NAB 2013: Have Blackmagic made their own camera obsolete by their new announcements?



This is my 6th NAB in a row (and ever!) and if you have ever been it’s a monstrous show. Just enormous and to even attempt to see everything is insane. You make a list of the key things you want to see…you plan a route that doesn’t see you zig zagging back and forth. I realised this quite quickly and now I go to a small fraction of the stands I used to. Why? Part of the reason is the internet. A lot of stuff at the show won’t be new or will already be announced. Often you just go to a stand to either see the product in person or to meet the people behind it. Very rarely do we get big product announcements these days, especially cameras. Manufacturers don’t want to announce an exciting new camera at a time when a rival might do. They want the limelight on themselves, understandably, so that’s why they generally announce them separately from major shows now. The exception to this is Blackmagic. Prior to April 2012 they had never made a camera, then on the morning of the first day they dropped the bombshell of the Cinema Camera coming out for $3k.

This really took everyone by surprise and gave the big manufacturers a kick up the backside, implementing features at an unheard of price point. Everyone ordered one, including myself. The problem is many people who ordered that day have still not received their cameras, and today Blackmagic may well have made their current camera obsolete already. My order for my one came through in February, and I placed the order the day it was announced! The vast majority still have not received cameras. Blackmagic have had some serious issues with supplying the cameras in any quantity.

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 23.38.55

I got one to review back in September. I made a very in depth video review which you can watch by clicking here and shot my first project in October with it in South Africa which you can read about and watch here. The camera itself with its awkwardly-sized sensor never sat well with the Canon EF mount, that was why at IBC last year they announced a micro four thirds versions. I actually just got one of those to review and you can watch that here!

The Blackmagic 2.5k camera offers a lot of bang for your buck, it’s far from perfect, but there is a lot in there that is terrific. Many people said they liked it but would wait for version 2. Well here it is, version 2. Just a year since the first announcement, they have unveiled a 4K super 35mm version and pocket S16 one.

Both of these cameras look terrific in their own way. The pocket S16 one is further along in development according to John Brawley whose in-depth blog post about it here. It’s really small and looks a lot like a Sony NEX6, just without an EVF

Pictures all courtesy of John Brawley

2013-04-02-15-22-50 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2013-04-02-09-35-54 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 2013-04-07-09-50-57 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The 4k Super 35mm version will be of huge interest for a lot of people for a number of reasons:

4K super-35 Cmos sensor

Global Shutter!?

12 stops of DR

compressed CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes recording, Thunderbolt and EF lens compatibility

Includes DaVinci Resolve and UltraScopes

The specs of the S16 pocket one are:

13 stops of dynamic range.

Super 16 sized 1080p HD sensor

SD card recording

ProRes and Lossless CinemaDNG RAW recording

Active Micro Four Thirds lens compatibility



Screen Shot 2013-03-29 at 16.35.46

So the 4k version is priced at £2700+VAT and the pocket one at £699+VAT. Both incredible prices for what they do, but they do raise a number of questions.

With the announcement of these cameras, have they made the current two for sale obsolete? John Brawlsey says no. I am more hesitant. Here are the my thoughts both for and against the obsolete statement…just my opinion, so feel free to disagree! This is for the 4k camera not the pocket one, which for me seems a no brainer spec and price wise (although as I always say the proof is in the pudding. Once I have tried it then I can actually give a proper opinion, until then it’s pure speculation)

4k or 2.5k?

4k is way more useful that 2.5k is, 2.5k is great for scaling down to the 1080p but 4k is the new acquisition medium. 4k wins. One thing I don’t know is if the camera can do scaled down 1080p or is it cropped or can it do it at all!

S35 or the 2.3x crop sensor?

Super 35mm is way more desirable than the 2.3x crop of the original Blackmagic sensor which is not one thing or the other. S35 is the industry standard and is hugely desirable. It apparently has inferior dynamic range and less sensitivity. So there is a cost. Not a massive one though. They say 1 stop less dynamic range. Again, until this is tested, it’s hard to say. S35mm wins for me. I am still waiting for official word on if its a ccd or CMOS sensor. If its CMOS Sensor with global shutter that is impressive!

Lossless compressed raw vs compressed raw

This is a no-brainer. Lossless compressed is enormously desirable. The raw in the current camera is way too inefficient. Although this lossless compressed raw won’t be in the 4k camera from day one. Prores only, at first. It’s a “future firmware upgrade”. If this firmware comes out not long after the camera, then great! If it doesn’t…well let’s just see!

Now for me, if I was deciding between the 4k and 2.5k version now and they were both available in the shops now, I would get the 4k one. It makes way more sense. But the unknown ability about full hd from the 4k is important to know…

I would love them to bring out a camera more designed for docs and run and gun…neither of the new ones really fit that bill …we need better ergonomics and audio….more like a proper camcorder.

Now Blackmagic have a PR issue to sort out here too. They have all these people who ordered the EF mount version and have waited patiently (and some not so patiently) for them to ship, the vast majority still don’t have cameras, even though they ordered them a year ago. A lot of people also switched their orders to the MFT version when that was announced in September….this is also still not shipping. I only just tested a BETA version the other day. Now they have announced an effectively better camera with the 4k version for a comparatively small amount more money. I am sure many will now switch again, and for some this would be their 3rd Blackmagic camera order without seeing any of them! Then there are the people who have only just received theirs, and suddenly their camera is almost obsolete. It’s technically not though, as the camera is no worse today than it was yesterday just because new models have been announced. I don’t even know if the current ones are being discontinued. If they were, then yes, the obsolete argument could be used. If you buy a camera one day and the next day the camera has been dropped then that is an obsolete camera!

To announce new cameras before coming even slightly close to supplying their pre-orders is not necessarily good PR. It is great to have innovation and features at this price point, but with a shipping announcement of July for the new cameras, how many people will be worried as to when they will actually get them. If you ordered the EF version in April last year and have not got yours yet and are about to change it to the 4k version, you could be looking at a hell of a long time waiting to get your Blackmagic camera from that first order! If you have been refusing to buy any other camera (or worse, sold you camera to pay for this) because you kept on thinking yours would arrive soon, that’s not great.

I am a big fan of announcing your new product on the same day as you can order it. RED pissed off a lot of people with the Scarlet debacle. Finally, shipping cameras hugely late that resembled the originally-announced cameras in nothing but the name. They learnt their lesson from that and change their whole marketing. This whole announcing stuff and not bringing it out for months and months I hate.

BUT lets not forget how truly great what Blackmagic are doing and how they are pushing so hard and so aggressively at that price point. They have to be careful though. They need to deliver on their promises and get these cameras to customers soon. I also think they should not announce any more cameras at next year’s NAB….let’s catch a breath can we please? 🙂

In fact this is a thought…after this, can we not have any new cameras come out for three years please? I would say 5 ideally but that may be too long for some people. So with that thought here is my open letter to all camera manufacturers! 🙂 (Now some people don’t get my sense of humour so I have now added these words…this is TONGUE IN CHEEK!)

Dear Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Blackmagic, Red and everyone else who is making a camera,

Please just stop! Please stop bringing out new cameras and stop announcing them. Just go back into your top secret bunkers and concentrate on refining and perfecting your current ones and ideas for your future ones. Let us filmmakers have a chance to really enjoy our purchases, really get the best out of them…because you know what? The cameras out there today are incredible and there’s one for every budget. We don’t need anything new. Not yet. There was something special about owning a camera for years that was wonderful and wasn’t replaced a year later! Look at the Panasonic DVX100…a marvellous camera that for years was the darling of the no budget filmmaker, or for the broadcast the ever reliable Digi Beta. A lovely camera that for almost 10 years was the main camera for the industry.

In 3 years time, it would be incredible for you to all reveal what you have been working on AND have them ready to ship. I know you would blow us all away. For now, can we just be happy in our current relationships? It’s nice to be monogamous for a while, you know? 🙂

Yours Sincerely,

The filmmaking community

P.S. My accountant has asked me to write this! 😉

P.P.S. I pre-ordered both of the new Blackmagics…any high speed Canon cameras coming out soon?!

Please remember specs tell us only part of the story…never trust them. The proof is always in the shooting and working with them!


So there we go. NAB day one. I won’t be doing much posting here but I will be talking! You can catch me at these times:

Monday 1pm KESSLER/ ZACUTO booth: Keeping the passion alive…how to stay creative and not fall out of love with filming.

Monday 5pm KESSLER/ ZACUTO booth: A general Q&A session where I will answer all the questions I can in the allotted time! A chance to get advice, ask those burning questions and much more!

Tuesday 1:30PM Live online at the TERADEK booth: You can watch that online here and here. I will be talking about new tech and will be discussing with my good friend Dan Chung.

Tuesday 5PM MILLER TRIPODS stand: “How to make it overnight!” A tongue in cheek title for a talk Q&A about how I got to where I am today and how what I did can help you!

WEDNESDAY 1pm KESSLER/ ZACUTO booth: A general Q&A session where I will answer all the questions I can in the allotted time! A chance to get advice, ask those burning questions and much more!

For more info on the two new blackmagic cameras here are the official brochures. Enjoy and remember…they are just tools! 🙂





  1. Amazing and exciting, but I tend to agree with your sentiment Mr. Bloom let us look at your review and calm the “F” down 🙂

  2. “The problem is it’s using old tech. The 4k sensor is CCD, yes this means global shutter, but it also means inferior dynamic range and less sensitivity. So there is a cost. They say 1 stop less dynamic range. Again, until this is tested it’s hard to say. S35mm wins for me, just. I just wish this was a newly developed 4K cmos sensor. Yes we would have rolling shutter but it can be controlled with good processing. Look at the rolling shutter in the Alexa and Epic/ Scarlet for example. It’s do-”

    I think you’re being a tad harsh here. You have to remember this camera cost $4,000, price wise its not even in the same league as the Alexa or the Epic. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere, and if saving $50,000+ means losing 1 stop of DR thats worth it in my book.

    1. You are missing the point/ context this is written in. This is in comparison to the current camera as to why you would choose one over the other. If I don’t point out the major differences and what to and not to expect why bother writing an article on this at all?


      1. Of course, I understand that.

        However this section makes it sound like you think its an easy thing to just conjure up a 4k high dr cmos sensor.

        “I just wish this was a newly developed 4K cmos sensor. Yes we would have rolling shutter but it can be controlled with good processing. Look at the rolling shutter in the Alexa and Epic/ Scarlet for example. *It’s do-able*.”

        It would be like me complaining that my new BMW doesn’t have the same engine as a 200k Ferrari, yes technically it is do-able but that doesn’t make it a negative. There’s a difference between “pointing out what to expect” and being unrealistically critical. I think everything else is spot on though, just thought I’d mention it.

          1. Wow, thats great news! Well in that case then I guess (hardware-wise) the only things I have left to complain about are: the passive mount (whats with that?), the awkward form factor, and the lack of a compressed raw format. Outside of those things I’d say this is nearest the perfect camera anything has gotten for me. Also EOSHD seems to think this is the same sensor used in the new Leica M which could only be a good thing.

            1. Correction, I meant *EF* mount not passive. Although with the full 35 sensor that should allow for far more options regarding lens choices with the proper adapter, so perhaps EF was the best choice in this scenario.

              1. Not the same sensor as the Leica M Cole. What I said is that I suspect it is from CMOSIS, the supplier of the Leica sensor. They have a sensor available on the free market with identical specs to the one used in the Blackmagic Production Camera and the pin-layout matches.

      2. Hi Philip,

        Great thoughts on the new offerings from BMD and I now have an preorder in for both the MfT V1 and the new 4K V2.

        Just a quick note on the sensor for the new 4K BMCC, John Brawley has stated that it is in fact a CMOS sensor and not a CCD sensor. How does this affect your thoughts on the camera?

      3. Pretty sure the sensor is a newish CMOS with global shutter like the F55, not old tech CCD.
        However, still too many question marks for me. I’ll wait and have a play at my local rental house later this summer.

        The pocket camera is astonishing though. At that price it’s not even a gamble.

        Whatever the pros and cons, BMD have really turned the prosumer world upside down in only 12 months. I second your plea Philip. I need to catch breath and see which of these incredible new tools are best for me.

  3. I was thinking about buying the Canon EOS 1dc and for much less money now encounter the BCM 4k. Think it’s best to wait to see how it works the BCM. For me it is very important to work with high sensitivity, what camera I’m interested but the BCM or 1dc?

      1. Curious about how this camera might work in low light. I see no ISO info on their website. If you have a chance, please have a look for us! If you can glean any other low light info, bonus! 🙂

          1. Yes, the 4K. Thanks for the insight. One would hope the new sensor would be better in low light… oh well. Could be a deal breaker for me.

            1. In a normal market driven economy, one would hope that this BCM would drive prices down amongst competitors. Canon and, to a lesser extent, Sony don’t seem to care much about ‘normal’ market forces though. Fingers crossed the prices drop on 1DC and C300/500. Amazing as the specs are, I still think the form factor of the BCM limits it to very controlled situations and, as you said, well-lit ones.

  4. Thank you Philip for this open letter to manufacturers.
    It’s so true.
    I started myself with a Sony PD-150, I used it for years and was so happy to have it.
    Almost the same happened with my Canon 7D, but for the last 3 years, I stop buying stuff because I’m so lost !
    Everyone is saying “they are just tools they dont make the movie” but everyone secretly desire the new cam…

    Maybe my next gear will be the Canon C100, or should I wait this BMS16 ?


  5. The answer to your question is YES.
    And they know it, this is probably why so much production delay of the original BMDC, if the pocket camera and the 4K are coming of the dates they promised it can only mean the production line was busy building the new models.

    1. If am am not mistaken, the BMCC product team found a “deal-breaking” flaw in the sensors.. and had to batch fix a whole series of clean sensors… which led to a massive delay.. It looks like these new ones will go out when they said… I just have a gut feeling that the BMD guys are doing everything they can to out-deliver Jim Jannard.

    2. Philip,

      You say you should look elsewhere for a more sensitive camera but according to the chatter on reduser the BMC 4K is as sensitive as a Red One MX which ok isn’t planet shaking but still pretty damned impressive.
      Also what’s your thoughts on CCD vs. CMOS


  6. The other camera that everyone was excited by this time last year was the digital 16mm bolex but haven’t heard much since.


        1. The specs look fine to me Philip, I agree 100 per cent so much talk about specs, if the camera fits the need then it’s perfect. I’ve never concerned myself with specs, or low light and such, if the shot needed more light then i would ligh the scene. I was looking at the bolex but I don’t think thy will ever release it, oh well I’ll be vey happy with he bm pocket rocket, fits my filming condition better anyway. And the price can’t beat that.

      1. Can’t make something obsolete that doesn’t exist (Bolex). Nor can something that has yet to exist make an existing thing obsolete (Scarlet). That said, the D Bolex development looks promising and if they deliver on spec and design, it will have some distinct advantages in terms of in/outs and EVF. They’re going the CCD route as they feel the colors are more natural (I agree) over CMOS. Scarlet’s are transforming into Epics. With the frame rates, excellent mount, better I/O and more DR, it’ll be in a different league both price and performance.

          1. The only intriguing specs for me from BMC was Pro Rez, Super 16 in pocket size cam at 13 stops DR. That was enough for me to put money down on two of them. This is an arena in which there is no competition. I can see myself using such a camera for a variety of things from discrete doc acquisition, car mount, go pro style apps, etc. I won’t be mounting a full size Alura on it, since if you can afford that glass, support, etc, might as well get a real full size camera behind it.

            The BMC 4k is a bit of a miss for me. Why not 2k and get better sensitivity and DR? Doesn’t hurt Alexa’s bottom line. And nobody outside the first 8 rows in a theater will perceive the difference. And for the over 40 crowd (like myself), 1k is fine. LOL.

      1. Thanks! And thanks a lot for giving us information about NAB You have a great blog! Any chance you’ll be coming to Miami for a workshop?

  7. I’ve noticed the cameras with 4k (internal) capability are the cinema cameras, that typically capture RAW.

    However, there has yet to be a Documentary Styled Camera (Similar to C300 and FS100/700) to be able to capture 4k internally. Is there a strong need for documentary styled cameras to be able to record 4k internally?

      1. Not sure if this answers my question.

        Is there a strong need for documentary styled cameras to be able to record 4k internally? because there is alot of Cinema cameras with 4k internal recording but there isn’t one for documentary (at least yet).

        1. Have to say not sure what my answer was as am replying via WordPress which doesn’t show me what the thread is …I can’t take a guess…

          Until I have shot with ANY camera I will not speculate…it’s like a broken pencil. Pointless. Proof is always in the pudding. I can’t wait to try them but until then I cannot say anything more…if I gave advice on which one to buy I would be a fraud talking out of my arse. Would you ask a film reviewer to recommend a movie before seeing it?

          The pocket cam looks interesting indeed…the 4k? Possibly. I am just not sure where I would use it…all exciting stuff though, just hope they deliver!


  8. Really agree with you about having a 3-5 year camera break. There are so many decent cameras out there it’s not really necessary to change them every five minutes. That and it’s driving me and everyone else nuts no sooner do you purchase a camera than its feels like you have made the wrong decision as the next big thing has just turned up once you have emptied your wallet. Anyway seems to be the way of things these days but with the pace of change you just can’t keep up… So I will be buying the newest 16K camera I can with the Lettuce leaf upgrade or maybe the carrot upgrade, after all I don’t want to regret it further down the line ;-).

    Out of interest knowing you are a very busy chap Mr Bloom but is there any chance that you will be doing a future blog post on Keeping the passion alive as per one of your NAB talks above? Would have loved to visit NAB but money and other things mean its not possible.

    1. I disagree on this. Time waits for no man – and the way technology is moving at present, you can’t hold back. Someone will always come along and ‘out do’ you.

      I find it a strange and flippant comment from Philip – he always states to do the best with the equipment you’ve got. I’d hate to see the tide of technology upheld just because some people feel their equipment is out of date within a year – because its not.

      Companies trying to produce the best products they can drives technology forward and shouldn’t be at the mercy of the consumer feeling they don’t have the next big thing. Besides, I’ve seen too many people with ‘the biggest and best’ producing fairly shoddy looking work.

      1. Sorry to disagree with you Derren but you kinda miss my point. First off you are focuisng on one TINY little part of the post. A joke letter, clearly not real or ever intended to be real, harking back to the “good old days”. To take it at face value means you don’t get my sense of humour which is the foundation of this blog. That’s fine but it does mean a lot of what I say will be taken completely the wrong way. Like this.

        1. I was responding to Mark’s comment who agreed with you so my point is valid in context. I had suspected it was tongue in cheek but then, I don’t know you, so second guessing your sense of humour with nothing to go on is going to be difficult, wouldn’t you say? =)

            1. Crumbs I was about only joining in on the joke hence the 16k and carrot upgrades (I guess my humour doesn’t translate well to the written word… well not the way I do it 🙂 ).

              Of course technology can’t stand still and there will always be something bigger and better around the corner and you can at least predict when announcements are likely(ish) around the bigger trade shows of the year. It doesn’t mean that some times it’s not frustrating as i guess most people have made a purchase at some point in their life only for the upgrade x or y to have come out what feels like the next day, but that’s life.

  9. Great first thoughts on the new 4K BMD camera! I would be all in for the 4K version as I have been holding out for the first year seeing how Blackmagic gets the kinks out of Gen1 camera and the crazy back log reduces itself but the reduction in DR to 12 stops is holding me back now! The reason I loved the Gen1 camera was for the 13 stops which gives it an even more organic feel as it can render out better lighlights and shadow details. That’s more important for me than very high rez images as I dont see myself shooting for the big screen where 4K+ really makes a difference. I WISH that BlackMagic would make a S35 version with say 2.5K or even 3K (similar to the Gen1 BMC and even the ALEXA) while maintaining the 13 stops of DR!!! Lets see what happens in the next few months as I have the luxury of time. Crossing fingers…

  10. Okay this little camera just blew my mind! I’m kind of glad now that I did not buy the GH3 as of right now.

    Thanks for posting this Philip this is why I love your blog:)

    I kind of feel like technology just jumped like five years into the future or just woke up from the Matrix.

  11. Hey Philip, it’s long time I am following you and first of all I want to thanks for all the things you have created and shared with us. Secondly, I agree with you: companies must slow down and concentrate on create “excellent and complete cameras” (understanding that perfection is a “mirage”). I am working since 14 years and I have been following the evolution of technology like you and many others… on the last 4 years we have seen a massive evolution, but the said thing, is that we keep being presented with new camera, whose in many cases have more imperfections respect than winning characteristics. Honestly, as you said, I would like to find cameras that fully satisfy the needs of professionals, instead to “offend” their intelligence. I understand its a difficult economic moment also for important brands, but I think they should try to aim to a “complete fully working camera”, instead of just fight each other, just to grab more costumers. At the end we need them, but maybe, from some point of views, they need us more then how much we need them. At least this is my point of you. Anyway, thanks for posting from NAB, keep us updated. All the best. Jack

  12. Hmmmm, I’m thinking that my 7D replacement could be the Pocket Cam and a M43 Speedbooster when the two are available? There would probably be a slight crop due to the smaller S16 sensor but I could live with that.

    Any thoughts?

  13. I ordered the BBCC day 1 when announced at NAB last year, took delivery last month, and is already superseded??

    I haven’t been one to whinge (out loud) on the lack of communication and issues to do with delivery of the cameras over the past year, I get there were production issues that were less than ideal. Fair enough. Also the new cameras are pretty amazing, the design/specs for the price point is revolutionary. Awesome. But as a patient, loyal customer, it’s hard to not feel more than a little screwed over here. Obviously they were hard at work on the NEXT camera, while the camera we were waiting for still had/has so many issues. I love what they are doing with their new products, but I have a 1 month old camera I would not have purchased today had I known. But I didn’t buy it today, I paid a year ago! They would be better working on a solid camera and supporting it rather than chase the next hot spec in my opinion. It’s not a business model for a loyal long term customer base, there is value in looking after customers. But I get that if you can make the next camera now, why wait, just I am sure I am not alone in feeling a shitty this morning, when I should be excited about the new gear. Engineering wise, awesome news. Customer relations wise, very poor form.

    1. Feel your pain. As a former Red MX/Epic Owner, I got a similar corporate shaft when they had all of us Epic Stage 1 and 2 users waiting patiently and what did we get for our loyalty and early adoption? The Epic M, priced for those who want to skip the line. So we watched from the sidelines as either the rich or rental houses scooped up the M’s as the day rates on our expected Epics eroded. When our Stage 2’s finally arrived, the day rate had dropped by at least a third.

    2. You still have a great camera though with better dynamic range then the new 4K. I completely understand the frustration because I would be equally ticked if I ordered it and it took this long. As Philip said though it is just specs on a page right now so we will see how much better this new 4k Production camera really is.

  14. If they’re not presenting a new camera next year, then BMD should enter the gear industry.
    They already have affordable hardware and software. Gear is the natural next step 😛

  15. Master Bloom,
    Two quick ones (I know you will probably never use it, but):
    1) Can you auto focus on EF glass with this camera?
    2) Any idea if an adapter for Nikkor glass will permit auto focus (any on the horizon?)?

    Thanks mate 😉

    1. I think you will find that nothing aimed at professionals or even prosumers will be autofocus. There never has been, and probably never will.

      If you learn how to pull focus manually, you’ll get a lot more out of your shots than autofocus anyway. Practice, practice.

        1. @phillip I shoot manual focus for action sports, on century optics adapted canon fd glass,
          Its weird i shoot stills like a cinematographer, peaking on magic lantern with a eye loupe.
          A cool work around for my 800 5.6 and 300 2.8 which are 30 years old, almost double my age.
          Truely amazing what a hacked firmware can do, makes my old glass usable for both ef mount
          stills and video and when i need can just switch back to pl mount for heavy cameras.
          Focusing this way definitely has its quirks but makes the impossible possible for me.
          I get razor sharp images of kitesurfers moving at high speed with manual focus, thank you magic lantern.
          I can only wonder about the new ways we will focus in the future as you allude to.
          thanks for your great info!
          I can only recommend to all readers that it is smartest to invest in equipment that will hold its investment.
          #1 Get good universal glass (interchangeable mount, ex: nikon with manual aperature)
          I invested in century presision optics adapted canon fd lenses, (pl, ef, e, nikon, whatever you need)
          Universal mount is important so you can use your investment on any future camera. They should have manual aperature, and good manual focus gearing.
          #2 Get a good tripod (100mm ball, fluid head, counter balance) best investment i ever made was sachterl video 18p
          no matter how old they get they work perfect and will hold there value.
          be smart where you spend your money
          buying cameras is sketchy at best, you never know where the tech is headed
          so buy the things that you know will always be necessary and rent the camera for the project

  16. I so admire what BlackMagic is doing. But I can’t help but think that so many NAB announcements and demos are for the shareholders and stockholders in a given company. A “little” company like BlackMagic needs investment to bring something like a revolutionary new camera to market, so I totally understand their need to do this . And the market is so unbelievably hungry for new cameras, nothing ever seems good enough. I love your idea of a new camera “moratorium” Philip, just to let things cool down, but we all know this isn’t realistic, given what drives these things forward. What I WOULD love to see though is some kind of rule in place where anything announced at NAB (or anyplace, for that matter) must demonstrate that it’s working as advertised upon announcement and will ship within the month. I think this would make life a lot more sane. Probably equally as futile, but, I think, fair to ask ;~)

    1. what do you consider a “small” company? They are an International Corporation who has many big partners, Apple for one…

      i thought they were small at first too..

  17. I really don’t like companys that will announce and announce and announce but not deliver.
    This info of their company policy made my decision a lot easier.

    No blackmagic at all. Until the day a lot of shops say go or “green” for their models.

    Ok the trailers and “has been done shots” are amazing.
    The facts trigger dreams. And thats what they are made for. To buy, not to practice!
    But if i will get one at the time when the iPhone 7 or 8 is able to deliver the same quality, i have been pranked.
    I work for about 3 years now with GH1 and then GH2. GH3 is not that way forward i would like to. But i can produce 2 or 3 years with GH2 further on. In this time i do get more expert knowledge in filming at all. When those who ordered blackagics, dont even start to get the skills to handle their never arrived cam.
    And maybe meanwhile another company is able to deliver something outstanding thats beating all?

  18. I echo your sentiments on can we just enjoy our cameras now. I began with an HVX 200 and got an amazing amount of use out that, at least three years of solid use. Better ROI than Apple stock. As someone who started in film, three years is still something of a joke. We’d use the same camera for ten, fifteen years or more. Hell, Godfather was shot on a forty year old Mitchell.

    Recently, we unloaded all of our company’s high end gear, as it became apparent that cameras have entered the “lap top” stage of camera evolution, meaning unless it can be improved via modification or firmware, it’s old hat in 18 months. We still hold on to and buy small light and tight stuff (DSLR’s, Go Pros, Miller 3 Pods, Etc) but as our main line of work became more involved, the renting from an owner operator who sub rents all the stuff he doesn’t have from the local rental house, just wasn’t a viable business model. Sure it made money, but took your focus from what we feel was our calling – shooting.

    No sooner had we paid our Epic off, it’s business fell precipitously because, yes, believe it or not, no one really cares about 4k or 5k except gear nerds, pixel counters and marketing staff. The people who carry Red baseball cards. What audiences do relate on an emotional / dramatic level are faces. Fleshtones our paramount in the audience’s eye. If I see another comparison test with just buildings, I’m going to puke. Audiences may not be able to identify what it is, but when the color looks “thin”, lacking sublety, I believe they feel the experienced has been cheapened.

    Which brings me back full circle in that of all these flavors of cameras from Red/Sony/Canon, Alexa ironically seems likely the one that gets the most use on Dramatic TV and Feature production at 2k ! Because while everyone else was putting lens mounts on a computer box, they put a solid computer into a camera. While everyone thought productions cared about pixel count, they designed something that takes about half an hour to figure out, rests on your shoulder without a rig, doesn’t have top heavy Franken monitors sticking out the top, etc. And the nailed fleshtones.

    I read much of the NAB cheerleading about this spec and that like trekkies having spotted Nemoy at Comicon, but I’ve yet to hear a peep about – how are the colors? Do the faces look natural? Can I throw it on my shoulder?

    That’s my rant. Enjoy NAB.

  19. Oh BTW, regarding BMCC, they dropped the ball with the sensor size on the 2.5 k. Too awkward for finding good lens choices, especially at the wide end. I’d take the pocket cam over the 2.5k. It’s super 16 meaning there’s a lot glass out there, cinema glass no less, that’ll work on it.

    We ordered two.

    Also, Phillip, did you have a chance to try on the MoVI rig? That’s the other item at NAB that really gets the juices running. Will it drive any steadicam ops to drink?

  20. Hi Philipp !

    There’s definitely one question in my mind with all these coming 4K products :

    Wich lens can we use with these cameras ? For example, on the canon lineup, wich lenses are able to deliver a good 4D definition and sharpness image ?

    Let’s be honest, if we can afford the Production Camera 4K, we wont ever buy a Cinema Prime Lense form Canon 🙂

    One blog post about that would be REALLY cool… 🙂

  21. Mr. Bloom, thanks for your review!

    You got SSD-disks with you by any chance? If so, please put your SSD-disk into the new BMPC, I’m real curious how different the ‘look’ of the image is. (New sensor, new look?).

    I got my BMCC here.. For 2 weeks or so.. Now it feels a bit !@#$%, for 1000,- more, I would’ve an s35!

    Curious if BlackMagic will give the BMCC users an firmware-update with 4K recording possibility.

    Have fun there!

  22. so true Phil ..! this company’s they just release and release the cameras one after one so they preacher the filmmaker !!
    who gives a shit about the 4K or what ever.. just go and shot something spacial…we get lost in the spec and sensor type!! and we lost the performance and the creativity …..and again your right let us calm down BTW many of my friends are already ordered the 2 of them that’s just insane !!!

  23. Hello Mr. Bloom

    First off thank you for the info. I shoot a lot of music videos using slow mo and it seems to me that the BMC doesn’t have a high frame rate to shoot slow mo in. So how can I shoot slow with this camera?

  24. You’re quite right PB. New cameras should let us at least be sure that tomorrow we don’t ending with another new model to think about again…
    About CCD vs CMOS not quite sure is a bad thing. Yes less sensitivity, but better rolling shutter issues and jello effect. Specially when working with flashes nearby. I think I prefer a little less light and a way better image processing that a CCD can give. I think CMOS are only good for manufacturers – they are cheaper, smaller, lighter and easy to process, but not so much better and the issues had never been quite well overcome.

    1. I remember the first time we had an MX and Varicam’s on set. We couldn’t get them to match because the Red coudn’t accurately resolve fleshtones and blue (in this case subject’s sweater) at the same time, either one or the other. While the Varicam handled it with ease. I’ve always found fleshtones on CCD’s especially from the 3 CCD chips to be richer and more accurate.

    2. Phil….I was never fooled by your “The camera is only a tool” shennanigans…..You seem to have bought ever camera that has ever been made….I bet you have the Shoebox with the hole in it….it was probably made by Canon (easy guys…the Mark III is fantastic and a big step up)
      It is probably a better evf than on the C100.

      I was excited to see if Canon had a rumoured Camera to sit between the C100 or C300…..but you have it right about the Big Guns not announcing at NAB and a coming Canon event on April 23rd will be more likely.

      BlackMagic have really shook the others with this announcement.
      Fantastic features.

      Just praying for William Gallas out this Summer and a C100 with a better evf in.

  25. I was so thrilled when i got my 2nd 5D Mark III in february, now i sit and read this and fell like crap about them. Too bad i`m born in the wrong country, here you have to undersell yourself sometimes to have something to do and video gear is so expensive.

  26. Hi Philip!, sorry for my bad english i´m from Venezuela. i would like to make some questions because i´m beginner, so i do not have some stuff very clear. SO… what is “large super 35 sensor” ?, is the same that full frame? or is other format?. I really thanksful if you could explain me this of the sensor sizes. Also many time i see formats more wide that HD format (for example) ; this is for a sensor? , lens? or is a simple crop of the video?. Like i said, i will really thanksful if you explain me all the stuff. I know, are many question but you know ” beginner” jeje . thanks philip! i´m fan of your works

  27. Hey Philip,
    I am always grateful for your site and love reading it. A wealth of knowledge for free with every post.
    Just wondering if you know if BM will roll via firmwareout compressed raw to the v1 Cinema Camera? I’ve been drooling over it for the last year but the storage issue has held me back. Could this be the clincher for me?
    Also I’m picking/guessing BM will release another cam next year and it will be a high frame rate doozy to round out the BM family quite nicely 🙂

  28. Hey Phillip :), great blog btw

    What do you think are the chances of black magic implementing lossless compression and/or ProRes at 2.5k for the BMCC? Or perhaps just the 108059.94i seen in BMPC?


  29. I was grousing about this just yesterday… is the new cinema camera business model some elaborate almost-pyramid scheme whereby you simply keep announcing new cameras, accepting pre-orders, and then allowing customers to change their pre-orders to whatever new thing you just announced?

    Initially the Pocket seemed a simple “must buy.” Looking a bit more at this, I don’t think the BMPC will necessarily nix, for instance, the GH3 from my upgrade thoughts…
    Apparent advantages:
    BM PocketCC – 13 stops DR, onboard PR422HQ and RAW, smaller S16 sensor allows use of available wide-range and/or servo S16 lenses (and likely some small 16mm lenses), ~$400 cheaper
    GH3 – full unequivocated m43/43 lens compatability, 50/60p, (likely) better sensitivity, vastly superior controls, weather sealing, multiple levels of available compressed recording for long shoots, useable for stills, internal intervalometer, better contact surface for a tripod plate, strap attachment grommets, better handheld ergonomics

    A stop or two of DR doesn’t seem worth the sacrifices, and I can’t afford both. Of course either may have significant other advantages or disadvantages I haven’t discovered yet… looking at how close-packed everything is on the “BMPCC,” I’m hopeful that it won’t have rampant overheating problems… perhaps those are alleviated by that aluminum heat sink within which it resides.

    …but the more new announcements and ever-changing whims of hiring producers just makes me want to throw my hands up and let some rental house take the depreciation. Naturally doing that would screw oneself because more and more often, hiring producers don’t have inclination or budget for even a reasonable rental when they can just find the newest equipped chump on the block to shoot their talking head for $100/day.

    Something tells me I made a bad career decision. Oh well, wouldn’t be the first.

    1. I took shipment on a GH3 last week. I also ordered two BMC Pocket cams. Aside from size, I find it hard to compare. For one, the GH3 has a sensor almost 2x the dimensions. So why buy the pocket cam? Aside from 13 stops of DR and better recording codec, I happen to like the aesthetic of smaller sensors as well as the convenience. Not for everything granted. But certain types of narrative, you don’t always need super shallow DOF. But it’s large enough to to still make your foregrounds pop. It’s also more forgiving for focus, which may make ideal for solo work. I’ll still keep the GH3 as it takes amazing stills, is smaller than my 5D by half, and takes a much sharper image. But contrary to what some may think, it’s still a ways off from being what I’d call a video camera. And it does have a few idiotic hindrances (another forum, another day).

    2. In my opinion, buy the camera which suits you the best. Don’t look at the specs too much. Look at the picture the camera provides. Which do you like best? (Pocket Camera isn’t there yet, so you can’t say anything about it atm). And check what kind of camera-man you are, what kinda shoots you do mostly? What camera suits your jobs best? I’ve got the BMCC 2.5K, this suits me best. I don’t have to deliver 4K yet, I do quality/controlled shoots. I need as much dynamic range as possible (within budget), I love the look of the picture!

      Just check which camera suits you best, then THAT camera is best for you. And pls wait till you see the ‘look’ of the Pocket Camera and BMPC. Can’t say anything yet tbh (unless you have to deliver 4K to an client).


    1. Oh absolutely not…there is nothing about the bmd line that comes close to a C camera for easy use, broadcast ready (not the c100) and all round flexibility. I shoot mostly docs. I used the current one for one once…far from ideal…quite the opposite. I see these as controlled environment cams!


  30. My open letter to camera manufacturers would simply read – “keep em coming” …..why? Because now we all know it’s possible to record ProRes422 in a NEX5 sized camera. The faster the development and deployment, the faster we reach a point where we can all finally enjoy “Full HD” in a variety of form factors at a reasonable price. It would irritate me though if I was purchasing almost every camera that came out! Instead, I’m happy to wait while I enjoy what I’m using.

  31. damm, i got a canon 5d3 and canon ignored people asking them about the April firmware update after they posted their C line updates

  32. I’m very excited about Blackmagic’s announcement. Especially excited by the pocket camera. I’ve got several Lumix lenses I’ll be using on that puppy. The 4k camera is cool, but not quite what I want…yet. I would like to see a future version of the 4k camera have an E mount, so I can fit more lenses on it with an adaptor, or a Nikon mount, but not holding my breath for that. Also would like the future s35 version to have 13stops of dynamic range. Anyways, I’ve already preordered the pocket cam. Thanks Blackmagic!!!

  33. pocket cam looks cool. however can you really use it for documentaries? I was planning to get a Canon C100. at 6.5k it seems unresonable at this point. really hard to choose a camera these days.

  34. I think the camera company who develops the Ikonoskop A-Cam should drop their price to match the 4K BMPC. A bit of healthy competition! Movement looks great on the Ikonokop and it’s CCD. Great article as well Philip – very relevant.