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Monday, February 10, 2014

Black Magic Design Finally Ships Super35 4K Production Camera and Drops Price

BMD is now shipping the 4K production camera. Congrats to them on finally getting it out the door. As a thank you to those who waited and didn't get too grumbly, they also shaved $1k of the price making MSRP of $2995 ! 

12 Stops of dynamic range, CineDNG RAW, ProRes HQ 4K, uses off the shelf SSD's that slot right into the camera, 240gb = 36min of 4K record time. The camera's 4K is UHD @ 3840 x 2160 rather than 4096 but at this point those 256 pixels probably don't matter that much. EF lens mount is great too. Built in ThunderBolt port is a huge time saver for dumping media off the camera if you don't have the cash to pick up one of the BMD TB drive docks.

A bit hidden in the specs but the camera does support formatting the SSD's as HFS+ or ExtFAT. Nice to have native mac disc format support.

Sound like we have a winner here ! Of course NAB is not far off so its good they got this going. 

Of course I had very much wanted one of these cameras a while back for a couple of projects including the short I shot last fall. Instead I got a C100 instead. I don't regret it except for the price. I think this will put some real price pressure on canon to reduce the C100 to keep it competitive, or perhaps a new 4K C200 in the same price range. I highly suspect this is what we'll see at this NAB, but probably with a crippled codec like AVChd. AVChd isn't bad for basic shooting, but it does fall down with high detiail. BMD on the other hand gives you ProRes 4K or RAW options that really preserve everything the camera can give you. Interesting the BMD 4K camera has 12 stops of DR as do the canons. I guess the other place canon can up their game is improving DR with either better readout from the sensor they have, or an improved sensor. 

Certainly the other player to feel pain from the camera will be RED. While I might feel some pain with the C100 purchase, I'm certainly not feeling the pain of a Scarlette or EPIC purchase. That has to hurt, I'm sure the RED fan boys are simply saying one thing, their camera has more DR. Thats true, thats useful. However, once you get into 12 stops of range, a lot of things change with lighting. You just don't need as much to fight extreme contrast ratios. So while 15+ stops is great with RED, 12 will so cover you for so many things. Certainly better than dslr DR thats 9 or 10. 2 stops makes a difference, one maybe not so much. 

It 'll also be interesting to look at low light performance. I'd expect the more expensive cameras will do better, but again, at what price point ? If the BMD camera can get the job done, and I suspect for many many people looking to escape from a dslr this is going to be their choice. Certainly a better option than a 1Dc.

Who's getting one ?