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Review: Atomos Ninja V 4Kp60 HDR Monitor Recorder

The Ninja V is a 1920x1080 HD monitor bright enough to reproduce 10 stops of exposure latitude and for outdoor use. It's small enough to be attached permanently to a live producer's video camera, and it makes shooting in HDR more predictable. As a recorder, it sees equal duty for higher-quality recordings that will be graded or keyed and also as a program recorder on live switches and webcasts.

Monitoring Tools

Navigating the Ninja V menu system is done via touchscreen (Figure 4, below). The menu system has a different look than what I am used to seeing on my other Atomos monitors, but it is still very intuitive. In addition to focus peaking and zebras, you can activate luma waveform, RGB parade, Vectorscope, Vectorscope Zoom, False Color, and Blue Only settings. I rely on these tools when I am matching cameras on multicamera shoots, and often I use my Atomos recorders to record the program output of my live-switched and webcast productions.

Figure 4. The Ninja V with Luma Waveform, focus, and peaking tools enabled.

Threaded Mounts

I like that there are two mounting options on the Ninja V. The main mount is a 3/8"-16 thread and it has a removable adapter with a smaller ¼"-20 thread. The larger 3/8"-16 is great for mounting on a light-stand while the smaller ¼"–20 is how I usually mount my monitors on an articulating arm or cold-shoe mount.

Media

In my first Ninja I used spinning 2.5" laptop drives in the original obsolete Master Caddy. Then I graduated to 2.5" SSDs in the Master Caddy II that were faster and didn’t drop frames when bumped. Both were in plastic Atomos Master Caddies and I sourced the drives myself with advice from the Atomos drive support list. I also have a G-Technology SSD in an aluminum Master Caddy 4K case. The MCII and MC4K both work in the Ninja V but because the Ninja V is so small, the old caddies stick out. It was too much for me to handle so I bought a 2 TB Sony AtomX caddy that is two inches shorter and looks the part (Figure 5, below).

Figure 5. The AtomX SSD is smaller than a traditional 2.5" drive, which is what Atomos MasterCaddy drives are based on.

Atomos doesn’t ship a docking station with the Ninja V. In order to capture the footage from the Master Caddy or AtomX Caddy, you need to purchase a $75 docking station. I didn’t buy a new one as I have several from my other Atomos recorder monitors. But if I were going to buy a new one I would buy the USC-C 3.1 version. Ironically, I have this port on every one of my computers and laptops but few devices that actually use this faster standard.

AtomX

The battery slot on the Ninja V accepts Sony NPF-style batteries. AC power is possible with the Atomos Battery Eliminator that has a threaded DC tap for secure connections. The AC transformer is rather large and comes with the usual assortment of interchangeable international plugs. I don’t prefer interchangeable plugs because they create a potential failure point and weakness compared to a dedicated unit. The worst part is that I find that many custom Atomos cases with pre-cut foam made by third parties don’t allow you to store the AC adapters with the plug attached, which is frustrating. This is true for the HPRC 2300 hard case that was made for the Ninja V.

The battery plate is the only way to get power to the Ninja V as there is no dedicated DC tap. I do have many NPF 970 batteries but my other options include powering the battery eliminator with one of my Core SWX Powerbase Edge v-lock batteries, using a D-Tap-to-DC cable.

The battery plate also has two additional connection options. The AtomX Ethernet/NDI expansion module allows you to convert the Ninja V into an NDI transmitter or receiver and the AtomX SDI expansion module allows you to input or output 12G-SDI. These modules slide into the Ninja V battery plate and have their own battery plate so you can power both units from a single power source.

Overall, I am very pleased with the Ninja V as both a monitor and a recorder. The small size means I can leave it attached permanently on my main video camera, and it makes shooting in HDR more predictable. As a recorder, it sees equal duty when I need higher-quality recordings that will be graded or keyed and also as a program recorder on live switches and webcasts.