Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Digital Camera World
Digital Camera World
Chris George

Blackmagic's world-beating 17K camera sensor boasts incredible 140-megapixel resolution

Blackmagic URSA Cine 17K sensor being held by Grant Petty.

Blackmagic Design's new 17K cine camera sensor is extraordinary. Unveiled as just one of over 20 new products at NAB 2024 – including two other new cine cameras – its 17K sensor and the cameras it will be used in are groundbreaking for many reasons.

Forget, 4K and 8K - this sensor allows you to record in 17K. But what does that actually mean? 

Essentially, 17K means that the sensor has a width of over 17,000 pixels - making it a monster, offering higher resolution than we have ever seen before from a cine camera, and four times more resolution than 8K cameras

In fact, the pixel dimensions of the new sensor measure 17,520 pixels by 8,040 pixels - offering a phenomenal 140 megapixel resolution for every frame that this movie camera shoots.

The sensor itself is huge - measuring 50.8 x 23.3mm - so it is around 35% wider than the full frame. These dimensions have been chosen to be similar to those of the 70mm 5-perf film used to shoot high-budget Hollywood movies.

The vital statistics of the Blackmagic 17K sensor (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

Similar digital cameras are already available in Hollywood - the most obvious being the Arri Alexa 65 - which has a slight larger 54.12 × 25.59mm size, but a lower, 6K (6560×3102-pixel) resolution. 

The Arri Alexa 65 is a camera that costs well into the six figures - and it is not something you will even find listed at B&H Photo. We don't know the price yet of the Blackmagic URSA Cine 17K - but it will be a fraction of this. We are told that it will be "a lot more" than the $15k URSA Cine 12K - but they will announce the actual price later in the year.

Blackmagic URSA Cine 17K will come in two versions - with either an Arri LPL lens mount (left) or a Hasselblad H mount (right) (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

The design of the URSA Cine 17K is essentially the same as the 12K version. But a notable difference is with the lens mount - which needs to be larger to allow for that super-wide sensor. For this reason the camera, when it goes on sale later in the year, will come in two versions - either using LPL lenses (like the Arri Alexa 65) or using Hasselblad H-Series medium-format photography lenses. Another difference is that it won't have built-in ND filters - simply because they can't make them for a sensor this size.

Grant Petty demonstrates the URSA Cine 17K (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

But why would you want a camera with this resolution? Blackmagic CEO Grant Petty explains that it is about bringing IMAX to a greater number of filmmakers. "Imagine if every film could be shot in IMAX-style resolutions without being a complex process," he explains. 

"Our dream is to make high-resolution shooting really easy. I don't know why cinemas still use projectors. I think they should use high-resolution LED screens," he added.

The highest resolution cameras you can buy today

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.