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With specs usually only available on cameras ten times its price, the new Blackmagic Design Production Camera has the potential to be an even more disruptive force then last year’s 2.5K cinema camera. The new production camera sports a much larger image sensor than its predecessor, roughly super 35mm sized. The new sensor also features a global shutter, making rolling shutter problems a thing of the past. The new global shutter design has a slight toll on dynamic range, as the new camera features 1 stop less of dynamic range than its predecessor. Still 12 stops are nothing sneer at. The camera also features an EF mount and is fully compatible with a huge range of EF and EF-S glass. The sensor is a bit smaller than the 1.6 crop found in Canon APS-C DSLR’s so users don’t have to worry about vignetting on any EF-S mount lenses.
Like its predecessor the production camera records to affordable 2.5” SSD drives. This saves a lot of money, but be sure to check Blackmagic Design’s SSD drive compatibility chart because 2.5” SSD drives only publish their burst speeds and sustained transfer rates can vary greatly. Once you determine which 2.5” SSD drive is fast enough for the Blackmagic Production camera the drive must be formatted in HFS+ format. If you are on a Mac OSX computer this is easily achieved through the disk utility but if you are using a PC you must purchase third party software that does this, or pester someone you know who owns a Mac.
The Production Camera has a large 800x480 LCD touch screen on the back where all settings are controlled from. Adjusting things before a shot is easy, but going into the menu to change settings can be hard to do in the middle of a shot. The touch screen makes it easy to add metadata to clips from the camera, which can save a lot of time in post. The production camera has a non-removable rechargeable battery that lasts approximately 90 minutes. An external battery can be hooked up via a 12 volt DC input for extended runtimes. The Blackmagic Production camera also features dual balanced ¼” audio inputs, but audio controls are limited. It is best suited for situations where you are shooting dual system sound. A full version of Davinci Resolve software is also included.
The Blackmagic Production Camera will record QHD 3840 x 2160 4K in either ProRes or compressed Cinema DNG RAW to 2.5” SSD drives. RAW recording will be available with a future firmware update that Blackmagic hopes to have available around the time camera starts shipping. When recording in ProRes you have a choice of either the superflat “film” colorstyle which preserves the maximum amount dynamic range for color correction and grading, or the more contrasty “video” colorstyle for a more traditional video look. 4K ProRes takes up about 6.6 GB a minute or 400 GB an hour. The file size specifics of the compressed RAW have not been released by Blackmagic Design at this time, but due to SSD speed limitations it will most likely not take up much more space then the 4K ProRes does. Monitoring is achieved via BNC in either a 1080P HD-SDI signal or in 4K via Blackmagic’s new 6G-SDI signal. 6G-SDI is not supported by any 4K monitors at this time, but Blackmagic makes mini converters to convert 6G-SDI to other various 4K signals.