An ISO comparison of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Production Camera. Is 400 ASA and 800 ASA the same on both cameras? (If industrial standards mean anything – yes.) The results are surprising. The cameras are simultaneously exactly the same and completely different. Everything is shot ProRes, Film, 25fps.

In general, with the Cinema Camera, I can work to avoid clipped highlights entirely. With the Production Camera, I am learning I need to embrace clipped highlights, and create the best damned clipped highlights I am capable of creating. I expect to sell the BMCC and keep the BMPC (which looks fantastic in motion). But I’m going to have to learn to love it.

I am being purposely hard on the BMPC as I’ve bought it to replace the BMCC EF. I want a Super 35 sensor and global shutter. I’m not keen on MFT sensor size. My standard of reference is years of using a Canon 550D+MagicLantern+Technicolor, under-exposed a stop, with a death penalty for clipping. The BMCC+ProRes is utterly amazing after the HDSLR, but the smaller sensor messes with my sense of lenses and field of view – see blog post here – and it necessarily results in increased shakiness (smaller sensor) and jello effects (rolling shutter).

From the footage released by Blackmagic Design, I know the BMPC is capable of astonishing, crisp, detailed, gorgeous images. What I’m doing now is thrashing around in the mud of worst case scenarios to see how good it is when everything else is bad. It’s the opposite of finding a gorgeous, bright (but not too bright) scene that shows how great both cameras can be at their best.

Layering the Cinema image over the Production image is a way of comparing field of view at the same time as ISO. The BMPC image is actually shrunk from 4k to 1080p. The BMCC image is the full image, shrunk by 74% to match perspective. It is worth noting that this is the real trade-off I would be forced to make in field of view. (I was already shooting from inside a closet, so it was difficult to match the field of view anyway 🙂 The BMCC would look great, but I’d only get an apparently cropped image.

Music by Blank and Kytt