Ok. Sure, there’s the GoPro HERO4 Black. But let’s be real about what we mean when we say “camera.” I am a huge fan of GoPro cameras but they are not the first choice for top-notch video production unless you need some POV shots of some extreme sports.
There are plenty of cameras out there that will capture 120fps but few do it at 1920 x 1080 resolution and none of those do it at the $3K entry-price of the URSA Mini 4K camera. Sony almost gets us there with the A7s; however, it is limited to 720p resolution at 120 fps. The Panasonic GH4 also gets close with a variable frame rate mode delivering 96fps in 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Still, no one is delivering a camera close to the prowess of the URSA Mini in the same DSLR-price ballpark.
To be clear, there are two models of the URSA Mini – a 4K option and 4.6K option. Both are available with either an EF mount or a PL mount. The EF mount 4K model retails for $2995.
The URSA Mini will capture 60 fps at 4K and 4.6K on the respective models. A high-frame rate option also allows either camera to capture windowed 1920 x 1080 video at 120 fps.
These details are unclear in the press release and technical data available thus far. There are no clear answers in the forums and other media outlets that I have found.
The product details listed on Blackmagic Design’s website previously stated that URSA Mini could capture 160 fps in HD. When I queried Blackmagic’s products team, they corrected that statement to confirm only 120 fps for the windowed HD mode. (Blackmagic updated the website with the corrected info as well.)
Essentially, this is an HD “crop mode” that uses the center portion of the sensor to capture the high frame rate, which can then be conformed in post production down to 5x slow motion in a 1080/24p timeline. Not bad for a $2995 camera.
Of course, if you want the dynamic range of the 4.6K sensor, you will need to pony up another $2K for that camera.
This is one of the features that really intrigues me about the URSA Mini – especially at this price – and I know there are many other folks interested in this feature based on the numerous forum posts I have read on the topic. Hopefully, this clears the air about the slow motion capabilities of the URSA Mini with some official details direct from Blackmagic.
Look for more coverage on the URSA Mini in the coming months as we build toward its ship date later this summer. Stay tuned.