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EXCLUSIVE: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K gets Time of Flight Autofocus with Prototype add-on


Andrew Reid
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You, guys, are superheroes !! I use LIDAR data at work (mapping and analysis for biodiversity project, forestry, geology etc.), and I am amazed just to think about this stuff used for camera AF ahah.
I would be super glad to use that on my 2h new Panny S1 ?

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Well done @BTM_Pix !!! As you know, I recently bought a Micro on the cheap. It was a no brainer decision considering I am going to use my existing c-mount lenses with it, but after seeing this... I think I may invest in a couple native lenses for an eventual P4K purchase.

 I assume it works better with certain lenses? Also, does the camera have to move to obtain focus, or can you select your focus point on the screen?

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Wow, truly amazing @BTM_Pix. I only thought of something like this about month or so 2 back, and you already have a working prototype. I did call you the Einstein of the group. :glasses:

 

Do you need a seperate motor, to move the lens and focus back and forth? I couldn't see any other separate contraption on the lens. If not, you could try and work it into the Blackmagic's own software, in the focus perhaps?

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1 minute ago, sanveer said:

Do you need a seperate motor, to move the lens and focus back and forth? I couldn't see any other separate contraption on the lens. If not, you could try and work it into the Blackmagic's own software, in the focus perhaps?

The P4K can already autofocus with many autofocus lenses, but it is single push to focus, not continuous autofocus. I suspect that his LiDAR system is telling the P4K *where* to focus and could probably do this on a continuous basis. The time of flight systems will likely offer a huge improvement for AF. This is a very exciting development.

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1 minute ago, mercer said:

Well done @BTM_Pix !!! As you know, I recently bought a Micro on the cheap. It was a no brainer decision considering I am going to use my existing c-mount lenses with it, but after seeing this... I think I may invest in a couple native lenses for an eventual P4K purchase.

 I assume it works better with certain lenses? Also, does the camera have to move to obtain focus, or can you select your focus point on the screen?

Funnily enough this is a reasonably easy port to the Micro. 

Which, as I have one, might well happen!

It calibrates the lens to distance so works with all of them in terms of that level of accuracy. There are variances in lenses depending on how much "dead space" there (a lens we were using yesterday had about 40% of the possible positions unused before and after its minimum/maximum focus positions). That doesn't mean it doesn't focus accurately it just means the range of steps between focus points isn't as granular as other lenses. Basically if the camera can focus it so can the adapter.

I'll give some more info regarding point selection at a later time. 

Take this as a first step for now ;)

5 minutes ago, sanveer said:

Wow, truly amazing @BTM_Pix. I only thought of something like this about month or so 2 back, and you already have a working prototype. I did call you the Einstein of the group. :glasses:

 

Do you need a seperate motor, to move the lens and focus back and forth? I couldn't see any other separate contraption on the lens. If not, you could try and work it into the Blackmagic's own software, in the focus perhaps?

Thanks. 

No additional motors, it talks directly to the camera's focus control via BLE.

5 minutes ago, drm said:

The P4K can already autofocus with many autofocus lenses, but it is single push to focus, not continuous autofocus. I suspect that his LiDAR system is telling the P4K *where* to focus and could probably do this on a continuous basis. 

Yes, it does indeed do it continuously.

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The beauty of it for me is the modular main Pocket Controller... I really liked how BTM_Pix just plugs his different tools into that and it acts as a clever wireless bridge to the camera. The manual follow focus dial, shirt pocket size, was lovely to use as well.

It's also amazing that LiDAR, once reserved for the military and sciences, can now be so widely applied and affordably! Just don't mention the price of Arri's system!!

Pocket 4K users will love it.

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44 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

Thanks for the positive feedback.

Much appreciated.

Please buy it ;)

I've run out of gaffer tape making this one so that integration will have to wait for a while.

 

You're doing God's work.

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40 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

Funnily enough this is a reasonably easy port to the Micro. 

 Which, as I have one, might well happen!

That would be amazing. Keep me updated. I’ll even beta test it for you... ? 

43 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

It calibrates the lens to distance so works with all of them in terms of that level of accuracy. There are variances in lenses depending on how much "dead space" there (a lens we were using yesterday had about 40% of the possible positions unused before and after its minimum/maximum focus positions). That doesn't mean it doesn't focus accurately it just means the range of steps between focus points isn't as granular as other lenses. Basically if the camera can focus it so can the adapter.

 I'll give some more info regarding point selection at a later time. 

Gotcha, but aren’t certain lenses faster to focus? For instance, I’ve heard that the Panny 20mm is supposed to be a great lens with sluggish AF, does that affect your system? If so, does the slower (af) lenses have more of a slow focus puller feel to them?

And finally, can you control the zoom with in/out points? Could I set up a Jaws/Vertigo shot with it? If so, would I need a power zoom lens?

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