Today we already published a test video of the impressive Canon 5D mark III RAW module enabled by the Magic Lantern hack and a guide to get it working yourself.

scr_5d3_bmccHere’s a side by side comparison of the 5D mark III with 14bit RAW 1080p together with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera with 2.5K RAW so you can see how the two cameras differ.

5D mark III vs. BMCCUpdate
Here are two RAW to play yourself:
BMCC: bmccdng.zip
5D RAW: 000123.dng

What we did:

We went out with a Canon 5D mark III that had the Magic Lantern RAW module hack on it and shot with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in RAW mode alongside.
We used the Canon 24-105mm lens on the 5D while we used the Tokina 16-50mm on the Blackmagic. Native ISO on the Blackmagic is 800 so we used that.

We tried to get similar shots. It’s not so easy, in fact it was easier to get the shots on the 5D as the Blackmagic is just not a very easy to use camera in many regards. Wrongly interpreted zebra indicators had me fooled several times and the internal battery almost died.

Post processing
After a lengthy process of getting the RAW files converted into something usable we graded both to match more or less. We didn’t do a very sophisticated grade, working with RAW files like that is time consuming.

What became clear is that both cameras provide very similarly capable RAW files. You can adjust everything and everything is possible. You can get similar details out of the sky and set all you like in post. Color temperature, tint, dynamic range, no problem. The 5D is just as strong as the BMCC, providing maybe a bit more dynamic range.

5D3 vs BMCCWhere the cameras differ in terms of RAW is one big thing: Noise. The 5D mark III can shoot indoors at ISO 1600 and there’s almost no noise while the Blackmagic starts to get ugly at this point.
The noise from the BMCC is also apparent when raising the blacks in a shot.

Moire and aliasing is another big big issue on Blackmagic and there is very litte of that on the 5D RAW. The cleanness of the shots of the 5D RAW in general is extremely pleasing and jumps at you when you sit in front of the RAW images. Check some of the dng’s yourself in our other post.

Conclusion
The 5D RAW has the clear advantage of a large sensor and never before seen ISO performance on a RAW camera. It’s intriguing and soon a stable version will probably be ready for real usage.
On the downside the 5D RAW has a little less detail than the Blackmagic or an Alexa, but a lot more detail than the 5D had without the RAW hack.

We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the Magic Lantern solution.

If you buy a Canon 5D mark III, please get it HERE to reward our efforts and PLEASE ALSO MAKE SURE YOU DONATE TO MAGIC LANTERN FOR MAKING THIS AWESOME DEVELOPMENT POSSIBLE: LINK

The Blackmagic Cinema camera is currently in stock again and available for $3000 LINK

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Tito Guillen Reply
Tito Guillen May 14, 2013

now. if they could only condense the workflow, it might be viable

Reply
Claude MONTAZ August 7, 2013

Bonjour,
je suis agacé par cette mode des formats non compressés….inutilisables pour des reportages de 60 mn: quel support,quelle chaine de montage, quelle forme de diffusion? et puis vous nous montrez des comparaisons compressées en H264… bluffant bien sûr, mais passées à la moulinettes d’un codec 4.2.0. !!!!
pardon pour ces remarques simplistes. J’ai 50 ans de photo/vidéo derrière moi!
merci et bien cordialement.

Reply
Claude MONTAZ August 7, 2013

Pardon,
Not for Tito Guilen specialy…and in French !!
How to do? thank you

Reply
EXAOPROD February 13, 2014

Bonjour,
D’un côté tu as raison , personnellement je fais actuellement des documentaires avec des EX3, PMW200, etc… mais qui n’ont absolument pas la dynamique apportée par le RAW, même si de prime abord ça a l’air lourd… ça en vaut la peine, après il faut aussi et surtout avoir le temps de passer toutes ces images en post prod, mais au final le resultat est sans appel , et avec le nombre grandissant d’amateur qui font joujou avec tout ça , même en temps que professionnel il faut nous adapter au risuqe d’être vite “perdu” dans 5 ou 10 ans…. salutations ;o)

Cinema5D Reply
Cinema5D May 14, 2013

The BMCC RAW workflow isn’t really easier.

Reply
Joseph Moore May 14, 2013

BMCC RAW workflow certainly is easier, you can go straight into Resolve or anything else that handles CinemaDNG.

I’m sure better tools will evolve once this hack is formally released, but right now it’s giant PITA, even above other RAW workflows.

Cinema5D Reply
Cinema5D May 14, 2013

The BMCC RAW workflow isn’t really easier.

Tito Guillen Reply
Tito Guillen May 14, 2013

oh, I was speaking for both lol

Tito Guillen Reply
Tito Guillen May 14, 2013

oh, I was speaking for both lol

Reply
Adam Charles Valentiner May 14, 2013

so recording raw straight to the camera works good?

looks like you used this card….
KOMPUTERBAY 128GB Professional COMPACT FLASH CARD

then there is no need for an external recorder when shooting raw video with the 5d?

Reply
Sebastian Wöber May 14, 2013

Exactly

Paweł Szymula Reply
Paweł Szymula May 14, 2013

Well… I think that I’ll still go with BMCC – because of the SSD and Thunderbolt.

Paweł Szymula Reply
Paweł Szymula May 14, 2013

Well… I think that I’ll still go with BMCC – because of the SSD and Thunderbolt.

Reply
Akpe Ododo May 14, 2013

Thanks a lot for this brilliant test……love what am seeing so it seems like am definitely getting the 5DIII.
Any chance you can also do a side by side test also on a close up of the human skin and hair if you get the chance?

Reply
Taylor Wells May 14, 2013

Wow it looks amazing. Does anybody know about if they are going to be able to do this with the Mark II?

Reply
Sebastian Wöber May 14, 2013

I think they’re working on it. And also other Canon DSLRS.

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Lee May 14, 2013

Looks here like the Blackmagic has slightly better color science but the 5DIII holds up well. However, I’m doubting your assessment that the 5D has more DR. the Blackmagic has 13 stops, the 5DIII has 12 in raw. This video seems to confirm it, since for every additional stop you get twice the color information.

Reply
Oscar May 14, 2013

The 5D3 has a cleaner image. I see some what seems to be noise on the stem of the BMCC’s DNG.

Reply
Lee May 14, 2013

True. I prefer better DR and better color science, so I’ll be going for the Blackmagic with its 13 stops. That being said, this raw footage from the 5DIII is impressive. Many filmmakers will be able to use it and achieve incredible images. Who ever thought.

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marklondon May 14, 2013

I think its a very impressive hack. Always loved ML.
Still, its two very different cameras, and camera systems.
I think if you already own a 5D3, or you were probably going to buy one, great.

Reply
Yako May 14, 2013

Nice to see the difference in colors from both of these cameras. Blackmagic goes really overboard with straight blues/cyans and straight reds.

Reply
Sebastian Wöber May 14, 2013

That’s only the grading you’re seeing here, you can do everything with this footage the information is very deep.

Reply
energik3 May 14, 2013

Anyone knows how CANON is reacting ?

I hardly believe that CANON was not aware of the possibility to get RAW files from their DSLR !

Moreover, if it is possible to get it, why this fonction were not available?

Reply
marklondon May 15, 2013

I would guess because it threatens the $25k C500.
Also, who’s to say its perfectly stable? It also won’t give you audio.
I can understand why they didn’t do it.

But good on ML!

Reply
Kyle May 14, 2013

I see glitches in the 5D. Can you comment on them? http://kyleruddick.com/cameratests/5dglitch.jpg
Thanks for putting this together.. Inspirational stuff! Thank you!

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Sebastian Wöber May 14, 2013

It’s an Alpha stage hack. There are glitches sometimes. I think it’s even already fixed by now, they’re developing further.

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Don May 14, 2013

I know that these are still very early days.

But like my self I think that there is allot of ppl who never upgraded to the 5dmkIII and are still sitting on 5dmkII’s!

Waiting to see what move to make in this ever changing camera market.

We 5dmkII’rs can we expect the same kind of image from this camera s the mkIII?

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Alvin May 14, 2013

Where can I find how to work with Canon raw footages in post…..I use PP to edit…HELP!! PLEASE!!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri May 15, 2013

Hi Alvin.
You will need to “transfer” the Canon RAW to DNG first.
For a guide please refer to our article here: http://www.cinema5d.com/news/?p=17898#comment-2742

Hope it helps.

Thank you.

Johnnie

Reply
Simon Bailey May 15, 2013

5D image is much better here than the BMCC. Look at 14 seconds in at the split of the path and look how much chromatic aberration there is on the BMCC, all those purple highlights. Thats very bad on any camera.

Dynamic range is clearly better on the 5D. Look at the trees and the path, keep in mind the highlight is to the left side of the path so dont go off the split but the full frames, you can still see detail at the top left of the path in the 5D but the BMCC is just white.

Wish ML would do this for the D800.

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Dave May 15, 2013

The chromatic aberration is probably more due to the lens than the camera. The 5d wins in the first shot, I don’t know whats going on but the shot was perhaps overexposed and brought down in post? But on the last shot of the swordplay, if you look at the window sills there is a clear distinction between how the BMCC processes the image vs the 5d.

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Simon Bailey May 15, 2013

I’m thinking it could be moire colour rather than aberration now the way its spread across a fine pattern. Aberration I think I usually only see near large contrast changes between objects. A power pole against a bright sky for example.

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Lee May 15, 2013

I don’t believe that iso 800 was the proper exposure for the exterior/pathway clip. they could have gone slightly lower and would have looked better. Even thought 800 is the native iso, using this on that clip was a poor decision.

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Sebastian May 15, 2013

Native ISO gives you best dynamic range. That was the idea.

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Lee May 15, 2013

Thing is, there is no set iso that works best on all circumstances. On this clip, it would have benefited to have a slightly lower iso. Also, it doesn’t look like the highlights were properly brought down on post for the Blackmagic. Just an observation. It’s an interesting comparison, but proper post work needs time that the shooter didn’t want to spend with, or didn’t know how to do? So I think it’s premature to make an accurate assessment of the two cameras with only simple post work. What it does show, is that both cameras are really good.

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Justin May 15, 2013

Mark III can shoot indoor at 1600? Try 6400! If you’re exposing properly, 6400 is an acceptable noise level on this camera.

Reply
David May 15, 2013

Great job! I have a question. Do you get HDMI feed will recording RAW to the cf card? So it would be possible to playback if you used a atomos ninja or simular to check framing and focus(and for dailys while the RAW conforms).

Reply
Johnnie Behiri May 15, 2013

Hi David.

I used my Cineroid retina EVF to be fed from the camera HDMI output.

Thanks.

Johnnie

Reply
dio May 15, 2013

how do you download footage using a mac? ( i don’t have windows)

Reply
Don May 15, 2013

Sebastian,

Do you think they will come up with a hack for the mkII?

And if so.. how would you envision that this quality might hold up against the mkIII and the BMD’s?

Reply
Anders May 15, 2013

5D looks great on closeups, but the deep DOF shots are much nastier on the 5D than the Blackmagic.

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cs May 15, 2013

those two lenses are drastically different from each other

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Ed May 15, 2013

great process ! keep it going guys we are counting on you !!!

big question ! i have the 1dx ! now is this crack works only on 5d ? or will include mine too?? another word ,will i be upgrading my 1dx to a 1DC soon??

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Brandon May 15, 2013

And still, people have complaints. Most of the people bitching on here are camera tech-heads who have and will never make a real film because they have an issue with the cameras. The technology we have today is unbelievable, I shot my last feature on 5D mkiii without RAW and it’s getting distribution. If only I had RAW, the possibilities would have been tremendous. Bravo ML, the creative possibilities are endless!

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dio May 16, 2013

mark ll has moire..so i’m guessing this best done with the marklll

Cinema5D Reply
Cinema5D May 17, 2013

read our latest post – it’s gotten a lot easier now

Reply
Chris Simmons May 17, 2013

I’m not sure why they would need to be at ISO 800 for the BMCC outside. I have to set mine to 200 and be at at least an f16 not to blow it out. I would like to see side by side ISO 1600 raw stills to compare noise. I didn’t really notice much in the dojo scene.

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Lee May 18, 2013

Noise on the Blackmagic is more film-like grain, so it’s a lot more pleasing to watch. I actually like it since it gives the image more texture. From what I’ve seen, the raw from 5D mark III is more digital looking noise, so the cleaner the image the better.

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Peter May 19, 2013

Hhm, it seems this sute is a bit biased towards the 5d.
I seen many other reviews where the bmcc blows the 5d out of the water, granted it was not RAW tho, and Very much doubt the claims about more dynamic range on the 5d.

who in there right mind would buy a the current bmcc anyway now that the much improved 4k version is about to be released for the same price.
I think the real comparison should be between these cameras in which im certain the bmc wiuld win hands down

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Fong Yan Kin September 26, 2013

The old comparison which bmcc blows 5dmark 3 out was before the magic lantern hack…this hack allows 5d to shoot raw at the same time unleashes hidden potential of the 5D’s sensor to approximate the image quality of its still photos..we now get almost BMCC performance with the option of the aesthetics of full-frame sensor..(extreme wide and bokeh etc..) Almost wanted to buy the black magic pocket camera for my video/movie needs as i got a bit disappointed by the unhacked 5d’s performance(i own the 5Dmk 3 already).. but l learned about what ML unleashed in the 5D mark 3..and changed my mind.

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BBK_MK May 24, 2013

I THINK THAT BMCC IS LOOKS GREAT BECAUSE 5DMARK 3 WANT PLUGIN OR FIRMWARE UPDATE AND HIS SENSOR MUST BE DEAD WHEN YOU SHOOTING ALWAYS IN A RAW, PLUGIN ALWAYS NOT GIVE GOOD QUALITY, AND HIS WORKFLOW IS NOT EASY, ONE PLUS IS THAT IN LOW LIGHT DON’T HAVE MUCH NOISE THEN BMCC, AND ONE MINUS FOR THE BMCC IS A TOUCH PANEL ON SCREEN AND DESIGN HIS DESIGN NOT GOOD FOR SHOOTING (SORRY, FOR MY ENGLISH)

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alan nguyen May 29, 2013

For Video Camera 5d get hot very fast. Why everybody crazy about this camera. Pana GH3 is much better than this. My friend spend almost 3000 and hate this piece of shit. Sorry to say that.

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Maurice Covington June 5, 2013

@Alan Nguyen, While I am no able to respond to your post for everyone, I can respond for me. Let me first say that as an owner of the 5D Mark III, I don’t consider it to be a “piece of shit”. The camera serves my photographic and video needs well. I’d like to also add that I have yet to experience any extraordinary rise in temperature on my Mark III. I think that this may be an issue with different users based on how they use their camera or possibly the existing condition of the camera.

Regarding the Panasonic GH3, I have not had a chance to use the camera but, before it came out, I heard great things about it and I’m sure that it is a good video camera for the right person. For me it’s the Mark III.

Happy shooting!

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Fong Yan Kin September 26, 2013

The GH2 with the software hacked is good even comparable image with the current hacked 5D mark 3 as according to comparison done at Nuemann Films..but not sure if the software hack is available for GH3..but without the hack its video quality is only superior to the unhacked 5Dmark 3 only if we dont consider full-frame aesthetics, moire and anti-liasing and low light capabilities which the 5d mark 3 already scores over the GHs.(check reviews by philip bloom).the main issue here is the ability to shoot in raw format..cinema DNG..i dont think other DSLR can do that yet, not even gh2 and gh3..this is something canon themselves didnt think of..it is a hack by Magic Lantern..already the 5dmark 3 is very good in stills, with the video image issues fixed by really approximating the quality of stills,like the video seen here comparing it to the only other camera capable of raw video format around the price range..it is justifiable no need for me to buy another camera for my film/video production..as i already using it for stills..and i can use my current prime lenses.

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Sherman So June 9, 2013

Thank you for the very informative test, but I think you need to test both cameras using the same lSO rating . Thanks!

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Tzachi Avital July 26, 2013

lets face it its huge step to get raw 14bit from canon with large sensor and all the benefit and to record anamorphic in a price like that and finely it is so close to film and u get a sills cam
thanks ml i just bought one

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Leah September 24, 2013

I believe the 5D image is much better here than the BMCC. We use the multiple 5D’s and have never had any issues. http://www.diamondviewstudios.com/tampavideoproduction

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Muh November 25, 2013

To my eyes they seem pretty similar.

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Augusto Alves da Silva September 25, 2013

I own both cameras and BMCC cost me half the price of the 5D. It is a dedicated cinema camera the 5D a photo camera that shoots video. We can work straight away with the BMCC just touching the screen. Very intuitive and in my humble opinion both have their space.I am sure however that BMCC has other features far more superior. In DR I had different results from you. I wouldn´t use the Canon zoom lens. I never use those zooms. A M43 lens would show other potential on the BMCC. Not to mentoin SSD and prores recording…well if you consider them to have both equivalenr DR which I don´t I would rather pay 1500 euros for a cinema camera.

Thank you for the test.

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Michael Montoya October 4, 2013

I think we’re splitting hairs here. Personally, I think you could intercut footage from either of these cameras and, provided they were graded consistently, you would never notice the difference.

The only noticeable difference I noted was that the lens on the Canon was more prone to flaring, but that may have been due to something as simple as lack of a lens shade on the Canon.

In the final analysis, if you’re a small production company, the ability to use the same camera to take production stills (think location scouting) as you would in the final shoot is a clear advantage.

While the 2K camera is now nearly half the retail price as the 5D markIII, the 5D does dual duty taking video and stills. This is a nice feature since it allows you to take clean background plates as well as making HDR probes for CGI compositing. (Admittedly, with the BMCC 4K production camera, you could simply pull a single frame from the footage to get a clean plate).

A few other considerations: the 5D seems less prone to noise a higher ISOs while the BMCC appears to generate finer detail but is also more prone to moire and aliasing artifacts. For the marginal differences between the two, however, it seems to me that the true difference will come down to the artistic sensibilities and talent of the person wielding the tool, which is how it should be. In the final analysis, none of these performance details will make an iota of difference to the viewer.

Personally, if I know that my production is going to be a straight to video release and it can live it’s entire life-cycle in 1080p HD, I’d go with the Canon for the advantages mentioned above; however, if theatrical distribution is a potentially consideration, I’d wait out the BMCC 4K since its just a tad more money than a new 5D MarkIII (it also features a global shutter – which is not a deal breaker if you’re not planning whip pans in your shoot).

Granted, once you go 4K everything downstream of your shoot is going to increase tremendously in terms time and expense between gear, media storage, computing power, etc. So make sure you have the budget to justify this choice – the choice of format sets off a logical production cascade which you need to consider. It doesn’t begin and end with the camera!

I must say that the BMCC 4K cam seems ideal for green screen work where it’s all about high value, narrowly focused work. For a documentary, I don’t think the additional expense is justified (unless your’re going for an epic IMAX-like feel like BBC’s Planet Earth, or something along those lines).

Goddard famously once said that “film makers are the only artists who can’t afford their own tools”. They are very exciting times when these tools are finally within reach of the average person. I hope that this will usher in a sort of renaissance of fresh ideas and perspectives. I think the true challenge with digital is finding a viable revenue model that can survive the rampant online piracy!

Kudos to the open-source community (i.e. Magic Lantern) for democratizing this space and for companies like Black Magic who understand the needs of artists for bringing this technology within reach (given the fierce competition, I am happy to cut this David some slack when battling against the Goliaths out there and willing to forgive their weak distribution muscle).

Now we have no excuses, just make a choice (they’re all good – just toss a coin if you can’t decide) and run with it. Unless you are a technician, the most important thing is to get your work out there, your energy is better spent articulating your vision, not pulling your hair trying to figure out which camera best squeezes out the last ounce of dynamic range!

Reply
exe March 20, 2014

BlackMagic has greater dynamic range than the mark III

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