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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

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7 hours ago, leslie said:

edit: i'm increasingly disenchanted with camera comparisons or maybe its the amateurs doing these vlogs but personally i don't find alot of substance in them. i don't find much new information and at the end i cant help but feel cheated out of a few precious minutes of my life not to mention several megabytes of data  i'll never get back. i guess for me its more i bought my camera have paid for it, now for me i need  to learn what i can do with it.  i really don't care how it compares to other cameras.

I agree.

Camera comparisons can be useful when you're researching what to buy, but there isn't a lot of content around how a certain specification or feature will help you to make a finished product, which is ultimately what matters.

I think there are four levels of review:

  1. Useless reviews where you learn nothing about the camera (beyond the specs)
  2. Good reviews where you get a sense of what the camera can offer to a real shoot
  3. Great reviews where you learn about film-making as well as what the camera is capable of

Most YT commentary is in the first category, there are a smattering of the second, and the occasional flash of the third.  

I think it's mostly the reviewers fault, because mostly they either don't know anything about film-making so can't link camera features to real productions, or assume that you already know everything about film-making and don't have to link camera features to real productions.  The former are the YT vlogger wannabes and the latter are the working cinematographers who often publish their camera / lens / lighting tests for you to decipher yourself.

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2 minutes ago, kye said:

mostly they either don't know anything about film-making so can't link camera features to real productions, or assume that you already know everything about film-making and don't have to link camera features to real productions

Don't forget that a lot of reviewers get demo units for a very limited amount of time, so can't really test them in real 'professional' situations. They can only really go for a walk and do some street shooting.

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1 hour ago, Anaconda_ said:

Don't forget that a lot of reviewers get demo units for a very limited amount of time, so can't really test them in real 'professional' situations. They can only really go for a walk and do some street shooting.

That's true, but I think it's not familiarity with the camera that's the weak point.

Imagine two kinds of reviews..  the first just says things about the camera, the second about what that really means.

Type 1 review: "The GH5 has X stops of DR.  It has 10-bit internal recording."
Type 2 review: "The X stops of DR combined with the 10-bit internal recording means that if I shoot this building against the sky I can bring up the shadows in post to get this image here, exposing the building correctly and not blowing out the sky - here's the same image from my control camera and you can see the noise from the 8-bit means the shot is ruined.  This means that if you're shooting outdoors there is enough latitude for shots of this nature, such as documentary work on location.  This is a real differentiator for those who would typically use an XYZ model camera for this type of shooting".

How many reviews of the GH5 showed what shots the GH5 could get that the other cameras couldn't get?  A reviewer can tell me the specs and I haven't got the faintest idea what that means to me in real life.  If I was trying to figure out which was the better camera for high DR work I'd be screwed if I only got given the stats - shadow recovery depends on ISO noise, bit-depth, codec, bit-rate, DR, and colour space - try getting two cameras with different sets of specs and trading all those things off against each other.  Not to mention if the noise looks nasty or lovely in character.  That's why we have reviewers!!

How many reviews of the BM Micro showed us that do to its size and image quality it would be useful in filming a TV drama like John Brawley showed us he'd done in shooting The Resident?

How many reviews of the C100 explained the practical benefits of having a high-quality and low-bitrate codec in terms that compared to other cameras?  Let's imagine you're getting a similar quality image from two cameras, but one is lower bitrate and more expensive.  At the current HDD prices, how long do you have to record for until the more expensive camera pays for the difference because of the reduced file sizes?  No-one gives us that kind of information!

Most reviewers are only one step away from just getting Siri to read us the spec sheets, giving us an unedited monologue about how they liked the packaging, and putting music and their branding package on it before hitting publish.

I can understand why the working cinematographers don't elaborate on what they're looking for in a sensor / lens / filter or how it matters to the production because they're really in their own space creating content for other working cinematographers.  It's a pity though, because there are people like me who are lurking and trying to learn but don't know that a lens with X optical attribute is good for scenes of type Y lit with lights of type Z.  Sure, I'm not in the market for either of those $100k lens kits, but I'd like to learn the links between equipment and end-result, especially from those who really have depth in that knowledge and experience.

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1 hour ago, Yannick Willox said:

Does anyone agree it is strange the above tester mentions it is hard to get skintones good on the P4K, while in all his footage the skintones look much worse on the GH5s ?

Or is my monitor calibration off ?

That's one of the magical moments in that test - his white balance settings are everywhere (so consequently color shifting ), especially in case of GH5s, who knows maybe he also set camera to shutter priority ... What is enigmatic question also - did he see/check results before uploading them or just was in hurry to make youtube visitors happy as soon as possible? Or maybe everything was actually intended to be some sort of parody?

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3 hours ago, anonim said:

That's one of the magical moments in that test - his white balance settings are everywhere (so consequently color shifting ), especially in case of GH5s, who knows maybe he also set camera to shutter priority ... What is enigmatic question also - did he see/check results before uploading them or just was in hurry to make youtube visitors happy as soon as possible? Or maybe everything was actually intended to be some sort of parody?

Yeah I think WB is on auto

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1 hour ago, TurboRat said:

Yeah I think WB is on auto

In that video, it seemed like the ISOs didn't match very well between the GH5s and the BMPCC4K at the lower end. It seemed like up to around 6400 the BM was darker. Also, his brightness levels as he changed ISOs was all over the place.

In my casual testing, my GH5s cameras seem to be a fair bit less noisy at the same ISO settings than my P4Ks. I will have to revisit this on my cameras after seeing his video.

This most surprising thing that I have found after getting the P4Ks is that they don't fit my bags. I am having to completely rethink my bags and storage systems to fit the P4K cameras :)  The added width really does make a big difference in this regard.

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I didn’t watch that comparison video but I wonder if you have the P4K, do you guys feel you need the GH5s? Or if you have the GH5s, do you need the Z-Cam E2... since they all share the same sensor?

Obviously, I get the different feature set but it seems the GH5s gives you about 80-90% of ProRes HQ from the P4K. If you need Raw, that’s a different story, but I assume the majority of folks that own the P4K, do not shoot Raw.

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As you say, it depends on your usage and what you want out of a camera. I don't feel the need for a GH5s, however if I did have the GH5s I might pine for internal ProRes and RAW. 

It's also not about RAW for me. I wanted to shoot ProRes because the files off both my GX80 and LS300 were driving me nuts. In my experience no edit suite can play JVC's 422 files at all, and I was also having some issues with h264 realtime playback, even if the files are untouched. I'd imagine the GH5s would give me similar results. On the same machine, I can grade the ProRes files and playback in full quality as if it's nothing.

Sure you can convert the files to ProRes, but that adds a lot of time to the workflow. Yes you can also record externally, which I did on the JVC but that's more gear to carry around.

For me this camera is fantastic in the field, the only thing I need to carry that the other cameras don't need is extra batteries... in fact, the same batteries I'd have used in the recorders I mentioned. Then when I get home to edit, it's like I'm dreaming. 

Having used it almost daily since October, I'm fairly convinced I have the best camera available for my requirements, for everyone else, that may vary.

 

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Being an FCPX user, ProRes is definitely the most interesting aspect to me. With that being said, I have zero need for 4K right now, so even though the camera is a steal, for a second camera, a Micro would/could make more sense for me. But then the allure of that Dual ISO sensor is appealing. Has anyone shot and shared any 1080p ProRes? In my brief search for it, I haven’t found much 1080p from the P4K, especially in 24p. 

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I could film some stuff for you this weekend. Let me know what you'd like to see.

The Dual ISO is incredible. I used to use ISO only if my lens couldn't open up any further and I couldn't add lights. Now I can use it to keep my iris exactly how I want it no matter the circumstances

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I have a folk horror short I’m writing, so any nature footage in the woods/forest would be helpful... if you live near one? But anything would be good. 

By having some experience shooting with the Pocket and Micro, I always would stick to the native ISO, so I imagine having the two native ISOs could be very helpful to get a clean, consistent image?

I recently acquired a small set of Nikkor lenses... the 35mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4. Since both lenses have the same open aperture and the same amount of aperture blades, it will help me when I stop down the lenses within the same scene and having that dual native iso sounds like a dream for the darker horror movies I have coming up.

But I’m so content with my current camera set up, that I am probably a long ways off before I do a camera upgrade... or a camera sidegrade in this instance. 

In some ways, I am more intrigued by the Z-Cam E2 than the P4K, so I will probably wait to see how that develops first. And then there’s the 5D4 ML development... so many choices. And to be honest, the X-T3 has impressed me the most of all available cameras this year, so as a second camera, that may make more sense for me. In the end, compared to 6 years ago when I got my first camera... we are spoiled.

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2 hours ago, mercer said:

I have a folk horror short I’m writing, so any nature footage in the woods/forest would be helpful... if you live near one? But anything would be good. 

By having some experience shooting with the Pocket and Micro, I always would stick to the native ISO, so I imagine having the two native ISOs could be very helpful to get a clean, consistent image?

I recently acquired a small set of Nikkor lenses... the 35mm 1.4 and 85mm 1.4. Since both lenses have the same open aperture and the same amount of aperture blades, it will help me when I stop down the lenses within the same scene and having that dual native iso sounds like a dream for the darker horror movies I have coming up.

But I’m so content with my current camera set up, that I am probably a long ways off before I do a camera upgrade... or a camera sidegrade in this instance. 

In some ways, I am more intrigued by the Z-Cam E2 than the P4K, so I will probably wait to see how that develops first. And then there’s the 5D4 ML development... so many choices. And to be honest, the X-T3 has impressed me the most of all available cameras this year, so as a second camera, that may make more sense for me. In the end, compared to 6 years ago when I got my first camera... we are spoiled.

The Fuji really is a nice camera. I have to say the Braw out of the Pocket 4k is very tempting, that extra highlight recovery is what I thirst for😂

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Just now, thebrothersthre3 said:

The Fuji really is a nice camera. I have to say the Braw out of the Pocket 4k is very tempting, that extra highlight recovery is what I thirst for😂

I’ll believe that the P4K gets B-Raw when I see it. I won’t buy a camera based on what I hope it may end up having.

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1 hour ago, mercer said:

I’ll believe that the P4K gets B-Raw when I see it. I won’t buy a camera based on what I hope it may end up having.

I have to say i'm little annoyed by the fact that it took so long for them to roll out braw. It's understandable that they need time to make it right but that 12:1 braw is oh so tempting 

4 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

For me this camera is fantastic in the field, the only thing I need to carry that the other cameras don't need is extra batteries... in fact, the same batteries I'd have used in the recorders I mentioned. Then when I get home to edit, it's like I'm dreaming. 

Having used it almost daily since October, I'm fairly convinced I have the best camera available for my requirements, for everyone else, that may vary.

 

Same here. As someone who enjoys the creativity in the editing room, I love what this camera brings to the table. Post processing is one reason I didn't go with xt3. Lovely camera and IQ but that HEVC codec is a system killer 

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1 hour ago, mercer said:

I’ll believe that the P4K gets B-Raw when I see it. I won’t buy a camera based on what I hope it may end up having.

C'mon, I follow your point but... WTH it is BMD! What's your skepticism on them? Why that?

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5 hours ago, Anaconda_ said:

As you say, it depends on your usage and what you want out of a camera. I don't feel the need for a GH5s, however if I did have the GH5s I might pine for internal ProRes and RAW. 

It's also not about RAW for me. I wanted to shoot ProRes because the files off both my GX80 and LS300 were driving me nuts. In my experience no edit suite can play JVC's 422 files at all, and I was also having some issues with h264 realtime playback, even if the files are untouched. I'd imagine the GH5s would give me similar results. On the same machine, I can grade the ProRes files and playback in full quality as if it's nothing.

Sure you can convert the files to ProRes, but that adds a lot of time to the workflow. Yes you can also record externally, which I did on the JVC but that's more gear to carry around.

For me this camera is fantastic in the field, the only thing I need to carry that the other cameras don't need is extra batteries... in fact, the same batteries I'd have used in the recorders I mentioned. Then when I get home to edit, it's like I'm dreaming. 

Having used it almost daily since October, I'm fairly convinced I have the best camera available for my requirements, for everyone else, that may vary.

 

I have the GH5, GH5s, & BMPCC4K cameras. We do lots of events, frequently in low light, and always in 4K. I love the GH5 & GH5s combo, but it gets *really* time consuming having to encode the video for Final Cut. I have terabytes of footage on a weekly basis to process. Being able to record ProRes in camera was one of the reasons that I purchased several of the BMPCC4K cameras.

However, there *is* a solution for this issue now for the GH5/GH5s. Just get an Atomos Ninja V for the GH5/GH5s. You then get a larger screen and you get Prores recording.

But, your GH5s setup costs now costs ~$3k-$3,500 each, the Prores 422 files are even larger than the 400mbps All-I files from the GH5s, and you are running a big rig (compared to the BM).

The BMPCC4K really is an amazing package deal, despite its issues. We haven't yet fully switched away from the GH5(s), but I imagine that we will do so soon.

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19 minutes ago, Emanuel said:

C'mon, I follow your point but... WTH it is BMD! What's your skepticism on them? Why that?

I’m not here to knock BMD. I think they have done amazing things for indie filmmaking and I have owned a few of their cameras and have loved them. But they aren’t always the most reliable company based on promised specs or deadlines. The global shutter in the Micro comes to mind, as well as the missed release deadlines. Even with the P4K, they promised a September release, which they hit with... a dozen or so cameras being shipped?

With that being said, from a business standpoint, B-Raw in the P4K makes zero sense. Why on earth would they include a feature in their lowest model camera that they also include in their highest model? And since B-Raw was released the same week the first P4Ks shipped, then why didn’t they ship the cameras with B-Raw. It’s not like B-Raw was invented the week before.

With that being said, I really do hope the P4K gets an upgrade but I wouldn’t buy the camera on that basis alone.

But I am starting to warm up to the camera some after seeing your guy’s results. 

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