Blackmagic Design know how to keep the boat rocking, no doubt about it. A steady flow of software and hardware innovations on different levels has always kept them on top of the news feed despite the stiff competition and all obstacles the company came across along the way.
Broadcasting equipment, GPUs, editing and compositing software and whatnot, one could build almost a whole pipeline around Blackmagic’s products, starting from the cameras along with all amazing features these offerings bring to the table. In the following video, The Slanted Lens team is going to compare the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2 to the ARRI Amira in another attempt to figure out how close one can bring those together.
Of course, a comparison between these two cameras may not seem the first choice one would make. The AMIRA is six years old at this point, while the G2 was introduced less than a year ago, but this experiment actually makes more sense than it may seem at first.
If indeed at the moment the flagship camera from ARRI is the ALEXA, both in the standard and mini body, the AMIRA is the closest camera to the URSA Mini Pro when it comes to form factor.
Other than that, the URSA Mini Pro has a nice variety of options. We can choose between Blackmagic Raw and ProRes from 4.6K to a windowed HD that will land us in the 300fps realm.
The options do not end with codecs, though. One can opt for CFast cards, SD cards, and SSDs on the URSA Mini G2 both through the optional caddy that goes on the back using the proprietary SDI communication or USB-C port.
The AMIRA, on the other hand, offers fewer options on the media side as it works with CFast cards only. But to be honest, USB-C was far from being the standard that is becoming now, and previous ports had many limitations, be it in power draw, the width of user base or bandwidth.
It’s also worth mentioning that in this particular test, the 4K footage of the AMIRA is upscaled since the sensor is actually a 3.6K, but we are all familiar with the ARRI’s exquisite image quality, so this shouldn’t be considered as a shortcoming or a flaw by any means.
In regard to picture quality, the Blackmagic Design holds up quite well to the AMIRA, especially if you take into account the price point difference. Meanwhile, it does not seem that the AMIRA is falling down on the resolution side either, even when you consider the fact that the image is upscaled slightly.
In the test with the mixed light environments, it becomes even more apparent how close is the image of the URSA Mini when compared to the AMIRA. The latter still has the upper hand when it comes to color rendition, though.
Tone and saturation, everything is a little bit better. But these slight differences are, again, insignificant if you think that one camera costs an average of six times the other.
When it comes to overexposing the image, however, the gap between the two offerings becomes wider. The AMIRA holds so much better in the highlights, shifting to green a little bit only once we hit the 5+EV, while the URSA gets a magenta tint much earlier while losing detail and definition quickly.
Going down in the opposite direction, it seems that both rivals had a harder time as expected. At -4EV the footage of the URSA Mini is already unusable, but the cameras seem to keep up much the same way, with a slight advantage for the AMIRA in the end.
In terms of ISO range, both cameras reach their usable limit at the ISO 1600 mark. You can go a little bit over that, but it’s not recommended. Here, the URSA redeems itself keeping a slight advantage over the AMIRA.
Overall, it’s fair to say that these tests bode well for the URSA Mini Pro G2. ARRI’s proprietary sensor technology is with no doubt the best in the industry, so kudos to Blackmagic Design engineers who managed to raise the bar so high turning the URSA Mini Pro G2 into a worthy competitor with unrivaled price/performance ratio and so many amazing features available on board.