This article is a comparison of the specifications of the Blackmagic Design URSA, Sony FS7, Canon C100 Mark II and the JVC GY-LS300 , with currently available information – to know how they fare against each other. I have left out the CION because I have done this comparison already.

Here are our contenders:

Important: Some of the information is unverified. Some are just rumors. Therefore, don’t take this comparison seriously. Don’t take the prices or the specifications seriously either. For accurate information please consult manufacturers’ websites and data. Don’t take any decisions based on this comparison.

The basics

Let’s start with the camera bodies:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Price of Camera body $5,995 (EF), $6,495 (PL) $7,999 $5,499 $4,450
Included Accessories /Software* Turret Dust Cap, 12V AC Adapter, Tripod mounting plate adapter, Resolve 11 Body Cap, Viewfinder, Eyepiece, Grip Remote Control, Wireless LAN USB Module (IFU-WLM3), Wireless Remote Commander, WA Adaptor Bracket, MPA-AC1 AC Adapter, SOBCU1, BP-U30 Lithium-Ion Battery, 2 x Power Cord, USB Cable Handle Unit, Thumb Rest, Tripod Base, Shoulder Strap, BP-955 7.4V Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (5200mAh), CA-940 Compact Power Adapter, AC Cable, DC Cable, Data Import Utility Ver. 1.0 Handle Unit, Battery, AC Adapter Shotgun Mic
Warranty

12 months

Lens Mount Active EF mount, PL mount (B4 mount coming soon) Sony E mount Active EF mount Active Micro Four Thirds
  • *The list of accessories is not complete. 

The JVC LS200 is the cheapest, though the Ursa and C100 aren’t far behind. Ursa gets you different lens mount options and Resolve 11. The JVC does the same but you’ll need to buy an adapter; and it gives you a free shotgun mic. The C100 and FS7 gets you a viewfinder.

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Comparison of sensors

Here’s how the camera sensors compare:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Sensor 21.12mm x 11.88mm Super 35mm 24.6mm x 13.8 mm Super 35mm
Horizontal Crop Factor based on FF 35mm 1.7 About 1.5*** 1.5 About 1.5***
Required lens resolution 182 lpmm 175 lpmm*** 78 lpmm 175 lpmm***
Maximum Resolution 3840×2160 4096×2160 1920×1080 3840×2160
ISO Range Not announced (200-800*) 1500-16000** 320-102400 0-24 dB^
Shutter

Global [li rolling

  • *Based on the manual
  • **Based on -3 to +18dB Gain setting at a base ISO of 2000.
  • ***This are rough estimates.
  • ^Can’t calculate ISO without a base, but we’re seeing a 4-stop range, so it won’t be anywhere near the C100

Let me put it this way. If you wanted a 50mm full frame (35mm) equivalent, you’d need these focal lengths:

  • Ursa – 30mm
  • The others – 33mm

To get a 21mm, you’d need:

  • Ursa – 12mm
  • The others – 14mm

The differences are not significant. You would need top quality lenses for all cameras to really make 4K shine. The C100 Mark II sensor also reads 4K, but only gives you 1080p. So the lenses don’t have to be as good.

The C100 Mark II wins hands down in low light here. I think you can shoot at 20,000 ISO if you wanted to, with usable footage.

The Ursa has one advantage – global shutter. The others have rolling shutters.

What is important? High ISOs or resolution? If it’s only the former, the C100 wins. If it’s the latter, then the FS7 offers the most choices. If it’s both, get the Sony A7s!

Based on sensor size, resolution and overall ISO performance, this one goes to the Sony FS7 (Anyone notice the model code’s resemblance to the A7s?).

Comparison of video features

What kind of 4K do you get anyway?

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Frame rates at 4K 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 60p 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, 59.94p None 23.98p, 25p, 30p
Frame rates at 1080p 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, 60p, 50i, 59.94i, 60i^ 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, 60p, 50i, 59.94i 23.98p, 25psf, 29.97psf, 50p, 59.94p, 50i, 59.94i 23.98p, 24p, 25p, 29.97p, 30p, 50p, 59.94p, 60p, 50i, 59.94i
Claimed Dynamic Range 12 stops 14 stops 11 stops?* 11 stops?*
Internal Recording Formats/Codecs Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) XAVC-I, XAVC-L and MPEG-2 AVCHD, MP4 H.264 AVC, AVCHD
RAW Data Rate 200 MB/s** 300-760 MB/s*** n/a
Max. Non-RAW Data Rate 880 Mbps for 4K, 200 Mbps for 1080p 600 Mbps for 4K, 222 Mbps for 1080p 35 Mbps MP4, 28 Mbps AVCHD 150 Mbps for UHD, 50 Mbpsfor 1080p
Color information 12-bit RAW, 10-bit 4:2:2 in Prores 12-bit RAW, 10-bit 4:2:2 in XAVC 8-bit 4:2:0 internally, 4:2:2 via HDMI 8-bit 4:2:2
SDI/HDMI 12G-SDI x 1, 3G-SDI x 1, BNC x 1, 3G-SDI x 2, HDMI 2.0 HDMI Type A 1x SDI and 1x HDMI
  • ^What the hell is 60i?
  • *Just a guess. They say ‘wide’ dynamic range for the C100, but testing will really tell us.
  • **From the manual
  • ***The uncompressed data rate for 4K RAW (from 24p to 60p) is heart-stopping

Hands down the Ursa gives you the best codec, but at a price. At 24p, you’ll be running up 880 Mbps in Prores HQ, while the XAVC codec from Sony does it in 240 Mbps. I have seen, with the XAVC codec, that it isn’t lacking anything quality-wise. Same would hold for the H.264 codec in the JVC LS300, if it had the same data rate. 150 Mbps is too low for high-quality 4K.

As far as RAW is concerned, the Ursa wins with its compressed and open CinemaDNG codec. It also has the most ports. I will take the 14-stop dynamic range claim by Sony with a bag of salt. In the real world, I assume both the Ursa and the FS7 will deliver similar quality, maybe with a slight edge to the Ursa.

What about media used? Here’s a comparison:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Media CFast XQD Dual SDHC/SDXC Dual SDHC/SDXC
Market price per GB $6.25/GB $4.6/GB $0.65/GB $0.65/GB
Price per second of 4K non-RAW @24p $0.67 $0.13 $0.003* $0.01
Price per hour of 4K non-RAW @24p $2,417 $485.15 $10* $42.85

*Only 1080p

There goes the price advantage of the Ursa. Their choice of Prores bites their users as well! The JVC LS300 wins hands down here, as far as 4K is concerned.

Obviously, recording uncompressed 4K is a nightmare beyond imagination, so let’s leave that out.

Finally, let’s come to frame rates. The JVC only does up to 30p in UHD. The FS7 can go up to 180 fps in 1080p.

Overall, I have to give this one to the FS7 – but only by a whisker. It just delivers the right balance between resolution, frame rate, codecs, ability to shoot log in-camera and price of media. The Ursa isn’t lagging behind by much.

The final image quality is purely a subjective issue, though I feel all these cameras will output similar quality at their best ratings.

Comparison of audio features

Here’s a look at the audio features:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
3.5mm TRS headphone jack 1 1 1 1
Microphone inputs 2 x XLR analog switchable between mic and line levels. Phantom power support. 2 x XLR (line and mic) with Phantom power XLR x2 with Phantom power XLR x2 with Phantom power
Audio Specs LPCM 2 channels 48 kHz and 24 bit LPCM 24 bits, 48 kHz, 4 channels (Recording/Playback 2 channels) LPCM; 2-Channel; 16-Bit; 48 kHz LPCM 2 channels 48 kHz and 16 bit
Audio levels Yes Yes Yes Yes

Tie between the Ursa and the FS7.

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Comparison of miscellaneous features

Of course, there is much more to a camera than its audio and video features. Here are a few important things that affect usage:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Connectors USB 2.0 Mini-B USB 2.0 Mini-B USB 2.0 Mini-B 2 x (One for Streaming)
Genlock? Unclear No No No
Monitor 10″ 1080p LCD and 2 x 5″ (384K pixels) 3.5″ LCD (520K pixels) 3.5″ OLED (307K pixels) 3.5″ LCD (307K pixels)
LANC inputs 2.5 mm 2.5 mm 2.5 mm 2.5 mm
Weather-sealing No No No No
Viewfinder No Yes Yes Yes
Built-in ND Filters Only Broadcast (B4) Version 2, 4, 6 stops 2, 4, 6 stops 2, 4, 6 stops
Dimensions 12.34″ x 6.12″ x 9.63″ 6.14″ x 9.41″ x 9.72″ 7.2″ x 11.1″ x 9.3″ 5.3″ x 7.5″ x 10.7″
Weight with card and battery 7.5kg (16.5 lbs) 4.4kg (9.9 lbs)* 1.45kg (3.2 lbs) 1.6kg (3.6 lbs)
Battery life 1.4 hours 1 hour 5 hours 3 hours**
Cost of one battery $165*** $145 $160 $169
Cost per hour battery life $117/hr $145/hr $32/hr $56/hr
  •  *Including viewfinder, remote control and SELP28135G lens.
  • **Estimate based on other JVC cameras. This could be totally wrong.
  • ***Price of third-party V-mount of Anton Bauer batteries, the originals cost twice at least.

Let’s see where each camera wins:

  • Ursa – number and size of monitors, and shoulder-mounted form-factor
  • FS7 – viewfinder, built-in ND filters, size, wireless module and form-factor
  • C100 Mark II – OLED monitor, built-in ND filters, wireless built-in, auto focus, weight, battery life
  • LS300 – live streaming ability, ND filters, battery life and weight

Let’s go the other way. What are the major cons?

  • Ursa – size and weight!! No ND filters on current models; expensive batteries if you purchase “original” AB or V-mount batteries
  • FS7 – poor battery life
  • C100 Mark II – poor position of viewfinder
  • LS300 – it’s JVC? Just kidding. Maybe not.

Who wins? It’s close between the FS7 and the C100 Mark II, though I have to give this one to the C100 Mark II.

Which is cheaper to own?

Let’s just add up the basics: Initial price, media cost per hour of footage and battery cost per hour:

Blackmagic Design URSA Sony FS7 Canon C100 Mark II JVC GY-LS300
Price $5.995 $7,999 $5,499 $4,450
Media per hour $2,417 $485.15 $10 $42.85
Battery per hour $117 $145 $32 $56
Total (Rounded) $8,529 $8,629 $5,541 $4,549

The choice is simple:

  • Want the best 4K possible? Answer: FS7
  • Want 4K but can’t afford the FS7? Answer: LS300
  • Don’t want 4K? Answer: C100 Mark II

The Ursa isn’t as cheap as it seems, considering the cost of batteries and media cards. It seems tempting to give the crown here to the LS300, though one must understand we’re not really getting usable UHD here (at least in my book). Neither are we getting log recording.

On the other hand, the C100 is not a 4K camera, and can’t be compared directly.

No result here.

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Conclusion

Who wins? Here’s a recap:

Feature Winner
Sensor and ISO FS7
Video capabilities and Media FS7
Audio FS7, Ursa
Features C100 Mark II
Price No result
Price GH4

The Ursa, which seems great on paper, is not very practical due to its size and lack of built-in ND filters. Also, shooting 4K Prores is not for the target market that can only afford an Ursa! If you want to make a documentary and you shoot 100 hours of footage at 24pUHD, you’re looking at:

  • About 39 TB for Ursa
  • About 10.5 TB for FS7

In the long term, the costs of battery, media, storage space, transportation (due to size and weight) and rigging (larger rigs, tripods, etc.) will be an order of magnitude over its base price.

About the LS300, it seems like a great idea on paper, but its lack of professional-grade codec for UHD is a major fail, forget everything else. And I don’t even want to get started on their service and support record (personal experience!).

Lastly, the C100 Mark II. Great for those who don’t want 4K. But seriously, if I were to advise any upcoming (or coming, or already here) DP on a new camera, I would advise them to go 4K. To do otherwise is not very farsighted. In 5 years UHD will be ubiquitous, at least as an acquisition and viewing medium. At the very least, that 4K camera today will hold some value 3-5 years down the line. The C100 1080p will not. The original C100 launched at $7,999 two years ago, while the Mark II launched at $5,499. That’s a 32% reduction not counting inflation. Over a two-year period, the C100 can’t resell for half its base price (check eBay).

As an overall package, it’s hard to beat the Sony FS7. It is the camera that probably gives you almost everything you’ll ever need:

  • Log recording and filmic quality
  • Excellent low-light performance
  • Form factor for any kind of production need
  • High frame rates
  • UHD and 4K
  • RAW if you want it!
  • Built-in ND filters
  • Wireless ability

The Sony FS7 wins. What do you think?

11 replies on “A Fun Comparison between the Blackmagic Design URSA, Sony FS7, Canon C100 Mark II and the JVC GY-LS300”

  1. I believe the C100 mk II also has a Super 35mm sensor, not the 24.6mm x 13.8 mm which it states…

  2. hi, thanks for the very informative review, i will definitely buy you a cup of tea if you can give a me an answer to this, i live on the Other side of the sahara (africa), so honestly i would really appreciate a honest review

    i am considering buying the JVC LS300, or the panasonic hcx1000 , panasonic dvx200 or the Black magic ursa mini, 
    the problems i have is
    1. i would like to shoot Church  programs, sermons, weddings, occassional commercials and short indie movies 
    2. all equipment will be mine including lenses but my initial budget is about $5000 for the start, i can buy pro lenses and other equipments as money rolls in
    3. editing should be straight no conversions ( i had a panasonic hvx200 it was good but editing had to be converted or sort i prefer mov, or Mp4  for now )
    4. all above seem ok but i  want a future proofed camera for the next 2-3 years (i have been using some a standard panasonic hd equipment but the transfers were really a pain )  am confused because of black magic ursa mini is just  about a month to be released and may fall including simple lenses and cf cards within my budget and  pricing

    your advice will appreciated

  3. How does the C100mkII win on “features” when it’s the only one that can’t do 4K or UHD, it can’t do frame rates higher than 60fps (at 1080), it’s 8-bit, and super compressed. That makes no sense.

    On top of that, the information is out there for the body weight of the FS7, so why are you including the big heavy zoom lens (which, as a result, makes it look like the FS7 weighs about 6lbs more than the C100mkII)?

  4. AndyTurner73 Going by the official press releases here: http://blog.abelcine.com/2012/08/29/canon-announces-new-c100-release-date-for-c500/ 

    Maybe the price on the Mark II will drop just as dramatically. That would be a steal.

  5. Sareesh Sudhakaran I’ve seen your 8 parts review about A7s, it was very instructive. Certainly one of the best review around that I’ve been reading on internet, with really nice advises. I’m not sure, if I’ve seen the video you’re speaking about? I will try to check for that… Is that the one with elephants? Are you in india? I was in Kerala few times ago, I really enjoyed it, nice peoples and nice country…

    I’ve been spending sometime looking wt’s the deal breaker for documentary purpose and more commercial video set for the internet. I’m really hesitating between the A7s and the FS7 who look like two interesting options but surely it will be for different purpose !

  6. What do you think about A7s comparatively, is it a camera for non professional ? I’m a bit afraid of color process with the sony cameras, as I really prefer panasonic and canon footage historically…

  7. The E-mount has another advantage that it can use speedbooster for full-frame look and is far more flexible than Canon and Black Magic choice of mounts.

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