First Blackmagic URSA 4K Cameras Are Out in the Wild
Blackmagic's newest camera, the URSA 4K, was announced at NAB 2014, and is quite a departure from their previous offerings. Though it currently shares the same sensor as the one used in the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, it has the ability to change sensors, which means that if a better one comes out, you can plop it right in your camera. While all of that sounds great, for people to take advantage of that feature, the cameras actually have to be shipping to people, and it looks like at least one (likely more) have made it outside of the Blackmagic labs and into the hands of actual shooters.
John Brawley, an Australian cinematographer who has worked closely with Blackmagic to help develop some of their cameras, has been tweeting pictures of what looks like the final production camera -- this being the PL version (it will also be shipping in EF mount):
This is showing 4K 60fps, the camera should also feature higher frame rates sometime this year according to CEO Grant Petty:
Now, this doesn't mean that they are shipping thousands of them out right now, but a full production box with a production camera means that they are at least coming off the line, and some numbers should be heading to resellers soon if they haven't already. If you recall Blackmagic's original shipping date was July, but in a roundabout way, they technically fulfill that if a camera leaves their factory sometime in July. Here's what is still on their website in regards to the URSA ship date:
We know delays have been a real problem for the company, with almost none of their cameras being delivered in significant numbers by the date they were originally scheduled to (and often the significant numbers have come months after the expected ship date). It should be noted that some of these issues have come from outside parts manufacturers, but in the end, if you make a product, and can't deliver, expectations of delivering on-time in the future should not be very high.
Though the two cameras do share the same sensor, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K has had quite a few cameras exhibit excessive noise, which was greatly reduced or eliminated for many people in the recent 1.9 firmware update. The greater processing power of the URSA should mean that the fixed pattern noise removal (that happens in all CMOS cameras) could be more advanced to better deal with the significant variation between the 4K sensors the company has been getting. With this being their most expensive camera yet, people would likely be a bit more unhappy if it experienced issues anywhere near as bad as the 4K camera.
We'll just have to wait and see how many are actually getting into people's hands and we start getting some footage, but this is the first positive sign that cameras are at least going out the door.