There are so many cinema cameras out today. Fortunately, you can’t really go wrong with any of them whether that means a pocket camera for independent shooters or a full-fledged model ready for the highest budgets.
In the sweet spot for owner-operators are a new selection with a range of different specs and configurations and we are looking at three today: the Sony FX9, RED KOMODO, and Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro G2.
All of these cameras are very capable but they each have their own perks and drawbacks. Gear Focus takes a look at each to help determine which option is best for different people.
Marcos Rocha, a freelance director of photography, is testing out all these cameras for this video. Starting with the RED KOMODO he explains that it is great for commercial work.
The 6K raw footage out of the camera is incredible to work with. However, it isn’t well suited to long-form work like documentaries or interviews because the files are so large and the raw footage needs more time in post.
You can just use ProRes, but that somewhat defeats the benefits of using the RED. Also, going to a smaller resolution in raw, like 4K, requires a crop in on the sensor.
Another missing point is that there isn’t a high-quality internal audio system and only a mediocre 3.5mm input. Some benefits of the KOMODO are in the compact design and use of the Canon RF mount.
This allows you to adapt plenty of other lenses, including EF lenses with full electronic support.
RED is a big name in the industry and you will likely find clients who want to see the person they hire using a big-name camera. This will check that box.
Blackmagic is up next with the URSA Mini Pro G2. This is closer to a full-size cinema camera, though that “Mini” designation is appropriate as it sits in between the FX9 and KOMODO in this lineup.
Blackmagic has done a good job of delivering a line of cameras, including the Pocket series, that all can be used with each other fairly seamlessly. That is a huge benefit. One advantage all Blackmagic cameras seem to have is in their well-designed menus. The URSA G2 shares that intuitive system.
The URSA is a raw-capable camera at up to 4.6K and of course ProRes is available. A step up from the KOMODO is that the URSA is able to accommodate internal NDs behind its Canon EF mount. Autofocus is there but isn’t worth using. Audio is possible to configure directly into the camera with two XLR inputs available.
It’s a solid pick for indie film work but it isn’t highly requested for commercial work. There also seems to be some issue with timecode syncing with audio in his experience which could be an issue if you are working with a separate audio system.
Third on the list is the Sony FX9. This was picked up because Marcos was getting a lot of requests from agencies specifically for this camera. It has a lot going for it similar to the URSA thanks to its larger, more comprehensive body. There are XLR inputs, an internal electronic ND, and more.
Where Sony dominates in this competition is with autofocus. The Sony system is reliable compared to Blackmagic’s which isn’t work using at all and RED’s which still needs some tweaking.
Image quality is great and it does bump up to a full-frame sensor over the Super 35mm sensors of the other options. The FX9 just works and has everything you might need. It works for the most variety of shoots, including documentaries.
Obviously, Sony’s rival is the most expensive of the bunch. Blackmagic comes in at around $4,000 these days, RED clocks in at $6,000, and the FX9 is $11,000.
In summary, the RED is great for commercial work. Blackmagic comes in for indie film productions and smaller shoots. Sony does well with corporate and documentary work.
If you pick up any of these cameras you’ll likely be just fine for everything as knowing the camera is the most important thing.
What do you think about these cameras? Which would you choose?
[source: Gear Focus]
- Sony FX9 Cinema Camera (B&H)
- RED KOMODO 6K Cinema Camera (B&H)
- Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 Cinema Camera (B&H, Amazon)
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