In Part Four we looked at tripods, rigs, accessories and data management. In this part we’ll combine everything we’ve put together to learn how much a Blackmagic Production Camera 4K kit will cost.

Base Kit

This is what you get with the camera:

Items Unit Price* Qty Price *(USD)
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K $ 2,995 1 $ 2,995
Internal Battery $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
Turret Cap $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
Sun Shield $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
AC Adapter $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
DaVinci Resolve Full Version $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
Ultrascope $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
Media Express $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00
DiskSpeed Test $ 0.00 1 $ 0.00

*Important: the prices might be totally inaccurate or wrong, so don’t assume any of the prices in this page is correct. Please refer to manufacturer’s website for details. Also, the price might be different depending on which country or region you’re in.Adding Lenses

I’m going with two of my favorite lenses for this camera:

 
You could substitute either of the above, based on your needs. Most people will be buying the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K for the following reasons:

  • Cinema-quality 4K for $3,995
  • 12-bit visually lossless CinemaDNG
  • 12 stops of dynamic range
  • 1080p recording when you need it.
  • DaVinci Resolve

 
I believe, to take complete advantage of 12-bit 4K, one needs the best lenses one can find. Barring cinema lenses, my idea is to get lenses with reasonably good quality and sharpness, with a small f-number – but keeping with the budget of the camera itself.

Here’s the price-list of my selected lenses (lens caps and hoods are included with the purchase) and accessories:

Items Unit Price Qty Price (USD)
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM $799 1 $799
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art $899** 1 $899
72-67mm Step-Down Ring $5 1 $5
Heliopan 72mm Variable ND Filter $384 1 $384

Notes:

  • **The price of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 isn’t out yet, so I’ve used the price of the 35mm f/1.4 art instead.
  • The filter sizes of the two lenses are different, so instead of buying two filters, just get a step down ring.
  • Instead of a variable ND filter, it is better to buy a set of ND filters. Variable ND filters will have IR issues, if the original BMCC is anything to go by.

 
Camera Rig

Here are the parts of our camera rig:

Items Unit Price Qty Price (USD)
Opteka Rig $160 1 $160
24″ Rods, ikan $50 1 $50
Railblocks $40 1 $40
ikan Base Plate with Rods $90 1 $90
Counterweights $135 1 $135
Letus Follow Focus System $899 1 $899

I am assuming one is opting for the cheaper Switronix battery system over the Anton Bauer solution, so no cheese plate. What I won’t compromise on, is a good follow focus system. We are also assuming there is no matte box involved.

Accessories

Here are some accessories that you might start off with:

Items Unit Price Qty Price (USD)
Cineroid EVF $995 1 $995
Wooden Camera UVF Mount v2 $450 1 $450
Switronix PowerBase Kit $330 2 $660
juicedlink BMC388 $429 1 $429
Sony PC-234S 3.5mm to 1/4″ Adaptor $7 2 $14
Manfrotto 504HD Video Head, 546 Tripod $850 1 $850
All Cables $50 1 $50

Notes:

  • You can live without the EVF, but for many, it’s either that or an external monitor.
  • Regarding power, one would assume you would buy two kits because what if one adapter stops working?
  • If you are recording audio separately, you can avoid the juicedlink adapter, and even save on some cables.
  • The tripod and fluid video head are the cheapest I recommend for good video work.

 
Media

SSD drives are expensive, but not as much as SDXC or Compact Flash on a $ per GB basis:

Items Unit Price Qty Price (USD)
Sandisk Extreme 2 240 GB 2.5″ SSD $219 2 $438
Seagate GoFlex Thunderbolt Adapter $90 1 $90
Thunderbolt Cable $29 1 $29

You’ll need at least three drives, which will give you 80 minutes of compressed 4K CinemaDNG RAW footage. You could cut down (I’ve only included two), but I will never recommend that.

The Seagate adapter helps connect the SSD drives to your computer via Thunderbolt. If you’re on a PC, you can find SATA III to USB 3.0 adapters here.

The Bottom Line

What’s the grand total? It’s $ 10,461. Assuming you didn’t want the Cineroid, and exchanged the two expensive primes for cheaper lenses, you’re still looking at spending in the region of $10,000. Having some of the gear already helps make the expense cheaper, so your mileage may vary.

I haven’t forgotten simple things like lens cleaners, filters, bags, etc. This isn’t intended to be a detailed analysis, only an overview. It really would be foolish expecting to get into it for just $2,995.

And then you have to deal with the costs of 4K post production (more later).

If you have stuff lying about you could reduce the capital required right now, but not everyone has that luxury. I hope this small analysis will help you calculate your own expenses with regards to your Blackmagic Production Camera 4K kit.

In Comparison of the three Blackmagic Cinema Cameras, I’d written that the original 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera is the best value for money. At $1,995, what do you get?

  • 2.5K that can be up-rezzed to 4K (If it’s okay for Skyfall it’s okay for you)
  • 12-bit uncompressed CinemaDNG
  • Same SDI, audio, LCD, Thunderbolt and Ultrascope features
  • The exact same body and lens mount

 
Is 4K worth the additional $1,000 (just for the camera, not counting 4K post production)? Only you can answer that.

In Part Six we’ll look at exposure, recording and post production workflows for the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. Note: Will only be published once the camera is out and I get footage to play with.