When Canon came out with the EOS Cinema 1D-C, it offered 4K for $15,000. That was pretty dramatic and it broke the ice for other camera companies to not only follow suit, but to drop the entry price even lower. Now, the Apertus Axiom Camera is another 4K camera seeks to bring the 4K threshold to under $10,000 bucks.
Let’s take a look at the Apertus Axiom specs:
* 4096 x 3072 resolution, recording Cinema DNG files between 8-bit and 12-bit depending on the frame rate
* Up to 15 stops of dynamic range
* Super35 sensor
* Native anamorphic shooting
* video recorder included
* Open Cine software (which Apertus says is an open source version of RED CINE)
The competition for the sub $10,000 category boils largely down to Black Magic Cinema (which is a 2.5K camera for $2500) and the Apertus Axiom. The brain alone for the RED’s Scarlet is nearly $10,000 after a recent price hike, but you need a heck of a lot more to get up and running which puts the price well above $20K (especially if you buy into the 6K Dragon processor upgrade).
Not even Sony’s new FS700 will make the $10K threshold when it comes out. And while at the current time this open source project promises the camera all in at $10,000, to build in a video recorder may prove to be too costly or cost prohibitive. Then again, BlackMagic’s SSD drive built in seems to hold the price down rather nicely. And since SSD drives are dropping in price pretty rapidly (as we reported yesterday with the REDMAG price drop), it will surely help keep those costs down if they choose an onboard video recorder, verses outputting via HD-SDI or full HDMI.
Additionally, the Axiom will be coming with an open source version of RED CINE, called OPEN CINE, which will enable raw import, color correction, workflow, bath export and more. More so, Open Cine is planned to be open source and can be used with any camera in addition to the Axiom. And while Apertus is looking to hire developers for the Open Cine project, due to it’s open source nature, the source code will be released under the GNU GPL V3 for crowd development. That could make for some interesting flavors that the low to no budget filmmaking crowd can take advantage of.
But with the Apertus Axiom camera, the real question is, will they be able to compete with the amazing video quality in Canon’s EOS Cinema 1D-C? We already saw how stunning the colors and sharpness can be delivered thanks to Shane Hurlbut’s “The Ticket,” which showcased at NAB what the 1D-C can do. If the Axiom can accomplish that for 2/3s the price, it could put tremendous pressure on Canon to drop the price or come out with another entry level 4K rig, or even make BlackMagic to speed development up on a more advanced version of the Cinema Camera. And that kind of competition could do only one thing … lower prices and improve performance.
But it’s all too soon to speculate on that since we haven’t seen any footage from the Axiom, and it’s largely an announced spec at this point. Until we see actual performance, the Axiom could just end up being vaporware like the Digital Bolex. (Editor’s Note: The creators of the Digital Bolex responded to a tweet that their camera is shipping in August 2012.)