NAB 2012: Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Posted by Charles

Last week I flew out to Las Vegas alongside the Fiction crew for NAB. The show covers everything from post-production and computer hardware to lenses, cameras and lighting. It’s hard to summarize everything that I saw because I was constantly in overload, so I decided to pick the one product that stuck out, the Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera.

The Digital Cinema Camera is a Raw ( Cinema DNG 12-Bit ), 2.5K ( 2432 x 1366 ) camera for 3,000.00 USD. There’s a laundry list of features that the camera offers but mainly…it’s very, very cheap and it’s output at 2.5K is RAW. They implemented a Canon EF mount, so everyone transitioning from Canon can do so, easily. Also, it’s all touchscreen and uses off the shelf SSDs as media. The sensor is Micro 4/3 so it’s smaller than a Super35mm ( 7D / Red Epic ) and much smaller than the 5D which is close to 65mm ( In film terms, not still ), but they’re claiming 13 stops of dynamic range on it. The camera only shoots up to 30fps, so it’s not a camera that just beats all the others, but it definitely puts an option out there that a lot of people have been interested in.

From my perspective, it’s not about what the camera looks like, it’s what it delivers when it’s in the timeline. I think this fills a gap that’s been around for the past few years where the Canon DSLRs work for a lot of stuff that’s non-commercial or internet only…this offers professional level images at a bargain price. I think what I’m excited to see is the creativity and quality that’s about to change. I feel like a lot of motion designers and directors starting out use Canon DSLRs for low budget and experimental work and while it looks great now, imagine if these guys and girls are shooting 2.5K RAW and able to really work footage in terms of color, overlays, etc. The camera ships in late July, and they’re also including Davinci Resolve with it. I’m having a hard time not clicking “Add to Cart”.

Here’s a video detailing the camera completely from DSLR Newshooter. I wanted to get in and shoot a little interview but the booth and the 3 or 4 cameras they had out were swarmed every day I was there.

As of right now, I’m heavily invested in a RED Epic and I’m hoping to get together a techincal post on the camera and answer any questions on it in the next month. However, if I didn’t have it, I’d be all over the Digital Cinema Camera.

If you’ve got some time, hop over to their specs page and check it out.

Also, I hope to never hear the phrase “game-changer” again.

8 Comments Leave A Comment


Cornelius says:

April 26, 2012 at 3:21 am

Was so hyped about this, but the censor size and 2 hour internal battery are making me think twice. I reckon they’ll develop external battery packs but such a shame the censor is so small, would be nice to see my L-Series lenses on it the way god intended!


Charlie says:

April 26, 2012 at 4:54 am

Agreed Cornelius, I Was also looking forward to this one – the 2.5k res is VERY appealing! The cropped sensor has me scratching my head though.


Alex says:

April 26, 2012 at 8:21 am

Yeah I agree, I was totally psyched about this until I read more about the censor etc. Given that almost everything I do ends up on Youtube anyway, I’m more excited about the C300 or something similar. Despite the increase in cost, it seems like a more effective way to get noticeably better results when the final output is shitty youtube quality on someone’s mobile phone.

Looking to rent a C300 this weekend, so we’ll see…


Cornelius says:

April 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

C300 is a sweet piece of kit but I think Canon have just slightly out-priced themselves for the market it’s intended for. I’d far rather spend my cash on a nice HD Sony EX3 with a Letus adapter and rail system. Then spend the remainder on battery packs, lenses and memory cards.

Also a shame that it still suffers from rolling shutter, albeit a lot less than the DSLR counterparts.

Eventually someone will get it right – full size sensor, high dynamic range, no rolling shutter, built in Canon/Nikon/Zeiss lens adapter, replaceable battery, small form factor, high ISO, cheap memory, low noise at an affordable price!

lol, I can but dream.


MMC says:

April 26, 2012 at 10:38 am

I think this camera is really exciting and a step in the right direction. I’m not as hyped about the RAW output though. Sure, it’s nice that it’s there but the headache in capturing, storing, transcoding, and then grading with that footage isn’t worth it to me. I’ve found the footage from the Alexa w/ its log color space to be able to handle anything in terms of color correction and the fact that it’s ProRes makes it way more manageable. I’d rather have variable frame rates than RAW. But kudos to Blackmagic for making this camera possible and pushing this industry. Good times.


JFEdwin says:

April 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I have a GH2 so sensor size is no problem here. This camera is what I have been waiting for.


Jason Mongue says:

May 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Agreed, this camera looks like it’s filling a gap between the dslr and what RED has to offer.

Also agree, it would be nice to not hear ‘game-changer’ ever again. I’d lobby to add “epic” and “innovate” to the list of banned words.