Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K EF Review by Note Suwanchote

Now that the URSA Mini 4.6K is shipping worldwide, some beta testers have shared their reviews of the camera. Note Suwanchote, who is a 4.6K Ursa Mini beta tester shared his with us. A long time Blackmagic Design camera user since the days of the original 2.5K BMCC, Note has had his share of BMD cameras including the Pocket Cinema camera and also the URSA Mini 4K (yes, the one with global shutter). Note mentions in his review the new “proper” design of the camera, making the URSA Mini 4.6K a significant improvement over the the square and DSLR-like design of the original BMCC. Just like Note, I used to own the BMCC 2.5K EF and always struggled rigging the thing. It produced lovely images, but doing handheld work with it was often a tedious affair.


Here is what else Note  had to say about the design, build and body of the URSA Mini 4.6K:

To me, the most significant and noticeable feature is the shape of the camera. The original BMCC is oddly shaped, being a weird rectangular-ish box but the Ursa Mini (minus a lens and battery) is shaped like a rectangular box. The nice thing about this design choice is the weight distribution: the BMCC has weight distribution issues and isn’t ideal for certain uses—gimbal use being the one that stands out the most for me.

In addition, the magnesium feels a lot more durable than the aluminium body of the original BMCC. In addition, the anodized black—along with an excellent industrial design—gives the camera a very premium look and finish. The body is a significant improvement over the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

Regarding the image quality of the URSA Mini 4.6K, Note was quite impressed with the dynamic range and the flexibility of the new BMD Film 4.6K, which tends to be flatter, yet with more saturation compared to the original BMD Film, making the new LOG gamma easier to grade and produce very organic results.

BMD Film 4.6K

The difference between the flexibility between the Mini 4.6K versus the Mini 4K and the BMCC is astounding. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the Mini 4.6K> BMCC > Mini 4K. I tend not to ETTR since I find that with the original BMCC and to a lesser extent the Mini 4K, that colours will shift depending on your workflow.

The larger S35 sensor in the URSA Mini 4.6K also makes the field of view larger than the original BMCC and marrying the camera with the Sigma 18-35mm 1.8 at 18mm, gives it a nice pleasing wide angle cinematic look.

“First Seven Days” Ursa Mini 4.6k in 4K from Note Suwanchote on Vimeo.

The ability to shoot in 4.6K at 60p at even at ISO 1600 on the URSA Mini 4.6K is a major plus for Note. According to him, ISO 1600 “in this camera is very usable, more so than 1600 on the BMCC. It’s very clean and I find that you would not need to apply any noise reduction.”

He also tried 2K at 120p but there is a noticeable difference in quality when cropped.

S-117: A Halo Fan Film shot with 4.6K from Note Suwanchote on Vimeo.

The entire teaser was shot on the Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K.

We’re excited to present to you a teaser for our upcoming Halo short trailer. Our short takes place in a cinematic universe thus is a film with Halo characters and plot points.

Directed by: Note Suwanchote
Produced by: Nuk Suwanchote, Dan Noble, Isaac Gutierrez, Note suwanchote
Executive Producers: Sean Murphy, Vitaliy Perunov
Associated Producers: Sam J. West, Matt. Laeng

Special thanks to: Blackmagic Design

Screen Shot 2016-03-30 at 21.14.07

RAW 3:1 | ~ISO 1600 | ƒ1.4 | 60p

The URSA Mini 4.6K scores also major points in the audio department having dual XLR inputs with Phantom power and upgraded pre-amps compared to 1st generation BMD cameras, something for which you needed to get an adapter or an external recorder for on the original BMCC. The 5-inch foldout screen is also a joy to use thanks to its 1080p resolution and decent brightness, although you might need a hood in harsh direct sunlight.

In closing, Note mentioned that this is the best sensor and camera BMD have made up to this point according to him and the low price of $4995 for what the camera can do (4.6K raw in various compressions, ProRes, slow-mo) is very impressive. To read Note’s full review head over to his blog here.

You can order the URSA Mini 4.6K EF and accessories from the links below:

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One Response

  1. T Nails May 6, 2016

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