“DSLR Killer” Too Good to Be True?

I went to NAB last week, mainly for biz dev meetings for my company, but managed to get a look at some of the new toys as well.

The New Blackmagic Cinema Camera - 2.5K, 13 stops, takes Canon lenses, $3k

My team has shot quite a few projects over the past few months with Canon DLSR cameras, such as the 5D.  On the plus side, you can use a wide range of Canon lenses to get rich, cinematographic looks very inexpensively, and for the $ the 1080p image quality is quite decent.  On the minus side, the 5D isn’t really designed for video production at all, from both a form-factor and feature perspective. I don’t expect a whole lot of innovation from Canon on the DSLR side of things, as they would like us pros to move up to their much more expensive, and higher quality, C series cameras (which I also had a look at during NAB — they look rather impressive).

Blackmagic Design has put out some stellar products over the years, but as a friend pointed out “they’re not known for putting out quality 1.0 releases.” That caveat having been said, I can honestly say I’m pretty stoked about the potential for the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which they debuted last week at a massive NAB booth, the footprint of which used to belong to Apple before they quit the farm and became the iPhone company.

You can monitor your shot here, and simultaneously with an external client monitor via HD-SDI

If this camera does what it’s advertised to do, it will solve every major complaint I have about DSLRs in video production.  Better image quality, form factor, connections to external devices such as a client monitor, SSD storage — and my company can use the wide range of Canon lenses we’ve purchased (several more expensive than the 5D itself BTW).  On the surface, this looks like a no-brainer.

I expect to have one in my hands in July to try for myself.  Anyone have any thoughts on what might prevent replacing a 5D with one of these?

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6 thoughts on ““DSLR Killer” Too Good to Be True?

  1. I heard whispers of this camera… but did not know until your article that it supports Canon lenses. That is a huge deal, since I have n investment in canon already. And the price isn’t TOO bad at $3K, although that’s high enough that I might be inclined to wait and hear some field reports before making the leap.

    1. I might be inclined to wait and hear some field reports before making the leap.

      I couldn’t agree more. Another item of concern to me is workflow compatibility with Premiere Pro, as you can only capture RAW, ProRes422, or DNxHD.

  2. For some people the “small” 4/3rds sensor may be a deal breaker given that it will crop your lenses and not have the insane shallow DoF that is overused by a lot of the 5D crowd.
    For those just shooting for beauty and dont plan to push the image much beyond that, i think that crowd will stick with the 5D

    However, i am pretty excited about this camera and getting footage that isnt 8bit highly compressed footage.
    Also from a VFX perspective I think it could be a great camera just to “have around” if you want to shoot some elements or plates. Looking forward to some higher framerates though

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