Atomos Ninja Phone Turns Your iPhone into a Monitor and ProRes Recorder

A nikon camera with a large lens connected to a smartphone mounted on top, displaying a lighthouse scene on the phone screen, set against a neutral white background.

This week, Atomos announced the Ninja Phone, a 10-bit video co-processor that allows filmmakers to monitor and record footage from professional HDMI-equipped cameras on their iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max smartphones.

While the concept of the device would technically support any smartphone or tablet, the initial Atomos Phone will only work with Apple’s latest iPhone models as they are the only ones that currently are equipped to handle ProRes. Atomos says that its knowledge of ProRes encoding combined with Apple’s excellent hardware, including the fantastic OLED on the iPhone 15 Pro, creates a shockingly powerful, high-quality, and portable connected professional monitor/recorder.

A smartphone screen displaying a video editing app interface with an image of a lighthouse on a rocky shoreline, waves crashing against the rocks under a blue sky with clouds.

“We’ve added professional video and cinematic smarts to the world’s most advanced phone,” says Atomos CEO and Co-Founder Jeromy Young. “Ninja Phone is for the thousands of content creators who capture, store, and share video from their iPhone 15 Pro but aspire to work with professional cameras, lenses, and microphones. At the same time, the Ninja Phone is a perfect tool for longer-form professionals who want to adopt a cloud workflow without a complex and expensive technology footprint.”

The Ninja Phone encodes the camera’s HDMI signal to ProRes or H.265 which both come in at 10-bit quality for “perfect” HDR. The encoded video is sent via Ninja Phone’s USB-C output to the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max’s USB-C port, which the iPhone’s A17 chip decodes and displays in high resolution.

Atomos says that the display is a huge improvement over built-in screens that most cameras are equipped with and not only has a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio but also supports Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG with the ability to display 11 stops of dynamic range with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits. Basically, the Ninja Phone works great for monitoring because the iPhone display is excellent.

The hardware is commanded via the Atomos Ninja Phone app (downloadable from the Apple App Store) and allows filmmakers to control and coordinate the Ninja Phone and iPhone, which Atomos says makes the whole system feel like a single, responsive device.

A nikon mirrorless camera with a large lens attached to an atomos ninja recording monitor mounted on top, connected by cables. the setup is displayed against a white background.

“For social media creators who need to shoot in 9:16 portrait mode, the Ninja Phone app adjusts to horizontal or vertical video modes. The Ninja Phone app will run on iOS and iPad, and will be downloadable at the time of shipping,” Atomos says, indicating that as soon as the iPad is capable of operating at the same level as the iPhone 15 Pro, Atomos will support its use on Ninja Phone.

Atomos puts significant emphasis on low latency and high data rate, and the output of the camera appears on the iPhone screen with zero latency. The ProRes-encoded video can be stored on the phone as a .mov file or simultaneously transcoded by the iPhone to 10-bit H.265 for workflows like camera to cloud or live streaming via the iPhone’s built-in 5G and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. Ninja Phone supports, too.

A black atomos ninja phone monitor-recorder mounted on a phone, displaying various ports, knobs, and labels, including hdmi, 12v-16v dc input, and ssd slot.

“The Ninja Phone accommodates external iPhone accessories by integrating a separate USB-C hub to allow necessary professional add-ons like wireless USB-C microphones, for perfectly synchronizing video and audio. Third-party accessories are supported via the Ninja Phone with more added over time,” Atomos says.

Atomos’s Ninja Phone hardware is powered by NP-series batteries and all the pieces are held into place using locking parts — including the specialized iPhone case to the main base as well as the USB-C cables. The Ninja Phone weighs 95 grams and when it is paired with an iPhone 15 Pro, it weighs 335 grams.

The Ninja Phone does have one caveat: its recording maxes out at 1080p Full HD. The company says the resolution cap was necessary to achieve super-low latency and retain the high data rate. It is worth noting that Accsoon has a similar product that has a different set of priorities.

A nikon camera connected by a cable to an iphone displaying a live video shoot of two stylized people posing, with the screen showing filming controls and battery status.

The Ninja Phone will cost $399 and is expected to begin shipping in June. As the Ninja Phone doesn’t have any kind of universal mount and because the company wanted to ensure the locking cable system can be used, an Atomos phone case will also be required, which costs $59.