Want to see how the $2995 4K Blackmagic Camera compares to the $60,000 ARRI ALEXA? Well you’re in luck, because as soon as our 4K Blackmagic arrived, Scott Bryant put it head to head against the ALEXA in a studio. You can watch the video and come to your own conclusions, but we thought the results were somewhat surprising.
Here’s what Scott had to say about the test:
“We had a 30 minute window with an Arri Alexa before the camera Dept. had to take it away from us.. In that time we mounted an Angenieux 17-80 Zoom to both cameras and tried to match settings as closely as possible.. The only difference between the two camera setups was an adjustment to the zoom length to match framing.. The BMPC was using a 50mm and the Alexa needed to go to 58mm.. Go Figure..
The goal of the test, was to check general compatibility between the two cameras for ‘B” unit camera consideration. The considerations were: Skin Tone, Aliasing, Black Noise Levels and Dynamic Range as well as possible VFX Capture..
The BMPC is extremely sharp and yet has a minimum of aliasing issues (The jacket was chosen to be a nightmare scenario clothing choice..) We also found the skin tones to be accurate and pleasing.. The Blackmagic Production Camera doesn’t have a very flat log look, but it took to grading well.. You’ve just got to watch the highlights..
The Alexa, naturally, has a more “buttery-clean” look and has gobs of DR.. But for 3k, my god!.. The BMPC did extremely well..
We also shot some green screen of the same scenes for testing next week.. We’ll post it when ready.. I’m also looking into a better solution to post the original footage.
We’re PC based and a bit ProRes Challenged..”
Here is the original video 4K Blakcmagic vs ALEXA video:
Scott also uploaded some RAW footage of both the ALEXA and 4K Blackmagic. Download it yourself so you can play around and put a grade on it:
Our Equipment Manager, Sean, gave us his reaction after watching the 4K Blackmagic vs ALEXA Comparison:
“The Blackmagic 4K Production Camera comes closer to matching the quality of Arri’s Alexa than most people had ever hoped for. The dynamic range on the Alexa still exceeds that of the Blackmagic, and so the Alexa has better overall performance in highlight retention and shadow detail. In terms of overall quality and detail in the image, the two cameras side-by-side are, for an average observer, hard to tell apart once graded. Aliasing doesn’t seem to be noticeably worse on one camera versus the other, though the Alexa has a distinct smoothness to the image that makes the Blackmagic seem just a tad oversharp in comparison. All in all, however, the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K does a great job in competing with one of the world’s best cameras at a tiny fraction of the cost.”
How do you think the 4K Blackmagic compared to the ARRI ALEXA? Were you surprised with the results?