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BlackMagic Design's Cinema Camera is a 2.5K RAW Shooter with Built-in Monitor and Recorder for $3K

04.16.12 @ 2:00PM Tags : , , , ,

Holy cow. What if I told you BlackMagic Design was introducing a 2.5K resolution, 13-stop dynamic range, RAW-shooting (with format-agnostic ProRes/CinemaDNG/DNxHD options), Thunderbolt-connected, built-in touchscreen LCD, SSD-recording camera that comes with the new version of Resolve 9 color correction software… all for $3,000? You’d say, “what’s the catch?” Looks like the only catch is a 15.6 mm x 8.8 mm (active) sensor size, which makes it a S16 camera, not a S35. Still, for that price and with those options — this is a seriously disruptive camera and one that targets the HDSLR space perfectly.

If you don’t think S16 is a large enough sensor, keep in mind that it’s been used to shoot a million features lately, including Darren Aronofsky’s most recent (The Wrestler and Black Swan), as well as this year’s Sundance-winning Beasts of the Southern Wild. Also, BlackMagic was wise to make this a Canon EF mount camera — PL glass is so expensive that a lot more of their target customers will already have Canon lenses lying around than will have PL lenses. Finally, the fact that it has a built-in recorder and monitor means it has the ease of use that most shooters want — spec sheets be damned. And it takes standard 2.5″ SSDs — you are not tied to one (overpriced) brand of media, as you are with RED or (quite often) Sony. The flipside is that many believe that standard SSD connectors were not designed for frequent insertion/removal; time will tell.

The fact that it’s a S16 RAW camera makes it a competitor to the Digital Bolex camera we mentioned previously, though I would note the fact that BlackMagic is an established company — and the fact that it comes with the full version of Resolve and Ultrascope — makes this one more appealing in theory.

There are video samples here by cinematographer John Brawley. For the most part the images look very good — the only area they seem to fall a bit short compared to the best cameras out there is in low-light, which is to be expected given the smaller sensor size. Also, in the Beach Dusk sample there are numerous stuck/dead pixels — presumably BlackMagic will work these out by the time a final camera is shipping (slated for July). Note of course that I’m judging compressed Vimeo samples, and I’m judging them against cameras that cost a lot more.

Images of the $3K shooter are below, as is the full press release and link to BlackMagic’s official product page. It looks like if you were thinking about getting one of the new $3k DSLRs, like the Nikon D800 or Canon 5D Mark III, now you’ve got something else to seriously consider. We will do our best to get our hands on one of these units ASAP!

Link: BlackMagic Design Cinema Camera

Press Release

LAS VEGAS, Apr 16, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — 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 Cinema DNG 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 antialiased 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 that’s 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.


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 222 COMMENTS

  • Sounds like a good deal to me.

  • So wait am I missing something here or will you not be able to use an HDMI monitor like smallHD DP6 on this?

    • You would, but you would have to use an SDI to HDMI converter. Blackmagic’s external recorder does it, but it’s a few hundred dollars. Dunno if that’d be worth it. The 5″ screen sounds like it has focus tools, but only time will tell how good it is…

  • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 2:10PM

    Their website is getting SLAMMED.

    IMO this is BIG news for indi-film makers.

    Bolex, Ikonoskop, Nikon D800, Canon MK3 are all somewhat pointless (for video) when this hits the market in July for $3,000.

    I would preorder one, but their website isn’t loading.

    Great news!

    • well, not pointless: this one has a 2.3x crop factor

      but definitely a lot less relevant

      BMD stole NAB2012

      • a 10-22mm ef-s lens is a must for this cam… luck me I did not order a ikonoskop yet!! With import tax for my country this cam goes from U$3000 to U$6000 to U$7000, but better than a U$10K that goes up to U$20K!!!

        I think i´ll not need to rent a cam for my first indie feature in the end of the year! :)

      • How do you get to 2.3? A standard 35mm frame is about 24mm wide, normalized for 16:9, versus 15.6 for this camera — which yields a factor of under 1.4.

    • I just called, you can’t preorder one. I had my name and email added to a list that I demanded be created lol. Now I’m hounding B&H about one. Good luck to all…

      • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 2:44PM

        Thanks Chis! :) :)

      • Crap, B&H gave me the coldshoulder and just told me to check back later this week for preorder. I don’t know how many of you realize how big of a gamechanger this camera bundle is, Blackmagic Design is one of my favorite companies to work with, their customer support even for their free products is outstanding and the quality of their hardware released thus far is literally unparalleled. Good luck trying to buy this camera, I plan on buying them all. o_O

        • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 2:55PM

          Agree – I own a hyperdeck and it survived a nasty trip through Nevada’s Valley of Fire. They build great products and using your own SSD devices in a video product like this is a godsend. SSD prices are dropping and speeds are getting insane with competition from Intel, Samsung, and Ocz.

          Thanks again chris!

        • Thanks Chris. Calling them now.

          • Lliam Worthington on 04.17.12 @ 1:24PM

            I agree Chris. I think this will change the Indie world. The power of raw meets resolve is something many shooters have literally no idea about yet. Add to that that most people have been in love with images that weren’t really even resolving 2k… For low end indies this is simply massive. A true game changer.

            Well done BMD.

  • What a nice tight little camera. Seems like exactly what the little guy who is serious about craft has been waiting for. So many plusses including standerd audio inputs, RAW, 2.5K and the Black Magic Ultrascope and DaVinci Resolve software. Great response to the big boys for not aiming higher!

  • Álex Montoya on 04.16.12 @ 2:17PM

    It certainly looks like a very nice camera, only downsides being depth of field, sensitivity and resolution, since a 2.5K sensor yields a little bit less than 2K of effective resolution.

    • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 2:21PM

      True but if you compare this to everything else at the 3k price point – I would rather watch a movie made with this unit because of its better DR, lack or moire, and less rolling shutter.

      Nothing at 3k really hits true 1080 (hacked GH2 gets close) anyway. At 5k the Sony FS100 (better slow mo and larger sensor) is this cameras only competition.

    • Lliam Worthington on 04.17.12 @ 1:28PM

      I think deeper depth of field also has a lot of positives that are overlooked however. Especially for Indies.

  • This is too freaking cool!

  • Now THIS is the camera I hoping for.

    @carlos – Looks like you might have to upgrade to a standard SDI monitor

  • Sensor size is the only con – 4/3″ , but for that price (and explains the cheap price) with 12 bit uncompressed raw!

  • Perry Wilson on 04.16.12 @ 2:22PM


  • WOW!!! Another 2k+ camera in a price range that isn’t absolutely absurd? These are exciting times to be a filmmaker, that’s for sure.

    Not to mention that this announcement completely undermines the D800 and the 5D3 as professional video solutions. Unless people really “need” the larger sensors on the DSLR’s, this thing looks like it will win the video battle 9 time out of 10.

  • What would the effective crop factor on this be? What are the wide angle options given the EF mount?

    • Supposedly it’s 2.3x crop factor.

      I’ve been using my EF mount lenses with my GH2, and found that these lenses incredibly versatile no matter the camera (and cheap alternatives too).
      - Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 — you would get coverage from 25-35mm on a 2.3x crop.
      - Samyang 24mm f1.4 — about 55mm, so great for the eye perspective view
      - Samyang 35mm f1.4 — makes it an 80mm.

      All three can cover full frame sensor as well. (The Tokina only at 16mm). So I’m pretty happy.

      Tbh, there’s an array of lenses to choose from, some of them are pretty fast, which should make up for the lack of DOF on this camera.

      • It may be 2.3 crop compared to a full-frame sensor, but full-frame sensor is not a motion picture standard. The factor is much smaller, compared to a standard cinema film frame.

  • Yes, the sensor size doesn’t bother me at all… gonna be some amazing indie features and shorts made with this thing. Some by me. Sign me up, too.

    • You mean like all the amazing features and shorts which were shot on 16mm in the 80s and 90s? :)

  • “If you don’t think S16 is a large enough sensor, keep in mind that it’s been used to shoot a million features lately, including Darren Aronofsky’s most recent (The Wrestler and Black Swan), as well as this year’s Sundance-winning Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

    perfect! :)

  • I think it’s a fixed panel much like the RED cameras.

    I imagine there will be a whole new breed of people learning and acquring color grading as a skill. It brings color grading to the masses with Da Vinci Resolve front and center. Smart.

    Is the audio jack an XLR?

    Stocked for this camera.

    • And by stocked by I mean stoked.

    • Álex Montoya on 04.16.12 @ 2:38PM

      It’s a jack connection, not XLR. The LCD should really be flippable.

      • Ah, I see my H4N still have a place. They really should’ve put an XLR in there, at least one, and another for normal audio jack. I mean, what’s the use for two normal jacks? Unless I’m mistaken.

        A flippable screen would’ve been awesome and useful, but for this price and these features, I’ll take it.

        • 1/4″ audio inputs. I think cameras this small just don’t have room for XLRs.

          • 1/4″ can be balanced too folks. But yes, this is a pure indie film camera. It isn’t built for TV doco, its just going to do a ton of work there :-)

          • Indeed — the RED even uses 1/8″ balanced inputs. As long as you have Tip-Ring-Sleeve you’re working with balanced audio just like XLR, though you lose the robustness and locking feature.

  • Black magics server is getting hammered lol.

  • The DSLR killer is finally here. My big question is can you charge the internal battery or are you always tethered to ac power?

  • Complete shock. Wow. I’m even kinda digging the design. Bold move.

  • Thanks for putting this up Koo. I am eager to see tests from you guys in the coming months. Low light seems pretty good though even at 320 with fast lenses. The good thing is you can use super fast lenses and have more dof. I’m curious what a 200mm 2.8 would do for DOF.

    I’ve been wanting to buy the pro version of Davinci, so for 2k more, I get Davinci plus a cinema camera that shoots RAW? This is very tempting.

    • You know, I just completed a short for a 48 hour competition, dealing with actors and writing a script. Everything that I THOUGHT I liked about the 5dmkII (shallow DOF, full frame for huge wide shots) were NOT used this time around. We had to make a soap opera short, lol.

      I was stopping down to f 5-5.6 most of the time because I had 2 or 3 actors in the frame and was using my 50mm some of the time but mostly my 70-200mm to compress the faces and get nice medium shots.

      The only shot the davinci camera may have some issues in was a bar we were allowed to shoot in. I was 1.8 at 1250 iso and still need to push in post to lighten. The 5dmkII looked clean here.

      • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 3:03PM

        Kino Flo BarFly’s would have solved that last shot.

        That being said, you are 100% correct about people “thinking” they need a lot of what the MK3 offers.

        • Ya we had one light source, but here was the thing: 03 minutes in and out (48 hour competition), just as 2 limo’s of people come in, (we didn’t rent the place, just called ahead. It is a popular place). People were tripping over the wires already.

          It was a true indie experience, lol! We didn’t get kicked out tho :)

        • meant 30 minutes lol

  • Blackmagic is officially down for the count, see screenshot below lmao.

  • “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.”

    No. I’ve seen the “video look” on the Red and Alexa cameras. It’s not about a limited contrast range or HD sensor or poor optics. It’s about the fact that these cameras are digital and the DP’s that are controlling them. I’ve seen beautiful, cinematic (Don’t say filmic, because they’re not.) images shot on digital before (Never on the Canon DSLR’s though, so maybe that statement does have some truth).

    • Wait, are you saying you have never seen cinematic footage from a DSLR?

      • I guess that depends on your interpretation of cinematic. I’ve seen beautiful footage, but not all too cinematic. Most likely because most people that use DSLR’s are amateurs. Of course, there are professionals that have used it, like in an episode of House, most of Act of Valor, a shot in Black Swan, Like Crazy, Road to Coronation Street, etc etc. But even in those I don’t think they look that great.

        • 2nd time I watched Act of Valor (both times up close to the screen and both times pixel peeping) I see what you mean. The most cinematic shot (DR, grading, lighting roll off, contrast) to me was when the marines land in the field by moon light. It looked really good.

          For the most part, the movie was extremely soft. However, none of my movie going friends even noticed! But they did notice the acting.

          This little powerhouse from Davinci solves so much of the mkII issues: line skipping, moire and codec compression. I’m excited. The DR looks great.

    • oh boy here we go
      You can make digital to have look of film (and better). Key points – lossless raw video, low noise level, wide native DR, I mean 15+ stops, highlight protection to play with in post; 16bit+ color range, no rolling shutter at all, it completely gives away the “video look”, btw there are ways to solve that. Then you can apply correct grade and add a tad bit of film grain for taste. Good luck in trying to distinguish that footage from motion picture film reel next to it.

  • So is this ccd or cmos? Might be similar to Ikonoskop sensor? Regarding battery, it can take an external battery pack.

    • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 3:09PM

      Either way it would be an improvement – I owned (sold last month) the a-cam DII and it was a 9 stop DR device. IMO 13 like they claim might be a stretch, but even if it is 11 stops it would be worth the cash.

  • Man! I want this to be so good so badly, but the (apparent) lack of concern for in-camera audio is a major bummer for me. I’m curious to see what they have done on that front, but there is no XLR and no external input level knobs… which doesn’t bode well for audio. It does seem to still be better than DSLRs, but that is a serious feature to lack (and a serious advantage of the FS100 for me).

    At the same time, with the $3k price tag…… It is hard to complain. I’m looking forward to what sort of tech this inspires, and what comes out that is a more direct competitor for the FS100, near that $5k price tag.

    • What do you need to be more competitive to an FS100? XLRs or its ability to be a doorstop? The FS100 is a budget TV doco/event cam. If you use it for other things, great. The BMD is a pure S16 indie movie cam. If you are recording to your camera that’s cool, but even decent indie sound men prefer their own kit. It would be very simple to make this work audio wise, especially with that form factor.

      • I agree with you. Almost anything I do, I’d be recording sound with a separate kit – much more control over audio that way. I understand recording directly to the camera for something like an interview / talking head shoot, but other than that, I like the audio recorded separately. So, for me, not having XLR plugs isn’t a problem (but that’s me) because I’m not using that feature anyway. So, I think I’m the kind of person this camera is really marketed toward, and I absolutely love what I’ve heard so far. I can’t wait to see some of the tests done with it. I was very interested in the new FS700, but the price was just more than I wanted to pay at this time. But it looks like this camera will perfectly fit what I want to do, and at a terrific price point.

      • Completely agree with you. This is a movie cam, not a jack-of-all like the FS-100. I see the audio “limitations” as no issue at all.

        • Lliam Worthington on 04.17.12 @ 1:37PM

          “The BMD is a pure S16 indie movie cam.” Absolutely. Though it will also find a huge amount of Run and gun application too you would think. This is the poor mans RED. And about as disruptive.

    • No one who takes themselves seriously as a filmmaker relies on in-camera audio, my friend.

  • Also, I have 3 months in the pool before they make a S16 PL mount version. Race you to ebay.

  • Also, re the article above – I own a D800 (and an Af101) and this rounds out the set nicely (Until an hour ago I was a very likely FS700 customer). Stills, DSLR, pure video, and now ‘filmic cool’ that I used to have to hire a RED for. For anything where I can charge above that level for kit I’ll rent.

  • oh man thats a really nice camera :D
    but 50p or even higher frame rate and a v-mount battery would be cool

    • You can put it on a v-mount rig. And I’d say, based on a decade of BM user experience, there will be a faster framerate upgrade. But let me repeat – this is a S16 drama cam. This is back to the days when you used to have to use other cams for specific overcranked shots. If you shoot the majority of your stuff overcranked I suggest the AF101 or FS700 are your budget options.

  • Actually the sensor of this camera is larger than S16, taking into account that a S16 sensor size is 12.52 x 7.41. I don’t think this as a “catch”, this is a great and (very important) affordable camera for us, the indie filmmakers.

    • By my calculations, it’s roughly a .8″ sensor.

    • Yes and no… while S16mm glass will not cover 4/3″ the choice of mounts is a little strange. I hope someone is busy cine-modding tokinas.

      Surely the “everybody is a winner” mount would have been MFT?

  • It definitely doesn’t look like the strongest low light camera based on those tests, but the grain from it doesn’t look nearly as bad as most digital grain/colour noise. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind grain as long as it leans more to the organic film grain look, and this one seems to me like its not too bad. Especially for the price tag.

  • I noticed that one early tester mentioned that the white balance is baked into the raw image. I hope this isn’t true. Being able to change the white balance in post is a significant part of why I like shooting raw.

    I can’t think of a raw camera on the market that bakes in white balance, can you?

    “The only thing that’s baked into this file is the white balance point.”

    • Andy, John Brawley, the guy that did the video tests, says that, “the only thing that’s baked into this file is the white balance point.  Everything else is up for grabs.”

  • chris larsen on 04.16.12 @ 4:15PM

    So if I’m going to buy resolve 9 anyway, why not spend an extra 2 grand and get a sick 13 stop camera that records 2.5k 12-bit raw? Sign me up.

  • Hope Canon is paying attention here. Their 4k DSLR / C500 for $15-30k leaves such a gap that, of all, a videohard- and software company has to come in to enter the void. The biggest lesson is that resolution is not the name of the game, it’s bit depth first and foremost: 10-bit, 12-bit, just more to play with in post… More bits first, resolution can come later.

    • Agree 100%. The resolution game gets all the attention, when it should be the bit depth and dynamic range we should be worried about. We’ve matched 35mm size, lets stop going crazy with that and now try to match the range of film better.

  • Ok i have a 5d2 that was going to use as a B camera for a 5d3, this announcement just changed my intentions, this was the kind of products i was expecting as a response for de 4 year old 5d2

  • a horrible design. Clearly someone was trying to channel Steve Jobs and design a simplified cam and forgot to include an eye level viewfinder! If you use a loupe how do you use the touchscreen? Ok so use a external EVF fine but that’s more rigging and expense. I’m short sighted this ‘aint gonna work out the box for me.

    • Yes, it’s a horrible design. So go buy the 5DM3 because that has everything a videocamera should have, wait what?

      • you sir have made my day

      • It’s a 2 1/2 K iPhone. I have a Cineroid on my AF that should have been designed in the 1st place with a simple eye piece viewed from shoulder like an Arri or any other 16mm camera made over the last 40 years. The Ikonoscope filmmakers get it! Form factor is everything, just try shoot a doc with one these with an EVF 8 hours a day, you will curse that set up. Extra batteries, Israeli arms poking you in the face, bent HDMI cables snapped off midshoot. Other personal issues are lens crop again and FOV and or investing in more glass! I love S16 but this is a 16 digital camera, huge difference! You cannot compare S16 film stock just because this camera has same sensor size. The beauty of 16 is the texture of film, the light to silver, the lenses. Yes this might produce stunning images but so can a Gh2 on ETC mode with a CCTV lens and some CInegrain. 2 1/2 k Data will drive you nuts. RAW jesus, I can barely cope with 2 TB on my last doc shoot and that was AVCHD to prores. is 2 1/2 K the holy grail for low budget filmmakers? 1080 was 5 years ago. Now it’s 4k. You’ve all gone mad. At least with a D800 I can shoot with my old Nikkors native and take 36mp pics for $3k and the camera will hold its value in several years because of still market. This camera will be on Ebay in 2 years for $1200.

        • doesn’t matter chris fool you

        • I agree with you, Dan. Why don’t any of these cameras come in a shape that’s useful?

          Nevermind mimicking the aesthetics of film cameras, how about learning something from their ergonomics – like the Aatons designed to “sit like a cat” on your shoulder. And those lovely wooden hand grips…

          • It is useful because the small form factor allows for the maximum amount of cofigurations and therefore usefullness. I don’t know how people have trouble understanding this. If you want an Aaton style camera, buy a shoulder rig, put a nice pad on the shoulder then put your existing camera on. Done.

            (Don’t forget to tie on weights and a hefty price tag)

          • The reason I have a problem understanding this, Chris, is the past couple of years’ experience of trying to make a DSLR usable – with all those damnable Heath Robinson attachments, contraptions, wires, batteries, BMX hand grips, sore arms, lumbar pains, squinting, craning of the neck, and so on.

            Why not start out with a camera that goes on the shoulder with everything built in. You know, you can still put this on a tripod if you want. (Clue: news cameramen have known this trick for decades)

            I don’t know why people have trouble understanding this.

        • thegregferris on 04.16.12 @ 11:10PM

          I’m not seeing a HDMI out so no bent cables here – SDI all the way.

        • People use cameras in different ways, but most want as many options as possible in as small a form factor as possible to allow for the maximum amount of creativity, and that’s what you’re missing. If I want to mount this camera to car, it’s small size and shape would make that simple with existing inepensive mounts. I could mount it on a shoulder mount, or fly it on a merlin for event coverage. As you already acknowledged, an EVF is also not out of the question.

    • You mean like the Red’s eye level viewfinder? So you rig a zacuto eve… Whats the problem?

  • This is very refreshing. Competition in this area is great for the consumer. The Zacuto camera test should be VERY interesting this year. Can’t wait!!

  • Scalped Productions on 04.16.12 @ 5:34PM

    Does anyone know if the camera will have aperture control for EF lenses?

    • Scalped Productions on 04.16.12 @ 5:47PM

      Nevermind… I referenced the tech specs. EF and ZF mount compatible with electronic iris control.

  • I hope not many people here bought the Digital Bolex.

  • Horses for courses and this is the right horse for me. With all the green screen and vfx work I do I dont need full frame like depth of field. I will keep my T2i and T3i, this will be a sweet addition. Glad i held out on buying a Sony fs100.

  • Cant wait to see what the Big Bothers and Sisters to this camera as the line hopefully continues

  • The test videos/samples for this camera isn’t impressive AT ALL!!

    • Then don’t buy one. I’ll have your place in the queue.

      • agreed!

      • I can voice my opinion if I want to dude. If I think something is impressive I’ll say it, if it isn’t, it isn’t. No need to be snobby with a “then don’t buy it” comment.

        I for one am not going to jump on something just because it happens to be cheap. I rather see good samples, try it myself, etc. I’ll wait until more samples come out in July before I made a final decision.

        You can go jump at it as if it’s the messiah, I’ll play it smart. It seems the internet community is just focused on numbers in lieu of telling stories.

  • Jesus-H-Rubber-Twat-Bomb!

    This is awesome! I mean yeah, there are better camera out there but DUDE!? Check out that price tag! Even if you don’t want to buy this puppy it must make you excited about how much this will affect the price tags of decent cameras!

    So it saying it’s compatible with Canon lenses does that mean it has an EF mount or you need to buy an add on or something?

    Thanks for the news NFS, excellent post as always :D

  • Anyone remember the Silicon Imaging 2K cams?, Danny Boyle used them on Slum Dog, kinda might borrow some of the tech, Raw and all. a while back i remember a greek outfit working on something similar too. only surpeise here is the price tag. wicked, but please don’t slam me for this, but i kinda go along with osborne, the footage isn’t all that, but let’s wait and see.

  • Also, bear in mind that the DOP is very ‘naturalistic’ in his style. So that’s probably not helping in this particular case.

  • This camera would be a killer if it had xlr inputs. Unfortunately it doesn’t

    • Jordan Carr on 04.16.12 @ 10:44PM


    • It has 1/4″ (rather than 1/8″) inputs though, so it should be easier to connect professional mics, there are tons of XLR to 1/4″ adapters. Of course, you don’t get phantom power that way…but some pro mics can use disposable batteries, too.

  • Looking at the night test footage again, I am slowly starting to fall in love with the camera. Black Magic has the film look dialed in!

    • That’s the point. Caught up messing with couple of flat log jpgs from raw images. It’s filmic as hell.

  • Lance Bachelder on 04.16.12 @ 11:35PM

    Got to see and touch at the BMD mega-booth today – weird but freakin’ great. This is the direction Canon should have gone as far as pricing on the new Cinema line – 15 to 30 grand is just too much. I will say that the C500 demo footage is incredible, but this camera is exactly what I want for my next movie.

  • Unbelievable – shame it cant do 2.5k at 48fps…maybe down the line with a firmware update. Still 30 down to 24 is often enough to knock the edge of many shots depending on what you need. One of the shows I LOVE the look of is The Walking Dead, shot on S16. This camera has an almost identical filmic quality and yes noise is a part of that look…in a good way. Cant believe its $3k…$2k considering you get Resolve valued at $999 which I was going to buy anyway.

    This year is INSANE!!!

  • This sensor doesn’t seem too small to me, a 50mm on BMD would be equivalent to a 70mm on a 7D, if you wanna go wide and cheap you can buy a Tokina 11-16 2.8 and it would be an equivalent to a 16-23mm on a 7D, not bad at all.

    • This sensor is almost 30% bigger than a regular S16 sensor hence this could be misleading in a way.

      • Which explains why they didn’t do a S16 PL version – those lenses won’t cover the sensor.

        • Funnily enough I used a set of S16 SuperSpeeds today and they were covered on a 3k crop from the Epic so I have a feeling they would cover this sensor too.

    • 16-23mm ain’t bad, unless you spend a lot of your time shooting in small rooms, in real locations. Or car interiors. Like many of us do.

      The problem with a small sensor camera with a 35mm FF mount, is there are no inexpensive 10mm or 12mm lenses available. 9.8 mm f/1.8 Kinoptic lenses are getting harder to find, and are not selling at bargain-basement prices when you find them ( )

      • To clarify. The OP converted the 11-16mm to 16-23 equivalent (I have no idea why, a 50mm lens is always a 50mm lens). Using his math, an 8mm becomes a 12mm equivalent and a 7mm is a 10mm equivalent. There are NO 7mm or 8mm non-fisheye lenses available in an EF mount.

  • Boys!
    How this beautiful thing would compare low-light-wise to let’s say… A 7D?
    (I’ve been using a 7D for the last year and half, I was saving my coins for a MK3, but now… Im reconsidering it)


    • Jordan Carr on 04.17.12 @ 2:28AM

      Can’t compare the 2.

      The 7D can’t even out resolve the Panasonic GH2 and has lots of jello, poor dynamic range, tons of compression, horrible color (when compared to RAW cameras).

      Remember that “low light” doesn’t mean anything if you capture MUSHY video. These Canon DSLRs might “seem” ok in low light but they really blow pretty hard. Philip Bloom tested Canon DSLRs vs the Sony FS100 Cinema cam and the Sony blew it out of the water.

      The bit-rates of these RAW type cameras make them far more suitable for special effects, color correction and green screen work vs what a Canon 7D is capable of.


  • OMG I can’t believe this doesn’t have XLRs or 120 fps! What a JOKE! The video tests look like a Nokia phone from 2002! The from factor is awful! This is the worst thing to happen to me all day! I HATE EVERYTHING! Cameras are terrible!

    But seriously, I’m buying 3 of these.

  • For the price, it’s attractive! And the design is cool

  • As for the dead/bad pixel problem and noise under low light, my free de-Bayer program that I have been using for the KineRAW-S8p ™ tests on Vimeo has features to remove those when used with the DNG workflow.

    You don’t see any bad pixels in my KineRAW-S8p ™ footage because my program can find those and then makes a list and interpolates over them when the RAW DNG file is loaded for processing.

    Likewise for FPN masking, and I have temporal noise reduction, combined those can maybe give you a two stop gain for similar noise levels. I don’t know if the applied NeatVideo ™ to their sample footage or use some other temporal noise reduction methods.

    I have EDR (Extended Dynamic Range) processing that lets the sensor be exposed a bit to high and still gives some highlight detail, that can be used to shoot high contrast subjects without underexposing too much so that you get noise in the shadow areas.

    By combining EDR with temporal noise reduction and the other area de-noise filters in my de-Bayer processing the results should “improve”, but those adjustments need to be done scene to scene rather than as some kind of automatic one pass processing because the grading should be optimized during the de-Bayer processing rather than after to help separate the noise from the image detail in the important tones.

    Anyway, by de-Bayer program is a free download from my web site and reads DNG frames, if some special features show up in this camera it might be possible to add presets for its color balance and such as I have started to do for some other cameras.

    • Good luck with your Kineraw escapade, but I’m sure the majority of us will now be focusing on Blackmagic. Nice try though. Perhaps we’ll see Kineraw come out with their cameras in a year or two, only to then realize how behind the times their camera is come launch time.

  • Aleksander Fremstad Askim on 04.17.12 @ 7:56AM

    5D mark III or this beauty ??!

  • Since the 60′s the history of 16mm ( Arri, Eclair, Bolex etc) and its impact on filmmaking have been these camera form factor, portability, price (camera and 16mm film stock), modifying like the Maysles 16mm Auricon’s with 1000ft mags. These cameras created a new style of filmmaking that influences generations to this day. Unfortunately today’s filmmakers obsession with the perfect 2K for post has resulted in the coming of the Messiah with the Blackmagic camera. I’ve read all the specs and astonished the designers did not think of the growing creative doc community who want great cinema images out the camera. How do you shoot an event that takes place over a day with this camera that has an internal battery that lasts barely 2 hours? Why the compact design if not for documentary style shooting? Expensive battery packs, extra rigging, EVF’s what a hassle for a 16mm film image. GH2 good for another few years.

    • Fully agree with the guys who consider an integrated battery idiocy of the people that have never made cameras before. Hope the next version will have not only rechargeable but also re-changeable battery.

  • James Neuendorf on 04.17.12 @ 10:27AM

    The pessimist in me is sure that the day this thing arrives at my door, Arri Alexia will announce a $3k IMAX or something with double everything… The hardware game changes sooo fast… This looks awesome though.

  • The internal battery is probably going to be a huge issue (for me anyways). I mean, a HUGE issue. Satchler’s FSB Cell would be a really nice way to power the camera but I don’t think it has enough juice. If there is enough demand maybe they (or another company) could develop a similar concept. I just don’t want to mount a large V-mount battery on a rig (or pay for them). Yet, at $3,000 I suppose I can adapt.

    It seems silly that the audio inputs are 1/4″ rather than XLR. Oh well, it’s still better audio than any DSLR out there; including that $15,000 4K shooting brick of a DSLR.

    • I think they’re 3.5mm (1/8″) instead of 1/4. either way, having two inputs, as well as the ability to monitor through headphones, sets this above most of the dslr market in this price range. definitely better than 4k M-JPEG for $15 grand.

      • my mistake – 1/4′ jacks it is. a weird choice then, instead of xlr. but whatever. two inputs and a headphone line out is still a great feature to have on a $3k camera of this capability.

        • Randy Walters on 04.18.12 @ 3:28PM

          The 1/4″ audio inputs are balanced, so all you really need are the right XLR to TRS cables. True, they won’t lock, but given the size of the camera body, it really makes perfect sense.

    • There are plenty of dirt cheap external 12v power options, I use a few powering various things on set. No doubt there will be a 3rd pary external battery pack that sits under the camera shortly after release and soon after that there will be knock off’s from China

  • What excites me about this is not even so much the camera itself, it’s the fact that this is BlackMagic’s FIRST foray into this field, so I’m extremely interested to see where they take this. They really push the envelope with their other product lines and I’m excited to see them join the fray. I think they are the perfect company to give the industry a little shake-up.

  • If you look at the test footage again, the highlights look amazing on this camera. Beach at dusk around 2:39 looks impeccable!

  • Lliam Worthington on 04.17.12 @ 1:11PM

    I think it’s a mind blowing release and easily the most disruptive since the RED one. Unless you count the happy accident of the 5D. Resolve 9 thrown in just makes this something truly incredible.

    I think this will likely be my B cam for Scarlet.

  • Resolve 9 being thrown in is literally forcing my hand on this. They better not make this a limited offer!

  • With almost a 4/3″ sensor, why not offer a m4/3 mount option as well? The crop factor will make EF lenses look a little long. Or maybe they will offer 16mm lenses of their own design as well?

    • I doubt they’re ready to go THAT far, but it’s a nice thought :)

    • Can someone tell me the asthetic difference of a 16mm designed lens at say 25mm focal length and a 35mm EF-s lens say 11mm that crops to 25ishmm?

      Will geometric distortion be drastically different?

  • You cannot compare 12bit RAW to any DLSR with 4:2:0 compression period.
    Only RAW will give you the oppertunity to do high end grading in post. The range and color depth of a camera, is one of the most important things to establish a film look.
    All DSLR look video because they are lacking range and color depth. (that’s without compositing with look-alike effects). This Camera can be used for high-end film productions for a very low price, with quality getting near alexa and red epic. (i.m.o. it looks a way better than red one thanks to it’s 13 stops range).
    The range of any camera is more usefull when you can change or grade before “baking” the LUT and compress it. The lut of most video/DLSR camera’s result in 5-7 stops range, baked-in and compressed, mostly in 4:2:0 colorspace. (don’t let marketing fool you, even the sony F3 doesn’t have 13 stops).
    Working in 12bit RAW with large lattitude gives you the benefit of pushing up a underlit face +2 stops without loss of quality, or grade back a lot of detail in overlit clouds.
    The sensor size is not 35mm, so what? More depth of field? Look at the popular movies, when do you see a small depth of field (F1.2, F1.4) ? Only if it’s really needed for the cinematography, to tell the story. Mostly the DOF is set on a F-stop comparable with S16 DOF, because it’s looks natural. If you can’t tell your story in S16 format, you can’t tell it with 35MM. The big difference now is that the aspects needed to get a high end level picture is in reach for nearly everyone now. Blog’s soon will no more be about “this is the best camera ever”, but about “this might be the best story filmed ever”.
    I think Black Magic has scored big-time. Adobe has aquired Iridas, so it’s only a question of time adobe will implement high end color grading in CSx. By nearly “giving” away a camera with Davinci reslove….they will blow out any compettitors for now.

    Too bad that there are not 2 versions, one with a PL mount ,a dicision that looks like a marketing stunt to get most DLSR users over to buy their camera and keep their lenses. Please give PL lenses a chance too.

    Beside the good side of all this,is that this camera will destory capital of a lot of professional creatives, filmmakers etc.who recently invested a lot of money to earn a living. Prices will drop and they all are played out by marketing tricks again……remember red? the camera they promised in 2007 was actually the camera with “epic” specs released many years later. (they promised F11 in range, but called it “wide dynamic” camera later on, because it only had F7 when they started) Don;’t even start mentioning the scarlet. nearly everyone believed in the marketing capaign and pre-ordered.

    A decade ago, everything labeled “film” was very “exlusive” expensive. The black magic camera looks like a game changer. Wait a few years more and you’ll be able to buy a digital cinema camera at your local super market, with an optional choice for zeiss or cheap glass.

  • I was literally anxiously excited about this camera until I heard one complete deal breaker.

    It has an “internal” battery with a 2 hour re-charge time and a 90 minute (probably 60 minute real world running capacity)

    That completely blows! An internal battery are you kidding me? Forget using this thing for Documentary work, Event work and Abroard.


    • You just need an adapter and you can connect almost any battery to it. I don’t think this is a big issue, just because Canon batteries don’t slide into it doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

      • I’m with you on this. I just think of it as batter holder is not inside the camera. It will just be an add-on sitting underneath it on a tripod. And the reason for that is just the small size. But, if you did need to do something quick, then you’d have an hour or so of batter life. I don’t see that as a big deal really. I think if they had included a batter slot, then there probably wouldn’t have been enough room to fit SSD cards. And to me, if you said “you can have either SSD cards and and add-on battery; or SDHC cards and a battery slot,” I’d pick the first option. I’m not a camera designer, so I don’t know if there was another way to do it, but in the end, there is only so much real estate on a body this size.

        • sorry, for some reason my “y” key wasn’t clicking in when I was typing “battery” lol.

    • battery pack BOOM

  • Damen Stephens on 04.19.12 @ 3:50PM

    It’s not a “ZF” mount camera – That is Zeiss’s Nikon mount. Whilst Nikon lenses can be used on a Canon EF camera an adaptor is required and auto-iris etc. is not supported. This camera uses Zeiss ZE lenses !!

  • does this camera shoot at 60fps on a lower resolution or is 30 fps the highest it goes i shoot alot of sport videograpghy and as such shoot alot of my videos at 60fps so i can later slo it down in post

  • The Thunderbolt out will not be very useful for PC users – such as me, at least for a while. No PC’s have Thunderbolt available and, according to Intel, it cannot be added using a card – it has to be integrated onto the motherboard. It will be interesting to see how BMD handles the certified motherboards for use with Resolve when none of them currently have Thunderbolt. Ultrascope currently uses an external device to connect to PCs. I’d love a Mac, but the conversion cost would be more than the camera.

    • Don’t believe everything they say, with the lightpeak demo they used PCI cards. ;)
      You can find it on youtube.

  • I like the possibility of this camera, but I was concerned about the crop factor. What lenses would be best for this kind of sensor?

    Or what would the math be to figure out what lenses would really be after the crop factor? Just don’t want to waste money on lenses, or not get what I’m paying for. I’m thinking about getting this camera, got my preorder form already, yeah!!

    Now I’m trying to figure out lenses.

  • I like the possibility of this camera, but I was concerned about the crop factor. What lenses would be best for this kind of sensor?

    Or what would the math be to figure out what lenses would really be after the crop factor? Just don’t want to waste money on lenses, or not get what I’m paying for. I’m thinking about getting this camera, got my preorder form ready to go, yeah!!

  • Does anybody have an idea why they desided to go with such a non standard sensor size with that mount combination?

    I don’t wanna complain, just understand. I don’t have a problem with a 16mm-ish sized seonsor, as long as I got the right lenses for it. All the good 16mm lenses are PL mounts (as far as I know) that start from even 6mm (which is around 12mm on a 5D, correct me if I’m wrong), so you can go really wide if you want. But those will not fit the mount of this camera. Why not just make the sonsor a little larger, so all the canon lenses would be very usefull also in wide angles? Would it have raised the cost of the camera that much?

    I just hope, that soon there will be fast wide lenses for that camera.

    What do you think?

    • Because they didn’t design the sensor, they took one that someone else is already fabricating. They probably balanced cost, sensor size, and resolution and that’s the best option.

      The mounts on the camera make sense because the widest range of lenses that are cheap and most people are using are Nikon and Canon mount.

      The sensor is too big for super 16mm, and people buying a $3000 camera probably can’t afford PL lenses.

      The only other option is that they could have made a mount that was very close to the sensor and just allowed any lens to be used with an adapter. But they were trying to keep it simple and easy. The only thing you need to buy with this camera is an SSD drive and you’re shooting immediately (since so many people have Nikon and Canon lenses).

  • An APS-C sensor can’t be that expensive. I got this Sony NEX-C3 recently whic has a really good APS-C sensor. The camera is super small and costs like 250 bucks – so what’s the problem with APS-C?

    They could have at least gave it a four-thirds sensor and mount. With the weird non-standard sensor size you will always struggle to find good wide-angle lenses? You’ll need something around 12mm on this camera to get a 28mm equivalent wide angle. I never heard of a good 12mm prime lens, you’ll have to get one of the full frame fisheye lenses or super wide-angle zooms. And I don’t even know how a FF fisheye performs on a 2.x crop sensor – can that be any good?

  • Does anyone have an idea how the footage from this camera would cut with that of a MDII or T3i? Would this create a good A/B camera combo?

  • So Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses mount to this camera? Isn’t ZF a Nikon mount? Would Nikon lenses then work with this camera?

    • I believe it was a typo, because it is now referred to as ZE – which is the Canon mount Zeiss lens. So Nikon lenses will work with an adapter – but it will not be native.

  • Well, no, it doesn’t target the HDSLR market perfectly, unless this does good still photography as well? The selling point of HDSLRs is that they can do both HD video and stills, I see no information to suggest this does anything but video — albeit with better quality video than most HDSLRs at a still reasonable price.

  • stuck pixels in the test video done on the beach… three of them.

  • This Camera is really catching my eyes, I was planning to buy the Canon 5D Mark III for mostly video use. I am currently studying interactive media and I’m building my skills towards video making. I am an amateur, so I am confused on some specs on the BM video camera. The sensor of this camera has a crop factor 2.3 which doesn’t bother me at all, the only thing that I’m conceded is the DOF that I will get out of the sensor. This question mind sound silly for some of you but I’m new into understanding sensors! Will iI get more or less DOP compared to the 5D Mark3?

    Also do you guys think they will release a firmware which will allow the shoot of at least 60fps? Maybe Magic Lantern?


  • I like most things about this camera.

    A little bummed about the 30fps cap, no audio level meters, no real timecode and the exclusion of HDMI for a low cost monitoring solution (although SDI is needed for most pro situations it is much more expensive to accommodate on a budget… so the $3000 budget friendly camera gets more expensive). Only big complaint: For a camera that is touting non-proprietary everything… It sure seems geared for a Mac! “Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD (No custom file formats? FCP and Avid seem custom to me)… Thunderbolt… Mac formatted ssd.” It seems to penalize PC owners. We have to buy special software and hardware to use the camera…. And the budget friendly camera gets more expensive…

    With that said… I can’t wait to get one of these. I love the possibilities that it offers. I love that BMD stepped up to the plate and handed the RAW 12 bit, high dynamic range, film like option to us at a decent price point. Stepping outside of the box and going where no one else would go was gutsy and appreciated. So nice to have the options ;)….

  • Why does 60fps matter so much to people? What films are made in 60fps?

    • 60fps at 1080p for slow motion – 60fps played back in a 24fps timeline gets you better slow motion than 30fps.

  • Without a Thunderbolt connection, how do I get the video from this camera to my Windows pc? Do they make SSD readers that plug into a pc like a compact flash reader, etc? Thanx everyone.

    • you can get a usb sata HDD enclosure to copy the files, it will act just like an external HDD

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