November 16, 2015 at 2:03PM


BlackMagic URSA Mini VS. Sony A7s

I`m just about to buy one of these Cameras and I wanted to ask you about some Pros and Cons. Maximum Budget is 5500$ and for this I want to be ready to shoot and either two Samyang Lenses oder some old Carl Zeiss Contax Lenses.

I want to shoot Image- and Sport and a few Shorts. And want to be as flexible as possible.

I would really appreciate if you let me know some of your thoughts.



Still waiting for a good review of the Blackmagic Ursa Mini with the new 4.6K sensor with 15 F-stops of dynamic range. Talking with a BM rep last week it sounds like cameras with the new sensor won't be out until 2016, so it might be a few more months before you can buy this camera with the new 4.6K sensor.

November 16, 2015 at 3:26PM, Edited November 16, 3:26PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Wow, two very different cameras...

First of all, the BM Ursa Mini (whichever version you get) will take another $3K or so to get it up and running. My guess is that you will need at least $1200 in batteries and the same in CFast cards to shoot anything. And are you going to get the EVF? The shoulder mount kit? It all adds up. So the 4K sensor version will end up being $6k-7k and the 4.6k version will end up being $8k-9k.

The 4K version is terrible in low light, and the dynamic range isn't very impressive. But it does shoot raw, and the BM color is great as always.

The A7s is amazing in low light, has great dynamic range in S-Log mode, but the color isn't too great, and the usability is terrible (it's a DSLR). But, you could easily kit out a used A7s for $3500.

I don't know. Weird question, to be honest.

November 17, 2015 at 1:49AM

Kenneth Merrill

The biggest difficultie with this comparison that the mini Ursa is not available yet and it is a mystery when it will be. The first announcement said last july...
So until then it is impossible to give solid advice, since part of the advice will be based on 'paper specs'.
However: it is already possible to rent and test the A7s in the various situation you want to use it. I think you should really test it with sports to see whether or not rolling shutter in both or either FullFrame or ASP-C crop will be a problem.
Later you could test the ame situation with the mini Ursa.
On the other hand: it might be better to test them at the same time to get compairable results.

November 17, 2015 at 2:33AM

Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

I agree on the rolling shutter and the desire to shoot sports. Depending on his style of shooting, it could be a big issue with the A7s. At least with an Ursa he should be able to use the Global Shutter for those kinds of events.

November 17, 2015 at 5:50AM

RJ Ortiz

I think you should consider the Micro Cinema camera for $1k and then spend your money on a set of Veydra lenses or even invest into a Zeiss. The Blackmagic micro has a global shutter and 16mm looks fine if you put some post love into your shots. With batteries, external monitor etc. you will still not break the bank and get the most out of your budget. At ProFusion last week the Blackmagic dude said the URSA Minis started shipping already and the Micro will start shipping before Christmas. That camera will beat any DSLR set-up. I hope.

November 18, 2015 at 7:20AM

Milan Schere

Honestly, it's likely that neither will work for you better than an FS5. Haven't used the Ursa Mini, but our FS7 is a really amazing little camera. We use it in heavy doc and commercial production all the time and it's by far the best camera I've ever owned (coming from a C300.) We own and love the new A7S, but the best thing about it besides the low-light party trick is that the image looks a whole hell of a lot like an FS7.

A more ergonomic FS7 (albeit with a lighter codec) sounds like an amazing deal for someone in your price range.

The Ursa Mini might end up with a beautiful image but Blackmagic always pushes DR over low-light and that will limit the flexibility of the camera considerably. FS7/FS5 aren't low-light monsters, but you can comfortably shoot 3200 and up if you need it.

As for FS5 vs A7s, yes - the image will likely end up being quite similar - but consider how much you might want a proper handling camera with actual audio inputs and the like.

November 19, 2015 at 11:17AM, Edited November 19, 11:17AM


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