The Kinefinity line of cameras has been gaining ground in the cinema camera market with some notable advocates including Phillip Bloom and, as seen in this video, ProAV TV.
Always worth keeping in mind when a company has a commercial relationship with a product they endorse, as I believe is the case here, but this video does have some good basic information nonetheless. With that out of the way, let’s take a closer look.
The Kinifinity line starts here with the TERRA 4K and is filled out by the higher-spec Mavo’s. The TERRA is described as the “entry-level” model but I certainly agree this is not an entry-level product in general.
This is a cinema-style production camera with most of the pros and cons that come with that label. It is a modular system and will need to be put together before it is usable. If you are looking for an out-the-box solution then this ain’t it.
There are a number of choices and extra purchases to be made before this will perform some basic tasks like recording decent sound or, you know, having a monitor to look at. This is also a strength as the system can be configured in many different ways to suit your exact style and, hopefully, wallet.
TERRA 4K Basic Setup
The sensor is a very unusual size and anyone familiar with crop factor calculations will be firmly face-palming at the thought of a whole new set of focal length calculations. The sensor size sits somewhere between Micro 4/3’s and Super 35mm, which is weird.
It equates to a crop of about 1.8 x and keep in mind that this crop effects not just the field of view but the f-stop of the lens. The solution is the addition of the Kine-enhancer which acts like other Speedboosters, widening the field of view and giving you back a stop of light. They also promise to make the image sharper, but I’m not really sure how that is occurring.
Is that sensor too small? No, of course not, but if you are used to working with bigger sensors it will take a little adjustment.
The colour science looks nice and the skin tones pleasing and apparently the dynamic range is good. I’d like to see more testing of all three of these statements but I don’t doubt them at the moment.
TERRA 4K Example Footage
One great feature of the TERRA is the dual native ISO. This means that the camera has two circuits behind the sensor, one for ISO 800 and one for ISO 3200. By intelligently switching between the circuits the TERRA can reduce noise in the image that would usually be boosted by increasing the ISO.
The size and weight of this camera system, hugely dependant on the configuration you choose, will either be a selling point or deal-breaker. For a modular system it is quite reasonable but compared to a DSLR it would seem a nightmare.
TERRA 4K Cinema Setup
The accessories are more open source than, say, anything for a RED camera and in theory that should make building up your system cheaper. In practice, I suspect that a lot of Kinefinity buyers will be attracted to the Kine brand accessories for various reasons but it is worth shopping around.
One highlight feature is the high framerate 4K shooting options available internally. Here is a list of the available rates but immediately you can see that it shoots faster than most of the competition at 4k and without cropping the sensor.
TERRA 4K Frame Rates
Raw is available but only via Cinema DNG. DNG is essentially a series of raw still images and as such, they have to be combined in post. DNG is notoriously CPU and memory hungry so approach with some caution. ProRes may be the preferable option as what you lose in post-production options you gain in usability and disc space.
The TERRA also has the anamorphic shooter in mind and yes there are a few of them around. If you are in search of the perfect oval bokeh and you love those streaky lens flares and wide aspect then the TERRA can offer in-monitor de-squeezing at plenty of different ratios.
TERRA 4K Anamorphic Options
The TERRA might be the basic model from Kinifinity but it is certainly a serious camera. If you are looking to make a move into modularity then this might be the perfect place to start.