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Blackmagic Cinema Camera shoots 2.5K video, costs $2,995 (hands-on)

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Blackmagic announced the new Cinema Camera today, a cinema camera offering 2.5K video for $2999.95.

Gallery Photo: BlackMagic Cinema Camera hands-on pictures
Gallery Photo: BlackMagic Cinema Camera hands-on pictures

Most of the pro-level cameras we've seen so far at NAB are more than a little out of the price range of the average consumer, but there's at least one option that's slightly more friendly: the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. For $2,995, you'll get the ability to shoot up to 2.5k footage (2432 x 1366), in a variety of different formats designed to work seamlessly with any editing program you can think of. The camera also offers 13 stops of dynamic range (that's in league with the 5D Mark III and the RED Epic), plus a Thunderbolt port, SSD drive port, and a touchscreen LCD that lets you quickly operate the camera, tweak settings, and add metadata to your recordings. It has a sensor about Four Thirds-size, and an EF mount — that means it's compatible with a huge range of lenses from Canon and others, but that there's an inherent crop because of the relatively smaller sensor. Oddly, there's no removable battery, and the Cinema Camera only lasts three hours; reps actually told us that you could hack your own battery system, and might want to.

In our time with the aluminum-built camera, the Cinema Camera felt like a clever hybrid of usability and shooting power. No, you don't get 4K, and it's a considerably smaller sensor than some we've seen, but at $2,995 there's still a lot of bang for your buck, and the Cinema Camera is far more user-friendly for a novice than most cinema cameras we've seen. It also ships with a full copy of the DaVinci Resolve color-grading software, which itself costs $1,000 or more.

The camera's an interesting shift for Blackmagic, which has typically made peripherals and software for high-end cameras and camera professionals; now it's building a camera too. The Cinema Camera seems to be on everyone's lips here at NAB, and we'll be curious to see how it's received when it goes on sale in July.