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Blackmagic Designs announces Blackmagic Cinema Camera

By dpreview staff on Apr 16, 2012 at 23:06 GMT

Blackmagic Designs, a company perhaps best known among film-makers for its external recording boxes, has announced its first camera - the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. It captures 2.5K (2432 x 1366) 12bit RAW footage with a claimed 13 stops of dynamic range on a sensor that is, at 16.64 x 14.04mm, slightly smaller than the Four Thirds standard. It features a Canon EF mount and the compact body includes a capacitive touchscreen and a Thunderbolt connection. EOSHD.com has published first impressions of the camera and what it offers the market.

Press Release:

Blackmagic Design Announces Blackmagic Cinema Camera

NAB 2012, Las Vegas, USA - April 16, 2012 - Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Cinema Camera, a revolutionary digital cinema camera design that includes powerful features such as super wide 13 stops of dynamic range, high resolution 2.5K sensor, built in high bandwidth SSD recorder, open file format support, color correction with full version of DaVinci Resolve and a built in LCD with metadata entry, all in an attractive compact design for only US$2,995.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design NAB 2012 booth at #SL220.

Many current generation video cameras suffer from a "video look" due to a limited contrast range, a maximum HD resolution sensor, poor quality optics and lenses, the use of heavy video compression for file recording and poor integration with NLE software metadata management. With these limitations, they cannot be used for high end work or feature films.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera has been designed to eliminate these problems so customers get a true feature film look, and at an affordable cost can shoot high end television commercials, episodic television programming and feature films.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a super wide 13 stops of dynamic range, large 2.5K sensor, a built in SSD recorder that has the bandwidth to capture open standard CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes and DNxHD files, a built in capacitive touch screen LCD for direct metadata entry, standard jack audio connections, built in high-speed Thunderbolt connection, 3 Gb/s SDI output, a refrigerated sensor for low noise, and is fully compatible with extremely high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mount lenses.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera also includes a full copy of DaVinci Resolve for color correction and Blackmagic UltraScope software for waveform monitoring. UltraScope can be run on a laptop connected to the camera via a Thunderbolt connection.

One of the most important features of the camera is its super wide dynamic range of 13 stops, allowing feature film quality images. Commonly people focus on more pixels, however often this just creates a higher resolution, but still "video" looking images that suffer from highlight and black clipping that limits details. Blackmagic Cinema Camera's wide dynamic range eliminates this problem and provides film quality with dramatically more detail retained in black and whites in the image. Once the shoot is complete, the included DaVinci Resolve color correction software can be used to adjust images and take advantage of this extra range in the images. The high quality EF and ZF lens compatibility also helps create sharp and cinematic images that look incredible.

To eliminate the damage that low bit depth and high compression video storage creates, Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a fast SSD recorder. The built in SSD recorder can record on fast solid state disks the full sensor detail in 12 bit Log RAW files in the open standard CinemaDNG format. These files can be read by all high end video software. The full 2.5K sensor data is stored in the files completely uncompressed because the SSD has the speed to store video data at the required rate. Then this high quality file can be color corrected on DaVinci Resolve for the same high quality result currently only possible on cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera has been designed as the perfect companion to Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer NLE software. Unlike other cameras, which require the use of custom video file formats that are not compatible with popular NLE software, often making the post production process a nightmare, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes absolutely no custom video file formats, and every file type included is open standard. It records into CinemaDNG format for RAW files, ProRes and DNxHD for HD resolution files compatible with Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer.

The built in large LCD display makes focus easy, and allows playback of captured files. Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a built in microphone, as well as external jack based mic/line level balanced audio connections. When playing back recorded clips, a speaker is built in, and there is an included headphone socket, as well as embedded audio on the SDI output and Thunderbolt connection. The SDI output includes all camera data such as timecode, transport control, shutter angle, color temperature setting and ASA information overlaid in attractive anti aliased fonts.

For easy metadata entry, the built in LCD features fast and responsive capacitive touch screen technology. When the user taps the display with a finger, a data entry window called the "slate" appears. This lets the user enter shot information just like typing on a smart phone. This data is then stored in the files so can be accessed by NLE software when editing content later. Metadata is compatible with popular software such as Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve. All camera settings can be changed on this touch LCD, such as frame rate, shutter angle, color temperature, dynamic range, focus assist settings and more.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes an innovative industrial design built from solid machined aluminum metal which results in an attractive but rugged design. All of the camera, recorder and display have been shrunk down into a lightweight design thats very portable.

"This is one of the most exciting products we have ever created and its been a work in progress for a very long time," said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. "Ever since I was a telecine engineer back in the 1990's I have wished that video cameras would include features that allowed them to perform creatively similar to film. However current digital cameras are too heavy, way too expensive and need costly accessories to work. We felt there was a need for a camera that delivered these features in a design that's optimized for professional video shoots, as well as being a compact, elegant design that's easily affordable. We think we have achieved that!"

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Key Features

  • High resolution 2.5K sensor allows improved anti aliasing and reframing shots.
  • Super wide 13 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
  • Built in SSD allows high bandwidth recording of RAW video and long duration compressed video.
  • Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software such as CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. No custom file formats.
  • Includes no custom connections. Standard jack mic/line audio in, BNC 3 Gb/s SDI out, headphone, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, LANC remote control and standard DC 12-30V power connection.
  • Capacitive touch screen LCD for camera settings and slate metadata entry.
  • Compatible with extremely high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses.
  • Supports 2.5K and 1080HD resolution capture in 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps.
  • Thunderbolt connection allows direct camera capture via included Media Express software and supports live waveform monitoring via the included Blackmagic UltraScope software.
  • Includes a full copy of DaVinci Resolve 9.0 color grading software.

Availability and Price

Blackmagic Cinema Camera will be available July 2012 for US$2,995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Additional images

Comments

Total comments: 354
12
drwho9437
By drwho9437 (Apr 17, 2012)

I hope this completely kills the DSLR video market, then maybe we can see feature sets that focus on improving stills rather than video.

7 upvotes
Christian Wagner
By Christian Wagner (Apr 17, 2012)

You're right, 30fps at 8MP isn't something useful to still photography when all of you complain that 6 or 8 isnt enough.

3 upvotes
Amateur Hour
By Amateur Hour (Apr 17, 2012)

Amen to that.

A DSLR on rails is a a totally useless as a still camera, and has less video features than a dedicated video cam.

Face it, it's a compromise. You can't be best in both.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Apr 17, 2012)

No, this is totally irrelevant to 90% of DSLR video. The only overlap is at the very high end for controlled studio shots. This will not attract people who can't shoot with crews of tehcnicians, and external recorder, and a mess of other stuff.

1 upvote
michael pappas
By michael pappas (Apr 17, 2012)

This just shook up the price/performance Market. My God! Good write up DP....

Pappas
http://PAPPASARTS.WORDPRESS.COM
http://TWITTER.COM/PAPPASARTS

0 upvotes
MIKE GG
By MIKE GG (Apr 17, 2012)

they didnt write anything up, its just a link

0 upvotes
Roberto Mettifogo
By Roberto Mettifogo (Apr 17, 2012)

13 stops of dynamic range it's the greatest feature of this camera, this is the main feature required to create "cinema like" footage.

Maybe there will be new lenses made for this camera ? many people complaining about the crop factor... I would not be surprised to see new lenses soon, also because a small camera like this can be very good for steadycam usage and there wide angle is very common.

Anyway there is nothing like this at 3k$.

1 upvote
DREWnetwork
By DREWnetwork (Apr 17, 2012)

16mm (movie film) are the lenses made for it. Hundreds of models going back about 40 years from every major manufacturer. And, most of them cost $3 on Ebay.

And, it looks like both EF and EF-S lenses from Canon can be (electronically) used on this camera, and Nikon F mount (manual focus) also.

0 upvotes
Keith Lommel
By Keith Lommel (Apr 17, 2012)

@DREWnetwork: Unfortunately, unless I"m reading the press release wrong, this will NOT be able to use 16mm (c-mount) movie lenses, even though many of these (as well as m4/3 lenses) might be an excellent match for this camera. It only has EF and ZF mounts, both of which have a deep flange distance, which would seem to preclude adapting many other more appropriate lenses. Hopefully this oversight is rectified quickly!

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Apr 17, 2012)

@Roberto Mettifogo:
"13 stops of dynamic range it's the greatest feature of this camera"

No it's not! It's the Built in SSD that allows high bandwidth recording of RAW video.

Oh wait, no it's not, it's compatibility with popular NLE software such as CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD.

Oh wait, no it's not, it's audio Monitoring.

Oh wait, no it's not, it's live waveform monitoring.

Oh wait, no it's not, it's the full copy of DaVinci Resolve 9.0.

Sorry, I'm having difficulties figuring it out...

3 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 17, 2012)

If this thing only takes EF and ZF mount lenses and nothing else, then someone should be making lenses in the fisheye/UWA/WA side of things, because right now there aren't many, if any, that would give the ultra wide perspectives.

0 upvotes
Roberto Mettifogo
By Roberto Mettifogo (May 9, 2012)

Duartrix, lol ahaha true that's a fabolous camera !

About lenses, yes it's strange that we must have that huge crop factor. Plus I think that minimum 400iso is a lot, you always need a strong ND. I also don't like that when you adjust exposure from the menu you don't see the image, they need to change this.

All the rest is purely awesomeness !

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
FastFisher
By FastFisher (Apr 17, 2012)

Revolution Begins !

For this price, I can live with 2.3x crop factor. :D

Comment edited 58 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
michael pappas
By michael pappas (Apr 17, 2012)

At this price, with those features. I agree. This was a blindsided announcement.

Pappas
http://PAPPASARTS.WORDPRESS.COM
http://TWITTER.COM/PAPPASARTS

1 upvote
DREWnetwork
By DREWnetwork (Apr 17, 2012)

Yes on "Revolution." This is big. This is exactly what the Scarlet was supposed to be -- three years ago.

2.5k for 3k. Well, close enough. And, it's from a real and established company -- not a "kick starter" type gamble.

3 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 17, 2012)

"For this price, I can live with 2.3x crop factor."

No clue where you are getting your 2.4 crop factor number from, it is more likely 2.7x or 2.8x, however. Big difference.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Apr 16, 2012)

So Canon and Nikon...how about a firmware update for 4k video.....you know you can do it ;)

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 17, 2012)

For 4K video you will need a 4K resolution sensor first, Friend. This one maxes at out 2,5K, see?

0 upvotes
wesder
By wesder (Apr 18, 2012)

Excellent[img]http://www.filii.info/g.gif[/img]

0 upvotes
artnaz
By artnaz (Apr 16, 2012)

Zeiss ZF? That means Nikon F-mount. Why don't they say "Nikon F-mount" which covers all possibilities including the Zeiss ZF?

Or am I missing something? Maybe because the ZF are mechanically the same as the old Nikon Ai(s) lenses?

1 upvote
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (Apr 16, 2012)

A typo I expect. Should read "ZE".

0 upvotes
deleted_081301
By deleted_081301 (Apr 17, 2012)

The photo shows a Zeiss ZE lens http://2.s.img-dpreview.com/files/news/5010477663/blackmagicfront.jpg?v=1455

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Apr 17, 2012)

It does seem odd but I spoke to Blackmagic to confirm and they swear EF and ZF (Nikon F). But they also say 'no adapter,' so it's really not clear.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
DREWnetwork
By DREWnetwork (Apr 17, 2012)

I suspect this means no electronic controls with Nikon F mount. Saying "ZF" says that without sounding like they're missing features.

0 upvotes
Redteg94
By Redteg94 (Apr 17, 2012)

They probably don't want to say F-mount because you won't be able to mount a G lens and control aperture. They could have just specified that, but I guess they found it easier to write ZF.

At any rate, it makes the most sense to just buy it in EF mount and mount F lenses via adapters if need be (then you can use a G lens)

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Apr 17, 2012)

Blackmagic has corrected itself to say ZE mount.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 17, 2012)

Who knows what Blackmagic is saying or correcting, this is a most confusing farrago indeed.

Let's just say they were making up the whole XF.2 lens type business and the camera cannot do it, only ZE. Okay, so all the Zeiss ZE-series glasses I can see here are SINGLE FOCAL lenses. Not a single one of them are zooms. Right?

http://lenses.zeiss.com/photo/en_DE/products/slr/distagont2815.html

That's great for taking still pictures maybe, but we on the other hand on the film/video sides of things also like zoom optics, Dear Blackmagic. How about it?

Even worse is the fact that the absolutely widest angle, shortest focal length lens in the entire Carl Zeiss ZE series is a 15mm model. Okay, so with the crop factor that would be what, a 40-42mm lens in 135 equivalent terms, correct? Not exactly a wide angle, more like a normal perspective lens, right?

See the problems accumulating here for this $2,995 camera with the one-off sensor size?

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Apr 16, 2012)

The sensor is far too small to be using PL or FF lenses. Its smaller than 43 and once you crop, you probably looking at a 3x crop factor.. good luck getting any decent wide to normal lenses. They should have just gone with an APSc/S35 sensor.

7 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 16, 2012)

The sensor is larger than Nikon 1 so it will at most be 2.5 X crop, likely less than that.

1 upvote
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Apr 16, 2012)

2.5x sounds about right.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Jogger
By Jogger (Apr 16, 2012)

Its taking a 4/3 aspect sensor and cropping it to 16/9.. so the crop penalty is huge.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 16, 2012)

So does the GH2 record to 16/9 (as do every HDSLR body) and there is no huge crop penalty.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (Apr 16, 2012)

The GH2 uses an oversized sensor.. this camera has a native sensor that is 4:3 and its smaller than m43. The fact that they dont give you a video crop factor for lenses tells you a lot.

The other HDSLRs use 3:2 apect sesnors, so the crop penalty isnt nearly as severe as going from a 4:3 to 16:9.

2 upvotes
aeolos
By aeolos (Apr 17, 2012)

last time i ve been to the cinema the movie really had lots and lots of wide angle shots * rolleyes

1 upvote
RRJackson
By RRJackson (Apr 17, 2012)

The sensor size is somewhere between Super-16mm and Techniscope 35mm. It's 15.6mm x 8.8mm. That's an excellent sensor size. It's small enough that you don't necessarily need an assistant to pull focus and large enough that you can still use selective focus. Perfect, really.

16mm glass won't cover it, so wide lenses will be a problem. For doc guys the telephoto stuff will be amazing, though. With the roughly 2.3x crop factor a 300mm f/4 will yield a field of view approximately equal to 690mm without having to rig up complicated lens support.

1 upvote
duartix
By duartix (Apr 17, 2012)

@Jogger:
Your main post is a joke right? You noticed this is a video camera, right?

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 17, 2012)

Active image being recorded has a height of only a truly small 8.8mm, thus the crop is going to be 2.7x or 2.8x, unfortunately.

Also unfortunately, there are no matching fisheye/UWA/wide angle lenses for it, since you would need to find some primes and zoom with 4.5 to 6mm at their wide end to get 75 to 90 degrees of horizontal angular FOV.

It is a great camera -- once someone figures out what to do for lenses with it.

0 upvotes
RRJackson
By RRJackson (Apr 18, 2012)

The sensor is 15.6mm x 8.8mm, so the crop factor is 2.3x horizontally and 2.72x vertically. IMO looking at the vertical crop factor isn't a very good metric since the aspect ratio of the sensor is 1.77:1 and not the typical 1.5:1 of 35mm still photography.

I'll buy one as soon as it comes out. I'll probably put a Tokina 35mm f/2.8 Macro on it for a 1-shot or 2-shot interview lens. I'll probably use a Sigma 20mm f/1.8 for a "normal" (since the soft corners aren't going to matter and the distortion is so low) and of course there are countless options for telephoto lenses. Wide angle lenses are scarce for it, but I almost never shoot wide angle. Even on still cameras I seldom go wider than 35mm. Others may have reservations about that, but I don't.

1 upvote
RRJackson
By RRJackson (Apr 18, 2012)

BTW, someone pointed out the Tokina 11-16mm as a very popular wide-angle zoom among cinematographers. I hadn't considered that one. So that's like having a 25-36mm f/2.8. Certainly not too bad in terms of wide-angle coverage.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 18, 2012)

Well, it you use the higher of the crops, or base the crop factor on the diagonal you can use the figure of app. 2.7x.

That would make the Tokina 11-16mm optic mated to the BCC a 30-43mm zoom in FF 135 terms. It is hard for me to designate 30mm as WIDE angle, it is definitely borderline wide angle and normal as far as the horizontal perspective goes.

Whereas the whole idea of the 11-16mm Tokina zoom is that is it an ULTRA-WIDE ANGLE optic. Just not on this BCC camera.

0 upvotes
RRJackson
By RRJackson (Apr 18, 2012)

The higher figure is for the height of the frame which changes based on the aspect ratio you end up using. In cinema you always use the horizontal width of the frame as the basis for calculations. That's why we call lenses "wide angle" lenses and not "tall angle" lenses.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Apr 19, 2012)

Fact is, this camera has a 1.18:1 aspect ratio sensor inside it. That already makes it sort of an anomaly, I mean, most folks don't really want to shoot high-def video in 1.18:1 AR, or do they?

The only aspect ratio I know of that this BCC is capable of is 1.78:1. That is all it will record for you, in other words, so any other aspect ratio changes to the footage has to be done in post. There, you can further crop it to make it look like 3:1 AR Technovision or whatever.

I cannot believe a manufacturer would even order a digital sensor in the 1.18:1 aspect ratio, frankly. But since they did, they should have made sure that there is a mode in the camera that would utilize or all most of the photosites on the sensor, instead of doing such a drastic vertical crop as this one does.

Just my 2 cents worth on it, mind you. Not too bad of a first attempt from an outfit that never made anything like a camera before. I am waiting to see how the Digital Bolex will compare.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 16, 2012)

Incredible specs. It's really nice that if you don't want to record to RAW, you can record to ProRes, which great. So instead of the usual h.264 to ProRes dance, record straight to ProRes.

It's not the most beautiful camera, but Blackmagic loaded it with tons of great capabilities.

0 upvotes
645D
By 645D (Apr 16, 2012)

Same price as a D800. Better video?

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 16, 2012)

Well the D800 doesn't record 2.5K RAW, or ProRes. It may not compete with the D800 in low-light, but I guess we'll know more as some sample film shorts are released.

0 upvotes
Mssimo
By Mssimo (Apr 16, 2012)

Will it be as good or better than the current GH2 or the GH3 (should be out soon)

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Apr 16, 2012)

The GH2 is great, but it doesn't record 12 bit RAW, and it definitely doesn't have 13 stops of DR.

0 upvotes
Odesius
By Odesius (Apr 17, 2012)

Anybody know, how does it achieve a DR of 13?

0 upvotes
solarsky
By solarsky (Apr 17, 2012)

@Odesius Perhaps RED's new 6K "Dragon"-sensor with over 15 DR-stops holds some indication... it might just be the new technological normal in the high-end-field to have 13-16 DR-stops; in 12- or 16-bit RAW-video.

1 upvote
Potemkin_Photo
By Potemkin_Photo (Apr 17, 2012)

Canonikon, you've been officially put on notice. Start making cameras with the functions we want for 1/2 the price or go the way to Kodak. Last warning.

7 upvotes
DREWnetwork
By DREWnetwork (Apr 17, 2012)

Regarding video -- comparing a D800 to this Blackmagic Cinema Camera is like comparing a tricycle to a Ferrari. 12 bit, RAW is a different universe from "AVCHD with B frames."

1 upvote
escapestudios
By escapestudios (Apr 17, 2012)

Would love to learn more about the lifespan on battery, and obviously its low light capability. 1080 slow mo? Looking forward to see some footage...

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Apr 17, 2012)

90min life on built in internal battery, plus 12-30v input for external power.

No SlowMo in spec at mo (30P max)

0 upvotes
duartix
By duartix (Apr 17, 2012)

@645D: Better video?
Sure, it's a video camera!

0 upvotes
david__p
By david__p (Apr 20, 2012)

this camera will sell like hotcakes regardless of the handful of haters on this thread.

0 upvotes
Faolla
By Faolla (May 4, 2012)

i am getting quite the kick reading about how a non-replaceable battery automatically makes this camera a non-starter. last time i checked the iPhone, iPad, iPods and the newest MBPs all don't have removable batteries. guess that makes them non-starters and not suitable for use either.

also interesting, last time i left the set, i didn't notice any of the Arri, Panavision or Red cameras having ANY built in batteries.

what idiots would film major motion pix, commercials, music videos and documentaries with a camera that didn't have user replaceable internal batteries?

in my book, having raw capability almost negates the 4/3 sensor disadvantage as compared to the 5D and the 13 stop range rivals the 14 stop range of the Arri Alexa.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Total comments: 354
12