Alrighty then! Before we get started let me make things clear. This isn’t a comparison between their performance out in the field or how their images compare in and after post-production. There are many comparisons out there that go in depth about that kind of stuff.
My friend, let’s call him Marcus, and I usually debate different cameras that we are interested in. We don’t usually see eye to eye which leads to fun arguments. These two cameras are among the two that we have talked about recently. I hope this argument helps you in some way if you are in the market for a new piece of gear. Don’t worry, at the end of this you’ll be able to give us your own opinion.
So let’s do this!
Here we have the Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4k vs the Sony PXW-FS5. I do not want to get into the small details of each (that’s why I embedded the links to their specs) but, in order to continue I have to at least list some highlights of each.
- 4k Super 35mm Sensor 3840 x 2160
- 14 stops of Dynamic Range
- E mount (adaptable to various lens mounts)
- Various outputs including HDMI and SDI connections
- 2 XLR input connections
- Variable Neutral Density filters built in
- Super slow motion up to 960 fps
- 4k super 35mm sensor 3840 x 2160
- 12 stops of Dynamic Range
- Canon EF-mount and PL-mount options
- XLR and SDI connections
- Raw Capabilities
- Magnesium body construction
Now, depending on the kind of work that you are interested in doing might lead you to choose one camera over the other. In my case, adaptability and functionality are the two points I look for in gear since I do various types of work. Marcus is mainly focused on suspensive minimalist narrative cinema.
The Sony FS5 would be my tool of choice. With a 4k super 35mm sensor and 14 stops of Dynamic Range, it lends itself to very impressive images that hold up to higher end cameras while costing a fraction of the price to run. I think it is important to go into a project with the ability to get the best image you can while staying under budget and this camera fits that. I’m pretty finicky when it comes to lens choice and I like having the ability to switch between different lenses depending on the project if I am able to. Like anyone will tell you, there is no master lens. Each lens serves a purpose and lends its specific lens qualities to what you film. The E-mount is a joy to have. The mount allows for various lens adapters not only to increase lens choice, but also to allow you to grow without having to upgrade you camera so that you can use higher quality glass. The other highlights are just icing on the independent filmmaker cake. With so much competition in the industry, it is important to be able to adapt and be a jack of all trades at times.
As Marcus is not present, I will try my best to argue his side with as little bias as possible. The Ursa Mini is definitely a strong camera capable of producing strong work and for that reason it is a steal. A real bang for you buck camera. Like the Sony, the Ursa is equipped with a 4k super 35mm sensor that gives you that oh so special cinematic-look. It should be noted that there is also a 4.6k model available. Although it doesn’t give as much latitude as the Sony, at 12 stops, it is nothing to be frowned upon. The ability to shoot RAW definitely makes up for the lack of 2 stops. Luckily, it does give you the option to choose between an EF and PL mount. In reality, what other lens mounts do you really need? Whether your main intention is cinema or not, this camera is able to go from one type of project to the next without much effort. The magnesium body gives you that strong durable feel that comes with high end cinema cameras. On set, it is important to have high quality and strong gear. Unfortunately accidents do happen and you don’t want to have to worry about your gear falling apart on you in the middle of a shoot.
So what it boils down to is: What qualities and intentions do you have? We can sit here all day arguing over pros and cons, but it’s pointless when there are no right or wrong answers. In the end I guess this was a waste of time. Sorry. There is no winner…or maybe the winner is you. If this was helpful in choosing your next camera and keeps you working on your craft, you’re welcome. I accept thank you’s in the form of crudely drawn pictures of Rob Schneider.
Now vote and don’t forget to leave us a comment on what camera you’d prefer working with. We look forward to the results.