The Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K camera and the Sony A7S II have been making a splash in the industry for some time now. And, it’s not a big surprise considering the number of features they provide for the price. But, let’s not beat around the bush. Even though both cameras shoot 4K and will set you back the same amount of money, they are entirely different beasts.
So, if you’re wondering which one of the two cameras is the better fit for you and your workflow, the next video might help you to put things into perspective. Ahead J from Jsfilmz weighs the pros and cons of both cameras by sharing his insights and conclusions regarding the overall features and functionality these units provide.
The first considerable difference between the two cameras is the form factor and physical dimensions they come with. In terms of portability, undoubtedly, the Sony A7S II is the clear winner. Plus, If you prefer to use your camera in conjunction with a stabiliser on a day-to-day basis, again, the Sony A7S II will be the better choice for your workflow. The unique built-in 5-axis stabilization the camera provides will also improve the results not only when flying it, but also when shooting hand-held.
The second essential consideration is the price of the accessories you will need for each of the camera systems. For instance, the small SDXC cards the A7S accommodates are currently almost 4x cheaper than the CFast 2.0 cards the URSA Mini utilizes. The same rule applies in regard to the power solution. For the URSA Mini, you have to invest an additional amount of money for a V-plate and a V-Mount battery to be able to power the camera. Even though a bunch of NP-FW50 batteries will keep the Sony A7S II running for a couple of hours, these are still cheaper than the ones you will need for the URSA Mini.
Furthermore, when comparing the A7S II and the URSA Mini 4K camera, we can’t overlook the low-light capabilities and dynamic range these units provide. The Sony A7S II entirely dominates the URSA Mini by boasting 14 stops of usable dynamic range when shooting in either S-Log 2 or S-Log3. Again, on the low-light capabilities side, the A7S II is the undisputed king of low light video, and for good reason.
Recording formats are another huge factor to be considered, and if you need 12-bit colour sampling, better colour reproduction, ability to shot Raw or ProRes internally then the URSA Mini is the camera system that will fit you needs better. Not only that, but you will also get a copy of DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio that currently costs $999 and full support of the media you record on the URSA Mini. The A7S II, on the other hand, is capable of recording only 8-bit video even if you utilize an external recorder which can be a struggle for more advanced colour grading workflows.
According to J, DaVinci Resolve 12 doesn’t support the A7S II audio for the moment. Even though there are workarounds, it still might be an issue for some filmmakers using Resolve 12 as their NLE of choice. In terms of slow-motion capabilities, keep in mind that the URSA Mini 4K can shoot 60fps in 4K while the Sony A7S II is limited to 30fps only in the same mode. Also, the URSA mini provides two balanced XLR audio inputs which are a huge advantage regarding the recording of a high-quality audio feed.
At last but not least, comes the global shutter of the URSA Mini 4K that can be a life-saver in certain shooting scenarios, so depending on your shooting style this feature might come in handy. The Sony A7S II falls behind here as it has poor rolling shutter performance, especially when compared to a camera system that doesn’t have that issue at all.
So, as we can see both cameras have their strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure that there many other aspects worth noting, so I’ll be more than happy to know your opinion on the topic. Feel free to share your insights and thoughts in the comments below.