NAB 2012: Blackmagic launches sub-£2,000 digital cinema camera

Blackmagic Design has debuted the Blackmagic Cinema Camera at the NAB show in Las Vegas. Described by Blackmagic as 'revolutionary', the digital cinema camera features 13 stops of dynamic range, a high-resolution 2.5K sensor, a built-in high bandwidth SSD recorder, open file format support, color correction with full version of DaVinci Resolve and a built in LCD with metadata entry.

What's more surprising than Blackmagic entering the camera market is the price: US$2,995 (around £1,892). It's out in July.

Blackmagic says that many current-generation video cameras suffer from a 'video look' due to a limited contrast range, a maximum HD resolution sensor, poor quality optics and lenses, the use of heavy video compression for file recording and poor integration with NLE software metadata management. The company claims that its Cinema Camera has been designed to eliminate these problems, so video pros get a true feature-film look, and at an affordable cost can shoot high end television commercials, episodic television programming and feature films.

The built-in SSD recorder has the bandwidth to capture open standard CinemaDNG RAW, ProRes and DNxHD files for use with Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer. Other features include standard jack audio connections, a built-in high-speed Thunderbolt connection, 3Gb/s SDI output, a refrigerated sensor for low noise, and is fully compatible with extremely Canon EF and Zeiss ZF mount lenses.

The built-in large LCD display aims to make focusing easy, and allows playback of captured files. All camera settings can be changed on this touch LCD, such as framerate, shutter angle, color temperature, dynamic range, focus assist settings and more.

When the user taps the display with a finger, a data entry window called the "slate" appears. This lets the user enter shot information just like typing on a smart phone. This data is then stored in the files so can be accessed by NLE software when editing content later. Metadata is compatible with software such as Final Cut Pro X and DaVinci Resolve.

Blackmagic Cinema Camera includes a built in microphone, as well as external jack based mic/line level balanced audio connections. When playing back recorded clips, a speaker is built in, and there is an included headphone socket, as well as embedded audio on the SDI output and Thunderbolt connection. The SDI output includes all camera data such as timecode, transport control, shutter angle, color temperature setting and ASA information overlaid in attractive antialiased fonts.

The Blackmagic Cinema Camera also includes a full copy of DaVinci Resolve for color correction and Blackmagic UltraScope software for waveform monitoring. UltraScope can be run on a laptop connected to the camera via a Thunderbolt connection.

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