Blackmagic Design, makers of the excellent DaVinci Resolve cinema finishing system, today announced their own entry to the image capture market: the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Boasting a 2.5K sensor (theatrical projection systems are 2K), 13 stops of dynamic range, a built-in SSD recorder and the ability to record 12-bit uncompressed raw in the open CinemaDNG format as well as ProRes and DNxHD (the latter two at 1080p), this camera has impressive specs.  The test footage from it looks quite good: very film-like, nice tonality in general.  One of the shots in that camera test has some nasty artifacting in an extremely overexposed area, but that might be from the encoding for Web streaming and not the camera. The Blackmagic Cinema Camera also comes with an EF mount, so Canon shooters can use lenses we already own, as well as the full complement of Zeiss ZF and CP.2 lenses.

The storage media are 2.5″ Solid-State Drives (SSDs), which are widely available, and Blackmagic allow you to use any brand and capacity of SSD you want.  For planning your capacity needs, consider that a 256GB SSD can store about 30 minutes of 2.5K uncompressed raw footage (using one of the two compressed formats can increase this up to 5x).  Blackmagic clearly favor us Mac users, as the camera’s native drive format is Mac OS Extended, allowing you to format the SSD using Disk Utility on your Mac. (Windows users will need to use Mediafour MacDrive to access the data on the SSD.)

Making this camera even more enticing is the software bundle that’s included: DaVinci Resolve 9.0 (a USB license dongle is in the box), UltraScope, and Media Express (for transferring footage via the camera’s Thunderbolt port).  All this for only $2995.  Pretty impressive price point, Blackmagic!

The only thing that would make this camera even more enticing (for me) is if it was capable of overcranking.  I realize this isn’t really something that most of us use on a frequent basis, but I would still like to have the ability to overcrank when I want to, without having to rent a different camera.  But, for only $2995, a price well below any other comparable product, I guess I shouldn’t really complain.

I’d love to get my hands on one of these to really put it through its paces and see just how far I can push it before it ships in July.

4 Comments

    • It has a Canon EF mount, so you can use Canon EF-mount lenses, as well as Zeiss ZF series and CP.2 series lenses.

  • Awesome! It’s launching about the same time with very similar specs to the bolex D16 I’m so stoked on, and at about the same price point (although looks like the bolex may be $500 more expensive and shoots 2K instead of blackmagic’s 2.5K). Good times for cinematographers! Cheers

    • Right now is a very exciting time to be a cinematographer. So many new tools are available now to help us take our work to a new level. The downside is that these tools are perceived by many as the sole source of what makes someone a good cinematographer. It’s so much more than just the tools one uses, really.

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