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8-Bit is Still 8-Bit, Why DSLRs Are No Match for the 12-Bit Blackmagic Cinema Camera

People have done as much as possible to argue against the test that was performed with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera by Marco Solorio and OneRiver Media. That test compared the 5D Mark III and the BMCC, and even though the superior resolution and dynamic range of one of those cameras should have been obvious, many still prefer the Mark III and complained that a better picture profile or some post sharpness would make the differences less noticeable. Well, Marco is back with a new test, and (in my personal opinion) it’s hard to argue against these results, as he’s pulled out all of the stops to really test the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and show why 8-bit will always be 8-bit, and what it means when you’ve got the capability for 12-bit images.

Here is the description below the video:


Going a step closer with the Cinema Camera, Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media focuses on how 12-bit RAW compares in relation to 8-bit alternatives, including many camera solutions costing much more. The difference between “perceived dynamic range” and “available dynamic range” is explored in detail. Also covered is day-for-night, detail versus sharpness, and much more.

You could download the original 1080p file as Marco mentions, but I actually watched the compressed online version first, and the differences were still obvious.

As far as dynamic range is concerned, there is only so much you can do with 8-bit to protect the highlights. This was made clear to me in the Zacuto Revenge of the Great Camera Shootout 2012 test. I was able to see that test on the big screen, and when the DSLRs came up, it was clear that there was only so far they could be pushed before they started falling apart. The parts of the image that were massively underexposed to protect the highlights began to look grey and lifeless when they were brought back up. That’s what happens with 8-bit. There is only so much information contained within the image, and you can’t recreate something that doesn’t exist in the first place.

The bit-depth simply refers to the different combinations of ones and zeros that is possible (with color images having three channels of bit-depth). The more bits and values possible, the better the final quality will be.

  • 8-bit   – 256 different values
  • 10-bit — 1024 different values
  • 12-bit — 4096 different values
  • 14-bit – 16,384 different values
  • 16-bit – 65,536 different values

Some of you might already be saying that the CinemaDNG RAW files from the Blackmagic Cinema Camera take up a ton of space. That is absolutely true, and short of converting to a compressed RAW format like Cineform, it’s something to consider. If you notice, though, there is still a large difference between 8-bit and 10-bit in terms of the values possible, and if you shoot ProRes or DNxHD, you’ll be getting a 10-bit file. That is why even in compressed mode, you will still be able to technically pull more detail and color information out of the BMCC as opposed to all DSLRs which only output 8-bit 4:2:2 at their very best.

Internal processing bit-depth is another factor to consider. It’s why even though DSLRs are crippled in many ways, especially by the 8-bit color space, that they can still make beautiful images. The detail you are working with is usually starting from a 14-bit source, which is what most of the high-end DSLRs are capable of. After going through this processing, the final image has to be compressed once more to the final output, which for video, is 8-bit. So technically if you could pull RAW video data from these DSLRs, you could be working with a far better file, even if they are pixel-binning or line-skipping. It’s one of the reasons people seem to like EPIC/SCARLET footage over RED One MX footage at the same resolution even though they have the same sensor, the RED One is a 12-bit camera internally, while the SCARLET and EPIC cameras are both 16-bit internally.

Now, what about resolution? Adding sharpness does exactly what it’s supposed to do: make the edges more defined. I’ve never been a fan of sharpening, it might make an image pop a little more, but it’s not the same as actually having a lot of resolution. You can’t make a 720p image look like a 1080p image by sharpening, even on the web. That’s why I wanted to watch just the online version first, because it’s clear to me that detail and dynamic range do make their way through to compressed video, regardless of what many people might tell you. You will have to make sure that you are getting the least compressed file online as possible, but I consistently see better looking online footage from RED, the Arri Alexa, and the Sony F65 that is clearly superior to DSLR footage.

Of course, cost is a major factor. You might not be able to afford one of these high-end digital cinema cameras (even as a rental), and that’s what makes the Blackmagic Cinema Camera so special. For all its quirks, nothing can touch this quality at $3,000. Is this saying that everyone should go out and buy the BMCC? Absolutely not, and for many people, it’s going to be the wrong camera for what they’re doing, even if it does have higher resolution and dynamic range. For one thing, it can’t see in the dark like many DSLRs. It’s also going to need a battery of some kind, which is a far simpler addition on a DSLR.

Your DSLR can still give you a wonderful image. There is no doubting that, and if you’ve got one, don’t necessarily get rid of it just because a new camera is coming along that should technically outperform it. Many have stated that they like the footage coming from DSLRs better (I’m not one of those people). I thought this was an important topic to correct some of the misinformation floating around. You should not be ashamed of using a DSLR, even professionally, because in the end, if the client is happy and you’re making money, who cares? But there is very real evidence that you can do a lot more with the footage coming from the BMCC, and it’s going to show through even in a compressed online video.

Now, as for what your monitor can actually display, that’s another story completely, but we’ll have to save that for a future post. Let’s start a real discussion about this, because it’s important not just from a technical standpoint, but from an artistic one. If you’re limited technically by your camera, there is only so much you can do to compensate, no matter what anyone tells you, and in certain instances, it can make a huge difference.

What do you guys think? For those who wanted to see the Mark III with some sharpening, what do you think about that footage now compared to the BMCC?

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  • Peter Kelly on 10.28.12 @ 3:30PM

    Good informative article, one big problem with the Bm???.

    No one can get their hands on one

    • Definitely, no question that’s a problem. Let’s hope they work it out sooner rather than later.

      • Joe one of the most common misunderstandings about digital is the relationship between bit depth and dynamic range (DR) in theory vs. practice. In theory, a 12 bit readout and data format will give you something like 15 stops of DR in a standard sRGB gamma. It would only be 12 stops in a linear gamma (though no one uses such a thing), and it could be stretched for “perceived dynamic range” with a log gamma as BMD uses.

        However, BMD only claims 13 stops. Why are they claiming so few stops compared to their bit space? 13 stops can fit into 10 bits in sRGB. They don’t need the 12 bits. What happens with the other 2 bits of the 12? They are wasted, either as unused headroom or the signal is swallowed up by the noise floor. You still must expose properly to get your 13 stops, that’s only given an optimal exposure (just below clipping the highlights) do you get the 13 stops without clipping.

        Thus the term “available dynamic range” is a bit misleading and certainly can’t be quoted in bits. It should be quoted in stops, which for the BMCC is the 13 they claim (assuming they are measuring and reporting honestly).

        Magic Lantern now has HDR video for the 5D3, which goes beyond Cinestyle gamma in achieving the extended dynamic range effects that Solorio demonstrates on the BMCC. Whether you would rather burden yourself with the rigors of RAW video or HDR video is up to you, you can get similar results at similar cost and hassle which Luke has demonstrated here.

        Once people BMD hasn’t hand-selected for camera access get their hands on a BMCC, people will be able to show all the ways it falls over, even in post, vs. the 5D3. The BMCC recording format is better, absolutely. Even vs. a 5D3+Ninja once we get clean HDMI. But that’s about it in this generation. And that’s unfortunately not enough to declare the BMCC “the unquestionably BEST CAMERA in its price range!!!”

        • I wasn’t selected to use the camera, and I have. I’m about to go out and shoot some more with it.

          Whoever’s hoping that the MK3 and any sort of option will come close to what you get out of this camera even in ProRes is dreaming hardcore. The only thing MK3 has going for it is sensor size, if that’s your thing.

          Sorry.

          • It’s interesting that Solorio chose to make the sharpening argument with branches against a colored sky. He had footage of resolution charts from both cameras, of course the BMCC had heavy moire and false color and a green cast on that footage so I understand why he avoided including it.

            But by making a resolution argument on a color edge, you are demonstrating the problems from 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. With the 5D3 getting clean HDMI, 4:2:2 chroma will be available for direct to ProRes HQ on the Ninja, which should make that comparison quite a bit closer.

            He’s not making good faith arguments. Really, this sort of marketing backfires, because the opinion leaders that count in the long run are careful and honest. Solorio’s videos are definitely above average for review videos, but they are reeking of bias, and that invalidates him as an authority which he probably could be with a bit more discipline. I guess he just wants to make money doing BMD training and seminars from the look of the ad in the intro.

          • Let BMC first get its production line in order and get working cameras in the hands of paying public. We will then see true comparisons rather than marketing videos. The reason why Philip Bloom and Laforet have made a name is because of impartiality.

            There are certain good things in the BMC camera. I will buy one for getting certain shots for a project planned in 2014. I am sure the BMC will be available in sufficient numbers with bugs removed by that time. No camera is perfect. It is crazy for people to just praise something as the biggest invention till date.

        • Bit depth only relates to the fidelity of the dynamic range…you can put 15 stops in 8-bit or 4 stops in 32-bit…the difference is in fidelity.

          • I would hope it’s assumed with a dynamic range spec that it’s at 2.2 gamma so the specs mean something in comparison. It’s similarly possible, to just use 4 bits out of 12 available…the bit depth is the format, the dynamic range (at a given gamma) implies how much of that format can be used. It’s quite a bit easier for a manufacturer to work with a larger bit depth than it is to achieve genuinely improved dynamic range and fidelity.

            Again the answer for all of this is an independent testing service like DxO that gives us a set of normalized specs to compare with. There are murmurs about DPR and DxO doing video testing but we will have to see if that is professional standard or just for cellphones etc.

        • That is utterly hysterical that you think the bmcc will ever “fall over” in post compared to the 5d mk3… ever. The bmcc definitely has its negatives, but that is certainly not one of them.

          • Given e.g. the relative low light capabilities of the two products, plus the availability of ML, it might be unwise to taunt and challenge those not on the koolaid to prove this. They can. If BMD ever manages to ship the camera to the public of course.

          • if you’re shooting raw with the bmcc, i doubt it. Im not saying the 5dmk3 isnt a great camera, but the bmcc just has alot going for it as far as manipulating in post goes.

  • Great post, Joe! I agree with you completely. Exciting times! I’m buying a BMCC decked out or a Scarlet stripped down, depending on what Red says about its prices in a couple of days, but I’m still going to keep my 7D cams. Different tools for different jobs. And I found the sharpening test VERY interesting in One River Media’s latest film. I have never contested the BMCC’s quality, but I was still shocked by that sharpening test! Thanks, Joe!

    • Thanks Page, I was equally as shocked by the sharpening test, I had never really seen one done with DSLR footage compared to something higher resolution like was done in the video above.

  • This man is OUT TO DESTROY DSLRs. I will trust him, though, based upon the epic safari expedition music and that fact that we both rock Sambas.

    Good review overall – I’m interested to see if he compares the BMCC footage to the RED Scarlet… or is this comparison already floating around? I’m curious mainly because of the recent article of RED dropping their prices, so the brain at least is a little closer to the competition’s costs.

    • Honestly I’d say one big thing to consider is whether you want ProRes primarily with raw as an option, or if you always want raw primarily. Red’s implementation of raw is better quality and much easier to work with, but the BMCC’s ability to record ProRes internally is killer.

    • It’s no so much as to “destroy DSLRs” as it is to make people aware of the limitations, draw them away from the market, so canon/nikon/sony will have to respond by improving their cameras to get out business back. This is the magic of the free-market system. And we win in the end. DSLRs may very well have RAW video in the next few generations if we vote with our wallets now, and turn to the companies who are selling technology for what it’s worth… and not what is collectively, and arbitrarily, decided upon by the consortium of the big manufacturers. This is why they can get away with selling 8-bit crap machines at exorbitant prices ($15,000)… and since they all play along, they can artificially price tech higher. Don’t support the collective market… it’s not good for anyone. Especially when we have such an amazing option for $3000.

      • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 5:28PM

        Maybe from Nikon, but Canon won’t do it until late in the game after Nikon has. Nikon doesn’t have a “pro” videocamera division that will lose out to their cheaper D-SLR’s.

  • Joe, could you explain the difference we would get shooting HDR on the 5D vs the RAW from BMCC (aside from the greater range of latitude)?

  • Slight correction, Epic and Scarlet do actually store 16-bit information except for the really high compression ratios which drop it to 12-bit.

    • It’s complicated: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?85797-12-bit-or-16-bit-Scarlet-specs-that-no-one-seems-to-know

      But yeah, that’s a totally separate topic, but RED is playing some games with the numbers.

      • It does seem complicated…but it does sound like from this: http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthread.php?73953-EPIC-12-and-16-bit-RAW&p=957335#post957335

        …that presumably a 3:1 compression ratio image, if captured uncompressed would need to have a 16-bit depth to match the Redcode image.

        I think this is kind of like with resolution where a 1080p image without much detail can be more compressed because there isn’t actually a full 1080p amount of detail in the image…but to represent it in an uncompressed image it would still need to be a full 1080p image.

        So with the Red One you could only end up with the equivalent of 12-bit in an uncompressed image, but the Epic and Scarlet can potentially end up with the equivalent of 16-bit in an uncompressed image. The reason it’s not technically 16-bit is the same reason a compressed 1080p image doesn’t technically have a full 1080p amount of detail, but still is manifested as a 1080p image once uncompressed.

        This actually makes perfect sense, but I’d never thought of it like that before.

        • I think it’s similar, I mean a full 1080p image is one that is taken from a downscale of a much higher resolution file, or from a camera that has a sensor for each color.

          It’s definitely confusing, I’ll have to reexamine that at some point in the future and read more into the wavelet compression.

          • Yeah I think it’s kinda of like this…a 16-bit image may need 16 bits for some pixels, maybe 12 for others, maybe 8 for others ect. In the same way a 1080p image of a face with a background out of focus may need full resolution for details on the face, but it needs less detail for the out of focus background. The resulting image looks the same as an uncompressed 1080p image, but technically the detail that was stored in the compressed file varies.

            It’s too bad that the BMCC can’t do some kind of basic ZIP compression like OpenEXR can…most footage would probably shrink to file sizes half that of uncompressed. But it would probably also require more processing and a higher price, so I’m pretty happy with ProRes Log as a compressed option all things considered

            • Yeah, it would be great to see them work with GoPro and incorporate Cineform RAW into the next version of the camera.

          • Sad fact being GoPro just did BMD one better and shipped a _higher_ resolution 24p camera (2.7K vs. 2.5K) for a tenth the price (no lens needed, though of course unfortunately, no lens changing).

            Why wouldn’t GoPro put out an interchangeable lens indie filmmaking camera of their own that blows the BMCC out of the water? Things could get interesting quick in the camera world, and the filmmakers might start munching more popcorn glued to the action than their audience does. I sadly am!

            • The GoPro has basically a cell phone sized sensor, so I would hardly call that doing Blackmagic one better. Why would they develop an interchangeable lens camera for a sensor that small? I know you understand sensor and camera technology, and why that wouldn’t make any sense. As for developing their own camera with a bigger sensor, who says they could do it cheaper or better? They could do RAW but they have no experience with any of the other technologies that make the Cinema Camera possible.

  • Some of this is a bit disingenuous, specifically when concerning dynamic range, where it’s assumed you can’t obtain that “hdr” look with a dslr, when in fact you might not be able to do all of it exclusively in post, but you certainly can get it with a mix of proper lighting and post-production.

    That’s not to say that the cinema camera doesn’t offer a great advantage, particularly in a guerrilla filmmaking type of situation, but the implication that you can only get some types of shots with 12-bit RAW is simple untrue.

    • Well I think you’re being a bit disingenuous too…can you make up for the DSLR’s 8-bit and low DR without spending a lot of money and time on grip and lighting?

      The thing is that the BMCC’s specs are pretty standard for big budget movies…you’re suggesting that putting more time and money into set-ups than big movies use will make up for the 8-bit and low DR…maybe that’s true, but how on earth is an indie set supposed to do something that not even big budget movies do?

      • That’s quite the exaggeration. Sure, you usually have to have access to some lighting material if you’re working on fiction film making; and creating something that is better than average (be it writing the script, blocking the shots and yes, lighting the set) will often take more time, unfortunately.
        But suggesting that, in order to obtain a shot like the window example, you have to spend the same as a big budget production is simply not true. Not the mention the fact that some of the machines people use to edit their dslr footage probably wouldn’t be able to realistically handle working on 12-bit RAW, which would affect the overall budget as well.

        Again, I’m not shitting on the cinema camera, quite the contrary. I just don’t agree with this prevalent mentality that the camera is the only deciding factor on how a shot will look, specially when I’m looking at examples where that’s not the case at all.

        • You didn’t understand my point at all. Look…big budget movies almost exclusively use cameras with at least the specs of the BMCC. If you can’t afford the lighting of a big budget movie, and then on top of it you’re shooting with an 8-bit camera with low DR, you’re shooting yourself in the foot *twice*. With the BMCC, you’re at least not crippled by the camera. With the DSLR, you not only can’t afford the big movie’s lighting, you also can’t afford the extra lighting on top of that to fix the DSLR’s problems. Here’s a simple equation:

          Big budget movie = Awesome camera + awesome lighting
          Same movie with a DSLR = DSLR + awesome lighting + extra time and money to fix lighting for DSLR
          Same movie with BMCC = BMCC + awesome lighting

          On a low budget movie you could have:
          DSLR + lighting to fix camera problems with a little left over for mood and style
          or
          BMCC + lighting 100% for mood and style

          The editing system is easily the most affordable part of the equation. What you *can’t* afford is more expensive grip and lighting than a big budget movie to fix the limitations of the camera.

          • The problem with that equation is that you’re creating fictitious (or, at least exaggerated) problems when lighting for a dslr. The black magic can certainly simplify the process (something I’ve repeatedly agreed with), but you’re making dslr’s sound like a nightmare to properly light to, which is simply not accurate.
            Again, and for the last time, this cinema camera sounds great! Will it make things easier for some film makers? Probably, sure!
            Does that mean you can’t realistically obtain the same results with a dslr? Most definitely not.

          • What I’m saying is it is *not* realistic to get the same results with a DSLR. It may be technically possible, but it is not realistic. If you’re shooting with daylight, it is a pretty significant problem trying to bump the fill up for a DSLR when you could just get the image right off the bat with the BMCC. If you’re doing a landscape, it’s impossible to add fill for the DSLR.

          • It would be best to look at DSLRs as reversal film and the BM as negative film.

            DSLRs only give you so much flexibility, so it’s best to light closer to the way you want it to look.

            I do think that the 5D has nicer closeups because of the sensor size.

            This is also the first generation BM and it’ll only get better.

          • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 5:49PM

            Gabe and Thomas are correct.

            Thomas’ point about reversal vs negative was exactly what I was thinking. Reversal can look gorgeous…but it takes a lot of work! When magazines shot on film mostly…reversal is finer grained than negative, so they’d use that…but they have to add tons of light to do that. And that isn’t cheap, and that’s ignoring that they can use strobes b/c they’re not lighting for 24fps.

            I hate my d-SLR…it’s like having to shoot reversal. It looks great when you have control, but especially with low budget stuff, you don’t have that control.

            In the city, I don’t know any low budget film that can set up 12′x12′s (and block off the streets and/or sidewalks to do it. Or to use the 18K’s on condors to pull it off.

            I live in seattle, so at least God gives use city wide overhead diffusion for 2/3rds of the year. But in daylight, it’s unmanageable without more latitude. RAW for motion picture footage all the way. (I wish they would do compressed RAW like Red. It’s arguably cheaper to use the Reds in the long run b/c of the hard drive space.)

        • no offence, but complaining about something like that is just annoying. hes comparing these options in post, talking about all the workarounds a dslr would need would just be distracting.

          • Actually, no, I don’t agree at all.
            My problem with the video is exactly that it implies you can only obtain that look when using the black magic camera (as opposed to a dslr), which is simply not true.
            And properly lighting a set is not a workaround, it’s part of the work of getting the look you want, regardless of the camera, and this video seems to gloss over it in a way that a lot of people do these days, making the camera sound like the only element involved.
            Maybe I’m being a bit unfair, and the video was only supposed to highlight the black magic camera’s advantage on that very specific area, but the language used was still somewhat misleading.

          • @Daniel, the lighting should be supporting the look of the film, not propping up the camera’s flaws. You can’t just ask the sun to “please if you could just be a bit less bright”. Adding fill against the sun is expensive and takes time and resources away from creating the look for the film.

    • john jeffreys on 10.28.12 @ 10:11PM

      You forgot the fact that the BMCC demographic probably has no lighting gear and doesn’t even know how to light. Or set up their shots to maximize the dramatic/filmic effect. Spec whores, is all.

      • Shut up, John. You are hands down the most disgustingly annoying troll on this site, and it’s really damn difficult to imagine why anyone in their right mind would want to work with such a blatantly arrogant prick.

        I know that’s not nice thing to say at all, but you’ve constantly proven through your narrow-minded and divisive comments that you are completely unwilling to consider anyone’s opinion but your own.

        Also, where do you get of saying that BMCC owners are less likely to know how to light than DLSR owners such as yourself? How hypocritical can a single statement be?

        Think before you speak, John. Please.

      • thadon calico on 10.28.12 @ 11:16PM

        dude u r suck a fuckin troll

      • john jeffreys on 10.28.12 @ 11:53PM

        it seems that i hit a sore/truth spot with that comment

        • Please enlighten me, John. Why on earth would this camera appeal to people who don’t give a shit about lighting? Beyond that, why would DSLR’s be more appealing to legitimate cinematographers than the BMCC, when it seems pretty damn clear that the BMCC produces a better and more workable image?

          Let’s have a rational discussion about this.

        • I’d also like to add that I’m not buying a BMCC. I still use my trusty old 60D to great effect, and I know how to properly light for it (i.e. using a light meter and keeping the image within the 8 stop range of the camera). So your whole “hitting a sore/truth spot” argument falls flat. The only sore spot of mine that you hit is the one that doesn’t deal well with arrogant bullshit.

          Your move, John Jeffreys.

  • Great info, would love to see a comparison of 10 bit pro res HQ 4:2:2 compared to regular dslr 8bit and uncompressed 4:2:2 FS100 8bit that comes in at 28mbps. In my opinion this is the beauty of the BMC in that it provides PRORES which can seems to be amazing even for non raw coming in at 220 mbps HQ.

    Serious question for anyone that knows Is it true that when we see a movie shot on Red or Arri that it is scaled downed 4k and 2k to 1080p for bigscreen, so is it true that red 4k is basically scaled downed 1080p on bigscreen, not saying its a bad thing just trying to understand the science?

    • If i remember correct, most movies for normal theaters are 2K. Fincher’s Girl with the dragon tattoo was one of the few movies shot on red and presented in the theaters at 4K

  • Agree with Gabe / Brendan. I’d love to see a test between these HDR / flattened profile DSLR settings and BMCC. Also the difference between BMCC 10 bit Pro Res and BMCC 12 bit RAW.

    Because 10 bit pro res and a 512gb crucial HD could go a LOOOONG way. Not sure about RAW record times though.

    • Flat DSLR profile will not make much of a difference, again, 8-bit is still 8-bit, the reason flat profiles are good is for trying to preserve highlight detail, but there’s only so far you can go, you can’t create new information that wasn’t there in the first place.

  • john jeffreys on 10.28.12 @ 4:33PM

    Oh god, its THIS article again

  • Speaking of the BMD camera, Joe, have you heard any more about Adobe’s future support of the CinemaDNG format?

    • Still supported in After Effects, but nothing more about Premiere. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • The biggest problem in this video is that there was no LOG curve applied to the 8 bit footage.

    So converting the 12 bit raw to 8 bit, just doesn’t work

    This is PURE MARKETING VIDEO

  • And PLEASE stop calling it the “cinema camera” because it’s not

    • VINCEGORTHO on 10.28.12 @ 5:50PM

      Don’t buy one. Time to move on with your life.

      • No, I will buy it, it’s a “nice addition”

        But god-like status it’s markets with s what I don’t like. Converting 12 to 8 bit without a curve is not right.

    • Well, the camera is named “Cinema Camera” just like there are cameras named “5D Mk. III” and “FS-700.”
      Labeling it a cinema camera outside the context of that name is optional, but referring to it as “the Cinema Camera” is technically correct, as long as the proper noun that is its name is capitalized.

  • Who cares of the camera applied a curve in the camera or if you did it manually later, it’s the same. Just compressing the dynamic range to fit the screen

    • Wait so you’re saying it’s all the same because the end result will be 8-bit…but cinema is 10-bit delivery…um, so I guess the BMCC *is* a cinema camera.

      Besides all that, if you’re not doing grading or CC then you’re probably not doing cinema. If the BMCC is a cinema camera, then you will probably be doing grading and CC on its footage.

      • Nobody going “cinema” will use this, th F65 is a “cinema” camera, the footage taken from this camera will always be shown on a 8 bit monitors.

        What troubles me here, is that when young producers read this, they assume that they need more “gear” while they need more “knowledge”

        • Don’t let my camera choices trouble you – review the DCP specs or consider why digibeta was 10-bit.

        • I think you have a very distorted idea of who’s making content for “cinema”. If you’re entering a film into a film festival, it’ll be shown in 10-bit 2k/1080p. That’s where a lot of aspiring filmmakers will end up having their content seen in a context that could make a difference to their career. Whether or not it ends up online is completely beside the point. You shouldn’t aim for the lowest common denominator.

          • Dear, all what is am saying here is that this yeast was misleading because it left th LOG factor out of the 8 bit, and I think it should have been factored in.

            And thank you for the (destorted) Part

          • @Alex, forgive me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be coming from a broadcast/ENG background. You don’t shoot with a curve in cinema if you can help it because a) you need control over the image for style reasons, and b) you need control over the image because as an indie low budget filmmaker who does their own editing, it’s easier to finish the “look” of the image in post because of extreme time and budget restrictions on set.

            If you underexpose an image and apply a curve to it in camera, than you have to do some convoluted post contortions to undo the curve, fix the exposure, and then finally reapply the curve. You’re also limited to the camera’s curves, when you can get much more sophisticated looks from something like the industry leading Davinci Resolve which just happens to come with the BMCC.

            And of course you wouldn’t have thought about needing 10-bit for cinema if you’re coming from broadcast which is 8-bit. Hence why I said you have a distorted view…you’re not wrong from an ENG point of view, but we’re talking cinema here.

            “Destorted” isn’t a word.

  • What lav mic is he using? haha. No seriously, great sound.

  • This would have been a very nice test, if it was done properly

  • Dear “gabe”

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I am not comming from an ENG background, and a don’t like how this conversation is turning personal.

    We are discussing cameras here, not personalities.

    Please don’t reply o don want to continue a personal conversation,

    But I would still like to watch you showreel and compare it to mine .

    • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 8:54PM

      You don’t want to get personal, but you want to have a show reel stand off?

      Your argument was sound until you decided to make it personal at the end.

  • Dear @Gabe,
    Please show me your showreel, so ill se how can you talk “Cinema”, and ill send you mine

  • Dear @ Gabe,

    Just post a link to your showreel here please, I really want to knwo who am I talking to

    • I don’t really see how that could end well…I’m ready to believe you do ‘cinema’ work, my broadcast/ENG comment was simply an attempt to better understand where you’re coming from. I have a ton of respect for the work, it was meant to be a negative thing. But it *is* different. This isn’t a pissing contest, if you have a good point then make it. Our work is subjective, whereas this discussion can and should remain in the objective realm where it belongs.

      Let’s try to focus this conversation: Why do you think the delivery format for something shot on the BMCC is only going to be 8-bit? What format is that? Who is the audience?

      To me your original argument sounded a bit circular…that the BMCC isn’t a cinema camera because delivery would only be to 8-bit (which doesn’t sound like cinema delivery) and wouldn’t need special color and gamma adjustments outside of the capabilities in-camera (which doesn’t sound like cinema either).

      I’m sure there are plenty of DSLR shot films going to film festivals, but they *will* look better shot on the BMCC (unless it otherwise needs super shallow DOF or super wide angle shots). How they look on a computer or TV screen doesn’t matter if the success of a film will be determined at a film festival.

      • *Correction: I have a ton of respect for the work, it *wasn’t* meant to be a negative thing.

  • DSLRs do most of the damage through their codec, which is obvious to most people here.

    Does my 5D Mark III have the same dynamic range as the Blackmagic? I’d say yes, it’s probably very close. Perhaps the BMCC has one more claimed stop of DR.

    But why does my 5D Mark III, an incredible 22mp stills camera, completely suck when shooting video for any sort of production value? The video recording pipeline.

    Soft detail (barely managing 720p detail in 1080p mode), crushed shadows and blown highlights, compression artefacts, 8-bit when grading is desired is just not ideal in the first place. You need more bit depth than the delivery bit depth to move an image around if you care at all about banding and colour accuracy.

    In the end, DSLRs aren’t designed to be high end digital cinema cameras. They’re stills cameras.

    The biggest problem right now is that Blackmagic Design is plagued with production issues and I haven’t any clue when my unit will ship.

  • film snob

  • that comment was ofcourse for alex

  • All I am saying is that the method of obtaining the 8 bit footage was not accurate. Cameras have their way of compressing the dynamic range and fitting it into 8 bit color space, so .. Is the blackmagic better ? Yes, but not by far .

  • Remember. It’s not just about bit depth. Shooting in raw also brings other positives. Just like the day for night shot, you also have the metadata you can edit. So even if the difference in dynamic range isn’t as big as people make it to be, you still have more control over your scene with the BMC over other cameras.

  • This guy has by far the most concise camera reviews on the internet. I love it!

  • Aftet seeing all of this I’m still going to buy a Canon 5d MKIII ……..enough for what I’ll use it for….that sensor will forever be its downfall for me

  • This is why I still shoot HDV- and it’s still “good enough”

  • Great review of the science behind the BMCC, Until the camera can create smaller RAW files it seems like I could save money by investing in the Red Scarlet. The camera is $3K and has great science working for us, but the cost is SSD media.
    Red might be onto something when it comes to matching the features of this camera with the compression of their codec. This camera may be 12-bit but a lot of people (myself included) might shoot into DNXHD or Pro Res just to make storing the material easier and cheaper. I currently shoot with the AF100 and have to ClipWrap the files into the AVID, making two versions of the the footage.
    With the RED plugin making it into FCPX, Avid and Premiere to natively work with compressed RAW R3D files, all this is talk about bit-depth doesn’t matter. Obviously the image is stronger coming from a bigger sensor but what then? Blackmagic needs to step up the RAW codec and create a version of REDCODE (since Adobe is dropping support for CinemaDNG).

    • A 128GB Redmag is $1250. How are you saving on storage costs over the BMC? How many minutes of footage can fit in that?

      Possibly the best/most reliable SSD right now the Samsung 830 is selling for $70 over at Tigerdirect. Cost of the RedMag is 18x more expensive per gigabyte.

      http://tinyurl.com/9seswzc

      Even if they’re not on sale they cost less than $90 each. That’s 14 SSDs vs 1 RedMag….

      • I think he meant longterm storage, which you actually would spend more to store CinemaDNG versus Redcode at its best.

        The buy in, however, is significantly lower.

        That’s the reason why people want Cineform in camera, if that happens then the storage excuse vanishes.

      • It’s not a matter of cost per gigabyte, it’s a matter of cost per minute of footage. Uncompressed DNGs eat up space much faster than REDCODE, so it’s not 18:1, it’s more like 3-4:1. And then in the case of the BMCC you’ve got to do something with those DNGs to edit them. I’m not arguing in favor of one or the other but $/gigabyte is less of a valid argument than the practical applications. More here:

        http://nofilmschool.com/2012/10/red-scarlet-redmag-lower-price/

        • In the case of editing: same thing you would do with RED footage, anyway. Offline, cut, online, color, deliver.

          Also, before anyone comes to preach the Premiere workflow: it’s viable for personal use, on anything major it’s more time consuming than simply having a 720 or 1080 offline to make changes to on the fly.

          • But on the flipside, at least you have an option with RED footage, now with FCPX (which I think is a better implementation of native Redcode editing), if you don’t want to transcode you don’t have to.

            Kind of devils advocate super move on myself there.

        • Thanks Koo. Sorry I wasnt clear.

          I was asking how much redcode footage would fit in that 128GB redmag because I did want to see how much GB would be eaten per minute of footage. If it was 14-18 to 1 then it would be even. Then you save on archiving.

          I really was just asking how storage would be cheaper. Nothing more. I just wanted to know if I was missing anything.

          But as it is 3-4x as you say then you wouldn’t be saving anything on ssd storage for shooting.
          3 samsung 830 = $210-$270 vs 1 128GB Redmag=$1250

          You still have $1000 left over for your other storage requirements. That is a lot of high quality hard disks.
          In fact that is 6 x 3TB of the highest quality Western Digital drives optimized for NAS (thus probably the best for archiving)
          http://tinyurl.com/8j5q496

          Archiving will cost you a lot more of course if you archive the RAW if you want to do that.

          But for the price of 1 128GB Redmag.

          You can get 3 128GB of the best SSD plus 18TB of the best consumer drives for archiving (43 hours of RAW footage at 7GB/min for the BMC)

          Am I missing anything?

          • There are multiple compression ratios you can use on Red, you can take a look at how that effects recording time here: http://www.red.com/tools/recording-time

          • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 9:40PM

            According to newmagic.com (an australian Black-magic distributor), you get about 30 minutes of footage with a 256GB drive with the BMCC.

            http://newmagic.com.au/support/Files/Blackmagic_Design_Cinema_Camera_FAQ.pdf

            So what would mean a 128GB drive will give you 15minutes!

            That actually sounds about right…I used to have (notice the past tense…) the hyperdeck shuttle that, although it’s not RAW, it is uncompressed…and with 1080P (which is smaller than 2.5K, of course), as per black-magic design’s own site, with a 128GB drive, you’ll get 12.5 minutes of uncompressed footage!

            With Red, with the link Gabe points out, using redcode 5:1, on the Epic, with 3K (the closest to the BMCC 2.5K) 128GB gets you 70 minutes. (Redcode 5 is, according to Janard, the sweet spot. The new Spider-Man used either 5:1 or 6:1 compression.)

            Using Evan’s pocket guide from theblackandblue.com, the Red one will give you, at 3K, using Redcode 42 (the least compressed one) with 3K 2:1, you’re talking 1hr 32min record times!

            I don’t consider CF cards, SSDs, or red mags, or SxS as far as a cost of footage…I think it’s more appropriate when you wrap that in with the cost of the camera, not the cost of the media for the project. Once you own it, you’re looking at 100,000 read/write cycles. You just need enough space to last the day (data wrangler that can offload as you’re working).

            So…blackmagic will eat through the drives like mad… To sum up, a BMCC will use RAW at a rate that’s double what an Epic does…at 5K resolution!

          • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 9:42PM

            Damn…I don’t know what’s going on…my post ate the number of minutes you get. It’s always buggy…I double checked it before I sent it and it still cuts stuff off. (I’m not on my phone or iPad which tends to make it’s own errors—I’m on a laptop.)

            According to newmagic.com, a 256GB SSD will give the BMCC 30 minutes of footage. So a 128GB drive will give you 15 minutes.

  • Man…I`ve learned a dozen times that directors with a film school background almost always don`t know dick about anything not in their realm or anything about the technology used in the process, but the opposition seems to fall into the other extreme side, being obsessed with numbers, reading this page one gets the feeling it`s a mindnumbing scientific debate, like any viewer cares if it was 8 bit or 10 bit…78 comments so far, when Apple is the topic even more interest seems to spark the indie filmmaker`s mind…and how about the actual craft and art? 10 comments and less on really interesting and thought provoking articles about screenwriting or directing…

    • Every time such a debate comes over, EVERY TIME, there’s someone stating art and content is more importante than resolution and bits.

      That’s true, of course, but it’s tech what we are discussing here, in this thread. Please stick to it.

      • While I agree in principle with your statement I believe his observation on the amount of comments relating to the craft itself over tech and gear, particularly when so much biased attitude leads nowhere, is a valid point.

      • Nothing to get whiny about it, if you love to babble like this, nothing`s stopping you, this kind of tech-talk is just pure insecureness and a try to deflect this.

    • john jeffreys on 10.29.12 @ 11:43AM

      Pretty much.

    • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 9:54PM

      I think that a lot of it stems from the fact that it’s easier to debate and pick through cold hard facts and numbers than it is what you think or feel about a particular film.

      I read all those articles about movies and directing on nfs, and what a film makes me feel means so much more than latitude this and compression that…etc…but I don’t post on those b/c it’s as pointless as arguing with john jefferies.

      Yeah, film school people can be pretty annoying, but I think the number and nature of responses on camera forums don’t reflect the actual interests of all the people posting. I know the digitalization of cameras have led to a tech-based, more quantitative instead of qualitative mindset, but I don’t think it’s as bad as you think.

  • Discussions on technical aspects of image capture with the CineGrain ad on the right side, reminds me that content and proper shooting techniques will trump over any other technical advances an independent filmmaker may have available. The movie Manhattan was released in mono sound and black and white.
    Nonetheless, I find the test offers information to consider the benefits of having more available data, even if proper lighting and mood was in place. Thanks for the post Joe..

  • Well… not to surprising reading the comments. I say give it time, people hate change, it feels like the industry is taking something away from you, but its not. People will adapt, it just takes time for people to make the jump and they will. I see the BMCC as the next step in pushing the indie market, that brings the professional and independent gap just a bit closer. People will complain about everything, its expensive in post, its too costly to store and backup, why do I need 12-bit when 8-bit is perfectly fine, etc. In the end, they will jump on it, its only logical. If your a film maker, you will see the benefits, and you will find the work flow, with out breaking the bank. I was able to work with the RAW files on my cheap 400 dollar laptop, you just need to understand how to handle it.

    You like it, or you hate it, its going to be staying. Thats fine by me.

  • Great blog and an important one. I hope it helps some of those unaware understand the incredible value in the BMCC. There are as many cons to the sensor size debate as there pro’s when it comes to making low budget cinema imho.

    I think the BMCC is a truly amazing offering. I noted someone said that people won’t use this for cinema? I for one would be ver surprised if there isn’t a lot of micro budget indie cinema shot with this camera, as it quite simply exceeds production value for cost ratio more than has ever been possible before.

    Would have given an arm and a leg for it times gone past. Amazing days we live in… amazing days.

    • I said that, and what I wanted to say, is that Hollywood won’t use the camera for their films. I agree that this camera is a dream come true.
      What I was complaining about was the test itself. I felt the test was designed the wrong way.

      The camera is great. But there was a problem with the test.

      • Of course “Hollywood” will… anyone actually doing work in “Hollywood” would see that coming from a several miles away.

        Not sure how it’s not obvious even as an outsider.

      • There will always be flaws in any test, even the Great Camera Shootouts, with their extravagent budgets and countless man hours of work, people will always find flaws in the methodology of the tests. There will never be a perfect camera test.

        Camera tests, and in particular these One River tests, show the methodology the filmmakers use. The One River guys set up their tests to compare against their workflow with 5d Mk 3, which until the BMCC had been their workhorse. They find the BMCC to be superior for what they do. You can find many people on these boards who looked at the tests and found the 5d Mk 3 to be superior, it all matters how you use your camera and technology.

        • I remember reading about Miami Vice, one of the first big digi pictures, and Dion Beebe said he wasn’t sold on digital until he saw these big vistas of clouds, and how the clouds seemed to pop right out of the sky like 3d. To me that is testing. One River looks at the BMCC and it pops for them. We don’t have to agree with their views, but we should be thankful they are sharing their info, even if we view their methodology as flawed. That way when we go on to do our tests, we can build upon what they have shared.

    • I own a sony F55 – Stats: 16 bit raw, S-gamut, Slog, global shutter – and absolutely superior in every way

      EXCEPT ONE: Price

      Yes, the F55 is a much better camera than the BlackMagic Cinema Camera, in the same way that 12 is better than 8 bit, 16 is better than 12…. well, thats not even true… because it is exponential and not linear it means it’s a lot better for post processing.

      BUT – how much do you get for 3k dollars vs my 29,000 dollar camera. Is my F55 ten times better? To those who have the budget it sure is- like everything else in the world there is a point where you have to draw the line and say “THIS IS GOOD ENOUGH”

      I own a 5D2 and 5D3 – and I love those cameras a lot – and I used to argue until I was blue in the face.. and in the end of the day I now realize how much I was embarrassing myself. It’s like the difference between science and religion – while you can have a difference between religions – hard science/mathematics are not up for debate – the sun doesn’t revolve around the earth and 5 is half of 10…. and so is it with specs of a camera… those are the parts you just cannot argue with. That isn’t to say you can’t shoot a better movie on a 5D3 than a BMCC or F55, it just says that it’s an inferior camera. Don’t worry, this is not an attack on you – it’s just science and technology.

      Oh, and I am a religious person – so please no pro-religeon responses- I was simply saying that religion is up to debate – not everyone BELIEVES the same thing- but that with math and science we KNOW … know vs believe, thats all.

  • Just a quibble but aren’t most the advantages he mentions due more to the RAW format than the 12-bit space?

    Does a 12-bit ProRes 444 file have anywhere near as much flexibility as we see in this example?

  • The BMCC is a dream come true, but camera operators will have some nightmares.

  • My RED Scarlet definitely can’t recover anywhere near that much detail in the highlights, it is 12bit as well. Some fanboys even argue it’s 16bit. I’m pretty sure not even the 5d Mark III can do this in a RAW Photo. But isn’t each frame on the bmcc in dng mode about 5mb, holy HDD overkill :-) Can’t wait to get my hands on one though

    • The Scarlet has a smidgen more dynamic range than the BMCC, so if you’re having trouble with detail in highlights it’s probably because of how the dynamic range is being spread between highlights and shadows. If you need more range in the highlights you should expose for a higher ISO value. If you need more range in the shadows you should expose for a lower ISO value. (This is also how the Alexa works incidentally)

      Usually you can get everything exposed so that you’re not clipping in either shadows or highlights…just look at your histogram and make sure you’re not getting red bars rising on either side…a red bar on the right indicates clipping in the highlights, and a red bar on the left indicates clipping in the shadows.

      Also make sure that you’re not clipping something in post. Working in a tool with 32-bit floating point precision is going to give you the best results.

      • Re: the Scarlet having more dynamic range… Have you taken any measurements yourself? Whose numbers are you trusting?

        • Pro Video Coalition’s test of the Epic vs Alexa seems to indicate between 13 and 14 stops of DR for the Epic, so I figure 13.5 is a reasonable average (and one that seems to be commonly quoted for the MX sensor). The BMCC is said to have 13 stops. It would be awesome to see a direct comparison though because DR can be a difficult thing to objectively pin down.

      • Thank you, I know how to expose my camera and like I said: What we see in the Video above it not possible with a Scarlet. If you expose to keep all the highlights in a comparable scene you end up with unusable shadow detail.
        There’s the hdrx option but it comes with a lot post and I really haven’t seen any hdrx video that looked that much better than a shadow/highlighted spot on one exposure.

  • This article is pure CR*P.
    Sorry to be so hard. The results are misleading because the methodology in this so called test is simply wrong. It doesn’t have anything to do with 8bit vs 12bit.

    The mistake is in the conversion that he makes from raw to bitmap. Again, nothing to do with the color depth. (of course 12bit is going to be better than 8 bit, but in a completely unrelated topic to the one discussed here) When he is using Adobe camera raw to convert the raw data into a bitmap, he is clipping values in the highlights (not a mistake per se) and so the problem comes when he comes back and compares the native raw file to a clipped bitmap. He can recover highlight details from the raw because he is still accessing the whole data captured by the sensor. If he had done the same conversion to 10bit or even 12 bit uncompressed as opposed to 8bit, the same issue would appear.

    It’s your workflow dude what’s wrong and so you are getting the wrong interpretation!

    • So how else could he do the test with the same image, without having to shoot it with two different cameras? It can’t be done. If the test had been done between a BMC image and a 5DIII image (or any other 8-bit camera), it would open up a whole host of variables (and complaints).

      But if it is so wrong as you suggest, I’m interested to hear your perspective on how it could have been done better.

      • Well, there are just too many variables here. What is the point of the test? To compare how an 8bit vs 12bit image behaves under heavy color correction?

        If that’s the point, which is not exclusive to a camera manufacture, just have the same exact frame exported at those two color depths and THEN compare.

        What he seems to be missing is the fact that adobe camera raw is a conversion tool that uses the whole linear raw data of the camera to try to make a pretty image. Many people think that raw is some sort of holy grail in which you can magically recover lost highlights. This misunderstanding comes from how adobe camera raw works (and similar applications), by having a certain amount of contrast and a gamma curve already applied when you first open the image. Then if you lower the contrast or use the highlight recovery, you seem to be getting extra detail, but in truth, it was the software who was hiding that detail in the first place (sensors capture light in a linear way, so once the image is clipped it’s clipped.)

        Ideally when doing the conversion raw-image you want to preserver all the information that the sensor was able to capture. Some professional cameras do this in camera (Sony Slog), some let you do it in post (Red). You’ll notice that with R3Ds you can’t get any highlights back once they’re clipped like these guy does with the DNGs from the Blackmagic. That’s not because the blackmagic is awesome, but simply the way the workflow works. RedCine will just show you the whole dynamic range if you load the right tone curve. Again, there is no magic here.

        Again, if you want to compare 8bit vs 12 bit, an easy way would be to export the same frame from a Red clip as 8 bit and 12 bit and then do the grading to see the difference (8bit will show some posterization under heavy work, but that’s it). If you want to do it with the Blackmagic camera, make sure you preserve all the data when exporting from adobe camera raw into an image file (I suspect lowering the contrast until the histogram is not clipped anymore would work).

        Still, the whole comparison is kind of a waste if the goal is to compare 2 cameras…

        • You do make a good point Mac.

          I think perhaps the article/video name was simply a misnomer. Perhaps it should have been about emphasizing the difference between RAW and baked-in bitmap images. There is a clear advantage to RAW there.

          I agree when he exported the RAW file he should have used a flat/linear profile to get way more DR from it, though the fact that the original footage was 12-bit and can be adjusted in post to create a superior 8 or 10-bit image… actually no, that’s still just an advantage or RAW, lol.

      • I really don’t understand what Mac is talking about. I am just wondering if Mac could kindly bother to display his point of view with examples in a video.

        • Mac did a lot to explain what was done wrong – he tool the time to write a LOT about it – and in two responses!

          I am having trouble understanding what it is that you can’t understand about it… it’s pretty straight forward. He took the time to explain what was wrong – if you don’t understand it why don’t you google it all, item by item and figure it out.

          Why do people think that just because you prove someone wrong about something that you somehow owe people even more effort to show them an example. Maybe he will make a video, but are you paying him for his time? Are you his boss? why can’t people do their own work for once?

  • 1080p vs. 2.5K? By it’s very definition, you’ll get more detail, guys. I think you missed that.

  • even if you have a lousy or good story, audiences won’t care what camera you used–

    • I was just watching a movie called “Ben Banks” last night. While most of the film looked “okay” there were some scenes with extensive Moirée in the background. Maybe some people do not notice it or aren’t bothered by it. I for one thought it was horrible. It even distracted me so much that I didn’t pay much attention to the actors anymore (in that particular scene that is). Maybe nofilmschool has made me more aware of these things :-)

    • I forgot to mention, the movie was filmed on 5D Mark II’s

      • Lol.. This is the thing. If i wasn’t into filmmaking, i wouldn’t be looking for that stuff.. I saw a comparison screengrab between the gh2 and the gh3 the other day.. It was a lamp… I’m like.. “Yep…that’s a lamp.”
        It’s only until i scroll down do i see people going apeshit. “Banding!!!!!!” I didn’t know what the hell i was looking for.. I know what it looks like & all.. But… Damn. In our struggle to find a camera that we can afford with righteous features, it’s almost taken over. After i saw “Genesis”, i scrolled to the comments.. “Noise @ 0:53!!!” ..”Banding in that corner @0:26!!!” I mean, are they going frame by frame? Then it’s “f–k this camera.”
        So now, there’s a cinema camera that plugs out raw 2.5k images at 12 bit with 13 stops of DR for $3000… There really should be no excuse to get out there and make your movies now.. It’s funny because now that these kinds of images can be had affordably, this is where we’ll start seeing the community weed itself out from the youtube cat videos.. Someone will say, “the sensor is too small, so i’m just gonna wait… F–k bmc.”

  • I am a fan of everything about the BMCC except the sensor size/mount combination. When/if Black Magic releases a APS-H or even APS-C camera with shallow ffd, I will be the first one to sell my Canon 7D (soon to be EOS-M).

    I will still keep my 5D MKIII for its full-frame sensor. But, if BMD releases a full frame camera (or even a 4:3 sensor with anamorphic capabilities) sub-24mm FFD, I’d burn my 5D in effigy and go 100% BMCC.

    I’m also a big fan of them using the CinemaDNG format.

    If they had an APS-H I would then stay away from Red and begrudginly Arri until they can decide to move from the proprietary dark side.

  • Marco’s 8bit vs 12 bit was a definitive comparison hands down. On another note: Why does everyone keep saying the BMCC is only a $3K camera? It doesn’t come with any lenses. If you add in 3 basic primes at $2K each, throw in a better battery, SSDs, and some accessories at $2K… now your $3k camera is really an $11K camera. And if you plan on shooting even a quality short or small feature, you will need a minimum of two cameras so now your minimum starting is $22K. Am I too conservative or overshooting the money math?

    • Joe Marine on 11.1.12 @ 1:36PM

      Right, but you don’t need 3 $2,000 lenses, and many people have some lenses already. It’s still a $3,000 camera, and it’s completely up to you to outfit it the way you want, and you can certainly spend as little or as much as you want.

      • You are perfectly right. I have an old Leica R lens, a couple of Nikorrs and a old cannon. The only one lens I’d need is an ultra wide for my BMDCC. People add all sorts of mathematical calculations to the cost of BMDCC forgetting that these extra costs need to be included in all the good cameras like Arri, Red, Epic, Scarlet and so on. So what’s the problem. BMDCC is still relatively cheaper,

    • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 5:07PM

      A car price does not include gas. What’s your point about add-ons?

      Every camera requires add-ons. A tripod would be the first one.

      • Daniel Mimura on 11.6.12 @ 5:12PM

        I already have v-mounts, Bartech Focus Device, power cables for p-tap or 4pin xlr for power (assuming it’s the same size as for their hyperdeck shuttle power), matte box, lenses (including 11-16), tripod, steadicam, SSDs. So yeah…$3k.

    • In that case – you wouldn’t be able to quote any camera pricing -

      Oh, whats that- you want to use the line up of 8 arri master anamorphic lenses at 43,000 each, well then, this BMC camera will cost you 347,000

      Oh, whats that you say, now this other user wants to use rokinons – well, thats a deal because then the BMC camera will only cost you 4,000 dollars. LOL

      Should the price of the brain only be counted if it needs an external recorder or something? NO
      should you include the prices of items you will use on any camera? NO

      Whats next – you can’t make a movie without lighting so add on the cost of lights to the cost of the camera
      does the camera then cost less if the director uses only available light?
      OH NO- what if he uses the camera with available light on one project andl lights on the other – do you say the camera cost more on the one with the lights and less on the other? LOL

  • Gary Simmons on 11.1.12 @ 9:38PM

    I think its premature to comment till we see if the mark III update from canon does with the HDMI Output as promised then some magic lantern tweaks on top of that before we can decide what the ultimate DSLR quality will be. I started with a DSLR because I already have a investment in canon lens because I started as a still shooter and as I have learned from the good folks on this and other sites I get better performance out of the same gear. I recently got to borrow a L series canon glass and wow what a difference I learned 2 things I need better glass and my images are better than I thought as I have tweaked the camera past what it could do with standard glass. So no matter what you have, learn how to work with it and you will get better results.

  • Erik Stenbakken on 11.2.12 @ 12:31AM

    Great stuff. Thanks for the article and video. Lots to absorb and consider here. There are likely a whole host of us who are shooting on DSLRs and doing ok. But if others are where we are — we’re looking for the next step, and this is valuable information. Thanks!

  • i am sorry, but this is a wrong testing method.

    i am not saying 12bit footage doesnt offer greater flexibility than 8bit.
    ofcourse it does

    but to compare 12bit footage to itself, after its converted to 8bit using the default settings of camera raw software? the results are as expected. lots of information has been thrown away during this conversion.

    on the other hand, i am not sure other cameras throw away that much information during the internal conversion to 8bit.

    • The 12-bit converted to 8-bit still retains a higher level of quality than if it had been shot from an 8-bit initially. You still have color information retained converting down than where you possibly had no color information (clipped or crushed) to begin with from the 8-bit. Mathematically (8-bit = 256 values and 12-bit = 4,096 values) 12-bit kicks the dog snot (even converted down) out of 8-bit… end of story.

  • Erik Stenbakken on 11.2.12 @ 12:37PM

    Hey, if readers find fault with this methodology… look at the FIRST test he did. Remember that? And the crappy quality of the DSLR? (the very DSLR I use). Folks bitched and moaned that THAT test wasn’t fair for this and that reason. Unfair comparison, many said. Settings were off on one, etc. (hey, I said that to myself and others in-company). Then the test was re-shot using the SAME camera and … we bitch and moan. Could it be, just maybe, that with the right workflow the BMCC* is just kicking my camera’s chip up and down the street? (*or any 12 bit camera, for that matter).

    Yeah, I didn’t want the workflow of RAW when shooting stills either. “Jpeg is just fine!!!” … until I found the power in RAW – and I might add: an efficient workflow that allowed its use.

    If we didn’t like the results with two different cameras; and we don’t like the results with one camera; maybe it’s just that we don’t like the results (and what they are saying).

  • Hi guys. Do you know where i can buy a Blackmagic Cinema camera? Thanks.

  • “As far as dynamic range is concerned, there is only so much you can do with 8-bit to protect the highlights.”

    That is not entirely true and it is extremely important when comparing file standards of the same bit-depth or even different ones to understand the very clear distinction between linear, log, gamma, and REC709 video standards – all of which can either increase or decrease the apparent overall dynamic range stored in the digital signal somewhat regardless of bit-depth.

    For example storing linear images requires very high bit-depth since after gamma correction is applied the blacks are stretched apart and less data information is available to describe the dark tones. At the same time too much data is used to represent the bright tones. This is just how linear works once we process the image to the right gamma needed to view it.

    The Alexa is a good example using a 10 bit Log signal to carry almost as much actual information as a 12bit linear signal does, and a 12 bit Log file can carry almost as much info as a 14bit linear signal. The Sony F3 can shoot SLOG in 8-bit or 10-bit and because of that you will be able to capture higher than normal apparent dynamic range than if you were say recording in the REC709 standard which by its very design throws away dynamic range due to its original intended purpose of display images on displays with limited “dynamic range”.

    In the end, it’s not as simple as looking at pure bit-depths for comparison.

    • Sony’s latest DSLR the A7s records in only 8 bit but has the option to record in SLOG. How does 8 bit SLOG compare to the 12 bit in the black magic cinema camera or the very new kinemini?