Menu

New Raw Cameras, Which To Choose?

Earlier this year three potentially groundbreaking cameras were announced that have a few things in common: They shoot raw video, they are 2K resolution or higher and they are priced under $7,000.

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

As with any camera each of the three has their pros and cons, but rather than drawing up a comparison list I will highlight some of the important features from each and explain what my choice of the three is. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights and pricing on these cameras first:

Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera – $3000

 

  • 2.5K Resolution
  • 13 Stop Dynamic Range
  • Base ISO: 800 (Expandable to 1600 ISO)
  • RAW Cinema DNG, ProRes, DNxHD
  • Records Internall to Any Brand of SSD Drive
  • Sensor size in between S16 and MFT
  • EF and ZE Lens Compatibility with Iris Control, MFT Version available soon with passive mount
  • Internal Battery – 2 Hour Life (can be powered by almost anything with an adapter)

BONUS: Included Software: DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope

Digital Bolex – $3300

  • 2K Resolution at 16:9
  • 12 Stops of DR
  • ISO Options 100, 200, 400
  • Adobe Cinema DNG (RAW), TIFF, JPEG image sequences, at all resolutions
  • 12 bit – 4:4:4
  • Kodak CCD: 12.85 mm (H) x 9.64 mm (V) – Similar to Super 16mm
  • up to 32 fps at 2K, 60fps at 720p, 90 fps at 480p
  • 1920×1080 via mini-HDMI or 640 x 480 B&W via ⅛” video jack (HD-SDI available in separate unit)
  • Dual CF card slots, SSD (buffer drive)
  • Internal battery, 12V External via 4 pin XLR port, 12V DC output
  • C-mount comes standard; Optional PL, EF, B4. M, Micro 4/3, turret in development.

KineRaw – $6300

  • Super 35mm Sized CMOS sensor
  • 12-bit linear output for True RAW as CinemaDNG, or 10-bit Log90 output for Cineform RAW
  • PL Mount as Standard Mount, Interchangeable Lens Mounting System with adjustable Flange-to-Focal Distance
  • 2K@23.976fps, 24fps, 25fps, 30fps
  • Both uncompressed True RAW as CinemaDNG and GoPro-Cineform â„¢ RAW
  • 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080p, RGB 8bpc, compatable with third party EVF, LCD and HD monitors.
  • 24-bit depth and 48KHz
  • 3-Pin XLR two channels
  • Dual CF card slots, SSD (buffer drive)
  • Internal battery, 12V External via 4 pin XLR port, 12V DC output
  • C-mount comes standard; Optional PL, EF, B4. M, Micro 4/3, turret in development.

So we are left with three very good options.

I will likely blog about each of these cameras individually as I have access to them and start shooting with them in the field. I can see each of the three serving their own unique purpose, but with that said if I have to choose one it is: Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Why the BMCC? All three are fantastic options, but for me the Kineraw was ruled out almost immediately. The camera will surely be a fantastic device and may very well outshine the BMCC in certain scenarios, but the biggest benefit for many in having the KineRaw is the larger sensor. I come from a Micro Four Thirds background and as such am used to the smaller sensor format, which I prefer for narrative film making work. Additionally for the price of the KineRaw there are other options out there. A used Scarlet perhaps? Maybe a C100 (not RAW, or 2K but a great camera nonetheless).

The other factor is build quality. The KineRaw looks like it may have a more solid physical build 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 outdated faster than ever these days and I wouldn’t be surprised if this time next year all three of these cameras are being out-shined by better, equally cost effective versions – maybe even by the same manufacturers. Although build quality is of course very important, I have never held on to any of my cameras long enough that the physical build gave out. I tend to upgrade early.

And why not the Digital Bolex?

The Digital Bolex came in a close second for me. The price is right, the specs look great and in fact I almost pre-ordered one when the Kickstarter campaign launched earlier this year. I didn’t for a few main reasons though. In terms of the value, with the BMCC you get much more for your money in my opinion. The fact that it comes with DaVinci Resolve (Normally $1000 on it’s own) is huge. I work regularly as a colorist and Resolve is my tool of choice. For me this was a no-brainer. Additionally, I don’t love the form factor of the Digital Bolex. the design is an interesting retro kind of look which is cool, but will become dated very quickly and almost makes it feel like a toy in some ways. For many this won’t be a factor as the image quality is really all that matters, but for me it deterred me slightly. And finally, the Digital Bolex doesn’t have any physical features that I find superior to the BMCC. The sensor size is about the same, frame rates are similar and it shoots at 2K.

So once again, that left me with the BMCC as my camera of choice. It is the highest resolution of all three, will likely have the most dynamic range and is bundled with DaVinci Resolve. Not to mention the MetaData features the camera offers that I find particularly interesting. While like any of the three options, it has it’s pros and cons, for me it is the right choice. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my camera as is everyone else that ordered one in the past few months. I will do a separate blog in the future reviewing the camera and specifically focusing on your choice of lens mount options (MFT vs. EF). For me, MFT is the way to go based on all of the lenses that I own, but for many EF may be the better choice.

The great news is no matter which camera you choose, there are options now. Lots of them. Pick the camera that suits your needs and budget and focus on what really matters – what you put in front of the lens.

 

About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

8 Comments

  • John
    September 22, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Great article and thanks for the info! I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a new camera for ages now – one that shoots RAW – and I think this article has helped me make up my mind…Blackmagic, baby!

    Reply
  • Hani Baayoun
    January 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Blackmagic

    Reply
    • Noam
      January 23, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Blackmagic indeed.

      Reply
  • Shaun
    March 15, 2013 at 3:19 am

    The Bolex’s CCD vs CMOS is a pretty big deal. The D-16 also has many more available cine-lens options because it’s C-mount. And it records on dual CF cards, which is relatively cheaper than SSD’s. At that price range, and for the customer demographic, I don’t think 12 stops of DR is much different than 13 stops on the BMCC. Oh and also, XLR inputs! yay!

    Reply
    • Shaun
      March 15, 2013 at 3:27 am

      not to mention the battery being really efficient too!

      Reply
      • Noam
        March 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm

        Yes the Bolex definitely has some advantages – I’ve been keeping my eye on it and have been quite impressed with the recent additions/news from them. That said though. I do now have my BMCC and it has really exceeded my expectations. Will be posting a review on it shortly.

        Reply
  • avatar
    June 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    Great information. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon).

    I have book-marked it for later!

    Reply
    • Noam
      July 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      Thanks for visiting!

      Reply

Leave a Reply