my run and gun style with the a7s? Yes, but it would work nicely for my interview shoots. Too big for my style most of time. Mostly because of the tools and the monitor and not the Prores recording. Missed Nebula 4000 Lite, the Shogun heads in the opposite direction in terms of moving the camera.
- You can see when lights are flickering and you need to play with the shutter speed, hard to see this issue on the camera display.
ProRes CPU Usage (averaged over 20 seconds)
Tests done on my computer I call The Beast with 8-cores.
- Shogun HQ 4K from GH4 4:2:2 8-bit: 28% CPU
- Shogun 422 4K from GH4 4:2:2 8-bit: 28% CPU
- Shogun LT 4K from GH4 4:2:2 10-bit: 28% CPU
- GH4 internal 4k 4:2:0 8-bit: 24%
- The GH4 4K files are almost 3 times smaller than the Shogun LT 4k files.
- Huge files take time to transfer.
- The ProRes files dropped frames sometimes, I thought they were supposed to be very edit friendly? Perhaps this is only for Mac people. Or it is that the files are so large my fast SSD just can’t handle the speed.
- Don’t drop it and crack the screen: $200 to replace. Plastic back cover don’t drop!
- Will the fan last 3 years during the warranty period?
Cost to Quality Ratio? Does $2,000 Give You a Better Image?
- Many before me have tested the camera to Atomos product. The general outcome is not much difference, followed by “unless you push the grade really hard”. Well that’s just it I don’t typically add a crap load of contrast and saturation or have a beautiful blonde women with long hair and a wind machine in a sheer dress against green screen.
- Feel like a fool wasting a lot of time already pixel peeping at no difference. I should be out shooting. But I will show some tests and you will comment how I did it wrong so we can keep this trend going.
- I could not see any difference with the GH4 using green screen 4:2:2 vs 4:2:0. I tried looking at all the different channels in Photoshop to see which one had more detail, but I couldn’t see any difference.
- It’s really hard to tell the difference between all the flavors of ProRes even when you push the image hard.
- I think spending $2,000 on lights and light modifiers would give you much better bang for the buck than this.
Misc Thoughts on the Atomos Shogun
- I got out of sync audio issue with the Sony a7s but I think there is a way to align them in the Shogun which I did not test.
- With the GH4 you can record at same time as the Shogun while in 8 bit (not 10 bit). A7s can’t do that.
- The red dots issue I was getting with my Ikan is not happening .
- 4k is nice and clean even at ISO800 on the a7s, but who wants to bet that the Sony a7s Mark II will not have 4k?
- I find when I use it I work slower because I really fine tune the focus the exposure and nail the WB! Confidence is much higher during shoot, doing important interview all those tools and the nice screen make a diff for client. However you won’t notice much diff in the codec it’s still 8 bit a7s but you can push it?
- Supplied battery goes fast?
- Long lens with wind they panel will cause movement
- Why clog? Why not slog made for the a7s?
- Aliasing on GH4 display but not on shogun.
- Easier in the sun to see than the cameras display but needs a sun shade.
Buy Now or Wait? Conclusion
- Don’t really need the Shogun with the GH4 because it already has 4k and it is really hard to tell the difference even at 400%.
- Unless you are adding just a ton of contrast and saturation to your images and you are not adding a ton of VFX you will not be able to see any difference at all.
- It is nice to record in 4K with the Sony a7S finally, but who wants to spend $2,000 on the Shogun when you know the Sony a7S is bound to have internal 4k on the next release.
- But I loved having all the advanced monitoring tools.
- I would like to use this when I record my courses so you can see the menu overlays.
- If you study Atomos price drops on Camel Camel, it will drop in price about 10-12 months later.
- Perhaps I will wait a year until the $2,000 price tag drops to $1,600, and sell my Ikan monitor.
- These are very early days with many firmware updates to come with Atomos working with Sony to solve these issues, I am sending it back.
- It is nice to know these internal codecs like XAVCS and GH4 high bit rate are getting better and it is really hard to tell them apart from the ProRes files?
Sorry this was not a comprehensive review based off the 6.01 firmware, I ran in to too many issues and will look at it again perhaps after the price drops. Watch Stefan Czeck Video he did a great job if you want more information on the Shogun.