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Header image for article Phantom Flex4K Field Tests & First Impressions

Phantom Flex4K Field Tests & First Impressions

At this year's IBC show in Amsterdam, Vision Research officially unveiled the production model of the Phantom Flex4K. A couple of our clients and friends have recently gotten their hands on a prototype of the camera, so check out the footage and behind the scenes photos below.


Steve Romano & Craig Cutler

Award-winning conceptual photographer Craig Cutler is always looking for a new way to tell stories with images. When Craig was building a new commercial demo reel, he turned to cinematographer Steve Romano to try the prototype Flex4K camera.

In Craig's NY studio, they created a near monochrome world with liquid, movement, turning umbrellas, hard light, black background, high frame rates, and 4K resolution. The images are starkly beautiful with water highlights against dark background bouncing off a black spinning umbrella. High dynamic range and a super low noise floor contribute to the effect.

"It's the least amount of noise I've seen on any camera" said Steve Romano. "When looking at blacks - it's just black".

By shooting with a Flex2K and the prototype Flex4K side-by-side, Steve was able to compare resolution and confirm the technical specifications of the Flex4K. "Being able to zoom in, pan and scan on the Flex4K was just exquisite. I could blow up the Flex4K four times until it matched the resolution of the 2K camera," reported Steve. "There is more dynamic range in the 4K, maybe two stops. But there is about one stop less sensitivity, due to smaller pixel size."

Steve is now looking forward to shooting more with the Flex4K to see how flesh tones and color are rendered. For now, his tagline of choice is "non-existent noise".

Watch some of Steve and Craig's Flex4K footage below and don't forget to watch it in 1080p!


Greg Wilson and Brendan Bellomo

Cinematographer Greg Wilson and director Brendan Bellomo have collaborated on several Phantom prototype films, including the first Flex4K project, Let Me Know When You See Fire, which has over half a million views on Vimeo.

Their most recent collaboration took place on a drag race course, Atco Speedway, in Atco, New Jersey.

"I've been shooting a feature documentary with the artist Matthew Day Jackson called Speed and the Art of Letting Go." Greg told us. "It's a philosophical look into the minds of people using technology to push the limits of what the human body can withstand."

The documentary is focused on Top Fuel drag racing, the land-speed record, NASA astronauts and Flat Track motorcycle racing. When Vision Research and AbelCine spoke to Greg about test-driving the Flex4K, director Brendan Bellomo and Greg approached their documentary subject, Matthew Jackson, a drag racer himself, about shooting his super comp car.

"We were on the track with two Phantom Flex4Ks," said Greg. "The cameras were still in a prototype stage and had to be tethered to a computer so it was a slow process but the image quality coming out of this camera is staggering."

The film captures the suspense and suspension of time. Shots of the cockpit and moment of take-off are arresting, as we eavesdrop on the thoughts of the driver. Greg and Brendan said their basic approach was "to look at the car as if it were a space ship, similar to the Apollo 11 launch."

At this point Greg Wilson is ready for the finished camera. "I'm really looking forward to it reaching maturity and becoming fully functional," he said. "It's going to be something else."

See the full Letting Go Flex4K clip below and make sure to watch it in HD!

Moe Shore
Guest Contributor

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