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Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?

COW Library : DSLR Video : Marco Solorio : Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
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CreativeCOW presents Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer? -- DSLR Video Review


OneRiver Media
Walnut Creek California USA

©2012 CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media dissects Blackmagic Design's new Cinema Camera to see if it is in fact, the much-anticipated HDSLR-killer everyone's been waiting for over the years. But with a comparatively smaller sensor size and radical body design, does it fit the bill as the killer we all want?



Blackmagic Cinema Camera



I've been shooting video with the Canon 5D Mark II since late 2008 when the camera was initially released. I can't believe that was nearly four years ago. For many productions, I still choose it over our other HD camera options. Aside from its drawbacks, the images you can pull from that camera can still be breathtaking.

I'll be the first to admit that I was a little heartbroken after waiting three years for the 5D Mark III successor, only to find that the HD video feature-set wasn't anything to write home about. Don't get me wrong, the improvements are definitely there, but in many cases, Canon lost out on "Revolution Part 2" with the Mark III, that they captured so well with the Mark II.


Marco Solorio hiding behind his 5D Mk II 'Cine Rig' used on a TV commercial spot.
Marco Solorio hiding behind his 5D Mk II "Cine Rig" used on a TV commercial spot.


Nikon always seems to miss the HD video boat when opportunity arises as well. For three years now, they could have stolen the spotlight up from Canon in a heartbeat, but never seized the moment. Granted, they too have stepped up the feature-set in their latest HDSLR offerings, in some aspects, better than Canon. But alas, they just don't get it.

And what ever happened to RED's 3K for $3k? Such a shame they never tapped into that market space. Entry into RED is their Scarlet X, which nears the $20k point for a functionally ready-to-shoot camera. It's a nice camera indeed, but realistically out of the range for the general HDSLR shooter spectrum.

There's also the Digital Bolex, but it's an upstart company without a tangible device to see in person with little to no footage samples. To get some of the features that the Cinema Camera has, you'd need Digital Bolex add-ons (SDI output apparently adds another $3k to the camera). It seems this camera is just a bit too late into market.


Rear view of the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera
Rear view of the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera


Then along comes the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera. This took EVERYONE, myself included, by complete surprise during last Sunday's announcements at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters). As a post-production-centered company, who ever would have guessed BMD would get into making a camera and for only $2995 to boot? But you know, it makes complete sense if you really think about it. They've always produced (or bought out) quality-made, cost-effective solutions for post-production and broadcast, so why not build a camera that starts the end-to-end pipeline of high quality media acquisition?

So is the Cinema Camera the anticipated "HDSLR killer" we've all been waiting for? In many instances, yes, I think it very well may be. But in some regards, possibly not. Let's compare.



BENEFITS OF THE CINEMA CAMERA OVER DSLR CAMERAS


The core strength of the Cinema Camera (aside from it's low price of $2995) is its 13-stop, 2.5K sensor resolution (2592x2192), which can be recorded internally and externally at full 12-bit RAW, at a maximum of 2432x1366 in CinemaDNG format. You can also record directly to 10-bit ProRes (Apple) or DNxHD (AVID) formats at full 1080 HD size. All of this (combined with the price) is the heart of what makes the Cinema Camera buzzing with electric fire right now.

Additionally, the Cinema Camera can output clean 2.5K RAW 12-bit resolution via Thunderbolt, and clean 1080 HD 10-bit HD-SDI to any recorder you'd like. Not that it's necessarily needed with the Cinema Camera's internal SSD media recorder, but the Thunderbolt and HD-SDI outputs really give much needed secondary output options for both recording and clean monitoring. For the most part, this is something current DSLRs cannot do, save the $15K Canon 1D C with HDMI output (limited to 8-bit 1080 HD), or the new Nikon DSLR lineup, also limited to HDMI output at 8-bit 1080 HD. So the camera that comes closest to outputting a live, clean, uncompressed, RAW output higher than 1080 HD, and higher than 8-bit is the Canon C500 at about $30K (no word on street price yet).

2.5K
Let's talk about traditional 2K for just a second. I remember when working in 2K was the cat's meow. Man, if you worked in 2K, you were the bomb, even if it was barely more than 1080 HD. Now if you work in 4K, you're the bomb. Let's be real. 4K is cool and fun, but the total convergence to 4K isn't here yet. It will be, but not yet. A lot of theatrical digital output formats are still in 2K. Shooting in 2.5K with the Cinema Camera lets you have an edge up for that 2K deployment, should you need it. Bottom line is, there isn't a DSLR out there that can shoot above 1080 HD, save the $15K Canon 1D C.


The Cinema Camera's 2.5K format sits well in the traditional 2K zone, while giving some headroom above the full 1080 HD format.
The Cinema Camera's 2.5K format sits well in the traditional 2K zone, while giving some headroom above the full 1080 HD format.


AUDIO INPUTS
As for audio input, some people are under the impression that the Cinema Camera uses the same audio input type as DSLRs, namely, a line-level stereo input jack, since it doesn't have XLR inputs. This couldn't be further from the truth. The Cinema Camera uses ¼-inch balanced TRS connectors (and is switchable between consumer -10dB line level and professional +4dB mic level). You will get the same exact audio quality with this, had they implemented XLR connectors. To add, the audio input can be switched (via internal menu) from balanced analog audio to AES/EBU digital format. Show me a DSLR that not only has two balanced analog audio inputs, but two digital audio inputs.

One currently lacking audio feature seems to be audio meters, but as a trade-off, Ultrascope is packaged with this camera (the camera itself acts as an UltraScope to a tethered Thunderbolt-capable computer) which can display multiple channel meters, as well as stereo phase metering. But metering aside, the actual audio quality of the Cinema Camera trumps any DSLR audio, including the Canon 1D C ($15K) by leaps and bounds. In reality, I do not foresee the need to implement double-system sound when using the Cinema Camera, unlike traditional DSLR cameras that almost require double-system sound to be implemented.


BODY DESIGN
At first I was skeptical of the Cinema Camera body design, but as I dug deeper, I think you actually might have better mounting options with this camera than a DSLR. At the bottom of the camera is a standard ¼-20 tap and locator pin (already better than DSLR cameras as they don't have a much needed secondary locator point). Personally, I'd rather have two ¼-20 taps, but the ¼-20 + pin combo will work and has been around for decades. At the top of the camera are three ¼-20 taps, which will really make it cool to mount secured rigs and cages to. I absolutely guarantee the market will be FLOODED with rigging options for this camera, and they'll be very securely mounted to boot with all these ¼-20 taps. I foresee a very slick cage(s) for this camera in due time, which will allow even more mounting options.


Comparing the body sizes of the Canon 5D Mk III and the Cinema Camera
Comparing the body sizes of the Canon 5D Mk III and the Cinema Camera


ENCODING
Let's be real, H.264 encoding on DSLR cameras sucks. They're highly compressed, both temporally and spatially. Part of the problem is the data rate of the CF/SD cards that DSLR cameras have succumbed to, so the video files have to be small. Eight-bit compression with lossy image compression and high chroma sub-sampling compression (4:2:0) is feeling a little like 1998 again. There's a ton of lost color-data I'd sure love to have back again. And as we all know, H.264 files are CPU hogs that sometimes require transcoding to work efficiently with many applications. With the Cinema Camera, all this torture is a thing of the past. Your choices are glorious 12-bit RAW CinemaDNG, or 10-bit ProRes/DNxHD in 4:2:2. DSLR cameras can't even come close to that kind of data structure, not by millions of miles. Now you can finally color grade your footage without it falling apart after pushing a levels slider only three values away (sarcastic, but you know how I feel).


ROLLING SHUTTER
From the little test footage I've seen to date, the rolling shutter is much less noticeable than most HDSLR cameras out there. The Canon 5D Mk III made good improvements in this regard though, and from what I've seen, it looks like the Cinema Camera is as good or better than the 5D Mk III. Time will tell as more test footage is released.


ALIASING
Like rolling shutter, aliasing has been a menacing problem plagued with HDSLR cameras. To combat this, I purchased a Mosaic Engineering VAF-5D2 anti-aliasing filter for my 5D Mk II. It works wonders and completely eliminates moiré and aliasing... at a cost of almost $400. The 5D Mk III seems to do away with the problem, at the cost of a slightly softer image, as compared to the 5D Mk II. At first glance, it looks like there is no aliasing with the Cinema Camera, and without a loss of image softening. But like rolling shutter results, time will tell as more test footage is released.


FOOTAGE LENGTH
It hasn't happened very often to me personally, but the limited clip length of DSLR cameras ranges from less than 10 minutes up to just under 30 minutes, depending on your DSLR flavor. In the times I've ran out of shooting time on the 5D Mk II, I had to quickly hit the record button again, knowing that the gap in time will have to be filled by either B-roll, a multi-cam shot, or a cut-away shot. The Cinema Camera can record for hours on end without stopping for a drink.


METADATA
Metadata entry directly onto each clip with a touchscreen keyboard is pretty damn cool. I don't know of a single DSLR camera that can do manual metadata entry, not to mention doing it with a keyboard. There are plugins, apps, and tools out there to add metadata to DSLR clips after the fact. Sometimes however, you just want to do it right then and there, in camera, before you forget what you wanted to enter after the shoot is done for the day.


Entering in metadata for each clip is handy with the touchscreen keyboard.
Entering in metadata for each clip is handy with the touchscreen keyboard.


POWER
The 12-30 volt power tap on the Cinema Camera is very welcomed. I typically shoot with V-mount batteries to my 5D Mk II rig. But getting external DC power (at exactly 7.2 volts) to the 5D from ENG-style batteries is kind of cumbersome (I literally built my own V-mount regulated/variable battery tap for this very reason). With the Cinema Camera, you simply go straight from any 12-30 volt source (like 14-volt V-mount, Anton Bauer, etc.) and you don't have to worry about voltage conversions or regulators. Easy.


LANC
I have an array of external controls to handle my DSLR cameras remotely, from Okii USB devices, to wireless follow focuses, you name it. But the cheap and easy way to really control a camera is with LANC (first developed by Sony and has been around forever). With it the Cinema Camera can control recording start/stop modes, lens aperture (so long as the lend has pin-out to it, like all Canon EF and EF-S lenses), and lens focus (again, if you have an auto-focus style lens with pin-outs). This is great for ENG style shooting, or when you need to place the camera on a jib or crane; no need for fancy/expensive wireless follow focus units, just an extension cord from your LANC remote and to the Cinema Camera. Although the 3rd party hardware work-arounds are okay for remote DSLR shooting, LANC really is really the ideal method with an abundance of remote devices in the market to choose from.


A plethora of LANC remotes are available in the market. Shown here are some from Manfrotto, VariZoom, and Canon.
A plethora of LANC remotes are available in the market. Shown here are some from Manfrotto, VariZoom, and Canon.


SOFTWARE
When you buy the Cinema Camera, you get quite a booty of software with it. To start with you get a full license of DaVinci Resolve grading software (includes USB dongle). The second item you receive on the list is UltraScope (the camera itself acts as an UltraScope device) via Thunderbolt. Finally, you get Blackmagic Design's Media Express software to perform live capture (via Thunderbolt) of the 12-bit RAW footage. Last I checked, DSLRs don't come with any of this software, nor, I suspect, will it ever happen.


Blackmagic Cinema Camera



HD-SDI OUTPUT
I'm extremely pleased to see Blackmagic Design implemented an HD-SDI output on their Cinema Camera as opposed to an HDMI output. Don't get me wrong, HDMI is great for home theater use, but in production use, it's just not as robust as HD-SDI. For one, HDMI has a fairly short run of about 10 meters before you have to start worrying about signal degradation (I've lost signal at about the 35-foot mark in the past). With HD-SDI, you can connect to a plethora of industry standard devices that already have HD-SDI, as well as extending those cable runs by hundreds of feet, rather than hundreds of centimeters. The first thing my Canon 5D Mk II does is output its HDMI signal to a Blackmagic Design HDMI-to-SDI Mini Converter where it can go to anything else on set, whether it's the camera rig's LCD monitor, or out to the video village that may need a 100-foot cable run... the Cinema Camera needs no such converter for a superior HD-SDI workflow.


PEAKING
The Cinema Camera has zebra stripes now, and according to Blackmagic Design, they are adding histogram and waveform monitoring (at time of shipping, or in a firmware update after shipped units is not known at this time). There was mention of focus peaking (with the assist of the physical "Focus" button on the camera) on the NAB floor, but nothing more directly specific from Blackmagic Design on the topic just yet. And don't forget, you can use the UltraScope Thunderbolt output to really get detailed metering of your image. The only way to get zebra stripes on a 5D Mk II is through a firmware hack by the likes of the Magic Lantern Firmware, which I've used with success in the past, but sometimes its quicker and easier to NOT load up the firmware hack and go native (without said stripes). The very newest crop of DSLR cameras from Canon, like the 5D Mk III, do have a live histogram function (during recording) but no zebra stripes or focus peaking.



BENEFITS OF DSLR CAMERAS OVER THE CINEMA CAMERA


SENSOR SIZE
I'm the first to admit that I was a little disappointed when I heard the Cinema Camera's sensor was around the size of a 4/3rd sensor. Having been spoiled with the Vistavision sensor size of the 5D Mk II, it's almost, key word here is "almost" hard to go back down to anything smaller. With the larger sensor you gain two big things; for one, you have better light sensitivity IF the pixel receptors on the sensor themselves are also big enough to gather the light individually. This obviously equates to lower noise at higher ISO values. The 5D Mk II shined in this area and the 5D Mk III is even better. Much better. It's unclear at this time what the maximum ISO value of the Cinema Camera is, but regardless, it wont be as high or as clean as something like the 5D Mk III, that's guaranteed. You'll just have to be a little more light conscious with the Cinema Camera.

The second benefit to a large sensor size is the narrower depth of field (DOF), which in many cases can help give it that cinema look. But for those of you that have used ENG cameras or DV cameras of old, we know all too well how to obtain narrow DOF, even with a little 1/3" sensor size. Sure it's not as easy (and in some cases, as clean) as a large sensor camera with fast glass, but in the end, there are ways around this. And let's not forget, the sensor size of the Cinema Camera is still bigger than most ENG-style cameras. It's "smaller" but it's not "small".


The Cinema Camera's 2.5K imager isn't huge like a 5D Mk III, but it's still larger than traditional Super 16mm film, as well as many ENG style cameras.
The Cinema Camera's 2.5K imager isn't huge like a 5D Mk III, but it's still larger than traditional Super 16mm film, as well as many ENG style cameras.


There are, however, at least three distinctively alternate benefits to the smaller sensor size of the Cinema Camera. First, it opens up a huge amount of lens options, from the exotics, to cheap off-the-shelf lenses you can pick up anywhere. Likewise, with lens adapters so commonplace now, you could just about put any lens mount type on this camera. The options are endless. Secondly, the smaller sensor will get the sweet spot of all lenses without having to deal with soft edges or vignetting. Thirdly, the smaller sensor means you don't need as much resolving power from the lens itself, which in turn means that in most cases, the difference between using a lower quality lens, and a higher quality lens will be small on the Cinema Camera (at 3.3 MP) as compared to something like still photography shooting on a 5D Mk III (at 22.3 MP).


CROP FACTOR

But let's see what we're really dealing with here with the crop factor in place. Some people are saying the Cinema Camera won't be able to shoot wide, which I feel is incorrect. Because of the size of the Cinema Camera's sensor (which I'm calculating at roughly a 2.5 crop factor), you could slap on a readily available 8mm fisheye lens by several manufacturers, which will then produce a 20mm lens equivalent. In my opinion, 20mm is respectably wide. Need to go wider? There are 4.5mm super fisheye lenses out there, but I think I've found something more interesting.

Enter the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L fisheye zoom lens. This lens is very interesting because at 8mm wide, you get a pinhole effect on a full-frame 35mm camera. However, if my calculations are correct, the pinhole effect should completely go away on the Cinema Camera. What's more (and unique to this lens), at 8mm wide, this lens is a circular fisheye, and zoomed to 15mm it transitions to a diagonal fisheye (no vignetting on a full-frame 35mm sensor camera with much less distortion).

What does all this mean? Well, this lens kind of acts like a variable crop factor lens for the Cinema Camera, in that, at 8mm wide, the crop factor lessens from around 2.5X to maybe around 1.2-ish. That means the lens' 8mm width is actually somewhere in the ballpark of about a 10mm lens (instead of 20mm) at a 35mm base equivalent. At the lens' 15mm width, you're back to around a 37mm lens with a 2.5X crop factor. So in essence (again, if my calculations are correct), the lens acts more like a 10-37mm zoom at a 35mm base equivalent. This lens could be the hot ticket when the Cinema Camera is finally released, but until I physically test the two together, don't go bustin' out your wallet just yet.



Two focal lengths from my Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye zoom lens. The blue line is full-frame 35mm base. The green line depicts an APS-C sized sensor, with a crop factor of 1.6X. The red line depicts the 15.6mm x 8.8mm sensor of the Cinema Camera, with a crop factor of around 2.5X. The yellow line with arrows shows the change in crop factor, which as shown in image "A" fits inside the fisheye pinhole at a reduced crop factor of roughly 1.2X. The bottom two images (with red outlines) show the crop factor by itself. As you can see in the bottom-left image, even with a crop factor for 2.5X, the lens shows a huge amount of width in this room (shot from the doorway of our edit suite), a bit wider than my Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens can go when mounted to my 5D Mk II. If a 10mm lens (at a 35mm base equivalent) isn't enough for the Cinema Camera, I don't know what is. Click image to enlarge.


On the other end of the scale are telephoto lenses, and with the Cinema Camera's (roughly) 2.5X crop factor, your telephoto lenses just got more powerful. If I use my Canon 135mm f/2L telephoto prime lens, it becomes a very fast 338mm f/2 lens (comparatively, shooting the fastest lens on a 5D Mk III at 300mm would require Canon's fastest 300mm f/2.8L prime lens, costing around $8k. Likewise their 400mm f/2.8L II will cost you a paltry $11k). My Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L telephoto zoom lens will now really push out and basically become a 250-1000mm lens. Throw on my Canon 2X extender on the same lens and now we're talking 500-2000mm telephoto power to the reaches of neighboring galaxies!


BUTTONS
DSLR have an array of physical buttons on the body for specific functions. For the most part, the Cinema Camera is menu driven (via its 800x480 touch screen), although it does have several physical buttons for specific tasks. This may be a moot point for some, but for others, especially in an ENG-style situation, this may be a problem. However in a studio-style situation, I don't see it as being a big problem. Luckily though, the LANC connector mentioned earlier can solve some of this, so basic camera functions (record start/stop, aperture, focus) can be controlled without having to touch the camera itself.


The Cinema Camera has a few physical buttons alongside the 5-inch touchscreen.
The Cinema Camera has a few physical buttons alongside the 5-inch touchscreen. Click image to zoom.


OVERCRANKING
I was (and still am) sad to see the Cinema Camera doesn't overcrank beyond 30 FPS. With all that this camera is capable of, it would seem 1080p60 would be possible. But if anything, it would definitely seem like 720p60 should be possible, and yet, it's not there in the menu options. There is the chance (hoping) that at the very least, 720p60 could be implemented with a firmware upgrade in the future. Until then, you'll need another camera for overcranking; even a cheap used Canon T2i will do.


BATTERIES
I'm a bit surprised the internal battery on the Cinema Camera isn't removable. I'm not really sure what the design idea was for this. On shoots, I typically use a battery, and then swap it with a fresh one, while the dead batteries charge back up in the charging village. If you plan on shooting more than 90 minutes for a day's shoot (who doesn't?), then you absolutely need to either tether the Cinema Camera to its supplied 12-volt power adapter, or you'll need to tap into the 12-volt connector from an external battery source. Lucky the latter (as mentioned earlier) is very easy to do if you don't have an AC source, or can't be tethered to one. But nonetheless, non-swappable batteries seems like a design flaw to me, especially since the internal battery needs two hours to recharge.


STILL PHOTOS
From what I can tell, the Cinema Camera does not shoot still photos at this time. It is after all, a camera built from the ground up as a video camera. However, if you shoot at full 2.5K RAW resolution, you might be able to get away with pulling a frame from it for print use. The resolution equates to about a 3.3 megapixel image. For print, that 3.3 megapixel resolution will give you a 16.21" x 9.1" output at 150 DPI, 12.16" x 6.83" output at 200 DPI, and 8.10" x 4.55" output at 300 DPI. Obviously not anywhere close to the resolution of something like the Canon 5D Mk III, but in a pinch, the resolution is workable. And at the very least, you have a lossless 12-bit RAW image to work with when color correcting.


VIEWFINDERS
This is a bit of a moot point, but I read complaints from time to time that the Cinema Camera doesn't have a viewfinder. Quite frankly, if the Cinema Camera did have a viewfinder, it would destroy the functionality of the body design in terms of future mounting/cage options, and would increase the body size even more. DSLR cameras don't have functional viewfinders, unless of course you add a loupe to the body's LCD screen, or add a secondary EVF (Electronic View Finder), which can just as easily be added to the Cinema Camera as well. Okay, so a 5-inch loupe might be quite large and fun to laugh at, but an EFV solves the problem. So again, moot point in my opinion.


AND THE VERDICT IS...


Personally, I think I'm going to shoot the hell out of the Cinema Camera. For weeks, I've been on the fence whether or not to buy a 5D Mk III solely for its video features. The 5D Mk III just hasn't excited me to jump up and get one; nothing like the original 5D Mk II was at least. But with the release of the Cinema Camera, I have to say that I honestly don't think I'll be making the 5D Mk III purchase. Granted, I still have a 5D Mk II and a 7D to shoot with if I need that huge sensor. But everything else is really going for the Cinema Camera: 13 stops of dynamic range, 12-bit RAW data, 2.5K resolution, internal/external recording and monitoring, professional audio inputs, and so much more.

Yes, the smaller sensor of the Cinema Camera is the death note for some, but realistically, I think it may be a little bit blind-sided for some to immediately come to that conclusion without deeper thought into the grand scheme of things. If you've worked with ENG cameras with even smaller sensors than this, you know how to adapt, cheat, and in some cases get the same look as big sensor counterparts. Will it have the same light sensitivity as a Canon 5D Mk III? Nope. Will it have razor-thin DOF like a 5D Mk III? Nope. Will it ultimately give you a much higher quality image with regard to resolution, bit-depth, dynamic range, latitude, spatial compression, and temporal compression? I'd bet the farm on it.

As soon as I get my hands on the Cinema Camera, I have a bunch of charts and real-world material I'll be testing it on. Quite frankly, I think I'll be more than surprised and pleased with the results.

Remember that many people buy DSLRs strictly for the camera's "after-thought" video features. The Cinema Camera however is built from the ground up as a 2.5K 12-bit RAW video camera. With features on the Cinema Camera that trump traditional DSLR cameras (and in some cases, cameras costing ten times as much), it would seem safe to say that many would-be DSLR purchases will be lost in favor of the Cinema Camera, especially those DSLRs costing more, even two to five times as much as the Cinema Camera.

So is the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera the DSLR-killer?

In NAB Vegas style, I'd push the full stack on lucky number 7 and say yes. But let's see what happens when the camera is officially released and go from there.



http://blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera

$2995 USD for the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera available July 2012







Marco Solorio is a multi-award-winning creative media developer. He owns OneRiver Media (www.onerivermedia.com), a production and post-production facility located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Marco has been a longtime Creative Cow leader and contributing editor since 2002. You can also find him online at Twitter, Facebook and through his blog.


Marco Solorio
OneRiver Media
Walnut Creek, CA, USA
April 18, 2012
©2012, Marco Solorio, OneRiver Media, Creative COW

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Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Marco Solorio
New update: I'm happy to officially confirm that my variable crop factor theory using the Canon 8-15mm f/4L lens indeed works without vignetting. I've been granted permission from Blackmagic Design today, allowing me to post pics and info about our beta pre-release unit of the Cinema Camera. I've been posting stuff on our facebook page today, including stuff about the 8mm lenses with the Cinema Camera and such:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.493724947322557.124136.11565999846...

I'll be adding more and more pics and info on that photo album. Fun stuff!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
+1
@Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by dan bisa
Great review Marco

I'm a bit of a newbie, but have the need to film video in 2.5K. I also have a swag of Nikon lenses...is there an adapter that would let me marry the BM with these and not lose lots of functionality?
@dan bisa
by Marco Solorio
Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Yes, your Nikon lenses will work with the Cinema Camera, but you'll lose a couple of features. The Cinema Camera's EOS EF/EFS pins "talk" to the lens, so it can read/control what the lenses aperture is, and from why I gather, I think it can also read its focus, and might be able to control it at a later firmware update, but I'm not completely certain on that at this point. Regardless, you'll lose that functionality with Nikon lenses since the F-to-EF adapters I know of don't have pin-transfer controls on them. If you're using Nikon glass with manual aperture rings on them, then it's a bit of a moot point anyway. In the end, you should be fine.

Although I'll mostly be using my large collection of Canon L lenses with the Cinema Camera, I do have a small collection of manual Nikon prime lenses with F-to-EF adapters that I'll be testing with it as well when I get the camera in hand. I don't foresee any issues with Nikon lenses at all (unless they are electronically aperture controlled Nikon lenses, which mine are not).

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Article: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Luis Otero
Well, it does not exceed the Red Epic specs, so I cannot even start to label this camera as a "killer"...
@Luis Otero
by Marco Solorio
Well, not once in this article is there any reference to a RED Epic or comparing it to one, unless you think an Epic is an HDSLR...

O.o

As the large, bold, title says: "Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?"

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
+1
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Dave Wadsworth
Speaking as an editor, the real advantage of this camera is being able to shoot native DnxHD! You have no idea how painful it is to deal with DSLR footage in post, especially since many networks still want their footage archived on tape. The assistant editors have to digitize the footage at full resolution, output to tape, and re-digitize the footage at lower resolution for editing. This is the only tapeless camera so far that had post production in mind from inception. Thank you Blackmagic!
+1
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Malcolm Matusky
I looked at other articles on the BMC, but could not find anything on the choice of a non-standard sensor size. I find this puzzling as it's too small for m4/3 and too big for S16, with the EF/F mount it's way too small. Strange choice for what otherwise looks like a very interesting camera at a good price point. Too bad it does not have a "crop" mode to work with S16 glass as the GH2 does, that would be interesting.

M

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Tom Sefton
Just pre-ordered one. Can't wait!
Re: Article: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Kurt Howard
Great article!
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Angelo Sande
Very good approach to BMD Camera!
One only and direct question. The idea we get (real?...) is that BMD is specially focused to Mac users.
I´m a long time and present only user of Adobe Software in Windows PC. If right, how does will work BMD Raw and DNG files in Premiere CS 5?
Sorry for my academic question.
Thanks!
@Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Oded Erell
Thanks allot for this highly informative review!!

Oded Erell
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by John Livings
Hi Marco,

Great Review, looking forward to more. (My next camera)

Regards, John
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Marco Solorio
Okay, my Canon 8-15mm f/4L fisheye zoom arrived today, so we just updated the article to reflect some sample pics I shot with it here at the studio to better see how the "variable crop" phenomenon will work out. Really looking good IMO. 4/26/12 @ 6:40 PST.

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Marco Solorio
As of now, April 24, 2012, at 2:22 PM PST, we just updated this article with even MORE information on this camera, including an interesting discovery I found with the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L fisheye zoom lens. Crop factor? What crop factor!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Cohen
I think the meme "DSLR killer" is a misnomer. In reality, every new piece of tech that challenges the status quo is good news for the whole industry. DVCAM challenged Beta SP. The DSLR challenged the traditional form factor HD camcorder. The 35mm sized camcorders challenged the DSLR and now the 2K+ cameras are challenging the 35mm cameras and the DSLR has to keep playing catch up. The net result is that people have more choices which is never a bad thing. Plus now there are choices for everyone depending upon your budget and your needs.

Choice = good.

MC
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rick Lang
Illuminating review. Thanks very much for your enthusiastic efforts. For a little less money, and larger aperture at the widest angle, this may be acceptable as well: Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Squires
Can the BMD Cinema Camera use EF-S lenses? I know it can use EF, but not sure about EF-S.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rick Lang
[Mike Squires] "Can the BMD Cinema Camera use EF-S lenses? I know it can use EF, but not sure about EF-S.
"


The EF lenses and EF-S lenses use an EF mount so I assume it will work fine. The EF-S lenses are designed around the APS-C size sensor and the BMD Cinema Camera uses a smaller sensor so they should be fine given a crop-factor adjustment in the apparent focal length of the lens. Anyone who attended NAB have the definitive answer?

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Squires
I read somewhere that EF-S lenses have an extra notch that refrains it from attaching to EF cameras, in order to not damage the sensor if one tried putting it on a full-frame EF camera.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rick Lang
[Mike Squires] "I read somewhere that EF-S lenses have an extra notch that refrains it from attaching to EF cameras, in order to not damage the sensor if one tried putting it on a full-frame EF camera."

Perhaps you are correct... not sure if the Blackmagic Cinema Camera mount will have the same restriction as Canon’s full-frame cameras given it’s a much small sensor. The Canon 1D and 5D full-frame cameras don’t accept EF-S lenses, but the APS-C sensor cameras take either EF or EF-S. So I suppose we can’t be sure until we hear from Blackmagic Design or someone can try it and see.

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Squires
I hope it does, because there are some pretty good EF-S lenses made by Canon.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rick Lang
[Mike Squires] "I hope it does, because there are some pretty good EF-S lenses made by Canon.
"


Take a look at the official photo of an EF mount:
http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/standard_display/Lens_Advantage_Perf...

On my EOS Digital Rebel, there’s a white dimple just a little clockwise from the red dimple. Perhaps if the Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes that dimple, then it will also accept EF-S lenses.

Now look at this shot of the mount on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera:
http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/models/

It does have that extra dimple (although not the red and white colour) so it looks like it accepts EF and EF-S lenses!

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Jonathan Teng
im looking forward to this camera as well! such a bargain especially with the package deal with da vinci resolve. amazing price!

have you guys seen this: http://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/blackmagic-cinema-camera-lets-t...

_______
Jonathan
Wedding Video Sydney | eMemories Productions
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Squires
After re-reading John Brawley's article on the BMD camera, he stated that he used a Canon 15-85mm lens for the "Bondi" shoot. Looking at Canon's website, the only 15-85mm lens they offer is an EF-S lens.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rick Lang
Yes, Mike and in another post on BMCuser.com John specifically mentioned one of the sample videos was shot with an EF-S lens so it's confirmed. Yea!

Rick Lang

iMac 27” 2.8GHz i7 16GB
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rob Manning
Marco, great walk through.

Picking around the nitish, the D800/D4 Nikons are missing from your sensor diagram, albeit ever so slightly smaller than the MK3, also, both of these devices will record 4.2.2 uncompressed which, if one is a stills/videographer as some freelancers and company owned gear shooters in the photojournalism, ENG, documentary realm are these days, that compromise is still a given.

The effort for 2K+ files is without peer from BMD, as noted above, the Nikon/Sony/Canon cabal, will either respond or be eclipsed.

Nikon has the least to lose, no parallel or vertical marketing actuarials to protect/cannibalize and as far as DR, the MK3 is not much improved over the MK2.

The D800 sits in the MF pocket and now smokes Nikons entire line, rhetorically, some of that has to be relevant in 2MP 1080 files which drive the business even with the giant workarounds for spots (some 70% are shot on HD enabled DSLR's).

The apprehension I have in a format changeover is the glass, and waiting for adapters which accept the budget realm AI and post AI (still stellar f/1.2/.4/2/2.8) primes, zooms and Pro lens purchases since the D90 broke open the HDslr egg.

I'm bound by economics for now and for better or worse have to stick with Nikon to meld the two worlds.

Now, if my DP pal returns from shooting a RED on tour in South America and buys the BMD, that will be a good thing in the best of both worlds kind of way.

Regardless, your tome is much appreciated and illustrates a long awaited beach head for parity minded creative folks who have been shouting, stranded, after negotiating a shoal of technocratic drip, drip, drip from engineering and marketing powerhouses who just don't get it.

That is changing, thank goodness.

I could not make NAB, had a concert to shoot but the new flash I like the most is http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120415005071/en. which is the next tool to use if, one has the ball and chain of HDslr tied up in the gear locker.

Thanks!

RM
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mark Suszko
Once it is encumbered with all the rails, matte boxes, French Flags, viewfinders, cages, auxiliary grips, hoods and eyepiece shades, focus whips and assorted "stuff" that turns it into another nod to the must-look-like-an-erector-set-to-be-pro aesthetic, people will flock to buy it. It has to look complicated to be good, right? Right?
+1
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Bill Davis
[Mark Suszko] "Once it is encumbered with all the rails, matte boxes, French Flags, viewfinders, cages, auxiliary grips, hoods and eyepiece shades, focus whips and assorted "stuff" that turns it into another nod to the must-look-like-an-erector-set-to-be-pro aesthetic, people will flock to buy it. It has to look complicated to be good, right? Right?"

I refer to these as "Tinker Toy" rigs.

Not dismissively - but in the sense that nearly all "rails" system are built on the same idea as the classic kids building system.

Standardized rods and connectors that you configure to taste.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor
+1
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Jiggy Gaton Jiggy Gaton
Not only are rigs good marketing for camera manufactures as u point out, but also good for client sales, well, at least here in Poserville Nepal. Our clients oogle my brother's rig and u can literally hear them thinking: "This is gunna be good, and worth the high price charged." Sad but true.

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Bill Davis
[Mark Suszko] "Once it is encumbered with all the rails, matte boxes, French Flags, viewfinders, cages, auxiliary grips, hoods and eyepiece shades, focus whips and assorted "stuff" that turns it into another nod to the must-look-like-an-erector-set-to-be-pro aesthetic, people will flock to buy it. It has to look complicated to be good, right? Right?"

I refer to these as "Tinker Toy" rigs.

Not dismissively - but in the sense that nearly all "rails" system are built on the same idea as the classic kids building system.

Standardized rods and connectors that you configure to taste.

FWIW.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Tim Wilson
Also note that Thunderbolt adapters were among NAB's big stories. These will be plentiful and cheap very soon.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by George E Kennedy Jr
Hey Marco, As a 7D owner and one of the thousands at NAB this pass week, I'm completely impress with the BMCC. Got my hands on it at a party it felt good to hold. I was on the verge of buying a 5D Mark III after NAB, but wanted to wait on announcements. I'm now going to pre order the BMCC, my contention in this crazy camera market is rent when I need a C300 etc. At $3,000 you can not loose with the included software plus SDI out , thunderbolt etc. It will make Canon and the rest rethink pricing and tech for future Cameras. I'm sure we will no longer see USB 2.0 in cameras in months to come.

George
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Mike Squires
Where are people finding test footage?

Also, it would be nice if there was a model with USB 3.0 instead of Thunderbolt, not all of us use Macs.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Peter J. DeCrescenzo
BmD Cinema Camera pre-release sample video footage and frame grabs are available for viewing on John Brawley's blog:
http://johnbrawley.wordpress.com/

Thunderbolt will be available on new Windows PCs & laptops very soon.

---

http://www.peterdv.com
@Peter J. DeCrescenzo
by Terence Kearns
Still couldn't find a link to any files that came direct from the camera. All that stuff has been recompressed though vimeo :/
@Mike Squires
by Dave Haynie
While I'd like to see USB3.0 as well (it's in both of my PCs), there are some advantages to Thunderbolt. Specifically, like ePCI from which it derives, and like Firewire, Thunderbolt is multi-mastered. So the camera can just send you video, it doesn't require the PC keep asking, as USB does. Not a huge deal given all the solid-state and "PC-like" storage anyway, but it's still good.

I think Thunderbolt has a chance of succeeding where Firewire really failed. A big part of that is who's involved... Apple came up with Firewire, and did pretty much everything you don't do when you're trying to establish an industry standard. As a result, they pushed the USB folks, lead by Intel, to release USB 2.0 to solve some of the same problems.

This time, Thunderbolt is from Intel. That's good for two main reasons. One is simple: Intel builds tons of chipsets. Thunderbolt will be in all of the new "Ivy Bridge" PCs coming out, starting this Spring. And of course, everyone else building chipsets copies what Intel does. So, <>, instant standard.

The other reason is that Intel typically licenses all patents for free, and spins control of the new standard off to an independent group for management. In short, Intel just wants to sell chips, and they've figured out long ago you don't build a new standard by asking $1.00 per port (Apple's original asking price for Firewire).

-Dave
@Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Rafael Amador
Great article Marco. You touch every important point and i agree with your considerations.
From my point of view the smaller sensor brings only advantages to this camera. Not only makes easier the picture processing but wides the DOF making the camera more usable. Shallow DOF is just an historical shortcoming of filmcameras and for generations has been a pain in the ass of serious filmakers.
So, give me wide DOF that I know how to reduce it. Don´t give me shallow DOF because there is no way to increase it.

For my self this camera is not just the HDSLR killer; the BM shakes the film acquisition scene. From now on cameras manufacturers need to rethink their strategies.

http://www.nagavideo.com
@Rafael Amador
by Tristan Chaika
You can stop the lens down to widen the depth of field. f/8 is way different from f/1.4, but if you have a camera where it is a deep depth of field all of the time, it really limits what you can do creatively, in my opinion.

That said, I have a GH2 and am really happy with the depth of filed control I have with fast lenses on that camera. One thing I'm really kind of blown away by, is the fact that Black Magic didn't make a micro4/3 mount for the Cinema Camera. The sensor is closer to that size, and you can adapt many many more types of lenses to m4/3 mount than to EF. That's the one point I disagree with Marco on. There are a lot of lenses you can adapt to EF, but stating "you could just about put any lens mount type on this camera" is a bit hyperbolic if you compare that mount to m4/3 or Sony E-mount, which really are adaptable to almost anything.

Plus, with m4/3 mounts, you have some reasonably priced fast wides that currently can't be used on the Cinema Camera.

I'm sure they sacrificed m4/3 so that they could actually talk to EF lenses and control aperture and auto-focus and such, through the LANC which is a really nice feature, but I'm undecided if sacrificing a plethora of good wide/fast/non-fisheye lens options was worth that trade.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Terence Kearns
I like this camera, and will probably get it ... BUT FIRST, people need to take a cold shower and wait for the footage to come. No one who reviews this thing talks about sensor performance. We'll have to wait and see. I hope to God that the sensor is good and performs quite well in low light.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Vassilis Pitoulis
Is just fantastic that somebody make DSLR manufacturer start give something more after 3 years ! Let's see if they anderstend .....
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Terence Kearns
"Thirdly, the smaller sensor means you don't need as much resolving power for the lens itself, which in turn means a lower quality lens will look better on this camera than it would on something like a 5D Mk III."

I would have thought the opposite would be true as more pixels are being crammed into a smaller area of usage on the lens.
If there is an advantage, it would be only if you assumed that the given lens was sharper toward the centre.
@Terence Kearns
by Ferenc Horvath
Hi Terence,

earlier i made a calculation about the pixel density of the chip. This is what i get:

Resolution:
MKII 5.616 x 3.744 = 21.026.304
BMD 2.432 x 1.366 = 3.222.112

Size
35.80 x 23.90 = 856 mm²
15.81 x 8.88 = 140 mm²

Pixels devided by surface:
MKII 24563 pixels per mm²
BMD 23015 pixels per mm²

Sure, there are a lot of other things should be considered like line skipping in the MKII, the electronics behind the sensor (improvement of noise behaviour in the MKIII?) or the physical pixel size itself... but for me it looks good till now.
@Ferenc Horvath
by Terence Kearns
Interesting, but no substitute for actual sample footage files direct from the camera ... footage of real-life scenarios... I contributed to the purchase of the Panasonic AF100 and after a few months of usage it was clear that the MFT sensor was not up to scratch - great camera in ever OTHER way, but not good in low light (by today's standards). The sensor is important - photo site density is an issue, but it's far from the whole story. lots of factors, at the end of the day, you need to be happy with the job it does. I would never buy a camera at that price range based on specs alone (like I did with the AF100).
+1
@Terence Kearns
by Ferenc Horvath
Same here, i don´t have money to burn so at least i wait for some non beta footage.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by shur harewood
No doubt many filmmakers, may like to explore this as an option to use, those who shoot and edit their projects will definitely like the fact it comes with Resolve, Ultrascope and Thunderbolt, all definite pluses plus can be used with pro res, avid codec or DNG.

The compactness and price is very appealing, whether will shoot photographers turned DSLR video/filmmakers will be interesting as many of those are photography first and video second. But it may make a nice addition to equipment arsenal or good rental choice.


Shur

United By Photography

http://www.unitedbyphotography.com

Freelance HD and DSLR camera producer and trainer.
Enjoying the fruits and passion of living life to the full.
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Shawn Miller
Nice overview, Marco. I am a little surprised at this statement though "Will it have razor-thin DOF like a 5D Mk III? Nope."

Won't DOF depend on apeture? I.E., a 50mm lens will have the same compression, DOF, ect. regardless of sensor size?

[Barend Onneweer]"I just wish the mount was shorter to allow for 16mm cine lenses..."

The BM sensor is larger than S16... wouldn't you get vignetting?

Shawn

@Shawn Miller
by Barend Onneweer
Hi Shawn,

Yes the DoF would be the same as any lens with the same aperture. But the crop factor makes that lens less wide than on a full frame chip. To get the same angle of view you'd need a much wider lens, resulting in less shallow DoF. So although you're technically correct, in practical terms for the same field of view (and same aperture) you'll have a shallower DoF on a bigger chip.

Some 16mm lenses won't cover the full sensor, but it would be nice to have the option to use them.

Barend

Raamw3rk - independent colourist and visual effects artist
Re: @Shawn Miller
by Shawn Miller
@Barend Onneweer

Thanks for the reply Barend. I didn't actually say anything about FoV...I'm aware that it will be more narrow with a smaller sensor. :-)

Shawn

Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Bill Bruner
Well-balanced look at the BMC, Marco. Thanks. But the reason that I got on the waiting list for this camera is not mentioned until your "Verdict" section - dynamic range!

When I saw John Brawley's test footage, I was sold - the DR made it look like "film" - a look that I have had to work really hard for with the GH2 or my old Canon DSLR.

You're right - the camera is not perfect, but "videoish" it is not.

Cheers,

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Ben Rojas
Good read Marco. First glance, it's odd shaped toy-ish silver look turned me off. I chuckled and walked away. Day 2 of the show, even more people were clambering to see the cam. and I had to see what the fuss was about. The unconventionally large LCD and lack of viewfinder while intriguing, made me think that even with a hood, it would be hell shooting outside. The internal non-removable battery, ridiculous. But get past those things and holy moly cameraman!  BMD has def hit on a niche market that's going to bank them some big coin. IMO, the next version could very well be a DSLR killer but probably not this one.

Ben Rojas
Editor|Artist|Dir. of Post Production
KSC KREATE
3850 N 28th Ter. Ste. 101
Hollywood, FL. 33020
P. 954.326.7600
F. 954.326.7766
C. 305.301.2771
E. ben.rojas@ksckreate.com
http://www.ksckreate.com
@Ben Rojas
by Marco Solorio
Yeah, the internal battery issue isn't a hit. But lack of viewfinder is no different than HDSLR shooting. Either you'd need a loupe (might be kinda big for a 5" screen, but I'll bet they'll be made) or an EVF like Zacuto's offerings.

As for me, the silver casing of the Cinema Camera will be buried in rigging, so I'm not concerned about that! But that's just me! ;-)

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Jiggy Gaton Jiggy Gaton
Really nice review Marco, thx!!!

Phoenix Studios Nepal: A small A/V Production House in Kathmandu.
@Jiggy Gaton Jiggy Gaton
by Marco Solorio
Thanks for the nice comment, Jiggy!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Jorden Mosley
I wouldn't say it's a "killer" but more of a step-up for Canon DSLR users. GH2 users like myself would have to invest in new class in order to upgrade to this thing which would double the overall cost. With such a crop factor you'd think this would be perfect for a m 4/3 mount. Impressive gear non the less and a no-brainer low budget option (if you already have the compatible glass).
@Jorden Mosley
by Marco Solorio
Well I think for some, myself included, it's much of a step up... 13 stops DR, 12-bit RAW or 10-bit ProRes/DNxHD, on and on. DSLR with H.264 @ 8-bit 4:2:0 just can't compare to that quality.

As for Micro 4/3rds mount, it sounds like there are 4/3rd adapters to EF mount in the works. Time will tell.

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Jim Froom
I'm not sure what a DSL killer is, but I guess peeps like phrases like that. nitpicking.
5D Mark II has not been out for 3 years. It started shipping in the US the last week in November, that would be 2 years and 5 months. I remember the day I picked up the first one that came into our town. Nitpicking.

As to the rest of the article, I guess we all will have to wait till the real thing comes out. Ordered 1 yesterday as it looks very promising and having used Black Magic products in the past, I believe they will deliver something that works as promised. Can't wait for July!
@Jim Froom
by Marco Solorio
Jim, you're incorrect. The Canon 5D Mk II has definitely been out for over three years now. The year in my article is actually incorrect. It should say, "late 2008" not "late 2009" but my reference to over three years is correct. I received my 5D Mk II directly from Canon and double-checked my email correspondence with them. November of 2008 is when it came out.

But I agree... I can't wait until I get my hands on this camera as well. Going to be a lot of fun!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Tim Wilson
Fantastic overview, Marco! Thanks! I had a ton of questions and you answered all of them....then raised questions I hadn't thought of and answered THEM too!

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

@Tim Wilson
by Marco Solorio
Wow, thanks, Tim! Just don't ask me any questions about taxes and stuff... then we'd be in trouble!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Alain Koffi Sessi
Awesome article. Thanks Marco.

Alain Koffi Sessi
Sound Designer
@Alain Koffi Sessi
by Marco Solorio
Thank you for saying so, Alain!

Marco Solorio | CreativeCow Host | OneRiver Media | ORM Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Media Batch
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Barend Onneweer
I just wish the mount was shorter to allow for 16mm cine lenses...

Raamw3rk - independent colourist and visual effects artist
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Dave Haynie
Yeah, really. With the smaller sensor, it's not logically a great mate to Canon lenses. Sure, they're chasing the 5D market, but they're also not a camera company. So why not launch it with a lens "interposer" module, so you could choose your mount. EF, PL, m43... there are good arguments to make here for a variety of mounts.

The need for this could vanish if the HDSLR people didn't keep playing insane games. Assuming the video quality is on par with Canon, the main reason I'd want this (and right now, I kind of do, but I'm not sure enough to buy) is the long recording time, versus the much higher prices for HSDLR-tech-camcorders from actual camcorder companies. And why? Long recording times.

That's the most annoying thing about the HDSLR world. Sure, in the early days, the recording time had to be limited due to sensor heat. I don't believe that's a real issue anymore. The excuse today is Europe -- they levy a tax on camcorders, and a camcorder is defined as a video recording device that can record over 30 minutes of video in one shot.

But guys ... I don't live in Europe. No reason you can't offer me different firmware (and yeah, there are plenty of ways to signature cameras and firmware to ensure that Europeans can't jump past this limitation). I think the real reason for this is some brokered deal between the video and still divisions of these companies. Otherwise, how does Canon get 3+x the cash for a C30 vs. a 5DmkIII.

So I love this, and the Digital Bolex, and every other company without the higher priced cinema camera line, pushing against HDSLR artificial limits using the same exact technology. Buy these, or wait for the big guys to feel the pressure, either way... we win.

-Dave
@Dave Haynie
by Bill Bruner
Dave - I agree 100% - that is why I ditched my Canon DSLR for a GH2. Not a perfect solution, but I got away from Sony/Canon/Nikon artificially imposed 29 minute video recording time limits. But I'm sure glad I held on to one EF-S lens - because I'll need it for the BlackMagic!

Cheers,
Bill
@Bill Bruner
by Dave Haynie
I actually have the 60D, which I bought primarily for photography, but also to mess around with the HDSLR workflow. I also have an Olympus M43 "pocket" camera (E-PM1), several Panasonic camcorders, and I'm kind of thinking that Panasonic has the better approach in HSDLR video, even with the slightly smaller sensor.

The GH2 is particularly attractive, but mostly due to all the cool hacks. And of course, you can easily fit an EF lens on an M43 body... even if you can't directly control the aperture. Going the other way would require a magic trick (focal plane adjustment via lens... maybe), and give you lots of vignetting.

-Dave
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Emmanuel Louisy-Gabriel
[Dave Haynie] "But guys ... I don't live in Europe. No reason you can't offer me different firmware (and yeah, there are plenty of ways to signature cameras and firmware to ensure that Europeans can't jump past this limitation). I think the real reason for this is some brokered deal between the video and still divisions of these companies. Otherwise, how does Canon get 3+x the cash for a C30 vs. a 5DmkIII. "

you forget photographer why would they pay more for a video feature?
@Emmanuel Louisy-Gabriel
by Dave Haynie
They actually DO pay for some video features. While the video recording itself in a Canon 5D or whatever is just "a simple matter of software" (eg, there's an NRE in the development phase, but no on-going cost), there's going to be an AVC/H.264 license paid in the final price of the camera.

On the other hand, extending recording time to "unlimited" costs absolutely nothing, no significant development time, nothing. Unless you live in Europe and have to pay a tax, but that's a political thing, not a real cost. So why are buyers outside of the EU being sold lesser equipment, simply because of this tax? That's the problem I have.

And while I'd even be fine with their sticking to FAT32 and thus 4GB file limits, that's not a problem -- all flash based camcorders seamlessly chain files. It's not rocket science -- Canon's camcorder division already has the code. But they have ALREADY paid the Microsoft license fees for exFAT, since these cameras all support SDXC memory cards, which use exFAT. So there's actually no problem recording effectively unlimited video.

-Dave
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Noah Kadner
FYI- for anyone interested you can check the BMD camera against various others for FOV on its sensor:

http://www.abelcine.com/fov/

Noah

Call Box Training.
Featuring the Panasonic GH2 and Panasonic AC160/130.
+2
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Malcolm Matusky
Interesting comparison, the BM camera seems closest to M43, yet that is a mount they don't offer? How strange.

Will not work with S16 lenses, too bad as there are many excellent zoom lenses available.

There are enough lenses (wide fast) for M43, so this does seem like a viable camera if they offer the correct mount.

M

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com
Re: Is the New Blackmagic Cinema Camera the HDSLR Killer?
by Brent Dunn
It's another option, but the 5D Mk III is such a big improvement over the Mk II.

I'm waiting on Sony's new camera that'll shoot high speed and has a new sensor, for under 10 Grand.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
DunnRight Video.com
Video Marketing Toolbox.net

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite





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