When I lived in L.A., I regularly attended the NAB (National Associate of Broadcasters) Show in Las Vegas. It’s the annual product show where broadcasters, hardware and software manufacturers and production equipment vendors show off their new tools. Often featuring new cameras, recording products, NLE (Non-Linear Editing) packages (i.e. Final Cut Pro), lighting, grip and audio equipment.

Last year, NAB was flooded with products touting 4k capture/acquisition including cameras, capture cards, displays etc, but the one product no one expected that stood out in the crowd was the Blackmagic Cinema camera. A camera that shot 2k RAW and ProRes422 compressed images for $2995.

I like to rent equipment before deciding whether or not to invest in owning one especially when deciding on hardware costing thousands of dollars. Luckily, I was able to rent a Blackmagic Cinema Camera from Hawaii Photo Rental for a short documentary I recently shot on the Big Island of Hawaii for Hawaiian Airlines.
Check out the project here: Refined by Fire

Camera specs and online video examples are great, but it’s always preferable to see how a camera actually functions for you. I often have assignments that require me to capture shots quickly and inconspicuously, so having a light and nimble camera is essential, as is being able to operate it by myself. Also, I regularly shoot with multiple cameras including the Sony FS100 and Canon 5DmkIII, so I need to make sure that I can acquire images that will compliment the other cameras. This documentary project was a great real life project to test the three cameras side by side and compare image quality and usability.

The amount of technology Blackmagic crammed into their body, only slightly larger than a DSLR is/was amazing. Allowing users to record 12-bit RAW or ProRes directly to SSD cards in a rugged metal body, with sturdy professional audio inputs and a large on-camera display was a huge feat, but I still decided to hold off on the buying it.

After shooting with my FS100 and Canon DSLRs over the years, the sensor size was just a little too small for my liking. Low light footage resulted in grainy images compared to the high ISO captures on my 5DmkIII and FS100 and getting lenses to compliment it was rather difficult. I know many love it, but I decided to hold off for version II.

And YES version II is finally here!

The new Blackmagic Production Camera 4k has been announced and it a giant step in the right direction for this company. Here are some of the specs:

• 4k or Ultra HD TV recording
• Super 35 Sensor
• Global Shutter
• CinemaDNG RAW or ProRes422 (HQ) file recording
• Built in touchscreen monitor
• EF mount optics
• Records to SSD
• 4k 6G-SDI technology
• $3,995
• Available in July

If that wasn’t enough. They’ve also introduced a second camera today: the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Here are some of the specs:

• Pocket Sized Body
• Super 16 sensor
• 13 stops of Dynamic Range
• Micro Four Thirds™ lens mount
• Records to SD Card
• CinemaDNG RAW or ProRes422 (HQ) file recording
• $995
• Available in July

I’m guessing this is just the first of many great announcements at NAB this year, but this is the one I’ve been waiting for!