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Andrew Reid

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Review - Final Part

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera anamorphic Iscorama

Beware! This review is LONG! Have ten cups of coffee at the ready, or print it out and give it as a (late) Christmas present to someone you don't like.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is already good, we've established that much. But what's really making this a unique camera what is going on around it.

Read the full article here

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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

Iscorama hanging on the Pocket. It's like when your girlfriend teases you in a sexy lingerie..

 

Besides I only have a few observations about this one:

 

 

 

If you’re going to hook up a huge battery and shoot hours and hours of footage in fact, why not just use the original BMCC 2.5K?

 

Well, I think the "Pocket" concept is great because if you want to you can keep it really simple but seemingly it also let's you to buy cheaper rigs. Even the best looking Movcam/Tilta cages cost like 50% less than the older BMCC ones. Sure, you might end up spending more on memory cards (I believe this could change soon with more SD manufacturers in the game) but move on to the other things:

 

User replaceable batteries. The other Cinema Camera has one built in, but personally I like the option to change it any time because you are not restricted to plug it in a wall socket or an external battery. Probably I will use an Anker Power Bank anyway, but it's great to have replacement Nikon batteries in your bag just in case.

 

Also there's this topic on DVXUser where someone measured the BMPCC's rolling shutter rate, and actually it performs better than the BMCC - 17.8ms vs 25ms - not bad. I hate rolling shutter and the less I have to see it the better it is.

 

And for last, it became clear in the last few months that the Pocket's firmware gets updated more often. Blackmagic (obviously) places more effort into supporting it's new line-up which really puts the older camera on the legacy shelf. I feel more secured by getting the new camera.

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Great review. You answered a Iot of questions. I love my pocket camera. I was on the fence about what to get, the canon version or Nikon version of the Sigma 16-35. The reason being, I wanted to use it on the 4k version when it comes out and I have the fs700 too. But Im pretty sure I'll go with the Nikon version for the sake of the Speedbooster. While I do like the build quality I'm wondering if anyone noticed the lens release button seems to have play but doesn't effect any performance. The pin works, locks great, they press and depresses perfect. I just noticed this tiny rattle and found it to be the lens release button. Should I call them about this? If its normal then I don't mind it, if not I'd like to get it fixed. Thanks

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Great review. You answered a Iot of questions. I love my pocket camera. I was on the fence about what to get, the canon version or Nikon version of the Sigma 16-35. The reason being, I wanted to use it on the 4k version when it comes out and I have the fs700 too. But Im pretty sure I'll go with the Nikon version for the sake of the Speedbooster. While I do like the build quality I'm wondering if anyone noticed the lens release button seems to have play but doesn't effect any performance. The pin works, locks great, they press and depresses perfect. I just noticed this tiny rattle and found it to be the lens release button. Should I call them about this? If its normal then I don't mind it, if not I'd like to get it fixed. Thanks

You can always adapt nikon lenses to ef with full aperture control but not the other way around, that is why I buy almost all my lenses in Nikon mount. 

 

The play in the release button is normal, every pocket camera has it. 

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hi!

 

what about the heavy MFT-LENS Distorsion?? (which is always autocorrected bei Pana-and Oly. Bodies.) I tested the Pana 12-35mm 2.8, the Pana 20mm 1.7 and the Pana 14-42mm on the BMPCC, all had major distorsion. unaceptable. (Most heavy in wide angle)

I think the SLRM 12mm 1.6 is one of the only solutions, and of c. the speedboster.

 

But, did anybody realise that 80% of the MFT Lenses is unusable at the BMPCC???

Please correct me if i am wrong.

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Very nice review as always.  I would add this:

 

o. Takes 24 to 30 1920x1080 RAW (DNG) photographs per second.  These images can be post-processed by almost every photo processing software known to man :)

o. Showing 24 fully-realized photos per second is what real film does.

o. If you were on a million dollar movie set and shot side-by-side with the production camera and showed it in a theater most people would not see much of a difference.  Am I wrong?  

o. If the BMPCC shot 720p it would be a fantastic achievement!  I'll argue the camera is already 2nd gen.

o. The BMPCC simply blows away camcorders from a few years ago.

o. Davinci Resolve Lite adds thousands to the value of the camera.

o. H.264 looks like complete crap in low-light.  The BMPCC has a natural grain/noise look.  Sensor size doesn't even come into play.

o. The 5D3 is it's closest competitor and the CF cards are very expensive and ML untrustworthy.  

 

The only negative about the camera for me is I no longer have ANY EXCUSE whatsoever to film anything creative.   Yes, it's easy to want this and that lens, and rig, and whatever.  Yet what you can do with the BMPCC and a cheap 14-45 IOS lens is, quite simply, STAGGERING.  Seriously, every day I don't use it I feel a bit ashamed.

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o. If you were on a million dollar movie set and shot side-by-side with the production camera and showed it in a theater most people would not see much of a difference.  Am I wrong?

 

I had been a projectionist for a long time (now this profession has died), and from 2000 on I had also been a digital projectionist. Until 2011, when automation finally killed the job, I used to compare my own stuff to the DCPs, side by side on the big screens, in the last two years also as DCPs, when easyDCP and openDCP became available. The largest screen was 78 feet x 32 feet (that's for scope, for 16:9 the width then was 58 feet).

 

First thing I noticed is that resolution doesn't influence sharpness to the expected degree. And it also doesn't influence subjective quality very much. In fact, an upscaled SD DVD ( anamorph pixels with scope-crop, really the worst way to treat a video) could be shown to a big audience, and (back then) nobody complained, the class-A hardware scalers made it look good. I know this is hard to believe, but we once had a festival with student films, ranging from DVD, BD to genuine DCP (a Red!), and the one best looking was a masterfully graded HVX200 short, played from SD DVD.

 

On the other hand, there was a way to know instantaneously what was film and what was video: Colors. 

 

I know this comparison is only 8-bit, but I have to find a way to describe aesthetic subtleties here. With a camera like the GH2 ("Musgo"), for example, one would be well advised to fill the frame with detail, textures (resolution, that's the GH2s strength) and not with skies and other big areas of glorious colors.

 

Right now we grade for 8-bit, so 12-bit raw is *just* a bigger palette for grading. Color depth seems to add a new dimension to our video. It's fun to tear the, er, bloom off the images and to dive through the colors. Would it stand against an Alexa? I can't tell, really, but I'm convinced it would do better than many others.

 

I can't wait to see a DCP with the 12-bit preserved in my old cinema.

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"For those shooting on DSLRs … remind yourself that no F0.74 DSLR glass exists"

 

Isn't this a bit meaningless?

 

The Speed Booster just helps bring the Pocket in line with larger sensors in terms of light gathering ability. The Pocket has a Super16mm sized sensor: f0.74 on S16 is a very different proposition to f0.74 on APS-C or full frame. 

 

An f1.2 lens on a Super35 sensor is going to gather more light than an f1.2 on a Super16 sensor. All the Speed Booster does is redress the balance. Yes the SB widens the FOV, but you're not getting the effect of a 0.74 lens on a larger sensor - it is still a S16mm sized sensor that is receiving that (more concentrated) light.

 

Hopefully someone can put this a bit more clearly than I have, but I think it is an important point ...

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I had been a projectionist for a long time (now this profession has died), and from 2000 on I had also been a digital projectionist. Until 2011, when automation finally killed the job, I used to compare my own stuff to the DCPs, side by side on the big screens, in the last two years also as DCPs, when easyDCP and openDCP became available. The largest screen was 78 feet x 32 feet (that's for scope, for 16:9 the width then was 58 feet).

 

First thing I noticed is that resolution doesn't influence sharpness to the expected degree. And it also doesn't influence subjective quality very much. In fact, an upscaled SD DVD ( anamorph pixels with scope-crop, really the worst way to treat a video) could be shown to a big audience, and (back then) nobody complained, the class-A hardware scalers made it look good. I know this is hard to believe, but we once had a festival with student films, ranging from DVD, BD to genuine DCP (a Red!), and the one best looking was a masterfully graded HVX200 short, played from SD DVD.

 

On the other hand, there was a way to know instantaneously what was film and what was video: Colors. 

 

I know this comparison is only 8-bit, but I have to find a way to describe aesthetic subtleties here. With a camera like the GH2 ("Musgo"), for example, one would be well advised to fill the frame with detail, textures (resolution, that's the GH2s strength) and not with skies and other big areas of glorious colors.

 

Right now we grade for 8-bit, so 12-bit raw is *just* a bigger palette for grading. Color depth seems to add a new dimension to our video. It's fun to tear the, er, bloom off the images and to dive through the colors. Would it stand against an Alexa? I can't tell, really, but I'm convinced it would do better than many others.

 

I can't wait to see a DCP with the 12-bit preserved in my old cinema.

can you check out the 5d mark lll on the big screen too…?

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"For those shooting on DSLRs … remind yourself that no F0.74 DSLR glass exists"

 

Isn't this a bit meaningless?

 

The Speed Booster just helps bring the Pocket in line with larger sensors in terms of light gathering ability. The Pocket has a Super16mm sized sensor: f0.74 on S16 is a very different proposition to f0.74 on APS-C or full frame. 

 

An f1.2 lens on a Super35 sensor is going to gather more light than an f1.2 on a Super16 sensor. All the Speed Booster does is redress the balance. Yes the SB widens the FOV, but you're not getting the effect of a 0.74 lens on a larger sensor - it is still a S16mm sized sensor that is receiving that (more concentrated) light.

 

Hopefully someone can put this a bit more clearly than I have, but I think it is an important point ...

Low light abilities has to do more with pixel pitch, etc, not the sensor size. That is why the low light from the pocket camera is very comparable to the low light capabilities of the 2.5k BMCC

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can you check out the 5d mark lll on the big screen too…?

 

Know no one who has one yet. I assume it looks gorgeous. 

 

It's not that hard to see one's own video on a big screen. Once it was talking to the projectionist, give him a USB stick, make an appointment (best times around noon, before the shows start or late at night, when the shorter films are already over and The Hobbit still runs an hour or so), spend some coffee or pizza. Now you probably need to talk to the owner/manager. You know psychologically people feel good when they can do someone a favour, so be forward but charming.

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Low light abilities has to do more with pixel pitch, etc, not the sensor size. That is why the low light from the pocket camera is very comparable to the low light capabilities of the 2.5k BMCC

 

Of course, but this is also true of DSLR's (which also all vary in the way they downsample, thus some are less handicapped by their smaller pixel size than others). A 5DMk3 or D5300 with a Kubrick f0.7 lens would doubtless smash a BMPCC with SB+f1.2 in low light.

Sensor size does matter - given two sensors identical in every way other than size, the larger sensor will perform better in low light.

 

A real world test would be interesting though - Nikkor 55mm f1.2 on: Pocket+SB; 5DMk3; D5300; GM1+SB.

 

Regardless, personally I don't rate the Pocket that highly as a low light camera because the colours become so washed out. Furthermore, a Speed Booster does not affect the depth of field a lens creates - a 55mm f1.2 wide open on a GH3 would produce a DOF more or less the same as a 55mm 1.2 wide open on the Pocket with Speed Booster.

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Know no one who has one yet. I assume it looks gorgeous. 

 

I was a projectionist during the 35mm/dcp transition and once screened one of my shortfilms on the big screen. Not even as a dcp but as a high quality 1080p h264 through a PS3 that was plugged into the digital film projector through HDMI. It worked once you did the setup.

 

And it looked great. Which is funny because the film was shot on an old JVC HDV-cam with a 35mm adapter. And it only shot 720p. Probably resolved less.

 

And the bigscreen didn't really care. Looked good. Some actual 35mm films that were projected could be even softer. I found that highly amusing.

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Of course, but this is also true of DSLR's (which also all vary in the way they downsample, thus some are less handicapped by their smaller pixel size than others). A 5DMk3 or D5300 with a Kubrick f0.7 lens would doubtless smash a BMPCC with SB+f1.2 in low light.

Sensor size does matter - given two sensors identical in every way other than size, the larger sensor will perform better in low light.

 

A real world test would be interesting though - Nikkor 55mm f1.2 on: Pocket+SB; 5DMk3; D5300; GM1+SB.

 

Regardless, personally I don't rate the Pocket that highly as a low light camera because the colours become so washed out. Furthermore, a Speed Booster does not affect the depth of field a lens creates - a 55mm f1.2 wide open on a GH3 would produce a DOF more or less the same as a 55mm 1.2 wide open on the Pocket with Speed Booster.

 

Hi, first of all sorry for my bad english. 

 

In pure math terms the SB doesn't change the DOF but that's not important. The DOF depends on the distance from the subjet too so because the speedbooster changes the field of view , you must approach from the subject to have the same shot you would have without the speedbooster. It means that, actually, you have a shallower DOF. (this questions has been answered many times on BMC and on EOShd i think)

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Hi, first of all sorry for my bad english. 

 

In pure math terms the SB doesn't change the DOF but that's not important. The DOF depends on the distance from the subjet too so because the speedbooster changes the field of view , you must approach from the subject to have the same shot you would have without the speedbooster. It means that, actually, you have a shallower DOF. (this questions has been answered many times on BMC and on EOShd i think)

 

Yes but wider lens = grater DOF. By getting closer to the subject you are only redressing the difference in DOF, not getting a shallower DOF than without the speed booster. If the framing is the same both with and without the speed booster, the DOF will also be the same. This is because the focal length and the f-stop are multiplied by the same number (x0.6 or whatever it is...)

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Very solid, extensive review.

I'm glad to see BM continue to update the firmware. I'd like to see Andrew's suggestions for reprogramming the play buttons come to reality.

As for the speed booster, I think it's great but I don't have the money for it presently. I'll probably get one wide m43 lens when some better options emerge this year and continue to use my old pentax and minolta lenses with dumb adapters. If I did get a speed booster I think I would not get the pocket version just so I can use it down the road as I imagine there will be even better cameras to come and the basic speed booster would have a longer half life.

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Yes but wider lens = grater DOF. By getting closer to the subject you are only redressing the difference in DOF, not getting a shallower DOF than without the speed booster. If the framing is the same both with and without the speed booster, the DOF will also be the same. This is because the focal length and the f-stop are multiplied by the same number (x0.6 or whatever it is...)

But in real world use/disregarding the technical aspects, the speedbooster makes it just like shooting with an aps-c dslr in terms of DOF, just 1 2/3 stops brighter. 

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