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Andrew Reid

The Annual Blackmagic Shipping Date Mystery Thread

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This is quite misleading on BM's part They said shipping in July then CVP put up a notice available on the 14th Aug I called them and they said their shipment is imminent. However they don't know how many they are receiving and could be as few as 5.

If I told you I was going to give you a thousand pounds and later informed you I was going to pay a penny a week until you had a thousand pounds that would be deceptive wouldn't it.

This is not very professional I'm afraid.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I got my camera shipped two days ago, perhaps because I had pre-ordered on the day that the camera was announced, and picked a friendly dealer. Yes, white orbs are an issue which I encountered right away shooting a street with cars at night. Didn't have issues though when I filmed during daytime with an ND filter like Thomas. 

 

Since many former GH2 users are interested in this camera, I shot a short comparison (trying to match the Pocket image to the GH2 in post):

 

https://vimeo.com/73538448

 

My write-up of the strengths and practical weaknesses of the camera, as posted on the Vimeo page:

 

Conclusions
 
1) Although the German video site Slashcam found the non-artificial sharpness in the Pocket to be very high, it seems to me that the GH2 still resolves better image detail. (Not entirely surprising with an image downsampled from a 16 MP sensor as opposed to a debayered 2 MP image.) However, the GH2 video image would have been inferior resolution-wise if both cameras had been tested at 800 ISO.
 
2) In terms of dynamic range, gradation and shadow detail, the Pocket is in a different league than the GH2. This is already visible in the video image that has been graded to look like the GH2's. The possibilities to grade the image to match other looks/cameras are very limited for the GH2 and comparatively endless with the 10bit native ProRes material from the Pocket.
 
Caveats
 
...for owners of the GH2 and similar (amateur) cameras: operating the Pocket is much more demanding in every regard: exposure, focusing, white balance.
 
1) With its high native ISO, camera absolutely requires the use of ND filters. They also are the best recipe against the camera's white orb/blooming problem.
 
2) The focusing aid zoom (for manual focusing) is less precise by design because it only zooms into a 2MP instead of a 16MP sensor; and while the camera offer focus peaking, I principally don't find zebras reliable enough for critical focusing.
 
3) Exposure aids are limited to zebras and, for electronic MFT lenses, an auto-aperture button. Thus, the camera encourages exposing to the right, which is not a good strategy if your scene has a high range of brightness (say: a street at night with cars driving by) and you need to let some highlights blow out. Highlight roll-off is harsh, and provokes white blobs if you overexpose by more than 2-3 stops. Conversely, there is no histogram or zebra to indicate underexposed parts of the image.
 
4) White balance is adjustable in a few preset Kelvin values, which is fine for photographers/cinematographers used to Kelvin temperatures for different film stocks. There is no possibility to set white balance by locking the camera to a neutral grey object, and no possibility to compensate for green/violet tint (a limitation when recording ProRes).
 
5) If you want a good image, don't use Panasonic's and Olympus electronic Micro Four Thirds lenses, at least no zooms and no focal lengths below 45mm, because their optics distort and require in-camera software correction. That also rules out all available stabilized MFT lenses. If you want to shoot handheld or with a simple handheld stabilizer, your focal length should be 14mm or less, and 17mm maximum. I found the SLR Magic 12mm/f1.6 to be a good all-round lens for the camera.
 
Older 16mm cine lenses, such as the Canon TV16 13mm/f1.5 or the Kern Yvar 14mm/f2.8, work as well, but don't resolve as good as a modern lens - and they are among the very few wider angle 16mm cine lenses that cover the S16 sensor of the Pocket.
 
blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_yvar_15m

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My local rental house has received their Pocket camera. They cancelled the order for the MFT original camera and had their EF stolen, but won't replace it. They said they had the EF for 3 months and nobody bothered with it.

The 4K sounds like an absolute beast. So I guess it would be better to wait longer and get a better camera that hopefully doesn't have white orbs and black spots.

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I'm about to cancel my BMPCC order.  B&H still has not shipped mine (after I pre-ordered on the first day it became available).  Also, I'm pretty universally disappointed with the image quality and usability based on other reviews.  Most BMPCC clips I've seen would have looked better on a Gh3, G6, or 5dmkii or iii.  The camera's color is frequently washed out and muddy looking, still has moire issues, and can't even use M43 lenses without distortion.

 

Blackmagic has pushed the envelope; now it's time for a real camera company to create something we can actually use.

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An update from Blackmagic on the 4K camera:

 

 

Hi,

I just want to give you an update on the 4K camera.

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we received the production sensors much later than we expected. When we built cameras from them we saw some big differences in the images between these production sensors vs the pre production samples we originally received. What this means is that we have been working over the last few weeks to replace a bunch of the software in the camera that handles the sensor calibration and image processing. 

It's taking a bit longer than we expected to do this and we think its going to take about 3 to 4 weeks more to get those changes done and to get the QA process completed before we can start shipping.

We apologize for the delays from the original promised date. Ultimately, image calibration is a very important step so we want to make sure this is done properly before shipping.


Regards,

Grant Petty
Blackmagic Design

 


http://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12192

 

 

Pre-Production sensors different from the Production sensors they actually received?

 

Deja Vu...are they saying they got punked by ANOTHER CHINESE MANUFACTURER?

 

this is not looking good...

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I apologise if I seem rather negative about these cameras here.

 

I have a lot of respect for the attitude: push the limit of what's possible at low cost,

 

but I feel it would have worked far better if one model had been fully completed, in terms of firmware and hardware, rather than many incomplete beta cameras announced and released late and buggy.

 

I have no doubt things will work long run.... but that isn't the point.

 

BMD have/had a close relationship with Apple, though this appears to have relaxed a little.

 

Apple's key point at the beginning, with iPhone and iPod and iPad was lack of segmentation.

 

Providing one product that beat the rest on balance.

 

So far BMD have failed to emulate this.

 

Focusing all effort on an S35 model at the start, not even 4k... just standard sensor size and functional pro features, and continuing to do so until it was complete and ready to ship truthfully and on announcement, would have seen them wipe out the competition.

 

As it is they now have obsolescence within their own range, and that range hasn't even been shipped in great quantity yet!

 

Focus god dammit. One functioning, deliverable product at a time, with rounded firmware and working out of the box.

 

Then you'll be unbeatable.... as it is the name is being dragged through the mud

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Apple spend years in secret R'n'D without making any announcements, then shock the world just as production is well underway. For example the iPad prototype was developed first, but it was kept a secret until they perfected the tech with the iPhone. Now that's patience, class and professionalism.

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And confidence... since there was no competition, BMD could have just waited til it was ready...

 

Now they've put it out there, it gives competitors free market research and ideas. They should have made it behind closed doors over a year more...

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I  suppose all this is easy to say after the fact, but still. There was no hint of any big player putting out anything close to this at such a low price.

 

As anyone working with clients knows: underpromise and deliver: saviour of the world

 

overpromise and don't deliver... black marks!

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I just got that sinking feeling with the Pocket camera & the lame amounts they have produced/are shipping!

You can just imagine the BM assembly line - a couple of blind one-armed men.

We were well warned with their past track record of production/delivery, but i will be happy if mine comes in a couple of months.

 

In the meantime i've rejected ML Raw (lovely image, but no sound=deal breaker) & am loving my 60D once more - its actually in my hands & works!

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It's clearly the case of a small manufacturer of specialist gear who accidentally created a mass market product, and has trouble scaling to that market.

 

As a (happy) owner of a Pocket, I foresee disappointment among the many classical video amateurs/home video shooters who seem to be buying it (if you look at most of the Pocket footage currently uploaded to Vimeo and YouTube, for example). It's a quite demanding camera in comparison to, for example, a GH2/3. Exposure is difficult, focusing is difficult, white balance is difficult, sound is difficult, obtaining a good image in post can be difficult.

 

Exposure is difficult because you need to exactly hit 800 ISO to obtain the rich 13 stop image. Unlike consumer and ENG cameras, the camera doesn't apply electric gain/signal amplification to the sensor for higher ISOs. The 200/400/1600 ISO modes only over- or underexpose the 800 ISO mode. If you combine this with a 180 degree shutter as a second (in the optimal case: fixed) parameter, you're left with lens aperture and ND filters as the only devices to control exposure in daylight, respectively with aperture and additional artificial light as your only devices in low light situations. (Last weekend, I shot a mini doc in a music/arts venue where even f2, 1600 ISO and a 360 degree shutter produced underexposed footage.) In addition, you need to expose to the right for optimal results (i.e. expose not for a balanced image, but expose as high as possible before highlights clip), which means that your footage will look overexposed out of the camera and require color correction in post. 

 

Focusing is difficult because focus peaking can't be trusted (not only on this camera, but on all cameras that I've used so far) for really critical focus, and only works anyway when there are hard edges in the picture. The focus aid/loupe is tricky to use, not only because of the camera's quirky respective user interface (double click on the "OK" button, which frequently makes you land in the meta data input mask, and no whatsoever visual indication in the viewfinder whether you are in focus loupe mode or not), but also because of the native 1080p sensor and the drastic limit it imposes on the magnification factor of the loupe. This makes it more difficult to judge critical focus on the camera display. For complex focusing (rack focus with shallow depth of field), it's either hit-and-miss, or you need to use an external monitor.

 

White balance is difficult because it can't be locked to a reference motif (such as a grey card) but only adjusted in preset Kelvin values. The camera display is not contrasty enough and its colors are too washed out to give a reliable indication of correct white balance. Furthermore, there is no green/magenta tint adjustment, which is a severe limitation when recording ProRes under available light, including energy saving bulbs and fluorescent tubes with their green tint. 

 

Sound isn't very usable even when recorded with an external video mic (known issue).

 

Stabilization can be difficult because you will only get wobbly and shaky images when shooting handheld with a non-rigged camera. Things get much better if you put the camera in a cage like Viewfactor's massive contraption (which more than doubles the body's weight from 355 to 740g), but gone is the light weight and stealth look if you do this. Otherwise, there are exactly two working stabilized lens options for the camera, the Panasonic 14-140mm and the Panasonic 12-35mm. Both are (too) expensive for their real optical quality, and their image doesn't look very cinematic.

 

Color correction can be difficult because, out of the camera and in most cases, footage needs correction: lowering exposure, conforming Cinema log to rec709. But the available LUTs are weird; both Blackmagic's and Captain Hook's LUTs produce turquoise-greenish highlights and skies. And not all NLEs do support LUTs in the first place. Resolve will be overkill and a complexity shock for most amateur/DIY/home video shooters; it's like throwing users into ProTools for basic sound editing of video tracks.

 

Wouldn't be surprised if lots of people will give up on the camera in frustration and go back to their GH2/GH3s or Canons DSLRs. (Which, on the bright side of things, could mean that the Pocket might soon become cheap on the second hand market.) From an opposite viewpoint, this camera is - metaphorically speaking - the (first) digital Bolex. An affordable, high quality yet quirky tool producing outstanding images.

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@ Cantsin 

Yes, it does seem as if people thought this was a consumer cam & it has become increasingly obvious that it isn't - you're going to really have to work hard & prepare well with this thing.

As soon as i saw people going for a hike or filming flowers/cats or whatever, my whole body just shuddered & convulsed in pain.

I think i've only seen a couple of things shot on the Pocket that have been worth while watching & have shown off what it can really do, the rest...well...?

 

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Just got this e-mail from CVP:

 

 

"Good News, We are now receiving regular shipments of stock and these units have been sent out to customers. 
Its seems from the shipments that due to the worldwide demand and the rate of manufacturing that we will be receiving a low number of cameras per delivery but hopefully the deliveries will be regular. 
If the production rate matches the 2.5K camera we should see a steady increase in numbers of units throughout the deliveries. The last 3 delivery have been within a week of each other and the last delivery saw the quantity more than double."
 
Only problem for me is i'm now 150th!
I really hate the fact i was away for 2 days with no internet when the pre-orders started on the 8th...

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Bioskop, is that an update for 4K camera or pocket?

Pocket

 

They also mentioned that they'd nearly completed the first day orders.

All-in-all it sounds like numbers are shipping & they expect their delivery numbers to grow.

I'm going to try some local places, just in case they get 1 or 2 in.

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I received my Pocket Cinema Camera 9-23. Purchased locally on 4-13 from Omega Broadcast. Using with some old prime Nikon AI lenses and an AI-MFT adaptor until I can get a Rokinon/Samyang Cinema lens.

 

I can confirm that the camera records to both the Sandisk Extreme Pro 64gbs and Sony SF64UX/TQN cards. I hope to shoot something other than a test over the weekend.

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