Convergent Design’s Nanoflash. Supercharges your camera.



This was delivered by UPS today. Very exciting. What with all the hoopla with DSLRs recently my EX3 and Letus rig has got a bit dusty. Now with this little baby it’s time to come out again and kick some DSLR butt (although only in a well lit room!)

nanoFlash_in_Hand_sYou see video cameras with  DOF adaptors are far from dead. Video DSLRs are amazing game changers but have many limitations. One of these is the image is not accepted by many high end HD broadcasters. In fact the EX1/ 3 is not accepted by some of those same high end HD broadcasters (BBC HD, SKY HD etc), as they have a minimum bit rate limit of 50mbps and for Sky HD must be full HD, although I believe this may be changing as their 24 hour news channel Sky News (where I spent a good portion of my life) go HD early next year using Panasonic 2100 P2 cameras, which are not full HD. Although they have been known to waver depending on the content. It also depends on the percentage of the program that is shot with it. BBC HD still shoot A LOT of Z1 stuff for their HD shows, but only part of them.

This great little device lets you record from either an HDSDI or HDMI source into either

  • Master Quality – I-Frame Only : 160/220 Mbps 4:2:2 I-Frame Full-Raster
  • Master Quality – Long GOP : 100/140/160 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP Full-Raster
  • Broadcast TV Mode: 50 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP Full-Raster

Now that is pretty impressive and will go a long way to making the image out of the EX3 simply incredible. Not just that but it records onto inexpensive CF cards.

It’s a shame the 5dmkII and 7D don’t output a live full clean uncompressed HD signal, if they did this little baby would be incredible with them. Oh well, not sure if it is technically possible even with firmware updates on those cameras. But with my EX3, Pr0-tech shoulder mount and Nano-Flash I have a really REALLY high end film making tool. Cannot wait to use it, will have to be after my two week trip to the US that starts on Friday in San Francisco.


As soon as I can I will get some footage up for you and do a video explaining all you need to know about this baby. All I can tell you is this. I played with the XDR version and whilst impressive is huge. The Nano Flash is small and is powered by simple D-Tap. This is a game changer for the EX3, until the EX5 comes out! 😉

If buying for the UK or EU buy from here to save taxes, shipping etc.


  1. Mine is coming in Friday of this week. There is so little footage shot with it I’m excited to learn the benefits/limitations of it as I go. CD is in the Springs just 50 miles south of us, so I’m excited for this thing to get more popular and give us Colorado people some more street cred.

    Only thing I’m not looking forward to is the compression time to Vimeo from 220Mbps on my laptop!

  2. There seems to be a fight between the nano flash, AJA Ki and Fast Forward Elite… AJA Ki is very useful for FCP users, once it records directly into Apple’s Pro Res (HQ) codec which is very good for workflow. The Fast Forward Elite uses Jpeg 2000 which is a hi quality codec used by many film makers and whose Alliance recently developed a Quicktime container so it may be used over FCP for editing, though I’m not sure about it’s ability to prevent further rendering… Yet for it’s size and the ability to use swappable 2.5” SATA HD’s it still grabs my attention. At IBC this September I noticed a particular care from the so called ‘indy film makers’ about the nanoflash… When I asked AJA and FFV people about it, they answered ‘Oh, that’s MPEG 2’…

    1. In this area I think that nanoflash and eliteHD are in the same level: portable; AJA Ki in big and can’t be used in hand cameras.
      The only problem I se with Elite HD is the hard drive, they are so fragile, and when start to fail you can loose all your data in a second.
      I use nanoflash, and I run some test on it, and you really can’t tell between 160Mbs and non compression formats. In the other hand is really easy to edit with almost all NLS. You can record QT or XDCAM, then you transfer to the computer easily with a usb compact flash reader and start to edit in a second, no render, no change the format or proxy, just put in the time line. And about MPEG 2, what about it? don’t you remember Star Wars? or, don’t you hear what George Lucas said about XDCAM EX?, and nanoflash go further away with 160Mbs instead of 35Mbs XDCAM EX or 50Mbs XDCAM HD. So this MPEG2 argument is invalid for me, there is so many movies made it with MPEG2.
      And in other area, the price of nanoflash is half price of elitehd. So give it a try

  3. I think I saw this sometime before it was released but didn’t pay it much mind. Can you imagine the leap from HDV to even 160Mbps on my Z7? Oh man, it’s still 1/3″ but slap on the Fujinon upgrade and wowzers I think. I’m hunting down FlashXDR rental houses to see if they rent the Nanoflash too…It’s steep enough that I want to play with it first.

    1. Jay,
      the combination of Z7 and nanoflash is perfect. I use it with letus35 extreme too and the results are unique. That way you can live behind the HDV compression and start to work like if you own an XDCAM Cinealta. The nanoflash works perfect for that limit light situations where HDV or a compressed video fails, no artifacts at all, is really great:
      in that links you can find my configuration.
      good luck

      Gerardo Campos

  4. It’s a useful tool if you have to submit to a Mbps bean counter but with NBC working with 7D and 5D should give DSLR’s more “street cred” with HD broadcasters.

    I heard Canon is working on a RAW video codec!

    1. I hope so! It’s just some on these “high end” HD broadcasters can be very erm…fussy. It’s the aliasing that ruled the 5dmkII for the BBC. If this raw recorder records 5k then we will lose the aliasing.

  5. I just had a demo with it this last week (about an hour). We shot a couple test shots, didn’t have time to ingest, but played it back on a 1080p Marshall monitor. It looked great! The piece is great for acquisition, but if you play your clips back in the field at all, its really not user friendly.

    It would be nice if there was a thumbnail view or something, but to review you clips you have to search through like skipping tracks.

    The one we had, we could not get over/under-crank to work. Not sure if it is a feature, but my sales guy thought it had that option.

    But as far as acquisition goes, it seemed to work well in both 30p and 1080 24p.

  6. It’s a bit of a odd thing this ‘min spec HD’! I’ve done a quite a bit of EX-1 shooting, a lot of which I pull in as ProRes 422. While I’ve not submitted anything for HD broadcast could anyone really tell with well shot low noise 422 material that it was originatated at 35 Mbps? And I haven’t even gone into the codec issue – 35Mbps as AVC / H264 would be a totally different ball game to Mpeg2 surely?

    I worked for a couple of weeks at BBC Film Network website and they were looking at tying in with BBC HD for showcasing best of british indy film making, although the rumour was BBC HD were still going to insist on pro data rates which is daft really as everyone submitting films would not have the funds to shoot in anything more than HDV or XDCAM 35Mpbs. It’s kind of shooting yourself in the foot (no pun intended!) to insist on a bit rate figure which in itself is getting over taken by tech progress in other areas….


  7. Hi Philip – ha ha, this is funny as I’m just putting together EXACTLY this kit – EX3 plus Vocas Matte box plus ST-7 plus NanoFlash. It will be used for shooting ‘real’ HD for a High End HD Broadcaster who shall remain nameless. We’re building a remote/tally cable for the NanoFlash that will give a remote start/stop next to the EX3 record button and a tally light in the viewfinder. good times!! Dave

  8. Hi Phil, why do you mention the nanoflash as an “up to 100mbit” recorder? Don’t you want to use it with 160mbit longgop or 220 i-frame?
    BTW what is the pro/cons between these two?

  9. I don’t think my JVC HM-100 outputs uncompressed, but the Nanoflash would be a great — and very EXPENSIVE — way to get the timelapse features JVC so kindly left off. I understand they’re still improving it, but Convergent have built timelapse into their latest firmware update.

  10. Actually, the JVC Pro website says the HM-100 can output live uncompressed 4:2:2 via HDMI — so the nanoFlash may be a very cool tool indeed for this little camera. Am I wrong, Phil?

  11. I’m going to whine with the rest of you HD-DSLR users out there. I really wish the 5D Mark II would have clean, uncompressed 1080p video out of the HDMI port. Like you said Bloom, it may be impossible even with firmware updates. I have too many assholes here at my workplace that nix these cameras because of the low bit rates and other things. We’re NBC affiliated, so I simply pointed out how SNL’s new opening was shot with them, but they still don’t get it.

    Larger then life sensors, relatively inexpensive lenses, cheaper in comparison to high end EFP cameras…sure there are workarounds, but here at the station we have so many workarounds that’s not even a valid point. If I could have the budget that’s equal to the EFP camera that we use here, I could have a total pro setup with the MKII with G’s to spare for other fun things…like a nice editing sweet to compliment.

    The only small flaw that the MKII has that is arguable is the rolling shutter…but I’m sure there’s software that deal with it, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them.

    First time comment. Bloom you’re the man.

  12. Hi Phillip,

    I used to work at the BBC, and advised productions on HD deliverables.

    1. 50mbps is only accepted because it is GOP, otherwise its 100mbps for Intra Frame

    2. EX1+EX3 is conditionally allowed as HD dependent on light levels, low light is non HD and must be shot at 35mbps. Theoretically EX3 shot at 1080 with NanoFlash would be acceptable as it is a 1/2 inch camera. This is really driven by the camera’s size as there is a big need for smaller HD cams.

    3.Panasonic HPX2100 will be accepted as HD because it is a 2/3inch chip. BBC HD want to make this and the varicam, 2700 (720 chips) non HD, but it is unpractical until Panasonic have a 1080 chip camera which can overcrank to 60 fps. 3700 is only overcrank to 30fps at present.

    Z1 and HDV is strictly non HD, but this is used as a standard in house camera for self shooters acquiring for SD transmission.

    All BBC HD programs are allowed a certain portion of non HD material, usually between 25 and 30% dependant on co production deals with other broadcasters.

  13. Hi Philip i am a great fan of your work here, this post is to gently request you information about, the canon 7D and the question is : does the 7D outputs uncompressed video from the HDMI port? because if it does this flash thing will be amazing imagine a 7D PL adapted, recording on to this EX5 producing 422 video, adream come true right? that would be perfect for professional chroma keying right ? and the dead of RED Cameras right? well i respect so much RED but I am so in love with my 7D, hope you can help me with this doubt?

    send you a big hug man i really admire your work and like your tutorials you seem to me a like real, genuine nice person bye !!

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