BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera for only $2,995 USD. Hold the bus!

Wow, Blackmagic does it again. I didn’t see this one coming but at a mere $2,995 USD for an HD camera with 13 stops of dynamic range, DNG RAW workflow or ProRes/DNxHD recording internally, it’s going to rock the boat quite a bit. On my list of things to see at the show in the week.

12 thoughts on “BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera for only $2,995 USD. Hold the bus!”

  1. I’m not sure if this is real or an April Fool’s joke! The link doesn’t work any more.

    1. It’s very real. It’s micro 4/3″ sensor so finding good wide lenses will be hard. Form factor is pretty basic and the viewfinder/touch screen is 800 x 480 so way too low resolution to be good for focussing. BUT at that price there will be a lot of uses for it I’m sure.

      1. It’s a ~S16 sensor, 15mmx9mm approx, so not micro 4/3″. If S16 was good enough for Black Swan and The Hurt Locker, then this camera is probably good enough for folks to use for indie film work. The touch screen is low resolution but it punches in for focus assist so that saves you having to buy a separate monitor for the set unless you want one.

        1. You are correct that it’s not micro 4/3, but 16:9 Super 16 is only 6.7mm x 11.9mm with a 13.7mm diagonal. The BlackMagic sensor is 8.8 mm x 15.6 mm with a 17.9mm diagonal, so in some cases a Super16 lens will not fully illuminate the sensor, vignette or be very soft in the corners. Your going to need lenses with an image circle larger than super 16, so your kind of stuck with using 4/3 lenses or bigger but in addition the use of a ZE/EF mount with it’s 44mm flange back means that you won’t be able to use c-mount Super 16mm lenses because the C-Mount flange back is too short and you can’t use PL lenses because PL is big to allow for a simple adapter to be made. Basically your stuck with APS-C DSLR type lenses so wide angles will be few and far between.

          Sorry, while at first this camera looked very interesting it’s a bit too “Fisher-Price” for me, although as I said I’m sure some people will find a use for it. I’d rather buy a video equipped DSLR for the same money, at least you then have a sensible range of lens options. It’s all very well having 13 stops of DR and raw, but if you can’t get the images you want on to the sensor what’s the point of having all the other stuff. The “2.5k” bayer sensor is only really good for HD resolution so it’s not like it’s higher resolution than most other HD offerings.

          1. I’ve been comparing footage shot on various DSLRs including Canon Mk iii and Nikon D800 to sample clips from new BM Cinema camera. To my eyes the BM footage looks superior in every respect. To me it resembles more of a film look than F3 graded S-log examples I’ve seen. I know there’s many factors in choosing a camera. Practicality and personal taste are a big part of the equation .. but so is cost. Despite it’s smaller sensor and fewer wide lens options, the BM camera seems like incredible value. With quality of images, great codec options, 13 stops of DR and included software I suspect many including professionals will be adding a BM camera to their kit. You could include a really nice EVF into the overall cost and still be a fraction of the price of pro Sony or Canon offerings. Alister you mention it’s not higher resolution than HD? The BM specs state a 2.5k RAW option. I’d be surprised they’d include it if the result is no higher res than HD.

          2. All the footage I’ve seen and the live feed here at Nab looks soft. The BM figure is NOT resolution, read the specs carefully. They quote the number of horizontal pixels as 2.4K, you cannot get 2.4k resolution from a 2.4k bayer sensor, period. At the very best you will get 1920, but more likely somewhere around 1750-1850. It pisses me off when manufactures use the pixel count as the resolution. That is simply incorrect marketing talk from a PR department that has no clue about what resolution really is. It obviously works as you have clearly been taken in by the marketing hype. With a bayer sensor, RAW or otherwise the very best you can expect is 0.8 x horizontal pixel count. More typically you get around 0.7 – 0.75xx.

            As I said what’s the point of 13 stops of DR if you can only do long focal length shots? People get so taken in by the headline numbers and forget that all the best cameras are a balance of resolution, dynamic range, noise, colorimetry, ergonomics, codec, storage and workflow. Take Alexa as a great example. Alexa is highly regarded as a movie camera yet it is only HD.

            Sure it’s cheap, maybe even a bargain but, it is not a replacement for the majority of film replacement cameras currently on the market.

  2. It sounds amazing, Alister, thanks so much for the heads up! When you consider the cost of an EF adapter that controls the electronic aperture, an outboard recorder like the Samurai, and some other neat features, this takes the cake. Couple of questions if and when you get the chance — how small is the sensor compared to other HD cameras like the F3, and what impact will that have on quality? And will autofocus work on Canon lenses that have that function?

    Thanks again for all the exciting news from NAB, keep it coming! Only wish I could attend your S-log talk. Any chance for someone to film it so us homebodies can see it online?


  3. What are your thoughts on using that MTF adapter for B4 lenses on Canon APS-C sized DSLRs on this camera? Would it cover the sensor without the doubler possibly, or would it be like a 4.3 crop factor with the doubler?

    1. Not really sure. It will depend on the projected image circle of the lens. I think it would cover the whole sensor without the extender, but I can’t be sure until tested.

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