KineRAW mini – review / test video

Last year we saw the first Chinese cinema camera, the Kinefinity KineRAW S35. It recently started shipping and at NAB they presented their new Kineraw MINI: A portable camera that delivers a very brilliant 2K RAW image from a 4K sensor. It costs 3800€ (inc. tax) and it should start shipping very soon.
cinema5D took the KineRAW mini for a test shoot and here’s the detailed review:

201311914444186You know the times when all things just “click” together allowing one to achieve great results?
That’s how I felt when Michel and Ludwig from “hd video shop”, currently the sole distributor of Kinefinity cameras were kind enough to lend us the new KineRAW mini for a few days. At the same time Ram Leetal who is a great DP, friend and mentor asked me to help and shoot/edit a small story about 2 young sailors who are trying to make it to the 2016 Olympics on their own.

These sportsmen are very determined to make it despite the many obstacles on their way. (the main one is finding a sponsor who can support them fulfilling their dream). What else can I ask for, a nice little camera to test and a great opportunity to try and help the 2 sportsmen achieve their goal….

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The camera is available here for 3800€ (inc. tax): hdvideoshop.com
(shipping to US is 89€)

DSC04667The Chinese company Kinefinity currently has 2 camera models: The new KineRAW mini shares the same sensor with the bigger KineRAW S35. The mini is shipping now and available for pre-order worldwide. (3-4 weeks delivery time)

 

Physically the camera is small, very small. I have yet to find a photo that makes justice to its size…

Here is a short list of camera specification from the manufacturer:
• Super35mm Sized 4K CMOS Sensor: Recording format 2K, 1080p, 720p and 576p
• You can record 16 seconds of 100 fps in 720p mode or 48fps in 2K mode
• There’s a S16 mode
• Uncompressed Digital Negative RAW as 12bits CinemaDNG
• Two Mount Options: Native EF Mount (with Electronic Iris Tuning) and KineMOUNT
• Three Color Options: Black/Gray/Champagne
• 3D LUT: In-camera LUT files as KineLOG/Kine709/KineColor
• Light-weight and Compact
• Offline Output Cineform RAW Codec Option: Fast Post-Workflow
• RAW Port Option for external Cineform recorder: Turn MINI into Super-Camera Head

It’s worth mentioning that I had the Canon EF mount version and more importantly the company is about to introduce an external RAW recorder made by Cineform which will allow the camera to get full 4K resolution out of it.

The camera is priced very well for what it can do and deliver. It is €4402 for the camera body and basic kit which includes a side handgrip with battery, KineMAG (64GB SSD), Canon EF or Nikon F adapter and AC adapter.

I love the form factor and the picture quality coming out of this camera. Its ergonomics and usability are much better in my opinion than other RAW cameras in its price range. It is true that it takes some time to get used to the menu and some functions have yet to be fixed via firmware updates but when and if those are done I am sure we will look at a solid and powerful product.

While spending 3 days with the camera I did notice a few issues that deserved Kinefinity’s response. I’m happy to say that the company’s headquarters in China and the European distributor hd video shop were extremely fast to respond. I see it as a good sign for future servicing requirements, which had been a concern when the first Kinefinity camera was announced.

So here is what I noticed about the KineRAW mini and Kinefinity’s responses to it:
• The REC button is not flawless. Sometimes I was struggling to push it to start recording.
Kinefinty: “Yes, the REC button is not good. Our handgrip will have new rec button and more control ways to MINI, so that you will get operation experience like DC.”

• Recording can not start when the menu is active.
Kinefinty: “Yes, we will change the function to make the REC operation be top priority later.”

• Booting time is much to long.
Kinefinty: “Yes, we may provide SLEEP mode to make the camera sleep and wake instantly. But the boot time is long like iPhone.”

• Sometime when booting the camera there is no image displayed in the Live View. The only way to solve this issue is to reboot by disconnecting the power, then booting works normally.
Kinefinty: “Yes, booting failure happens some times.”

• Image Stabilization lenses do not work. Please activate stabilising in lenses if possible.
Kinefinty: “Will try”

• Kine709 has a green tint to it
Kinefinty: “You may use the AWB to get balance in field. The AWB operation can be found in this way… CONFIG–>LUT–>Gain Override–>Manual–>Auto WB, use 18% Grey or 90% white card to set the WB.
Yes, the LUT of Kine709 is a little bit green tint.”

• Timecode is a must! (currently there is only “free run”) I don’t want to think about all the audio files I have to sync manually which otherwise could have been done in DaVinci Resolve.
Kinefinty: “There is time code embedded in every DNG image indeed, so that the KineStation can extract the timecode and construct a timecode. Yes, the time code mode is free-run now. It will take some time to add record-run option.”
Kinefinty: “Actually, you can use KineStation from our website to transcode the CinemaDNG footage into Cineform RAW mov. It can integrate the DNG sequence, timecode track and audio track automatically. Then you can use Cineform workflow for post work. This is our recommended workflow. KineStation is very fast. It takes only 10 mins to transcode 64GB SSD with DNG into Cineform RAW mov on i3 notebook, in win7.”

• The in camera audio is producing 2 audio channels. They are in mono. Is there a way to make them Left/Right? (stereo)
Kinefinty: “Yes, it is mono now.”

• It happened to me twice, camera will not stop recording after pressing the REC button. The only solution was to disconnect the battery. After rebooting I had to rebuilt the SSD.
Kinefinty: “It may happen when you have some settings pop-up.”

• It would be be great if the fan would turn off automatically as soon as you hit REC. After finishing recoding it should turn on again – automatically.
Kinefinty: “Yes, it will have the function as smart fan control.”

• The volume when using headphones is much to low (even when volume is turned on to a maximum)
Kinefinty: “Yes, the headphone volume is low…”

• The active EF mount sometimes stops giving aperture reading to lenses which it gave before. After re-attaching, it was fine.
Kinefinty: “OK, we will check the Iris issue, it happens seldom.”

• Biggest issue: Slow frame rate of the EVF: When using an EVF or monitor via hdmi the framerate on it is slower which is disturbing and appear lagging.
Kinefinty: “Actually, it is around 20fps, not 25fps. It seems maybe the choppy issue makes the delay severe.”

• There is strong rolling shutter like on DSLRs.
Kinefinty: “For 2K in S35 mode, yes the rolling is bad, you may try S16 mode, the rolling is much better if you upgrade the camera to new firmware.”

• Internal audio quality is not good.
Kinefinty: “Yes, the audio quality is not very good, though.”

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All in all as you can see from Kinefinity’s response, some of the issues are fixable via a firmware update and I’m sure the company will do its best to achieve that soon.

I must emphasize that despite those issues the camera is fun to use and the picture quality is very nice!

One thing I find conflictive is the fact that this mini camera could have been great for shooting documentaries if it had some sort of compressed file recording option or alternatively allow a clean full HD output from its HDMI connection. You could go straight into an Atomos Ninja for example. I guess the hardware does not have the power to do so.

Slow motion:

kineraw_720aliasing In 720p mode it is possible to record 16 seconds at 100fps. As always, slow motion can be very impressive and 100fps is special for an affordable camera like this. Unfortunately aliasing and moire are noticeable in the resulting image yet the footage is still usable as you can see in the video.

 

Workflow:
I’ve imported all cinema DNG footage to DaVinci Resolve 9 lite (download free here) and exported to ProRes 422 1080/25p.
I then edited in Premiere Pro and graded in Filmconvert (10% off with code “cinema5D”. LINK)
A small amount of sharpening was added in post.

HDvideoshop gave us a special deal for our readers:
Free 128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD with your KineRAW mini order. CODE: cinema5d
3800€ (inc. tax) available here: hdvideoshop.com
(shipping to US is 89€)

My fellow cinema5D man Nino Leitner shot a low light and latitude test comparing the KineRAW Mini and the 5D Mark III RAW, which will be posted in the next days on cinema5D too. Stay tuned!

The music was kindly provided by The MusicBed: http://c5d.at/1rg

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Many thanks to Bar and Omer who contributed from their time for this video.
You can follow them here: https://www.facebook.com/BrandHalevySailingTeam

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Onsetoffline | Kinefinity Kinemax 6k Review – Resolution That Blows Away Your ScreenJohnnie BehiriElisha RheaKineraw » MINI: First project and review by Cinema5DKineRAW Mini vs. 5D Mark III RAW Dynamic Range Test | Nino Film Blog Recent comment authors
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Dan Hudgins
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The color balance can be changed by adding new look groups, if the firmware has not been altered to prevent it, my free de-Bayer program can make new LK5 files which set the base ISO and Look Group, and the LT5 file which sets the analog gain values for white balance can be edited in any text editor such as notepad.exe. You can email me if you want to add or develop new look groups aside from the ones you get from Kinefinity.com (sm)

Dan Hudgins
Guest

With regard to the audio quality, as far as I know the on screen VU meters are calibrated to WAV file clip, so the audio should NEVER be set to the red area except for recording a pure sine wave, for normal uncompressed audio the VU meter should read -20 and the audio gain in the camera be set to near minimum. The external preamp should not be outputting “professional” 0db VU of 6volts or more, as you may overdrive the input to the camera, if you want the external mixer VU meter to match the camera you can insert an adjustable pad between the mixer/preamp output and the camera input to avoid over-driving the camera’s input. Its a good idea to insert a 600 to 600 ohm line transformer between the camera’s 600 ohm 3 pin XLR and the balanced line from the pre-amp/mixer if the cable is long or there is a chance of EMI/RFI on the cables or input to the camera. Its a good idea to insert a peak limiting compressor between the pre-amp/mixer and the camera’s input (or line transformer) to avoid clipping the WAV files. Its a good idea to set the wind filter in the preamp active, that may be marked “voice” or “high pass” or “low cut” on your pre-amp or mixer, as you want to avoid low Hz from getting into the camera’s audio input and causing clipping of its circuits or the WAV recording from wind noise or mic handling. You can also use external Dolby A or DBX 2:1 compander to reduce digital crossstalk and increase the dynamic range of the camera’s internal recording, that would be inserted after the peak limiting compressor and before the line matching transformer. As far as I know there is no phantom power or low noise preamp in the camera, so you cannot plug in a microphone level signal and expect to get good results as its intended for line level signals that are pre-leveled to the target signal level, which with normal voice uncompressed would be about -20db VU on the internal meters when the audio gain is set near minimum, so you need an external pre-amp with adjustable gain of high quality to get the mic level signals up to the line level required, you should check the quality of your line level signal before thinking the problems are just with the camera’s recordings, which are 16bit 48000 s/s and should be better than CD quality except for the digital crosstalk. Avoid having audio cables near the monitor or camera as they can pick up EMI/RFI, likewise for a 600 to 600 ohm line balancing transformer.

Peter
Guest
Peter

Waiting for a KineRAW Pocket for under 1000 euro :)

Dan Hudgins
Guest

Email Jihua and suggest that, the S8 was meant to be under $1000 and out 5 years ago…

Dan Hudgins
Guest

I asked if BlackMagic could support 2048×858 with uncompressed DNG recording in the Pocket, but I did not see a reply on their forum. 2048×858 uses less bandwidth than 1920×1080 so they should have enough bandwidth to support that in their compressed DNG mode if that is working at some point, but then what do you do about the lack of OLPF filter (?) when you have things in focus with a sharp lens. From my experience with the KineRAW-S35 ™ its OLPF filter is effective with sharp Cinema-35mm movie camera lenses, and give 35mm angle of view using those lenses including the Angenieux 14.5mm in Eyemo mount. Really, if your target is a DCP in a theatre, and you like 2.39:1 format, using the Mini in 2048×1080 mode helps avoid any blow-up so you can fill the correct with on the DCI projector. With the Pocket and cinema lenses how much chroma moire are you going to get when some things are in focus? Chroma moire is not removable through software in a way that can equal using a good OLPF filter which is why real professional cameras like RED ™ and ARRI ™ use an OLPF filter in their cameras, and why KineRAW ™ cameras use an OLPF. The issue in the Mini currently for modes that use more than 2x binning is that they did not put a clip in the camera so you can change the OLPF filter to match the binning ratio, its something that was understood and Jihua made the final say on such details, you can talk to him about any design changes you feel are important.

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