Monday, August 26, 2019

Best cinema camera below $1000 - Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera or Z-CAM E2C?



Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera (left) vs. Z-CAM E2C (right)

With the buzz around the recent releases of new Super 35 6K and Micro 4/3 4K cameras from Blackmagic Design and Z-CAM, the less expensive cameras in their product lines have gone relatively unnoticed.

But for filmmakers who can't afford a sub-$3000 6K camera such as the $2495 BMPCC 6K or the $2995 Z-CAM E2 S6 - or even a sub-$2000 4K camera such as the $1295 BMPCC4K or the $1995 Z-CAM E2 - a 10-bit or higher cinema camera below $1000 is a big deal.

Well, there are now two cameras in this price range that can shoot ProRes and/or RAW - the $995 Blackmagic Design Micro Cinema Camera and the new $799 Z-CAM E2C.

Each camera has advantages and disadvantages, so deciding which one to choose for your project will depend on which feature-set you need.

Here are the high level specs for the two cameras, with pros and cons:

  • 1080/60p
  • 12.48mm x 7.02mm (Super 16) sensor
  • Canon LP-E6 battery
  • 13 advertised stops of dynamic range (DR)
  • CinemaDNG RAW and ProRes
  • PWM & S-Bus external control
  • USB 2.0 Mini B data connection
  • 82.3mm x 66.0mm x 69.6mm (W x H x D)
  • Weighs 300.5 grams
Pros: CinemaDNG RAW, 13 stops of DR, readily available.
Cons: Limited to 1080p resolution, small sensor with 3X crop factor, external monitor required, no wireless or streaming, listed at $995 (but starting to see discounts).

  • 4K/30p and 1080/60p
  • 17.56mm x 13.11mm (Micro 4/3) sensor
  • Canon LP-E6 battery
  • 11.5 advertised stops of DR with Z-Log2
  • ProRes and h.265
  • Wi-fi & Ethernet external control and streaming
  • USB 3.0 data connection
  • 91.2mm x 83.9mm x 89.1mm (W x H x D)
  • Weighs 668 grams
Pros: 4K, larger sensor with ~2x crop factor, free iOS app for control and preview from iPhone, wireless control & streaming, $799 price.
Cons: DR with LOG no better than a hybrid still/video mirrorless camera, still a pre-order item as of this post, but starting to appear in the wild.

I didn't mention it as a pro or con - but the BMMCC is somewhat smaller and weighs half as much.

The headline differences between the two cameras, of course, are that the Z-CAM records to 4K, while the Blackmagic is limited to 1080p - and that the BMMCC records to RAW, while the E2C is limited to 10-bit ProRes.

In my view, 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes from the E2C looks pretty darned good in the limited examples available right now:




...but so does 1080p RAW from the BMMCC:


.

So it really boils down to two questions - 1) which is most important to you - 4K or RAW? - and 2) how much camera can you afford?

I can't answer those questions for you - but I can say that the new Z-CAM E2C is a very impressive camera for the price - and low budget filmmakers never had it so good.



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, February 15, 2019

New Atomos Shinobi super bright HDR touchscreen monitor - available now for $399



Today, Atomos announced the Shinobi - which takes the great 1000 nit HDR touchscreen from the $695 Ninja V and turns it into a $399 5" monitor.

From Atomos:

  • When you’re shooting video on mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, the Shinobi gives you the perfect view and is packed with the latest features, but is small and light enough to take anywhere – weighing in at a mere 200g (7 oz).


  • Shinobi shares the same HDR 1920x1080 display and color processing found in the multi-award-winning Atomos Ninja V monitor/recorder. With a professional 1000nit brightness screen it can be seen clearly even in daylight.


  • It has an impressive pixel density of 427 PPI (pixels per inch) and is factory calibrated for color accuracy.

The Shinobi's "Atomos Analysis" view allows you to simultaneously see what you are shooting, view a waveform, histogram and vector scope.

You can even switch between different waveform, histogram and vector scope options 'on the fly', with a single touch.



Atomos Shinobi Analysis View

Here's the Shinobi promo video from Kai Wong:


If you need a bright 5" monitor with HDR, a touchscreen and professional exposure control, Shinobi is shipping now.



Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This costs you nothing extra. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”