Blackmagic Cinema Camera vs Blackmagic Production Camera 4K – Resolution, DR and Noise Tests

Brad Bell

, charity filmmaker and fundraiser, compares the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with the new Blackmagic Production Camera 4K:

The only concern I have about replacing a Blackmagic Cinema Camera with a 4k Production camera is low light. I often shoot on a monopod because a tripod is too slow. I need to shoot low light, using whatever is available. However, I also want a super 35 sensor, which means more stable images; and global shutter, as it means what movement there is gains some elegance – and it also means stabilising without jello. And 4k. But can the Production Camera handle the exquisitely subtle and deathly goth pallor of British light? Or will the S35 global shutter 28mm IS dream die in the dimness?

Update: Brad has published a second video, of noise comparison between the two cameras:

While the BMCC is cleaner overall, the Production camera seems pretty good at 200 ASA and 400 ASA. And then all hell breaks loose at 800 ASA. In fact, the BMCC looks better at 1600ASA than the BMPC at 800.

His closing thoughts says it all:

I am thinking I’ll stick with the BMCC and sell the BMPC. I’ll only keep one camera. The BMCC has much greater latitude and it’s better in low light. It’s got 4 very usable ISO speeds, compared to 2.5 on the BMPC. And even though I’ve held the cameras side-by-side and not been able to find any significant difference in the viewfinder, the simple fact is once I added 3M anti-reflective film, I can shoot anywhere with the BMCC. I’ve shot in the bright sun in Zambia with the BMCC with nothing but a 3M anti-reflective film on the viewfinder, but I can’t shoot in England on an overcast day with the same 3M film on the Production camera. I don’t know why – they look similar side by side. On paper, I want the Super35 sensor and global shutter. The increased field of view and motion rendering are obviously better. I don’t need a test to see the difference. But in practice, my time with the BMPC is not going so well. I have at least gained new respect for the BMCC though, and increased interest in shooting and finishing at 2.5k.

Here’s a family picnic that highlights the ‘panning and scanning’ freedom you get with a 4K to 1080p workflow:

…panned and scanned shots from the image to direct attention to characters as it seemed most relevant. It seems to work well enough that I forget I’m looking at a single shot…

Shot on Blackmagic Production Camera at 4k with a Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens. Graded with a 3 Strip LUT from Osiris.


One reply on “Blackmagic Cinema Camera vs Blackmagic Production Camera 4K – Resolution, DR and Noise Tests”

  1. So it’s unclear what you’re saying.  On one side it seems that you like the 2.5K better for its low light ability, but you think it’s nice to have the crop ability offered by 4K when going 4K to 1080p?
    So, if today, after watching these tests, you didn’t have either of these cams, which one would you buy?

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