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Blackmagic Adds Functions to Cinema Camera, Finally Shipping Within Two Weeks (For Real This Time)

08.24.12 @ 1:52PM Tags : , , ,

Just as we finally got the first downloadable RAW footage and the first real low-light test, we’re now getting a real shipping time-frame for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera straight from the company itself. Dan Chung over at DSLR News Shooter is at BIRTV in China right now and he sat down with Richard Lim to discuss the camera, the concerns people have had, and the final shipping design. Richard also details a few new nifty functions that they’ve added in software, like the ability to shoot at ISO 200 (which may or may not affect dynamic range). Check out the video below.

Lim suggests that there are cameras floating around — both review units as well as shipping units. It seems, however, that the actual shipping has not yet begun, but will start within two weeks. Of course, as Richard admits, there are far more pre-orders than they will have cameras to ship in the first round, so it’s possible that only those who pre-ordered during NAB will get the Cinema Camera within the first few weeks. As I’ve said before, the roll-out is going to be long, and they will probably still be fulfilling pre-orders well into October/November.

As far as the new features, a double-tap for focus check is a huge addition in my opinion, and it looks fast and responsive. Adding ISO 200 is going to be helpful for when NDs aren’t available. While there will be plenty of daylight scenes where you will be pushing F11-F16 without NDs (which could cause serious diffraction), at least with ISO 200 you’ve got a better chance of getting an exposure. It’s clear that the shipping version of the camera will not feature improvements regarding the camera mount or internal battery situation, but it seems like Blackmagic has definitely considered these criticisms, and I would really not be surprised if they release an updated version sometime in the future with both of those issues addressed.

There is no question that Blackmagic is dedicated to the consumer — and as Richard says they will be improving the software frequently. I’m sure we can expect plenty of new features and additions in the near future, at least as far as software/firmware is concerned, but now we have confirmation that the design is basically unchanged from what was introduced at NAB 2012.

Link: BIRTV 2012: Blackmagic Design claims Digital Cinema Camera to ship within two weeks – DSLR News Shooter


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  • Philip Bloom just got his. Hopefully a review soon.

  • Probably best to wait for the next version of the BMCC – no doubt this is a great start, but of course there will be kinks to work out (like the battery and mounting issues) that I hope they’ll address in an updated model.

    I don’t think this company will be as foolish as Canon has been and ignore the needs of the market!

    • Yes, you could always wait for a newer model and guess what? it won’t be perfect… again. This mount is only an issue if you have a set of PL lenses sitting in your table, otherwise you can get fair amount of options you could use. Battery again, not an issue for me, buy a third party. I just hope they don’t do like Red putting outrageous prices on their battery forcing people to buy third party anyhow.

      • you dont need to have a set of pl sitting around, to prefer working with it.

        • Jon Barrowman on 08.25.12 @ 5:34PM

          Due to the PL mount being difficult it work with EOS mounts it’s difficult to mount these lenses on the camera.

          If you have a set of PLs this camera doesn’t appeal. With any other sort of lens you are well catered for!

    • I think if you operate like that you’ll always be waiting. Something new is always around the corner.

    • Sorry, should have clarified that my main point is that the good people at Blackmagic seem to hear out and be offering what many people have been asking for: an affordable RAW camera that goes a step above 1080p.

      I’m not saying this is a bad camera at all – it’s very much quite the opposite and we’ll undoubtedly be seeing a ton of things filmed on this first BMCC for the next few years. Instead, what I’m saying is that other manufacturers (even Blackmagic themselves) might start coming out of the woodwork and offering similar tools that fill in some of the shortcomings of this particular camera. Of course if you keep the mentality to wait around on the edge of your seat for the tool that fits every need out there, you’ll find yourself poised for a very, very long time.

      I also just re-read the article Joe posted linked below and it sounds like this BMCC might have some ability to be updated. We’ll see what demands there are after the masses get their hands on this and see where the camera shines and falls short.

  • Sure Brendan, assuming you don’t have anything you want to shoot in the meantime…

    Gareth — we’re waiting on our review unit. Not surprised Philip got his first, he’s probably the most famous camera reviewer… IN THE WORLD!

  • Had my fingers crossed for some kind of 60p.

    • Not going to change unless they completely overhaul the sensor and related hardware. It’s not just a simple firmware fix.

      • Well, that’s not quite the case. This is from Dan May of Blackmagic:

        “The camera as it is at lauch will be a 30P and lower camera. You’re talking all progressive 30, 29.97, 25, 23.94 – these are the frame rates we knew we could get out the door and they would support but traditional cinematic frame reates. Obviously the number one request we have is to do things like 60p. Kind of goes back to that same discussion as we have to get a camera out the door but we know we can do there are several challenges of doing higher frame rate like 60p such as heating and can you do RAW DNG to an SSD and do you have the throughput necessary to do that at 2.5k. Could you do it at a lower resolution? Perhaps. Could you do it in compressed only? Perhaps. But again heating is obviously always a challenge on cameras. This camera itself has the molded aluminum body to dissipate heat as well as a fan as well as a refrigeration unit on the sensor but you know the more processing and more data you’re jamming through there the more critical heat is going to be. Back to that water cooler discussion about could we do we do it or does it have to be a different device… as it is, out the door 30p and under.”

        • Do you think they would ever put 720 60/50p in? Would everybody prefer the higher frame-rate at a lower resolution rather than no 60/50p at all? Cause by all means people could just rent a specialised camera for higher frame rate footage, rather than having to upscale 720p to match. Thoughts everybody?

          • I don’t know if they would implement 720p 60/50 or not. It’s unclear if the hardware is designed to be able to accommodate that.

          • Thats why you only buy something for what it is TODAY and not by what it might possibly be in the future. Thats the reason you have a lot of frustrated DSLR owners.

        • “can you do RAW DNG to an SSD and do you have the throughput necessary to do that at 2.5k”

          Again, I find it incredible that a company can build a product like this and not be able to answer that question with a few seconds of arithmetic. They know the performance bottlenecks in terms of moving data around…this is a company with a background in standalone recorders, not cameras, and their staff I’m sure knew the maximum bitrate the implementation could handle. Heat management, OK, that’s an empirical factor that may be a bit harder to predict, but only a touch harder.

          But I’m not complaining, I’m excited about this camera as-is. I just want to warn the CEO that we don’t giddily eat BS out here. We have more than enough of that already from the other manu’s.

  • Having a built in neutral density filter is frequently a desired feature.

  • Hopefully we get SOME kind of over-crank in the not to distant future – even 48p at 1080 would be simply amazing on this camera!

  • Yes I read a report that the ISO setting on the BMCC does not affect RAW exposure at all (other than as a metadata setting telling an app downstream what the camera operator intended, like white balance does). The exposure will be burned into ProRes/DNxHD compressed formats though.

    Often ISO is a gain setting on the sensor, which will affect dynamic range/noise etc. If not, and you are shooting RAW, then it’s just a feature to help you see what you could do with the video later. In which case, ND’s will be mandatory.

    Nice that fotodiox just announced ND’s that fit huge DSLR lenses (145mm solids and 6.6 inch grads with an adaptor to fit on various lenses).

    • Yeah if there is a real RAW setting on a camera it never affects exposure, simply what you’re seeing on a monitor. As far as a different ISO setting than native, it depends how the sensor works, some are better than others at maintaining dynamic range – but really I’m referring to non-RAW when talking about this, as that will be what most people shoot with anyway for many projects.

      So it will undoubtedly affect dynamic range, we’ll just have to see how much from 800 to 400 to 200. It will also be interesting to see if ISO 200 actually has less noise than ISO 800.

  • I sure hope there is another way to activate the focus magnification. If you want to check critical focus in the middle of a take, tapping on the screen is the last thing I want to do. Especially with longer lenses, it will just shake the camera and wiggle the jello all around.

    • if you bash it like an enraged caveman perhaps – but really with the weight of the camera plus a longer lens as you say and the light touch I assume required I cant see it being a problem. Id love it if it magnified the actual area you taped on – that would be HUGE. Even HUGER would be if you could drag your finger around and it moved the magnification area around with it, that would be KILLER!

      • Yeah, point taken and seriously +1 for being able to drag the magnification area around with your finger. I guess this is really where I’m counting on the early reviewers. No spec sheet can answer questions like exactly how usable are touch screen controls on a pro camera? If it really works out it could change a lot in future camera designs.