September 21, 2012

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Shows the Canon 5D Mark III Who's Boss

It's hard to really explain to some people the advantages of one camera system over another. There are many people who just glaze over when you start talking about 12-bit RAW and ProRes 4:2:2 HQ. If you are one of those people, then we've got a comparison for you, which gives you pretty pictures and hard evidence to compare two similarly priced cameras: the Blackmagic Cinema Cinema at $3,000 and the Canon 5D Mark III at around $3,500. The test was conducted by OneRiver Media, who also recently took the camera for a go in this short film. Click through for the test video.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you download the video as the original uploaded file is far better quality than the embedded video here:

Now, the conclusions from the video should be pretty obvious even to someone that isn't experienced in filmmaking. While many will still say, no one can see sharpness from a compressed web video, after going through the generation loss, the higher the quality of your original source, the better the final product will look. With a DSLR you're already starting with what should be an export codec only, H.264. If you could start with a much higher quality internal codec, could the final uploaded quality be improved? Yes, but you're still limited by the image the camera can produce. That's where the Blackmagic Cinema Camera's quality comes in.

Let's just take for a minute, all things being equal (even though they aren't). If the 5D Mark III could also output 10-bit ProRes and 12-bit RAW, what kind of quality could we get? Would it be better? Absolutely, but it still wouldn't address the two biggest reasons the BMCC has a superior image: resolution and dynamic range. The former is the one most people will use to say that the camera doesn't matter much if videos are just going to the web. I disagree depending on the initial compression, but it's more valid than claiming the latter doesn't matter. Dynamic range is the first thing that even an inexperienced person will notice, and it's one of the reasons people still love film over digital - as not all digital cameras have caught up with film in the dynamic range department. It often subconsciously affects the image. Humans are actually very aware of brighter points in an image -- even when we're not looking for them -- and it's often the first place someone's eye will go when the overall image is darker.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera's superior dynamic range will give a more cinematic image just for that reason alone. Sure, with the Mark III you can shoot with a flat profile and underexpose to keep some of those highlights from blowing, but there is only so far you can push a compressed 4:2:0 8-bit image. Yes there are plenty of negatives about actually using the camera, some of which have been addressed by the Micro 4/3 mount option for the camera, but which image is better should be obvious to even inexperienced shooters after watching the video. Many will still complain about the sensor size, and that they'd rather wait for the Super 35mm version of the camera, but I can tell you right now, it's not coming anytime soon. Blackmagic chose the sensor precisely because of the low cost, dynamic range, and resolution, and there aren't any publicly available sensors that check off all of those boxes at the Super 35mm level. Even with all of the new cameras that have been announced over the last week or so, this camera should still edge out all of them based on the factors above.

Here is another video showing off the superior quality of the Cinema Camera, this time Jon Carr took Vincent Laforet's test camera for a spin:

Other cameras might be better in low-light and might be easier to work with thanks to bigger sensors and removable internal batteries, but if you're willing to work around those issue, you're going to get an image for $3,000 that rivals cameras costing at least 10 times as much. As always, use the right camera for the right job, and if the BMCC doesn't fit your shooting style, it might actually make your life more difficult. If you've been using DSLRs, however, and you're used to working with certain limitations, the BMCC might just be your next camera.

Links:

Your Comment

169 Comments

BMC taking a steamy dump on Canon's chest.

now if they can only ship it!

September 21, 2012

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David

LOL!

September 21, 2012

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Canon at its core is a lens company. They love the BMCC because it has a Canon lens mount. But yes they better come up with a lower budget cinema camera or risk loosing some profits.

September 21, 2012

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Rex

This video has convinced me in buying the BMCC over the 5D mark2

September 21, 2012

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I have been looking for a camera upgrade because it is time for my business to do so.

Check out Phillip Blooms 45 Minute review if your seriously looking at purchasing.

http://philipbloom.net/2012/09/05/bmd/

September 21, 2012

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Videoscaper

September 21, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

yah, the blackmagic has some serious disadvantages over the advantages that might outweight your decision. Watch that Philip Bloom review. He is filming his turorials with a C300 if i am correct, which they look very very nice.

September 21, 2012

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Daniel Salazar

Just FYI the Comparing the Cinema Camera link takes you to the OneRiver Media Blog site.

Can you please provide a correct link for the video download.

September 21, 2012

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Videoscaper

Sorry about that, but for future reference you can also click on the Vimeo logo in the corner of the video, or right click on the video and click, watch on Vimeo.

September 21, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Thanks for the info Joe.

I'm thankful for this site.

You guys keep the good stories coming.

September 21, 2012

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Videoscaper

I have the Cinema Camera, I have been shooting around NY for the past week and I have to say the image really is amazing. The color, sharpness and this may sound crazy but it has this amazing film grain that i love. I have a 5d as well and the more i use it and work with footage from other cameras the more you realize just how soft the image is.

September 21, 2012

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Tom

Can you please give us more info on your workflow and what you find are some of the advantages/disadvantages compared to what you normally shoot with?

September 22, 2012

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Jerome

Absolutely THE best comparison review I've seen to date!
Well done! Just brilliantly put together.
E><

September 21, 2012

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Elahn

Just curious about 2 things -
1. Audio recording.
2. Frame rates.

September 21, 2012

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Elahn

If you check out the Phillip Bloom video review, he goes into both in pretty much all the detail there is to talk about.

September 21, 2012

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trackofalljades

he didn't mention if he used the "ALL-I " codec....a lot of ppl forget about this gem....highest rate of current dslr's...i bet he used the low-res ipb setting....

September 21, 2012

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Carlos

He mentions that he's using it at 7:10 in the video.

September 21, 2012

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Scott

Yes he does. He clearly says he used it and theorizes it's why there is no macro blocking chunks in the fountain shot.

September 21, 2012

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sean

he did mention that - in the shot with the water bubbling. He used All-I.

September 21, 2012

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Now do a comparison for stills functionality and watch the BMCC crumble.

horse for courses, guys.

September 21, 2012

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john jeffreys

The BMCC is not being touted as a still image camera but a cinema camera - your argument is moot. That being said, the 5dmkII/III takes a larger still image from RAW but I would be hard pressed to say that the image 'crumbles.' The BMCC still has more dynamic range and is sharp. You will not resolve the detail that a 22 MP sensor does in RAW still mode but we know that.

September 21, 2012

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It hurts me to say this, but john jeffreys comment is obviously meant to be sarcastic/hilarious. Of course the BMCC is not for stills: otherwise it would be called the Black Magic Cinema and Stills Camera, aka BMCaSC, which provides something more akin to an educational title rather than a piece of filmmaking equipment.

September 21, 2012

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AD Stephens

I was being like half sarcastic. I actually do think that the comparison is a little unfair, the 5D is designed to be a photo camera that ALSO takes video as a side feature. The BMC is a purely video camera. Of course it's better.

September 21, 2012

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john jeffreys

What should they be comparing the BMCC to? Maybe a FS100 or AF 101 for being in the same price range and all are strait up video cameras? i don't know any video camera that has caught the indie film community's imagination like the 5d has, while still being in the $3-$5grand ball park.

September 21, 2012

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Well... how about comparing the BMC to a C300? Cinema camera vs. "cinema" camera, seems fair no?

September 21, 2012

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nobody

Yeah... I'm both dumb and retarded but let's see a direct image comparison because I've not been impressed with the images I've seen from the C300, not at all. The rest of the stuff you mention may be a problem for you, I don't know why you'd assume that is the case for anybody else?

September 21, 2012

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nobody

Eh... what happened to John Jeffreys message?

September 21, 2012

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nobody

I don't know Nobody. Compaing a $3 grand camera to a $14 grand camera isn't...um... Fair..not even ballpark fair. I think Peter down below has a much better idea, compaing it to the c100 with a recording drive as soon as that comes out.

September 21, 2012

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Isn't fair to which manufacturer? The Canon is not a $14,000 camera in any respect other than price; clicking through to EOSHD yesterday there was a blog post about Canon admitting 1DX and 1DC are identical in terms of visual hardware. Joe makes the (valid) point in his write up that the Black Magic rivals the image quality of cameras ten times the price.

Surely a comparison to a C300 is as valid as one to a 5D?

September 21, 2012

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nobody

Nobody's right. Errm, I mean the guy with the username "nobody" is right.
Comparing it to the C300 is very legitimate. Especially for indie film makers who might be interested in seeing the benefits of capturing/working with RAW as opposed to the sharpening etc all being done in camera. As well as how the DR and colorimetry stack up.

September 22, 2012

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Lliam Worthington

+1 to what Drew says. Doesn't make sense at all to compare a $3k cam to a $14k one. Just doesn't.
Also, the boundry between a video camera and a stills camera has been blurred and shifted and distorted so much in last couple of years that Nobody's argument doeasn't hold up anymore.

September 22, 2012

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JB

ok compare it to a gh2 then that is 1/3 of the price. and in prores please
it will then be like comparing red scarlet to bmc. in raw

price is a factor, or its not.
workflow is a factor, or its not.
if one is not interested in the above factors then any comparison is valid.
if one is, then one must think about more things than just the camera body.

September 22, 2012

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I am a photojournalist, and when everybody else was complaining about the soft video and high cost of the 5D3 we were super excited about the 61 focus points, amazing low light performance, 6fps etc etc. But as the market continually evolves many news websites are starting to use video instead of, or to supplement photos, video starts to become much more important. It seems to me that to do run&gun video and great stills at the same time, the 5D is still the best camera for the job. BUT since I am starting to look at doing music videos and short films, I might pick up BMCC instead of a second 5D body :)
The point being use the right tool for the job at hand.

September 21, 2012

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I think it's a Cinema Camera, not the best for stills right? It's optimized for video so why even compare it's stills capability?.

September 21, 2012

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Bob

Then do a comparison from a video shoot where the client asks you to pull a still from a segment of footage you show them. Horses for courses.

September 21, 2012

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Paul

Lets say BMCC can shoot RAW photos 30fps in 2K....and canon MIII cant do that, right?

September 21, 2012

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The biggest difference in measuring sharpness between these two cameras is going to be Canon low pass filter...BM's design choice to leave that out will certain allow their camera to resolve more detail...but I would like to see some side-by-side moire tests for balance.

Definitely impressed though. Still waiting on my pre-order :(

September 21, 2012

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sean

Taking out the low-pass filter in the Mark III proved no discernable increase in sharpness back when people were entertaining that idea, so the resolution of the video in the Canon comes down to their downscaling method.

September 21, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I can't wait to try this camera out. I've shot 7d/5d2/GH2 since they came out, and most recently shot some on 5d3, but I just can't get over the image out of this camera. Though a lot of us may differ on our favorite hammer in the toolshed, I think we can all agree on one thing - it's certainly a fun time to be a filmmaker.

September 21, 2012

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Benjamin Dewhurst
Writer
writer/director

I look forward to the BMCC vs GH3 video! Good stuff.

September 21, 2012

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Scott

The problem I'm dealing with is, I don't know which BMCC to get. I want to be able to use my Canon lenses on it, but if the opportunity comes up, I'd like to have the option of putting PL mount lenses.

September 21, 2012

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you can always put a canon adaptor on the m4/3 version. not the other way around.

m4/3rds will give you the post options.

September 21, 2012

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David

Get the micro 4/3 mount. Unless all your canon lenses is electric. I personally only have one manual lens. However I still plan on getting the m 4/3 mount because I can get some Rokinon Cine lenses to make up for it.

September 21, 2012

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Depends on your style of shooting as well. If you go handheld run & gun a lot, electronic lenses with working IS may come in handy. And the video proved you can get pretty wide with EF lenses (even if they're not f1.2) so if you've already got EF lenses, might make sense.

September 21, 2012

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Scott

OK, I'm officially putting this guy in charge of any camera reviews to come. That was a quite pleasant review.

September 21, 2012

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I agree, that review was extremely well done.

September 21, 2012

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nobody

That One River Media comparison video of the BMC is the best I've seen so far.

September 21, 2012

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Erwin (Netherlands)

Thats It!!! I'm buying one !

September 21, 2012

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Ali

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of canon fanboys suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

September 21, 2012

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Funny! :) Might be true though.

September 21, 2012

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Interesting, this is the first thread with no "I'm sticking with my 5d"

September 21, 2012

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Ryan

I am sticking with my 5D3 as much of the time I'm shooting events at ISO5000 and up. For other work, I'm evaluating upgrades...C100, FS700 w/Metabones, BMCC EF...

September 21, 2012

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Peter

I'm sticking with my 5D kit and renting whatever other camera I need on a project to project basis. Eventually, I'll drop 5-7k on a used red one M kit.

September 21, 2012

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john jeffreys

I'm sticking with 5DIII for weddings: low-light, physical controls, ergonomics, shallow depth, wide angles. Plus, it takes photos.

September 21, 2012

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I'm sticking with my 7D... Magic Lantern Baby!!

September 21, 2012

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Jeff

I'm sticking with my 5D... for another 40 minutes while I box it up and ship it to my EBay auction's winner.

Seems like if you want to emulate big boy work that involves a big boy workflow (and for second unit feature work) this is a no brainer. Holy moly.

September 22, 2012

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I'm sticking with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III - so far, to me, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera looks much more "video" - yes, the camera is sharper and many times i'd love the 5D3 to be sharper (and you can apply some sharpening to the 5D3 image), but what I'm seeing so far with the Cinema Camera just doesn't appeal to me visually

September 23, 2012

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I really loved the "Zoom, Zoom Zoom" part. The detail, color, sky and heat waves rendered from the BMCC blew me away! Again, the BMCC got a wider shot than a 16mm on a full frame and simultaneously got a far longer shot.

Let's not mention the SAME BOKEH - heck, much better -not-blown-out bokeh - when he put the 50mm on and stepped back 6 feet.

I'm so glad I went with my gut instinct months ago and pre-ordered. This is coming from a FF Canon fanboy. And hey, my 5dmkII is still bomb for stills and a great b camera for my BMCC.

September 21, 2012

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Marco Solorio Shows Philip bloom Who's Boss.... :)

September 21, 2012

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haha.
exactly!

(and he tests rolling shutter)

September 22, 2012

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Yes Canon gifted BMD with this opportunity by artificially creating a pricing ladder across their line for downsampling and codec quality. This is well established now.

But Canon has a product the BMCC really ought to be shot out against: the C100, ideally with an external recorder such as BMD's Hyperdeck Shuttle 2. That will yield direct-to-ProRes at 8 bit 4:2:2, and with a much larger and more light-sensitive sensor. Yes you will only get 11 stops of dynamic range that way, but most people I think will give up the stop in trade for the better low-light.

Then you say, wait, that camera is more than double the price of the BMCC! ($3000 vs. $6500, plus $350 for the recorder) OK but compare the total cost of ownership between similarly equipped units. The BMCC has no EVF, no top or side handle, no XLR inputs, no preamps with 48V for audio, no replaceable batteries, no ND filters, no articulating display, etc. Find comparable ones to what's standard on the C100 and total up your cost.

Then compare the ergonomics between the two options. That's not even close to being a contest. BMD is just starting to explore what a camera is supposed to do...you can't even delete a bad take, much less know what your aperture setting is.

Sorry if I'm advocating Canon (I am not fond of the company philosophy certainly) but this review, while helpful (and look at that false color in the BMCC chart shots) comes off a bit as an informercial and I think the comments section on a blog is where you should find balance. I am impressed with the BMCC but the C100 is a formidable riposte especially using one of BMD's recorders with it to circumvent the cripple codec.

September 21, 2012

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Peter

You know Peter thats a good point - Id love to see a shoot out between the C100 with hyperdeck and the BMC. As you say when you start to add in all the bits you need the price will be a lot closer and the images not that dissimilar. Though nothing will ever touch 12 bit raw for ultimate grading.

In terms of production ready firmware and reliability Id bet the C100 would be better - but we will need to wait until December to see.

September 21, 2012

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Paul

A question, can I use canon lenses on the BMCC MFT version? via adapters right?

September 21, 2012

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Harry

Yes you can - no electronic aperture control though.

September 21, 2012

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nobody

September 22, 2012

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Clayton Arnall

Yes, no problem, you can use an adaptor, it will be a 'dumb' adaptor though, so no AF, IS or focusing if it's one of the few focus by wire Canon lenses (like the 85mm f1.2). The MFT mount is really for manual lenses which are pretty standard for filming and it's a lovely mount for that.

September 21, 2012

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Will be very interesting to see a comparison between BMCC and the Nikon D800 (Clean HDMI + Atomos Ninja)

September 21, 2012

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Analog Machine

What about the D600 - should have almost identical video with uncompressed HDMI for only $2k plus $1k for atmos = same price as BMC :-)

September 21, 2012

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Paul

d600 cannot change f-stop in live view

September 22, 2012

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gerald

Uncompressed HDMI usually means 8 bit 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 - a far FAR cry from RAW 12 bit RGB full color. D600 is not 2.5k resolution, it has moire, aliasing, doesn't resolve 1080P, not even 720P. The only DSLR actually resolving 1080P is the Gh2 and Gh3.

No comparison between BMCC and DSLR's except Gh3 - which should be close in sharpness but still not compare with RAW, color or dynamic range.

September 24, 2012

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Waiting on my preorder!!! Wish someone had a clear idea of how long these supply chain hang-ups will impact "first wave" of shipments...

September 21, 2012

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Jonathan

Yes the 5DM3 is soft - but Canon engineers 'intentionally' made it that way so you can 'sharpen to taste in post' :-)

September 21, 2012

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pete

Read up on downsampling theory and report back. I think you will find that there actually is logic to that statement. Getting rid of aliasing and moire to that degree does involve softening of the detail, and leaving sharpening to taste in post is what you would want to do.

Note this brings up a critical problem with the Solorio video: he is using Adobe RAW converter for the BMCC, and yet he is using minimum sharpening on the 5D3, with no sharpening in post. That's not fair as the RAW converter will sharpen the image as part of its downsampling to 1080p. Consider that...it's important.

This is why the Zacuto shootout let the DP's maximize each camera in practice. Stuff is often best left to post. Post skill is a big part of this. The BMCC RAW converters are still poor and will likely improve greatly (note the green cast and the false color). The 5D3 footage is going to get an improvement because the word is Magic Lantern has found out how to record uncompressed on it. And the 5D3, with those settings, is soft and needs post help to shine...we've known this since day 1.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

I don't see any tell tale signs of an unsharp mask on the BMCC footage...sorry, calling BS on you. When you've sharpened 5D footage to look as good as the BMCC footage, get back back to me.

September 22, 2012

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Gabe

Again, please study downsampling. Or perhaps NFS can invite an expert on it to post here and describe what is going on behind the scenes in various processing pipelines. You will likely be surprised at the side effects of various innocent looking steps that do alter your dynamic range, sharpness, resolution, etc. I was disappointed the Solorio video didn't compare RAW with ProRes on the BMCC, but even if it did, similar factors would still come into play, just in-camera in realtime as it is on the 5D3 footage.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

Downsampling involves removing detail via a low pass filter...that's the opposite of sharpening! Downsampled images look sharp because they start with way more detail than the final image can show, so the final image can be optimized to be as detailed as possible. Downsampling does *not* typically apply a sharpen effect (e.g. increasing contrast on edges).

September 22, 2012

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Gabe

Also, if you want to get all scientific, why don't you sharpen some 5d footage to PROVE what you're saying? Pretending to be smarter than everyone without actually saying anything ("Go study downsampling") isn't an argument, it's a logical fallacy. If you're smart, prove it by demonstrating you know your stuff. If the 5d can be sharpened to look as good as the BMCC, prove it by doing it!

September 22, 2012

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Gabe

I don't doubt that Canon has succeeded in intentionally destroying the 5D3 image enough to make it worse than the BMCC no matter what you do in post. But more could have been done in post to make this comparsion a lot closer, perhaps close enough for the vimeo stream to fool us.

I would like to have a BMCC and resolution charts to run tests on, and the time to do it. I don't think they will send me one though...I don't have a popular review blog, and I'm not going to make fawning informercials for them like the one above. I would like a video equivalent of DPReview or DxOMark that shows us in reproducible detail what these tradeoffs are, what's going on inside these tools, and how best to work with a given implementation, at least objectively at the current state of the art. We don't have that, and we shouldn't give too much applause to things masquerading as that.

Subjectively do whatever you like and be happy.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

Okay, well look...there's nothing surprising about these results. The BMCC is much closer to its deliverable format, and it has no optical low pass filter so there's much more control over how much detail is eliminated in the downscale. Furthermore, Black Magic probably knows more than most companies about downscaling and image quality in general given that they produce the finishing tool used for most hollywood films (I expect the quality of the ProRes to be very close to what we see from the Raw in this video based off of Philip Bloom's BMCC film).

There are plenty of issues with the BMCC, but image quality is unlikely to be one.

September 22, 2012

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Gabe

You cannot make sub-par 720P footage (more like 680 lines actually) look like 2.5K footage. With your logic, we should of never of gone HD. 720x480 is just as good as 1080P right? Just sharpen in post right?

I'm sorry - actually I'm not, I'm just gonna say it: your 'logic' is skewed and on the verge of offensive. The reason I'm a little heated is because this argument and logic flies in the face of factual data we have - testable data.

Why have standards like 720p and 1080p? Why have resolution charts, why test sensors and imaging devices? Why specifically determine AA filters? WHY USE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY?

If it only is a click in post with unsharpen mask then forget the rest! But that is simply not logical and flies in the face of science, technology and physics.

September 24, 2012

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Are you done? Ya done? Done?

Once you're done, you might come to appreciate your underestimation of the target of your satifying flight of vitriol.

September 24, 2012

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Peter

This will sell a LOT od BMCCs! That lowlight test is amazing! So much sharpnes an detail even in lowlight! And to think the BMCC was working on lover ISO (1650 for the 5D, 800 ASA for the BMCC) while both at F2.5. Blew me away!

September 21, 2012

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quobetah

Reminds me of the wise words a man by the name of John Brawley once said months ago: something to lines of higher dynamic range allows for lower ISO's and similar exposure. Just like using film. Cranking the high ISO on DSLR's at night opens the shadows but creates glowing gobs of blown out light for your streetlamps and signs.

Guess John knew what he was talking about!

September 24, 2012

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I'm quite happy to see the pleasing and promising results of the BMC. I may end up ordering a 2nd in MFT mount when it arrives :) 2 BMC's and then who knows what next.

September 21, 2012

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I might be off here, but couldn't you get one with the MFT mount, and then use one of those electric MFT>Canon mount adapters so you could still have aperture control? Still no IS or AF, of course. I think Redrock makes one, right? And Birger was talking about it forever ago?

September 21, 2012

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Benjamin Dewhurst
Writer
writer/director

I have mostly Canon glass, and a Zeiss Distagon 35mm F/2 for canon, electronic aperture only, so is makes more sense to get the EF mount instead of the MFT mount correct?

September 21, 2012

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Harry

The BMC, higher image quality aside its an idiotic camera for the low budget guerilla independent filmmaker. It's just not set up for any kind of verite style work. It is a locked down tripod camera with a post that will leave you in tears. To the filmmakers buying it for their narrative feature, just how many do you intend to make a year? After setup with rigging you are looking at $6k. The amount of posts dedicated to this camera baffle me. Obviously I don't get.

September 21, 2012

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dan

You know the exact type of work you're talking about used to be made with Super 16mm cameras, and I don't think I need to explain the difficulties shooting with those.

With the BMCC you can shoot ProRes HQ or when they update the firmware, DNxHD - how are those going to leave you in tears in post? They are both designed to be post-production codecs! There isn't currently another camera with this amount of dynamic range and native RAW, ProRes, and DNxHD for under $10,000. Better yet, there isn't a larger sensor camera that can give you 10-bit anywhere near $3,000, or $6,000 for that matter.

September 21, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Joe we need a "like" feature on these comments. For now: +1

September 24, 2012

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I'll work on it :)

September 24, 2012

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Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I completely agree... that you don't get it.

" its an idiotic camera for the low budget guerilla independent filmmaker"
What are you basing this statement on? The 5DII revolutionized the low budget community. This camera is a direct response to it. It manages to give a far superior camera priced cheaper than it's competition.

"It is a locked down tripod camera with a post that will leave you in tears."
Having the full control of raw or instantly shooting into edit friendly ProRes doesn't work for you? What would you define as a better post situation?

I'm fully aware that cameras are tools and we each have our own needs, but I didn't see one valid, constructive critique in your entire post.

September 22, 2012

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DanielJ

I agree with Dan. Not Daniel. The number of people buying this to use purely as a raw cinema camera must be vanishingly small. In this price range what you want is versatility and ease of use, which the BM camera doesn't have. As for tears in post, again one has to question how many will have the stomach - and deep pockets - for raw post processing. To do it justice you need expensive hardware, time, storage capacity and so on. Expect a lot of people to end up using prores most of the time - and wondering why they didn't get something that was less like a pig lump of pain in the arse to use in the first place.

September 22, 2012

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Graham Kay

I mean how many people who can only afford this camera are only doing narrative style shooting and not also needing to pay their way doing corporate or documentary or photo/video journalism, say, and probably having to do this solo? The comparison with 16mm isn't really apt. The point it that this is the kind of work which has in recent years been done on DSLRs - and that has been barely tolerable, therefore there is genuine hunger for something better fitted to the diversity of working practices with which - in my conjecture - most shooters contend.

September 22, 2012

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Graham Kay

Thank you Graham! A voice of reason in this deluded insanity. The camera has undergone many comparison and film tests but has yet to be used by a filmmaker under the conditions I expect to encounter. I have directed a feature with S16 (rented Aaton), and yes it was a bitch (mostly the expensive post) but worthwhile as the footage was always beautiful.
If I had to shoot another low budget narrative I would find the cash, rent and shoot FAST 10-15 days with a rented RED or Alexa. I'm on my 3rd Documentary shooting in 8 months with a GH2 and there is no way I could do that the way the current BMC is set up. No way.
If you want to write direct shoot your 1st feature for festivals or straight to video with a business that will produce commercials and or corporate, have set up a small production company with a bit of a cash flow, say $10k-15 all in, I can see the allure to own. It's logical. But spectacular clean images with increased DR and 12 stops does not show up on Youtube on Vimeo were most of your work will finally end up.

September 22, 2012

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dan

"But spectacular clean images with increased DR and 12 stops does not show up on Youtube on Vimeo were most of your work will finally end up."

But it totally does show up, you can see the difference in that comparison video above. That video is on Vimeo, and the differences are there to be seen. I can see an argument to be made that those differences aren't important, or that one image looks better than the other, with is interesting... Reminds me of when people used to discuss which film stocks to use.

September 23, 2012

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this to me says it best, if you run a small one or two man crew and edit solo the BMC is a lot to deal with just for a few more stops and increased DR.

http://editmansweden.com/2012/09/15/bmdcc-not-for-me/

September 22, 2012

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dan

Remember, you don't have to shoot RAW. Even some feature films shoot Alexa straight to ProRes.

September 23, 2012

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ahhh you guys are so used with apple plug and play products, dont expect creating an outstanding image without massaging it in post, yes, It's a lot of work like in any good image film you ever seen. If you can't handle or don't have the skills, don't get it, you can always keep you Canon and select "Nature Picture Profile" get some 20 meg file and stick in your edit.
6k after you gear up, yes could be maybe 3.5k or 4k or even 12k, it depends of what you gonna buy, there's tons of options out there, TONS.
Again don't get this camera if you doing wedding vids, or cheap docs, it's not worth it.

September 22, 2012

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Marcus

I'm working on a feature doc right now on a DSLR. I want a deeper depth of field and more latitude. Docs used to be on 16, and then after that, on small sensor video cameras! So now we're stuck with D-SLR docs with way too shallow depth of fields for what's often forced to be handheld and in available light (i'm just talking about handheld in this context to point out that the focus is changing rapidly and fluidly...unlike a sit down interview, where a super-35 or fullframe sensor is often just fine).

How is a BMCC *not* better for these things?

Hate hate hate the small latitude, especially for day exteriors...for indoor interviews with a bunch of lights, sure, but when you have to cover events (this is a music doc with live shows, some of which are outdoors in direct sun)

Blackmagic all the way, for features or docs...for it's price range.

I'm not entirely sold on it...the jacks sticking out in my face on the smart side is gonna drive me crazy, and I'm not looking forward to the smaller sensor (for the features...for the doc, I welcome it---especially since my subjects are twins and I try to keep them both in the shot whenever possible b/c it's often about how they interact with each other.) When I rack focus to chose one over the other, I don't want to be the one making these decisions (I think it's better for the director and the audience to do that).

Anyway, until something better in it's price range comes along, I'm all for it.

Someone said something about it taking like $6K to make it actually *work*...well, isn't that what everyone has already been doing---on board recorders...external monitors to actually focus it, batteries to power the external monitors...cages to give it some weight and balance... I've long exceeded $6k with that stuff long already. I've even got the SSD's from using the Hyperdeck Shuttle (which has equally annoying jacks/buttons sticking out on opposite sides)...SSD is a smart move away from the obvious limits of SD/CF. Red left behind CF because of it's obvious bottlenecks.

I'm still not seeing anyone on these threads mention the fact that we're getting HD-SDI instead of crap HDMI for a $3k camera. The AF100 is the cheapest other option I can think of in this ballpark to offer it, and this far exceeds what that camera can do, natively or with external add-ons.

BMCC is a no brainer.

September 30, 2012

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Daniel Mimura

I would say that the main problem of BMCC is the size of sensor, regarding the wideangle lens you have to use to get the desired field of view. With a small sensor the crop factor is bigger, so for wide fields of view, a wider angle lens is needed, compared to a full frame camera. And since we mostly use the 24mm-70mm range of focal lengths (35mm equivalent), this means that in BMCC we need to get a 11mm lens to match the lower end of that range. Now from what I can recall, you don't get lenses with an f/stop 2.8 with less than $600 at 11mm, while you have a pretty good variety of lenses at 24mm with that apperture, that could be found with less money. To me this and the shallower depth of field would be the only two reasons I would choose 5D3 over BMCC.
As for dynamic range, don't forget to mention the HDRvideo that Magic Lantern hack offers in the canon cameras. It sets new standards in the market to my mind...

September 22, 2012

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Photis

Fresh info. Thanks.

September 28, 2012

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steve

I downloaded the original source file from Vimeo.. and, O my god! The BMC footage is so crisp.. so beautiful!
Especially, the opening shots of the video just gave me goosebumps!! They reminded me of the opening shots from 'The Last Samurai'.

All is clear now. Only, I need to understand if I should get an EF or an MFT mount on the BMC?!

September 22, 2012

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I dont get why so many people keep saying that this cant be used on run n gun, event or docu / guerilla style shooting? With Prores on board, a FINISHING CODEC, it actually gives those kind of shooters a HUGE favor by saving them hours upon hour of transcode time when they edit the final product. With this added clarity in the images it produces, the BMCC is a no brainer.

September 22, 2012

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quobetah

Just FYI, modern NLE's let you work with H.264 footage natively without a need to transcode to ProRes. I transcode while I sleep like most do, but it's just because ProRes being an intraframe codec makes playing with filters more efficient. If you're doing simple post and in a rush, H.264 is perfectly serviceable and the more advanced NLE (like FCPX, yes it's more advanced in some core ways, even though it lacks many pro features still) will always render from the original media for maximum quality, as opposed to the ProRes transcode which is just used to speed up editing and effect preview functions a bit. On a very fast machine with highly optimized filters you can work native H.264 directly without penalty.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

That's interesting Peter. Can you give me more details ? I have a custom built 4500$ very fast machine for editing. Can you tell me more about those optimized filters that would allow me to stay in H.264 ? email : jirs@videotron.ca

September 22, 2012

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Yves

I don't know anything specific other than some filters are e.g. CUDA-accelerated and therefore work fast enough to not require transcoding into intraframe. You can experiment with your setup and see what you can get away with...possibly more than you were led to believe.

Going to ProRes after H.264 is a generational loss and is ideally avoided, FCPX just lets you do it as I said for faster previewing of your changes. Going direct to ProRes as the BMD recorders allow is fine and _can be_ better than H.264 but at great expense of storage...an intraframe codec is much less efficient than a long GOP codec like H.264, and that multiplier will vary based on the nature of the material for the same delivered quality.

A lot of these things are subtle in video still. In audio, we work realtime in uncompressed 24 bit with enough dynamic range to go from silent to pain across the entire range of human hearing and don't think another thought of it. Only the most sophisticated noise reduction algorithms still have trouble performing realtime, and that will go away with GPU acceleration shortly. In video, there are tons of compromises and invisible optimizations and things going on that you are best aware of and experimenting with. I am not expert enough to declare the One True Way you should do things in video (though yes I certainly do in audio), but I know enough to refute some others who try to.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

In Premiere CS5 or later, H.264 is CUDA-accelerated, and most native filters are too.
Transcoding is still a way to get even better performance, but in most cases it's not necessary.
http://www.hurlbutvisuals.com/blog/2010/12/in-praise-of-dissent-adobe-cs...

September 22, 2012

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September 23, 2012

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Anvh

Even without CUDA the new Mercury engine implemented in CS5 and later may be fast enough to playback H.264 in real time.

Second generation of Intel i5 / i7 quad core CPUs are also faster and capable of real time playback of Full HD H.264 clips.

September 28, 2012

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For me, it's the fact that every function and setting has to be accessed via the touch screen monitor. Doesn't seem practical for run and gun type documentary work, but I'm eager to hear what real users say.

September 27, 2012

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Docmandave

How is the aperture set on the Sigma 8-16 lens on the BMCC?

1st Class video, thanks!

September 22, 2012

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Ratsrats

There is an auto iris button which sets the aperture to properly expose the highlights of the shot. From there, you can make the aperture larger or smaller using the forward and reverse buttons. There is no display of what the aperture value is at any time. Yes it's very crude right now.

The MFT version of the BMCC will not even support that iris control at all and will only accept manual iris and manual focus (not focus-by-wire as most MFT lenses are) lenses, with no support for IS. That's even cruder.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

Wow, just imagine all those big movies being shot with manual PL lenses...how crude.

September 22, 2012

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Gabe

Dumbest post eva!

September 23, 2012

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JEF

Yes and yours was the most helpful ever.

Leaf back to the MFT announcment post and we've been over this issue. The fact that the BMCC EF supports at least most of the functionality of ~100% of the >80 million EF mount lenses in the world is good. The fact it can't even tell us what the F stop setting is is undeniably crude.

The fact that the BMCC MFT __does not support >99% of the MFT lenses in the world at all__, you can't even focus on them, is even more undeniably crude, and it is very helpful to underscore this for the casual filmmaker who this camera is priced to target.

Professional filmmakers who wish to use all-manual PL glass will also find this a very crude camera to work with for a host of other reasons. Yes most completely non-electronic lenses will be able to be adapted to the BMCC MFT model if you wanted to. But why would you? A production that can afford a 1st AC to pull focus and PL glass and matteboxes and external batteries and the whole rest of the kit is doing itself no favors economizing on the sensor and camera to that degree. There are professional cameras with native PL mounts (Sony F3, Canon C300 and up) that are available for day rentals of $250 or so and will indeed produce a better 1080p image than the BMCC. They will also maximize the value of that glass with sensors designed for it rather than security applications or wherever this sensor was adapted from.

BMD deserves our affection for being the anti-Canon and giving us the best codec quality it can. But that affection shouldn't mislead others into thinking this camera is a professional production choice that is ready for primetime. It's not. It's in some ways an upgrade and some ways a downgrade from the DSLRs it's priced to compete with. Professionals who can't afford anything better than this have my sympathy, but make no mistake, it really isn't in that league in this generation and setting up an expectation that it is does BMD and its customers a disservice.

September 23, 2012

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Peter

Your only argument for the BMCC being targeted at 'casual filmmakers' is its price...it's obvious it's not though. What casual filmmaker intends to use Davinci Resolve? Low budget and casual are two distinct things. Why do you think you know so much about people, anyway? You seem to assume that if you don't have a lot of money, that you're not smart enough to use manual lenses and do advanced color grading.

The Sony F3 and C300 are not absolutely better than the BMCC. They are different cameras. The C300 is most useful for doc filmmaking...it has a good image if you're not doing a lot of grading, and it's good in low light. It's always 8-bit though, even if recording to an external recorder, it has less dynamic range than the BMCC and it takes a shortcut in its method of downscaling. The F3 requires an external recorder for any serious use, and you end up spending a lot of money that could be spent on the production instead.

There are tons of PL glass out there...saying it's going to be expensive is like saying buying a car is going to be expensive because of the prices of new cars. It's a stupid statement.

There are also tons of other lenses that can be used on MFT...Canon FD lenses are cheap and look beautiful on the GH2.

The BMCC, unlike the C300, is not poised to be a good doc camera. As such, auto control is irrelevant. Everyone's going to want manual control, and with so many old manual lenses you can get for cheap...why wouldn't you want that? Who with a GH2 uses mostly MFT lenses?

September 23, 2012

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Gabe

Your words show that you are just trying to justify your choice of camera over BMCC, by telling your beliefs out loud on a blog. Fanboyism is not a nice affliction.

You can talk all you want, but you will not be able to deny that BMCC has amazing image quality - better than many much more expensive cameras. It is also true, that getting that amazing image quality is not as simple as running around with Canon 7D. So what? Some people will use DSLRs for some jobs, and some people will use BMCC for some jobs, and some will use Arri or RED for some jobs. Such is the diverse nature of The Universe.

And you certainly are not The Voice of The Filmmakers to make your wild claims. Keep them to your self, because their only reason is to justify your choice of a different camera. Others will certainly find better advice in Phillip Bloom's or Vincent Laforet's reviews - you know, the guys who actually used BMCC and other pro cameras. Keep your Canon 7D with EOS lens and be happy. The grass is still green on your side of the fence ;-)

September 26, 2012

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PeterK

That was an incredible comparison. I downloaded the full 2gb file from vimeo as well and being a 5dmkII and MkIII shooter, all I can say is, holy detail batman! You can get into the the theories behind fair comparisons and which camera is designed for what, but at the end of the day the dynamic range and detail I just witnessed completely destroyed what any DSLR is cable of achieving and my MarkIII cost $500 more!

You can argue all you like about apples and oranges, but what is clearly evident here is the results. If you were given a choice between the Canon kit or the BM kit on your next film, how many of you wouldn't seriously consider the impressive images coming out of that little beast?

September 22, 2012

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Kyron

Quick thought: "Web compression sucks. Download uncompressed version to your computer." Well, fair enough. But it should also be said that a web test is a real world test. What format do you supply videos to your clients in? Most of mine will likely be watching videos in standard definition on YouTube or Vimeo because they can't be bothered to click the button to change resolution. Quite possibly they will be watching on an iPad or laptop screen or even an iPhone. Others will view on standard definition DVDs.

No doubt the situation will change a lot over time...

September 22, 2012

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Even on the sucky web compression video, the differences were night and day! Amazing. I'm so happy I ordered a BMCC.

September 24, 2012

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The color on the Diablo Mountain shots was striking. I realized the 5D footage was ungraded, but wow.

September 22, 2012

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He neglects to say whether he was shooting Neutral or Faithful, but let's assume it was Neutral. Faithful is my preference for better out-of-camera color. I think the desat look is what attracted people to Neutral, it looked less like a camcorder. But now we've all cast off camcorders, shooting with those old settings Neutral 0, -4, -2, 0 looks dingy and brown. I shoot Faithful 0, -3, -2, 0 and color and sharpen to taste in post on the 5D3. The RAW converter will have its own color boost for the BMCC footage...there's lot of parameters in there that remain unseen in this video. This test certainly isn't scientific and the presenter can't contain his biases.

September 22, 2012

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Peter

this test compares an image sequence of 12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366 to a 1080p h264 low bitrate file (that also contains sound)

why not compare it to a 5dmk3 timelapse, an image sequence of 14-bit RAW recorded at 5760 x 3840 ?

anyway, while 5d footage is left unprocessed, developing raw is a post processing phase. and it is not a standard process also. different raw developing software have totally different results.

adoberaw has a ton of settings and controls including sharpening (some versions, by default). it would be nice if we knew the settings used there as they are important.

prores vs 5d h264 would make more sense to me at least since there are no extra post processing and in between conversions needed and the workflow is similar.

at least the tester tested for rolling shutter.

September 22, 2012

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"why not compare it to a 5dmk3 timelapse"
because that's not the quality you get when shooting video
if you want to record video, looking at the image quality of a 5D3 timelapse is not helpful at all

September 22, 2012

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When they come out with a full frame version, I'm in.

September 22, 2012

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Neil

This camera is very interesting, the one problem I have with it, is that blackmagic is unable to deliver it in quantities to the market so far. So it is not a camera that I can buy tomorrow for my next week film.
I just don't know if they can keep up.
(For the record, again.... There is (something) that looks nice about the DSLR. (And its NOT the sensor size)

September 22, 2012

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I would be really excited to pick up this camera, especially after seeing the source footage for this video. I wish the M43 version coming out allowed for the function of smart lenses. It would then pair nicely with the GH3. Right now my kit is Canon 7D centered. Adding the current BMDCC release to that would be painless, with the addition of an ultra wide angle lens. I still need to study the post production workflow and needed additions such as hard drive space to see if this is right for me in the short term. Still an easy camera to fall in love with. I hope she is not the monogamous type.

September 22, 2012

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for me as a DSLR video user, this BMCC is defiantly an upgrade to me, the DR, SDI output, pro codec, and RAW, its all i need and dreamed for, thank you BM..

September 22, 2012

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This is really great and helps in the decision for my new primary camera. Thanks Marco, you made this an easy decision.

September 23, 2012

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Bubba

Someone should consider comparing (in the same way as Marco did) the C300 and the BCC.

Still incredible detail and latitude, the only thing ugly on the BCC is flare.

Is the 5D II so un-sharp? I've produced better footage than that....

September 23, 2012

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I don't know, but th BMCC looks a little 80's to me. Details in shadows and highlights ate great but I like the mkIii look much better. The people who shot the test made also a short movie that looks like a soap opera. I'm a little dissapointed, I expected more of this hardware...

September 23, 2012

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Diego A

nothing wrong with the "blown out lights" on the dslr's ... I actually prefer the look of it.. you get nice highlights , it looks a bit weird and too digital specially when they film straight into different light sources with the BMCC.
I agree with Enrico, flares don't look nice on the BMCC , and again that's because u film a light source The Sun!
Hopefully u can tweak the settings color profile grade or something on the BMCC to achieve that lovely look.
let us know will yis =)

September 23, 2012

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perrona

By using a color setting of -2 on the 5D the results where already flawed. not doing some sharpening in the NLE also skewed the results because sharpening the 5D mkIII in post is a fact of life. Even in camera sharpening could of been moved from 0 to 1 with better results. I"ve gotten away from shooting detail at 0 quite a while ago.

also the 5D contrast should of been normalized for black = 0 and white = 100IRE

if you would of put RED ungraded shots up they wouldn't of looked to great either.

ok, ok, yes the BMD camera is natively sharper in the end, and has better color even in prores mode. however the 5D results didn't need to look they way they did.

September 23, 2012

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I tend to agree here. He also used the 50mm 1.2 on the 5D Mk3 and that is notoriously soft around the edges.

September 27, 2012

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Bo Reidler

Amazing .. this video makes me to buy BMCC but i will wait as i don't need that now .. I wish i could buy ..

BMCC doesn't show only 5D but also Red scarlet it can be done under 3k .. soccer mom cam .. hehehe

September 24, 2012

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taurus

Now lets compare bmcc vs gh3

September 24, 2012

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Frank

The 5d footage could've been sharper for sure with some short time in post, but you can't bring back the blown out highlights in the Mel's sign and the walls inside the window of the store. This is subjective as some would probably rather have them blown out, so you are drawn to whatever you wanted the audience to look at but I like the extra detail with the extra DR

September 24, 2012

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Jason

Comparing a dedicated cinema camera to a stills camera is a bit unfair. Stills cameras are not built or designed to be used for professional filmmaking (duh). As a stills photographer, I can't wait for the end of the "DSLR video revolution". Maybe it will make Canon focus on building industry-standard stills cameras again, and developing a sensor as good as the Exmoor sensor used in the Nikon D800 and D600 instead of just sitting on the laurels heaped on the 5D Mark II. Instead, Canon have been wasting all these R&D resources building a series of overpriced cinema cameras around old APS-C sensor technology. Leave video camera production to Arri and RED and Blackmagic, Canon. Do yourselves and photographers a favor.

September 24, 2012

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Charles

What's not mentioned in the BMCC vs MKIII video is the usage of picturestyles on the MKIII. This increases the dynamic range effectively although I'm not saying it wil ever be anywhere near 13 stops. It's also pretty easy getting that bleu sky detail on your DSLR using a simple polarizing filter. These are just simple workarounds for getting more detail and dynamic range. Much easier to deal with compared to all the workarounds you'll be dealing with using the BMCC such as battery life, the highly reflective screen and having to use fisheye lenses to get a wide (slightly distorted) shot... So I think this video is a bit one sided. You should really check out Phillip Blooms review as well to get a more balanced look at the BMCC...

September 25, 2012

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