A noise comparison of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and Blackmagic Production Camera.

First question: how is the noise different shooting between 4k and 1080p with the Production camera?

I compare the Production camera shot at 1080p, shot on 4k and then cropped to 1080p, and shot at 4k and shrunk to 1080p. From this I learn not to shrink 4k in post to get the best quality. It’s not worth the data tax and there doesn’t seem to be any difference, assuming we can infer approximate image quality from noise quality. Your milage and interpretation may vary. I did try the same comparisons with actual images and found little difference, assuming the images were really blown up the same amount, ie. we don’t trick ourselves into comparing an image blown up 400% with a 4k image at actual size.

Next I compare the Cinema (BMCC) camera with the Production camera (BMPC), both shooting at 1080p.

While the BMCC is cleaner overall, the Production camera seems pretty good at 200 ASA and 400 ASA. And then all hell breaks loose at 800 ASA. In fact, the BMCC looks better at 1600 ASA than the BMPC at 800.

I should say up front, I don’t put too much stock in the BMCC and BMPC comparisons. The contrast is so stark that I don’t really trust the results. I’d like to see someone else have a look at it. Maybe I made a mistake.
1. Shoot with lens cap on
2. Raise levels 58% and increase contrast to maximum.

Music: Something Old, by Broke For Free

I have shot stuff with the BMPC and got good results – especially big, wide 4k shots with lots of detail – but increasingly I am thinking I’ll stick with the BMCC and sell the BMPC. I’ll only keep one camera. The BMCC has much greater latitude and it’s better in low light. It’s got 4 very usable ISO speeds, compared to 2.5 on the BMPC. And even though I’ve held the cameras side-by-side and not been able to find any significant difference in the viewfinder, the simple fact is once I added 3M anti-reflective film, I can shoot anywhere with the BMCC. I’ve shot in the bright sun in Zambia with the BMCC with nothing but anti-reflective film on the viewfinder, but I can’t shoot in England on an overcast day with the same film on the Production camera. I don’t know why – they look similar side by side. On paper, I want the Super 35 sensor and global shutter. The increased field of view and motion rendering are obviously better. I don’t need a test to see the difference. But in practice, my time with the BMPC is not going so well. I have at least gained new respect for the BMCC though, and increased interest in shooting and finishing at 2.5k.

The next thing I want to know is whether the BMPC image is any more detailed at 1080p than the BMCC. I suspect unless you are viewing on a 4k display, or panning and scanning, the 4k isn’t adding anything significant to the image quality.