Jump to content

4K is here! Blackmagic Production Camera Review


Andrew Reid

Recommended Posts

  • Administrators



Sample footage! You can '>download the full resolution 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD file from Vimeo here if you're a 'Plus member'.

Keep an eye open for my Production Camera review in a forthcoming issue of Mac User magazine available at all good newsagents in the UK.

I am currently shooting 4K with the Blackmagic Production Camera on loan from their British office which features a global shutter and Super 35mm sensor for $3000. Yesterday I found myself at an aeropark built in 1930's Berlin, thanks to a suggestion from Lars Rehm of DPReview who also finds himself in Berlin for some reason! The girls are shot opposite an old wind tunnel and a giant egg shaped concrete structure which the Germans used to test the aerodynamics of fighter planes in, until the Russians came and nicked the fan. Part of the wind tunnel still has an inscription from the invading Russian forces noting that it's "free of mines" which cleared the way for them to take all the advanced technology back to the Soviet Union with them.

Today the aeropark is part of a university campus and parts of the Charlize Theron movie Aeon Flux were shot there. This shoot was my own experiment and not a commercial one.

Read the full article here
Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice review thanks.

 

I've been very curious about this camera having used their previous cameras on professional shoots. You are right in what you say - this camera is not for everyone and only really for a studio/location based set with a crew and rig. And the data rates, oh my!

 

I like the image but definitely won't be purchasing one, and I like what Blackmagic are doing but the cameras do feel like prototypes. Many people are getting excited about the price but forgetting that data, accessories, and your precious time will eat you up. And poo you back out.

 

Its a bright future for them, but they MUST get these drawbacks right, even if the price increases. In this market, I see the GH4 and the KineMini 4k much more attractive options.

 

Keep going BMD, hope you surprise us again!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

This is an amazing achievement for Blackmagic. When they start working on usability and ergonomics, they will dominate the world! (A bit exaggerating but you get the point)

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the review I have been waiting anxiously for, checking back every day!  It did not disappoint.  It's a great balanced review, covering the pros and cons, as well as, the best applications for this camera.  Thanks, Andrew!

 

It appears Blackmagic again came up with a camera that is unmatched for a filmic look in this price range, and quite a bit above its price.  I really love the look of the footage.  As Andrew points out, though, there is a heavy price to pay for using this camera beyond the purchase price, that will have to be weighed by the potential purchaser.

 

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed the read, well worth the wait. Good info on shooting in video mode, makes sense. Forget the cost, rigged up on a jib or dolly in a studio setting it sounds like it'll be hard to beat. Maybe that's why they call it a production cam, studio production? But with adequate light this cameras a winner in any environment. I like the way images move on this camera, it's very cinematic to me. And for the price, it's certainly something to consider. Not to sound like a jackass but I'm excited to see what BM has up its sleeve in versions II and III. Does seem like there's a lot of room for improvements. Thanks

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent review as always. Confirmed what I was expecting.

 

For my personal stuff, I'm much more interested in the GH4. Much better functionality in my opinion. Do you expect to review the GH4 soon? Also, you should consider having a tip jar. I would definitely throw some money your way. These reviews are extremely helpful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrew do you think you could have shot the same quality, as seen on Vimeo of course, with a GH3 or BMPCC in that video.  What effect did you get with the 4K camera, that we could see in the Vimeo clip, that you could not get with your other equipment?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Administrators

By Vimeo clip do you mean 1080p?

 

4K to 1080p creates a very fine image. It will look crisper than the GH3 with better colour. Better than BMPCC even. However you need to make sure you shoot within the limits of the 12 stops dynamic range and the lower native ISO of 400.

 

Of course, if you're watching Vimeo on your phone, who needs to shoot 4K? There's always a way of viewing something where having better Image quality is somewhat wasted.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Administrators

Nice demonstration. 

The making of shot on 5d3 raw looked pretty good as well.

Did you get a chance to do any comparisons between them?

 

That's 5D2 raw with the Mosaic Engineering AA filter. Not bad hey? Volker has a great eye.

 

Haven't compared the BMPC 4K to much yet. It's tough to compare a 4K camera to a 1080p one. They are different. Like comparing a 50mm lens to a 25mm lens :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the excellent review Andrew.

 

As you mentioned, the highlights look harsh. One of the main differences between film and video look is film's amazing wide range of latitude in handeling highights. Unfortunatly, it seems that both GH4 and BMPC has problem is this particular area!

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's 5D2 raw with the Mosaic Engineering AA filter. Not bad hey? Volker has a great eye.

 

Haven't compared the BMPC 4K to much yet. It's tough to compare a 4K camera to a 1080p one. They are different. Like comparing a 50mm lens to a 25mm lens :)

 

Ah yeah, so it is the mark ii.  I wondered why the resolution he stated was 1872x850.

 

You are right that the bmpc is basically in a category of its own in terms of the unique things it offers.  But the usability issues and the low light incapabilities prevent it from having a landslide victory in my view. 

Plus I would be downscaling 4k to HD myself anyway, which is why i think the 5d3 is still a relevent contender for someone like myself who is thinking of buying at the moment.  

 

An aside on 4k in general: I saw the wolf of wall street at the cinema this week and from the 2nd row i could see the individual pixels on a presumably 2k screen.  So i do think 4k delivery is superior, but i recon i was the only person in the cinema who noticed or would care. So i think that getting to the point where 4k is seen as essential is going to be a long long road. 

 

So for me I would just see 4k as oversampling for now.  I'm more interested in the overall look of the image.   And the bmpc and 5d3 look the main contenders in this regard at this price point, and i can't afford both which is why I'm particularly interested in a comparison.  But i'll wait to see what the gh4 cine-like profiles look like and also anything else that comes at nab before making a decision.

 

 

If you were to do a comparison I would maybe suggest the following, if I may be so bold:

 

1.Comparison with both cameras at 400 iso in daylight and in low-light

2. Comparison with both cameras at native iso for their maximum dynamic range in daylight and in low-light.  100iso for 5d3 and 400iso for bmpc with exposure reduced in bmpc to compensate.  (one comparison i saw between 5d raw and bmcc didn't do this which gave an advantage to the 5d3 in the highlights)  

3.Then maybe one more extreeme low light comparison with the 5d3 at 1600 iso or something with bmpc at 400 or 800. showing first out of camera and then with the brightness brought up to match.

 

My guess is that the bmpc will have better resolution obviously,  but that the 5diii raw will have far less noise.

Dynamic range and colour will be what is interesting to compare.

 

Either way I look forward to seeing any further work you do.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't bothered reading the review, -I didn't feel the need after watching the movie and to me it really shows how the camera is delivering a moving still photograph.  In this piece you have created a really interesting look - one that I'd love to see more often.

 

The posing with living movement is lovely.  It would work incredibly for artistic life photography, dynamically lit.  Looped as a digital artwork.  Or an artwork that captures a subtle movement like that from trees blowing in the wind in a beautifully composed landscape shot.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For 3 grands is plenty good.

 

It offer a range of features that DSLR do not have. With the right adapter you can use the lenses that you already have, add the rig you use already on your dslr and you are all set.

The skin tones on your test looks beautiful.

On other tests that i saw, the dynamic range lacks a little and the highlights roll off leave a bit to be desired.

Yet you can get a great look.

For 3 grands, there is quite a lot to work with.

 

Ergonomics are a good topic when you write a review, but on real life, you get on and get the job done.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent review, thanks for posting.

 

"Currently I get just 45 minutes of footage per 256GB SSD in 4K mode. You wouldn’t believe how much this adds over the year, until you have no option but to do the unthinkable and make compressed copies and delete the masters. Because let’s face it – who with $3000 to spend on a camera has $20,000 per year to invest in storage?"

 

Amen, Brother! Bring on the H.265....!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Administrators

Very sorry for my political previous post, but my ancestry killed by Soviets turn in grave. It was not so long ago.

 

No problem. Those who wish to discuss these sensitive issues (constructively please) can do so here: '?do=embed' frameborder='0' data-embedContent>>

 

But please no more in this thread as it is not the right topic. All of that has been moved to the new thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...