Well not dead perhaps, but DSLR has had its day. The nail in the coffin came from the new Black Magic Cinema Camera released this week (RRP $3k USD from July). It captures 2.5K (2432 x 1366) 12bit RAW footage with a claimed 13 stops of dynamic range on a sensor that is, at 16.64 x 14.04mm. It has a Canon EF mount and the compact body includes a capacitive touchscreen and a Thunderbolt connection. Aside form the sub £1k DSLR cameras like the 550D, I can see no reason to invest in a DSLR like the Canon 5D MkIII today.
Key features include
- High resolution 2.5K sensor allows improved anti aliasing and reframing shots.
- Super wide 13 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
- Built in SSD allows high bandwidth recording of RAW video and long duration compressed video.
- Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software such as CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW, Apple ProRes and Avid DNxHD. No custom file formats.
- Includes no custom connections. Standard jack mic/line audio in, BNC 3 Gb/s SDI out, headphone, high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology, LANC remote control and standard DC 12-30V power connection.
- Capacitive touch screen LCD for camera settings and slate metadata entry.
- Compatible with extremely high quality Canon EF and Zeiss ZF lenses.
- Supports 2.5K and 1080HD resolution capture in 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 fps.
- Thunderbolt connection allows direct camera capture via included Media Express software and supports live waveform monitoring via the included Blackmagic UltraScope software.
- Includes a full copy of DaVinci Resolve 9.0 color grading software.
So would I buy one the Black Magic cameras? No. Not unless I needed a camera for work, say for corporate jobs where the kit would be used regularly – essentially repaying the investment within a year. For me, it’s better to borrow or rent one in short bursts, choosing to invest (if I have the money) in good quality lenses. All that said, adding free powerful grading software to the mix is a stroke of genius for Black Magic.
I look forward to seeing some real world footage though, to see how it performs when used ‘in anger’.
Remember, don’t get sucked into the fetish of kit – cameras and technology are all cool, but great stories, great scripts, great performances – this is what REALLY launches careers and drives audiences to your work. Sure, make it look pretty, but make sure you have substance to back up the sizzle.
Onwards and upwards!