Blemishes Delay BlackMagic Camera Shipments

PORT MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA -- BlackMagic Design caused at stir at the NAB Show in April by introducing the company’s first camera. Shipments of the new handheld digital cinema camera are now delayed due to supplier issues, according to Grant Petty, CEO of the company.

“Over a month ago now, we completed the testing of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and started production,” Petty wrote on the BlackMagic Form site. Very quickly we started to see cameras failing our production testing as they suffered from blemishes on the sensor. These are high end cameras so need to be built to a very high specification.”

Further investigation indicated that the problem was with the company’s second shipment of sensors. The first was fine, Petty said.

“All the cameras you currently see people using had been built from this first batch of sensors and that is why we did not see any issues until we started to build cameras in volume,” he said.

Blackmagic began shipping the $2,995 camera in limited quantities earlier this month. B&H Photo Video is showing it with an MFT mount for delivery Dec. 30, 2012.

Petty noted that the blemishes were actually on the glass that covers the sensor, rather than the sensor itself.

“When talking with the supplier, it turned out they had a bug in their test software that tested sensors after the glass had been applied,” Petty wrote. “That’s why they shipped us bad sensors and did not notice. They fixed that problem and could then see the problems we saw, and stopped production, as about 95 percent of sensors were suffering this problem with the glass.”

Petty said the company would have more information regarding shipping dates once the new glass arrives from the supplier. He also said a new software update for support of DNxHD would be released within a few days.

Petty founded BlackMagic about a decade ago and built the company on video processing cards and post production tools. The cinema camera was an abrupt departure from BlackMagic’s product line, and an outlier in general in terms of its features—2.5K sensor, built-in SSD recorder, 13-stop dynamic range, touch LCD metadata entry, CinemaDNG RAW DNxHD and ProRes recording, Thunderbolt and EF lens compatibility.