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ETHICS: I have never been paid for a camera review by the manufacturer. It is impossible to remain impartial if you do. Independence is also key, for the same reasons. I have no deals with any camera company. I have worked for many on the odd job, but that is all. For me a camera is simply a tool, and who makes that tool doesn’t matter. I don’t care what badge is on it – as long as it’s good I am happy. I will continue to remain true to my ethics as long as I do any sort of camera review or offer any sort of opinion. Please remember anything I ever say is opinion and NOT fact. Never buy a camera based upon one person’s opinion. Try before you buy, if you can.

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EDIT 21st March:

Last week I shot with the camera for the first time properly outside in Northern Ireland at the Giant’s Causeway. An epic location and a challange for the camera. The first trip there was MISERABLE weather, pouring with rain, dark. Not much fun The camera is not weatherproof so cover it up!

I used the V-Lock battery system to keep it powered as it truly is hungry beyond belief. The glass was simply 3 zooms. The Sigma 18-35 F1.8, Tamron 24-70 F2.8, Canon 70-200 F4 IS.  Also used were the Light Craft Workshop excellent Rapid ND Variable ND filters. Tripod was the Really Right Stuff one with the news FH-350 head. I made the mistake on this trip of just using the back screen. NEVER AGAIN! So difficult to see what was going on

When I went back for the last 10 minutes of light at sunset (I was working on another job so I couldn’t get there earlier) I had my Small HD DP-7 PRO OLED. A world of difference.

I did a few shots at ISO 800 on both days. To be honest it was pointless. Really ugly noise. I also did find that verticle pattern others have mentioned plus a real odditiy, a weird cross hatch pattern came up on one shot when I pushed it really hard in post. Not seen it on anything else though.

Photos courtesy of Mervyn McKay

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The edit was fine, upsetting though to see all that noise. This camera needs light so much. I know they said “it’s not a low light camera”…now if a manufacturer says that you know that is the case and it really is. Once the sun went down even my Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 couldn’t cope.

I like what I got, when it wasn’t noisy but this experience with the camera was very dissapointing. I had to do A LOT of work in post to bring it to life. Was more than I have had to do on other Blackmagic cameras or any other camera…

After the video is the original post…

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Four Thousand Giants from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

 

I am currently slaving away at the epic Digital Bolex review edit (EDIT: NOW DONE AND UP ON THIS SITE), and it’s getting there. I just have way too much stuff, so trying to trim it back. It will be up as soon as I am 100% happy with it. I need a break from it occasionally. Yesterday my parents came up for lunch and I took advantage of that and shot with my new Blackmagic Production Camera 4K for the first time. I ordered it like many others did back in April, minutes after it was announced at NAB, and it’s taken a while hasn’t it!?

This was the first time I had shot anything with it really, due to numerous edits I am trying to get out during a nice extended period at home. All the edits are going a lot faster with my new MacPro (I will have a post about it and about traveling with soon!). Even though Premiere CC isn’t optimised for it yet, there is a definite speed increase for sure!! FCPX really flies, but for now I am very happy with CC…let’s not make this post about NLEs eh?

We already know from excellent reviews (like the 3 parts at Cinema 5D) about some of its issues. I haven’t shot enough to agree or disagree with the points made.

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Frame grab of dad on the 24-70 Canon

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Frame grab of dad on the 85mm F1.2 Canon

Not truly 4k, which is 4096×2160. This is “Ultra HD” 3840 x 2160. Nothing wrong with that. Same as calling HD 2K. It isn’t. But UHD isn’t a sexy name really, is it?

Global shutter. I am not showing it off in the footage I am showing here, but I have looked at it, and the lack of skew & jello is wonderful! Nice to see, in an affordable camera.

The image detail certainly is impressive from what I have shot so far. I haven’t checked to see if there is any moire at all. 

Dynamic range is quoted as 12 stops. I have no reason to doubt that from what I have seen. 

ProRes HQ is a wonderful format. So nice to have it internally recorded here. No raw yet. That will come, but ProRes HQ is really more than enough for almost everything. Super easy to work with and incredibly grade-able when shot in “film mode”.

Yes, it’s not a sensitive camera. A lot worse than the original cinema cameras and the pocket camera, and let’s not even compare it to cameras like the C100 or FS100. I am not sure what the native ISO is, but I shot mostly at 400 for the piece below and for the stuff at F1.2 I used ISO 200, which is the lowest it goes. The highest it goes is only 800. Everything I have shot was lit with my two Gekko LED lights. The camera looks great when lit. I have yet to shoot in low-light or bright outside light.

Power consumption is shockingly high. The internal battery, which lasts around 90 minutes of standby time on the original cinema camera, lasts around 20 minutes or so on this one! I used a Zacuto V-Lock adaptor with D-Tap adaptor and my Sony V-Lock battery to keep her going. I filmed for about an hour, and the battery was around 50% full. You have to get a battery solution for this camera even more than you need to for the others. Blackmagic HAVE to sort out their power consumption on their cameras. There is absolutely no need for them to be as hungry as this. If my F55 can last more than twice as long as this camera, then something isn’t right! 

All the same issues as the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera I got almost 18 months ago. No clip deletion, no formatting of cards, no audio meters, pre-amps from hell, terrible form factor (it’s the exact same body as the 1st camera), screen is the same and is a wonderful mirror but that is all, no XLR inputs (just quarter inch jacks) and of course no phantom power, SDI-only, no HDMI. You have to get a rig for this camera. 

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The excellent Alphatron EVF

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So that’s it! I really like the image and the fact that it has global shutter, and ProRes HQ is wonderful. It’s also incredibly cheap, not counting the stuff you have to buy for it (it also comes with the full version of Davinci Resolve!)

It has some great things going for it and some massive pain in the arse things too, especially that sensitivity. I know it’s easier to just put a new sensor in a the same stuff you already have, but to make no improvements at all is bewildering, especially as this was announced as coming out in the Summer and here we are in March with very few actually shipped.

I really do hope they don’t announce any more cameras at NAB (EDIT: THEY DID!) and concentrate on their current user base. They have to fix the issues with their 3 cameras so they work as every video camera should. To see this brand new camera that is damn good in so many ways let down instantly by the very same issues I complained about in September 2013 is really disappointing. Then bring out something killer that is made up of lessons learnt from what they have released so far.

Shoot info:

Canon 85mm F1.2 L  Great for those super shallow DOF shots

Canon 100mm L F2.8  Wonderful Macro lens

Canon 24-70mm F2.8 II L Damn fine sharp zoom. Amazing but expensive.

Really Right Stuff FH-350 head Interesting and impressive new fluid head. Will talk about this more once I have used it properly

Small HD DP7-PRO Monitor STUNNING monitor. INCREDIBLY OLED display. Now I just need the hi-brite one!

Zacuto Z-Drive and Tornado Follow Focus  Two cracking things and damn affordable for what they do. Essential on this piece for those pin point focus pulls. The Tornado is for handheld shooting and is terrific and innovate.

Zacuto half cage, baseplate, rods and v-lock adaptor  Essential kit for the Blackmagic Camera

Sony V-Lock battery

Gekko K7 LED Light  Lovely little back light

Gekko Karesslite 100 series Bi-Colour 3200K-5600K Blendable LED soft light  Small LED soft light for the key. Excellent

Edited in Premiere CC from film mode ProRes HQ, post sharpened by 19%

Graded with Red Giant’s Colorista II 10% off with code bloom10 click banner below

and FilmConvert Fujichrome Astia 100 film stock, desaturated and with crushed shadows. 10% off with code bloom at gopb.co/filmconvert

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Smoking sucks. Need help quitting then go to http://quit.org.uk

Hypocrisy then featuring smoking in this? Yes. My dad smokes cigars occasionally, his only vice, and after appearing in a number of my reviews smoking one of his bad boys, especially the one that B&H have used on their monitors in their store for about 3 years now, he asked if I wanted to test another camera out one da, ,he said he would be keen…he liked the super slow motion FS700 one the best!

So this is my first footage of the camera. I haven’t had a chance to test much of it out at all. So when dad came up for lunch, I got it all set up.

My dad may look as hard a nails in this but trust me, he is as soft as a blancmange that has been left out in the sun! :)

Thanks dad, love you loads. x

You can download most of the shots used in here after the video via WeTransfer, basically as many as I could get into 10GB. They aren’t even the full shots just the bits I used with 200 frames of handles either side. They are for personal use only and cannot be used commercially. Full credits are required within the video and accompanying text info to both myself and my dad Arnie Bloom plus my website www,philipbloom.net

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Romeo No.3: Blackmagic Production Camera 4K from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

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The below files are for personal use only and cannot be used commercially. Full credits are required within the video and accompanying text info to both myself and my dad Arnie Bloom plus my website www,philipbloom.net

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The new Really Right Stuff FH-350 Fluid head

The new Really Right Stuff FH-350 Fluid head

 

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