Blackmagic Announces a Broadcast Camera with a Massive Viewfinder: Studio Camera

Blackmagic Announces a Broadcast Camera with a Massive Viewfinder: Studio Camera

Apparently Blackmagic has been busy this past year, as not only have we seen the URSA at NAB, but also they just announced the Studio Camera. Inside its magnesium alloy body you get a massive 10” viewfinder, 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections that let you connect to your switcher with a single cable. The 1080p60 will retail for $1,995, while you can get 4K for $2,995.

fstoppers blackmagic studio camera 2

fstoppers blackmagic studio camera 3-1

fstoppers blackmagic studio camera 4-1

You can get more info at, but here are the main features of the new camera:

  • High resolution 1080HD in HD model and Ultra HD sized sensor in 4K model.
  • Built in large 10 inch super bright wide viewing angle LCD viewfinder with sun shade.
  • Built in optical fiber and regular SDI connections for camera output and monitoring input.
  • Compatible with high quality Micro Four Thirds lenses. Compatible with other mounts via common third party adapters such as B4 broadcast lens mount.
  • Built in, two way digital quality talkback using high quality affordable general aviation headsets.
  • Includes front and rear tally indicators using tally over SDI protocol.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR balanced mic/line audio in with switchable phantom power, headphone and microphone jack for talkback, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin XLR broadcast standard DC 12V power connection.
  • On screen menus for all camera settings.
  • Supports 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 and up to 60 fps in HD model, up to 30 fps in 4K model.
  • Compatible with ATEM range of live production switchers.


Blackmagic says the camera is available now, and like mentioned for US$1,995 for standard HD and US$2,995 for 4K.

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I dont know what to think :/

Love that price though

Would love to see what the profit margin is on this camera...its so cheap.

It is essentially a "cut-n-paste" product. All the parts and pieces (both hardware and software) were pre-existent in other products. So it was a matter of designing a new enclosure and dropping everything in. And the "CCU" is a virtual tab on their switcher "soft panel" heavily influenced by their DaVinci color correction product, but with none of the traditional CCU indicators/controls expected by experienced video production people.

I know next to nothing about TV production, but this has still got to be much cheaper than what was out there before, right? Does this seem like a viable solution for TV/Cable broadcast?

It is hard to make comparisons because there was NOTHING "out there before" in this category. This is essentially a whole new category. I'm sure with good lighting these will make quite usable cameras for a multi-cam studio (or remote) production. Certain things about this camera that are built-in to the design are BRILLIANT and unmatched within 10x the price. But there are other things where it looks like they ran out of steam and had to get the product out for NAB. Perhaps some of them can be corrected with firmware.

WTF is it with these guys and non-interchangable batteries?

studio cam.... don't know anybody that needs a battery in a studio situation

So why is there a battery in it in the first place?

Jayson Carey's picture

momentary power loss, moving across the room, etc.

Looks like rehashed tech to me...

Jayson Carey's picture

so? it's a broadcast cam for $2k. 95% has to be rehashed tech to be that cheap. Really all they are doing is updating the ergonomics.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Yep, darn useful things, batteries... If I'm shooting in a studio I'll use mains power to my camera - but I'll have battery backup just in case. It's a different thing for full studio cameras, as they run with nice big hefty triax cables (nigh on impossible to break), with beautiful cable guards and cable bashers that make moving around sooo easy.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Action safe is an aid to establishing correct framing with TV sets. Even though flat screens don't technically need to scan with underscan, we've a legacy to retain compatibility from earlier years where programmes were framed this way.

Title safe was established to ensure text would be easily read even with the curved edges of the old TV tubes, (before "flat" CRTs were introduced). It's still a useful guide as it offers a useful aesthetically pleasing position for text and titles. The guide can be extended towards the sides when delivering solely for the internet as we've more screen area to work with, and in that respect I'll often use the action safe lines as a guide for text in those cases.

To be honest, the overscan / underscan issue is a real pain when framing video pictures. It's only 5% of the total screen area, but choose the wrong one and something will look bad. I end up framing for TV and inevitably letterbox any versions for the internet so the framing retains it's original intention (albeit this gives a slightly wider image than intended.

The concept of audio levels has a similar problem. TV insists on PPM peaks of PPM6 because of analogue transmission limitations, but now with digital and (worse,) the internet, we're losing this valuable standard to varying audio output levels. I still work to PPM6 with PPM4 set at -18dB on the digital scale, but many edit suites don't have this standard. (Apologies to other countries if your TV standards are different - I'm writing this from a UK perspective).

Again with audio, there are (in the UK) guidelines for dynamic range on speech and music, but alas these are being eroded with loud adverts and music channels all trying to be the loudest...!

TV is alive and well - so although many will watch all their programmes on a PC screen, the standards of telly still, and should apply.

Well, that's kinda my point. There's no need for it anymore. How many people are watching on CRTs, and do they matter?

Lee Christiansen's picture

Very few people are watching on CRTs, (although I only changed to a Plasma 3 years ago when tech finally caught up and we could get a decent picture...)

But we have the issue of legacy. Programmes made a few years ago were shot to accommodate the necessary underscan / overscan framing.

If we show all of the TV image (currently TV images show about 95% of the picture,) then you're going to start seeing things that were never intended, (mics in shot etc...) or more subtly, looser framing than was intended.

This is a constant issue when producing output nowadays and I find myself asking producers what the output will be, before I've even framed up the image. ie. do I switch off the safety markers in my viewfinder or not?

Unless programme makers / archive houses are going to change universally their output system, whist simultaneously ensuring all archive material is output at 105% size, we're going to need the overscan capability of TV's.

As a cameraman, I would lose underscanning in a heartbeat - but it's not practical until there is a change in delivery from TV programme makers and channels.

Well, I can see perhaps a 5% action safe, as you've pointed out, but that's about it. You don't need a 10% action safe, and you definitely don't need a title safe anymore.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Action safe is just a guide to the cameraman. In an overscanning viewfinder we know that the absolute edge of a TV frame is half way between the 90% safety marker and edge of the viewfinder. It's a guide for good aesthetics. I'm coming at this with 18+ years as a Lighting Cameraman / DoP

We don't NEED title safe, but it's a very good indication of where good titling can be. You can use it as a useful guide or choose not to. On TV delivery, titling outside the title safe can look a little cramped - partly because of aesthetics, and partly because we're used to seeing graphics within these lines. The technical requirement is not there so much - but it's still a very useful guide, (and one I often use for my edits - whether for internet or TV broadcast).

I recently edited a production for DVD and web delivery. The graphic designers had ignored any action or title safe ares and as such their graphics looked fine on web but lousy for TV. It took several hours versioning up the series of videos to work on both formats. If they'd popped up a set of safety markers when designing, things would have been a lot easier.

BlackMagic is doing great job with these cameras, just amazing! But the reason why this is so cheap: This doesn't record, this need external recorder! That's why there's Fiber connections and SDI. And if someone whines about the battery, then find a proper, high quality fiber-recorder with battery that lasts longer than 4 hours...

Lee Christiansen's picture

I'm not seeing remote camera control (iris / colour balance / ped and clip levels etc) which are all essential in the multi-camera environment.

Coming from a multi-camera background (amongst other things,) we'd have found it impossible to match several cameras without this level of control.

Yes I know everything is digital, you'd be surprised how different 2 or 3 "digital" cameras can look with the same settings. Plus, studio operators usually don't run their own exposure, simply because having a rack operator doing the job (as well as matching other picture elements,) ensures continuity between camera shots.

I'm guessing niceties like this are going to the wind as we bring gear down to the cost of a popsicle. (Ah, I long for the days when we'd line everything up with a scope and bars...)

Indeed, there appears to be no white balance. The "virtual CCU" appears to have been designed by the DaVinci crew. Heavy on color tweaking, and very light (or non-existent) on all the other traditional CCU controls needed for proper high quality production. I see these going into churches, etc, where people are DIY productions. But I can't see using these for broadcast applications.

The demonstration set for all their cameras is very "favorably" lit. Flat and high levels. No opportunity to see how it performs in high/low lights, etc. Compare with the very "dramatic" lighting in the old-school camera booths (Sony, where you can really see how their gear handles real world situations. And even with the favorable lighting, the studio camera didn't have that "pop" that you see from higher-end cameras.

No touch screen? I can't swipe using my fingers?