The real end of film is here. It’s called the Ursa Mini


Ursa Mini


Arri Alexa

For very a long time (like, since 2010), Arri has been the only digital camera on the market (sorry, Red) that has truly rivaled film. With it’s implementation of digital sensor, which includes a neat  trick with how it reads data off the sensor twice, it managed to deliver the roughly 14 stops of dynamic range that film is capable of. As a result, it’s become the go-to camera of big-budget filmmakers. The only problem, for the rest of us, at least: an Arri Alexa costs about $75,000. Not to mention, it was too big and cumbersome for most documentary productions.

But if the news from NAB can be believed, 2015 is the year where everything changes. When Canon announced the C300 mkii would ship with 15 stops of dynamic range, it marked the first time when, for about $16,000, you could own a digital camera that has MORE dynamic range than film. And a couple days later, Black Magic blows the roof off with their Ursa Mini announcement. For $7,000, you can now get a fully kitted out, ergonomically correct camera that shoots 15 stops of dynamic range. It weighs 5 pounds.

This is the real end of film.


6 thoughts on “The real end of film is here. It’s called the Ursa Mini

  1. Paul Zagoridis

    Have you since had a chance to play with one? I’m still researching.

    Would you go PL or EF mount? I have no investment in glass and can rent easily in Sydney. But for the doco projects I’m developing owning the kit seems to make sense.

    1. Dan McComb Post author

      Hi Paul,
      I will definitely be renting one as soon as they are out to get my hands on it. I would go with EF mount, because most of my glass is in that mount. In your case, if you’re working on docs that are long-term, it probably makes sense to go EF mount, too. Renting makes good sense for narrative work, where you’re doing focused work for a short period of time.

  2. Richie

    I have about $15k budgeted for buying this thing and rigging it up. I’ve been saving up for a long time (for a camera rig in general, before the Ursa Mini existed). I’m freaking dying that it’s July now and we still don’t have a release date. I’m ready to explode.

    1. Dan McComb Post author

      Let me know how you like it when it comes! I am planning to rent one immediately as it’s released. But with Black Magic, release dates seem to be an exercise in creative writing, so we’ll see how soon that actually is.

  3. Isabelle Saint-Pierre

    I’m seriously considering the 4.6k version (the 4k version only has 12-stops) with EF mount (I have lots of Canon glass already), but the only thing I’m disappointed about is the lack of built in ND filters; well, and the extra $1,5000 for the EVF. Since I mostly do run-n-gun documentaries in third-world locals, being able to very quickly change ND settings is vital. Still on the fence…

    1. Dan McComb Post author

      The lack of built-in ND is a bummer, for sure, especially for documentary shooting. If I were you I’d be taking a hard look at the C100mkii. It rocks.


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