New 'Try Cion' Program Will Seed Market with 100 Loaner Units for Evaluation by DPs

AJA really wants you to try its new Cion camera. No, really—at its pre-NAB press briefing, AJA said it had invested $1 million in the new "Try Cion" program, which puts 100 of the spiffy new cameras in the field in North America, where they will be on loan to interested cinematographers for testing purposes.

If you want to take a brand-new Cion for a spin, you can sign up for the program at AJA's website, where a questionnaire asks about your camera and workflow background and verifies that you have access to basic gear like batteries and lenses and an EFV. (Some accessories will be made available as part of the program.) You'll want to get your request in ASAP, since the program launches today and runs only through the end of summer.

But if you were expecting a new version of the Cion to be introduced here at NAB (a Cion Mini, perhaps, or maybe a Cion 65?), you were disappointed. AJA President Nick Rashby instead emphasized the company's support of the camera, which has received two firmware upgrades in its four months on the market.

The latest release, v1.2, corrects some issues with white balance in overexposed areas of the frame, adds an auto-white balance alarm if the image doesn't have enough information to perform a proper white balance, improves IRE levels at the request of some broadcast customers, includes an in-camera video LUT, offers expanded RGB output over SDI, and has new gamma color-correction options to eke out better quality when shooting at EI 800 and 1000.

That update is free, by the way. "AJA doesn't charge for upgrades," Rashby said. "Once a customer has made an investment in our product, we support them through the life of the product and beyond."

And Rashby pointed out that good AJA Raw workflow options are coming online, pointing to support for AJA Raw recording in 4K at up to 60p in the Convergent Design Odyssey 7Q+ as well as in the Atomos Shogun. 

Additionally, new software came out today supporting AJA's Kona and Io products. The Io 4K can now capture 4K AJA Raw at up to 60p to Cinema DNG files, and the Kona 4 supports 4K AJA Raw capture at up to 120p on Windows and up to 60p on the Mac. Also new is Avid DNxHR capture and playback across AJA's 4K-capable desktop products.

Those announcements capped a slate that featured AJA's usual array of targeted workflow tools. Two new Mini Converters supporting the conversion and transmission of 4K and UHD quad-channel SDI video to and from ST fiber were introduced. They support 4K baseband video and raw SDI, or they can be used to carry up to four channels of high definition over a single Mini Converter. The FiDO-4T-ST and its counterpart, the FiDO-4R-ST, are both $1,495 and are shipping today.

Also available immediately is the new HA5-4K ($595), which features 10-bit 3G-SDI output and HDMI 2.0 input, allowing HFR video output from a camera over HDMI to be converted to SDI.