The Chronos 1.4c team based in B.C. Canada has been hard at work unleashing the features of the camera hardware and adding software features that should make the camera more valuable to video professionals everywhere. The new firmware adds HDMI live mirroring support for monitoring which is clean and lets you record its output. Another feature is the inclusion of native CinemaDNG save format image sequences which retain 16bits of color data and allow you to really streamline the workflow without time-consuming conversions.
In our testing over the last 4 days, we have really put the firmware “available here” through its paces and found very minimal issues in the software related to usability but no freezes and rock solid operation over around 14hrs of operation. By saving to CinemaDNG we have no issues with cards getting write space errors due to saving the 1.8MB files individually. We feel this format is really unleashing the camera’s quality fully with a faithful sensor capture representation.
The Chronos 1.4 team has been hard at work on firmware improvements. The latest pre-released software patch shared with HSC improves the h.264 file quality at the pixel level by using a new demosaic algorithm to better match the real camera output. We did a few sample tests to see how big an improvement it is and also to maybe ditch the slow and space eating RAW 16bit workflow which is our preferred file saving format as it retains all the sensor information.
The new improvements are already available to the community as a beta in this post. It is very stable it should immediately improve the way you work with the camera. Also, a new roadmap of upcoming firmware releases was shared in the forums which include HDMI monitoring and a complete OS change to Debian Linux from the current Arago distro for the camera which should improve development and speed in implementing features.
The Chronos 1.4 Team has now posted the first incarnation of the RAW Camera data to DNG File tool to convert the sensor information files to usable Adobe DNG sequences. They also have posted a sample image comparing the before and after characteristics of the image quality if saved on H.264 in camera and then the same scene shot and saved in RAW format which converted to DNG yields a substantial improvement in image quality as we explored in our previous post about this issue here.
The camera is expected to allow direct to DNG format file saving in the future but now you can shoot in the camera RAW format and later convert as an interim solution without sacrificing quality on the H.264 files. Maybe in the future, the camera will be able to simultaneously save RAW and H.264 files as a proxy feature to be able to easily sample clips in editing before conversion. We believe the DNG format should be your one-stop solution for this camera if image quality is important for your use case.
We received a set of Adobe DNG image samples from Krontech to check the resolution, dynamic range and grading potential of the camera when using the RAW recording mode. As of now the utility to convert the raw data is still being tested but we were impressed by the results the camera was able to achieve by offloading the de-bayering process to a more capable converter like the Adobe Camera RAW module.
The Chronos files were already good when properly exposed but did suffer from some aliasing and moire in fine detail while resolution also took a hit by saving in a compressed H.264 format. Now with the DNG RAW capability, we are glad to see that the camera image quality made an enormous improvement in the resolution, color fidelity, and dynamic range. It really brings out the real potential of the camera for a variety of applications, also creating a cleaner result in the noise department when processed correctly.
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