Article by Mark Johnson II
This is a basic comparison between these two units. This list is not in any particular order and is not designed to be all-encompassing, but rather a basic comparison based on topics I routinely compare when using either unit. Feel free to leave comments, questions, and clarifications!
1. Screen Quality: TIE
The Odyssey's screen is larger and OLED so it is clean looking, however I don’t think OLED screens are the best choices for viewing film footage. But that’s a technical discussion for another day. The Shogun's screen is very nice being IPS and you can see more detail, but it's usable video area is smaller. I'll say they are about equal in terms of quality vs size; the Odyssey comes with a decent screen protector and you’ll have to buy one separately for the Shogun. Ultimately neither are great touch screens as they are both unresponsive sometimes, but either will get the job done.
2. Form factor: Odyssey 7Q+
The Odyssey's body is solid and metal and has (3) ¼-20 mounting hole on the bottom and sides, so I'm not so concerned about how fragile it is. I am going to buy a cage for my Shogun that gives me much more confidence with it being rigged up. It has (2) ¼-20 holes on top and bottom.
3. Storage and File Access: TIE
The 7Q+ may seem like it has the advantage with 2 slots but I'll argue they are equal because the 7Q+ can only read/write one drive at a time. When you install/eject drives it takes the unit a while to register the drive and make it ready to go. The Shogun has only drive but it can load and unload the drive very quickly, giving you free carriages to put drives into. If you lose HDMI connection or something goes wrong otherwise, it can close out the file immediately and it's ready to go again. With the 7Q+, if you lose HDMI for any reason, it takes a bit to attempt to closeout the file and then it will throw an annoying message at you non-stop until you restart the unit. Also, when scrubbing the video files, the 7Q+ will have a stutter that's annoying to clients who see it, if you don't pause the playback first, then scrub. The Shogun plays back and scrubs files flawlessly. The 7Q+ used to only take proprietary drives, which as a huge negative, but now they have certified a line of Samsung Pro drives for use that are affordable and perform well. The Shogun will take just about any SSD you can buy, so look for the sales and get yourself some good deals on storage!
4. Power Consumption: Odyssey 7Q+
With the 7Q+ I can get around 7+ hours of operating time (with about 4 hrs of actual shooting) out of (2) NP-975 Watson batteries in series on a battery adapter via D-Tap. Not bad...actually I would call it great. The Atomos Shogun eats through batteries like it's Cookie Monster and batteries are, well, cookies. I get around 1-1.5 hrs per NP-F975 battery, at best. If constantly recording, it's closer to around an hour in total. It's absurd and I can't believe Atomos hasn't addressed this issue in a big way. The first time I used it, I thought I had put 2 uncharged batteries into it...little did I know. See “Price” below for more details on power options for these units. Although the 7Q+ wins on power consumption, the Shogun wins in terms of power options.
5. Menu System: Atomos Shogun
With the Shogun, the menus are nice looking, clear, concise, and easy to understand. It's very well laid out and younger people will have zero issues getting through the menus. The 7Q+ menus are simple, but can be a bit confusing at first. They get easier to understand once you work with them. Certainly nothing to write home about, but functional at a minimum. There seems to be a bit more "power user" type options on the 7Q+ like the System Status info (volts, power, temp, etc) but there is also more room for errors... For example, with the Shogun, you just plug any camera into it, and it will recognize what's coming in and adjust for it. The 7Q+ requires you to select specifically what's going to connected up and if it's not right, you're not going to get anything.
6. Accessories: Atomos Shogun
With the Shogun, you get a hard case for the tough regimen of filmmaking with space for extra batteries, hard drives, accessories, etc. The 7Q+ comes in a cardboard box. Oh, and a power cable. The end. Want more accessories? Be prepared to spend a few hundred more dollars.
7. LUT management: Atomos Shogun
The Shogun gives you a quick selection of 8 possible choices to be pre-loaded at one time, but it’s easy to switch it out and you have the ability to display the LUT on only half the screen so you can compare side by side. The 7Q+ gives you a seemingly unlimited number of LUTs to plug in and select from. One downside on that is every time you boot up or re-boot, it has to load them all and it takes more time if you have more LUTs.
8. Sound from unit: Odyssey 7Q+
The 7Q+ is essentially silent. The Shogun has fans in it so they make a small noise, but I doubt you’d ever be in a recording environment in which it will actually matter.
9. Temperature: Atomos Shogun
The Shogun has fans and heat pipes so the engineers knew it would get hot and they did something about it. It’s not silent but I haven’t had it overheat on me yet. The 7Q+ can overheat quite easily if it’s in direct sun or outside in a hot day. It has no fans and only uses small fins on the back as a way to dissipate heat. I know people who have had to rig external fans to blow across the back and covers for their units. There should be some type of external heat sink that can be applied when necessary, or even a fan that could be mounted into the extra SSD HD slot to help keep it cool. Side note: environments where you have things like SDI cables hooked up to the units actually act as heat sinks, so external cables can actually help keep your units cooler!
10. Recording sound: Atomos Shogun
The Shogun’s XLR breakout cables are great and the audio monitoring, headphone level controls, etc. are all laid out well. The 7Q+ has a single 3.5mm audio plug in and one out...There’s a lot to be desired there.
11. Clip marking/sorting/tagging: TIE
The Shogun has a really simple way to cut and tag clips, with a dedicated menu button and simple, graphical buttons like “Bad Audio”, “Wide Shot”, “Favorite”. The 7Q+’s menu isn’t as simple, but you can mark clips as good or bad and add clip notes. It’s time consuming and I usually don’t have time to enter in clip notes for each take, but the option to is nice.
12. Focus peaking, Zebras, False Color, Scopes: Odyssey 7Q+ (with a caveat)
Focus Peaking: Shogun. I only say this because I have had instances where the 7Q+ has been wrong about what’s in focus and what’s not. It likes to tell me contrasted areas that are not in focus are actually in focus. Also, since the Shogun has a 1080p screen, it’s easier to see things like edges and for pulling critical focus, it’s an advantage… Otherwise, as with most of these functions, the 7Q+ has a “power user” aspect to them with lots of adjustable facets of the function.
Zebras: 7Q+. There are more options, including High and Low IRE percentage values, etc. The Shogun’s Zebras work fine, and are very simple, with a slider bar to adjust IRE %.
False Color: 7Q+. The false color on it has an actual IRE percentage scale at the bottom that helps you interpret the information whereas the Shogun has a small color scale that seems to almost be an afterthought and contains no percentage values on it to help make it useful.
Scopes: 7Q+. Again the 7Q+ just has more options to control them, set values, etc. The menus don’t look as good but there are definitely more options.
13. SDI Inputs/Outputs: Odyssey 7Q+
the 7Q+ Just has more SDI Inputs/Outputs. If you are in a heavy video production environment and need these extra connections, this is the only one that’s got it. Otherwise, the Shogun has SDI In-Out, and Genlock.
14. HDMI Inputs/Outputs: Atomos Shogun
The Shogun has full sized HDMI. It seems like that shouldn’t matter but for whatever reason IT DOES. It’s much more reliable, and easy to connect in and out.
15. RAW support: Odyssey 7Q+ (for now)
The 7Q+ has a huge advantage in terms of RAW options, with the drawback of it being an extra $1000. You can “rent” RAW capabilities if you need it only on a temporary basis, but for most people, that’s not going to be the preferred option. Atomos is working diligently on RAW support, and so far has gotten the Sony FS700 RAW capabilities now, with more coming in the future. Best part: they will be FREE in perpetuity as long as you own a Shogun or qualifying Atomos product.
16. Price: Atomos Shogun
The Shogun comes with essentially EVERYTHING you’ll need to start shooting immediately, except for an SSD drive, which you can pick up essentially anywhere. The unit has a built-in slot for an SSD, and a Sony NP-F type battery to connect up directly to the back of the unit. The hard case has space inside it’s foam slots for 4 batteries (I recommend Watson NP-F975), 4 SSD enclosures, SSD reader, wall power adapter, etc. The 7Q+ comes with: two internal slots for SSDs and a wall charger… Yes, that’s it. They had a deal in the past where it came with (2) 256GB SSDs pre-loaded and that made it much more competitive in terms of cost, but those units are essentially gone (unless you can find a reseller that still has those available). Convergent Designs recently reported that their units now ship with (1) 256GB SSD included. That’s at least helping with the massive price gap. Another point about price: Any accessories you need for the 7Q+, including power adapter cables, a battery plate for the back of the unit, etc. are very expensive. Plan on spending a few hundred dollars at a minimum to actually get it ready to shoot. It’s power plug is proprietary and the cords to connect it up to, say, D-tap, are about $75. The Shogun’s power connection is a ‘standard’ 5.5mm pole tap connection with a 2.2mm center pole, so most 5.5mm/2.5mm tip positive power plugs will fit. This means you now have a myriad of aftermarket power options that are both inexpensive and flexible.
When it all comes down to it, I actually like both units equally. They both have good points and bad, and each are pleasurable to work with in their own ways. I like that the Shogun boots up quickly, has an integrated battery slot right on the back, can handle things like pulling an HDD out quickly, and has some really nice menu systems. I also like the 7Q+ because of it’s form factor, powerful scope and menu options, and battery life. I dislike that the Shogun eats through batteries, and I dislike that the Odyssey can overheat under modestly hot conditions (the Shogun can also overheat but it seems to be more resistant to it due to the heat pipes and cooling fans).