Blackmagic slashes Cinema Camera pricing, refines autofocus on Pocket Cinema Camera


posted Monday, August 5, 2013 at 6:52 PM EDT

If you've been lusting after the 2.5K-capable Blackmagic Cinema Camera since it was announced last year, but couldn't justify its pricetag, it may be time to double-check your bank balance. Blackmagic just slashed pricing of its interchangeable-lens, ultra high def video camera by a third, so the time for you to take the plunge may just have arrived.

Originally priced at US$3,000, the Cinema Camera -- which accepts either Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses -- is now selling for just US$2,000 or thereabouts. Okay, it's not quite impulse-buy territory, but it hits a psychologically-important price point, and makes it much easier to justify shooting your next film at 2.5K resolution.

New firmware for the Pocket Cinema Camera allows autofocus using the Focus button.

Already placed an order before the price cut was announced? So long as your camera hasn't shipped already, you won't be out of pocket -- your price will be adjusted to the new, lower one automatically. And development hasn't ceased, either -- new firmware is promised with improved demosaicing algorithms, for better image quality, as well as a number of new focus-related features.

Blackmagic has already provided these focusing features in updated firmware for its Pocket Cinema Camera, an even more affordable model that's based around a Micro Four Thirds lens mount. The new firmware allows autofocus operation with a compatible lens, simply by pressing the rear-panel focus button, providing near-instant access. Double-pressing the button enables focus peaking, while a double-press of the OK button enables focus zoom.

The Production Camera 4K is currently delayed due to late delivery of image sensors.

Alongside this news, the company has also confirmed that its upcoming Production Camera 4K remains delayed, with delivery now expected in 3 to 4 weeks. The reason for the delay is quite understandable: the company has apparently only just received its first batch of image sensors. That leaves it in need of time both to complete software development, and to test that all is well.

In semi-related news, Switronix has just shipped a new 70wh 14.8v lithium-ion battery pack that, says the company, is approved by Blackmagic for use with the 2.5K and 4K cameras. It attaches via a short cable, and mounts on the camera's tripod mount. While it adds significant bulk -- 1.4 pounds and 6.25 x 1.8 x 3.3 inches -- it is also said to greatly improve recording times. Switronix claims a near-quadrupling of the standard 90-minute runtimes. More details on the Switronix website.

Switronix says its external battery pack will nearly quadruple runtimes for the Blackmagic 2.5K and 4K cameras.