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Blackmagic Cinema Camera Review - DSLR killer?


Andrew Reid
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[media]http://vimeo.com/53340005[/media]

[i]A version of this review will appear in the UK edition of Mac User magazine. Check out the [url="http://subscribe.macuser.co.uk"]subscription here[/url][/i]

[i]This review is based on the final retail model (not a pre-production camera or loan unit). I pre-ordered from CVP in London back in April. The camera is [url="http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/index.php?t=product/blackmagic_cinema_camera"]currently £2148[/url] at CVP but of course availability is still[/i] unfortunately very [i]limited indeed.[/i]

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera is the most Apple-like camera I have ever used, in fact the only camera. Like the iPhone it stands out on the market as better than the mass market clones, at least on paper.

Is it worth the wait?
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looks good Andrew!
I finally got my hands a BMC Camera today at the BVE North Exhibition today

CVP had a couple on show
I also got to try out a Panasonic GH3 and record onto my SD card
Moire was quite noticable on the shots!
rolling shutter was improved over the GH2
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Thanks for the write-up. Is this the same amusement park that was featured in Joe Wright's [i]Hanna [/i]from last year? Really cool location.

The BMCC is certainly a milestone for indie filmmakers everywhere. What I am curious about is how long it will take another camera to challenge and surpass the BMCC at this price point. With the way that things have been moving lately, it doesn't seem like it would take long at all. I wouldn't be surprised if we have a new contender as soon as NAB 2013.

Also, how are these soon-to-be-released iMacs going to hold up to BMCC workflow? Anyone have any insight?
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Yes same place as used in Hanna. Haven't seen the film yet but my Australian actress is much cheaper than Cate Blanchett. I kept expecting Cate to drop by and offer me some coffee but instead all we got were some security guards and dogs :) I love that place and it needs to be kept as it is not turned into something boring like a media park or nightclub. No idea what the future holds for my dear dead fun park.

More BMCCs please world. This thing is indeed a milestone.

iMac have the new NVidia cards but they are still mobile versions and not as powerful as the desktop versions. Frustrating. They will be better in Resolve than the 2011 models but not as good as a PC.
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[quote name='EOSHD' timestamp='1352854504' post='21575']
iMac have the new NVidia cards but they are still mobile versions and not as powerful as the desktop versions. Frustrating. They will be better in Resolve than the 2011 models but not as good as a PC.
[/quote]

The iMacs are currently the most powerful macs in the market. The Mac Pros haven't seen significant updates in about 3 years, check these benchmarks:

http://www.marketingtactics.com/Speedmark/

And they're not even the latest iMacs.
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The new iMacs even have Desktop GPUs that are only clocked a little lower due to heat issues. If you want a cheap and powerful machine, why not go with a hackintosh? Nofilmschool had a nice article on how to build your own and I built one with their part suggestions. These thing are just as stable as real Macs once you get them up and running successfully and you don't need to be the biggest geek to do it.
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[quote name='Pechente' timestamp='1352857486' post='21579']
The new iMacs even have Desktop GPUs that are only clocked a little lower due to heat issues.[/quote]

Ha. I wish. According to both NVidia and Apple the new iMacs use mobile GPU - the GTX 680MX.

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/notebook-gpus/geforce-gtx-680mx
http://www.apple.com/uk/imac/performance/

(Hence the 'M')

It is cutting edge for a mobile GPU and will run Resolve, but the GDDR RAM is rather limited. You need 3GB for serious CUDA work. Some GTX 690 cards in SLI configuration are also the most up to date Kelper architecture and will be much faster on a desktop PC than the mobile version in the iMac.
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Great review. Dynamic range is my #1 aspiration, so this camera is very appealing.
I'd like to comment on the Windows dilemma. I use Apple mobile devices, and a macbook air. I wanted to build my own computer with high horsepower and top of the line hardware, so i decided to have a custom PC built. I was hesitant because of the old days of Blue Screen Of Death. However, Ive been using the PC for 2 years now with NO problems other than 2 lockups (over 2 years).
I firmly believe if you build (or have built) your own computer with hardware thats reliable then Windows runs smoothly. its when you start dealing with Dells, HPs, etc where alot problems arise. Not sure if its bad hardware or bloatware. This is just my discovery over the past 2 years.
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[quote]They seem to love it. Not hard to see why! [/quote]

I hope Apple don't have any aspirations of buying BMD - that would be a disaster for end-users, both on the hardware and software front...you'd probably need to connect to iTunes before pressing the record button.

Don't underestimate a custom built Windows PC. I took some joy throwing my last remaining Mac into the trash the other day. It looked good, but that was about the only postive thing I could say about it when comparing its performance to even an average Windows PC, let alone the inferior quality of all the internal components and the absurd price tag, availability of parts and iTunes strangulation........screw Apple!

Thanks for the review Andrew, no surprises there regarding the BMCC, but confirmation is appreciated.
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Probably not a good idea to get into a Windows vs Apple debate on a Blackmagic thread but feel free to make a separate one. I am all for the debate. I used to be a Windows user and some of the paragraph in the blog is tongue in cheek - it does sometimes fade into the background and let you get on with the software side, I just really dislike the design of the OS and the reliance on a bundle of crappy drivers whereas on a Mac everything is built in and pre-tested so it just works without issues. Anyway lets get back onto the topic of the cinema camera, it is more worthy of our attention than the merits of PC vs Mac I feel.

My Resolve rig cost only £500, so most will not need to be forced into selling their Macbook Pro in order to fix the issue of Resolve raw editing performance. Just get a good NVidia CUDA card and build the rest of the PC as cheaply as possible. CPU is not the key factor here, the graphics card is. Keep using the Mac for everything else if you're happy with it. This is what I do.

One other piece of PC hardware I can recommend without reservation is the Dell U2711 2.5K LCD... Much cheaper than an Apple Cinema Display and perfect match for the BMCC 2.5K footage. Makes 1080p look rubbish!
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[font=georgia,serif]I really enjoyed this article Andrew. This sort of in-depth coverage is really nice to see and you did it very well. Well done![/font][font=georgia, serif] [/font][font=georgia,serif] :rolleyes:[/font]
[font=georgia,serif]I really believe this camera, with all the coverage it gets, is still [/font][font="georgia, serif"]underrated. I've been totally blown away with its performance.[/font]
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I was excited about this camera until I read Mr Bloom's review and he did indeed take the wind out of my sails. I'm a run and gun type of guy and this camera would not really fit the bill but a c300 is never going to happen ;( waiting for the c100 reviews but perhaps someone can kit this bugger out for run and gun? No ND's and sound are deal killers me thinks.
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