At NAB on 16th April Blackmagic Design revealed their forthcoming sub-£2,000 Cinema Camera to the world and the world seemed to go a little bit crazy – Their stand was mobbed by an audience desperate to see and touch the prototypes of the new camera and our pre-orders for the camera are already at unprecedented levels.
So what’s the fuss about? Surely it can’t be the camera’s looks, as it’s a peculiar beast – A cross between an iMac and a Polaroid Instamatic camera!
Let’s take a look at the camera’s key features:
- 4/3″ CMOS Sensor
- 2.5K Resolution
- Canon EF lens mount
- 13 Stops of dynamic range
- Internal Recording to SSD
- 12-bit DNG RAW, Avid DNxHD and Apple ProRes recording formats
What stands out above all else is the price: At just £1,925+VAT Blackmagic Design have combined a large sensor camera with high quality recording Codecs. WOW!
But before we get carried away in the NAB hype let’s also consider what’s missing:
- No ND (Neutral Density) filters
- No conventional iris control dial, EF lens’ iris is controlled in 13 steps through the GUI
- Very limited physical control buttons – Almost all camera settings and controls are via the touchscreen panel
- Non-replaceable internal battery provides only 90 minutes running time (recharge takes 2 hours) or you could use 12-30V external DC power
- No eyepiece viewfinder
- LCD panel’s angle cannot be adjusted
- No XLR audio inputs (they’re 1/4″ Jack)
- Limited 12 month warranty
For those on a micro budget who need video only and simply can’t afford a Sony F3, FS100, FS700, a Canon C300 or even a Panasonic AF101 then the BMD Cinema Camera is undoubtedly great value for money as it promises DSLR-beating video performance at a price point that’s in-between that of a Canon 5D Mark II and a 5D Mark III.
However, on balance it should be borne in mind that it’s less versatile than a DSLR and its ergonomics and feature set fall well short of that demanded by an experienced professional video user, so whilst the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera is ground-breaking in terms of performance at a given price point, it’s only a matter of time before those who adopt it will crave a more sophisticated camera.