First Hands on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera – Test Diary

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A few days ago, Blackmagic contacted me, and asked, if I would like to give their new Cinema Camera a test ride.
Of course I want. This here will be a diary of my findings and opinions.
So if you are curious in that camera, stop by frequently and read the latest updates.

DAY 1. – THE EAGLE HAS LANDED

The friendly UPS guy just dropped this on my doorstep.

Unfortunately I still have to edit this commercial, so I don’t have much time to play with the BMC today.
But during a little render pause, I slapped an Nikon adapter and a 35mm Samjang on it, and gave it a first glance.
What really stroked me, when I looked at that few seconds I shot, was the DOF.

Having the sensor size in mind, I was prepared for much deeper DOF, like 16mm film.
But when you come from Super 35 and not from a FF-sensor, the difference is much less, than I thought.
Even at f2.8 or f4, it’s still very nice, and not any videoish.

FOR THE RECORD:
This is my first and last unboxing video ever …. I mean it, really.
I did it just because I had a ton of requests bombing my mailbox.

Have fun with it guys.

DAY 2 – Breaking out the big guns

As you might know, I have a nice set of vintage (late 1960s) Zeiss primes.
I think they complement the BMCC very well, if you are out for an organic look.

Lowlight anyone?

Here is a quick and dirty low light test between two thunderstorms.

800 ISO on a Tokina 12-24 f4 at 12mm (hence the muddy edges).

If you want to play with it, here is the DNG frame:http://www.eoshd.com/comments/topic/1196-frank-glencairn-blackmagic-low-light-test/

DAY 3

Bunch of DNGs to play with.
Download here: http://www.filedropper.com/dng

Day 4

Prepping for a lowlight (candles, oil lamps and skintone) shootout between BMC and FS100.
And yeah, I know this is cruel, but I guess a lot of you guys want to know how the BMC holds up against the official “Queen of the Night”

BMCC vs FS100 Lowlight Shootout

Sorry for the shaky footage at the FS100 part, but it started raining and I just grabbed the Fs100 and shot the rest hand held in a rush.
I used a Samyang 35mm f1.4 at f2.8 and a Heliopan IR/UV filter.

Lighting was the oil lamp on the table, a oil lamp about 8 ft away on the wall and a garden torch in the background.

Changing the ISO on raw, doesn’t make any difference, it`s just metadata (that`s the reason I just used 800 ISO), but makes a difference while ProRes recording.

Of course I could have gone way higher with the ISO on the FS100, but why compare ISO 16000 to ISO 800?
Regarding the speed of the camera, the FS100 wins hands down because of way higher usable ISO. It’s the queen of the night, period.
But the BMC gets a way nicer image out of 800 ISO, than the FS100.

The grading was done pretty rudimentary. If I had used masks and secondary grading, I could have get even more out of it.
But this is just to give you guys an idea, what to expect.

Here we go:

Edit: just saw it looks awful on Youtube. I make the file downloadable and also try Vimeo.

Vimeo version sould be online any minute: http://vimeo.com/48407841

I recommend to download the original file there

And here are some of the original frames, when you want to play with that:
http://www.filedropper.com/voodoo

Split window comparison.

As you can see, the BMC holds the highlight of the oil lamp much better, than the FS100.
Whereby the Sony can see the dark blue sky. Skintones a bit nicer on the BMC though.

DAY 5 Country Fair

Played with a 12-24 f4 Tokina and a 50mm 1.2 Nikon today.
I really like the “richness” of the color, I can get out of the BMCC.
Grading was a breeze.
But I found, that handholding this camera is not for me.
A lot of the material I shot today, is pretty shaky.
It really needs some sort of tripod, slider, cinebag, crane or at least a well balanced shoulder rig IMHO.

…to be continued.

Frank