Monday, November 2, 2015

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs. Sony A7s II - side by side test

UK-based DP Daniel Peters has provided a tremendous service to the community by shooting two short pieces on the same day, in the same setting, with the $2999.99 Sony A7s II and the $2995 Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K (no viewfinder).

Both are shot handheld, comparing the Mini's global shutter to the Sony's internal stabilization.  Daniel has made both videos downloadable, so you can look at them in detail - without Vimeo compression.

Here is the footage.  First the Sony:

Daniel says that the Sony "rocks" and that slow motion holds up well - but that its 8-bit codec fell apart a bit in the grade (banding in the sky) and that the rolling shutter is "quite bad" despite the internal stabilization.

Here's the URSA Mini 4K footage:

It's hard to tell from two short samples shot in overcast conditions, but I have to say that I liked the Blackmagic footage a little better.  I like the deeper depth of field from the Super 35 sensor and the smooth UHD/60p frame rate.  And it looks like Daniel was able to get more detail out of the shadows from the URSA's 10-bit ProRes.

There are no low light tests here, but the Mini 4K is not a low light camera (as someone who owns both cameras, Daniel says that it "doesn't stand a chance" against the Sony).

For me, the Mini's global shutter, superior codec, built-in XLRs, UHD/60p frame rate, shoulder mounted ergonomics (without a complicated rig) and dual card slots make it a better choice for video than the A7s II - but its poor low light performance is a real problem.  I hope the 4.6K is better in low light.

That said, download Daniel's footage and see for yourself -  and comment below with your thoughts.

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