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Blackmagic URSA Mini: Could this be the BM camera i've been waiting for?


4.6K EF preorder:   4k EF preorder:   


4.6K EF preorder:  4K EF preorder: 

Call me tickled, as this is looking to be the camera i've been waiting for Blackmagic to make. The original URSA was far to large and heavy to appeal to me and my uses. This Mini versions comes in at less that a THIRD of the weight: 16lbs vs 5lbs. 

Despite numerous quirks and considerations, the BM cameras put out a darn fine image, and i've been waiting for them to match that image with a more refined camera package. 

And here is the URSA mini 4.6K:

  • 4.6K Super35 Sensor
  • Selectable Gobal & rolling shutter
  • 15 Stops of Dynamic Range
  • 5" Full HD Screen
  • Numerous resolutions & codec options in RAW & Prores
  • Up to 60fps @ 4.6K (some conflicting info)
  • Up to 120fps @ 1080 (also conflicting info)
  • No ND filters
  • 5lb body weight
  • $4995 for 4.6K sensor
  • $2995 for 4K "older" sensor

Those are the key selling points to me, and strong they are. What's an incredible value is the $3K for the older but still great 4K sensor. $2000 just for the new sensor may seem steep, but spec wise 4.6K and 15 stops of DR are competitive with cameras much higher up the price chain. 


Size/Form Factor

On some images, it looks pretty sleek, in others a bit portly, so i'm very interested to try it out in person. I'm just glad they chose a more conventional form factor over the box that their prior cameras are based on.

I've been spoiled by smaller cameras such as the C100, but do miss the ability to have a proper shoulder mount for certain shooting situations. I'm liking the overall form factor, and while 5lbs isn't featherweight, it definitely brings it back into my ballpark, unlike the original URSA

The EVF is an additional $1500 accessory, which at that price it's competing against a fair number of aftermarket EVFs, but with the specs such as Full HD & OLED it seems a safe bet it will be worth the money


Media

CFast 2.0 is moving on up, and it's a good thing, because that price needs to come down. Atomos release some lower cost options, but for real wide ranging adoption to happen, the major manufacturers need to get the price per gb down. Granted, it's a newer technology and more robust, so it takes time, but overall many follks would like to have seen them stick with SSDs, despite their own range of considerations.

I think it would have been interesting to use the m.2 format SSD, but give it a robust enclosure. But that's just another of my crazy ideas.

Connections

 They included the usual suspects as well as additional connections found in cameras higher up in price. It scales back the plethora that the original URSA has, but still pretty complete. The following image has them listed out:


Power

A big question is just how power hungry this fella will be, BM hasn't had the most power efficient cameras to date, but thankfully they sell a V mount plate to fit right on the back. It would seem you could feasibly mount just about any style of battery  12-30v on the rear slope.

Still no ND filters

The single biggest missing feature is built in ND filters, even just 1 would have been very useful. It's understandable though, that BM is still a young company when it comes to cameras, and probably would have taken more R&D and a higher price tag to achieve built in ND filters.

Codecs/Formats

This is where it truely starts to looks useful for me: Wide ranges of options. Because sometimes i want the best the camera can do, other times like for the doc interview i shot this morning, more compression is key. There are a few options for RAW, and many many options for Prores, all the way from 444 XQ, down to standard proxy. For many shoots i would opt for the 422 and 422 LT options.

Final thoughts for now

This is the first BM camera i'm taking a real long look at. I've owned/tried out several of their prior cameras, i loved the image, didn't like various other aspects such as the ergonomics. 

Considering the Price tags of these cameras, my eyes will be following them closely. If i can find a dealer than will take a zero down pre-order, my wallet may find its way out of my pocket.

Added on 2015-04-13 by
Darren Levine

Darren Levine

Stimulus Video

DP/Videographer, Video/Film Editor
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