Why to Opt for BRAW Instead of Cinema DNG When Shooting on the Sigma fp

The Sigma fp is an underrated camera. The ultra-compact mirrorless has some shockingly good video features crammed into that tiny body, including the ability to record 12-bit Cinema DNG Raw internally in UHD 4K up to 30p.

With firmware version 2.0, Sigma added to the video capabilities by adding support for raw over HDMI, including Blackmagic RAW with compatible recorders. So, which raw codec should you use?

Anson & Co. has five reasons for explaining why Blackmagic RAW is the way to go. Even though it requires picking up a Blackmagic Video Assist to get the job done there are enough advantages over Cinema DNG to make it worthwhile.

1. The Image

When shooting raw with the fp and a Video Assist you are getting the most neutral profile, which is softer and has a bit lower contrast. It naturally comes across as a bit more “filmic” in nature. This is easier to work with in post and you can create a nice final image with it as well.

2. DCI 4K

A slight change from the internal recording is that the Sigma fp can output in DCI 4K as opposed to UHD 4K. It is the ever-so-slightly wider aspect ratio that is considered the standard for film delivery. Most traditional cinema cameras offer this resolution along with true 24.00 fps shooting.

Sigma fp Mirrorless Camera

Image Credit: Sigma

3. Reduced File Size

Cinema DNG is a nice option, but it produces absolutely massive files. Blackmagic RAW is a compressed raw format and can dramatically shrink down file sizes. If you need to do longer takes or just don’t want to worry about swapping out media throughout the day then Blackmagic RAW is going to make a difference.

Plus, all that footage has to go somewhere at the end of the day and that means you’ll need more and larger drives at home and that gets expensive.

4. Easier Editing in DaVinci Resolve

An easy advantage is if you are a Resolve user. Blackmagic obviously designed their own raw codec to work very well with their NLE.

All the raw controls you need are right at your fingertips and the software is optimized to use them. This means your computer will run smoother with Blackmagic RAW over Cinema DNG.

Image Credit: Blackmagic Design

5. LUT Support

Not specifically a feature of Blackmagic RAW but a benefit you get from the use of the Video Assist is the ability to bake in a LUT.

This LUT support not only helps on set with monitoring but also can speed up editing by baking it into the footage. Starting off from a point closer to your final goal can make for faster turnaround times.

This is still going to come down to personal preference. If you don’t care to use external monitors or have some shoots you want to shoot internally then Blackmagic RAW isn’t an option. If you don’t use Resolve then the advantages of direct NLE support also don’t come into play.

Try it out and see what you think!
[source: Anson & Co.]

Order Links:

  • Sigma fp Mirrorless Camera (B&H, Amazon)
  • Blackmagic Design Video Assist 5” 12G HDR (B&H, Amazon)

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