Blackmagic Announces the New URSA, a Camera with an Interchangeable Sensor

Blackmagic Announces the New URSA, a Camera with an Interchangeable Sensor

Blackmagic has announced a new camera, the URSA. It has multiple accessories built in, including a massive 10 inch fold out on set monitor, large user upgradable Super 35 global shutter 4K image sensor and internal dual RAW and Apple ProRes recorders. It also has a swappable sensor, so you can choose EF or PL lens mounts, or even a broadcast video sensor with B4 mount, or even upgrade the camera in the future.

fstoppers blackmagic URSA 4

You can read in a lot more detail about the camera at, but I want to highlight the features of the camera, which ditches the rectangle block for the more traditional design for broadcast media:

  • Large high resolution 4K Super 35 mm sized sensor with superior handing of image detail.
    Professional global shutter for smooth pans and image motion.
  • Wide 12 stops of dynamic range allows capture of increased details for feature film look.
  • Compatible with extremely high quality PL or EF mount lenses.
  • User upgradable design allows customers to upgrade and change the sensor and lens mount.
  • Built in dual CFast 2.0 card recorders allow unlimited duration recording in high quality.
  • Open file formats compatible with popular NLE software, such as Apple ProRes and compressed CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW. No custom file formats.
  • Support for ProRes HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes LT, ProRes Proxy recording at resolutions up to Ultra HD.
  • Features all standard connections, including dual XLR mic/line audio inputs with phantom power, 6G-SDI output for monitoring with camera status graphic overlay and separate XLR 4 pin power output for viewfinder power, 6G-SDI monitoring input, headphone jack, LANC remote control and standard 4 pin 12V DC power connection.
  • Built in stereo microphones for recording sound.
    3 separate built in LCD monitors for camera settings and metadata entry. Large 10 inch screen folds out for full resolution HD monitoring with wide viewing angle and high brightness.
  • Supports Ultra HD and 1080 HD resolution capture in 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30 up to 60 fps.
  • Features liquid cooling system allowing higher frame rates when future sensors support this feature.
  • Supports quick release tripod mounts and adding V-Mount and Anton/Bauer mount battery plates.
  • Includes full copy of DaVinci Resolve software color grading and editing software.

More detail about the sensor options:

URSA EF includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and an EF lens mount with active lens control. Now you can use low cost DSLR photo lenses from companies such as Canon, Zeiss and more.

URSA Broadcast, due later in 2014, features a whole different sensor optimized for Broadcast Video in Ultra HD, combined with a broadcast B4 lens mount and broadcast lens control connection plus built in ND filter wheel.

URSA PL includes the amazing 4K Super 35 image sensor with global shutter and the film industry PL lens mount. That’s ideal when you need to use feature film industry PL mount lenses for the most cinematic optics available.

URSA HDMI includes no sensor because it features an HDMI 4K input and mount plate for connecting any camera such as DSLR cameras! Get much better ProRes recording, monitoring, audio and timecode than what is ever included on simple video or DSLR cameras.

different sensors URSA fstoppers

The Blackmagic URSA will be available in June/July from US$5,995. Hopefully they can keep to that timeline, as I am sure there will be many interested in this new camera.

Posted In: 
Log in or register to post comments


Mike Wilkinson's picture

This is sick.

Josiah Moore's picture

I agree! Though I would say that I'm more excited with how BM is pushing the market overall. I'm not totally impressed with this camera or BM overall, BUT it's awesome what they are doing for competition! Love it!

I'm in love with this company. They're like the Apple of the Film Industry

Considering their incredibly affordable prices and incredible bang-for-the-buck, why would you make such a hideous comparison?

If the iPad was made entirely in the USA it would cost over 14k. Apple once was, but is no longer.

...and your point is?...

Are you really that dumb?

Sorry, dude, but you've made no relative point. Apple has ALWAYS been an overpriced company.

lol um will just kindly say I disagree with your opinion. Not sure why you decided to bring negativity to this post

Because there's a reality to the difference between what little you get for your money from Apple versus most other companies.

Yes you get a better experience with Apple hands down. And my comparison was more so how they both are shaking up their individual industries not price.

"Yes you get a better experience with Apple hands down."

A matter of opinion I suppose.

Interesting. No mention of ISO/low light sensitivity

No mention of ISO on the BM site, although all the pictures show it on ISO 800..could just be a mock-up photo..maybe someone at NAB can ask or find out.

Here we go again...Another BM I have to add to my collection. I'm running out of justifications I tell myself. Last one was, "but it has 4k raw!" I guess this one will be, "but it has 4k raw at 60p!" Works for me, take my money.

That 10" display and two working touchscreen panels are going to be your justification this time haha ;)

I have a 7" display now and that thing is big, can't imagine a built-in 10in display. This is going to be awesome on a dolly or steadycam rig.

Canon, are you out there? I've invested a lot of money in you Canon...................Canon?

Canon introduced two 4k camcorder at NAB, the XF205 and XF200, but for $4000 that's money better spent on an A7s/Atmos combo I think.

Good to know, not my kind of camera, but man are those popular. Was hoping to see a c200 or c400, oh well.

Lee Christiansen's picture

Now whilst we've not actually seen the images from this beastie - it certainly sounds very interesting.

However, Blackmagic assume that every image might be graded and so leave us with no on-board iris controls. A single "iris" button to optimise the exposure isn't hugely helpful unless every image is to be adjusted in post - which could be quite time consuming. (It also prevents any riding of the iris or fine adjustments between or within shots).

Sure we can use prime lenses with manual iris operation but given the price tag of the camera, I'm assuming much of it's market may be made from existing DSLR users who've been happily using non-manual lenses.

If we'd had the inclusion of a conveniently placed iris control (OK, convenient is usually on the lens but close by is good enough,) and even better with 1/10 stop adjustment like the C300, then we'd have a much better solution.

It might also have been good to have had a recording format such as XDCAM HD, which requires only regular CF cards to keep up. Certainly the codecs and RAW offerings with this camera are superior, but it would have softened the transition of camera change for many. I have XDCAM on offer with my nanoFlash, so the licence can't be that expensive.

It will be interesting to see how this thing delivers in the field...

AJA just raised the stakes with 4:4:4 12-bit:

Lee Christiansen's picture

mmm... interesting times...

Shame the AJA is only offered with a PL mount. This could limit potential movers from other systems such as the C300 if people have already invested in EF mount lenses.

The Pak recording system seems a little restrictive in that it is an AJA only option - but then I purchased a PMW-500 with the Sony SxS cards being the only viable option so maybe not a huge issue. Currently the Pak option is a lot cheaper than the Fast CF cards of the Blackmagic.

No RAW option which is a shame. Good to see a variety of ProRes codecs though.

Now, if we could just get the iris control of the C300, the RAW recording of the Blackmagic, the ProRes options of the AJA and the ergonomics of my old DigiBeta... ah, then we'd have a camera!

Only pro res. Hopefully an update to raw makes it a little limiting in post

Very interesting, but it will be interesting to learn from Philip Bloom who the winners and losers at NAB are.

I got excited at the prospect of shooting 4K RAW for such an attractive price tag, but I've just visited nofilmschool looking for more details, and I've come to understand that this article is woefully incomplete. Let's look at what's not so great about the URSA.

1. It weighs 16lbs.

In a world where filmmaking is decentralizing and becoming more mobile, this is a bad thing. Yes, when I'm shooting handheld, I'd like the camera to command a certain tactile heft, but that can be accomplished by adding weight to a shoulder rig (and I'm dreaming about a way to be able to add weight to a shoulder rig without carrying weights in your luggage). Some consider that a hassle, and it *sort of* is, but the truth is that weight cannot be removed from an already-heavy camera, and that limits the camera's adaptability. The aptly named URSA's ("female bear's") weight and Alexa-ish form factor somewhat cripples its ability to do certain things that the DSLR revolution got us excited about, like putting cameras in weird places with less gear, or putting them on smaller cheaper gymbals like the one DJI just put out (and yes, I just used the Alexa as an example of something that isn't the best for certain applications; but don't get me wrong, I'll take an Alexa any day. And no, I don't think BM intended for the name to be interpreted that way). I'm sure this isn't necessarily a big problem for some people, but if you're looking for a camera with which to do everything, the URSA's weight is probably a minus. Maybe they'll find a way to lose some weight.

2. It only shoots 4k RAW for 6 minutes. Per $1200 CFast card.

That's too short. I can't deal with that. I'm not gonna call it a 4k RAW camera. Yet. Maybe the price of cards will drop quickly as their capacity expands aggressively, but right now, it's another knock.

3. You can't format cards in-camera.

Not an issue if you've got a good relationship with your data wrangler, but sort of seems like an obvious and easy feature to include...? Firmware update fixable, probably.

Drawbacks aside, the prospects this camera offers are immense, and I can't wait to see what blackmagic does to improve upon their own work.