By site editor Dan Chung:
TheCinema Camera is now shipping, some online reports claim. Sadly Dslrnewsshooter has not been given the opportunity by to test this camera – unlike several other blogs. We are still not sure why despite approaching the company several times. Our technical editor Matt Allard has ordered the camera and will be giving his impressions when he gets one.
We had a chance to play with the camera body at NAB, Broadcast Asia and BIRTV, but not to record footage. My assessment of the camera so far is based only on those experiences and the reports of early testers online. I would especially recommend readers take a look at the first impressions of my friend Vincent Laforet on his blog.
Also worth a look is the footage below by Frank Glencairn comparing the camera to the his blog.in low light. Frank also has some interesting observations on
My assessment so far
At first glance the Cinema Camera ( ) does not have too much to offer the news or documentary shooter. Ergonomically it doesn’t come close to a or . It doesn’t have built-in Neutral Density filters and you would never choose to shoot RAW for a quick turnaround assignment. Thanks to the sensor size combined with an EOS lens mount there is no easy run and gun lens solution for the – lenses are either too cropped or too short in range. If the camera had a Micro 4/3 lens or PL mount this would have been far less of an issue.
So is there any point using thein a news or documentary setup? Actually, I think there is, but perhaps not as a main camera.
I’ve long been an advocate of multi-camera shooting and when the Canonwas my primary camera I also used cameras like the and 60D alongside it. Why? Partly due to cost and partly because those cameras had a differently cropped sensor. While the small sensor on the BMCC is a disadvantage for everyday shooting, it is a big plus when it comes to telephoto lens work. Your everyday 70-200mm f2.8 becomes the equivalent of an amazingly long lens in a compact package when you put it on the BMCC. At the moment I either carry a huge 400mm f2.8 super telephoto with my C300, or a separate Canon camcorder for those distance shots. I would happily replace this with a BMCC and a 70-200.
The fact you are using a 70-200mm for such work means you can use front mounted ND filters easily enough – although I would steer clear of low quality ND fader filters as they are likely to soften the image too much. For those long shots the poor ergonomics of the camera are less of a disadvantage as the camera needs to be mounted on a sturdy tripod anyway. It is not clear if the image stabilisation in Canon lenses will work with the BMCC at this point. If you want to get a feel for how good this might look, take a look at the long lens shots half way through this test video by Rick Young.
For Canon users the EOS mount also makes putting the BMCC into your system a cinch. Nikon lens users will only need a simple lens adapter to make things work. (According to reports EOS lenses don’t report aperture on the camera’s display in current firmware – it simply allows you to open and close it without stating a value).
The internal battery life is problematic but if it’s not your main camera then the two or so hours worth of shooting it gives will probably get you through the day. You can of course add an external battery solution.
Audio is not great for a news and documentary camera out of the box, but for long lens shots a simple top-mounted, battery-powered shotgun mic and/or radio mic will probably suffice.
The BMCC can also be set to shoot 1080P Prores instead of RAW. This can be a huge timesaver and fits better with my workflow. The Prores file is still sufficiently detailed and gradable that it should be cuttable with other cameras like the C300.
With a body price at $2995 it is actually quite affordable – at the moment the only other camera with built in Prores recording is the Arri Alexa. For straight-to-edit long lens shots I reckon the BMCC + 70-200mm f2.8 combination is actually unbeatable right now in its price range. Putting a 300mm f2.8 or 200-400 zoom on a C300 or/700 is going to cost you a lot more and be far less portable. For that reason alone, I’m considering making the BMCC part of my future kit for news and documentary work.