Beautiful New Blackmagic Cinema Camera Announced at NAB


The exciting new Blackmagic Cinema Camera was a total show-stopper at NAB 2012. It fills a unique niche in the video market by supplying a 13-stop 2.5K image sensor, a built-in SSD recorder, the ability to shoot uncompressed RAW (and compressed formats), full compatibility with EF and ZE lenses, a built-in 5-inch (12.7 cm) touch screen LCD and Thunderbolt connectivity. If that isn’t compelling enough, Blackmagic Design is also including a copy of the Mac and Windows compatible DaVinci Resolve 9.0 color-correction software and UltraScope with the camera. The camera itself features an attractive industrial design that oozes with elegant simplicity, and the flexibility to be used as a stripped down, low-profile handheld, or as the heart of a full-blown rig with rails, matte box and the works. Most remarkably, all of this beauty is delivered for under $3,000.

All of the shortcomings of HDSLR filmmaking are eliminated with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. Its built-in SSD recorder allows you to shoot 2.5K uncompressed 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW, Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHD, all of which are recognized immediately by NLE video editing software. The days of slowly transcoding your footage to an NLE-friendly format are over.

The SSD can be removed and plugged directly into a computer. The footage can be edited immediately or color-graded in your software of choice. The camera features two balanced 1/4-inch TRS audio inputs (the next best thing to locking XLR inputs) that can accept line or mic-level signals and record uncompressed 48 kHz 24-bit sound, and a 3.5mm headphone output for confidence monitoring. You can even enter metadata through the touch screen as you shoot. Notate the shot and scene numbers, tags and timecode information as you go, dramatically speeding up your post-production workflow while you’re on set.

A 3 GB/s SDI output enables you to feed the camera’s footage to external professional monitors, capture devices and switchers. The Thunderbolt port enables you to connect the camera directly to a computer for RAW video and audio capture, and to utilize the free copy of UltraScope, which gives you six different live scope views, as well as audio levels and phase monitoring. An external power port enables you to use the included AC adapter, or power the camera with an external battery. The lens mount provides you with full electronic control of your favorite lenses. The camera features a beautiful machined aluminum chassis, with a rubberized face and rear panel for grip. Additional camera support can be added without disrupting the fluidity of the design with the separately available Blackmagic Cinema Camera Handles. Three 1/4"-20 threads are situated on the top of the camera for mounting options (there’s a single tripod thread at the base). A detachable sun shield for the LCD is included.

The past few years have been remarkably good for indie filmmakers, and exciting announcements like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera are making things even better. You won’t have to wait long for your cinematic life to improve, because this camera is expected to be available in July 2012, and it’s available for pre-order right now at B&H!

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Image Quality and Performance
Sensor Size 16.64 x 14.04mm - Active: 15.6 x 8.8mm
Sensor Resolution 2592 x 2192 (5.7MP)
RAW Resolution 12-bit RAW files recorded at 2432 x 1366
Shooting Resolutions 2.5K RAW at 2432 x 1366 - ProRes and DNxHD at 1920 x 1080
Frame Rates 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p
Dynamic Range 13 stops
Focus Focus button turns on peaking
Iris Control Iris button automatically adjusts lens iris settings so no pixel is clipped
Lens Mount EF and ZE mount compatible with electronic iris control
Screen Type Integrated 5.0" (12.7 cm) LCD capacitive touch screen
Screen Resolution 800 x 480
Metadata Support Automatic camera data and user data, e.g., shot number, file names, keywords
Controls Onscreen touch menus and physical buttons for recording and transport control
Microphone Integrated mono 
Speaker Integrated mono 
Mounting Options 3 x 1/4" thread mounting points on top of camera, 1 x 1/4" thread tripod mount with locator pin
Type Removable 2.5-inch (6.4 cm) SSD
Format Mac OS Extended format - SSDs can be formatted on any Mac or use Mediafour MacDrive (not included) on Windows PC
Uncompressed Recording Formats RAW 2.5K CinemaDNG
Compressed Recording Formats Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD - 1920x1080 10-bit YUV with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range
Data Rate 5.0 MB/frame in RAW 2.5K fits about 30 min. 24p video on 256 GB SSD, Compressed HD formats fit more than 150 min. video 
SDI Video Output 1 x 10-bit HD-SDI 4:2:2 with choice of Film or Video Dynamic Range, 3.0 Gb/s speed
Analog Audio Input 2 x 1/4-inch jacks for professional balanced analog audio, switchable between mic and line levels
Analog Audio Output 1 x 3.5mm stereo headphone output
SDI Audio Output 4 x channels in HD-SDI
Remote Control 1 x 2.5mm LANC for Rec Start / Stop, Iris Control and Focus Control
Computer Interface Thunderbolt port for RAW video and audio capture, USB 2.0 mini B port for software updates and configuration
Power Source Integrated lithium-ion polymer rechargeable battery
External Power 12-30 VDC port for external battery power or use included 12 VAC adapter
Battery Life Approx. 90 min.
Battery Charge Time Approx. 2.0 hr when not in use
SDI Compliance SMPTE 292M
SDI Audio Sampling 48 kHz and 24-bit
Bundled Software 
Grading  DaVinci Resolve 9.0 including Resolve USB dongle for Mac OS X and Windows
Video capture Media Express for capture from camera’s Thunderbolt port
Monitoring Blackmagic UltraScope for waveform monitoring from camera’s Thunderbolt port
Dimensions 6.54 x 4.47 x 4.98" (16.62 x 11.35 x 12.65 cm), (excluding detachable sunshade and turret dust cap)
Weight 3.75 lb (1.7 kg) 

Thanks for checking out this B&H InDepth announcement. If you have any questions, we encourage you to submit a Comment below.


Hi there, can you please tell me how does the Blackmagic Cinema compair with the Sony FS 100. in terms of Immage Quality, Ease of usage for Documentary and other shoots, cost of lenses, Matboxes, extra baterries etc. i'm trying to decide what camera to buy for my own documentary and general everyday use.


Talal Salem

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is a radically different type of device. It is also brand new so field use of this unconventional camera is still to be determined. Beside a new form factor in cameras, you do get a remarkable image with state of the art software included for what is an astonishing price.

The FS100 is an excellent, albeit conventional camera. It will deliver superb images. It follows well established work flows so suitability for most any production is assured.

The cost of accessories such as lenses, matte boxes would be about the same for both. The cost varies greatly mostly depending on lenses. To compliment these high grade cameras, you should be prepared to get high grade accessories. Such accessories are listed on the respective camera's webpage.

1/4 audio inputs is an odd choice. XLR would have been better, but the small form factor likely negated that choice. Any word on the audio quality, or the ability to control separate channels, monitor sound in the camera, etc? Assuming you could hook up a Beachtech box (or comperable) to this rig if necessary...

I have not heard much on the audio quality of it yet. An external recorder for audio will most likely be very popular just like with the HDSDLRs or possibly an XLR input box, like the Beachtek that you mentioned. What is stated is that you will be able to monitor audio on the camera as well as adjust the levels. I was not able to find if you can adjust each individually but there are two separate 1/4" inputs so it is very likely.

The video from this camera on youtube has an odd pallor to it. Saturation seems low, and color accuracy is off. I'm speaking about the John Brawley test taken at the ocean.  Also, tonal range and contrast is very low. Supposedly this is the way RAW footage is supposed to look...but my RAW still work never looks like that.

It seems to be John Brawley's grading preference, which comes across as odd to me as well.

I feel this grading of a screen grab from one of his tests more accurately depicts what can be done with the footage.

PRE PRODUCTION CAMERA! not the final product judge when the final version is out and in your hands.

The 'flat' image has been shot that way to capture the most dynamic range which gives you more room in post-production to play around with your colour grade without blowing out highlights or crushing the blacks - a choice most professional camera people make when shooting with such cameras.

will it take ef-s lenses because with a 2.4 crop factor even the 16-35 will have a 38.4-84mm which would eliminate any super wide shots even with ef-s the 10-22 would only equate to 24 wide 

From what is currently advertised it will take EF lenses only. There has been no mention of EF-S compatiblity yet.

John Brawley has mentioned in his blog that he used EF-S lenses in his test of the camera.

Some "ef-s" lenses are actually ef, they'll just produce a vignette if you put them on a full frame sensor.  I.e. The tokina 11-16.

Point is, it'd be really stupid if this thing can't take ef-s.

If the mount is the same as an EF, it will take your lens. And the Blackmagic is not a full-frame sensor, so you won't have to worry about vignette.

2 questions from a noob,

1. Is the battery removeable from the camera so you could buy back-up batteries?

2.  can this camera be used to shoot still images? or just video?

im so excited!!!!!!

yeah!!! B&H is the BEST!!!!!!!!!!

The battery is integrated and does not appear to be removeable.  There is a provision (port) fror external DC power however.  Documentation is still very limited but it appears that it is video only.  Of course, still images could be "grabbed" from the video frames in post.

Why would you want stills if it's only a 5MPish sensor?

It is not really meant to be used as a still camera. What Mark was saying in his response is that if you needed to grab a still from it you can in post but it will be at the cameras native resolution. A dedicated still camera is still recommended for taking still photos.

Well, the ability to to shoot stills, or rather individual frames, would make ths excellent for timelapse and composite work combining timelapse and real time shots.  So I hope they Come out with a version with single frame capture. It's always easier to sync different plates from the same camera shot at the same resolution, lens factor etc. especially with the ability to trigger both still image or video record with the same precision. 

What kind of crop factor are we looking at if using EF (Canon) lenses on this small sensor camera?

The crop factor when using the EF lenses will be about 2.4

So can B&H put together suggestions for external battery power? Something like the DSLR kits that various battery manufacturers have. Also a way of going SDI or Thunderbolt into a Zacuto EVF's HDMI in.

Hello Greg-

The Switronix - Powertap BlackMagic Converter Cable w/ XP-L90S Battery and Charger Kit  will provide external power.  I am sure that we will post many more accessories and packages as we near the shipping date for this exciting new camera. Blackmagic offers a converter:  Blackmagic Design SDI to HDMI Mini Converter that may be what you are looking for.