I’ve been hearing a lot about a bunch of new cameras with 16mm sized sensors. In fact it seems like it’s all anyone is talking about right now. I feel a little bad for these camera manufacturers “wait, you want smaller sensors now?”
You’re not going to get that super shallow DOF you do with 35mm lenses but there are some advantages to the smaller sensor size. First of all, they are cheaper to manufacture so…cheaper cameras. Plus, there is a ton of 16mm glass out there for pretty cheap so you might even be able to afford your own PL, B4 or C-Mount set to go with your new camera which would be really nice.
One of the coolest systems has been out for a while: the Ikonoskop (www.ikonoskop.com) shoots 1920×1080 uncompressed RAW footage to a CinemaDNG format. Based on those specs alone the camera pretty much blows away anything in the sub Red/Alexa price range. That said, it still costs $10,000, needs proprietary hard drives and creates BIG files. Check out some test footage my friend Snehal Patel shot with one: http://fearlessproductions.tv/testing-the-ikonoskop-a-cam-dii-the-camera-th
The other system you may have heard about is the Digital Bolex D16 (http://www.digitalbolex.com/). This one is a bit of an odd duck but it looks like it could be pretty neat if it can deliver on all of its promise. I haven’t been too impressed with the footage I’ve seen from it but the specs are great. It shoots 2K and records mostly uncompressed (12 bit – 4:4:4) TIFF, JPEG and Adobe Cinema DNG files which are very versatile and should give people some great images. The biggest pro might be the price point at $2500-$3500, for that price it’s worth buying one just based on those specs. The major con right now for me is the uncertainty of the whole thing, it was funded on kickstarter and there are no fixed specs or releases dates so if things go screwy in the manufacturing process (a big possibility for a first time camera maker) then you could be looking at much less camera for much more money.
Perhaps the hottest new camera right now is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera (http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/blackmagiccinemacamera/) At $3000, it comes at an affordable price, it has a firm ship date from an established manufacturer and has some great specs. You’ll definitely be hearing a lot about this camera. It shoots 2.5k 12-Bit raw files to standard SSD drives, it has a small form factor and easy to use connections and interface. It actually looks really nice. Plus, you get DaVinci Resolve for free with it. We will be getting one for sure so keep an eye out for pricing and availability