I received my BMPCC4K almost a week ago and unfortunately I haven’t had much time to play with it so far but I wanted to give you my first impression and observation in the hope these might be helpful!
BUILD QUALITY / ERGONOMICS:
The camera is pretty big (and wide especially) but it’s surprisingly light. I’m not a huge fan of the exterior plastic material as it feels a bit cheap and quite prone to scratches but at the end of the day this a professional tool so as long as it’s able to withstand normal use I’m not too bothered about it.
I haven’t found any spots that are cause for concern, yes the battery cover it’s a bit flimsy like other people reported but it never came open on me (and even if it did the battery is safely hold in place with a spring loaded clip so it won’t fall over anyway).
The lens mount seems pretty robust, I tried mounting some heavy lens and haven’t experienced any flex so it seems all good.
The mounting points looks very sturdy as they’re surrounded my a metal plate so if you plan to mount something heavy without a cage it looks like is not gonna be a problem.
The camera feels quite good in the hand the only reservation I have is that is fairly easy to obstruct the bottom exhaust while shooting handheld as it’s the natural resting point for the hand that operate the lens.
The screen is pretty awesome I should say, it’s detailed, responsive has good colours and it’s surprisingly bright when needed. Is it usable under direct sunlight without a hood? In my experience barely but so is the vast majority of built-in screens out there, for that you need something very bright like a smallHD 1500nits or something similar.
Like many other people said before this camera is an absolute joy to operate, the menu system is one of the best in the industry, it’s logically laid out and super intuitive. Overall the experience is much more akin to a RED or an Alexa rather than a hybrid camera and this is good given the this is a cinema camera after all 🙂
I like how everything can be controlled so easily via the touchscreen but I like even more the fact that you don’t have to rely on it if you prefer not to or you’re in a shooting situation in which is not practical. All the main functions have dedicated buttons (and a dial in the front just under the record button) plus the three functions buttons are completely programmable either as toggles for specific functions or you can assign a precise value to a parameter that you wish to quickly recall (say you want to go to iso 3200 with a touch of a button you can do that)
The Preset menu is another gem of the OS, you can save camera configurations with totally different settings and recall them in a moment, it’s a massive timesaver!
The screen, other than being of great quality, offers an impressive range of tools for a built-in screen the highlight of which (for me) is definitely the inclusion of false colours which is such a great tool to expose and is something that is never present in hybrid cameras.
Battery life is not amazing but again it’s quite normal for a cinema camera with an actively cooled sensor I think. I would say you can expect 35-40 minutes recording time quite consistently. Like other users reported already original Canon batteries seems to give the best and most consistent results and are the only one providing a percentage to the camera so I might swallow the hefty price and buy a couple extra of them. I haven’t had any problems with stuck batteries so far and I hope it stays this way!
I’ve recorded mainly on SD cards and I’m glad to report that my Sony G ones can reliably record 4K RAW 60fps 4:1 with no issues (although they’re not in the official list provided by BM but I suppose they’re very similar to the new “Tough” series just released which are approved instead).
I also used SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I and although they’re not fast enough for 60fps they can record 4K 25 RAW 4:1 with no issues.
I’ve also made a test with a random SSD mounted in a usb-c caddy and it worked perfectly so I’m probably gonna purchase a couple of Samsung T5 as soon as I find a nice holder that I can use without a cage.
This is where the camera really shines (and it’s kind of important I reckon, right?) 😛
The images are detailed and rich, the colour science is very very good out of the box and coupled with the ease of use and the big screen is easy and fast to acquire great footage.
The dynamic range is not greater than other cameras like the GH5s or the A7III but the numbers on papers often don’t tell the full story.. The camera produces files that have not been processed in any way (if you shoot raw of course) so it’s actually easier to squeeze every bit of information from them compared to a heavily compressed codec.
As other users already noted I found the highlights rolloff to be a bit on the harsh side so I’d say it’s a good idea to protect the highlights with this camera as a priority.
The dual native ISO values of 400 and 3200 are a very good choice in my opinion, particularly in daylight when you don’t have to use a ton of ND filtration to get the correct exposure.
Noise levels are pretty good although I have to say there is more chroma noise that I would like (particularly compared to the kind of monochrome noise Sony has accustomed us to with their sensors) but again, with files this good it’s quite trivial to use your denoiser of choice and get rid of it without murdering the image.
I also noticed in a couple of shots some moire/aliasing and unfortunately this is quite inevitable since this is not an oversampled sensor readout and there is no OLPF…
This is it for now, hope I haven’t bored you to death and that you’ve found useful information and I promise to follow soon with more details and some hopefully nice images too!
Have a great weekend everybody!