New Raw Cameras, Which To Choose?
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Three potentially breakthrough cameras were announced earlier this year, and they all have a few things in common: they record raw video, have 2K or higher resolution, and are priced below $ 7,000.

These cameras are of course: Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera, Digital Bolex, and Kineraw.

As with any camera, each of the three has its advantages and disadvantages, but instead of making a comparison list, I'll highlight some of the important features of each and explain how I chose the three. First, let's take a look at some of the highlights and prices of these cameras:

Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera – $ 3,000

  • 2.5K resolution
  • 13 Stop dynamic range
  • Basic ISO: 800 (expandable to 1600 ISO)
  • RAW Cinema DNG, ProRes, DNxHD
  • Internally records all SSD drive brands
  • Sensor size between S16 and MFT
  • EF and ZE lens compatibility with Iris Control, MFT version available soon with passive holder
  • Internal battery – 2 hour lifespan (works with almost anything with an adapter)

BONUS: Supplied software: DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope

Digital Bolex – $ 3,300

  • 2K resolution at 16: 9
  • 12 stops by DR
  • ISO options 100, 200, 400
  • Adobe Cinema DNG (RAW), TIFF and JPEG image sequences in all resolutions
  • 12 bit – 4: 4: 4
  • Kodak CCD: 12.85mm (H) x 9.64mm (V) – similar to Super 16mm
  • Up to 32 fps at 2K, 60 fps at 720p, 90 fps at 480p
  • 1920-1080 via mini HDMI or 640 x 480 black and white via a video jack (HD-SDI available in a separate unit)
  • Two CF card slots, SSD (buffer drive)
  • Internal battery, 12 V external via 4-pin XLR connector, 12 V DC output
  • C-mount is standard; Optional PL, EF, B4. M, Micro 4/3, tower under development.

KineRaw – $ 6,300

  • Super 35mm CMOS sensor
  • 12-bit linear output for True RAW as CinemaDNG or 10-bit Log90 output for Cineform RAW
  • PL mounting as standard mounting, mounting system for interchangeable lenses with adjustable distance between flange and focal length
  • 2K@23.976fps, 24fps, 25fps, 30fps
  • Both uncompressed True RAW and CinemaDNG as well as GoPro-Cineform ™ RAW
  • 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080p, RGB 8bpc, compatible with third party EVF, LCD and HD monitors.
  • 24-bit depth and 48 kHz
  • 3-pin XLR two channels
  • Two CF card slots, SSD (buffer drive)
  • Internal battery, 12 V external via 4-pin XLR connector, 12 V DC output
  • C-mount is standard; Optional PL, EF, B4. M, Micro 4/3, tower under development.

So we have three very good options.

I will probably blog about each of these cameras individually as soon as I have access to them and take pictures with them on site. I can see that each of the three serves its own purpose, but if I have to choose one, this is: Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Why the BMCC? All three are fantastic options, but for me the Kineraw was ruled out almost immediately. The camera is sure to be a fantastic device and can very well outperform the BMCC in certain scenarios, but the biggest benefit for many when it has the KineRaw is the larger sensor. Coming from a Micro Four Thirds background, I'm used to the smaller sensor format I prefer for working with narrative films. In addition, there are other options for the price of the KineRaw. A used scarlet maybe? Maybe a C100 (not RAW or 2K, but still a great camera).

The other factor is the build quality. The KineRaw appears to be of solid physical construction than the other two cameras, but at $ 3,000 for the BMCC, you can afford two for the price of one KineRaw. Not to mention that cameras are becoming obsolete faster than ever now, and I wouldn't be surprised if all three of these cameras were outperformed by better, equally inexpensive versions around this time next year – maybe even from the same manufacturers. While the build quality is obviously very important, I've never held onto one of my cameras long enough for the physical build to fail. I tend to update early.

And why not the Digital Bolex?

The Digital Bolex took a close second place for me. The price is right, the specs look good, and in fact, I almost pre-ordered one when the Kickstarter campaign launched earlier this year. However, I didn't do it for a couple of major reasons. In terms of value, I think you get a lot more for your money with the BMCC. The fact that it comes with DaVinci Resolve (usually $ 1000 alone) is enormous. I work as a colorist on a regular basis and Resolve is my tool of choice. For me it was a piece of cake. Also, I don't like the form factor of the Digital Bolex. The design is an interesting retro look that is cool but dated very quickly and almost feels like a toy in some ways. For many, this isn't a factor as image quality is really all that matters, but for me it put me off a little. Finally, the Digital Bolex doesn't have any physical features that I find superior to the BMCC. The sensor size is roughly the same, the frame rates are similar and it is recorded at 2K.

That once again left me with the BMCC as my camera of choice. It is the highest resolution of all three, has probably the most dynamic range, and is bundled with DaVinci Resolve. Not to mention the MetaData functions that the camera offers and which I find particularly interesting. Although like each of the three options it has advantages and disadvantages, for me it is the right choice. I'm excited for my camera to arrive, as is everyone else who has ordered one in the past few months. I will be creating a separate blog in the future that will review the camera and specifically focus on your choice of lens mounting options (MFT vs. EF). For me, MFT is the way to go based on all of the lenses I own, but for many, EF may be a better choice.

The good news is, no matter which camera you choose, options now exist. Many of them. Choose the camera that suits your needs and budget, and focus on what really matters – what you put in front of the lens.


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