Blackmagic Studio Camera announced
Image courtesy: Blackmagic Design

High-scale live broadcasting equipment, while powerful, is often too expensive for many smaller broadcasting productions’ budgets. Blackmagic, a company that prides itself on developing affordable broadcasting equipment for smaller productions, recently announced two new live broadcasting cameras: the new Blackmagic Studio Camera Pro and Plus models.

The new Pro and Plus models look to take all of the advantages you’d get from a high-scale broadcast camera and fit them in compact, affordable bodies in order to be much more accessible to smaller productions.

Here are some of the key highlights of the two models:

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The Blackmagic Studio Camera has impressive low light performance

Both Blackmagic Studio Cameras Pro and Plus models have an impressive ISO (the measurement of the sensor’s sensitivity to light). Higher ISO adds more gain, allowing you to shoot in darker situations. The Blackmagic Studio Camera features gain from -12dB (100 ISO) up to +36dB (25,600 ISO). One downfall to shooting at a higher ISO is a higher noise count. However, Blackmagic Design says the two models reduce the noise at full dynamic range of the sensor.

Blackmagic Studio Camera
Image courtesy: Blackmagic Design

Built-in color correction on the Blackmagic Studio Camera

With their 4K sensor, the cameras feature Blackmagic Design’s generation 5 color science. Each model has a built-in color corrector (which can be controlled from the switcher as well). You have access to 13 stops of dynamic range and can apply 3D LUTs. Considering the cameras’ sensors feature a resolution of 4096 x 2160 (with support from 23.98 fps up to 60 fps), you should have a lot of flexibility in post.

The Pro model features strong audio recording

According to Blackmagic Design, the Pro model reimagines what we can expect from on-camera audio. The Pro model has 2-channel balanced XLR inputs supporting +24 dBu line level and has a low noise microphone preamplifier with P48 phantom power.

Both models use photographic lenses

This might come as a surprise to broadcasters. Typically, high-end broadcasting cameras use B4 lenses. When developing the Blackmagic Studio Camera, Blackmagic Design decided B4 lenses aren’t as good of a choice of camera — noting their heavy weight and high price tags. So, they chose to use MFT lens mount photographic lenses instead, keeping the overall payload lighter.

Additionally, to make the experience feel closer to using a B4 lens, Blackmagic Design offers optional Zoom and Focus Demands. You attach the Zoom and Focus Demands to the tripod’s handles and can adjust the focus and zoom without needing to reach around the camera and adjust manually.

Blackmagic Studio Camera back
Image courtesy: Blackmagic Design

The Pro model supports talkback

The Pro model features SDI connections that include talkback. So, if you have a switcher operator on set, they can communicate with the camera throughout the entire live broadcast. The camera’s talkback connection supports standard 5-pin XLR broadcast headsets and uses audio channels 15 and 16 in the SDI connection between the camera and the switcher.

Shared specs between Pro & Plus models

  • Up to 25,600 ISO
  • Native 4K sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range
  • Compatible with MFT lenses
  • 7-inch high brightness viewfinder
  • Features parameters, histogram, focus peaking indicators, levels and frame guides
  • HDMI support
  • USB-C port allows recording directly to external disks
  • Blackmagic RAW recording
  • Built-in stereo microphones with wide separation
  • Mini XLR inputs with 48 volt phantom power
  • Tripod mount
  • 12V DC
  • USB-C expansion

Specs unique to the Pro model

  • 12G-SDI in / out
  • 10G Ethernet support
  • 5 pin talkback
  • XLR audio inputs
  • Built-in speakers
  • HDR displat

Pricing and availability

Both models are available right now. The base Blackmagic Studio Cameras Plus model costs $1,295, while the Pro model costs $1,795. The Plus and Pro models both look pretty capable. The Plus model offers many of the same core features but lacks a few features, such as the Pro’s audio specs and its higher quality viewfinder.

Still, if you want to save $500, the Plus looks like a great option. If you want to get the whole experience but still want an affordable broadcast camera, the Pro seems like the best choice on paper.