Saturday, March 19, 2016

Blackmagic Cancels Global Shutter Mode on its Newest Cameras

Blackmagic Design CEO, Grant Petty, posted an update on the global shutter problems in its newest cameras URSA Mini 4.6K and the Micro Cinema Camera, originally expected to ship in Oct. 2015, but delayed up to now:

"We have really appreciated everyone’s patience in waiting for these cameras and apologize for the delay. It took much longer than we had thought to get the cameras to where we needed them to be, but I am incredibly proud to bring 15 stop, Super 35 true digital film cameras to everyone...

However the big reason for the delay is the problems we were having with the global shutter feature in both of these cameras. The problems are different between the models and on the Micro Cinema Camera we have been seeing random bad pixels when in global shutter mode. On the URSA Mini 4.6K we have been seeing problems with sensor calibration when using global shutter.

Our engineers have been killing themselves working on this for months, but the performance is just not where it needs to be for us to feel comfortable shipping with global shutter, and so we have had to remove the global shutter feature from both these cameras to allow them to ship.

Obviously this is very upsetting for us, as we really wanted to produce high dynamic range cameras that also had a global shutter for an all in one design. The reality is that this is just one feature on cameras that are ready right now to shoot with and get incredible results. So we have made the decision to ship now.
"

The Micro Cinema Camera
Image sensor area magnified

Thanks to TG for the info!

14 comments:

  1. Why did they preannounce something they had no idea they could even get working? Why didn't they work with Fairchild to make sure the global-shutter mode actually functioned properly?

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    1. Because things that seem to work OK in a limited batch of initial units sometimes show problems when you get to see a larger sample, or just have been looking for a longer time. Or when you start dealing with calibration and its stability. In an ideal world you would possibly wait until all the ts are crossed and is dotted, but most of us live in a real world, and need to take calculated risks. Calculated risks are not called risks just to make it sound exciting, they are actually risks and sometimes blow up.

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  2. What dynamic, noise and pixel size for fairchild (and others GS)

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  3. Who was the sensor supplier?

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    1. Most likely Fairchild. They have a sensor, the LTN4625A, that has virtually the same specs (the dynamic range, 88 dB, is just shy of Blackmagic Design sensor's 90 dB, or 15 stops). Link: http://www.fairchildimaging.com/catalog/focal-plane-arrays/scmos/ltn4625a.

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    2. how fast is the rolling shutter of the 4.6K UM?

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    3. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! It is a CMOSIS CMV12000. Everyone in this industry has known this for years, so stop giving Fairchild a black eye. Fairchild only provides BlackMagic with their 2k HWK sensors in the pro-sumer Blackmagic cameras. Frame rate is 150 fps @ 10 bit, full res.

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    4. Looking at the sensor shown through the camera aperture mount, it's not a CMV12000 !
      Fairchild sensors are exactly matching with the picture.

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    5. That's right, it's not a CMV12000, which is 4,096 x 3,072 (so not a 4.6K sensor). The CMV12000 is in the Ursa Mini 4K, and it does have a global shutter (in fact, that's all it has -- there is no rolling-shutter mode on the CMV12000). The CMV12000 was once specced at up to 300 fps at 10-bit and full res, 180 fps at 12-bit.

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  4. Main takeaway is the Fairchild image sensors don't work as they say?

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    1. I think it is safe to assume that nobody's sensors work quite as they say. Even if one can form a reasonable expectation of how they work based on datasheets full of TBDs. You try and you find out. Then you try to work around. Still much better now than it used to be.

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  5. Die size almost doubled compared to pixel area? 2-D stitching?

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  6. The photo in this article refers to the FHD sensor used by the BM pocket camera as well. Made by Fairchild. The optical aperture of that is however 2/3" so no wonder that it has the huge non-optical part. Still it is a very small square chip.

    The currently announced change about the 4K6 model - it is also a Fairchild chip, where BM paid for exclusivity. Later on, the LTN4625A was introduced, for industrial use and there is a strict binding requirement that it is not to be used for video :(

    The BM should have a 60fps rolling shutter out of the 240 supported by the sensor.

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  7. Big upset, i originally ordered this camera for form factor and also mainly the global shutter. Since i film a lot of weddings the global shutter would have been nice while flash photography is going off. Also while using a drone to avoid any annoying jello affect. Bummer they advertised the product with global shutter at times many people such as my self waited over 300 days for the item to ship, month after month delay. Its like we have to wait for another update just for one simple feature. Big let down this time around bm. I still love your products but next time please have a definite analysis before we fork out thousands of dollars.

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