BlackMagic Cinema Camera NAB2012

BlackMagic Cinema Camera

Sorry for lack of posts, but we've been out gathering various product interviews here at NAB2012. Of course, one new product that has everyone speaking is the new BlackMagic Cinema Camera. It has the ability to capture 2.5K RAW to a an SSD drive or to ProRes and DNxHD at 1920 x 1080. Priced under $3K, that's cheaper than the 5D Mark III and throws in a lot more features, like being able to capture the video output or to be used with Live Switching. A high speed Thunderbolt port adds for computer capture. The BlackMagic Cinema camera has a sensor size very close to a micro four thirds sensor (not exactly), comes with an EF mount for Canon shooters, and will have electronic iris control. No funky adapters needed. Supposedly you can also just double tap the 5" touch screen to focus.

blackmagic_cinema-camerablackmagic cinema camera

The camera form factor reminds me of an Epson label printer, and doesn't look very comfortable to shoot with handheld. There's practically no grip handle like found in a DSLR, and instead you could buy an optional BlackMagic handle set. Your best bet is to build a 15mm/19mm Rail support. It does carry some very nice features, but doesn't have many external buttons or dials. Just watching them operate the touch screen to make adjustments to change ASA might be a little slow for people who need to dial in quick. I believe they will offer an external remote that could make some of this a faster workflow.

It was so crowded in this area, I had a hard time getting a few pictures in, but you can find all the sexy images and technical information at

Pre-Order via B&H (click here).

blackmagic_cinema-cameraScreen shot 2012-04-18 at 7.13.35 AM
find-price-button Black Magic Cinema Camera RAW or Prores Video

35 thoughts on “BlackMagic Cinema Camera NAB2012

  1. francis

    The problem with early days is

    1. we have seen some clips done up by John Brawley, but they were produced by a prototype camera. BM defends the allegedly mediocre looking footage as work in progress. So how much more calibration needs be done to the sensor before the camera can unleash its full potential? Can buyers make informed decisions based on half-baked samples?

    2. no one has tasted a workflow. With the canon 5D mk 2 and 7D, there were heating problems, and recording would stop after a while. Do we know if the BM behaves similarly? Internal batteries are scary to use. Are their alternatives right now?

    i would love to gloss over quite a few of the issues that pp hve listed here, and embrace the fact the camera has 2.5k and is bundled with an awesome colour grading software. But assuming I already have Da Vinci, what then is the attraction for me?

    2.5k RAW squeezed into that body that boasts of a sensor smaller than m4/3 sounds more like a risky compromise than a breakthrough for now. And what's with EF lenses? So what happens to the rest of us who have ZF glass and mounts of all other kinds?

  2. holy steve

    all this cameras are good i.e 5d mark 11,mark 111,black magic but the thing is will this black magic stand the test of time because of the screen touch.

  3. Jared

    What would this camera look like in an imag setup? The price point is right for smaller installations (church or school)...just wanted to hear some feedback on whether this is a realistic use of this new camera.

  4. I saw the camera at NAB, pretty impressive video from it. I couldn't see any real noticeable rolling shutter.

    But I do have one question. When you read the specs it says "iris button automatically adjusts the lens iris settings so no pixel is clipped"
    Surely this camera has full manual control?

    It is funny to see comments about the sensor being "small" when before the DLSR craze we were happy with 1/3" sensors.


  5. As Jarrett said, i'm curious to see if i can put my Canon HJ11X4.7 SCC-KLL cinestyle wide zoom of my old Varicam cuz the sensos size of the blacmagic camera looks to be almost the same.
    It could be amazing to use a good quality hd zoom with this camera.
    I was thinking about a B4 to EF mount adapter but not like the the mtf that u can use only with the hdtv broacast lensses with the 2X extender built in.
    It seems, if u look the blackmagic camera from its side, that they built an integrated adaptor to put EF lenses on a smaller 16mm sensor.
    I hope that 1 day they will build a camera with B4 mount so all the people who got B4 HD lenses can use directly those without adaptor.

  6. jarrett towe

    Ok, now lets see this thing with old b4 and c mount tv camera lenses...if they are useable with no will be awesome.

  7. I agree with Evan. I was totally turned off by the iPhone initially because of no tactile feedback but I eventually learned all the other features FAR outweighed that. This *could* be similar.

    This product actually reminds me of if Apple built a cinema camera. Simple design, few buttons as possible, innovative.

    If nothing else, this proves that you can have 2.5k at a super-affordable price.

    @Diego w
    I believe Black Magic is a hardware company.

  8. Evan

    I remember when the iPhone was announced. Everyone thought it was going to be unusable because there were no buttons or keys. Look at how that changed the phone industry. My point? I'm not going to knock it because its different. I'm willing to try it out before I jump to any conclusions.

  9. Jerry also

    Does it actually do labels too Emm or just hint at it? But even without this feature I want one!

  10. Austin

    @Patrick, I believe the ISO is currently around 320 Native but they plan on calibrating the sensor and are aiming to have a Native ISO of 800 by the release date.

  11. Austin

    Been actually keeping up on this and I am extremely excited. The sensor is going to be between m4/3 and Super 16mm so a little small but workable. They are working to get the native ISO around 800 which would be amazing! The camera raw samples I have seen look good, a little soft but that is how camera raw is, so you just have to add a little sharpening which will be no problem for raw. Otherwise shoot Proress for quick turn around on some projects.

    Thunderbolt is interesting, might be able to use a thunderbolt to HDMI so you can use some EVF. Also PC is probably going to get thunderbolt very soon in the future. I love the idea for using SSD and they are getting cheaper every day!

    THe internal battery kinda stinks with only 90mins run time but you can power this thing with an external battery like a v mount I believe.

    All and all this thing looks amazing, a few kinks to work out but blackmagic is a great company I can expect great stuff from. Looks like I'll skip out on buying a new laptop for college and try and find a few more freelance jobs this summer.

    I swear to make this thing so cheap they must of used Black Magic! *buh dum tish*

  12. JP

    Guys, relax, the sdi can be converted to hdmi easily, future evfs will all have sdi (already saw 1-2 options), audio 1/4''can be converted to either xlr or whatever, and the list goes on. Yes, although a mac user, the thunderbolt option does look weird (I'd prefer a usb3 as most of us), but we'll have to wait and see.

    Crop factor is about x2.3-2.5, and ergonomically isn't that bad as people think.

    No doubt, you will need 1000-2000$ of extras, still cheap though if you actually need what it has to offer.

  13. @Dave, there is HD SDI monitoring and lots of people on other sites are talking about Thunderbolt to HDMI adapters but that has not been confirmed. If it does work out that way it will be a really cheap solution for HDMI monitoring.

    For some reason I seem to be the only person in the world who is interested in monitoring the audio on the camera.

  14. Tony

    I cant remember exactly...but I think the crop factor is like 2.6x or something in that range. Like Emm said.... 4/3 and 16mm size sensors have their pros. Maintaining good focus is one. I know everyone is drab about the touchscreen but you got to remember this is geared more to a studio/indie film vs run-n-gun quick shooting. All I hope for Canon IS is supported out the box or soon after it's release.

  15. dave

    I was excited for this camera, but everything I can find about it, the camera doesn't support any external monitoring, EVF or anything other than a computer.

  16. Rabby

    Now what happened to that Chinese Super 35/2K camera that was suppose to come at NAB. Emm did you see it?

  17. Hello there Emm I've watched several videos of this camera and I have not seen any audio level meters. Do you know if this camera has them? I know it has 1/4 Audio inputs and a headphone jack so I'm really hoping there is a way to monitor levels and control them independently while shooting.

    I realize this is not really on peoples mind with so many other great things this camera has to offer.

  18. paul

    interesting camera with a major flaw concerning framerates. formfactor is kinda wrong. touch interface is gonna be a drag. this cam will have a hard time competing with fs 700 ( i know different pricerange)

  19. Emm

    Post author

    @Elliot - There are pros and cons to such small sensors. The GH2 with the right software produces excellent results for it's small M43 sensor.

  20. That's the irony here. Black Magic is mostly a software company. They're bound to create solution on the software side rather than physical knobs and switches. It was meant to reach a specific price/quality without spending more on a bigger build.

  21. Caleb

    So, correct me if I'm wrong, but micro 4/3's is smaller than APS-C, and they're cramming more pixels in that area. Isn't that going to lead to poorer light sensitivity at least?

  22. Tom

    This looks extremely interesting to me. My only concern is what the crop factor would be with EF lenses. If anyone can figure this out (it is oddly left out of all materials), that would be helpful.

    -Very low pricepoint (compared to features)
    -records RAW internally
    -Includes $1600 software
    -Storage is cheap
    -Great dynamic range

    (Possible) Cons:
    -Sensor may be a bit smallish, wonder how low light compares to Sony FS100 for instance.
    -Questionable choice of mount, if the crop factor gets too high, wide-angle may be a problem. (though on the flip side, it will be great for zoom shots)
    -No XLR, but I can't imagine that it would be impossible to turn of AGC, so a simple adapter may suffice
    -No built in ND filter, though very hard to argue this one, since if you want a camera with (somewhat) similar features that has this, you may be looking at the Sony FS700, at probably 3x the cost.

  23. Need low light test (the available samples are very soft, need more test), Also need to keep in mind the battery is internal and only lasts 2 hours, the crop sensor is about 4/3, etc.

    Great value but it's not the messiah. People are becoming very bargain hungry these days. It's so crazy that people are willing to toss money at the next great budget camera (based on spec sheets and price in lieu of impressive test).

    I'll wait until more test and samples are available before going nuts.

  24. Emm

    Post author

    @David Grant - Exactly why I couldn't get used to certain small cameras. The Canon DSLRs always had fast menu options. The Sony NEX7 also put a lot of thought into the design of analog dials and button placement. BlackMagic has a good camera here, but it could be better if we could dial things in without the touch screen. Maybe there will be something available, too early to know.

  25. Looks great but I'm not sure how easy it will be to go into a touch screen menu every time you want to change, white balance, peaking, zebra etc etc etc

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @MN - Would be great if someone can interface with the camera and build a chassis/cage with those analog knobs to control basic features.

  27. MN

    Touch screen ops? I'm out.

    Interestingly, I think these spec tech wars are rapidly reaching an end game. Soon, it's ALL gonna be awesome and cheap when it comes to the sensor and electronic technology. Just about everything on market will offer really good imaging.

    It's damn near there right now. What you can image with a $500 camera is super impressive already.

    How one builds the gear around it is going to be the thing.

    If anyone wants to make an all-manual cam with analog knobs that I can mount great glass onto (preferably the kind with iris rings), you'll get thousands upon thousands of my bucks.

    The digital motion-picture "Brownie." A simple box with a shutter knob, a ISO knob, and a decent viewfinder.

    Am I crazy? Maybe I need to do a Kickstarter and see what happens...

  28. Wow! Impressive technology. I'll bet RED is pissed.

    BUT again... all these cameras coming out still don't have the IT factor, there's always something big missing. In this case, it wouldn't last if you were trying to shoot Act of Valor. This is similar to the Digital Bolex in terms of specs, I think I'll wait until the next REAL worldchanger comes out.

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