Monitor News

Atomos’ Latest Monitor-Recorders: the Ninja & Ninja Ultra

Atomos recently released their successors to the popular Ninja V and Ninja V+ monitor/recorders, named the Ninja and Ninja Ultra. These units offer improvements over their predecessors, but maintain their key functionality and basic operation. Thankfully, Atomos has chosen to maintain the same form factor as well, allowing for previously purchased accessories to be used on the newer versions.

A photo showing a man using the Atomos Ninja Ultra monitor-recorder out in the desert.

What’s New?

The new Atomos 5″ Ninja and Ninja Ultra offer many of the same features as their predecessors, including 1,000 nit brightness, and identical input/output port capabilities, but come with a completely updated operating system, HDR monitoring, and new RAW recording capabilities. The Atomos Ultra supports DCI 4K HDMI footage and ProRes RAW 8K recording (with compatible cameras), while the new Ninja can record DCI or UHD 4K at rates of up to 60 fps in ProRes or DNxHR codecs, with 10-bit 4:2:2 compression. One notable feature added to these recorders is the capability to record footage in the H.265 codec, which was previously only available as a paid option.

The aforementioned new operating system, AtomOS 11, is being introduced with the release of the Ninja and Ninja Ultra, and arguably offers the most significant improvements to these updated monitor/recorders. In general, this new OS “feels more professional” by overhauling the existing tools, making them faster, easier to use, and more intuitive.

Colorized Exposure is one of the most exciting new updates that AtomOS 11 offers, which provides industry-recognized EL Zone and ARRI colorized exposure display as an alternative to Atomos false color. Users can also display colorized exposure with multiple monitors in a production pipeline, to help camera operators assess exposure of both HDR and SDR productions. Also new to the Ninja and Ninja Ultra, is the ability to create scheduled playback and recording… so in an instance when capturing pre-arranged events is necessary, you can record simultaneously in multiple locations, while not even needing to be present to press record. Although this is an interesting new feature, it is something that I believe would only be utilized in very specific scenarios.

Remote View

With the new Ninja and Ninja Ultra, users can have the option to also purchase the Atomos Connect expansion module, which enables Atomos RemoteView. In today’s world, especially after the Covid 19 pandemic, remote production options have become more and more important. With Atomos RemoteView, which is brand-new with AtomOS 11, users can now share live views from their Atomos monitor with not just other Atomos monitors, but also iPads, Macs and Apple TVs, wirelessly. This is quite an impressive feature, which allows clients, directors, or anyone else in the production, to monitor exactly what’s happening on-set from anywhere in the world.

An image showing the front and back sides of the Atomos Ninja Ultra monitor-recorder.
Ninja Ultra – Front & Back

Key Features

  • 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen Display
  • 10-Bit Exterior Viewable Monitor
  • 4K HDMI 2.0 Input/Output
  • 8K30 ProRes RAW with Select Cameras
  • AtomOS 11 Operating System
  • 1000 cd/m² Brightness
  • Supports Multiple Log Formats
  • ProRes and DNxHR/HD Recording
  • Record to Master Caddy II/III Hard Drive
  • L-Series Battery Slot, USB-C Port

Conclusion

While on paper the new Atomos Ninja and Ninja Ultra monitor/recorders offer new functionality, a number of new features, and a completely overhauled OS, I’m not quite sold that those who already own an earlier version of the Ninja should fork out the $599 USD or $799 USD, respectively, for the newest models. However, for anyone looking to purchase a new compact monitor/recorder, or those in need of high resolution ProRes RAW recording, both the Ninja and Ninja Ultra look like great options, and tick many of the boxes that an operator would be looking for in an on-board monitor. Either way, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on these units, and putting them through their paces.


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GEAR LIST
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