Canon 5D Mark III vs. Blackmagic Cinema Camera

Posted in Video by Nathan Lee Bush on September 24, 2012

OneRiver Media has an useful comparison video out comparing graded, simultaneously-shot footage out of the Canon 5D Mark III and the new Blackmagic Cinema Camera. In many ways these cameras couldn’t be more different. Comparing a stills camera with video to a digital cinema camera might seem unfair, except that the cameras are practically the same price, and a substantial portion of 5D shooters use it primarily, if not exclusively, for video, and Canon distinctly marketed it to filmmakers.

So how did they comepare? The achilles heel of the 5D Mark III video has always been softness (though it sharpens nicely in post). Still, the clarity and dynamic range of the BMCC is pretty startling when you see it side-by-side. Especially obvious in the clips is a remarkable ability of the BMCC to hold highlight detail which is long gone in the 5D, and a retention of detail in the shadows. The 5D Mark III still has a low light advantage, owing to its higher ISO range which is remarkably clean (the BMCC tops out at ASA 1600). But the BMCC has such dynamic range, that it nullifies this point somewhat.

It’s hardly surprising that a 12-bit RAW codec and a 2.5k file would hold more detail and information, but its nonetheless impressive what Blackmagic has accomplished in a first generation camera from a company with no previous camera to its name. Such audacious pricing and radical rethinking that shakeup a whole industry are so rare – think iPhone – it’s exciting to watch the action unfold.

Of course, the asterisk in the equation price equation is whether you have the hardware to handle these massive files in post. All our Macbook Pros and Mac Pro towers are certainly capable of it. But if you are using your own gear, you will need top of the line specs and substantial storage requirements to process BMCC footage, even if shooting in ProRes HQ.

Also, be sure to check out Philip Bloom’s exhaustive BMCC review:

We’re still waiting on our BMCC, but can’t wait to put it through its paces. Until then, we’ll eagerly follow the continuing developments online.

One Response

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  1. Brian said, on October 1, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Reblogged this on Brian White Photography.

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