Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera

Blackmagic Design’s Cinema Camera is finally available for pre-order! It is expected to start shipping late July so don’t expect one in your hands until early to mid august. I have advocated for the GH2 as the best “on a budget” filmmaking tool and i still recommend it as the best in class. Especially for anyone looking to spend the price of a MKIII just save your money! For less than half the price you can get a lot more out of the gh2 for video or for a little more cash a ton more out of the BMCC. The Cannons offer little to compete in the price range in terms of video quality and until now i would not dream of the competition taking my GH2’s place. That is until Blackmagic did the impossible, it sure seems the impossible considering what high-end cameras will cost you for a taste of these features.

For just $3000 you can get a 2.5k resolution camera that records 13 stops of dynamic range and 12-bit RAW uncompressed and compressed file formats to a built in SSD recorder, compatibility with EF and ZE mount lenses, LCD touchscreen monitoring plus metadata entry, and all in a compact hand held design. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera uses an 15.81mm x 8.88mm CMOS sensor so the downside if any of this beast is the crop factor. Compared to the Gh2 being at about 1.8x – 2x the BMCC is just over 2x at least for the production models i have seen so it may or may not improve before it ships. 2x is bad but this is something i have adjusted to with the Micro Four Thirds Sensor already so the difference wont make a much of an impact for me. The Blackmagic Cinema camera records to the CinemaDNG format as well as 1080HD recording into ProRes and DNxHD. 13 stops of latitude is captured when recording 12-bit DNG files allowing for detail in shadows and highlights simply not possible with the current generation of dslr. At $2995 it even includes a full copy of UltraScope and DaVinci Resolve color grading software. Quite the package we got here for an amazing price!

Price to shoot:
The basic package still lacks storage media so expect to spend around $200 to $300 for a decent 200gb SSD. You will also need a lens or two and with respect to the lens situation a lot of you will already have some cannon or nikon glass but if you don’t already i highly recommend you get a wide prime or zoom to start with for the versatility of it. Total you will be looking at closer to $5000 especially if you get a basic shoulder mount or steady cam in the mix if you dont have one already. Here are some recommendations which of course includes the highly regarded 11-16mm Tokina for the EF mount:

Note: The BMCC weighs just under 4 pounds so The Glidecam HD2000 (supports 2 to 6 pounds) will get the job done if its just the camera and lens with perhaps small microphone add on but start adding monitors and professional audio setups and you will want to move to the Glidecam HD24000 (Supports 4 to 10 pounds).

The following Quality test was done by award winning cinematographer John Brawley

Complete Features & Specifications

Active Sensor Resolution 2432 x 1366
Raw Resolution 12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366
Shooting Resolutions 2.5K RAW at 2432 x 1366.
ProRes and DNxHD at 1920 x 1080
Frame Rate 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p
Active Sensor Size 15.81mm x 8.88mm
Dynamic Range 13 stops
Focus Focus button turns on peaking
Iris Control Iris button automatically adjusts the lens iris settings so no pixel is clipped
Lens Mount EF and ZE mount compatible with electronic iris control
Screen Dimensions 5″ and 800 x 480 resolution
Screen Type Integrated LCD capacitive touchscreen
Metadata Support Automatic camera data and user data such as shot number, filenames and keywords
Controls Onscreen touch menus and physical buttons for recording and transport control
Microphone Integrated mono microphone
Speaker Integrated mono speaker
Mounting Options 3 x 1/4″ thread mounting points on top of camera.
1 x 1/4″ thread tripod mount with locator pin.
Power Integrated Lithium-ion Polymer rechargeable battery.
12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.
Battery Life Approximately 90 minutes
Battery Charge Time Approximately 2 hours when not in use.
Camera Dimensions 166.2mm by 113.51mm x 126.49mm excluding detachable sunshade and turret dust cap
Camera Weight 1.7 kg / 3.75 lb
Storage Features
Storage Type Removable 2.5” SSD
Storage Format Mac OS Extended format. SSDs can be formatted on any Mac or use Mediafour MacDrive (not included) on a Windows PC.
Storage Rates 5 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 minutes of 24p video on a 256 GB solid state disk. Compressed HD formats fit more than 5 times the amount of RAW video.
Uncompressed Recording Formats RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG
Compressed Recording Formats Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. All compressed recording in 1920×1080 10-bit YUV with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range.
SDI Video Output 1 x 10-bit HD-SDI 4:2:2 with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range
Analog Audio Input 2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels.
Analog Audio Output 1 x 3.5mm stereo headphone output
SDI Audio Output 4 channels in HD-SDI
Remote Control 1 x 2.5mm LANC for Rec Start/Stop, Iris Control and Focus Control
Computer Interface Thunderbolt port for capture of RAW video and audio.
USB 2.0 mini B port for software updates and configuration.
External Power 12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.
SDI Compliance SMPTE 292M.
SDI Audio Sampling 48 kHz and 24 bit.
Software Included DaVinci Resolve grading software including Resolve USB dongle for Mac OS X and Windows.
Media Express software for video capture from the camera’s Thunderbolt port.
Blackmagic UltraScope software for waveform monitoring from the camera’s Thunderbolt port.
Accessories Detachable sun shield, camera strap, turret dust cap and 12V AC adapter.
Product Warranty 12 Month Limited Manufacturer’s Warranty.


I am very excited to start shooting with this amazing new camera for the indie filmmaker. You really can’t go wrong if you just need film quality image without the occasional high frame rates. Will you be getting one?

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