2021 New Cine Camera Roundup

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Looking to upgrade your video capture as we bid adieu to 2021? Here to brighten up a challenging year is our roundup of the top cine-style cameras introduced during 2021, perfect for creating narrative video content like an indie feature, crafting a documentary, or producing a film-look industrial piece. Each of these cine-style machines has their own feature touches so read on to see which best suits your capture needs.

What exactly makes a camera “cine-style”? Simply put, these cameras maintain the modular configuration and high resolution of the film cameras successfully used for decades in cinema production. Cine-style features include a lens mount that accommodates interchangeable lenses, a robust sensor with a wide dynamic range, the ability to mount a variety of add-on components like a follow focus and matte box, pro level connectors for outputting video for viewing and/or recording, removable recording media, and perhaps an integrated filter wheel.

These new cine-style camera choices include a streamlined, fiber-connected workhorse, a dual-format full-frame/S35 8K entry, an all-in-one camera/gimbal combo rig, and an 6K/8.6K pro duo with an interchangeable full-frame sensor. Several offer interchangeable lens mounts for greater lens versatility and (unlike most of us after months of work-from-home grazing), a couple of these new cameras feature a pared-down, lightweight form. While not all the big players released new cameras this past year, here are the offerings from industry biggies like ARRI, Blackmagic Design, Canon, DJI, Panasonic, Sony, RED DIGITAL CINEMA, and Z CAM (in order of introduction).

Compact 6K Capture with Pro Features: BMPCC 6K Pro

Here in New York, February brought a pile of snow (more than 2 feet) but in balmy Melbourne, Blackmagic Design expanded its cine camera line with the introduction of the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro. Built around a 6144 x 3456 Super 35 sensor, the BMPCC 6K Pro employs the same Gen 5 color science used by the high-end URSA Mini Pro 12K, making it easier to blend footage shot with a mix of Blackmagic cameras.

BMPCC 6K Pro
BMPCC 6K Pro

Features of the BMPCC 6K Pro, designed to facilitate quick, cine-style capture, include in-camera NDs for on-the-go exposure compensation, dual mini-XLR audio inputs, a timecode clock, and a Sony L-series battery slot. A 5" tilting HDR LCD screen displays your image at 1500 cd/m² brightness and offers fast touchscreen camera control. Like the rest of the Blackmagic Design camera line, the BMPCC 6K Pro is built to fit seamlessly into the Blackmagic Raw pipeline, storing camera data, lens metadata, LUTs, color information, and more for downstream use in post-production.

Full-Frame Cine Camera with Mirrorless Style: Sony FX3

The Sony FX3 Full-Frame Cinema Camera debuted in February, as well, bringing high-end video features in a still-camera form. Designed for single-operator, handheld use, the FX3 blends the a7S III’s 12.1MP sensor, 15+ stops of dynamic range, and low-light capabilities with video features like 16-bit raw HDMI output, S-Cinetone color, S-Log2/3 gamut support, 10-bit HLG for HDR capture, and 5-axis image stabilization. A weather-sealed, heat-dissipating housing enables you to record uninterrupted video at rates up to 4K60. The FX3 is designed to be used without a cage and as such features multiple ¼"-20 accessory threads and on-body dials for iris, ISO, and shutter adjustments.

Sony FX3
Sony FX3

Cine-Style Look in Streamlined Broadcast Form: ARRI AMIRA Live

Multicamera use: check; Super35 cine-look imaging: check; broadcast-style operation: check; the ARRI AMIRA Live Premium Camera Set ticks a lot of boxes in outstanding live-event capture. Introduced in March 2021, this update of the AMIRA uses internalized cabling for clean, direct camera docking to the 1800 fiber back end, eliminating the cable spaghetti that is the bane of any camera utility person. The AMIRA Live uses a Super35 sensor identical to those in the ALEXA line that is larger than the typical 2/3" broadcast sensor, enabling you to create broadcast footage with cine-level color science and resolution. Use the AMIRA Live to capture formats and rates including Super16 and Super35 HD, Super35 2K, 3.2K, and UHD4K, and 2.8K ARRIRAW with frame rates ranging from 1 to 200 fps.

ARRI AMIRA Live Premium Camera Set
ARRI AMIRA Live Premium Camera Set

The new 10" VMM-1 Multicam Monitor puts contrast, focus peaking, color, tally, and additional controls at the operator’s fingertips and can be daisy-chained with the CCP-1 control panel.

Compact 6K Capture With Global Shutter: 6K Z CAM E2-S6G

Skewed motion and unfortunate gelatin-like effects are a thing of the past with the Z CAM E2-S6G, thanks to its global shutter that grabs all of the camera sensor information at once instead of reading it in “waves” like a rolling shutter. This variant of the E2-6S shares features with the earlier model like a super-compact form, an interchangeable Canon EF mount, ProRes and ZRAW capture, up to 10-bit 4:2:2 capture, 14 stops of dynamic range, and CFast 2.0 media. Differences include some lower frame rates, including a top rate of 70 fps with the E2-6KG vs the E2-6K’s 120 fps.

Z CAM E2-S6G
Z CAM E2-S6G

Dual-Format 8K VV + 6K S35 DSMC3: THE RED V-RAPTOR

RED DIGITAL CINEMA released its V-RAPTOR 8K VV + 6K S35 camera in a limited-edition white option at the start of September and will follow up with the chic, basic black version, due by the close of 2021. Versatility is the name of the game for this latest RED, with a choice of native full frame, 6K Super35, 3K Super16, VistaVision, and anamorphic formats. The V-RAPTOR offers a locking RF mount compatible with numerous adapters, phase-detection autofocus, and frame rates range up to 120 fps in 8K and to 240 fps in 4K. Pro touches include a right-side interface for your camera assistant, up to 17+ stops of dynamic range, and a durable build. The V-RAPTOR is RED’s intro to the new DSMC3 form, so it has its own array of accessories and is not compatible with most DSMC2 components.

RED V-RAPTOR
RED V-RAPTOR

Full-Frame Box Camera: Panasonic Lumix BS1H

October saw the Panasonic Lumix BS1H Full-Frame Cinema Camera joining the ranks of compact, boxy cine cameras. The petite BSH1 packs a lot into a form less than 4" square, namely a 24.2 MP full-frame sensor, up to 6K raw video output (well, 5.9K, to be exact), and a LAN port for livestreaming your content via RTP/RTSP. With a Leica-L lens mount, the BS1H is a good choice for still shooters who own the similarly equipped DC-S1H, who are moving over to video. PoE connectivity, HLG (hybrid log gamma), timecode, genlock, and both front and rear tally lights are but a few of the pro features packed into the BS1H’s compact form.

Panasonic Lumix BS1H Full-Frame Cinema Camera
Panasonic Lumix BS1H Full-Frame Cinema Camera

Camera/Gimbal Combo: DJI Ronin 4D

DJI’s intriguing 4-axis camera/gimbal combo, the Ronin 4D, was also announced in October and is due to be available in a 6K Zenmuse version by the end of December 2021, with an 8K edition to follow sometime after. Aimed at both indie content creators and pro cine shooters, the Ronin 4D adds a fourth, “Z” axis of stabilization to help smooth vertical moves. This full-frame camera has a DJI DL lens mount, compatible with the existing Zenmuse 24, 35, and 50mm prime lenses plus separately available, interchangeable Sony E and Leica M lens mounts for use with a wide array of pro lenses. Dual-native ISOs of 800/5000 in 6K, integrated ND filters, autofocus, LiDAR focus control, and AMF (Automated Manual Focus) enable solo operators to make on-the-fly adjustments to exposure changes and subject movements.

DJI Ronin 4D 4-Axis Cinema Camera 6K Combo Kit
DJI Ronin 4D 4-Axis Cinema Camera 6K Combo Kit

3-In-1 Camera: Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast G2

While we in the Big Apple were enjoying some colorful November foliage, Blackmagic Design surprised everyone with a reveal of its new URSA Broadcast G2 camera. This flexible 3-in-1 camera is poised to function as an in-the-field, ENG-style camera, as a broadcast studio unit, and as a digital cinema option. It boasts a 6K sensor larger than the original’s 4K version, dual-native ISOs, a 13-stop dynamic range, and Blackmagic’s Gen 5 color science. The URSA Broadcast G2’s interchangeable lens mount offers compatibility with B4 broadcast-style lenses and with an array of glass, thanks to the included Canon EF mount and a separately available ARRI PL mount. Efficient H.265 codec recording for broadcast use, Blackmagic raw output via a USB Type-C port, and dual CFast 2.0 card slots bump up the G2’s recording options.

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2
Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2

6K/8.6K Full-Frame Duo: Sony VENICE 2

We’ll wrap this up with an exciting announcement from Sony: the high-end VENICE 2, which comprises a duo of full-frame cameras with a choice of 6K and 8.6K sensors. The VENICE 2 debuts a new full-frame 8.6K sensor that is interchangeable with the original 6K sensor and a more compact form with (drumroll)… internal recording, meaning you no longer require a separate, external recorder to capture X-OCN (Sony 16-bit raw). The VENICE 2 uses the same ultra-wide S-Gamut3 color space and S-Log3 to match the F65/F55, enabling you to mix cameras on a project. Use the VENICE 2 for 8.6K capture up to 30 fps or 5.8K at rates up to 90 fps. Updates from the original VENICE include simultaneous 12G-SDI and 3G-HDS output, greater LUT output abilities, a built-in mic for recording a scratch track, and more. Due to be available in February 2022, the VENICE 2 maintains the “lens-agnostic” dual ARRI PL/Sony E lens mount for compatibility with an array of cine-style and still lenses.

Sony VENICE 2
Sony VENICE 2

We hope you’ve enjoyed this cine camera roundup way more than 2021, in general, and that you are ready to get creative in 2022.

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