The Best of NAB 2019

After several long days and dozens of exciting conversations on the show floor, we’ve sifted through the mountains of video production tech to find these 12 outstanding products. Read on to learn about the best new gear at NAB 2019.

Best storage

LaCie 2big RAID

The LaCie 2big RAID offers transfer speeds up to 440 MB/s and capacities up to 16TB, making it a robust storage solution for creative professionals.
Inside, the LaCie 2big RAID comes equipped with Seagate’s IronWolf Pro enterprise-class drives for extra reliability. The enclosure offers USB-C connectivity for compatibility with Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2 and legacy USB 3.0.

Outside, the 2big RAID features a space grey aluminum housing that aligns with the Mac aesthetic. The design is also said to reduce noise and vibration. Like other LaCie products, the enclosure was designed by renowned product designer Neil Poulton.

The LaCie 2big RAID comes pre-formatted in exFAT, and LaCie promises easy RAID configuration using the included LaCie Toolkit.

The 2big RAID also comes with LaCie’s standard 5-year limited warranty and Rescue Data Recovery Services. LaCie is also offering a one-month subscription to Adobe’s All-Apps plan with purchase.

The LaCie 2big RAID is available for $419 for the 4TB version, $529 for 8TB and $739 for the full 16TB.

Best lens

NIKKOR Z 24-70MM F/2.8 S

Nikon 24-70MM F/2.8 S is Videomaker's Best Lens at NAB 2019
Nikon 24-70MM F/2.8 S is Videomaker’s Best Lens at NAB 2019. Image courtesy Nikon.

Priced at $2,299, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is geared towards capturing portraits, landscapes, weddings and events. And content creators looking to use this lens with Nikon’s Z mount System won’t be disappointed either — it can handle that, too.

This lens features Nikon’s Multi-Focus System for “fast and accurate” autofocusing. This system even works if you get up really close to your subject. Plus, the 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR Z lens to feature a dedicated manual focus ring. This is independent from the customizable control ring. The lens also features a Function button and an Organic EL Lens Information Panel.

For more about the Multi-Focus System, it is used in conjunction with Nikon’s stepping motor. This system uses two actuators to move two focus groups at once, allowing the lens to achieve critical focus rapidly from nearly any distance, including close-up shooting.

While this lens is held up as a photographer’s lens, videographers will still get use out of it. With reduced focusing breathing, a quiet stepping motor, customizable control ring, and the ability to use the in-camera 5-axis VR + eVR of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, it’s got a lot going for it.

The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR lens to use the new Nikon-designed ARNEO coat. The ARNEO coat compensates for the light entering the lens from vertical angles. This expandable field allows the lens to capture contrast and sharpness even when the light source is visible inside the frame. It is used this in conjunction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to significantly minimize flare and ghosting.

Best camera accessory

Sigma MC-21

Sigma’s MC-21 L-mount converter is this year's best camera accessory at NAB 2019
Sigma’s MC-21 L-mount converter is this year’s best camera accessory at NAB 2019

The MC-21 mount converter allows Sigma’s SA mount and EF mount interchangeable lenses to be mounted onto L-mount cameras. If you have an SA or EF mount lens and you really wish you could use it with your L-mount camera, the MC-21 is for you.

While still maintaining the lens’ full performance, the MC-21 allows Sigma EF-mount lenses to work on Leica L-mount mirrorless cameras, including Panasonic’s new LUMIX S1 and S1R. You won’t lose performance in autofocus in AD-S mode or auto exposure, nor will you miss out on in-camera correction and image stabilization performance.

An integrated LED can be used to display Sigma lens compatibility and the adapted camera body. The adapter also has preloaded lens data to support peripheral illumination, chromatic aberration, and distortion corrective functions. A removable tripod mount is also included for more stable mounting when you’re working with a heavier lens. The MC-21 is available for $249.

Best motion control system

Rhino Arc II

Rhino Camera Gear motorized camera head wins Videomaker's Best Motion Control System at NAB 2019
Rhino Camera Gear motorized camera head wins Videomaker’s Best Motion Control System at NAB 2019

What started as a Kickstarter campaign has grown into something quite amazing. The Rhino Arc II motorized head allows you to capture both videos and time-lapses. The Rhino Arc II is basically a robotic camera assistant that has the ultimate goal of replacing fluid heads.

This 4-axis motorized head is compatible with both tripods and Rhino sliders. Plus, it can handle up to 15 pounds without having any issues due to weight. Also, when the head is used with a slider, the motor is capable of moving 25 pounds horizontally and 10 pounds vertically.

The Arc II can be used on a tripod or as part of the Rhino ecosystem. You can control the Arc II via its smartphone app or using built-in joysticks to control its pan, tilt, focus, and slide. And for faster setup, the Arc II also features motorized mounting using its pan motor.

Like we said before, the Arc II can handle payloads weighing up to 15 pounds. This allows the system to handle most small cinema cameras, DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Additionally, it has a high capacity battery with a DC out to power your camera.

The battery has a capacity of 60Wh. So you should be able to squeeze out about 48 hours when you are using it to capture time-lapses, or about two hours of continuous shooting. When the battery is drained, it takes about two hours to recharge fully. Also, it’s worth noting the system has a built-in Manfrotto 501 plate receiver.

The Rhino Arc II goes for $1,400.

Best mic

Sennheiser XSW-D Lavalier Set

Sennheiser takes home Videomaker's Best Mic at NAB 2019 award thanks to the XS wireless digital lavalier set
Sennheiser takes home Videomaker’s Best Mic at NAB 2019 award thanks to the XS wireless digital lavalier set

This new wireless series from Sennheiser, dubbed the XS Wireless Digital series, includes entry-level mic sets for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. The systems in this line work in the 2.4 GHz frequency range and include a transmitter and receiver. The Lavalier Set that’s receiving this award includes an ME2-II lavalier as well as an additional transmitter for another handheld dynamic mic.

Other sets include Interview and ENG sets, as well as a Base package.

The units are fairly compact with a similar form factor to the higher-end AVX systems. How so? The receivers have their plugs built-in, so there aren’t any extra wires needed. The only set up you have to do is plugging the receiver into your camera.

Plus, a receiver can be paired to multiple transmitters simultaneously. Once paired, you can switch between the transmitters. You’ll save time this way compared with having to pair each time you are recording someone speaking. All you have to do is pair the one time and switch the channel whenever you need to record someone else.

As said above, the XS Wireless Digital system operates on the 2.4 GHz open spectrum, so you shouldn’t have any issues if you are using the mics worldwide. Distance-wise, they can operate up to 250 feet away

For $349, Sennheiser’s XSW-D Lavalier Set is a great kit for videographers.

Best monitor

Atomos Shinobi

Atomos Shinobi with Best of NAB award

The 5-inch Atomos Shinobi aims to be a great tool for vloggers and producers working on a budget who don’t need recording functionality.

By removing the recorder, Atomos is able to lower the Shinobi’s price to a budget cost of $399. Compare that to the Ninja V’s $695 price tag — that’s a $300 difference!

Getting more into the specifics, the Shinobi sports a 5.2-inch 1000 nit anti-reflection uni-touch IPS panel. While the monitor doesn’t support HDMI out, it can receive a 4K signal and display it in full HD through the HDMI input. Additionally, the monitor shares the Atomos Ninja V’s HDR 1920 x 1080 display and color processing.

The Atomos Shinobi seems like it’s made for vloggers since it adds flexibility to cameras that don’t have a flip out screen — an essential feature for vloggers who are recording content alone. And it won’t be adding a ton to the camera payload. The Shinobi weighs just 200 grams. It’s built with Polycarbonate ABS construction, not aluminum like the Ninja V.

Included are monitoring tools for focus, framing and exposure, including Focus Peaking, 4:1 / 2:1 / 1:1 Zoom, Zebra, False Color, Frame Guides, SMPTE Safe Area, Waveform, RGB parade and vectorscope. Also, there’s a new multi-view ‘Analysis’ view, support for 3D and 1D LUTs, Profile and Preset support and options for anamorphic desqueeze monitoring.

On the left side of the monitor, there’s an HDMI 1.4 input and a 3.5mm headphone jack. On the right side, you’ll find an SD Card slot to load LUTs. You can load up to eight custom LUTs. Also, there’s a wired remote terminal input underneath the SD card slot. Also, it has 1/4”-20 screw mounts top and bottom for ease of cage and adaptor rigging.

The battery slot is located in the middle of the monitor. It uses the Sony type NP-F battery and reportedly uses less power. Battery life can last up to eight hours at 7800mAh, five hours at 5200mAh, and two and a half hours at 2600mAh.

Best monitor/recorder

Atomos Shogun 7

With the $1499 Shogun 7, Atomos continues a tradition of innovation. This HDR monitor, recorder and switcher puts out its best for film and video professionals. Targeting those working in event, documentary and live in-the-field recording, there’s no other device like the Shogun 7 at NAB this year.

The Atomos allows you to monitor, record and switch between four live HD SDI video streams and one program stream. It offers up to HDp60 SDI ISOs x 4 recording. And once you’re finished recording, you can import your edits into your NLE with an Atomos XML file.

As for audio, the Shogun 7 captures the mixed analog stereo channels and two channels of digital audio in each recorded stream.

The Shogun 7 records images up to 5.7Kp30, 4Kp120 or 2Kp240 slow motion in either RAW/Log or HLG/PQ over SDI/HDMI. Once the shot is recorded, it is stored directly onto an SSD. There are also recording options for Apple ProRes RAW and ProRes, Avid DNxHD and Adobe CinemaDNG RAW codecs.

Shogun 7 has four SDI inputs plus an HDMI 2.0 input, with both 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 outputs. The monitor’s four SDI inputs allow the connection of most Quad Link, Dual Link or Single Link SDI cinema cameras. Also, the Shogun 7 offers data rates of up to 1.8Gb/s.

Atomos worked closely with Dolby to create Dolby Vision HDR “live” and you can bet it’s featured in the Shogun 7. The monitor uses Dolby’s HDR processing algorithm to deliver HDR content on a Dolby Vision-supporting monitor or TV over HDMI.

Best editing software

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16

The new cut page give you two timelines to work from
The new cut page give you two timelines to work from. Image courtesy Blackmagic Design.

The new version of Resolve offers some impressive updates, the standout being a new easier and faster cut page for editors.

The cut page is designed “specifically for editors working on high end fast turn around on work,” says Blackmagic. It’s an alternative edit page with a streamlined interface and new tools that should make working in DaVinci Resolve 16 faster.

The cut page will allow you to import, edit and trim video, add transitions and titles, automatically match color and mix audio. “Whether you’re delivering for broadcast or for YouTube, the cut page has everything customers need to get the job done, all in one place,” says Blackmagic.

While the cut page brings in many new tools, it also brings in familiar concepts like tape mode and an A/B trim tool. “The cut page isn’t about simplification, it’s about removing the things customers don’t need and building powerful, professional tools that help customers work more quickly. And, sometimes, it means borrowing the things that were great about the past and bringing them into the future,” Blackmagic says.

Zooming in and out of scrolling timelines can be both time consuming and tedious. However, those days of scrolling through timelines in DaVinci Resolve seem to be over. The cut page has a dual timeline that Blackmagic says allows you to “never have to zoom in or out again.”

The upper timeline shows you the entire cut while the lower timeline shows you the current work area. Each one is functional, which means you can move and trim clips from either timeline.

The DaVinci Neural Engine uses “state of the art” deep neural networks and learning with AI to provide features like speed warp motion estimation for retiming, super scale for up-scaling footage, auto color and color matching, and facial recognition.

DaVinci Resolve 16 also has new adjustment clips, which can be used to apply effects and grades to clips on the timeline below. Additionally, the software adds quick export that can be used to upload projects to YouTube and Vimeo.

There are also new improvements to existing ResolveFX. New ResolveFX plugins can be used to add vignettes, drop shadows, analog noise and damage or chromatic aberration. There are also tools for removing objects, stylizing video and more.

Best 360 camera

Insta360 EVO

Insta360 EVO with Best of NAB 2019 award

Coming after the One X 360, Insta360 brought us the $419 EVO. Right out of the gate, you can see that the EVO has a very interesting design. To switch between its 180-degree and 360-degree modes, you actually have to physically fold the camera. Folding the camera will enable 360-degree capture mode. When you unfold the camera and both cameras are side-by-side, you enable its 180-degree mode. You don’t have to worry about the camera swinging in and out of its modes either because it clamps in place when folded.

While you can take 18-megapixel images, you can also take 3D photos with the EVO. All you have to do is fold the camera into its 180-degree mode. The video on this camera is promising, too. You get to enjoy shooting 5.7K video at 30 frames per second with its two f/2.2 cameras.

Other shooting modes offered include 4K at 30 or 50 fps, or 3,008×1,504 pixels at 100fps. Plus, the video should stay steady thanks to the Insta360 EVO’s built-in six-axis gyroscopic FlowState stabilization.

Another cool feature we like about the EVO is that you can stream videos to a VR headset. It’s compatible with headsets like HTC Vive Focus, Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR. However, if you don’t have a headset, you can still view EVO’s 3D images on an iPhone paired with a $30 case from South Korean brand Holoframe.

Best camcorder

Canon XA Series

XA40 wins Videomaker's Best Camcorder award at NAB 2019
XA40 wins Videomaker’s Best Camcorder award at NAB 2019. Image courtesy Canon

The Canon cameras taking home our best camcorder award include the XA40, XA45, XA50 and XA55.

The XA40 and XA45 each sport a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, while the XA50 and XA55 feature a larger 1.0-inch sensor. The XA45 and XA55 add SDI connectivity and all the cameras are designed to be both lightweight and compact for shooting in the field.

Although all four new cameras in Canon’s XA line are worthy of recognition, let’s focus on the base model, the Canon XA40.

First, the big question: What are the video specs? The XA40, like the rest of the new XA line, can shoot video at up to UHD 4K 30p. That makes these the first camcorders to shoot 4K 30p video in the XA series. The cameras can also shoot Full HD 1080p at up to 60 fps. Both 4K and 1080p video can be captured to dual SD card slots and output via a mini-HDMI port or, with the XA45 and XA55, over 3G-SDI.

The dual card slots are great for making sure you don’t run out of space when in the field since you’ll most likely be shooting with this camera on the go.

The cameras can also output up to 1920 x 1080p 10-bit 4:2:2 video at 59.94 fps via its mini-HDMI output.

To keep things stable, the cameras feature both optical and electronic image stabilization. When you need to focus your image, the XA40 and XA45 both offer a number of different options, including Hybrid, Normal, Face Only, Manual Focus, Instant, and Canon’s Medium autofocus. The XA50 and XA55 cameras add Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF.

For audio, cameras in the XA line support up to four channels of LPCM audio with manual/automatic recording levels. The cameras feature two XLR inputs with phantom power and a 3.5mm stereo mini input. There is also a built-in stereo microphone along with a headphone jack as well.

There’s a lot to like about Canon’s new XA lineup. Starting at $1,700 for the XA40, you will get a UHD 4K 30p camcorder that is both compact and easy to carry. The XA40 and XA45, priced at $2,200, will be available in April 2019. The XA50 and XA55 will be released in June 2019 for $2,700 and $2,200, respectively.

Best hybrid camera

Fujifilm X-T30

Fujifilm X-T30 with Best of NAB award

The Fujifilm X-T30 has been out since February 2019 and has been taking the hybrid market by storm. It seems it’s universally liked by everyone, raking in nearly five out of fives everywhere. The X-T30 shares a lot of the same features as the X-T3, including its overall aesthetic. However, it is a lot smaller and less costly — costing just $899 for the body.

You can’t talk about a hybrid camera without talking about both its video and photo specs. The X-T30 features a 26.1-megapixel APS-C Z-Trans CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 160 to 12,800. That range is expandable from 80 to 51,200. Impressively, it can shoot stills at 30 fps when selected with the 1.25x crop.

When it comes to video, the X-T30 is capable of shooting DCI 4K 30 fps for up to 10 minutes. It’s pretty impressive that a camera at its price point would offer DCI 4K. Plus it has 425 point phase detection autofocus system. It also offers both face detection and eye detection in its continuous focusing mode.

The camera features a 2.36m-dot OLED electronic viewfinder. The EVF offers a 0.62x magnification with a fast refresh rate, wide viewing angle and adjustable diopter settings. The camera’s rear display is a 3.0-inch 1.04m-dot LCD touchscreen with a two-way tilting design.

The top plate uses a series of dials and levers for control over exposure settings. This includes a shutter speed dial that offers direct shutter speed adjustment, a mode dial and an exposure compensation dial for +/- 3 EV adjustments in 1/3 steps. At the same time, the command dial expands the range to +/- 5 EV.

Also, there’s a dedicated Focus Lever to give you more control over selecting specific focus points.

Best cinema camera

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K G2 with award

Inside, the $5,995 URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 is powered by a Super 35mm 4.6K sensor. It offers 15 stops of dynamic range and support for frame rates up to 300 fps. That is crazy.

The newest generation of the URSA Mini Pro can shoot Blackmagic RAW at up to 4.6K at 120 fps, windowed UHD at 150 fps and windowed Full HD at 300 fps. Plus, the camera supports ProRes 422 HQ recording at up to 80 fps for 4.6K, 120 fps for windowed Ultra HD and 240 fps for 1080p.

The camera comes with an interchangeable EF lens mount. For higher-end gigs, you can replace the EF mount with a PL mount. There is a B4 broadcast lens mount for working with broadcast lenses, too. Also included is a standard 12 pin Hirose lens control connector.

Built with a magnesium alloy body, the camera is pretty durable. It’s got an external backlit LCD status display and a foldout touch screen for reviewing shots. It also offers connections like 12G-SDI and XLR.

As for recording media, the camera uses dual C-Fast 2.0 recorders and dual SD UHS-II card recorders. C-Fast 2.0 cards work best for full res Blackmagic RAW 12-bit recording. SD UHS-II cards are suitable for recording Blackmagic RAW 8:1 or 12:1 for Ultra HD and regular HD files.

These dual slots allow the camera to keep recording while you switch out cards. If the first card is full, the camera will automatically switch to the second slot, allowing you to seamlessly swap out the full card.

Until next year

These 12 outstanding products represent just a small sliver of the gear on view at NAB 2019. We want to thank everyone who took the time to show us the newest and best products at the show. And as always, we can’t wait to take the next generation of video production equipment into the field to see what it can really do.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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