The Camera Bag: Blackmagic Cinema Camera Shoots 2.5K Raw Video for Under $3,000


posted Monday, April 16, 2012 at 6:26 PM EDT

Blackmagic Design made one of the surprise announcements at NAB 2012 by unveiling its small but powerful new Cinema Camera, which can record 2.5K raw video but costs just $2,995.

According to Blackmagic, the Cinema Camera's 2.5K sensor offers 13 stops of dynamic range which, if true, should make it extremely versatile, especially since it's capturing uncompressed raw video with over twice the resolution of regular HD.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera has a built-in SSD recorder to store all that juicy footage in CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes or DNxHD formats.

The Cinema Camera's relatively small size, inexpensive price point, and recording specs make it less of a competitor to the just announced Canon EOS-1D C ($15,000) or Red's Scarlet-X ($9,750) cameras, which both shoot 4K video, but more in line with the Digital Bolex ($2,500), that was announced at South By Southwest last month.

But where the Digital Bolex will be retro in style, Blackmagic's Cinema Camera is distinctly modern, with a touchscreen LCD and a sleek but rugged machined aluminum metal build. It's compatible with Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses.

Here's a rundown of the key features of the Cinema Camera from Blackmagic:

• 2.5K sensor offers improved anti-aliasing and reframing shots.
• 13 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
• Built in SSD allows high bandwidth recording of rawvideo and long duration compressed video.
• Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software such as CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. No custom file formats.
• Includes no custom connections. Standard jack mic/line audio in, BNC 3 Gb/s SDI out, headphone, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, LANC remote control and standard DC 12-30V power connection.
• Capacitive touch screen LCD for camera settings and slate metadata entry.
• Compatible with extremely high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses.
• Supports 2.5K and 1080HD resolution capture in 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps.
• Thunderbolt connection allows direct camera capture via included Media Express software and supports live waveform monitoring via the included Blackmagic UltraScope software.
• Includes a full copy of DaVinci Resolve 9.0 color grading software.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera will go on sale in July 2012.

You can check out some sample videos shot with the Cinema Camera here.