The Blackmagic URSA Broadcast can be had for "less than the cost of a DSLR"

It's a universally acknowledged truth that pro video camera gear tends to come with a wince-inducing price tag. This, however, may no longer be the case, as Blackmagic has unveiled the URSA Broadcast, a broadcast-quality video camera with a DSLR-sized price tag.

In the US the model is to be launched at $3,495, while a UK price of £2,755 makes it cheaper than many popular full-frame DSLRs, such as the Nikon's D850 and Canon EOS 5DS and EOS 5D Mark IV models.

Let’s take a closer look at this new release.

Key features

Built around a 4K sensor, the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast is said to offer "extensive" dynamic range. According to the company, it’s capable of producing vibrant enough colours and accurate enough skin tones that its footage will be usable straight out of camera, which makes it ideal for live broadcasts.

The camera uses the B4 lens mount, which, together with the sensor, allows for particularly wide depths of field to be used (and so eliminates the need to refocus when zooming). The mount itself is interchangeable, and this allows the user to mount Canon EF, Nikon F and PL-mount lenses if they desire.

The URSA Broadcast differs from most broadcast cameras in one interesting way: its two memory card slots allow it to record onto inexpensive SD-type cards (with support for UHS-II) and CFast media. It can record 1080i and 2160p video into standard .mov files, with 10-bit DNxHD 220X, DNxHD 145 or ProRes formats and lossless CinemaDNG Raw shooting, making it highly versatile.

It also features built-in ND filters with IR compensation at strengths of 1/4th, 1/16th and 1/64th stops, which further the camera’s versatility and allows users to achieve shallow depth of field in different light conditions more easily.

The URSA Broadcast has tactile, button-based controls on the exterior of its body, together with a high-visibility LCD status display to show important shooting information. Its connections are all (television) industry standard, and it supports the full range of Blackmagic accessories for users who prefer to customise their kit.

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast price and release date

The Blackmagic URSA Broadcast is available now priced at $3,495 in the US, £2,755 in the UK and A$4,835 in Australia. 

Read more: The 10 best digital cameras in 2018

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Jon Stapley

Jon spent years at IPC Media writing features, news, reviews and other photography content for publications such as Amateur Photographer and What Digital Camera in both print and digital form. With his additional experience for outlets like Photomonitor, this makes Jon one of our go-to specialists when it comes to all aspects of photography, from cameras and action cameras to lenses and memory cards, flash diffusers and triggers, batteries and memory cards, selfie sticks and gimbals, and much more besides.  

An NCTJ-qualified journalist, he has also contributed to Shortlist, The Skinny, ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, The Guardian, Trusted Reviews, CreativeBLOQ, and probably quite a few others I’ve forgotten.