More than a year ago, I published the monster comparison between 16 external recorders, and one company found it so beneficial they used it to sell their recorder on their official website!
Times have changed. There is a new baby in the family, and it is called 4K or UHD, and if you’re in the market for a new recorder, then you must seriously consider one that can record 4K. This year, at approximately the same time, two recorders will hit the shelves (if they keep their promises, that is), both with similar price points, features and screen sizes.
Are they twins? Not exactly.
I’ve compared the recorders based on:
- Highest resolution format
- Best frame rate format
- Bit depth and chroma sub-sampling
- Monitor specs
- Size and Weight
- Audio specs
Important Disclaimer:Information, specifications and prices may be inaccurate. You shouldn’t use these values to make your decisions. Refer to the manufacturers’ documents for accurate and up-to-date values.
Sometimes, certain features are only available with an additional purchase or plug-in. Don’t assume these features are available with the default purchase. Some features might still be in the ‘we-promise-it’s-coming’ stage.
Here’s the comparison chart (click to enlarge):
Notes, corrections and updates:
The Shogun includes aspect ratio markers.
There are a total of 7 SDI ports, out of which four can be used for inputs. Here are the options:
Here are additional comments and updates from Mitch Gross, Director of Communications, Convergent Design (reproduced with permission):
[Regarding 100% Rec. 709 D65] Actually, not only fully Rec708 spectrum compliant, but we have such extended color gamut capabilities that we can be set to accurately display DCI-P3. That’s important for extended color gamut cameras such as the F55 and the C500. The next available DCI-P3 compliant monitor is a $15,000 Sony model, so we’re pretty proud of that one.
[Best frame rate format] You have us at 1080p60. We can record 2K RAW at 240p from the FS7 and FS700. We can record 4K at 120p from the C500. In theory we can record 1080p120 video if there was a camera that output it.
[Codecs for 4K] In addition to ProRes HQ, we also accept RAW files, so that means Canon Cinema RAW .RMF, ARRIRAW .ARI, as well as CinemaDNG.
[Inputs (Video)] As noted by someone else, we have four SDIs. This allows us to accept quad-stream 4K and dual-stream 4K. …From left to right, here are the BNC connections on the Odyssey7Q+:
SDI A in
SDI B in
SDI A in/out
SDI B in/out
SDI A out
SDI B out
Two dedicated ins, two dedicated outs, and two bi-directional ports depending on what mode the unit is set to.
[Battery Specs] You list the options for the Shogun but not for us. We sell battery plates for seven different battery types as well as four different types of power cables.
[Markers, aspect ratio guides] The Odyssey7Q+ not only has three presets for frame guides, it also allows up to four additional custom frame guides which can all be displayed at once and can be created in six different colors.
[Comes with] We also include an HDMI standard to mini adapter.
Which is the better recorder?
Here’s my thinking:
The OLED screen of the Odyssey 7Q+ is going to pop more in the field, though the screen of the Shogun is 100% Rec. 709 D65 certified. Without a true side-by-side comparison, I wouldn’t pick a winner. But neither is a loser.
Both record to Prores, both claim CinemaDNG recording (though I am not sure about the Odyssey 7Q+), and the Odyssey 7Q+ also does DPX. The Shogun can record up to 120 fps in 1080p, though it remains to be seen how.
Where the Shogun pulls ahead, though, is in audio. You can connect two XLR microphones via a breakout cable to one XLR port, and that makes the Shogun a viable audio recorder as well. However, one must first test the preamps on the thing before confirming whether it will replace current audio recorders.
I think both recorders offer very similar value here, with subtle differences that will appeal to productions as the case may be. As a generic comparison though, there is nothing to fault either.
However, since this is a fun comparison, I’m going to pick a ‘winner’, and that is the Odyssey 7Q+, because it can also record 4K and can record up to 4:4:4 (though we don’t know if this will bear out in reality).
Inputs and Outputs
The Odyssey 7Q+ has so many SDI inputs you could supply water to a whole city with them. On the other hand, the Shogun has XLR inputs. Not really apples to apples.
The winner? I’ll pick the Odyssey 7Q+. Audio is a respectable field that deserves its own recorder and operator. The extra SDI connectors wins.
The Shogun is smaller, lighter and draws less power. It can take many kinds of batteries, and it ships with a Sony NP series battery.
It can also record to generic media, so you don’t have to buy the most expensive if all you’re recording is Prores HQ in 1080p. This also means you have additional options for capacities, and you can mix and match manufacturers.
The Odyssey 7Q+ has two media slots, and you’ll need both of them for RAW recording.
the comment later on that the Odyssey7Q+ needs both SSDs for RAW recording seems a bit misleading to me. You only need two for certain formats at high frame rates, otherwise only one is required. The fact that we have two slots means that these frame rate/resolution combinations are possible on the Odyssey7Q+ while they are not on the Shogun.
Winner? Shogun bounces back.
If the Shogun
doesn’t have frame markers, it’s a big booboo (for me, at least). Otherwise both of them have enough tools to keep a cinematographer and crew so busy they’ll forget to look at the scene in front of them.
Secondly, the Shogun doesn’t have a histogram, which is the tool to have to expose RAW correctly, especially ETTR.
Winner? Odyssey 7Q+, just for the markers and histogram. They are so critical. I hope it’s included, but so far,
there’s no word on either on the Shogun.
Update: The Shogun does include aspect ratio guides, as shown in the new video below.
On paper, the price difference is not much. However, factor in media cards and battery plates ($75+ depending on the battery system), and the chasm is as big as the gaps from announcement to actual shipping date.
CD uses proprietary media cards, and it can be argued that these are guaranteed to work under tough conditions. However, Sandisk Extreme Pro cards are the real deal too. So are Samsung Pro SSDs.
Winner? Shogun. It offers tremendous value for money.
Here are two videos from the manufacturers themselves:
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for versatility and dependability, the Odyssey 7Q+ is the clear winner here. It supports the greatest number of cameras and formats, and there is no equivalent recorder at the same price point. On paper, at least, it looks like one can only pick the Shogun if one is low on money, or if one is limited to recording 4K on the Sony A7s or Panasonic GH4 or similar.
Look at it this way: If both these recorders deliver exactly what they claim to do, and do a perfect job of it, then the Odyssey 7Q+ is the better long-term investment.
What do you think?
Both recorders are available on preorder right now, with expected shipping by Christmas: