nikonkit-main nikonkit-main

Nikon Introduces $4,000 Stop Motion Animator’s Kit


Animation just got a little easier with the introduction of the Nikon Animator’s Kit, which conveniently collects all the camera equipment and software needed for creating stop motion animation into one not-so-cheap package. The star of the kit is Nikon’s just-released 36.3Mp D810 DSLR camera, which has received high marks from the photography community. The kit also includes:

  • AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED FX-format macro prime lens
  • Dragonframe stop motion animation software and controller
  • EH-5b/EP-5B power supply and connector

It’s not entirely clear who Nikon is targeting with the kit. Their website suggests that this might be a good investment for beginners: “The animator’s kit contains what you need to get started in the incredibly fun and exciting medium of stop motion animation.” But not many novices have $4,000 to spend on a stop motion kit. The more likely market segment is stop motion pros who demand top-grade equipment, but if that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine any pro animator who doesn’t already own a lens or Dragonframe.

One artist who’ll definitely be using the camera is stop motion director PES, who will shoot his next short Submarine Sandwich using the Nikon D810 camera. Nikon, which is the lead sponsor of his film, is providing PES “a portion of the production funds” as well as all of his camera equipment. Nikon also provided PES with an additional camera kit to be given away to a backer of his film’s Kickstarter campaign. Here is PES unboxing the kit:

The Animator’s Kit can be pre-ordered for $3,999.95 on Nikon’s website.

  • KP

    I personally wouldn’t ‘get started’ in stop-motion with a $3200 camera body (the same price of camera that stop-motion animated feature-films are photographed with). Pick up an HD web camera for under $100.

    Even as a pro, I would use a camera that costs much less. Who needs 36Mp when it’s rare that you can even properly screen your work in 1080p?

    Also, a 105mm as your only lens to ‘get started’ seems a bit out of touch as well. Most beginners would set up something in the corner of a room, needing a bit of a wider lens. A 105mm is even fairly extreme for a professional setting!

    • TStevens

      Yeah, a 105mm is a little long but, it is all relative to the physical size of the sensor and how it is placed in relation to the lens. Back in the days of 35mm that would have been pretty close to a portrait lens. Unfortunately, with digital, there really isn’t a “normal” focal length anymore. As far as 36MP, It would only make sense if he is doing a lot of compositing for things like wire removal etc.
      One of the nice things about professional cameras is that you can get things like SDI out, color bars, fully manual settings, focus racks and cages, etc. It’s also heavy enough to use with a fluid head. But I agree, this is not for the beginner.

      • People never plan these things out well enough I suppose. I miss the old film days already!

    • JeanbearTheImmasculator

      Aren’t 1080p tv’s like the standard now?

  • Pedro Nakama

    $4,000 seems a little steep. We all know that film is just a series of pictures played back a certain frame rate. Stop motion can be done with a simple point and shoot digital camera, with all of those pictures fed into an existing software such as iMovie or Adobe Premiere.

  • Ryoku240

    An unboxing video on cartoonbrew? Oui, theres far too many of those as it is.

    I’m not going to say that this is the right way, but I will say that I’ve been able to make stop-motion via a regular digital camera, tripod, and Windows Movie Maker. The end result wasn’t perfect but it didn’t cost 4 grand.

    • Usually that’s an important fact most novice filmmakers need to remember.

      • Ryoku240

        Right, best they practice with what they have, then once they’re good and serious upgrade their stuff a bit.

        The camera I used isn’t even that new, its just an old Nikon Coolpix L3. Worked fine apart from having to hold the take picture each shot.

        • I got a Krasnogorsk-3 sitting in it’s case someplace I haven’t touched with after I bought it. I suppose I’ll have to use it someday if or when I get around to finding some film for it!

          • Ryoku240

            I’m no photographer, but I’ve been told that regular film and that produce better pictures than digital. Just stinks that finding film isn’t all that easy.

            Maybe I’ll make a small business from that, collecting film and old projector lights.

          • “Just stinks that finding film isn’t all that easy.”

            It use to be so easy when I was still in college!

            “Maybe I’ll make a small business from that, collecting film and old projector lights.”

            Know a few who have done such things. I bothered picking out projectors and bulbs at the right time when that stuff was being chucked a decade ago.

  • elliot Lobell

    kinda makes me wish they had this before i bought all my gear years ago. but really awesome that they did this. Dragonframe is the coolest.

    • Of course 20 years ago I probably would’ve bought a Super 16mm film camera for that price (though I’m sure it was more than that back then).

  • Harry Bastard

    The DragonFrame stop-mo software and USB controller are, by themselves, pretty affordable, even for the newb. $295 bucks gets you the software and controller (software is instant download, you’ll need to wait for them to ship the controller) Any Brewmeisters using Dragonframe? Let us know whatcha think!

  • This is actually a pretty sweet little setup. Though I agree it does seem a tad pricey for the average consumer, I could see them being use in high school art departments or local art schools.

    I recently made a crude stop-motion video for my 4 year old daughter using a Canon EOS and editing it entirely in Photoshop. I enjoyed cobbling it together but the end result would have been far better with some pre-production planning and a better set up. The video is a short 20s. I’m certainly not a stop-mo animator and I threw it together on a whim, but here it is:

    Incidentally it’s a true story, though my daughter has since come to re-appreciate Jessie.

  • Bona Bones

    Dude I’m a stop motion animator. You can get a WAY better deal if you look for it yourself.

    • bencee

      isn’t that the same with most things technology related? cheaper to build your own pc, etc.

    • JeanbearTheImmasculator

      I stop motion animate without cameras. I’m hardcore that way.

  • Flip the Frog

    A $1000 lens is total overkill, and 105mm is an awful choice. A lot of pros use Canon cameras with Nikon lenses (Frankenweenie, for example). Using the “wrong” lenses ensures that the lens is completely manual, but this only works with Nikon lenses on Canon cameras – Canon lenses can’t be used on Nikon cameras. Also, Canon’s live view can be turned on for much longer without getting too warm.

    Where I work, we’re shooting our second feature on Canon 7d’s, which costs less than a third than Nikon 810 and is more than good enough for showing in cinemas

  • slowtiger

    This looks like the perfect gift for a beginner – if you have a very wealthy uncle wiht not much technical understanding. But I have some doubts that it will yield the same amount of excitement I had with my first Super8 camera.

  • It’s a nice short and your low budget technique works pretty well with your loose aesthetic but if you wanted a more polished look you really would need a better set up.

  • Would anyone care to suggest a better lower cost solution for a beginner with lofty ambitions?

    In my limited experience I found that it would have been very helpful to have a remote shutter release and some way to view in realtime the current frame on a full size monitor.

    • Rick

      right so. Cheap set-up.
      1 get old manual lenses, they’re much better for stop motion because of their manual iris. On the Stop Motion Pro website there is a training section on what lenses to use. Read that. Olympus OM1 lenses are dirt cheap compared to this one, and they’re really nice (get a selection of primes if you can).
      2 look into other stop motion software and compare for your needs. Three packages I recommend looking into are Stop motion pro, Animator HD and Dragonframe. They all have their own advantages.
      3 get a cheaper camera body. look at what you need image and resolution wise. You can probably get away with a camera body like the Canon 70 D. This shoots well over 4K in RAW. Depending on your light set-up things can look awesome.
      All in all you should be able to get a set-up like this for about 1500-2000, and you’d have a better set-up with more options. Also you’d be more flexible for future upgrades. You will however need to educate yourself on lenses and camera’s and what your needs are.

      Hope this helped,

  • There are places that do transfer 8mm film to DVD or other digital sources. Then you could just upload the video file to any place to share it that way.

    • Ryoku240

      Hm, now its just a matter of cost.

      • Which I’m sure isn’t too bad, though I can’t see 4K doing wonders on 8mm footage.