Convergent Design, the US-based manufacturer of external video recorders, announced its Odyssey 7Q+ and Apollo recorders to be discontinued. This might mean Convergent Design leaves the external recorders market altogether leaving the ground free for Atomos and Blackmagic Design.
Why External Recording?
When Canon 5D Mark II kicked-off the DSLR revolution in the video industry in 2008, more and more filmmakers (inspired by the full-frame image aesthetics) started experimenting filming with DSLRs (and later mirrorless) cameras, abandoning large size video cameras for certain types of work.
Obviously, shooting shallow depth of field videos with a camera designed for photographers brought some challenges with it. Apart from ergonomics and audio capture issues, these cameras mostly did not offer high-quality codecs for internal video capture. In fact, we have seen 10-bit internal and intra-frame recording modes come to mirrorless cameras only quite recently.
Because the cameras offered a video output connection, external recording devices started to appear on the market. They offered an alternative to the camera’s internal recording bringing better codecs like Apple ProRes or DNx with better color depth. This (Budget friendly) market segment, however, never got filled with many companies – the only players in this field till today are Atomos, Blackmagic Design, and Convergent Design. The latter now announced its recorders as discontinued.
Convergent Design Discontinues its External Recorders
Convergent Design started as a manufacturer of SD/HD signal converters in Colorado in 2000 and throughout the years they started to focus on video recorders, RAW data video capture devices, and professional monitors.
One of their most popular products is the Odyssey 7Q+ recorder. At the time of its release, it offered impressive resolutions and framerates. It literally revived some cameras (like the Sony FS700) back from the dead with 4K 60fps in ProRes 10-bit 4:2:2 and other available modes via the camera’s SDI output.
When looking at the market of external recorders, I see a significant dominance from Atomos. Perhaps the large market share of Atomos was the reason behind the decision. Convergent Design has decided to discontinue the Odyssey 7Q+ and also its multi-camera Apollo recorders. They sent out the following statement:
After careful consideration, Convergent Design has decided to discontinue the manufacture of its Odyssey 7Q+ and Apollo video recorders (Part numbers include: CD-Odyssey7Q+, 100-10003-100 and CD-Apollo, 100-100025-100). The standard warranty terms will be honored for all units shipped to date and any units still in the dealer channels waiting to be sold.
All popular software options and software rentals will continue to be sold. Such options as Odyssey Raw Bundle, and the Apollo Option.
SSD sales of 512GB Samsung 860 Pro and 1TB Samsung Pro will continue to be sold.
The discontinuance of the product line is in keeping with our practice of rationalizing low demand products and replacing them with new products with improved design and functionality.
We appreciate and value your partnership. While we regret any inconvenience this announcement may cause, we believe it is in the best interest for everyone.
Please contact your Convergent Design sales representative for a complete list of supported and discontinued accessories or for any other questions.Official letter from Convergent Design
From my understanding, it is yet to be seen if Convergent Design comes with a new video recorder in the future or if this means the company leaves this market segment for good.
Atomos and Blackmagic Design, therefore, stay as the only companies offering external recorders for cameras at the moment (At least at a reasonable price). It is always sad to see a decline in competition in any market segment as fewer competitors mean less push for innovation. Let’s hope this is not the case.
There are still some Odyssey 7Q+ and Apollo recorders in stock with B&H in case you want to purchase it.
Do you use Convergent Design recorders for your work? What do you think of this decision? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section underneath the article.