You are here

Difference between a Cinema Camera and a DSLR?

mhageman's picture
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Joined: 02/06/2009 - 6:11pm
Plus Member

I've heard some talk about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera lately. I was wondering what makes this camera special and what does the term "Cinema Camera" really mean?

Thanks


Mike Wilhelm's picture
Last seen: 1 week 4 days ago
Joined: 01/16/2012 - 7:58pm
Administrator Plus Member

The differences are many, but here are the highlights:

 

1. DSLRs can only record clips up to 29:59 due to tax laws in Europe (lame!). A cinema camera is made for video so it doesn't have this limitation.

 

2. DSLRs record video processed through an image processing unit. The result is 8bit video. Cinema cameras record raw files (not technically video), which are unprocessed. The result is 12bit footage. The rule of thumb is each bit is one stop of dynamic range. those raw files will give you close 12 stops, which means the camera is much more forgiving when it comes to exposure.

 

3. Due to the whole processed vs raw footage issue, workflow can be more of a challenge with cinema cameras (because you have to process the footage yourself in post).

 

4. There picture you can get from cinema cameras is often much sharper due to there being no compression applied to your footage inside the camera (though lens choice is a big factor).

 

Hope this helps!

--
Mike Wilhelm

Videomaker's Director of Content


Woody Sanford's picture
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 10/19/2010 - 7:33am
Plus Member

mhageman wrote:

I've heard some talk about the Blackmagic Cinema Camera lately. I was wondering what makes this camera special and what does the term "Cinema Camera" really mean?

Thanks

 

I think the term gets as loosly tossed around as those like "Tool Steel" or "Knife Grade Steel". My thoughts would mirror Mike's. Cinema camera's would produce higher resolutions like 2.5K or above and native options such as 4:2:2, 4:4:4 color or RAW.

 

Doesn't mean the camera's will produce much better results for internet video or dvd that normal audiences would notice but the differences on the big screen would be significant, so its logical to me to draw the line there but its a popular selling phrase.