NAB update: Exclusive interview with Blackmagic Cine shooter John Brawley / Panasonic AF100 successor ‘deleted’…?

Above: DSLRNewsShooter investigates the Blackmagic Cinema Camera on the NAB show floor in Las Vegas

EOSHD spoke to John Brawley today, the pro shooter close to the Blackmagic team and with one of the first prototype cameras. You can see all the footage here

EOSHD: I’m big on anamorphic lenses. The sensor is 4:3 – is the full area usable for recording or does it always crop to 16:9?

JB: It’s 16×9, but I do know that there’s more sensor real estate in there than what they are using. We have discussed the possibility of doing anamorphic. They’re aware that it’s a potential market. I don’t think you’ll see it on this version. I’d also like to see some *overscanning* so I can see things before they’re in frame (like booms etc).

EOSHD: I like and get on well with the sensor size, having shot mostly on the GH2 – do you know who makes the sensor or is that confidential?

JB: Confidential.

EOSHD: Why was that sensor size chosen and not Super 16 or Super 35?

JB: I think they were going for the best compromise between cost and functionality. I think this sensor hit a sweet spot for giving them awesome pictures for a very low price point.

EOSHD: Does the camera have a rolling shutter, or global readout? If it is rolling how is the skew, pretty well controlled?

JB: I believe it has a rolling shutter. Like any camera with a rolling shutter, it’s there if you go looking for it. But it’s no worse to me than any other dSLR camera in this price range. It was the first thing I asked about and wanted to address. But it’s just a simple fact that for a camera with a CMOS sensor at this price point, it’s not something you can just “magic” it away. The rolling shutter is very acceptable and I would happily shoot with it, knowing it was there.

EOSHD: What is the maximum ASA / ISO of the camera?

JB: That’s a work in progress. Right now, my camera goes to ISO 1600 but they plan to make it better.

EOSHD: Is the battery internal – any plans for a battery grip?

JB: It’s internal only. You can easily power the camera externally, and that automatically recharges the internal battery. I’ve been finding my battery lasts for more than 2 hours. They have plans for other accessories, including battery grips and extra control functions.

EOSHD: Is the main hardware spec largely final or will it be tweaked between now and July?

JB: I think it will be largely as it’s specified now, but I’m probably not the best person to ask about that.

(Ed: I’ll contact Blackmagic and request the anamorphic / overscan feature for sure. If you are an EOSHD reader and anamorphic shooter please do the same!)

EOSHD: The mount seems similar to the Metabones adapter for Sony E-Mount in that it can control the iris electronically. Does it also support IS?

JB: I believe they have designed and make their own EF mount. It currently does iris and I believe they plan on doing IS and AF.

EOSHD: Which lens do you recommend out of the 15-85 EFS and 17-55 F2.8 EFS? Both seem a good match to this camera and then 11-16mm Tokina for the wide end.

JB: Wide angle lenses are desirable of course with this sensor. I really like the 15-85, but I hadn’t really used it before I came across this camera. All of those options seem very promising, and could all be a must have lens. Longer is obviously easier. I’ve been using the 24-105 as well as Compact Primes and EF mount Leica R series lenses (which are really special and are what most of the tests have been shot with. Bondi was shot mainly with the 15-85 until it got to night when I switched to the faster primes).

EOSHD: Thanks for the interview John and please press Blackmagic for an anamorphic mode on my behalf!!

Panasonic AF100 successor ‘deleted’?

Panasonic have been awfully quiet at NAB and I’m wondering why they have a new codec with no camera to go with it.

Well…

The well connected editor of 43rumors has told me (and this comes from one of his sources) that Panasonic have deleted the AG AF line. The AF100 had not been selling well and had seen a significant price drop since launch.

Apparently this frees Panasonic up to concentrate on a Super 35mm camera.

But in my opinion the move is too drastic. All Panasonic Pro Video needed to produce is a cutting edge Super 35mm sensor, keep the Micro Four Thirds mount and support for lenses, and have a 4:3 crop mode for those optics whilst using the full sensor for everything else. The form factor could have done with being shrunk, but I for one am sorry we shall probably not be seeing an AF camera for around the $6000 mark again.