Atomos Shogun

My Take on the Atomos Shogun

I recently used the Atomos Shogun on a recent commercial shoot (shot a kickstarter campaign for the Noki Smartlock directed by ShotShotShot). On set I was using the Shogun as a monitor only, since I didn’t trust it as a recorder with the tests I did in advance. Especially working together as a 4k recorder for the Sony A7s (we had no need for 4k resolution). There are a lot of good reviews out there (check out Dave Dugdales review) I just want to list a few personal notes on why I’d choose a Odyssey 7Q+ over a Atomos Shogun when recording 4k with the A7s.

  • Some friends always are referring to the ‘cheaper media’ the Shogun uses in comparison to the 7Q+. As that is in fact true, I always warn people about buying common SSDs you would use in your computers (like the SanDisk or Kingston brand). These SSDs are not build for video stream recording and may fail in a way, you won’t recognise during recording (dropped frames) and may lead to a bad surprise when offloading your media. Franc Glencairn did a detailed post about this topic. He recommends using Digistor Professional Video SSDs which a are a bit more expensive than usual SSDs but still cheaper than the Convergent Design media. But what I like about the media sold by Convergent Design, are the security features  for instance ‘Convergent Design SSDs will recover and close clips in the event of a lost power.’ – your common SSDs won’t do that! And security is what you want when you can’t even record in-camera simultaneously like with the A7s.
  • That SSD tray … really? It comes of the recorder so easily, I would be afraid to loose it when walking – and there’s no release button for it! Combined with my worries above, I’m really afraid by now. How easily will the tray come off after several month of use?
  • I have a background in IT. So concerning the operating system I was worried after I read about the firmware update which added playback (!) to the Shogun. I haven’t read about any OS failures yet, but when adding such basic features as playback with firmware updates, it sounds to me like a beta firmware. And I would never use a beta firmware for recording anything important.
  • And then, there’s a fan. Of course many high end cinema cameras like Red and Arri also feature fans, but I’d like to avoid fans whenever possible. It’s not because of the obvious fact (noise) but more because of this: everybody who has opened a workstation before, knows about the dirt which get’s sucked in by ventilation. Well I’ve been working in many dirty environments over the past couple of years. The camera setup had to be cleaned very carefully after every shoot (despite protecting it on set). So if there’s a fan involved somehow, dirt will get sucked INTO the recorder – can you hear it scream ‘FAIL’ pretty loud? Not now but maybe after shooting a few month when you’re recording a nonrecurring event.
So all in all I find the higher price tag of the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ more than justified. If I’m in need of shooting 4k with the Sony A7s, I’ll go with the 7Q+ only at the moment. (no I’m not affiliated with Convergent Design at all)
One Response to My Take on the Atomos Shogun
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