Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K Camera Gear Breakdown
Here at Foundation Digital Media, we are constantly searching for the best technologies available and comparing gear breakdowns to deliver our customer’s the highest quality product for their budget. We’d like to begin passing these evaluations on to you, our customers, and to our colleagues in Washington D.C. video production and elsewhere. We’d love to help elevate your next project to a professional video standard, but we hope these breakdowns will provide you with the tools to get started today in developing your own incredible video content.
Today we’re taking a look at a gear breakdown of the new URSA Mini Pro 12K Digital Cinema Camera from industry titan, Blackmagic Design. It’s a next-generation camera with the specs to boot, yet for owners of the last iteration of the Mini Pro line–the Mini Pro G2–this new offering might seem frighteningly familiar. Coming in at a lofty price point of $9,995, we felt it was worth taking a detailed look at this powerhouse to determine if the power is worth the added cost.
Let’s look at the specs
According to the official Blackmagic Design press release, the URSA Mini Pro 12K is “a revolution in digital film” and a “new generation of digital film technology [that] ushers in an analog-style purity and subtlety to deliver a better than film experience.”
The magic behind the new Mini Pro begins with its revolutionary new Super 35mm sensor that enables a native resolution of 12,288 x 6480 or an incredible “80 megapixels per frame.” The Super 35 sensor also allows for 14 stops of dynamic range and a native ISO of 800. Even more impressively, you can shoot 12K at 60 fps or use in-sensor scaling to allow 8K or 4K RAW at up to 120 fps without cropping or changing your field of view, according to Blackmagic. Such technology elevates your slow-mo possibilities and heightens the cinematic quality of your shoot to an unparalleled level.
While all that data sounds daunting, the Mini Pro 12K alleviates those concerns as well thanks to its use of Blackmagic’s signature Blackmagic RAW codec for “real-time 12K editing”. The advanced design of the sensor and Blackmagic RAW means that, according to the creators, “you can work in any resolution in post-production instantly, without rendering, while retaining the full sensor’s color accuracy.” This is also especially useful for grabbing 12‑bit, 80-megapixel image stills with a variety of encoding options and complete metadata storage.
Lastly, there are two other features that set this body apart from those in its class: high-bandwidth recording and Blackmagic’s proprietary Generation 5 Color Science film curve. In the case of the former, the new Mini Pro can record simultaneously up to an incredible “900MB/s with 2 CFast cards”, or “500MB/s to 2 UHS‑II SD cards”. The SuperSpeed USB‑C expansion port on the rear can record to USB‑C flash storage “up to 900MB/s as a third recording option so you won’t be short of choices for capturing stunning 12K up to 60 fps or 8K up to 120 fps.”
The new Generation 5 Color Science is just as impressive, as it is designed to make full use of the massive amount of color data from the new sensor. This delivers “even better color response for more pleasing skin tones, and better rendering of highly saturated colors such as neon signs and car tail lights in high contrast scenes.” Additionally, with Blackmagic’s exceptional codec, this explodes the possibilities in post-production in countless ways.
How it’s built
As previously mentioned, the build and design of this camera’s body are almost completely identical to that of last year’s Mini Pro G2 (so if you’re already familiar with this camera you may even consider just jumping ahead to our conclusions). For those unfamiliar, the build quality is still no less impressive.
Like its predecessor, it is made from an evenly weighted, lightweight yet robust magnesium alloy design that makes it perfect for either handheld work or tripod-based shots. It also comes stock with a PL mount making it likely immediately useful with tons of lenses you probably already own, both classic and contemporary. Blackmagic has also already released various other mounts, like EF and F, so that you are able to make use of the full gamut of lens options available.
Additional camera features include 12G-SDI input and output, a 4″ fold-out display with an optional metadata overlay, built-in ND filters, ergonomic controls, timecode and reference input, and 48V phantom power XLR audio. A cool, new digital slate function and lens metadata capture ease your URSA Mini Pro 12K workflow transition from capture to post, as well.
While there’s no denying the capability of this machine, any owner of the URSA Mini Pro G2 released last year might find the upgrade a little harder to stomach. Essentially, the 12K option has hijacked the G2’s body and placed a new brain and sensor inside of it. With the fact that Blackmagic has encouraged downscaling and supersampling to 4 and 8K resolutions from the 12K, it almost feels as if you are paying for something you already have, to do something you are already able to do.
However, the strides it has made over the G2 model are immense and certainly worth investing in if you are coming from an older or lesser camera model. Your projects will very likely be rewarded greatly by the incredible new sensor and Generation 5 Color Science technology alone. You may even find it worth jumping from the G2 for high-level production projects given the advent of more 4K and 8K media playing options in 2020, making the beastly specifications more desirable.
If this exciting product seems appealing for your next video content or digital media project, you can find it available for pre-order now on websites like Adorama. If it seems beyond your needs or budget right now to invest in something like this, there are still resources for you! Get in touch with us now to discuss what our years of video broadcasting experience and technological expertise have to offer your next campaign or project.