Back to the Future: Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL Mount

by Hugh BrownstoneLeave a Comment

It’s back to the future at Blackmagic, which has just announced their Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL mount.

It was only a few weeks ago (August 27th) that we published a conversation with Bob Caniglia, Senior Regional Manager, Eastern North America for Blackmagic Design.

One of the items we touched on was their decision to launch their original Cinema Camera with the Canon EF mount, rather than the PL mount:

“The PL mount puts you in a different price category,” Bob told us. “It would have been easier, because there are no automatic functions — all PL glass is manual – but our goal was to ramp up volume so we could lower the price point.”

It made perfect sense then, just as it makes perfect sense now to offer the PL mount on their Production Camera 4K: they’ve seen a market for their cameras with professional DPs who already use Arris and REDs and concluded that Blackmagic footage can play nicely with them.

And — they have the budget for PL glass.

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL

Blackmagic Cinema Camera PL

Via Blackmagic Design Press:

Also new this year are two new cameras. What we have done is added models of our Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and Blackmagic Cinema Camera with PL lens mounts. This means you can use cinema lenses on the camera, which is great because these two cameras are being heavily used on feature films now so it’s great to have models with PL lens mounts.

The PL mount is made out of machined steel so unlike the cheap adapters made from aluminum, the PL lens mount on these cameras won’t bind onto the lens and get stuck. There are nice big tabs to allow you to put good positive pressure on the lens fastening ring, and the whole mount is incredibly strong so it can hold a heavy lens. Because the whole chassis of this camera is machined out of aluminum, it has a lot of strength and can hold these heavy lenses.

Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL

When we were originally designing this camera design it was going to be a PL mount. That’s why we chose to machine the chassis out of a block of solid aluminum. However when halfway through development we realized that a lot of people who would want this camera would want something better than a DSLR, and they would most likely have Canon lenses. So we changed the design to EF for the original model.

Since that time we have been busy releasing other models, however now we have been able to come back and release a full PL mount model. What’s funny is when you look at these new cameras, it’s quite surprising to see how small the camera itself is and it’s not much smaller than the lens mount. The choice of metal chassis makes the whole combination work well.

Of course the PL mount front face can be removed and you can shim it yourself. So you can collimate a lens onto the camera for matching the lens and camera perfectly. The PL mount also lets you use decades of “vintage glass” so you can get the look of old cinema film by using the very lenses they used back in those days.

We now have 5 models to choose from in this chassis, with 2 different sensors and 3 different lens mounts. This means you can choose from a 4K sensor with 12 stops of dynamic range, global shutter and large Super 35 size, or the 2.5K sensor with 13 stops of dynamic range, rolling shutter but better low light performance. So you can choose the model that’s best for the type of work you need to do.

The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K PL is US$2,995 and the Blackmagic Cinema Camera PL is US$2,295. We are building these cameras now so they should be available from next week.

More info on www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/cinemacameras

(cover photo credit: snap from Blackmagic Design)

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh Brownstone

Hugh is the founder of Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions. He and the team write, direct, shoot, score, and edit web-centric films; conduct photo shoots; and write copy, white papers and blog posts. Hugh also writes screenplays (he recently optioned a TV pilot) and just published his first eBook (Apple's iPhone: The Next Video Revolution). If it's about telling stories, it's in their wheelhouse.

And always with the ambition of authenticity, humanity and wit.
Hugh Brownstone

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