Camera FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions related to Ember Cameras


Which Ember should I buy?

For most people the S5K is a great option and cheaper. If you have compelling use cases that demand faster imaging and don't need the 5K/4K resolution, then the S2.5K with its 2900FPS and pSLC drive is a great option.

What's changing for my Ember S5K?

With Firmware and App v2.0, Ember S5K gains several new features, including:

  • Active EF Mount lens support.

  • 2.56TB pSLC SSD support for any-length Pre-Record.

  • Higher frame rate cropped (color) and binned (monochrome) modes.

Where and when can I get the new Firmware and App?

The v2.0 Firmware is available on the Ember Firmware page and the App is available in the App store.

Sensor and Image

What's the dynamic range?

Ember has 11 stops of dynamic range, which is less than a typical 24fps cinema camera. This is an inherent tradeoff of high-speed imaging. Imagine trying to count a few hundred coins on a table: your answer would be a lot more precise after five minutes than it would be after five seconds.

Plan your shots accordingly, avoid high-contrast lighting conditions, expose for the highlights you want to keep, and use fill lighting when able to increase exposure in shadows.

What's the CODEC?

Apple ProRes 422 LT in all resolutions and frame rates. ProRes 422 LT maintains excellent image quality with only intraframe compression (approximately 6:1 compared to uncompressed RAW) and keeps the file size and data rate reasonable for high-speed imaging. ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ may be added (at lower frame rates) in a future update.

What's the color profile? Why is there no LOG profile?

Rec. 709 and HLG Beta tone curves are available. See OETF for more details. There is no LOG profile for Ember because LOG recording typically requires at least 13 stops of dynamic range. Ember's 11 stops of dynamic range forced onto a LOG curve would either clip highlights at very low values or amplify shadow noise unacceptably. Rec. 709 and HLG Beta are a better fit for this sensor.

What's the base ISO?

ISO 100, 200, and 400 are available. These are analog gains implemented at the sensor, with minimal noise tradeoff between the three. Although Ember S2.5K has 4x the pixel charge capacity of Ember S5K, the majority of the read noise is after charge-to-voltage conversion, so there isn’t a meaningful increase in sensitivity. You will need proportionally more light for S2.5K’s higher frame rates.

These are saturation-based ISO values. Using different OETFs will still change the exposure of middle gray. For the same saturation level, HLG Beta increases the exposure of middle gray by approximately one stop compared to Rec. 709.

Who makes the sensor?

Gpixel! We are using the GSPRINT4521 sensor (Normal version for S5K and Quad Bayer version for S2.5K) and it has been awesome. Gpixel also has been awesome to work with.

Is there sample footage available?

Yes, untreated sample footage is available here (S5K) and here (S2.5K).


What's the recording media?

Ember records to an internal NVMe SSD. There are currently no external media formats fast enough to support the maximum write speeds. There are two types of internal SSD available: a 4TB TLC (standard on Ember S5K) and a 2.56TB pSLC (standard on Ember S2.5K).

Tell me more about the pSLC SSD. How does it work, and what does it enable?

pSLC stands for Pseudo Single Level Cell and is a type of flash storage that increases the endurance 10x or more compared to Tri-Level Cell (TLC) flash, at the expense capacity...learn more here if you want to nerd out. The increased endurance allows Ember to support arbitrary-length circular buffer Pre-Record into flash.

Can I update my Ember S5K to the 2.56TB pSLC drive?

Yes! The 2.56TB pSLC SSD will be available for purchase (Freefly P/N 910-00798) and can be installed easily in any Ember. FW v2.0 (coming soon) is also required for this update.

How can I trigger Ember?

You can trigger Ember with the App, the Record button, or wire in a custom trigger using the GPIO.

Can I frame-sync multiple Embers?

Not currently, but it's a feature we are planning for a future update.

What's the difference between (capture) Frame Rate and Project Frame Rate?

Capture Frame Rate is the recording speed of the camera. Project Frame Rate is the playback speed of the recorded clip, usually chosen to match the time base of a project for easy file import. The ratio of capture speed to playback speed is the amount of slow motion applied. For example, a 600fps capture with a 24fps Project Frame Rate gives 600/24 = 25x slow motion.

By analogy to film cameras, (capture) Frame Rate is how fast the film is pulled through the camera. Project Frame Rate is how fast the film is pulled through the projector.

Lens and Mechanical

What are the lens mount options?

  • A passive universal mount is included with Ember S5K.

  • An active EF mount is included with Ember S2.5K.

  • PL and PL with internal ND mounts are available from KipperTie and in the Freefly store.

  • There are additional 3rd party mounts available from c7Adapters.

The Ember lens mount interface drawing is available on the Ember CAD page.

Does Ember have autofocus with the Active EF mount?

No, focus will still be manual, but can be controlled via the App, on-camera UI, or the UART API.

Can I upgrade to the EF mount for my current Ember S5K?

Yes, but you will need to send your camera back to the factory if you want active control of EF lenses. If you are OK with a dumb mount (for EF lenses with manual iris) you can buy the EF mount and bolt it onto Ember with no upgrade.

Why can’t I get an S2.5K in E-mount? I already bought a bunch of E-mount lenses for my S5K.

Sony asked us to no longer produce our E-mount; we agreed.

Can I use an adapter from another lens mount to EF? Will it support electronic lenses?

In general, no. For example, you can't adapt an E-mount lens to an EF-mount body, because the flange focal distance of E-mount is shorter than EF-mount. If you have a manual lens that isn't covered by one of the available mounts, check if it can be adapted to RF, which has a relatively short flange focal distance of 20mm. If so, consider using the c7Adapters passive RF mount.

How much does it weigh?

852 grams, with the passive universal lens mount.

What kind of mounting points does the camera have?

  • 1/4-20 top and bottom.

  • M3 and easily-mountable NATO rails on all sides.

What does the accessory ecosystem look like?

Look here.

What's the operating temperature range?

0ºC to 40ºC

Is it IP rated? Can it handle light rain?

The camera is IP52 and can handle light rain, but is not waterproof.

Power and I/O

What's the input voltage range and power requirement?

12-26V, and up to 55W for maximum frame rate in 5K. Look here for battery and power connector options. The camera cannot be powered through the USB-C port. For continuous power, we currently recommend the FXLION battery, which can be charged via USB-C while powering the camera. A dedicated AC power adapter is also avaialble in the store.

How is footage offloaded from the camera's internal SSD?

The camera mounts as an external SSD when connected to a host via USB. Recorded clips are available in the root folder of the camera drive. Even at USB 3 speeds, offloading large clips can take a long time. We recommend opening clips in-place on the camera drive and exporting trimmed sections to a local drive if your workflow allows.

What buttons / switches / indicators does the camera have?

  • Physical slide switch for power on/off.

  • Illuminated record start/stop button.

  • High-resolution scroll wheel for menu navigation and playback scrubbing.

  • Select button.

What video outputs are available?

1080p HDMI with on-screen display that can be hidden. An external monitor is required to operate the camera. There is no built-in LCD.

Does the camera record audio?

No. The front-facing ports are for future expansion but are not currently enabled.

Can the camera be controlled remotely?

Yes, there are several methods:

  • The Ember App can be used to control the camera and view, trim, and export clips over USB, Wi-Fi or Ethernet.

  • A simple start/stop trigger can be implemented using the GPIO port. See Pinouts and Remote Control for more details.

  • A host can fully control the on-camera menu via UART. See Pinouts and Remote Control for the public interface definition.

  • Long-range control when used on Mōvi Pro, Mōvi XL, and Mōvi Carbon through the Mōvi Controller.

What other I/O is available?

Gigabit Ethernet, CAN, and PCIe interfaces are available for future expansion.


Why did you guys build these cameras?

We are on a mission to build the smallest, fastest, lightest, most fun camera the world has ever seen. This brings us a bit closer to that goal.

What are the unique things about this camera?

  • Ultra tiny, ultra fast, ultra simple, ultra fun.

  • Continuous high-speed ProRes recording to non-volatile storage, limited only by storage capacity. No RAM buffer or trigger setup. It operates like a normal camera.

How does the camera do on an FPV drone?

Really well! Tiny, global shutter, built super light and tough, and remote start/stop easily wired up to flight control of your choice with 46min record time.

What are your favorite parts about Ember?

  • 4K 800fps images look dreamy, it’s like being in a Marvel film.

  • 5K 600fps leaves some room to reframe/stabilize.

  • Fast and responsive UI.

  • Great form factor for gimbals, FPV. Cable entry on top is great for packaging.

What's your least favorite?

  • Needs SO MUCH light.

  • It took us so long to get done.

  • Would like to have more dynamic range.

What would win in a fight, a llama or a raccoon?

Llama, as long as the raccoon isn’t hopped up on matcha or adderall.

Last updated