Initial Thoughts On The Ursa Mini Pro 4.6K
At the time of writing this I have had the UMP (Ursa Mini Pro) for just over three months. So really this is more of a "3 Months with the Ursa Mini Pro" review, but anyways...
ERGONOMICS AND BUILD
The UMP feels solid, it's made completely from magnesium alloy so it feels like it could take a beating. The body alone weighs 2.3kg (5.10lbs), so even though Blackmagic claims it to be a lightweight camera, it isn't as light as REDs or Sony FS7 cameras.
Having come from using a Sony FS7 for the good part of a year, the Ursa Mini Pro actually felt very familiar.
I personally tend to run with a SmallHD 502 monitor, just because when I have the camera on my shoulder I cannot use the Ursa's LCD screen. I also just prefer the functions of the 502. However, the great thing is that even with the LCD closed I can still access all controls for the camera on the outside.
I kind of wish that the dial for white balance had three presets (like Sony cameras) rather than allowing you to cycle through the entire range. Just because I find that if I need to go from somewhere like 3600K to 5600K, it's actually quicker for me to open the LCD screen and use the touch screen to change white balance.
Internal ProRes codecs (XQ - 422 LT)
Internal RAW recording up to 60fps (records onto two cards simultaniously)
120fps at 2K (in window sensor mode)
Compared to the Sony FS7, you're getting a lot more for your money with the Ursa. To get any of the features above, you would need to purchase the XDCA extension back and an Atomos Shogun; which would set you back another £2-3k and add bulk to the camera.
The one thing I wish it did have was a wheel on the handgrip to control aperture; that would be super convenient to have whilst filming on your shoulder.
So far I am loving the image from the Ursa, it's such a pleasure to grade and I haven't encountered any problems with it really. Getting nice skin tones is easy as Blackmagic colour science is famous for it.
I've even found (so far) that the image is still pretty clean at ISO 1600. There may be a little bit of noise but it looks like fine film grain to me. However, for anything at night or in low-light conditions like a musical performance - I go with my A7S II, just to be safe.
I'm going to quote a filmmaker by the name of Garth De Bruno Austin, who has done a terrific video review on the Ursa Mini Pro, who says in his review;
"If you can shoot documentary style with a camera and it feels comfortable and you can get the shots you need, then you're able to shoot almost any other production with that camera. So for me, the Ursa Mini Pro does exactly what I want it to do."
- Garth De Bruno Austin
So far, I would very much agree with Garth. I have felt very comfortable going into a documentary or "run and gun" situation with the Ursa Mini Pro, knowing I will be able to work quickly and not have to fiddle with screw-on NDs or constantly having to open the LCD screen to access functions; which, for the way I usually shoot tends to stay closed.
The camera does everything I want from having a nice image with good skin tones, 4K 60fps, 120fps at 2K, built-in ND filters and overall being very easy and quick to use. It also has an interchangeable lens mount! The only slight downside, as I mentioned before, is that compared to other cameras it isn't the lightest. However I find that when you put a V-lock battery and lens on it has a nice balance to it which is especially useful when using it on your shoulder.
I plan to do a short follow-up once I've owned the Ursa for a year, but so far, it feels like an incredibly versatile camera that can shoot anything and give it that "cinematic" image.
BTS images by Harry Bamford
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