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Blackmagic Design Disrupts Studio Environment With Sub-$3,000 4K Camera

The new Blackmagic Studio Camera includes a 10-inch color LCD viewfinder and micro four-thirds lens mount.

LAS VEGAS—Billing it as “the world’s smallest live broadcast camera with the world’s largest viewfinder,” Blackmagic Design introduced a camera specifically designed for live production and available in 1080 HD ($1,995) and Ultra HD ($2,995) versions.

The Blackmagic Studio Camera includes features designed for live production, such as a 10-inch color LCD viewfinder, talkback, tally indicators and optical fiber signal transport, all housed in a magnesium alloy body. It includes a 4-hour battery (to allow independent operation with a single optical fiber cable), phantom-powered microphone connections and built-in optical fiber and SDI connections that allow users to connect to a live production switcher with a single cable. The camera also includes a large fold-up sun shield for outdoor use.

The Blackmagic Studio Camera features an active micro four-thirds lens mount that is compatible with a range of lenses and adapters. The company says this allows customers to use high-quality photo lenses for smaller setups or fixed camera use, and then use high-end broadcast ENG lenses for large live broadcasts using an MFT-to-B4 lens mount adapter.

“I have dreamed of a camera perfectly designed for live production for a long time,” said Grant Petty, CEO of Blackmagic Design. “When we looked at how we would design a camera for live production, what really surprised us was how small we could make it, but then the viewfinder would also become small. It’s really a dream to operate a camera with such a large viewfinder and it’s amazing the detail in focus and framing that’s available to the operator.”

The camera includes a fiber-optic connection, allowing customers to get the advantages of long lengths and small size and weight of optical fiber for a single thin tether cable to connect cameras to live production switchers. The optical fiber connection is bidirectional and carries HD or Ultra HD video with embedded audio, and camera remote control.

The Blackmagic Studio Camera supports the tally SDI standard used on the company’s ATEM range of live production switchers and tally lights illuminate automatically with a light on the front for talent, and a light above the viewfinder for the operator, making it easy for the cast and crew to see which cameras are on air. The operator side control panel allows access to focus, iris and on-screen menu settings. On-screen menus are overlaid on the viewfinder and slide on and off as needed.

In addition to the HD model that costs $1,995 (and supports full HD in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 and 60 fps) and is available now), there’s a 4K model, for $2,995, that supports up to 30 fps and will begin shipping in June, according to the company.

“I totally love this camera,” said Petty. “It’s my dream product.”