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Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K


Dallas

The Micro Four Thirds world brings another camera body to us in the shape of the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K. 

 

If you’re a budding videographer, or film maker, this affordable 4K camera gives you just about everything you’d ever want to create high quality video. Some of the features include: 

 

 

 

  • 13 stops of dynamic range, including shooting up to 25,600 ISO in 12 bit RAW 
  • 5 inch touch screen 
  • SD or CFast 2.0 card writers
  • 120 frames per second recording in HD
  • 60 fps recording in 4K
  • built-in microphones (located next to the lens mount)
  • USB-C Expansion port that lets you record directly to an external SSD hard drive
  • Bluetooth remote control
  • mini XLR microphone input
  • carbon fibre body construction

 

intro-camera-xl.jpg

 

hud-xl.jpg

 

media-xl.jpg

 

Of course it has to go up against the likes of the Panasonic GH-5 and Olympus EM-1 Mk II bodies, both of which offer some very handy video features as well as being excellent stills cameras, however, the kicker is that for serious videographers this camera brings a lot more video stuff to the table and it’s only going to cost $1349. Compare that to the close to $2k being asked by most retailers for the other big brothers in MFT and you’ll start to wonder if they are the right choice for your video work (assuming you are already invested in MFT lenses). 

 

Reading through the material available on the Black Magic website, the first thing I was looking for was information on stabilisation. Sadly it doesn’t look like there is any, nor is there any information on whether the BMPC4K is able to use the lens stabilizers built into certain Panasonic and Olympus lenses. It does say that the mount is “active MFT” but that could mean it only allows for lens data to be passed through during recording. There is a mention of auto focus being available on compatible lenses, but again, no clear indication as to which ones (not that AF is used much by video shooters, but it would be nice to know). So, I guess if you want to use the camera hand held, the way they have advertised it, you're going to need hands of stone, or you're going to be looking to buy a suitable gimbal. 

 

hero-md.jpg

 

The monitor is large and bright, but it’s fixed to the back of the camera, so for vloggers and other kinds of narcissists it’s probably a non-starter. 

 

There is a shutter button for stills and according to the specs it’s going to be a 4096x2160 sized sensor in there, so a resulting 8.8MP, which is (ahem) not quite the gold standard for stills these days. Bummer. 

 

It does seem to be geared primarily towards professional video people, so my take away from the announcement is that if you’re already invested in an MFT system, you are probably going to be sticking with your Panasonic or Olympus bodies, which will do 4K video with lots of features, but also offer you 20MP stills. And stabilisation. And lots more. 

 

Oh yes, you do get access to Da Vinci Resolve Studio editing software worth $300, which looks impressive (I have downloaded the free beta and will give it a look over soon), but if you consider that you are still going to have to buy a gimbal to create your smooth cinematic footage, the deal doesn't look all that aggressive anymore. 

 

If you were getting serious about video would you buy this or would you rather buy the top end Panasonic/Olympus bodies?


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I guess the key difference will be that you have no recording time limit unless you run out of storage or power.  You may get a range of extra video formats.

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Yes, there are some unique advantages, but my thinking is that those sorts of advantages are only going to be useful to serious videographers who would probably be further up the food chain gear wise than this. I look at this and ask myself if I would put down the money for it and honestly, I think there are much better options for an amateur videographer to consider. 

 

It definitely appears to be more for film makers who stay behind the camera than those who tend to put themselves in front of it. If it had the flip out screen and IBIS then I think it would be a runaway winner, but without them it probably won't be an option for the likes of YouTubers (of which there is no short supply). 

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Found this hands on video about the camera. Not a "pocket camera" by any means! 

 

 

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Alan7140

Posted (edited)

The Soviet-era lenses with, or adaptable to this camera mount are available by the bucket-load as well for next to nothing....

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xrussian+lenses+black+magic.TRS0&_nkw=russian+lenses+black+magic&_sacat=0

 

and from Carl Zeiss Jena:

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2380057.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xjena+lens+for+blackmagic.TRS0&_nkw=jena+lens+for+blackmagic&_sacat=0

 

A Zeiss f/2.0 10mm for under $200? Seriously? :D 

 

As any user will probably be using manual focus and aperture anyway, these lenses open up a whole world of effects through flare, aberrations and vintage bokeh. In fact I'm toying with the idea of entering video in this way, along with a pocket-full of Commie glass. Through stripping several larger Soviet lenses for cleaning, I've found that the simplest thing to do with almost all of them is to remove the detente ball or roller of the aperture rings, so truly continuous and silent aperture control is easily made possible.

 

Unfortunately the rest of the world has now caught up with the bargain prices of Soviet lenses for 135 and medium format, but it looks like the M4/3 world has yet to take advantage of the 16mm cine lenses, which are still dirt cheap for what I can confirm through buying both M42 and medium format lenses for my cameras are absolutely as good as anything the West produced during that era, along with the huge choice in image rendition which is well documented and described online in enthusiasts' posts.

Edited by Alan7140
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It might be worthwhile for others if I was to create a database of these kinds of soviet era optics. Or maybe we have a board specifically for them? 

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Alan7140

Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Dallas said:

It might be worthwhile for others if I was to create a database of these kinds of soviet era optics. Or maybe we have a board specifically for them? 

 

Might be a bit ambitious - there seems to be a never ending variety of the things, probably because the Soviets used 16mm far longer and more intensively than the West. From what I gather all the lens ,manufacturers (KMZ, LOMO, Vologda, Arsat/Arsenal etc - each time I do a search a new name seems to pop up. I haven't yet found a definitive list, possibly because of the huge number of models in all sorts of formats, but there is a starter on this page:

Soviet Lenses

 

Then there are all the East German ones to add to the pile, although the 16mm movie lenses seemed to be a Soviet speciality. I know less about the Soviet Bloc lenses than I'd like to, because as far as the eleven working ones and two dead ones I have (fungus in one, operator dismantling error in another) they are really fantastic pieces of equipment to use for all their quirky operating methods and variety of CA, flare, bokeh and other imperfect things they can exhibit, but which can be used to good effect. The Russian ones seem to be easier to disassemble and clean and lubricate than the East German ones, which means you can pick up bargain copies with dirt inside the elements and turn them into usable objects within a short period of time with a lens spanner, alcohol and a blower brush. There seem to be a good deal of YouTube tutorials on doing this as well.

 

If this catches on for thes C-mount & Blackmagic lenses, though, prices will head skywards as they have for the 135 and 120 format lenses - there are several Ukrainian companies now adapting Arriflex mounts to these larger lenses and the prices being asked are very high - at least double or more than the same lenses in M42 or P6 mount.

 

Edited by Alan7140

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