All the camera manufacturers are laying down their cards at this years NAB and the big players may just have their bluff called by a company that they didn’t even know was in the game.
Canon is one company that has just announced two new cameras to their lineup; the Canon 1D Cinema, and the C500. Both cameras will likely have some great looking footage and I believe the C500 will do quite well in it’s market. However, there seems to be a large quantity of upset customers claiming that Canon’s new offering are enormously overpriced and under-featured. For instance, the Canon 1D-C offers shooting at 4K resolution yet has no other real video features like XLR inputs, SDI out, focus peaking, et cetera. At $15,000 these features are expected in every other camera.
The majority of Canon fans are filmmakers that wanted to shoot on a large sensor with an affordable lens. Canon truly revolutionized the market so many of the fans were calling for a new camera that had the same sized sensor with a more suitable body style and/or more integrated video features. Of course, all this had to be for a reasonable price. Canon failed to deliver and instead went for filmmakers with larger budgets. This left the rest of us (including me) feeling like our hopes of a new camera were fading.
The Blackmagic Cinema Camera
However, out of the fog emerges a manufacturer that wants to, once again, put the power of filmmaking in our hands: Blackmagic Design. Roughly 16mm equivalent sensor that can shoot 2.5K RAW with 13 stops of latitude. The more I look at this camera the more it blows me away.
Here are some specs:
- Sensor Resolution: 2592 x 2192
- Sensor Size: 16.64 mm x 14.04 mm (15.6 mm x 8.8 mm active)
- 12bit RAW Recording
- 2.5K RAW at 2432 x 1366, compressed at 1920 x 1080
- 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p frame rates
- 13 Stops of Dynamic Range
- EF & ZE Mount with iris control
- 5″ and 800 x 480 resolution monitor (touchscreen)
- Integrated Mono Microphone
- Integrated Mono Speaker
- 3 x 1/4″ thread mounting points on top of camera for accesories.
- 1 x 1/4″ thread tripod mount with locator pin
- Records on any 2.5″ SSD
- 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.
- Recording Formats: RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG. Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. ProRes and DNxHD are compressed to 1080p 10bit in either film or video dynamic range
- SDI Video Output @10bit HD-SDI 4:2:2
- 2 x 1/4” jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels.
- 1 x 3.5mm stereo headphone output
- Thunderbolt port for capture of RAW video and audio.
- USB 2.0 mini B port for software updates and configuration.
- 12V-30V DC port for external battery power or use included 12V AC adapter.
- DaVinci Resolve grading software including. (Normally $1000)
- Detachable sun shield, camera strap, turret dust cap and 12V AC adapter.
The only things that I’m kinda bummed about is the 1/4″ audio jacks rather than XLR inputs since this is really a full video camera and not a DSLR. I don’t know how weather-proof this camera is but I doubt that it would be able to handle much of a beating. Also there is a integrated battery that can only last around 90 minutes which is far from a full days shoot. There may have to be some tricky battery add ons but since I’m coming from the DSLR world workarounds for a $3,000 camera don’t really concern me too much. Workarounds for a $15,000 camera does!
Is this too good to be true? See for yourself: Blackmagic Design – Cinema Camera samples. You can see how well this camera performs and is possibly one of the most film-like camera I have seen hit the market for under $20,000.
Since the company is fairly new to the camera market there may be plenty of bugs to work out and we’ll have to wait for more feedback from people who have actually used the camera in order to draw better conclusions. But even if this suffers from the occasional bug I would be willing to make that sacrifice with this price point.