As a big fan of Atomos products, I was enthralled when the company revealed the Sumo 19 — its biggest monitor yet. The Sumo 19, as its name alludes to, is massive when compared to most Atomos monitors/recorders. It features a 19-inch (diagonal) touch screen, with a partially aluminum chassis, and plenty of input and output options.

The Atomos Sumo is quite a load when compared to the smaller 7-inch monitors in Atomos’ portfolio. The Sumo weighs in at 12 pounds without the included metal feet attached, and features dimensions of 19.8″ x 12.2″ x 2.5″.

It’s the size of the unit, and its sheer growth potential as a multi-input machine that makes the Atomos Sumo worth considering for in studio work. In my short time with the Sumo, its become the primary way for me to monitor each camera that I use. It’s also what I use to record high quality ProRes 422 HQ footage directly to an SSD, making it super-easy to edit footage in post.

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Specifications

  • 19-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS touch screen
  • 1200 nit brightness HDR studio monitor
  • Built-in recorder (12-bit Raw, 10-bit ProRes/DNxHR up to 4Kp60)
  • SSD Master Caddy II
  • AtomOS 8.4 operating system
  • Live switch and record four 4K60p streams simultaneously (coming in future update)
  • Aluminum alloy chassis with built-in armor
  • HDMI 2.0 in/out
  • Quad link 4 x 3G SDI or up to 12G single link SDI
  • L/R XLR input/output
  • Built-in speakers
  • 3.5mm headphone connection
  • XLR power connection
  • Battery mounting plate
  • Dual XLR battery connection for continuous power with V-Lock or Anton Bauer batteries (not included)
  • 10x 1/4-20 mounting points
  • 5x 3/8-16 mounting points
  • Detachable metal feet
  • VESA Mount

Video walkthrough

If you’re at all familiar with Atomos products like the Atomos Ninja Inferno, then you’ll largely know what to expect from the Atomos Sumo. Essentially, it’s an Atomos Shogun Inferno that’s been supersized and upgraded with additional features. The basic premise, however, remains unchanged. The Atomos Sumo, like its smaller brethren, can be used as a HDR monitor and/or a ProRes or DNxHR recorder.

As I explained in my previous hands-on with the Atomos Ninja Inferno, I love using Atomos products for their ability to record directly to ProRes. Paired with the Panasonic GH5, these recorders are very powerful tools for capturing high quality footage that cuts like butter in Final Cut Pro X.

But the Atomos Sumo’s 19-inch touch screen places it in a whole different league when it comes to being able to monitor and review footage. I’ve long been in the market for a large monitor for garnering focus on in-progress footage, but now one exists with a familiar interface that features the built-in ability to record and review directly from SSD media.

Another promising aspect of the Atomos Sumo, the ability to switch between and record multiple input sources, isn’t yet available, but is said to appear sometime before year’s end. For anyone recording multi-cam footage or switching between multiple cams for live shows, the $2499.00 Sumo will allow four simultaneous input streams of 1080p at 60 fps. That fact alone could make for a powerful in-studio addition depending on your workflow.

One of the first things that you’ll notice about the Atomos Sumo after taking it out of the box is the build quality. Unlike the all plastic/rubber 7-inch recorders, the Sumo chassis is partially constructed of aluminum. There are metal feet included in the box that can be attached via the included hex screws, but I opted to mount the unit on a C Stand using a Matthews adjustable VESA monitor mount for the most flexibility when recording.

I don’t use SDI connections currently, but I use a 4K-compatible HDMI bi-directional splitter to connect two cameras to the Sumo via HDMI. The GH5, being my main camera, allows for 10-bit 4K60 recording via a full-sized HDMI cable.

I record to a an Atomos-approved 1TB SSD mounted inside of the included Master Caddy II enclosure. The Sumo features a slot for the SSD on the left side of the display. Inserting and removing the SSD relies on friction, and it’s extremely easy to both insert and remove SSDs at any time. A 1 TB SSD gives me almost three hours of high quality ProRes 422 HQ recording, which is downright convenient for long uninterrupted shoots.

Super-sized screen

The best thing about the Sumo is its 19-inch touch screen. Having such a big screen mounted on a C-Stand makes it extremely easy to use the AtomOS monitoring tools, like focus peaking, zebras, and the like. It’s also possible to punch in to verify focus, but the screen is so large that I find myself needing to do this less often.

Like smaller Atomos recorders, AtomOS features playback ability right from the display. That makes it possible to tag footage and export those tags via XML to import into Final Cut Pro X. All of this is done via the touch screen interface, that seems more responsive than ever.

For those working with HDR workflows, the Sumo’s 1200 nit screen and HDMI input makes it possible to use as a HDR grading monitor. The included metal feet come in handy for placing the Sumo on a nearby desk for post-production work.

Commentary on the Atomos Sumo 19

Although not entirely composed of aluminum, the unit’s side panels are made of aluminum and make the Sumo a much more durable product than smaller, plastic Ninja units.

XLR inputs with 48V Phantom Power are available on the rear of the unit for mixing in audio directly and save on post production work. Included in the AtomOS interface are audio tools and parameters for setting up frame delays, changing gain, and enabling/disabling specific audio channels. The built-in speakers are decent for casual quick looks, but I also enjoy monitoring directly from a pair of headphones thanks to the 3.5mm input.

I wish there were at least an additional pair of HDMI ports. When the multi-input feature is baked in to a future AtomOS update, you’ll need a HDMI to SDI solution if you wish to use it to display multiple HDMI sources simultaneously.

I also don’t understand why there’s a lack of a mirror mode for reversing the image on-screen. This is a feature found on other monitors, such as those from SmallHD. A mirroring mode helps a lot when monitoring selfie footage in a studio environment for one-man band setups.

The screen itself is a fingerprint magnet, but that only really poses a problem when the display is turned off. While on, the screen is so bright that fingerprints don’t usually cause a distraction.

I’m not big into HDR workflows (yet) but I appreciate the massive amount of headroom that the Sumo appears to have. If past behavior from Atomos is any indication, then this should be a product that’s supported a long time into the future. I’m not sure how the processor and other internal components compare to lesser Atomos models, but the software seems more responsive when compared to the Atomos Ninja Inferno. I’m sure that there has to be beefier hardware inside since it’s capable of supporting up to four 1080p 60fps streams simultaneously, but I don’t have the exact details on the silicone used.

Conclusion

To be sure, many people will be well-served by the sub-$1000 Ninja Inferno, especially for those who don’t require SDI, and for those who don’t need a huge display for monitoring. But for some, especially those who often reuse the same setup in a studio environment, the Atomos Sumo could make for a helpful addition.

It’s a monitor that assists with acquiring focus, and it’s also a recorder that’s capable of recording high quality signals from all of the latest cameras. It’s also a post production HDR grading monitor that can be placed beside your iMac or MacBook Pro for use in grading high quality media in post.

The Atomos Sumo wears many hats, and thanks to the excellent touch screen-driven AtomOS, it’s intuitive to use. If you’re looking for a single device that can perform multiple jobs from end-to-end, then you may consider the Sumo 19. But if you don’t need the size, don’t need the XLR inputs, and you don’t the post-production monitoring capabilities, then there are other monitors available, including ones from Atomos, for a lot less money.

These are just a few brief impressions from my limited time with the Sumo 19. I’ll be back with further thoughts in future posts.

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