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Blackmagic ILC puts raw video in your pocket

The company famous for its affordable 4K camera announces a $995 compact camera with a Micro Four Thirds lens mount that generates HD Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) and lossless compressed CinemaDNG raw files.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
2 min read
Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic, maker of affordable 4K video cameras, has come up with a really interesting little $995 HD camera designed to appeal to video enthusiasts. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is an interchangeable-lens camera about the size of an enthusiast compact -- at 5x2.6x1.5 inches, it lies somewhere between the Nikon Coolpix A and the Fujifilm X100S -- which couples a 1,920x1,080 Super 16-size sensor (12.48x7.02mm) with a Micro Four Thirds lens mount. The latter is larger than the sensor, but with an adapter you can go nuts with Super 16 cinema lenses. Even better, though, the camera will support lossless 12-bit CinemaDNG files as well as Apple ProRes 422 (HQ). The company rates it with 13 stops of dynamic range. For comparison, that's better than a lot of old pro cameras; the Nikon D800 tests out at about 14.4 stops for stills.

The camera shoots 1080/30p and 24p/25p (as well as the unrounded frame rate variants) with built-in stereo audio. Jacks include headphones and mic input and a LANC terminal, as well as a Micro-HDMI output.

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Blackmagic Design

One potential annoyance: the battery life is rated at about an hour, and it takes more than that (1 hour and 15 minutes) to charge. Meh. The camera takes SDXC cards, though I can't find any information about recommended write speed; it would be interesting to know if there's finally some demand for a Class 10 card, given the camera's bit rate of 220Mbps for ProRes.

I've seen comments about this being a GH3 killer, but that camera also offers reasonable stills. Blackmagic says nothing about still capture, and at 2.08 megapixels I doubt it would deliver generally useful stills. Still, I think it has the potential to shake things up a bit for those buyers as well as people who might instinctively opt for a Canon T4i or T5i.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is slated to ship in July.