Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K – How Good is the 4.6K?

URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K

The Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K is a truly affordable cinema camera with impressive specs that houses Blackmagic’s newest sensor. When it was announced last year, Blackmagic Design once again won many filmmakers over. Now that the camera has started shipping, there are many positive, but also some negative voices. Let’s take a look at the guts of the 4K vs 4.6K Blackmagic URSA Mini cinema camera in our lab.

Comparison: Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K

On the outside these two cameras look identical. Inside the body they probably also share most of the same innards. What really differentiates one from the other is mostly the sensor as far as we can tell. The 4K sensor on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K is the same that was used on the large URSA camera and on the Blackmagic Production Camera. The new 4.6K sensor is 15% larger and similar in size to the ARRI Alexa and Canon C300 mark II sensors.

We will focus on testing several aspects of sensor performance and evaluate the image quality. To make this review fair, we will also throw the popular Sony FS7 into the mix as an additional reference camera.

URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K

A look at the Specs

Specs-wise these cameras are virtually identical. Both shoot up to 60fps in 4K. The main difference lies in their maximum resolution and sensor size. The fact that these cameras shoot in all flavours of the Apple ProRes codec, as well cinemaDNG RAW is their big plus. It is, in fact, an aspect where all Blackmagic cameras have an advantage over most other low-cost cinema cameras on the market.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K

  • Max Resolution: 4K (4000 x 2160)
  • Max Framerate 4K: 60fps
  • Max Framerate HD: 60fps
  • Log Gamma: Film Log
  • Sensor: Aps-C (21.12 x 11.88 mm)
  • Mount: Canon EF or PL
  • Codec Bitrate 4K: up to ProRes 444 XQ – 312.5 MB/s
  • Price: About $3000

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K

  • Max Resolution: 4.6K (4608 x 2592)
  • Max Framerate 4K: 60fps
  • Max Framerate HD: 120fps (windowed)
  • Log Gamma: Film Log
  • Sensor: Super35 (25.34 x 14.25 mm)
  • Mount: Canon EF or PL
  • Codec Bitrate 4K: up to ProRes 444 XQ – 312.5 MB/s
  • Price: About $5000

Dynamic Range

A good dynamic range rating allows us to capture a larger range of shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes, an important property when it comes to comparing the URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K and one where a main difference will become apparent.

We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart. For our dynamic range tests we use the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro lens (more on how we test HERE).

Our software measured about 12 stops of usable dynamic range on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K (RAW). This is very similar to the rating of the a7S II and C300 mark II.

[Update:] How we tested: We measured dynamic range using uncompressed RAW with an ISO of both 800 and 1600. We decoded the files in DaVinci Resolve 12.5 with BMD Film 4.6K Gamma applied. We also tested dynamic range with Apple ProRes 422 HQ and had the same results.

Here’s a screenshot of the dynamic range of a few popular cameras compared.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Dynamic Range vs URSA Mini 4K vs Sony FS7 dynamic range

In comparison to the URSA Mini 4.6K, our software measured about 8.5 stops of usable dynamic range on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K (RAW). The Sony FS7 reaches 12.5 stops.

For each camera there are different reasons why the dynamic range is limited. The Sony FS7 image seems to become unstable in the lower stops due to processing. There is noise reduction which cancels out noise, but it’s also apparent that we quickly loose detail in the darker areas. The URSA Mini 4K simply doesn’t capture as much dynamic range as the other cameras. The URSA Mini 4.6K would have potential for more stops of range, but noise becomes stronger in the dark areas. Unfortunately there is a lot of pattern noise there, more than on the 4K, which makes darker areas of the image less usable.

Here is a shot of the darker steps (11, 12, 13 and 14). Step 13 and 14 were not counted as valid range by our software, because there is too much noise. See the same image with raised gamma for better viewing below.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Pattern Noise

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K – Pattern Noise in Dynamic Range Step 11, 12, 13 and 14.

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Pattern Noise with raised gamma

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K – Pattern Noise with raised Gamma


The Blackmagic URSA Mini cameras are not strong when it comes to low light performance. In comparison, the FS7 has a greater range in terms of ISO. On the URSA Mini 4K there are only three settings: 200, 400, and 800. The URSA Mini 4.6K goes up to ISO 1600.

In our tests we found that there is little difference in image quality when comparing all of the ISO speeds available on a single camera. It might seem so at first because the image gets brighter with higher ISOs, but in reality the lower ISO speeds merely cut off the image video range. In other words, the same image only gets coded differently at different ISO speeds, seemingly without any difference in processing whatsoever. That’s why we recommend to use the full video range in ProRes, in order to get the best color gradations.

This can be achieved by using ISO 400 or 800 on the URSA Mini 4K and ISO 800 or 1600 on the URSA Mini 4.6K. When exposing your image, though, make sure that you do not underexpose the image, as it will look brighter with the higher ISO setting (800 on 4K and 1600 on 4.6K). If you want the best quality, overexpose your image so you don’t get the noise from the darker areas into your shot, but be careful about highlight clipping. The lower ISO speeds (200 and 400 on the 4.6K) should be avoided.

[Update:] In order to get the most range out of our footage, Blackmagic recommends rating the cameras at their native ISO, which is 400 on the 4K, and 800 on the 4.6K, and then processing the RAW files using the latest version of DaVinci Resolve with BMD Film 4K and BMD Film 4.6K Gamma applied to the RAW decode. In RAW mode, ISO can be selected during the decoding process. We found that a setting of ISO 800 gives you the best starting point to grade.

Image Quality

In terms of image quality, the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K and 4.6K are highly regarded due to their codecs. The following images were taken from URSA Mini RAW files, the Sony FS7 with its native codec and the Fuji XT-2 mirrorless camera with an external recorder:

Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K resolution quality

100% crops (except the 4.6K downscaled to 4K)

What we can clearly see here is that the Sony FS7 and Fujifilm X-T2 have a cleaner image when it comes to fine details. The URSA Mini 4.6K and 4K, on the other hand, show a little bit of a moire pattern on fine lines due to aliasing. The resolution of the Sony FS7 UHD image seems similar to that of the URSA 4.6K RAW image downscaled to 4K in terms of how much detail they resolve.

When we compare the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K we see that the URSA Mini 4.6K resolves more detail than the 4K. The same is true when we compare a recording in 4K resolution on the URSA Mini 4.6K, to a 4.6K image on the same camera.

But image quality is not a thing that is black and white. Here you can see how the different cameras treat a natural object, as opposed to test chart stars:

URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K Image Quality

Contrast on all images above has been adjustedfor a rough match.

Interestingly the image coming from the Sony FS7 seem much softer. Add some sharpening to the FS7 image, though, and you will find that the image gets much closer to the way the URSA Mini images look. In conclusion, I would say that the codec of the FS7 is its weakest point, but the image looks cleaner than the one from the URSA Mini 4K and 4.6K. All in all, the URSA Mini 4K and 4.6K have a similar looking image, though the 4K wanders off into a slight green tint while the 4.6K looks more magenta. There is a certain amount of noise in the shadow areas on both cameras, and the image is slightly sharpened in-camera. But the look is very natural and colours are quite neutral.

[UPDATE:] Here is a version of only the Sony FS7 image, graded and sharpened to match the URSA Mini processed RAW images above. Here you can see that the detail is very similar, but also how the codec easily falls apart on some portions of the image. The image is more stable and ready to grade on the URSA Mini’s:

Sony FS7 image graded to match URSA Mini 4.6K

Sony FS7 image graded and post sharpened to match the URSA Mini 4.6K

Rolling Shutter

Some cameras, like the Sony a7S II, suffer from a severe rolling shutter effect, a phenomenon also referred to as “jello”. Unfortunately, the rolling shutter that we see on most CMOS sensor cameras is also present on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K and Sony FS7.

As we can see, the rolling shutter on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K is identical to the one we found on the Sony FS7. 11ms is an OK rating when it comes to rolling shutter. On most mirrorless cameras the effect is more severe. The Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K however gets the best rating, as it has a global shutter sensor that does not suffer from the rolling shutter effect at all.

Rolling Shutter on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K

RAW vs ProRes

When comparing the codecs on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K we found that ProRes generally gives us exceptional results. RAW is a very nice option and should in theory extends bit depth of your files to give you finer gradations. We did not test this. Dynamic range is not increased when using RAW, however.

[Update:] We have compared gradations on a RAW and ProRes file and we can confirm that RAW increases the bit depth. So if you want the best filmic look for heavy color grading, we recommend to use the RAW option on this camera.


It was truly interesting to take a closer look at the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K in comparison to the URSA Mini 4K camera. We saw that the dynamic range of the URSA Mini 4.6K is similar to the FS7. It is a vast improvement over the URSA Mini 4K, which really lacked behind on this point. On the other hand, the URSA Mini 4K has a global shutter sensor and thus doesn’t suffer from rolling shutter effect at all.

In terms of image quality, the URSA Mini 4.6K delivers a really nice image with balanced colors and a natural look. The URSA Mini 4K clearly comes from the same family of sensors, but has a slight green tint. There is slight aliasing on both the 4K and 4.6K when we compare it to the FS7, though, and noise kicks in quickly if you are not careful. Both cameras are no lowlight wonders, but there is an improvement on the 4.6K. [UPDATE:] Also, the 4.6K can shoot up to 120fps in windowed HD.


The most striking argument for the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K is clearly its dynamic range. It also has a sensor 20% larger in size and an extra of 0.6K in resolution, which most will deem marginal in a world of 4K, UHD or HD delivery.

If dynamic range is important to you, then the URSA Mini 4K probably does not have what you want. But besides this point, both these cameras are very similar. In our opinion, for those shooting in studios, there is no good reason to upgrade to the 4.6K at this time. Everyone else will probably welcome the extra filmic quality the URSA Mini 4.6K can achieve.

Would I consider shooting on the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K? Absolutely yes. With its high bit depth and natural looking image it will deliver high quality 4K with a high codec quality. There are other good and comparable cameras, but when it comes to film aesthetics and if you put quality control issues aside, then there is not much that will take you this far at the low pricepoint of the 4.6K.

What is your experience with the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4K vs 4.6K? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

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Ioanes Sinderman October 19, 2016

Ad specs: The URSA Mini 4.6 is capable of recording up to 120fps in HD (windowed mode)

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 19, 2016

Thanks, article updated. Apparently specs sheets differ on this point and often the 120fps feature is not listed, but their website clearly states 120fps in window mode as you pointed out.

Markus Magnon October 19, 2016

Nice Article. But i do not trust those dynamic range charts. The A7S must be at 15 stops… but the image doesn’t look as good as the Blackmagic pocket camera with 13 stops. It would be nice if cinema5d shoot “real” images like a gas station at night or people instead of a chart and cotton yarn. And it would be nice to see the images in 4K resolution.
About the yarn. There is alot of detail in the Ursa Mini4k image. More than in the 4,6 image. Its a different ISO but it seems a little bit out of focus. Sony FS7 seem out of focus, too. again. would be better to see the images in full 4K resolution. Or maybe film a little corner of a street with all 3 cameras instead of filming charts.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 19, 2016

Hi Markus,
That is the nature of a controlled test environment. Natural light is not “allowed”. Instead, the test setup is always the same. That said, I’m sorry the test is not to your liking. We try hard, but of course we can’t serve everyone’s wishes.
My aim is to give users an idea by providing comparisons. In my opinion the reference to other cameras is most important.
And regarding your point about detail in the yarn shots: I do not agree. What I see is that there is more detail on the 4.6K, larger grain on the 4K and a similar amount of detail in the FS7, but it is non-sharopened as opposed to the 4.6K image.
Best regards

 Oscar Stegland Reply
Oscar Stegland October 19, 2016

If anything, you should trust these charts much more than anything the camera companies say. Why? Because they actually look at the noise in the image and gives you a “usable dynamic range” number instead of a maximum fictional number that no one will ever actually recover from the image. When was the last time you heard of Red beating Arri when it comes to dynamic range? It has never happened. Still, Red specify the dragon /helium sensors as having a whole 2 more stops of dynamic range than what Arri specify for the AlevIII sensor. Arri, a opposed to all other manufacturers, actually specify a realistic number that’s useable. The only camera that I’ve seen even come close to the dynamic range of the Alexa, in independent testing, is the Panasonic Varicam 35. This chart says basically this: The UM4.6k is similar in performance to comparable (ie FS7) as well as much more expensive cameras (Dragon, F55/F65, etc.) but still falls slightly short of Arri performance. Nothing weird about that at all…

Oh, if you think an A7SII gives you 15 stops in video, you’re living in a dream world. In raw stills mode it’ll give you something like that, but not in compressed video form.

Brian Hallett October 19, 2016

I totally agree with you Oscar. All I say is test the dynamic range of the raw too. If you’re going to test the camera, test the whole camera.

 Oscar Stegland Reply
Oscar Stegland October 19, 2016

Sure, but judging by their comments it seems like they did test this but found no difference in performance and as such proceeded with ProRes. Ideally, a camera shouldn’t give you more dynamic range just because you’re shooting raw. From what I’ve gathered over on the BMCuser forums, most people seem to agree with this conclusion.

Brian Hallett October 19, 2016

well, I reserve the right to be wrong. Maybe I am, which is fine. It’s not like these are terrible cameras. I just see so much more out of the raw processed through Resolve, which could be just my one’s color correcting skills. Hell, maybe my shitting shooting has made me a hell of a colorist :)

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Hey Brian,
We tested ProRes and RAW and the screenshots from the charts in the article are shot with RAW as indicated on the image.

Kevin Douglas Carr Reply
Kevin Douglas Carr October 19, 2016

What’s the thinking behind the ISO recommendations? Native ISO for the 4K is 400 and 800 for 4.6K, yet you recommend their top ISOs of 800 and 1600.

James Barnett Reply
James Barnett October 19, 2016

I’m pretty sure you get the best DR performance at 800iso on the 4.6k. I wouldn’t use 1600 unless I could expose to the right in poor lighting conditions.

Naader Rizk Reply
Naader Rizk October 19, 2016

James Barnett gets it! If your going to spend the coin shoot for the 4.6k

Bart Snakenborg Reply
Bart Snakenborg October 19, 2016

They are only great in controlled conditions. Cinema and greenscreen for example

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Hi Kevin,
Maybe I did not explain it properly. If you change the ISO values on the URSA Mini’s, it seems like nothing is happening to processing at all. This would indicate that it does not matter if you shoot ISO 400 or ISO 1600. Connect an external monitor with a waveform and try it. You will see that all that happens is that on ISO 800 for example, the top video levels are simply cut off, in comparison to ISO 1600. This makes the image appear darker, but in reality, you most likely get 100% the same information, but you loose a bit of bit depth on ISO 800 and lower.

Brian Hallett October 19, 2016

Not shooting raw on either of the Blackmagic cameras is a big miss here, especially with the 4.6K. The power of the URSA Mini 4.6K really comes through when shooting raw and processing through DaVinci Resolve. My testing, I have both the 4K and 4.6K, shows there is more dynamic range when shooting raw than ProRes with the 4.6K. And, I think the idea of exposing to the right on the 4.6K is not needed. The 4.6K is not like older Blackmagic cameras. Even Captain Hook says he doesn’t ETTR on the 4.6K.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 19, 2016

Hi Brian,
How did you test? Did you use a test chart in order to confirm? On other cameras I found the RAW to improve dynamic range, but not on the URSA Mini 4.6K. I tried both the DaVinci Resolve method as well as a direct import. In general you loose a bit of information through Resolve by the way.
Did you compare by shooting ISO 1600 on the ProRes files or did you use a lower ISO?
PS: As I said in my article, the ISO 1600 setting forces you to ETTR…
PPS: The image quality tests were all shot RAW.

Brian Hallett October 19, 2016

I’m saying I’ve experienced no reason to force oneself to ETTR on the 4.6K. 4K, URSA, BMPC, yes, but unnecessary on the 4.6K. For me, in Resolve, the dynamic range difference is there between raw and prores, but not as clear as the BMCC. Now, I not solely using a LUT. I color every shot I shoot and have the luxury of being able to do so. Maybe it’s me just color grading instead of the camera recording, but this is a what makes shooting with the 4.6K more rewarding. So, no chart just everyday experience.

Matthew Carmody Reply
Matthew Carmody October 19, 2016

Hi Sebastian,
Thanks for the review, tests and explanation.
I wonder if you have, for example, considered grading the prores and raw to evaluate the “real world” useable dynamic range in a more easy to understand way?
This may solve some of the confusion regarding DR being different or not in different codecs etc.
Raw gives you many more ability/tools to push and pull(recover) the highlights and shadows, better noise reduction etc. You can always get more (dare I say dynamic range) out of the sensor with raw. That’s why we all love shooting and grading raw more than compressed codecs, even the industry standard Prores.
Thanks again for your time.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Hi Matthew,
Dare I say that this might be a misconception. There is no more higlights or shadows to pull from the RAW of this camera according to my tests. Also there is no more noise reduction you can do on the RAW files as opposed to the ProRes files. What you do get is a greater bit depth.
I agree that you can often pull more highlights from the RAW of other cameras, but on this one it is not the case. It is a matter of how the camera is designed internally. Processing for ProRes seems to get the very best out of the sensor, which is a good thing.
A real world test would not be objective and would not help to make anything more clear in my opinion. All it would do is that I could tell you my subjective impression.

Matthew Carmody Reply
Matthew Carmody October 20, 2016

Hi Sebastian,
Thanks for taking the time to reply.
I see. I have never used a camera where raw wasn’t much more superior to compressed codecs. So, the fact that raw is not really much more use than Prores is quite a disappointment indeed.
On the topic of raw noise reduction, you can send the uncompressed raw files through an Adobe-based product, that, in my opinion, has much better raw-specific noise reduction, sharpening, hsl and other tools than you cannot easily use with compressed files like Prores. Just my preference.
A little suggestion for future tests, something like what Shane Hurlbut does might be what a lot of people are asking for from what i’ve seen in comments here and elsewhere:
Thanks again.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Thanks Matthew,
I love those reviews Shane does. He’s awesome at this.

Nathan Rice Reply
Nathan Rice October 19, 2016

My company bought a BMPC 4K. I was so excited ..I wanted to use BM for so long…unfortunately it’s riddled with issues. Not impressed with the sensor..heard the Ursa isn’t any better. Bought the A7S ii and loooove it!

Scott Zhang Reply
Scott Zhang October 19, 2016

I still stick with FullHD that is good enough for me 😂 (Truth is my computer cannot editing 4k or more lol)

Eduardo Gonzalez Reply
Eduardo Gonzalez October 19, 2016

Wait a second. The part that really stood out to me that I’ve never heard before is the 4.6 K can shoot 120 frames per second in for Jay even though it’s windowed. Is that true? Or are you talking about the big Ursa

Fred Lescano Reply
Fred Lescano October 19, 2016

It shoots 120 fps in HD windowed mode.

Eduardo Gonzalez Reply
Eduardo Gonzalez October 19, 2016

Ok that’s what I thought thanks.

tomi bommi October 19, 2016

i enjoy the c5d camera test.
but one thing i notice is a strange color difference here –>
red on the fs7 example looks brown in my browser. my recommendation would be to give your site visiters a short test rollover to check if their browser is correctly color-managed.
as a resource on how to do this see the following link:

thanks for your good work, tomi

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 21, 2016

Hi Tomi,

It has nothing to do with your browser. That is because I did not touch colors. I only adjusted contrast on those images and this is how Slog looks like when nothing else is touched. I posted a second image now where I also graded the FS7 to match. Please check.

Martino Vincenzi Reply
Martino Vincenzi October 19, 2016

The test explains very well why I love BM and not so much Sony: colorous are so bad in the orangish that the skintones are far from being any good or natural.

Dennis L. Sørensen Reply
Dennis L. Sørensen October 19, 2016

Hi Sebastian. Why do you recommend a stop higher ISO then native? It is not clear in the article?

Tim Naylor Naylor October 19, 2016

Great tests. Thanks. Could you elaborate on the recommended ISO’s? You say the BMC’s are not great at low light. But I’d consider 1600 ISO a low light sensitivity. What am I missing?

Also, while I like the objective nature of your tests, I’d recommend adding real skin tone (a face) to them. Grading for flesh tone, IMO is the true test of a chip color science. Something the FS7 struggles with but you’d never know with your tests.

What I do when A/B (or C) testing cameras, is shoot a face but with a color charts next to them. So when we grade for the face, we can observe how well the color chart is maintained as well as the opposite, grading for the chart and see how much distortion is on the skin tone. This test, often gives you an idea how much work you have cut out in color correction in terms of windowing and tracking faces. For instance, the FS7 when you grade the face as best as possible can never resolve the color red with any fidelity, yielding something more orange. Something your tests would not confirm.

I once A,B, and C tested a Dragon, F55 and an Alexa for a feature this way. The discrepancy between color chart and skin tone was negligible on the Alexa, somewhat magenta on the Dragon and green tinted on the F55. Of the three, the Sony had the biggest discrepancy. This means more windowing and tracking in post.
I screened to the director and producers without the camera title and they unanimously preferred the image of the Alexa despite not having as high resolution (a completely overrated spec).

It’d be great to see how well these cameras stack up to a Macbeth or better, a DSC Chart. While the “thread test” does yield detail because no one but the testers know the true color of the thread (as opposed to a color chart), it tells me little of the chips color fidelity.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Hi Tim,
That is a great comment and I fully agree that it would be great to go into this kind of detail when testing cameras. I have experienced the same and think that this is where the FS7 truly has its weakest points, right after the miserable codec they use.
In reality it would be very hard for us to pull of these kinds of tests. There is a very subjective nature to them and as you probably know every camera reacts differently and needs a different treatment, so in theory I think you would really need an expert for each camera to get the best out of them and it would go beyond what we’re able to pull off right now. The “basics” test is tough enough to do at this level of consistency.
We are planning to have a face + chart test in the future though, but it might not be included in this lab test format and will not go into the details you desire. I would hate to make this without going into depth for each camera and with inaccurate results.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Hey Tim,
I have added the shot of the Sony FS7 in my article again that includes a graded and post-sharpened version of the same shot. I hope this will make it clearer that the image is in fact very similar in terms of detail, but also falls apart easier during grading. At least I hope it will clear out the misconception that the FS7 is softer or displays red in a weird way. I think the biggest problem really is that the FS7 does too much processing and the codec is bad, so you are more limited in grading.

Earl Thurston October 19, 2016

The “pattern noise” shown on the UM4.6K sample above is due to a recently discovered debayering imbalance. The issue is being discussed at length in a few forums, including the Blackmagic Forum under the topic “Cross Hatching Wont Go Away.”

A side effect of this issue can cause moiré patterns, even in areas without any detail (e.g. out of focus areas or smooth surfaces) when the image is resized.

Methods to eliminate the problem include adding a “BayerGreenSplit” value to the DNG’s through CornerFix or ExifTool, or using a 0.5 (half) pixel horizontal and vertical offset in Resolve or other NLE. A few people have had it fixed by sending the cameras back for recalibration.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

Thanks for the comment Earl. This is very helpful!

James Barber October 24, 2016

I agree, it’s really obvious with the blown-up crop with raised gamma. I wonder if this is throwing your software measuring the dynamic range, as to the eye it looks like at least 14 proper stops of range on the XYLA chart (stop 14&15 look like gravy stops), but the dynamic range looks remarkably close to the Alexa charts you have on other reviews.

I’d really put the alexa chart on this review so people can see how close it is by eye.

Earl Thurston October 20, 2016

According to the URSA manual, the URSA Mini 4K can also record 120fps in 1920 x 1080 (windowed) mode, but only to ProRes HQ, 422, LT and Proxy formats.

Frame Fury October 26, 2016

Can confirm. I own the 4K and it shoots 120fps HD windowed.

Jamie LeJeune October 20, 2016

Based on the images you posted its clear that the 4.6K camera you were testing has a debayer problem that has been well documented on the BMD forums and appears to be affecting a high number of 4.6K units. The debayer issue could very likely be causing your testing software to report less dynamic range than a properly calibrated sensor actually has. BMD has been issuing RMAs for affected 4.6K cameras, though a few owners have reported that some support staff are still ignorant about the problem. For details please view these two threads on the BMD forums:

Because you are reviewing the camera, I’m sure you should get a fairly prompt reply from BMD about the issue.
After getting your 4.6K debayer issue repaired, I think you’ll get a better dynamic range result. If you have the ability, please do write an article covering the problem. BMD has not been proactive at all about communicating with 4.6K owners about it, and I think there a huge number of affected 4.6K owners who are mistaking the issue for fixed pattern noise.

Nicola Verdi October 20, 2016

Your should write more about this:

(Many renting houses give a WARNING)


We cannot recommend this product for professional work. We reached this decision after repeated failures in the field, experienced both first-hand by LR-folks and second-hand via rental clients. Though it might work much of the time, it is our opinion that this product’s performance is too unpredictable to be trusted on high-value projects. Use for casual testing or try-before-you-buy purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact us. | 901-754-9100

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 20, 2016

You claim “many rental houses”. Can you point me to more than one source? I did mention quality control in my last paragraph. Many people like and use this camera despite the quality issues, because in turn the price is so low. You simply can’t have it all. But yes, if several rental houses put this on their site it might be worth an article and we are happy to point it out more clearly.

Nicola Verdi October 22, 2016

Dear Sebastian,
Thank you for the great review!
We are renting a lot of gear and not ONE renting house
recommends the Blackmagic cameras. Call in ask and just listen what they will tell you. It is a huge disaster… Please check B&H “users” reviews. Sending the camera 3 times “in” becomes like a normal procedure. This is all very sad…

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 23, 2016

Thanks for this hint. We will definitely (have to) follow up on these issues. We are already in touch with BM since the publishing of the test and will wait for further responses regarding the magenta issues and RMA procedure.
It’s weird that our camera had the magenta cast but it seems as though it has disappeared.

Nicola Verdi October 24, 2016

Thank you for the great work!

Markus Magnon October 24, 2016

I hope Blackmagic will response to the “Cross Hatching” problem mentioned in the comments. I never heard of such big issues with blackmagic cameras as mentioned here. I know not ONE single “renting houses” that gives out a warning. I want to buy a BMMCC. What i want to to know from Blackmagic Design is:

1. Do all Cameras have the “Cross Hatching” Raster Noise Problem. Or only some of the cameras.

2. Can i return the camera if i tested it and found this “Cross Hatching” Problem?

(After reading in the forums a bit it seems that its more a software rescaling problem. and not a sensor problem. hmm. i am confused)

Nicola Verdi October 26, 2016

Marcus please check this out:
I was close to buy one too.

Ben J October 20, 2016

Good to see a review that acknowledges these image issues. I’d also like to see other areas of the 4.6k explored. When I hired it, I found the available mic amp gain very low and the gain controls hard to work with – no end stops, no feedback on screen. I was surprised by the handle, which felt plasticy. And, without the new 4.0 firmware, no easy way to adjust aperture while shooting handheld. But some great images to be had if you can get around the other challenges.

 Greg Greenhaw Reply
Greg Greenhaw October 21, 2016

So did you shoot the dynamic range test in raw? The BM log profile is pretty contrasty and it bests baked into the prores. If you shoot raw you can pull out that data. The raw maybe appear the same in resolve at first glance but the data is there to be pulled back in. Also you want to make sure you working in

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 23, 2016

Indeed, the test was done with RAW and through DaVinci Resolve

Daniel Joseph October 22, 2016

Any data on the XT2’s dynamic range?

Daniel Joseph October 24, 2016

Thanks, I just ordered the XT2 camera and the Shogun based on your recommendation. Seems like a great package for traveling and clearing customs. If you guys continue to sing its praises maybe Film Convert will create a custom profile for the camera :)

Markus Magnon October 24, 2016

Ab bit offtopic. But are there any plans from cinema5d to test the BMMCC (Black Magic Micro Cinema Camera). Its only 1080p. But Global Shutter, 13 Stops Dynamic Range, 60 FPS, and only 1000,- Euros. Better Battery live than the Pocket. And all you have to do is buy a Speedbooster (another 700,- Euros) and some Monitor. Of course it was designed for drone. But they used this camera for POV Shootings in the latest “Jason Bourne” Movie. And Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia, there Will be blood) uses the pocket (similar 16mm sensor) for his documentary about Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) in India. Film: Junun.

16mm, 13 Stops, RAW and 60fps i think the BMMCC is a really good camera for shooting documentary, but also weddings, short films, music videos. No weird codec, no 10 or 30 minutes record time limits. Features like focus peeking, zebras in camera.. but you can have those features also on a HDMi Monitor.

I think many cinema5d readers want to have a “all in one camera” package. But sometimes the display is bad, or record time, or sound. So the BMMCC is just a Box (like the RED Cameras), but very easy to build up. I almost missed the camera because everyone is talking about the URSA Cameras. Which is great. But i think the BMMCC is als very interesting.

Matthew Carmody Reply
Matthew Carmody October 24, 2016

I think you are spot on to mention the BMMCC.

The global shutter feature unfortunately never got included in the final camera.

Nevertheless, I own one and it is one of the best bang-for-buck cameras ever IMHO.

Great colors, great codec, great size and with a speedbooster it is almost (not quite) a S35 sensor shooting FHD raw at up to 60p.

Matched with the right lens it can easily be cut with Alexa, RED, or whatever expensive camera you want.

Check Mr CheesyCam for some rig tips as well.

Jamie LeJeune November 5, 2016

Have you gotten BMD to fix the crosshatch issues with your test camera? Are you planning to do a retest on a properly working 4.6K?