Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Now that NAB 2015 is out of the way lets have a serious look at what each camera manufacturer had to offer in the 4K stakes.


Panasonic 2015

Panasonic brought out a 4K run and gun camera called the DVX-200 at £3500 this camcorder should sell well.

Plus Points...

4K filming at 200Mbps onto SDXC cards (C10 U3)

13x 4K optical f2.8-4.5mm, 5 axis stabilised servo zoom lens in 4K 29.5mm – 384.9 or HD 28mm – 365mm (35mm equivalent)

4/3″ large sensor giving a reasonable shallow depth of field and low noise at higher ISO.

422 10bit output from HDMI socket

4K 50p recording onto SDXC cards (C10 U3)

Very stylish with all the usual professional switches, XLRs etc.

ND filters

Price £3500 or less

Not so useful…

Records 420 8 bit internally…possibly the one feature that will curtail AF101 type sales figures.


Again Panasonic are throwing caution to the wind with this fantastic 4K offering with all the features a professional could ask for. This is the first non interchangeable 4K camcorder with a 4/3″ chipset and unlike Sony’s PXW-Z100 does not rely on expensive proprietary card media. With most of Sonys latest offerings being 422 10bit, including the PXW-X70, I was disappointed in the DVX-200 only being 420 8bit though taking the same principal as the semi pro HC-X1000 it will produce cracking downscaled HD footage from 4K.


Canon 2015…

Canon delighted its followers with the next generation C300 Mk11 with 4K internal recording, at £11,300 its going to have a rough ride aside Sony’s PXW-FS7 priced at £6,200.

Plus Points…

4K internal recording up to 410Mbps using XF-AVC intra for 4K, and XF-AVC Long GOP for 2K and Full HD.

Interchangeable lens mount from the default EF Mount, to EF Mount with Cinema Lock, or to the industry standard PL mount, as a service option.

Super 4K 35mm sensor

ND filters

422 10bit internal or 444 12bit external.

Not so useful…

4K 25p maximum frame rate

XLR’s not on the body itself, as requested by C300 owners.

Relies on expensive CFast media



I think Canon have missed a trick with the latest C300 Mk11 offering, they are hard up against the Sony FS7 at almost half the price and also records up to 4K 50p !

Because of its price it won’t fly off the shelves and the upgrade to CFast media also makes it an expensive 4K recording media, £676 for 128G Sandisk card.


Canon 2015…

Another 4K camera from Canon this time the smaller XC-10. At the street price of £1600 I think this will be a good seller amongst C300 Mk11 owners looking for a good run and gun “B” camera.

Plus points…

Record 4K footage at up to 305Mbps 422 8 bit with Canon’s XF-AVC H.264 codec

10x zoom with optical image stabiliser

1.0 inch Canon CMOS sensor

One ND filter

4K filming to an internal CFast 2.0™ memory card and Full HD video or stills to a separate internal SD card

10x fixed manual zoom…Video Mode: 8.9 – 89mm (27.3-273mm 35mm equivalent)
Stills Mode: 4:3 – 24.1 -241mm,/ 3:2 – 25 – 250mm, /16:9 – 27.3 – 273mm (approx.)

Not so useful…

Fixed lens

No optional XLR accessory

Expensive CFast media for 4K

4K 25p maximum.


I think this will undoubtably  be a great success for Canon, its petiteness and keen price will take the place of the C100 as a “B” camera for all of Canons cinema camera range.

ursa-mini-v3Blackmagic Design 2015…

Blackmagic have come a long way in camera manufacturing in such a short time, this NAB is no exception, one of their new camcorders is the 4K URSA mini, a reflection on the disgruntles made of the original 7.4Kg URSA the URSA mini is a mere 2.27Kg.

Plus points…4.6K EF model

The 4.6K sensor features global shutter up to 30 frames per second and rolling shutter up to 60 frames per second with 15 stops of dynamic range

Compact and lightweight digital film camera

12G-SDI output with optional “V” lock adapter

Weight 2.27Kg

5” fold out monitor

Dual CFast media card slots

Price £3565

No so useful…

Viewfinder is optional at £1079

No ND filters

Using expensive CFast media


I think this is by far the best value for money 4.6K camera on the market, once again Blackmagic have pulled a rabbit out of the hat and set the bar even higher. The URSA mini is three times cheaper than the Canon C300 Mk11 and half the price of the Sony FS7. Even the Canon XC-10 has one ND filter…to bring out a professional large sensor camera in 2015 with no ND filters is stupid as it will clearly affects sales.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

15 thoughts on “The NAB 4K Post Mortem

  1. Surprised you did not come down harder on the Panasonic’s 420 8bit. It’s hardly the sort of camera you want to be putting an external recorder on.

    HDW : In reflection your right I have updated my thoughts to reflect this.

  2. Ursa Mini looks very interesting, but a couple of things:

    1. NO ND filters. What’s up with that?

    2. When you add the shoulder mount and viewfinder to the 4.6K model (which gets you 15 stops DR), then it’s pretty much the same price as the Sony FS7.

    I’m still curious, but it looks basically head to head competition for the FS7. So which one is better?

  3. I thought you might also be interested in the Aputure active lens adaptor – the DEC.

    It’ll let you use Canon lenses with working IS on your FS7, while allowing you to wirelessly control iris and pull focus with A-B stops.
    Also has LANC start/stop etc it’s supposed to be about £300.

    There’s rumours of a speedbooster pro version too. Now if you could somehow flip the speed boost section out of the way when you don’t need it that would be brilliant! A bit like an ENG lens with a 2x converter…

    HDW : The chap on the video mentioned about 1K which I assume is $1000 = £669 !

  4. I note no mention of the JVC GY-LS300. I wonder why? Are you still planning to do a review of it soon. Many of us are looking forward to it. I am using the LS300 right now, and have not a few questions I hope you might bring some clarification to in your review.

    HDW : Did not realise it was on sale…thats good I will get a production model.

  5. Note no mention of the LS300 at the convention. Are you still planning a review of it?

    HDW : The JVC team will be a NAB I will contact them next week.

  6. Hi, as a Panasonic affectionado, I am excited by the DVX-2000, but the C300 Mk11 and the URSA mini also look pretty good.

    I did not attend NAB2015 (my wife categorizes NAB as “too dangerous” and I know she is right.

    Not mentioned in your post (seems to be about cameras, not accessories) was the SmallHD Sidefinder that attracted my attention. I want one of these!

    However, I am totally perplexed by the statement someone made to the effect “. . . .why bother about 4K because unless you go to 8K you really don’t see a big difference”.

    We should debate this because cropping 4K is to me enough of a reason to go to 4K, but anyone who has seen the Canon 120p Brazil video probably still is salivating over this (I know it might be a couple of years before we see this sensor in an affordable cam but, WOW!)

    I just recorded a major (for me) music event with my AG-AC160A.

    I went to four production nights before I got it ‘right’, but my recent acquisition of a Libec fluid head/tripod, puts my rating of this recording as “average” (I can see jerks from my now retired Manfrotto kit that I will never again see with the Libec kit).

    But, how is my assessment of my recordings going to change once a get Danny Dodges “Cinerails” Snaptrack working for me?

    The point is you guys live in an absolutely fascinating world of which there appears to be no end whereas in my case, as a “one-trick pony”, I am close to a limit on Return on Investment (video is not my day job).

    I am quickly getting to where I will have what I can afford and use is “optimum” for the time being and I will then be able to focus more on storywriting.

    I want to make a compelling 2 min video to raise funds for a Kickstarter project my partners have set up in the area of e-learning.

    I absolutely love this HDWarrior site.

  7. Philip. Just to follow up on the DEC price.
    It will be $380.

    You were probably watching the 2014 NAB video where it was still in development, here’s the NAB 2015 video with the Aputure chap quoting the proper price:

    I’ve posted on your site about two Aputure products recently. I have no affiliation of course, but their kit seems to be pretty good.

    Have a look at the their new uncompressed latency free wireless HDMI kit. Really nice and really cheap! I use a wireless laptop HDMI which is OK, but compressed and won’t go through many walls. They say their kit will have a usable/working 100m range – lots of antennae etc.

    Best, Duncan.

  8. Hi Philip,

    I know this is of the topic but something crossed my mind , could be interesting for you as FS 7 owner. I remember Rick Young had tested a lens made for the Sony F3 back in 2012, it’s Sony SCL-Z 18-252mm. Now this could be a good partner with the FS7, if the lens mount is the same? It is a power zoom lens and has very decent range.
    Best regards

    HDW : Specifically designed to fit to the PMW-F3 and PMW-F5, via the camcorder’s FZ mount, good try.

  9. I don’t think any of the cams around $5K have decent audio recording facilities.

    I no longer record sound at the camera other than to provide a reference backup for PluralEyes.

    For starters, if anything at all complicated is going on, you need more than 2 channels and with a 4-6-8 or 12 channel field audio recorder you probably need a person to watch it.

    How many of you out there use/feel the need for a compressor?

    My bugaboo is stage event video recordings where I have two people whispering one moment then a cast of 20 opera singers at full volume competing with the orchestra or recorded music.

    Meanwhile the lights are up/down with color changes every few seconds.

    Thank goodness I have a 22x zoom because all of this has to be done 65-100 feet away from the stage.

    Does it sound like I could use a compressor?

  10. Have you for example worked in pitts with cars and bikes next you. ? Have you worked in areas where you need second back up track because you would not be able to keep up manually.
    Why do you think Varicams,F55s and other “Wedding and Event” Cameras have AGC? Mr Compressor

    HDW : Jiri whats your point…the F55 is far from a wedding and event camera and yes I spent 4 years filming Speedway.

  11. Point is very logical.
    It is very useful or high or low end to have AGC sometimes. That is why it would be a mistake if Panasonic did not have it on dvx200.
    Do you need anything else to explain?

  12. I agree with Jiri on this. AGC has just been saving my bacon on my last job in the US.

    If I am working on an obs-doc situation just relying on my camera boom-mic for audio, then my rule of thumb is to set the boom to two channels with different volumes levels. This way if SOMEONE STARTS SHOUTING etc I can switch between audio tracks in the edit. In this recent instance I had chosen to use my camera mic for a two way conversation (the very brilliant Audio Technica AT875R – highly rated by my editor at BBC), but I had not switched it to both channels (me being sloppy). Fortunately when the shouting started, I was able to pick up the audio in the edit from Ch3/4 which have AGC dialled in on my Panasonic. There is nothing worse than over-modding audio!

    As to the announcements from NAB, I am not quite sure what to say. The new Panny DVX200 looks very interesting, but 8-bit 4.2.0 internal recording is NG for EBU broadcast standards. No ND filter on the Blackmagic mini-Ursa is just plain dumb and as for Canon’s C300 Mk2 pricing – what are they thinking?

    I still think the Sony Fs7 is out in front in the low-budget, cinematic camera class, but without a proper obs-doc fast/wide/long/fully-manual zoom lens it is of no use to me. With all this hoo-haa over 4k, I am minded to look at a newer version of my 2k machine – something like the Panasonic AJ-PX270 – and let the mfrs iron out the wrinkles in their kit offering.

    Again if one of the kit manufacturers would take the time to speak to filmmakers working in factual broadcast TV, I think they might start delivering gear that really hits the spot…


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