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Blackmagic Solves Infinity Focus Issue with Cinema Camera, Will Require Hardware Fix

02.28.13 @ 7:21PM Tags : , , , ,

There have been a number of reports regarding the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and getting proper infinity focus with quite a few lenses. Earlier in the month we showed you a few videos documenting the issue, and Blackmagic so far has been very responsive, telling us at that point that they were looking into the issue. We now have a solution straight from the company, and it looks like it’s going to be a hardware fix if your camera has already been delivered.

Here was the issue, along with one of the worst offenders so far, the Tokina 11-16mm lens:

This was posted by Krisitan Lam in the Blackmagic Forum:

I want to give you an update about this issue.

The cameras are all shimmed and calibrated to 44mm as per the reported focal flange depth of EF mount. I use the term “reported” as Canon does not publish the specifications officially so the exact expected tolerances are not known.

When checked against a collimated cine lens, we expect the Blackmagic Cinema Camera to get accurate focus according to the witness marks on the lens. For example, at focus chart placed 6 ft from the camera sensor plane will be in focus when the witness mark on the lens is at 6 ft.

When I tried the same collimated lens on some 5Ds, 7Ds and even a C300, the witness marks fall short of the expected distance which indicates to me that there’s some fair amount of tolerances built into the Canon cameras to cater for still lenses where the tolerances are not as critical as cine lenses.

To address this, we need to put in the same allowances. We have tested this with some of the cameras from customers reporting this and it works.

If you think you’re encountering this issue, please contact your local Blackmagic Design support office and we’ll sort you out.

More from Kristian, on whether cameras will need to be sent back, and if this will fix the issue with the Tokina lenses:

1) Unfortunately, yes. The camera will have to be sent back to be recalibrated.

2) Yes, it will. However, this is on the assumption that the copy of the Tokina 11-16 is good as I’ve read that there are some out there with issues focusing to infinity on other cameras as well.

So the issue stems from the fact that Canon is building in some leeway for their lenses to account for those that might not have the strictest of tolerances. While Blackmagic built the camera to the stated EF mount specifications, there seems to be a slight difference between the stated spec and the actual spec. The good news is that the issue will be fixed, and all lenses should work the way they do on every Canon camera (meaning if there are problems with the lens on a Canon camera, there will also likely still be problems on the BMCC). Unfortunately it does mean that if you are currently experiencing the issue, you will have to send your camera in to have the issue fixed.

All new cameras that are shipping at this point will already have this fix in place, so if you haven’t received your camera yet, you shouldn’t have a problem when you do receive it.

If you have already taken delivery of your BMCC and you are experiencing issues, you should file a support ticket. Click here, or you can find the link to their support page below. Once there, fill out the information as if you were preparing to download a firmware update or the camera’s manual, and you’ll find the telephone number or send request button at the bottom of that page (pictured above). The problem will be covered by the camera’s warranty, but there may be shipping charges involved to send the camera to Blackmagic.



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  • This is simply awesome news. In part, because it will fix this issue, but perhaps more importantly, because it shows that Blackmagic Design, as a company, is not too big to listen!! Any chance Apple could listen as well??

    • Apple doesn’t give a damn anymore about proessionals

      • yup. FCPX did it for me.

        • Actually, I have been using FCPX since it came out and at this point, it is a really good program. You should look at it again. Whenever I fire up CS6, or FCP7, I think, “why is this so much work?” X really does have some great features to handle all kinds of scenarios and its multi cam, (Now that it has it) is freaking fantastic.

        • However, forgot to say, really pissed at Apple for not making a machine it will run on at this point….

        • Whereas for plenty of editors who can look past the shaky launch, FCP X is a godsend. Since around 10.0.3, it has been an outstanding pleasure to use. Using Premiere or legacy FCP feels like stepping back into the 90s, from a U/X perspective.

      • john jeffreys on 02.28.13 @ 10:56PM

        10.0.7 is rock solid and it has had native redcode support since 10.0.6. Also, I just finished cutting a 20 minute short film with it the other day, and if I did it in retardobe premiere I would have pulled all my hair out by now. Your argument is invalid at this point. The whole “hurrr apple sux” trend was cool last year, but now you need to grow up. The retina macbook pros just got updated a week ago. If that is not fast enough for you, I have no idea what is. Oh, and new mac pro towers in the spring.

        • I love FCPX, it’s Apple doing what it does best, simplifying something so the software doesn’t get in the way of the craft. Sure it has lots of room to grow, but Apple has over $130 billion…

          The audition feature is amazing. It makes trying new ideas very easy and quick, really great to have when you’re trying to figure out a scene that’s not working and you want to try a bunch of different ideas.

          I have a 2011 maxed out iMac with a SSD I installed. I have very few issues running FCPX on this setup, it does crash sometimes, but autosave and my SSD mean that a crash only costs about 15 seconds.

          • “it does crash sometimes, but autosave and my SSD mean that a crash only costs about 15 seconds. ”

            Why is this acceptable? Are you drinking the kool-aid or what? I haven’t had PP5.5 crash once in over a year. Not once.

          • Riiiiight.

            As a former Premiere user, I advise you to cut the bullshit. CS 5.5 and 6 both have plenty of quirks, bugs and headaches. No NLE is perfect.

          • john jeffreys on 03.1.13 @ 8:01PM

            Im running a mid-2012 macbook pro w/ high res antiglare and 16GB ram, and FCP X does crash maybe once or twice every 3-4 hours. It’s not that big of a deal, because of autosave and the program loads back up super quick anyway. And id rather tolerate that than using the archaic UI of premiere, seriously it looks and feels like a 90s program.

  • “All new cameras that are shipping at this point will already have this fix in place, so if you haven’t received your camera yet, you shouldn’t have a problem when you do receive it.” – Good news

  • It’s sort of a tradeoff for having such a new equipment. I sitll prefer witing a little bit more to order mine…

    Well, That’s all I can do since it will take a long time until the pre-orders are gone…

  • I wonder if the repair is done in Australia or USA (for usa buyers)

    • I called BM today to arrange sending in my camera (which I just received less than a week ago and totally noticed a focus issue from the moment I took it out of the box).

      They said they will send me a FedEx label via email to cover shipping (which did not come yet). I am to ship the camera to California, and from there they will ship it to Australia. Even so, the guy at BM told me that BM Headquarters told him that I would have my camera back to me in 7-10 business days.

      We will see. I just missed out on a rental for this weekend with my brand new camera, and that makes me weepy.

  • A post about re-shimming a camera launches an argument over the viability of FCPX? Koo, Joe and the rest of the crew notwithstanding, the more I read on NFS, the more it sounds like children in a schoolyard arguing about who’s daddy can whip the other. Jeez!

  • Good news. The camera is fantastic, the software is fantastic and the support is fantastic. Wish more companies were like this.

    • The camera is indeed awesome. Was really impressed just with the prores… lots of information there and the latitude is pretty special… The raw makes it just a little silly… for 3K she’s a beauty.

  • Thyl Engelhardt on 03.1.13 @ 6:03AM

    Excuse me, but what is “leeway” or “allowance” in a camera? Does the mount wobble or what? A single camera cannot possible have any provision for taking care of tolerances (aside from the Contax AX with its movable sensor plane). It may well be that the Canon lenses have deviations, and that in AF cameras, this can be compensated via the focus motor, but that is not the same.

    To me, it appears that the stated flange is imprecise, and now needs to be corrected.

  • Credit where its due, BM are swapping mine out for a new one no questions. That is a company that listens and reacts.

  • This is why we need to support small companies – they can do things like this.
    Yes this is the first camera so its a work in progress but they are handling all of this like true professionals.

  • mike_tee_vee on 03.1.13 @ 11:50AM

    Accountability is a breath of fresh air. Nikon needs to take note, as they don’t seem to care about the D800 and D600 issues. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • Receiving a defective product and having to pay to ship out? People are receiving cameras with mount issues and dead pixels and have to pay additional money because of quality control?

    • Joe Marine on 03.1.13 @ 2:13PM

      Seems like they are sending out paid shipping slips to users, so camera owners should not have to pay to send it back.

  • Giuseppe Badalamenti on 03.2.13 @ 11:10AM

    I bought this camera with a friend… i flew to miami paid 1000$ extra for the camera since everybody is making a profit out of it, plus expences and shit…

    we work in central america sending the camera for us is like an odyssey… its stupid, its gonna take time ands it gonna cost us some money… what does BM have to say about foreigner buyers huh?

  • Update, update, update and again, I wait longer this camera than on a baby.

  • I have BMCC.
    You cannot use any cameras for price $3000-15000 after BMCC.

    And nothing problem. Mistake with some lens, don’t work ARIS, very bad (for me) focus (manual without key FOCUS work all right), don’t have exposure control, I don’t know how many free space SSD and more.
    This all no problem, problems – quality video other cameras.

  • Sounds like a great company, very responsive and decent.

    I’d like to share with you folks what is going on as I prep for an indie feature here in India at the moment. The producer doesn’t really care what equipment as long as the people he has hired approve. The BMC is very much on the cards, not one but two! Very simple reason – there are a few less experienced actors in ensemble, and the director feels he could get two angles or two magnifications for the same shot on a few occasions. Accepted! So, two similar cameras with a lens set that will all match.

    The editor chose FCPX as her platform and she will deliver on it – that’s her guarantee, and that’s that. She migrated from FCP7 a while ago, and she really loves FCPX for sort of forcing her to think differently and approach her work better. No arguments about this and that detail when people have to stand by what they choose and these are all people who have delivered features before, so they must know how to make their tools work for them.

    Nothing but the project matters.

  • Daniel Mimura on 03.9.13 @ 2:27AM

    Woah! People are all excited about BlackMagic being “responsive” and admitting faults…etc…and that they’re feeling in good hands and bring taken care of…etc…???

    This makes me incredibly leery! A supposed cinema camera without backfocus like any Red and Sony? And they released this thing based on a “reported” flange measurement without actually testing it?? Or…the fact that they could build this based on a reported spec…& then not notice it…I think maybe there are too many software people and not enough hardware people in their company and they don’t have these basic understandings of physical things. (The ports on the smart side and the weirdly tapered shape, and a fan that blows downwards (when heat rises, as well as the fact that it means having weird baseplates made just for it with holes where you normally would not want it—which also keeps you from having a lower center of gravity.)

    I really thing they don’t get physical things very well. I hope they get it right next time, but I think maybe they need to stick to software and hardware boxes (switchers and input devices things where ergonomics and center of gravity and balance do not matter.). Compare this to what Aaton is doing…you don’t have to actually have used either of these cameras—I haven’t used either yet—to realize what is important to them as camera manufacturers. BlackMagic Industrial Design fail.

    • Daniel Mimura on 03.9.13 @ 2:30AM

      Forgive the numerous tyypos and autocorrect errors. English actually is my 1st language. I suspect the nfs updates that are coming will allow user comment edits. Hope so. This is what I get for posting comments from my phone.