Compatibility of D4 with Zacuto EVF and Atomos Ninja

Started May 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
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rcgehrzmd
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Compatibility of D4 with Zacuto EVF and Atomos Ninja
May 28, 2012

Since there has been considerable confusion about the compatibility of the new Nikon DSLR's with external EVF's and external recorders, I thought that the following information might be helpful to those who want to optimize their D4/D800/E's for video.  I must say that Nikon's documentation is wholly inadequate to enable videographers to take full advantage of the potential of their cameras.

I recently received my Nikon D4, which I  purchased in part because of the availability of clean HDMI output for external recording of high resolution video files.  My camera's movie recording is set to 1920 x 1080p24fps.  When I first attempted to connect my Zacuto EVF and Atomos Ninja together, either using  the EVF HDMI pass-through or the SmallHD splitter, I was unable to get the Ninja to detect a signal.  With Ninja's recent OS firmware update to 2.2 using the D4 HDMI output setting of 1080i, both the EVF and Ninja detected 1080i, and the Ninja recorded ProRes HQ files at 1080p23.98fps but FCPX Info suggests that the original output file was detected in a 1080i wrapper (the new firmware presumable does reverse cine pulldown).

However, I really wanted the Ninja to detect the clean 1080p23.98fps output from the D4 sensor.  With further experimentation, the following setup works perfectly:

Connect the Nikon D4 HDMI output to the Zacuto EVF HDMI input; connect the EVF HDMI output to the Ninja HDMI input.  Set Scaling on the EVF to Auto (there are no presets for the new Nikon cameras).   This gives a full-screen 16:9 view of the D4 1080p24fps HDMI output.

Set the Nikon D4 as follows:

Under movie settings, set recording resolution to 1080p24fps.  In Camera settings, go to HDMI and set HDMI resolution to Auto; go to Advanced and set output range to Limit; output size to 100%; and LV on screen display to off.  Remove the memory cards from the camera to record to the Ninja (otherwise the HDMI output will revert to 720p).  Set the LV button on the D4 to Movie and activate LV.

These settings give the following displays:  the LCD display on the D4 is a full-screen view with all camera settings preserved (especially handy to change exposure on the fly using the live histogram); the EVF detects a clean 1080p24fps 16:9 HDMI view (no camera settings); and the Ninja detects the same clean 1080p23.98fps 16:9 signal.  The Ninja records a high resolution ProRes HQ (or 422) file directly from the camera's 1080p24fps HDMI signal, which imports directly into FCPX without the need for further rendering.

I am still waiting for my Nikon D800E, but I expect that these same settings will work.

You can view 3 samples of my D4 photos at my ShutterPoint website:
http://www.www.shutterpoint.com/Photos-User.cfm?id=RCGEHRZMD

 rcgehrzmd's gear list:rcgehrzmd's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D4 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +12 more
Nikon D4 Nikon D800E
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