9.3K for $150K – ACHTEL 9×7 High Resolution Cinema Camera

13 days ago
9.3K for $150K – ACHTEL 9x7 High Resolution Cinema Camera

ACHTEL 9×7 is a new cinema camera designed and manufactured by Pawel Achtel ACS. It features tethered head design with APS-H BSI 4:3 sensor with 9.3K native resolution. With the maximum throughput of 10GB/s, the camera can record up to 70fps RAW Cinema DNG footage in full resolution. The camera is available for purchase now for around $146,000.

It is always nice to see when small independent companies or individuals take on the huge challenge of designing and manufacturing a camera. Although it does not always end well (still remember the FRAN 8K?), it is an admirable effort. Traditional camera companies like Canon or ARRI have large engineering teams with years of R&D and technology. It is indeed a very difficult task to make a decent camera.

Pawel Achtel ACS is a cinematographer and camera inventor based in Australia. He specializes in camera systems for underwater cinematography and his company’s patented 3D beam-splitter was recently used extensively on James Cameron’s latest Avatar sequels in New Zealand. He spent the last years working on a new camera – ACHTEL 9×7. Recently announced, it features some impressive specs. Let’s take a short look at it.

ACHTEL 9×7 Promo Video with Sample Footage. Source: ACHTEL

ACHTEL 9×7 High Resolution Cinema Camera

As Pawel states, the ACHTEL 9×7 camera was designed specifically for IMAX and Giant Screen productions. That’s why the high resolution is one of the key aspects of the camera.

ACHTEL 9×7 camera uses an APS-H sized 4:3 BSI (Back-Side Illuminated) sensor with a native resolution of 65MP (9,344 x 7,000 pixels). According to Pawel Achtel ACS, thanks to the superior pixel design and uncompressed format, the 9.3K RAW footage can be debayered to 18K (18,688 x 14,000 pixels – 260 MP) footage.

ACHTEL 9×7 Camera Head. Source: Pawel Achtel ACS

The sensor features a global shutter readout and it is capable of 70fps at full resolution. According to Pawel, the camera is able to record uncompressed RAW images at a data rate of a whopping 10GB/s. That is about twice as much as the maximum throughput of Thunderbolt 3.

ACHTEL 9×7 Camera – Maximum Data Rate. Source: Pawel Achtel ACS

If these numbers triggered your curiosity, you can download some sample clips from the camera in Cinema DNG format from Achtel Website and play with them in the NLE of choice.

ACHTEL 9×7 Camera. Source: Pawel Achtel ACS

According to ACHTEL, the camera offers a wide color gamut, high color accuracy, and low noise with good light sensitivity. Again, you can download the sample Cinema DNG files and be the judge.

ACHTEL 9×7 camera features on-screen tools, such as 1:1 magnification with a customizable region of interest, IMAX and Giant Screen framing overlays, RAW histogram, and more. The settings can be adjusted and configured using configuration files (JSON format).

Tethered Head Construction

The construction of the camera uses the tethered head design which is nothing new in the cinema camera world (ARRI and Sony VENICE already offer it). The advantage is, that the head with the lens can be mounted in tight spaces otherwise inaccessible for large camera bodies. The head of ACHTEL 9×7 camera measures just 80 x 80 x 70 mm and it can be placed up to 20 meters away from the rest of the camera (connected only via fiber optic cable). The recording unit measures 136 x 166 x 66mm.

ACHTEL 9×7 Camera. Source: Pawel Achtel ACS

Available lens mounts include LPL, PL, Nikon F, Canon EF, Leica M as well as underwater Nikonos and Nikonos RS. The native ISO is 800 and the internal storage of the camera can be either 4TB or 8TB.

Active Cooling

In standby mode, the camera runs cool. Because of the high data rates, it requires, however, extreme cooling during operation. The camera features removable cooler module that bolts under the brain. The cooler is about 13mm thin and features two fans cooling the SSD. Additional twin fans are cooling the main processing unit and another big fan is on the camera head – 5 fans in total.

ACHTEL 9×7 Camera. Source: Pawel Achtel ACS

As Pawel writes, they are currently testing various lenses and only few of them are able to retain the very high resolution of the ACHTEL 9×7 camera. Finding the right lenses is therefore currently the biggest challenge for ACHTEL. Judging from the sample clips, it seems that ARRI Signature Primes and some Sigma ART Cine lenses should work well.

Price and Availability

The most interesting thing about the ACHTEL 9×7 camera is that it is not just some prototype. The official information is that the first ACHTEL 9×7 cameras are already available for purchase and production hire.

The purchase price for the ACHTEL 9×7 starts at $200,000 AUD. (around $146,000 USD). The company did not specify the rental day-rate for the camera yet. Enquiries can be sent directly to Pawel Achtel.

What do you think about the ACHTEL 9×7 camera? Do you see the need for ultra-high resolution cinema cameras? Let us know in the comments section underneath the article.

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Wayne S
Wayne S
Guest
13 days ago

It’s not worth $143,000, more like $1500. But that is what happens with small low volume independents.

Alejandro B. Martin
Member
13 days ago
Reply to  Wayne S

Not too much difference in price Bruce. Relatively slow volume vs high is about 20% of difference.- This 9K module is around 15K

Wayne S
Wayne S
Guest
12 days ago

You are an engineer, you know about scale of mass production affecting variable costs. The costs of getting ten thousand parts versus thousands might not be much difference, but dealing in hundreds of thousands or millions is different when that reduces their variable cost of production on an low volume part. Add that to your own reduction in variable costs, and that’s how things land up costing so little. Those around $500 8k phones with more sophistication design than any of these cameras cost so little from this. My friends doing chip production talk about minimising part cost at 100 million part runs many years ago. With our area 10k-100k of sensors would be a big run.

Alejandro B. Martin
Member
13 days ago

He is using a camera module from xime , cb654 with only 10-11 stops. With a flat ribbon cable.
Camera module cost around usd 15.000 usd, yed, and he is trying to get 10 or 15 times more the price cost.
I, when developing Frank 8K has the opportunity to test that sensor, but lack of DR and unsupported bandwith left this sensor out.

Ive been banned from newsshotter just cause I said the truth, the camera has not been designed by him. He is comoletely usung cb655 cam from ximea

Alejandro B. Martin
Member
13 days ago

Uses a flat pcie ribbon cable. Pcie 8x. We designed a true camera, he designed nothing absolutely, we, at least with Fran8K, designed a storage, a ui controller, etc.. so a proper housed camera. This guy designed nothing, and try to sell a thing that cost 15k for 150k or more.
Fran8K was around 12k and we tried to sell for about 15k, this were our try, but we failed, in other thanks to unproper commemts like the ones fron Philip Bloom that sinply he wasnt able to properly connect a power cable, as opposed to Phil Rodhes from RSNews who do a nice review, thats another history.
But this guy, is so much unbelievable, he is crazy asking so much, and saying that he designed this camera fron the last 2 years when the camera is not designed by him

Also search on google about achtel camera by redsharnews to see some fakes

Wayne S
Wayne S
Guest
13 days ago

Where is Fran Alejandro. You said it was still coming soon.

Why didn’t you look at ambarella chipset (like zcam did) but with recordable HDMI or USB 3.1/2 (4.0 now) out? Select cheaper sensor layout. Get Chinese to make and ship it? $500-$1500.

Tip, dual exposure like fran and or dual gain. Make compatible with Resolve too, or Apertus software tool.

Last edited 12 days ago by Wayne S
Alejandro B. Martin
Member
13 days ago
Reply to  Wayne S

Fran died as my Uncle Fran (he died at 52 age on March 2018), Fran 8K died last year. And comments from Phillip Bloom will go to Hell when he will meet Fran8K on his inferno technicall skillsss hahahah

Wayne S
Wayne S
Guest
13 days ago

Where’s your proof? People said Falcon and Commodore Cars started looking the same years ago, they were nuts.

Markus Magnon
Markus Magnon
Guest
13 days ago

It is time to link to Steve Yedlin Resolution demo part 2 again:
http://yedlin.net/ResDemo/ResDemoPt2.html

And also:
http://yedlin.net/NerdyFilmTechStuff/

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