I’ve played a little with the Blackmagic design Cinema camera this week at our dealer. Unfortunately the weather has been terrible so no real shooting out and about. I won’t give you all the specs on this camera, pop over to BMD if you want a refresher, but in short it is a 2,5K image sensor with a reported 13 stop DR range able to record 12bit RAW files. And ohhh yeah it only costs $3000!!
First impression is that the camera is very easy to use. Actually too easy in my opinion, it has less features and meny choices than any other camera I’ve seen including consumer ones. I would have liked to see some more options there. For example, I wasn’t able to see what stop my lens was at since there is no read out of this on the display…although I was using an EF lens. But, you may ask, does this make the camera produce less of a beautiful picture? Of course not! Just saying some more meny options might have been nice.
It stores video, on a removable SSD drive, in either the slightly compressed formats Apple ProRes or Avids DNxHD. It also has the option of shooting the ohhh so talked about 2,5K RAW images. Here we are talking some serious data streams at 5MB/frame or 120 MB/second of video. This will cost since you’ll need lots of SSD drives on location and storage once you off load and backup.
The camera stores the raw files as .DNG files and and accompanied WAV audio file. The use of the .DNG file is just like using a RAW file shot on any DSLR with all the great options of colortemp, exposure, sharpening and such. And they look great! It looks very sharp and there is lots of play with the image. You can bring back so much detail in the highlights. There is deep blacks and very little noise what I could see from the few images I got to look at. The visible noise at 1600 is a nice looking noise and very film like.
Ok here it is. You can’t argue with the fact that for $3K you get a camera delivering video images in ProRes or DNxHD. This alone should be worth $3K since that is a leap away from the quality of any DSLR available today. On top of this you are able to shoot 12Bit RAW images for the ultimate options in post, again for $3000!!
What is really great I think is that by BMD offering RAW acquisition at this price point, it will really force other manufactures to take a look at what codec is put into a future cameras. $3000 for 8bit 420 in H264 in a DSLR or $3000 for ProRes/DNxHD AND 12bit RAW!??
To set my views in perspective I haven’t shot any real test footage just some takes indoors with available light. I am eager to get a chance to shoot some more with this camera using lights and more time. 😉