Update on Camera Shipments

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Grant Petty

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Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:18 am

Hi,

I wanted to give everyone an update on where we are with Blackmagic CinemaCamera shipments.

As you know, we have been dealing with a supplier delay which has stalled our ability to build cameras. I thought it might be a good idea to explain in more detail what is going on, and do a technical "brain dump" on the problem so everyone understands the nature of the delay and what we have been doing about it.

Over a month ago now, we completed the testing of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and started production. Very quickly we started to see cameras failing our production testing as they suffered from blemishes on the sensor. These are high end cameras so need to be built to a very high specification.

We started testing to discover the cause of the problem and discovered that the problems were from our second shipment of sensors. The first shipment of sensors were fine. All the cameras you currently see people using had been built from this first batch of sensors and that is why we did not see any issues until we started to build cameras in volume.

While investigating the problem our engineers found the blemishes were in the glass that covers the sensor, and not the sensor itself. This is good because the glass might just be dirty so we saw this as a quick fix, but wondered how a supplier could deliver us sensors that had blemishes, as they are supposed to pre test them.

It is worth noting here what this glass does. Each sensor has a glass cover to keep contamination off the surface of the sensor itself, which is essentially a large semiconductor. If the surface ever got dirty, it would be impossible to clean, however the glass is easy to clean. All sensors have this glass cover. It is a high quality glass with optical coatings, similar to lens glass.

Anyway getting back to the issue, when talking with the supplier, it turned out they had a bug in their test software that tested sensors after the glass had been applied. That's why they shipped us bad sensors and did not notice. They fixed that problem and could then see the problems we saw and stopped production as about 95% of sensors were suffering this problem with the glass.

The next step for the supplier was for them to work out the cause of the blemishes on the glass. They developed tests for the glass before being bonded to the sensor, and discovered it contained the blemishes on the glass before being used in the suppliers factory. After more testing over the last few weeks, the supplier has discovered the blemishes are caused by a contamination from the packing materials used by the glass supplier to ship the glass to the sensor supplier.

So that's where we are at now. The supplier is due to get more glass later this week and then hopes to start up production again using new clean glass that will result in good quality sensors that we can use to start building cameras again.

We build our cameras in our own factory on a production line built for the camera so we can start shipping cameras again the day we receive good sensors.

I deeply apologize for the delay in shipping and it has been very frustrating for us as well to be sitting on a completed and tested product for a month that we cannot sell. Especially when people need them urgently.

As you can also see from the breakdown of the problem above, there has been multiple stages of testing to discover the cause of the problem so it has been hard to lock down dates or what was going on until now, so its been hard to update everyone on the exact details.

I hope this update helps people understand the delay. We should know more details about shipping times once the new glass arrives at our supplier.

We also have a new software update v1.1 for the camera due in a few days. The original v1 software did not have DNxHD support so thats now been added, as well as support for lens stabilizers and a bunch of other small features.


Regards,

Grant Petty
Blackmagic Design
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Eric Santiago

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:38 am

Thanks Grant for the heads-up.
I can now sleep better ;)
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Peter J. DeCrescenzo

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:42 am

Thank you very much for the update. I look forward to receiving my BMCC as soon as possible. Cheers!
http://www.peterdv.com
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Nick Bedford

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:53 am

Thanks for the detailed information Grant. The simple fact that IS will be supported by the time I get the camera is fantastic. Looking forward to seeing what else has been updated.
Nick Bedford, Photographer
http://www.nickbedford.com/
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Fredrick_Keyser

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:00 am

Thank you so much for a detailed report. Here's wishing you the best in getting the issues resolved and the cameras moving!
Fredrick Keyser
Keyser Productions
www.keyserproductions.com
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Luca Salvatori

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:14 am

Thanks for explain issue!

Very glad to know that will be a new firmware.
I hope you will be adding support for ssd on camera formatting!


Regards
Editor-Colorist-1stAC

Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT 2.5K
P+S Technik 35mm Set Zeiss ZF T* : 18/3 25/2.8 35/2 50/1.4 85/1.4

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PetePolyakov

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:19 am

I wish, we could get this update much earlier.
I believe many complainers (as me), would say, thank you mr. Petty for the update, and as loyal customers of your company we hope the situation will be taken under control. Here is our support.

And this is that we was asking about, to be informed.

Later, better than never.

Thanks mr. Petty.
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Brett Harrison

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:38 am

PetePolyakov wrote:I wish, we could get this update much earlier.



This kind of update couldn't have occurred until they got a handle on the problem themselves. Prior to that, the update might have had a few more nouns and verbs, but would have amounted to the same thing as the previous update: 'we don't know'.

Obviously BMD has been experiencing the same level of anxiety or probably greater during this period of uncertainty, so cut them some slack.
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Margus Voll

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:55 am

Thank you!

As i pointed before in other thread camera building is complex process like rocketsurgery
and not as simple as "You Jane me camera".

Thank You for update!
Margus

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Grant Petty

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:03 am

Hi,

Thanks for your understanding guys, and yes the worst part of all this was during the process of the supplier developing tests and discovering the cause of the problem, its been impossible to know how long it would take to get back shipping. So it was hard to explain what was going on while they were trying to investigate. I am glad things are getting back on track!

Its been frustrating for sure!

Regards,

Grant
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Margus Voll

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:09 am

Hope you can have vacation after that! Stress is bad for the health.
Margus

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Thomas Läräng

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:28 am

Ah yes, the good ol' dirt on the glass... I have to deal with this crap (no pun intended) all the time when developing microfluidics for biotech prodcuts. The key is to early control a certain percentage of components coming in to avoid discovering nasty surprises later on when conditions are less forgiving and time is less abundant.

Hope you got this under control so you can have a little peace of mind.
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Costa Louvieris

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:40 am

Thanks for the update Grant. Sorry about your troubles! One last thing however, could we please get an update on the Hyperdeck studio pro too please?
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Lorenzo Straight

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:55 am

Thanks for the update, Grant. Still very excited to have purchased a great camera.
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Luke Armstrong

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 7:25 am

Thanks Grant for this update. Its interesting to hear this insight into your supply chain. There must have been a period where you were worried the camera would never ship!
Luke Armstrong - Digital Compositor
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Joaquin Torrents

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 7:29 am

Grant,

Really appreciate this update and the detailed explanation. This says a lot about your company style.
Thanks,

Joaquin
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Pollenstudio

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 8:03 am

Thanks for this Grant.

Transparency and honesty like this is what can make a company really great - can't wait for the camera and whatever else you have planned after it!
Tom Sefton
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Dennis Nomer

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 8:32 am

It may seem redundant, but thank you for your clear explanation. We really appreciate this. Even though I am not one of the people who 'really needs this camera right away' like some evidently do, I check this forum often, and I am justifiably excited about such a major breakthrough as you folks are developing. We field users don't pretend to understand all of the technical nuances of a camera like this, but we appreciate the development that you and the suppliers are performing on our behalf. Power on!

Thanks again!

dn
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danap

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 9:41 am

I appreciate very much the clear, detailed and honest information released by Grant Petty. This is the kind of customer relationship building that might benefit BM in the long run. Do not forget to keep your faithful retailers informed too ! And finally: DO NOT FORGET US WHO ALREADY HAVE PLACE AN ORDER "UP THERE " IN NORWAY !!!!
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Iain Anderson

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 9:52 am

It's an echo chamber in here, but thank you for the update. Great to know that the problem has been isolated, the camera is soon to be on its way, and the firmware is about to be updated.

Rumors multiply in a vacuum, so it's nice to have some air.
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samuelchristopher

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 9:58 am

There you go! Thank you. I feel so much better about this now and I believe everyone else will. Just remember that next time. It would of stopped all those stupid anger threads on the blogs we used to vent our frustations only because we were so excited about this camera.

Good news Grant and I feel far more optimistic although I still want one in my hand ASAP!
Samuel Christopher
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Andy Smith

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 10:07 am

PetePolyakov wrote:I wish, we could get this update much earlier.
I believe many complainers (as me), would say, thank you mr. Petty for the update, and as loyal customers of your company we hope the situation will be taken under control. Here is our support.

And this is that we was asking about, to be informed.

Later, better than never.

Thanks mr. Petty.


I think they took the right course in delaying a full announcement. To announce there is a problem with the sensor and we don't know why would have caused unnecessary hysteria.
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bhook

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 11:02 am

Thank you for the update...gr8ly appreciated. Now I look forward to the next one...that you are shipping in volume to the US distributor. :)
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kassim

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 11:20 am

Thank you! At least we all know whats going on and can now explain to our clients, investors, etc. Thanks Grant. Much Appreciated. I think we all can sleep just a little better. Just a little :D
Kassim Norris
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paulkosmala

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 11:24 am

Okay, glad to hear the problem has been fixed, and glad you were vigilant enough to notice the problem! cheers to that!

Question number one:
you say later this week the supplier will be getting new glass: what is the ballpark timeline currently to start production again... month... 2 weeks?

Question number two:
What are these 'small features' or where can i find the firmware notes?
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jfro

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 12:34 pm

I ordered the day of the camera and have waited silently for shipments in the USA. Having been self employed 90% of my life and 4 years of that being in manufacturing, I'm aware of the gotchas that happen when developing a new product. (products we produced were nowhere near as complicated as the BMCC).

Anyway, I can imagine the frustration of both BM and the chip supplier chasing this problem. Bet there was some serious alarm that it might be a senor alarm and that was probably the first weeks of investigations. I'm also guessing that there was a huge sigh of relief along with a "are you kidding me" when it was discovered it was the packing material for the glass.

Anyway, thank you for the update and glad it was a bump in the road instead of a "deal breaker".

I'm no mechanical engineer, but my wish would be a camera with a bolt on lens mount so we could buy the camera and an extra BM screw in mount so we could change between micro 4/3 and Canon mount. Just wishing.
Jim Froom
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coralio1

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 12:53 pm

This is just the type of communication policy we all were demanding from BMD. Thanks a lot for the update.
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Jesse Borkowski

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 1:15 pm

Thank you so much for the update. Really appreciate the transparency about the delay.
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Rob Burgos

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:08 pm

+1

Looking forward to it.
Rob Burgos
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PetePolyakov

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:20 pm

Andy Smith wrote:I think they took the right course in delaying a full announcement. To announce there is a problem with the sensor and we don't know why would have caused unnecessary hysteria.


We have different opinions about it, and it's a good thing. The more different points of view the clearer the situation. I believe if the guys from BMD could give to us little pieces of the cake here and there (i mean news) we would be much more supportive.

it's a good thing that Grant Petty in person announced all these details, because last two-three weeks against Terry's own free will, he became a hostage in all these not too quiet discussions and his trust rating went down.

And again, thanks to Grant Petty for this detailed update again and Terry who was strong enough to get on his side with all these attacks from the customers (including me).
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Marcel Beck

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:40 pm

Grant, thanks for the explanation!

I think Blackmagic Have taken quite a beating with the more louder users, but its great to see you guys provide us with a quality (not rushed) product!

+++++++1
Marcel Beck
Cinematographer & Producer
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harvey1

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:47 pm

Thanks, Grant. Also, I hope you consider a 4:3 format in your latest software update for anamorphic filmmaking. I think this would be a major advantage of your camera over others.
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Jim

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:52 pm

At last a grown up response to grown ups, thanks, we appreciate knowing. Other companies should take a leaf outta this book..
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GripworksCo

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 2:53 pm

Thank you, Grant. :D
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DavidSimmons

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 3:02 pm

Anyway to get an update on shipping currently. Have all the problems been work out and are they in production?
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Paul Provost

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 3:07 pm

Awesome communication, thanks. From complete frustration to "oh, I get it. That's fine, hope it gets sorted soon".
www.filmandtvcolor.com | Los Angeles, CA | Paul Provost - colorist
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Graham Spice

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 3:21 pm

Thank you very much for your transparent description of the problems that you've been facing which have effected your shipping dates. We look forward to getting to use this camera with a sensor that has clear glass protecting it! Thanks again for posting this information.
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Jason Davis

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:22 pm

excellent
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Mark de Jeu

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 4:43 pm

This is the kind of company I want to do business with. Thank you for the update.
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Zack Wilson

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:40 pm

Thank you for the honest and thorough reply.

Any sense of how many cameras will be coming off the lines once manufacturing gets rolling again? Will there be small batches like the first wave or will they finally start streaming through?

Looking forward to hearing more about the firmware release - IS will be great! Now just need to get some VU meters...
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Bill Rich

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 5:58 pm

Thank you! This makes me very happy!
Last edited by Bill Rich on Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bill Rich
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Larry Sellers

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 6:38 pm

Hearing about a batch of defective sensors is much nicer than thinking that the company making the sensors had bitten off more than they could chew when doing the deal with BMD (which is what was going through my head). The news about the IS being active in the new firmware is awesome!! OK bring on some clean glass and some cameras!!!
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bronson

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 7:01 pm

Thanks for the update!
I was looking for other options but now I got my eyes set on the BMC again :)
But is there anyway we can get some information on what your plan with the production will be when everything is sorted out? If the BMC starts shipping soon, will you be able to meet the demands of the camera fast or is production slow? I'm ready to place my order now but will there be months of waiting even if production is running fine? I understand it's difficult to give us a date but with all pre-orders I guess you know popularity of the camera and have a plan with the quantity regarding the production of the BMC.
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Jason Davis

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostWed Sep 26, 2012 8:51 pm

From what it sounds like they are waiting only on the sensors. Taking what Grant said at face value, it seems like (many) cameras are built sans the sensor and once they start getting clean ones in they are going to pop them in ( calibrate them ) and ship. He said clean glass should arrive at the plant in a few days so I would assume that we are as close as a few weeks away from seeing cameras start to ship out to end users.
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Peter J. Odio

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 3:02 am

Thanks for the update. I was waiting as long as necessary for the BMCC EF, and would prefer wait a couple more weeks that receiving a defective product.

Thanks.
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Nick Bedford

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 3:15 am

The longer it takes, the more rig options become available :)
Nick Bedford, Photographer
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Joel Crane

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 3:29 am

Nick Bedford wrote:The longer it takes, the more rig options become available :)


This is very true. Putting my order in for my wooden camera rig tomorrow :D
___________________________________________________

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Noir

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 11:42 am

It's great that Blackmagic's testing picked up the blemishes. I suppose it's more practical to pick up the fault when you have the final camera rather than have to rely on test software with only the glass and sensor.

It's good to hear that testing is expected throughout the chain as it is much better to have a delay before getting the camera than having to return a faulty camera.

Adding IS is a BIG feature in my mind (pro cinematographers might balk at this). Will your website give details about this and the software update? Like will the IS be pretty much the same specifications as the lens manufacturer states?

Thanks for all your hard work Blackmagic, making all this possible.
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mhartle

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 3:19 pm

Thx for the update. This kinda transparency with your customers breeds loyalty for life. In a few weeks nobody will even remember there was a delay in shipment because they'll be too busy with their new rigs!

-m
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Antonio Carrozzini

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Re: Update on Camera Shipments

PostThu Sep 27, 2012 7:22 pm

T H A N K S. :)
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