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Philip Bloom's Full Video Review of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

09.6.12 @ 4:51PM Tags : , , , ,

Not many people were given early access to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and most of the footage has actually come from John Brawley, who is an Australian DP that has been working with Blackmagic to develop the camera. Besides Vincent Laforet, one of the bigger names in the DSLR/camera reviewing world to get an early unit is Philip Bloom. Now, the review many have been waiting for is finally online — with loads of new footage and a truly in-depth review of all of the positives and negatives of the long-awaited Cinema Camera.

First, here’s a bit of footage he posted online before the review. If you already know all of the positives and negatives of the camera, checking out this bit of ProRes footage first might be right up your alley. Be sure to download it for the best quality:

Here is the review. You might want to grab a coffee (or two), as it weighs in at almost 45 minutes. This one is also available for download, and I would recommend going that route as you’ll get a better sense of the quality of the footage contained in the review:

Well, if you do watch the whole review — and it’s certainly worth it — he details literally everything about using the camera. The big issues that need to be addressed for me are the f-stop readings and the fact that you can’t delete clips or format the SSD. I would love phantom power, but those two issues are really huge and they actually impede your shooting in a lot of ways. We’ve literally discussed all of the other things about the camera, from the wide lens selection, to the design, to the external power issue, but not knowing your f-stop is a bit of an issue (even though I’ll be using mostly manual Nikon lenses with the camera).

As for the other things that aren’t implemented in the first firmware, DNxHD and image stabilization are both absent. These aren’t crucial for me, but I know for some they will be very important. Now that we’ve said all of that, this is still an amazing deal at $3,000 for the image quality coming out of this camera (plus the expensive software included). It cannot be stressed enough that a RAW file from this camera will blow away all video DSLRs in existence. It’s just a fact of having high dynamic range with a proper recording format.

I personally have been waiting for a camera like this to give me this kind of image quality sub-$5,000. I’m willing to deal with the issues considering the cost, and I feel like it’s going to be a very similar situation to RED owners: deal without a few features now and they will all come in future firmware upgrades or future models.

What do you guys think?

Link: Video review of the BlackMagic Cinema Camera!! — Philip Bloom

Related Posts

  1. Take an In-Depth Look at the Blackmagic Cinema Camera
  2. Blackmagic and John Brawley Release RAW Cinema Camera Files for Download
  3. John Brawley Shows off More Graded Material from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera

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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  • thanks for the lovely comments guys. means a lot to me. A crap load of work went into this…am actually finishing my tweaked version to add in the m43 version…kinda wish they went with this first. Makes way more sense! Put any lens you want on…just need Metabones to do a m43 version of their excellent adaptor.

    • Thanks for the great review as always, Philip! We’re looking forward to getting our hands on one (they’re hard to come by!) but we’ll probably just end up saying, “yeah… what Philip said.”

    • trackofalljades on 09.9.12 @ 5:54PM

      It’s very encouraging to see that so many of the first run “niggles” seem to be solvable in software, especially considering the company’s proven track record with software development.

    • Great Review Philip.

      This thing is impressive….

  • The blackmagic camera has way to many negatives for it to be bought… No f/stop indication? Not good. If you have a lens with a adjustable f/stop, then let’s say it’s ok…almost…
    I really would rather buy the canon 5d mark III instead of this camera, even though it doesn’t shoot 2.5 k. That crop factor reminds me of my old canon 400d.
    A Super 35mm sensor would cost a hell of a lot more, and that would mean a huge step coming with a huge price. If it was a super 35mm sensor then it would have been a bad boy and i’m sure they wouldn’t let the camera with so many holes…
    Not being able to delete the files from the camera?…wow….ok…we’ll leave aside the firmware based flaws…

    Those artifacts from the material filmed with the black magic are from the lens?

    Minus for the camera
    a BIG plus for the excellent made review. Good job!

    • When the BMC comes in with M4/3 Mount, and all the PL options beome available, as they did for the AF100 and GH2, i think this camera will come into its own.

    • I am thinking most of the issues you mention will be fixed (by firmware). Phillip B. mentions it the same way, why are you so negative?

      • Let’s put aside the firmware problems, shall we?
        The only big problem i have with the camera is the crop factor. And no, the firmware won’t fix that. Besides the 2.5 k resolution, i don’t see any other reason to buy this camera.

        I would still invest in a DSLR for independent movies. The settings of the Blackmagic somehow reminds me of phones or consumer digital cameras. Does “EV +/-” ring a bell?

        Sure, blame the firmware. Why would you present a camera that doesn’t let you change the absolut basic settings needed for making a, let’s say, low bugdet short movie.

        Make all the mounts and lenses available for the camera, the crop factor is still a problem.
        I don’t see any REAL reason of why i should buy it. A DSLR makes a better job than this camera…

  • trackofalljades on 09.9.12 @ 10:41AM

    I have a minor editing suggestion for the article (great article, by the way!). Vimeo doesn’t allow download links like those, they’ll only result in an error page for readers. If you click over to the actual page for each Vimeo video however, then you can download either one just fine. So it might be better to instruct readers to take that path (and provide links to the videos’ respective pages).

  • Quite a fair review, and informative. The images look great coming out of it, and all of your criticisms are quite legitimate.

    I’m not as concerned about the 1/4″ jacks, since this is an audio industry standard for non-mic connections. Yes there are usually XLRs on the back of preamps as well as TRS jacks, but if one is missing on the back it’s always the XLR. Those are on mic cables. Plus I have miles of 1/4″ balanced cables around the studio. I get that it’s going to be awkward for film people who are used to 1/8″ and XLR, but it’s going to bring cabling more in line with pro audio, which is a good thing in the long run. Wouldn’t it be great to just have one crate of audio cables, with a mic side and a gear side?

  • Thanks so much for the review Philip.
    Now that is has MFT lens mount (my favorite lens is also the voigtlander 25mm f0.95) it’s a deal, I’m buying it!
    I’m only guessing here but having only the pixels for 2.5K to offload the rolling shutter should be less, no?

  • It always throws me off when two different sites I respect interact on the same page. It feels like the old school crossover comics from my childhood.

  • Absolutely!

  • I understand that you can’t delete in camera, but can you review your shots?

  • Typical long-winded review from the Bloom. :-) But a few useful nuggets (buried) in there. They should have gone M 4/3rds first. Very very tempting this bloody thing. Laforet is right: its fantastic and frustrating. But at that price….at some point I’ll crack.

    • just hit fast forward…

    • Matthew Santa Maria on 09.16.12 @ 2:16AM

      Wow – can you say – Rude – I am not in the video/film making world but use video to help my small business sell products. I have been helped countless times by Philip Bloom’s posts and video reviews. So for you to start a comment by saying – typical long winded – I find utterly insulting. Philip has obviously spent several days/hours and presented a very detailed and comprehensive review to us all for free. So if you can point me to a more even handed short review of your own I would be glad to watch it half way through

  • I was unable to get either of the download links to work.

    Thanks so much, I’m looking forward to watching these. Thanks to Philip Bloom for putting in the hard work.

    • He uploaded them again, I’ll just get rid of those links. If you go straight to video the links are there.

  • Gary Simmons on 09.13.12 @ 5:57PM

    the biggest problem for me is the crop factor it will eliminate to many shot options in close quarters which is why I chose a compact form factor in the first place. A APC sensor is as much crop I can get along with and it still bumps into my comfort zone some times.

  • tito haggardt on 09.14.12 @ 12:51AM

    this looks like a job for MAGIC LANTERN!
    thanks for the indepth review, Phil, straight arrow as always
    aloha
    tito

  • Awesome review. Thanks!

  • Nice review – gut wrenching honest – I like that.

    So, in the final analysis, is the BMC a good deal? The sensor is small. You canNOT get any really good wide angle lenses to work. Even a 15mm is about 35mm equiv. So what happens when you want a wide angle shot of 18-21 or so. Can’t get it. Ouch. All lenses better than double – whats so good about that? Then RAW – IF and it is a big IF, requires a monster computer for marginal gains. And battery, oops again. what 2 hours – kinda shoots that one down. And no aperture control on the lens, ouch. It is ungainly in it’s design. What about the follow focus guys? What about shooting in bright light with it behind you which blanks out the screen? Ouch again. You need to make adjustments while shooting and need screen input, so what are you going to do – put your fingers on the screen – kinda takes away from the creative moment.

    So what is there to like about it? Well, if you can get over the hurdles which are monsters, you get 13 stops (so THEY say). I don’t believe it. Yes, it is a bit sharper at 2.5k, and yes the price is lower. But if you can’t get the optics, what good is it? And no night shots either. Some of the best filming is in the evening, darkened rooms, shadows etc. The best wide angle lens is the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 – which gives you 35 mm – but at f 4.5 (oh, by the way, you have to use manual lenses to know what the aperture is), you don’t have much light gathering ability. IF, you could get a brilliant optic 15mm, f 1.8 (which does not exist – a Zeiss 15mm f3.5 will set you back $3,000+), you are still stuck with deep Depth of field – the shallow dof is next to zip, the very reason why we need larger sensors in the first place. If you want anything high quality wide angle, it won’t happen (I think).

    By comparison, Sony’s FS100, although not quite as sharp, takes damn nice stuff, on a small SD card, workable codecs, batteries that last 8 hours, clips that can catch 2 hours or more, a little tight on latitude, yet can see in the dark, use any lens out there, 1-60 fps, auto everything or manual anything, XLR inputs and complete control of audio, peaking, histograms, delete scenes in a pinch, last screen review, zebra, 3 start stop buttons, incredible control of picture profiles (as many as you want really), a S35 sensor at 1.5X which means all my Zeiss glass works well. And in post, those images can even be tweaked a bit to come close to what the BMC can do without all the pitfalls and headaches, limitations. The BMC is not exactly professional user friendly.

    I don’t think you will will find too many pros get excited about it unless it is for special occasions such as small form factor, hide in a closet, – a specialty unit perhaps. Is it really that good when you add it all up? I’ll pass.

  • Hey Philip,
    Thank you very much for the detailed review. Naming the kitten as Nura was hilarious. Keep Rolling Sir..

    Cheers.

  • So let me get this straight…. You will never know what Fstop you’re shooting at because it is not displayed? WOW.

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