Blackmagic released their new small form factor digital cinema camera at NAB this year. So what does this mean for cinematographers?
Right off the bat this camera is aggressively priced in the realm of the DSLR’s at $2,995, which includes a copy of DaVinci Resolve. The camera touts a2.5K image sensor which is capable 13 stops of dynamic range which gets recorded as a RAW 12-bit file to SSD’s. The mount accepts EF and ZE mount lenses which means a good amount of quality glass will be available to shoot on. As for connections, the camera is fitted with SDI out, 2 mic/line audio ports, headphone jack, remote control port, and surprisingly a Thunderbolt port to transfer your footage at wickedly fast speeds. All of this is controlled by a 5″ touchscreen on the back of the camera that also functions as the monitor while recording.
A couple things to note. The sensor, though recording a 2.5K image is not a 35mm sized sensor. The actual size of the sensor is 15.81mm x 8.8mm, which is small compared to the 22.3 x 14.9 mm (APS-C size) sensor on a Canon 7D and tiny compared to the 36 mm x 24mm (35mm Full-frame) sensor on a Canon 5D MkIII. In comparison the sensor on a HVX200A is approximately 5mm x 3mm, so expect the depth of field characteristics to be somewhere in between the 7D and the HVX.
Currently I can’t find any footage from the camera on Vimeo or YouTube. When you click through the tabs on the product page on Blackmagic’s site you will eventually get to “Amazing Creative Stories from Industry Leaders”, which at first glance looks like projects that utilized the camera. Look carefully and you will notice that the featured projects are actually shot on everything from RED to 35mm film not the Blackmagic camera. The stories are simply touting the fact that they were graded using DaVinci Resolve.
So until we actually see images from the camera it’s hard to come to any sort of conclusion. The camera looks great, seems to have some features that will make it a good DSLR replacement and one would hope the importance of image quality will shine through from Blackmagic’s color grading history. I think this camera has promise and hopefully once it is out in the wild I can provide more insight.
What do you think of the new Blackmagic digital cinema camera? Would you buy it in place of a DSLR, or even a mid range camera like an F3? Leave your comments below.
EDIT (8/14/2012): Some footage has surfaced from the camera and it looks great! For me the camera really shines at 3:05. It retains the information in the sky as well as the darker areas in the shadows of the building. It looks like this camera really delivers when it comes to dynamic range and rendition of skin-tones. I look forward to seeing more footage!
Some footage shot on the Black Magic Cinema Camera by John Brawley for an upcoming short film. You can read more about the shoot on John’s blog here.