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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:

Related Posts

  1. John Brawley Shows off More Graded Material from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera
  2. Wide Angle Lenses Compared on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera
  3. How Far Can You Push the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in Low-Light?

COMMENT POLICY

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!

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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.

    • 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

        • 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-cs5-paves-the-way/

        • 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.

      • Just because you CAN edit natively in H.264 doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Aside from the demands on hardware and limitations to the number of tracks and filters etc. that can run on anH.264 clip, the codec was never meant for editing. . . or acquisition, for that matter. It’s a compression codec for delivering final media over bandwidth constrained distribution channels.

        As such, it requires constant re-compression during editing, one of the things that places high demand on the system. There’s additional generational loss involved with heavily edited H.264.

        It also doesn’t hold up well to grading or other post processing. While transcoding doesn’t add color information that wasn’t there to begin with, it does inhibit further breakdown of the image that can occur when it remains in the H.264 compressed color space.

        Also, unless your sequence is 422 or better, titling or other additional effects in the H.264 space are awful. If you do work in a mixed timeline, the demands on your hardware are even greater.

        Yes, it can be done and it’s getting easier all the time but that doesn’t make it a good idea for highest quality results.

    • 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.

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

    1st Class video, thanks!

    • 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.

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

      • Dumbest post eva!

        • 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.

          • 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?

          • 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 ;-)

  • 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?

  • 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…

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

    • 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.

  • 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.

    • “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

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

  • 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)

  • 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.

  • 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..

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

  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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 =)

  • 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.

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

  • 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

  • Now lets compare bmcc vs gh3

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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…

    • Yes another thing Solorio could have done here is demonstrated the use of CineStyle and 5DtoRGB transcoding and exposing for the highlights as a means of extending the DR. His use of out-of-camera on the 5D while using a RAW converter (which often is like doing a custom grading…read up on all the things they put into RAW converters without telling you) on the BMCC is not a fair shake. And you can’t exactly say Cinestyle and 5DtoRGB is more work than having to deal with RAW.

      Once the BMCCs actually appear in broad distribution critical reviews will be made I hope that will refute a lot of this bald marketing. By then, the C100 will likely be available to for a fairer shootout using its log gamma and an external recorder direct to ProRes, which is how anyone who prioritizes these factors would work.

      • We look forward to posting your detailed and correctly executed shootout of all of these cameras, Peter.

        • Thank you, Joe, for the opportunity. I don’t want to underestimate the time and cost of doing a proper shootout…Zacuto’s demonstrate that well. And I do appreciate the time spent on making these marketing pieces (I hope Mr. Solorio was paid at least a free BMCC for putting this together). On most of these camera posts here I mention my desire for a full-time lab test site for video cameras, and I myself am too busy to build one of my own.

          I just heard btw that the VG900 and A99 use line skipping and are full of moire. Sad report if true…it would destroy the low-light advantage of the FF sensor as well. How will we find out if that’s true? Where is an accountable authority on the objective qualities of cinema cameras? These are expensive baubles and I am certain such a site, done well, could generate >20K unique visitors per day. Though I would hope they would refuse advertising/sponsorship from the manufacturers under review and keep nothing back.

          In the meantime, we have to leaf through fanboy vs. critic slugfests in the comments section, and the truth may or may not be found there…

          • These are the droids you’re looking for.

          • I would wholeheartedly support that website if you build it and would gladly post your honest remarks here.

            Speaking of the VG900 and the A99 – we report things like that. They aren’t even out yet, no one has shot with them yet. We do what we can, but reviewing cameras takes unbelievable amounts of time and energy, and if the person doing it has any credibility, they are probably already busy making other work – so therein lies your problem.

            Reviewers don’t get free cameras, by the way. They review them for various reasons, but none of which is the promise of a free camera. Good luck with 20,000 uniques and no way of generating any revenue to run the website. I guess if you’re independently wealthy you could do that, but then if that’s the case, what business would you have telling other people how to spend their hard-earned $2,000 or $3,000?

            The time you spend on this site would actually be far better spent starting your own. The comments section doesn’t get nearly the traffic the actual content does, so you’re not reaching a whole lot of people if that’s what you’re trying to do. You’re clearly knowledgeable, you know what you’re talking about, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for? At least a simple WordPress site where you can write posts as you do comments here. Unfortunately, if you want any credibility with a site like that, you can’t be anonymous, and assuming it gets traffic, you’ve got to deal with the riffraff that comes along with that.

            I completely respect your opinions and your knowledge, but you would be far better off starting your own site – you would reach a lot more people, and it would certainly be far more personally rewarding in the end having built something without any industry interference.

      • I think the C100 may be a fair comparison. It would cost around 4500 to to operate Blackmagic confidently, the C100 costs 6500. It still won’t get close enough to the IQ of this camera. Especially given that you’d HAVE to pipe the HDMI out to a 500-1500 recorder, plus powering that recorder so on and so forth.

        I don’t know what the issue is, really: if you love Canon then stick with Canon. There isn’t anything available short of the C300 that’s putting out this IQ. Call the test flawed all you want, when all things are created equal the better image is still the better image.

        There’s no changing that.

      • Cinestyle or not we know just from the specs (2.5k vs 1080p, RAW vs compressed video) that the BMC will blow the 5D mk3 out of the water.

        Will the c300 have more resolution and will it be more flexible in post than the BMC? I also bet no. Again 2.5k vs 1080p, 8bit 422 vs 12 bit RAW.

        If I need to shoot a doc or use it for broadcasting news would I chose the c300 vs the BMC? YES. It will be easier to lug around and has convenient controls. In fact maybe the c100 would be an even better choice since its even smaller.

        The thing is the comparison is about video image quality. And for image quality alone the BMC will win everytime over a 1080p non-RAW camera. For flexibility in post RAW will also win everytime vs avchd, mpeg-2, or whatever that’s not RAW.

        If the comparison were about the ease of use of the cameras for event shooting, docs, and the like I would say “there is no comparison.5d wins by a mile” but it’s not.

        • Read this and weep…

          http://www.eoshd.com/content/8945/canon-c300-vs-blackmagic-cinema-camera-chart-test

          Those images are courtesy BMD marketing face John Brawley, so don’t blame Andrew for ruining your day.

          RAW converters take a lot of experience to get right, and Canon, you must remember, has access to the RAW sensor data too. yes they are intentionally crippling it on everything short of the $30,000 C500, but they have access to it, and they can do very well with in in realtime through a codec.

          Regardless of your dynamic range, a RAW converter is optimized for an expected exposure. Ideas like “expose to the right” etc. can defeat the optimizations within a RAW converter, meaning that better ergonomics can wind you up with better IQ even through a cripple codec. BMD’s RAW converter looks very early days right now; it might be competitive late next year or so. Will the camera still be?

          • The results after shooting in RAW will greatly depend on the debayer algorithm used. Here is the original thread which for some reason no one has bothered to link to, where you can download the original files. These were shot with a pre-production camera BMCC, where he also compared both to the RED EPIC:

            http://www.bmcuser.com/showthread.php?906-Resolution-charts

  • Antonio Pantoja on 09.25.12 @ 11:14AM

    I’d like to see it vs FS100

    • There is a comparisson shot between BMCC and FS100 on bmcuser.com… I would take BMCC by far.

  • BMCC is far superior in every way but one : availability ! After placing my order few days ago at marcotec in germany, i’ve been told shipping will occur in the beginning of 2013 !
    Of course I cancelled my order the day after, with many regrets. 3000 $ is nothing for such a great camera. Nothing !
    Well, I have many projects to shoot until january or february so there are many cameras available but none is so exciting like this one ! Congrats BM team. And thanks a lot to Joe Marine for his wonderfull work.

  • An individual in my area is reporting that he has a BMCC, and is having serious problems. Rather than try to recount it all, I’ll post a copy of his post:

    “I used my Black Magic twice and its built-in battery was fried… and when it was working, the battery would only last for about two or three minutes after taking a full day to charge. The only lenses that worked on the camera were my L-Series lenses. None of my non-L Canons worked nor did any of my Tokina lenses. They would fit on the camera, but were super blurry. The camera only shoots at a set ISO of 400 and at a set 24 fps. So therefore this camera is made for doing only one thing: Making well lit movies. Also, all the footage had a green blur and a red dot that looked like light glares, but were in the same places in every shot and were still there if the cap was on the lens. A friend of mine had one too and he had to send it back because of the bad battery as well. I don’t do green-screen work, but he does and he said there was no way you could with this camera. With an L-Series lens on the camera, the footage does look AMAZING! That is if you’re going for a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ looking with everything you shoot.”

    When I asked if he sent it back, he said replied:

    “I sent my camera back and they sent me a note saying they don’t do repairs, but if I put my credit card down or mail them a check for $40 they will send it back to me the way it is. I just watched this video, and two of my complains can be seen. Do you see how when the camera hits light it shoots out in rays? Like with the sun and the headlight? This looking really cool at first… for my 48 Hour Film Project I used the camera with flashlights and it created a cool effect. The problem is the camera has the effect when you don’t want it to show up and it’s hard to avoid. The other problem I had can be seen in this footage too. Do you see the little color dots going across the screen? You can see them well in the early outdoor footage. These will be all over your image and you can’t see them on the viewfinder. I could only see it when I put the footage on the computer. These dots with drive you crazy. The outdoor footage at night looks good, but I could never shoot at night since the camera is set to a 400 ISO. I also couldn’t shoot outside in bright daylight because the 400 ISO would blowout the image. I want to like this camera and when they do hit the market, I do hope they can repair the one I have and I really hope they take out the kinks. ”

    I’m curious — since the cams aren’t shipping, has anyone heard of BMD selling pre-production models like RED did with the Epic?

    • Oh yeah there’s always that issue called “reliability” when dealing with a first-time camera manufacturer… (uhoh gotta go!)

    • A few have shipped out, but they aren’t selling pre-production cameras.

      First off, there is a warranty, so if this person was experiencing these issues, it would be covered under that. Secondly, even if your camera is out of warranty (which it can’t be at this stage), Blackmagic has stated they will replace batteries for $80.

      John Brawley and Philip Bloom have both used non-Canon and non-L Series lenses on the camera and have not experienced anything like has been stated above.

      I’ve played with the camera, and adjusted the ISOs, and it is not limited to ISO 400, and the frame rates are not limited to 24. This was at NAB on very early pre-production firmware. So this person is either not being truthful, or completely unaware of how to work with the camera, or maybe there is a third option I haven’t considered.

  • Pete Beckett on 09.27.12 @ 5:47PM

    First, the “Full Disclosure”:
    I am a longtime Nikon bigot with some, but admittedly limited, experience with DSLR video. I am a retired engineer who has a passion for owning and using nice equipment. I started shooting DSLR video after getting a Nikon D4 and became quite hooked after buying a D800. I have added to my video equipment cupboard by adding an Atomos Ninja 2 which is able to give me what I believe to be superb ProRes HQ source material when used with the D800, whose sensor has, undeniably, the best DR of any current DSLR.

    BTW, I was a proud owner/user of a Canon XL1S a few years ago – and obtained footage of which I was very proud. For example, from a week in the Galapagos Islands, but that was SD, which looks antique nowadays…

    Will “somebody” please publish comparisons that include a D800, ideally with both internal recording AND externally recorded, PreRes HQ encoded “footage” alongside Canon’s best? I, and many other Nikon users, would dearly like to see the D800 compared with the BMCC with such a well conceived set of tests.

    Pete

  • Joe Marine, I just want to thank you for the great work you are doing. I am subscribed to many blogs but only you and Vincent Laforet’s get my full and continues attention. The wide range of knowledge and information you bring to the table helps me in so many way. This space is young and quite knowledgeable. So great thanks for this! This is a top blog.
    When it comes to BMC, we all can obviously tell the difference, or simply stay ignorant, based on the fact that not all of us can afford all the perks that come with BMC (external SSD, new glass, battery issues, steadicam/rigs, etc…)
    I definitely love the quality, but it does not call for a single shooter to manage. Today everyone thinks they are a filmmaker even if they have bought a used t3i. And that is crashing the media industry, and as well as the cameras become cheaper, we are paid less and less for more and more work we are supposed to produce super fast…
    On the other hand there are people, that spend great time and effort to make sure what they release is only of the highest quality. Those kinds of people that work on Quality and not on quantity.
    A lot of commercial paid shots demands of me to work cheaply and quickly, therefore at this stage I would not consider BMC. Unless I realise the more artistic projects I plan in December, for which I would hire RED, way sooner then BMC. As there is not enough reasons to buy BMC (but would buy D600 any day now, for traveling documentaries), in reality working more as a producer, means I do not need BMC personally, for as much fun as I have with cinematography. Even thou I simply love the images of it, I will simply stay hunted at nights on your forum, talking about beautiful images instead of making them, unless I get hired as a producer to bring cheap beauty to the table:)

    • Thanks for the support, it is very much appreciated (no really, this is why we do it). We work hard to keep providing quality content and knowledge.

  • I have no experience with video RAW but I am familiar with still camera RAW. Forgive me if everyone else here is as well. I’m not even sure if you can compare still RAW with video RAW. But the latitude for adjustment with still RAW is amazing. You can take an image that is literally ‘dark’ to the point of total non-use (e.g. cannot even recognise a persons face) and increase the exposure in post (Photoshop) so that it is completely normally exposed and without artifacts. The first time you do it is one of those life changing experiences – magic. I can only extrapolate that these benefits will be similar for video but I do not know if this is true.

    • I’ve shot raw on a feature and several commercial spots. The latitude is truly remarkable. Perhaps not as extreme when you add motion versus a still because you do have noise to contend with but far, far more range than even uncompressed hd 4:4:4 codecs.

      But raw obviously doesn’t change bad lighting or poor production design by itself. It just makes those things easier to see ;-). Given the size and cost of raw cameras I have chosen to avoid them on certain jobs, indepenent projects and even some commercials if I thought the money could be better spent on a location, or design or lighting – or time needed to get a variety of coverage.

      That’s why the bmcc is so promising. It’s rental cost will be minimal and purchase could be amortized on a single job. Plus it’s small and simple enough to use with the smallest crew. A game changer.

  • Rugeirn Drienborough on 10.21.12 @ 2:54PM

    Why compare a DSLR, a system designed for still photography with an add-on video capability on the side, to a dedicated video camera? The whole point of the Canon camera is to be able to shoot stills up to 22.10 Megapixels (5760 x 3840.) The Canon video system maxes out at 1920 x 1080 while the Blackmagic system shoots video at much higher resolutions. Why compare theses two? This entire discussion makes no sense to me at all.

    By the way, I note on the Canon website that the 5D is a “consumer home & office” product – not part of the professional line. Again, why compare these two? It makes no sense! You might as well be comparing a Lincoln Town Car to a Ford F-150 pickup!

  • I’m curious to know if anyone actually has access to BMCC? Comparing the prices isn’t exactly fair, simply because the BM only does one thing. I would still venture to say that Canon sees the 5D line as a hybrid camera, but still majoring on stills. Not to say that the video quality sucks though. Hopefully in the future, it will do the 4k raw with 12-bit blah blah.

    It would be fun to use both cameras, but seeing how one of these cameras doesn’t exist to the public, I’d go with the camera I can actually use.

  • can mft model host ef lenses or do i get ef model and then an adaptor to host other lenses

  • can the bmcc give me 5k stills at 7fps speed shooting? doubling as a run and gun shooter on events and weddings and a “best in class” stills camera.

    bmcc is a cinema camera, canon is a stills camera that shoots stunning video.

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