How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

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Savannah Miller

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How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 4:57 am

Let's assume we consider every sensor Blackmagic has released into one of their cameras. 4K global shutter, 4.6k, Pocket/Micro Cinema, Micro Studio 4K, and Ursa Broadcast. How would you rank them in order of ISO performance?
Last edited by Savannah Miller on Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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timbutt2

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:05 am

Ever since using a flashlight for some shots on a music video with the BMCC 2.5K I would rate them as very good. Honestly, I come from a film background. I shot 16mm in college, and as a result learned to light for it. That is always my measurement for low light. Thus, I am a firm believer that the Blackmagic cameras perform well in low light. Film remains a standard to measure against.


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"Movies are not watched. They are an encounter with a life's experience not your own." - Tim Buttner (timbutt2)

Cameras: URSA Mini 4.6K EF & Cinema Camera 2.5K EF
Computers: iMac 5K (Late 2015) & MacBook Pro Retina 15.4in (Early 2013)
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Savannah Miller

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:22 am

timbutt2 wrote:Ever since using a flashlight for some shots on a music video with the BMCC 2.5K I would rate them as very good. Honestly, I come from a film background. I shot 16mm in college, and as a result learned to light for it. That is always my measurement for low light. Thus, I am a firm believer that the Blackmagic cameras perform well in low light. Film remains a standard to measure against.


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I know that they're all pretty good and that 800/1600 ISO is more than enough for almost all scenarios, but I was simply curious among the Blackmagic range how they would rank. 4.6K sensor is obviously the best one that they make but is the cinema camera a cleaner image?
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Denny Smith

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:27 am

The Ursa Mini 4.6/sensor, and the UM Pro are probably the best in terms of ISO sensitivity, with a native ISO of 800, followed by the Pocket and Micro,Cinema camera’s, with the Micro Studio and 4K UM bringing up the rear. Not sure yet where to put the new Studio Camera.
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Last edited by Denny Smith on Mon Mar 26, 2018 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Savannah Miller

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:32 am

Would you rank the pocket/micro above the cinema camera?
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Denny Smith

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:35 am

No, just below it, as the BMCC has a larger 2.5 K sensor which is down sampled, and this normally increases its sensitivity, or the appearance of doing so. But that said, they all three have a native ISO of 800.
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Savannah Miller

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:47 am

I have seen broadcast clips from foreign channels, one korean, and one chinese that showcase the new Ursa broadcast and it does seem excessively noisy compared the other Blackmagic cameras. It's more than acceptable for a standard news broadcast though. Sony's new Venice camera is native 500iso but is very clean at much higher gain levels.

I haven't seen many low light tests from the micro studio 4K so I was just curious if it had some magic that somehow made it cleaner despite similar base sensitivity.
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timbutt2

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 5:49 am

Savannah Miller wrote:
timbutt2 wrote:Ever since using a flashlight for some shots on a music video with the BMCC 2.5K I would rate them as very good. Honestly, I come from a film background. I shot 16mm in college, and as a result learned to light for it. That is always my measurement for low light. Thus, I am a firm believer that the Blackmagic cameras perform well in low light. Film remains a standard to measure against.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


I know that they're all pretty good and that 800/1600 ISO is more than enough for almost all scenarios, but I was simply curious among the Blackmagic range how they would rank. 4.6K sensor is obviously the best one that they make but is the cinema camera a cleaner image?
I think that depends on the situation. By my comparison of the units I have (2.5K & 4.6K) they are equal. As to whether the 2.5K has s cleaner image I think that depends on how you feel about the normal digital noise that exists in any digital image. I found the 2.5K to rarely need noise reduction because the noise felt very much like film grain.


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"Movies are not watched. They are an encounter with a life's experience not your own." - Tim Buttner (timbutt2)

Cameras: URSA Mini 4.6K EF & Cinema Camera 2.5K EF
Computers: iMac 5K (Late 2015) & MacBook Pro Retina 15.4in (Early 2013)
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Savannah Miller

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostTue Mar 13, 2018 9:23 am

TBH I work in VFX so I stare and pixel peep at images every single day. Because grain matching is such an integral part of the VFX process I stare at every kind of camera grain, and I feel like I've seen the grain of almost every camera. Blackmagic grain looks pretty nice although not as nice as the grain on the Alexa, but some of the RED grain at high compression ratios is probably the worst to work with. And because grain helps with integration of CG, I find that some cameras are too clean these days.
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cettomri

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Re: How do all the BM sensors rank in low light performance?

PostSun Mar 25, 2018 4:26 am

I had worked on those type set up(Although, not identical). ISO performance was great. I also tried it through other light https://theeffectiveguide.com/best-tactical-flashlight/ but didn't work.
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