Black Magic URSA 4k – An Expert Review To Make A Right Purchase!

Feb 16, 2023

The Black Magic URSA 4K cine camera comes with an active EF and PL mounts that features a great form factor which is meant to make it highly flexible to use at different sizes of productions. Be it a single camera operator or a whole camera crew, it fits to all perfectly. At the core of its imaging system, this camera features an impressive 3840 x 2160 p resolution and amazing CMOS global shutter sensor having 12 stops at dynamic range. This ultimate Black Magic URSA 4K camera records as well as outputs at 2160 p format ultra HD pictures. 
From the internals, the URSA 4K is capable of make recordings in 2 formats – CinemaDNG 12 bit RAW and Apple ProRes 422. In these formats, the first one is used to compress the RAW codec loosely which is designed to offer the amazing latitude for manipulating image after production. And the latter one is used as a debayered codec which helps in easy playback as well as editing in a huge spectrum of video editing applications. In addition, to have extra recording time, it has ProRes which needs less storage space in the camera. All the videos get recorded to CFast 2.0 memory card. Besides, the camera has 2 slots which enables the users to swap media for consistent recording. 
It features a 1080 p 10.1 inches flip-out LCD display that eliminates the need to have a monitor on-camera. Apart from it, the camera has 2 capacitive 5 inches touchscreens on the both sides of its body. This touchscreen enables the users to access the menu and show data like audio waveforms and timecode. Thus, the camera user can easily edit and correct color in the footage. Particularly if the shots are taken in Cinema DNG Raw format. 
There are several interesting facts about Black Magic URSA 4K camera which makes it an incredible photography solution of the time and here we are going to discuss few key attributes of this camera. 
Supports an impressive user group – 
Be it an individual camera operator or a complete production crew, Black Magic URSA 4K supports every type of user groups in an incredible manner. If you have to use this camera for a large project with a big production crew, dress up this camera with advanced cine lenses, follow focus, rods, matte box etc. Though if you are using it individually for solo shooting, then there is no requirement of an additional on-set tools because of every required feature is inbuilt this camera. 
Department Based Design – 
Every part of this camera is categorized in individual camera operator, audio engineer work stations and camera assistant. The Black Magic URSA 4K features an operator station with a big 10 inches fold out monitor and also individual screen of 5 inches for settings, scopes and camera status. Its audio station comes with audio controls, meters and also audio connections. 
Elegant Design & Powerful Construction – 
The camera has a great cooling system comprising of a low sound fan which enables the camera to have higher rates of frame for longer shots while keeping its chassis cool all the time. Its aluminum design makes it a robust and hence, it can be handled by different types of users. 
Other Notable Features Of Black Magic URSA 4K – 
As said earlier, this is a great camera for photography enthusiasts. It is made of amazing features that make photography easier and fully professional for all types of users. Let’s discuss other notable features of Black Magic URSA 4K camera here: 

  • Global Shutter CMOS sensor to support ProsRes 44 and RAW 120 fps format
  • Comes with 2 CFast 2.0 card slots
  • In-built scopes
  • Upgradable field sensor
  • Great broadcast connections to connect it to multiple devices.
  • LANC port
  • Comes with standard battery plates
  • Multiple mounting points
  • Comes with useful software for making photography more impressive. The famous software this camera includes are DaVinci Resolve, Blackmagic Disk speed test software and Blackmagic media express software.

The Technical Specs for Black magic URSA 4k have been summed up here-

  1. The format of this camera has two types, CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes2.
  2. The sensor Type is 4K Super that has 35mm Sensor which come along with global shutter.
  3. The size of the sensor is 21.1mm x 11.9mm.
  4. The shooting resolutions come in 3 different resolutions, 4000 x 2160, 3840x2160 and 1920x1080.
  5. The rates of Project Frame are 24p, 23.98p, 29.97p, 25p, 59.94, 30p and 60.
  6. The rate of Sensor Frame goes up to 80fps which has an exception of 4K RAW and 4K ProRes 444.
  7. There are 4 Lens Mount, EF, Broadcast (planned), PL and HDMI.
  8. Black magic URSA 4k has integrated mono microphone.
  9. The battery has two options, either V-Mount or Gold Mount mounting holes.
  10. For external power supply, it has a 4-pin XLR power source or battery and an output of 12 VDC on 4-pin XLR is sustained its body structure.
  11. There are two slots for recording media.
  12. XLR (2) is the Audio In feature that has Mic or Line level with +48V phantom power.
  13. ¼-inch stereo audio headphone and the 2-channel SDI Audio Output (x2) is the Audio Out feature of this camera.
  14. Video Out is 12G-SDI (10-bit 4:2:2) and 3G-SDI with downconverted for signal monitoring while the Video In is 12G-SDI.
  15. The additional connections include Timecode In, Reference and Timecode Out.
  16. Other Interface includes USB 2.0 mini-B port and 2.5mm LANC for remote control for software updates
  17. Weight (body only): 16.52lb.

The Strengths of this camera are as follows-

  1. 12-bit 4K RAW
  2. Large sensor with global shutter
  3. 12 stops of dynamic range
  4. Three monitors for shooting and control
  5. Built in XLR
  6. Reduced moiré/aliasing
  7. Timelapse mode
  8. Frame rates up to 80fps
  9. Superb image quality

The weaknesses of Black magic URSA 4k are -

  1. Limited ASA options
  2. Black Hole Sun
  3. Storage and workstation demands
  4. Weight
  5. No viewfinder suitable for handheld
  6. Poor internal mic

Final verdict on Black magic URSA 4k -
The thing that initiates the conclusion for this product is that it has to be used only by a specific kind of a user or a shooter. This is an impressive camera if you’re amenable to trade with the four major shortcomings -

  • The noise at higher ASA settings
  • The black hole sun effect
  • The weight
  • The need for additional accessories

Then this camera is totally for you. Moreover, URSA is excellent for those kinds of shooters who have larger sets with more large crews, more set-up time and bigger duty support gear. Therefore, if you wish to zero down to this camera then you need to be clear about your needs and the features offered by this product. Both must synchronize. Lastly, it can be said that Black magic URSA 4k camera delivers fantastic images only.

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  • Very informative blog! Thanks for sharing Also I...
    Feb 13, 2024
  • nyc Explanation, Great work mate.
    Dec 02, 2022