Well, you know the old saying, “better late than never.”
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
This week at BIRTV show in Beijing, China, executives at Blackmagic Design announced that shipping of their new Blackmagic Cinema Camera will commence by the end of the month. That’s great news for those of us who have been excited about the 2.5K digital movie camera.
Actually, it could even be sooner than that, with some pre-orders having already been sent out. According to Blackmagic Design exec Richard Lim, the slight delay was due to “certification” issues, which may point to what we were saying last month when it was hinted to us that licensing issues for the BMC Camera’s Thunderbolt port was causing the hold-up. And that would make sense, considering that Dan May said in our DTT podcast episode that Apple didn’t even know about the new camera until just before NAB. I’m sure that lead Cupertino to take their dear sweet time in certifying the Thunderbolt add-on.
But the delay may have been Blackmagic’s benefit as it gave the company not only a little more time to hash out their certification issues, but to also add a few additional features that will stretch the capability of the camera a little more. The hardware has pretty much been locked in since NAB, but they’ve been tweaking the firmware to add additional capabilities like increased ISO range down to as low as ISO 200, a greater adjustable white balance range, and a cool new doublt tap feature of the LCD screen which will zoom the lens all the way in and out so you can check that your focus is liked how you like. That’s a nice feature.
But a pair of things that Blackmagic has chosen not to address before shipping is the limited camera lens support (it only supports Canon EF Lenses) and the fact that the battery isn’t swappable. That’s the one beef that shooters complained about almost immediately. And when asked what is is BMDs position on third party lens adapters, Lim responded, “Naturally, we’d rather not address third party options, but we’re here to support our customers in any way we can.”
Lim says that Blackmagic is listening to customer suggestions and that future versions will likely address those issues. That leads us to conclude that adapters are on the drawing board, or that BMD plans to release a PL mount version of the Cinema Camera if enough demand warrants it. Meanwhile, users will just have to make do.
And while the BMC Camera looks to definitely start shipping by months end, even Lim acknowledges that Blackmagic has a bit of a fulfillment problem. Seems the company has received more pre-orders than they have built rigs in inventory, so what will seem likely is that BMC Cameras will be shipped to pre-orders from NAB first, and then slowly meted out over the next few months as they replenish their stock, with an expected complete fulfillment date of an October/November time frame.