Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Blackmagic Design 4K Production Camera price shock

I went along to BVE 2014 at the Excel in London today and made a B-line (bee-line?) for the Blackmagic Design Stand to explain why I was a trifle miffed (British mid-level anger) about the non-arrival of my 4K Super 35 Production Cinema Camera, ten months after I ordered it.

And there it was. Not my camera of course, but a living, breathing, full production version sitting on a Manfrotto tripod aimed at a miniature fairground. I took in the scene and then my eye caught the most amazing figure in front of the camera; no, not a gorgeous model but the price of the camera.

Hang on. This was over £3,000 including the government's 20% cut just a week ago, and it's now £19 cheaper than a brand new Canon 5D MKIII body! So what has happened, or to my suspicious mind, what is missing? 

Well the first thing that's missing is compressed RAW recording which is promised to arrive later (as it did in the 2.5K) and Avid DNxHD which won't because Avid still don't have a codec that works with 4K. And... well nothing else. DaVinci Resolve colour grading software is still included, the sensor hasn't been changed, there is still a 6G-SDI output and the picture looks great. In fact the industrious James Miller has already compared the quality of the BMPCC with the Canon EOS 1D C here and it really cuts the mustard as we say in Blighty.

I have felt that this camera was going to miss out on the impact it made at NAB and with the Digital Bolex (kind of) available and the Panasonic GH4 launching that may have been the case before Grant Petty dipped into the BM Design piggy bank and made Christmas come late for all of us, by making this camera the bargain of the decade.

I ordered mine on 26th April 2013 about 2 nano-seconds after it was announced and I am still 30th on the list of orders at CVP, but I am hopeful that I might get it before the UK sinks again or the US freezes over. I might even be able to film Great Britain in the sun. Now how to spend that £1000...

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