If you want to elevate the quality of the videos you create, a good way to do so is to add an external monitor and recorder.
Doing so opens up a wealth of monitoring tools, not to mention having a much larger and brighter monitor for keeping tabs on what you're shooting.
And on top of that, an external recorder allows you to get around those pesky recording limits that so many cameras have. These are but a few advantages of using an external monitor...
Let's have a deeper look at these and other reasons why a monitor and recorder like the Atomos Ninja V is a good investment for you.
Why You Need an Atomos Ninja V: No Recording Limits
One of the primary reasons why you might want to invest in an Atomos Ninja V is that it allows you to get around the video recording limits on your camera.
Many modern mirrorless cameras offer incredible video capabilities, but limit you to 30 minutes (or so) of recording time.
If you're doing an interview, 30 minutes might not be enough. Likewise, if you're shooting video at an event, that time limit might be way too short.
By using an Atomos Ninja V, you can extend that recording time - it'll keep recording so long as your camera is powered up and you have space on an SSD drive.
Video Quality is Increased by Using the Atomos Ninja V
Many cameras on the market today shoot internal 4:2:0 8-bit video. But if you output that video via HDMI, the quality often increases to 4:2:2 in either 8-bit or 10-bit. While you can grade 4:2:0 8-bit Log video, the color information simply isn't that great.
So, by externally recording, you can record much more color information. Additionally, if you're shooting Log footage, external output will give you the best possible dynamic range. It's just a better setup to get the highest-quality videos.
What's more, the Ninja V can save Raw video output as ProRes Raw direct from the camera, which results in an incredible difference in the footage. It's similar to the difference between shooting Raw and JPEG still images - the RAW files have much, much more data for you to work with.
To top all that off, the Ninja V can record 12-bit Raw video from any supported camera!
The Atomos Ninja V Has a Killer Screen
The 5-inch touchscreen on the Ninja V offers a lot more real estate for viewing the footage as you shoot. And, if your camera doesn't have an articulating screen, it'll be far easier to position the Ninja V so you have a good view (even if your camera has an articulating LCD, the Ninja V will still be easier to view).
The touchscreen is nicely responsive, and using it to adjust the settings is intuitive and user-friendly. The layout of the icons on the screen is also intuitive and makes it really easy to do what you need to do.
And while having that extra viewing space and touch capability is nice, the best feature of the screen is its brightness...
At 1000 nits, this thing is incredibly bright, even on a sunny day. Now, if you're outside shooting on a cloudless day at high noon, a sunshade might be in order to see the Ninja V's screen, but in most situations, I've had zero problems seeing the screen when shooting outdoors during the day.
You Get Focus and Exposure Tools
The large, bright screen is certainly helpful for getting the focus and exposure just right in your footage. But the Ninja V helps you perfect those qualities in other ways as well.
The unit comes with focus peaking capabilities, which is enormously helpful for ensuring your video's focus is spot-on.
On the exposure front, you get every tool imaginable - vectorscopes, RGB parade, and false color displays, among other helpful tools that will generate high-quality video.
Load Up Custom LUTs
Yet another nice feature of the Atomos Ninja V is that you can load up to eight LUTs.
Not only that, but you can either use the Ninja V to simply see what the finished look will be when the LUT is applied or you can bake the LUT in. You can even output the video from the Ninja V with the LUT applied.
If you have a specific style you like to shoot your videos in, this is a huge benefit that can save you a lot of time in post-production.
Of course, this is just one of many benefits of using a device like this for your video recording! As more and more photographers like me get more and more into shooting video (also like me!), gadgets like the Ninja V will become even more important.
While it isn't perfect - it's a little cumbersome and you have to add all kinds of accessories for it to work - the benefits you derive from it far outweigh its minor inconveniences and added output of money you might encounter. The difference in the quality of the videos I create while using the Atomos Ninja V is immediately noticeable - and it will be for you as well!