Balckmagic Pocket Camera: What would be good lenses for it?

So, I've been out of the filmmaking loop for a while (not that I was really ever in it :P ), but last I checked a DSLR gave you the best bang for your buck!

Now, today I learned about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and I'm simply blown away by the price and the image quality! Not so keen on the battery life, or that the SD cards it requires are God-awful expensive, but other than that it looks like a FABULOUS camera, and would serve me better than a DSLR would for sure!

My question, though, is that it uses an Active MFT mount, and I'm having some trouble finding some decent lenses for it. I found this Olympus one, but I would like a lens that could have more variety than just 17mm. Anybody have any good recommendations? I think I heard that the Pocket Camera can't use powered lenses but I'm not sure [UPDATE: On their site it says it can use electronic lenses, so yay!] - if anyone has any experience with this camera and lens type, please help me! :D

Also, what would be a good wide-angle lens? I can't remember how to tell focal lengths. Is it the smaller the number, the wider the shot, or reverse? :P

Thanks everyone!
 
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So, I've been out of the filmmaking loop for a while (not that I was really ever in it :P ), but last I checked a DSLR gave you the best bang for your buck!

Now, today I learned about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, and I'm simply blown away by the price and the image quality! Not so keen on the battery life, or that the SD cards it requires are God-awful expensive, but other than that it looks like a FABULOUS camera, and would serve me better than a DSLR would for sure!

My question, though, is that it uses an Active MFT mount, and I'm having some trouble finding some decent lenses for it. I found this Olympus one, but I would like a lens that could have more variety than just 17mm. Anybody have any good recommendations? I think I heard that the Pocket Camera can't use powered lenses but I'm not sure [UPDATE: On their site it says it can use electronic lenses, so yay!] - if anyone has any experience with this camera and lens type, please help me! :D

Also, what would be a good wide-angle lens? I can't remember how to tell focal lengths. Is it the smaller the number, the wider the shot, or reverse? :P

Thanks everyone!


Hi Yodaman, and welcome back to the world of filmmaking. Yes, the Pocket Cinema Camera is a great value for your money at $995 (plus the essentials - SD cards, extra batteries, an external charger, a hot shoe, etc.)

On lenses, the smaller the number, the shorter the focal length and the "wider" the shot. With the Pocket Cinema Camera's relatively small sensor, you have to multiply the focal length of your lens by 3 to get the field of view you would see from a 35mm film or "full frame" digital camera (e.g., a 17mm lens would be equivalent to a 51mm on a full frame camera).

One caveat: the page you linked to at QVC is a bit of bait and switch. They show a picture of the $499 Olympus 17mm f1.8, but the specs are for the $245 Olympus 17mm f2.8 (same focal length, but not as good in low light) - and then they try to charge you $299 for it! Nice.

A better value for your money would be the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 - on sale right now at Adorama for $379.

Here is a travel film partly shot with this lens (alongside a $799 Olympus 12mm f2): http://vimeo.com/73116934

If you really want to save some money, you can put a $25 25mm f1.4 C mount CCTV lens on the camera and get results like this: http://vimeo.com/73054820

Of all the lenses I've mentioned or recommended, this is the only non-electronic or manual lens. It would require you to set the aperture and focus manually.

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
 
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As I've mentioned in other threads about this camera, I have preordered one (still eagerly awaiting its arrival). I have bought 3 lens so far.

The Panasonic 12-35 f2.8

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/865111-REG/Panasonic_H_HS12035_Lumix_G_X_Vario.html

The olympus 45 f1.7

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/971404-REG/olympus_v311030bu000_m_45mm_f1_8_lens.html

And

The Rokinon 8mm fisheye. I didn't buy this lens specifically for the BMPCC, but recently saw some video that used this lens, so will also use it on the pocket camera.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/876970-REG/Rokinon_28fe8bk_se_8mm_f_2_8_UMC_Fish_Eye.html

I plan on getting a few more MANUAL fast prime lens. The reason I say manual, is now that the price of the original Blackmagic cinema camera has been reduced, I plan on getting a mtf mount version in the next few months.
 
On lenses, the smaller the number, the shorter the focal length and the "wider" the shot. With the Pocket Cinema Camera's relatively small sensor, you have to multiply the focal length of your lens by 3 to get the field of view you would see from a 35mm film or "full frame" digital camera (e.g., a 17mm lens would be equivalent to a 51mm on a full frame camera).

Thanks so much! You just answered my next question about how to determine that since it's not a full-sized sensor! Good to know it's as easy as just multiplying by 3. :)

the page you linked to at QVC is a bit of bait and switch.
D'oh! Figures. Thanks for catching that! I'm probably going to go with the first one you linked to. :)

@Jeff:

Dang, I wish I could afford that first one you linked to, looks like a nice lens!
 
There's no need to limit yourself to m4/3 lenses though. The autofocus on the pocket camera looks pretty useless, so stabilization is the only thing I can see taking advantage of the powered mount - probably worth having one good stabilized lens. There are plenty of inexpensive non-powered adapters to other types of mount for manual lenses though.

I'm personally looking at going with the metabones speed booster in nikon g mount combined with nikon mount lenses. This basically adds a manual aperture ring to lenses that don't normally have one, as well as reducing the crop factor to about 2.2x and boosting exposure by about one stop. This should allow for decent wide angle and low light performance with lenses like the tokina 11-17mm f/2.8 and sigma 18-35mm f/1.8.
 
Would you recommend finding a lens with stabilization to be my first one?

I'm thinking about trying to save up for one wide-angled lens, and at least one other lens that has the ability to zoom (not that I'm going to use zoom a lot, but it would be nice to have the option!).

I might find an adapter to fit the Canon EF line, because I know a lot of people with Canon cameras who might be willing to sell me their older lenses. My mom is also about to buy a Nikon D5000 camera with a couple of lenses, so I might get an adapter to fit Nikon lenses on it too, and maybe borrow hers from time to time. If it saves me money, I'll do what it takes! :P
 
The problem with Canon EF lenses is they don't have aperture rings, and most of the EF-m4/3 adapters are passive so there's no way to set the aperture. You basically have to keep a canon DSLR handy to set the aperture on the lens before swapping it to the blackmagic. I've seen one that has it's own aperture ring in the adapter, but I'm not sure if anyone has an electronic one that can translate communication between the body and lens yet.

The nikon lenses don't have aperture rings, but they do have a lever on the back which allows the camera to mechanically adjust the aperture. This allows for adapters like the speedbooster to have their own aperture ring which can control the lens.

As far as stabilization I'd say it depends on how you expect to use the camera. If you're planning to hand hold it in a minimal configuration (i.e. body and lens without additional support equipment) then you might want one, it definitely appears to minimize the effect of rolling shutter due to hand shake. Check out part 2 of philip bloom's pocket cam review for some side by side examples with and without stabilization. Of course if you plan to shoot with something like a monopod or a shoulder rig of some sort then stabilization might not be necessary.
 
Hmm, all of this information from his videos and other websites are sort of swaying me away from this camera now. His example of the audio quality from the camera alone makes me feel uneasy about it, since I can't really afford separate audio recording devices except for mics.

It's a great camera, but it looks like it has a lot of quirks - the one with the black spots appearing at hugely blown out highlights (like the sun) is also pretty concerning! At this point, I'd feel better with the Lumix GH3 - same cost, better battery life, same lens mount, and darn near the same image quality (though the Pocket Camera probably still wins in dynamic range capabilities!).
 
Hi Yodaman - I understand your concern, given Phil's comments - but I have been shooting motion picture film and video for about 35 years and I have never pointed my camera directly at the sun. Do people really do that?

As for sound, emm from Cheesycam recorded the sound in this video in-camera with the Pocket and a Rode Videomic Pro and it sounds pretty darned good: http://vimeo.com/72675168

I like and respect Philip Bloom's work, but sometimes he's a little less than scientific.

That said, I own the GH3, and it is a fabulous still/video camera (especially at today's $998 sale price) - but I want something closer to the dynamic range of film, so my principal motion camera will be the Pocket, once it comes in.

By the way, my GH3 has a few quirks too (e.g., sound level meters that go away after a few seconds of recording, and the camera freezes up if I try to access the SD card on startup before it has finished loading) - but I work around these challenges.

Quirks and all, the GH3 and the Pocket Cinema Camera are the best cameras in this class. You just have to decide whether you want your images to look like film or not :)

On OIS - you really don't need it on the fast, wide lenses you're looking at (e.g., the $245 Olympus 17mm f2.8). Phil's test was shot at extreme telephoto - of course it was shaky without stabilization.

If you spend the $953 for the 12-35mm f2.8, you will have OIS - but that's a lot of money.

Again, hope this is helpful,

Bill
 
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The black spots issue is mildly annoying, but not too bad - it happens rarely, and it's easy to fix in post. It's also not specific to this camera, and hopefully will be fixed in a firmware update.

Of more concern to me is the white 'orb' issue which has been identified in most of the footage hitting the net lately. On blown out highlights the highlight expands into a hard-edged circular white spot which overlaps the image pixels around the highlight. It can be pretty ugly at times, there's no real way to fix it in post - and a similar issue with one of fuji's still cameras recently required a hardware update to fix. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be the case with the pocket camera, but if it does it may turn out to be a good thing that they shipped initially in such small numbers.
 
Hi Yodaman - I understand your concern, given Phil's comments - but I have been shooting motion picture film and video for about 35 years and I have never pointed my camera directly at the sun. Do people really do that?

Not as far as I know, since it's a REALLY bad idea, but from what I've read people have had some issues with the black spots appearing at just really, really bright areas, and as ItDonnedOnMe said in the above post, sometimes a white orb appears, too.

I'm really liking the looks of the GH3! Can you tell me if it's rolling shutter issues are less than that of the Canon Rebel tXi series? I would imagine it's at least slightly better since it costs quite a bit more! :P

Right now, my thoughts are between the Rebel t3i or Gh3. What the t3i has right away that the GH3 doesn't is a kit lens, which is better than nothing, for only $600 USD, whereas the GH3 direct from the site is $1,099* and doesn't come with a lens at all. I'm sure I could find a body+lens kit somewhere, though!

*EDIT: Hmm, appears I can't find it for that price right now, odd since last night I definitely saw the other price!

Another +1 for the GH3? It records in AVCHD, .MOV and .MP4, meaning less conversion for editing! Definitely thinking about this camera for that bit alone!

EDIT EDIT: Just saw some videos showing the white orbs, they're actually not as bad as I feared. I think for the dynamic range ability alone, the BMPCC definitely wins. Since it uses almost the same sensor as the Cinema Camera and the bigger Cinema Camera doesn't have the white orb or black spot issue, it's probably just a firmware issue that can be fixed with a firmware update, and Blackmagic are very aware of the problem and working on potential fixes. For just less than $1k, I really think it's worth getting, even with its quirks!

And it isn't plagued with nasty moire or as many rolling shutter issues as cheaper DSLR's, and that is really important to me since I'll be doing a LOT of green screen/blue screen work with it and don't want strange artifact patterns and problems in post.

TRIPLE EDIT: Well, ok nevermind. Found another video showing how horrible the white orbs can get, and it's ridiculously bad! Even if they can fix it with a firmware update, who knows how long it may take, and I'd rather have a little moire than huge white blobs all over my images. Looks like it'll be the Lumix GH3 (or EOS Rebel T3i) for me!

FINAL EDIT: Yikes, I've done a lot of researching over the last several hours! Seems the Canon 60D is the perfect mix between the GH3 and Rebel T3i, so that's the one I'm going with. It has less pronounced rolling shutter than any other Canon DSLR at the moment (meaning it should be easier to reduce in post as well!), pretty good low light capabilities and best of all, there's a deal on Amazon where you can get the body with a kit lens for $850. not the greatest to start with, but will definitely be a good start! :)
 
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Not as far as I know, since it's a REALLY bad idea, but from what I've read people have had some issues with the black spots appearing at just really, really bright areas, and as ItDonnedOnMe said in the above post, sometimes a white orb appears, too.

I'm really liking the looks of the GH3! Can you tell me if it's rolling shutter issues are less than that of the Canon Rebel tXi series? I would imagine it's at least slightly better since it costs quite a bit more! :P

Right now, my thoughts are between the Rebel t3i or Gh3. What the t3i has right away that the GH3 doesn't is a kit lens, which is better than nothing, for only $600 USD, whereas the GH3 direct from the site is $1,099* and doesn't come with a lens at all. I'm sure I could find a body+lens kit somewhere, though!

*EDIT: Hmm, appears I can't find it for that price right now, odd since last night I definitely saw the other price!

Another +1 for the GH3? It records in AVCHD, .MOV and .MP4, meaning less conversion for editing! Definitely thinking about this camera for that bit alone!

EDIT EDIT: Just saw some videos showing the white orbs, they're actually not as bad as I feared. I think for the dynamic range ability alone, the BMPCC definitely wins. Since it uses almost the same sensor as the Cinema Camera and the bigger Cinema Camera doesn't have the white orb or black spot issue, it's probably just a firmware issue that can be fixed with a firmware update, and Blackmagic are very aware of the problem and working on potential fixes. For just less than $1k, I really think it's worth getting, even with its quirks!

And it isn't plagued with nasty moire or as many rolling shutter issues as cheaper DSLR's, and that is really important to me since I'll be doing a LOT of green screen/blue screen work with it and don't want strange artifact patterns and problems in post.

TRIPLE EDIT: Well, ok nevermind. Found another video showing how horrible the white orbs can get, and it's ridiculously bad! Even if they can fix it with a firmware update, who knows how long it may take, and I'd rather have a little moire than huge white blobs all over my images. Looks like it'll be the Lumix GH3 (or EOS Rebel T3i) for me!

FINAL EDIT: Yikes, I've done a lot of researching over the last several hours! Seems the Canon 60D is the perfect mix between the GH3 and Rebel T3i, so that's the one I'm going with. It has less pronounced rolling shutter than any other Canon DSLR at the moment (meaning it should be easier to reduce in post as well!), pretty good low light capabilities and best of all, there's a deal on Amazon where you can get the body with a kit lens for $850. not the greatest to start with, but will definitely be a good start! :)

Yodaman - Wow, you've put a lot of thought into this, and I don't want to make it any more difficult than it has to be, but if you're concerned about "orbs", you should see how bad the moire is from these early generation Canon cameras (moire is colored dancing stripes on patterned objects such as rooftops, brickwork and closely weaved fabrics):

A couple of 60D vs GH2 clips:


http://vimeo.com/21962491


http://vimeo.com/20565849


You should also know that the $499 T3i and $599 60D (body only prices) have a continuous video clip length limit of 12 minutes. In other words, if you have a long "take", or if you're recording a school play, speech, or sermon that lasts more than 12 minutes, the camera will shut off due to a file size limit. You can start recording again, but there will be an interrruption. There is no firmware fix for this.

Neither of these cameras has a headphone jack, which is worse than not having sound meters, in my view. The GH3 and Pocket Camera both have headphone jacks.

And both Canons lack the GH3's 1080/60p frame rate - which can be very useful for in-camera slow motion or smoothing out extremely fast action.

All of that said, the GH3 is on sale for $998 body-only on Amazon until 9/7/13.

Good luck with your decision!

Bill
 
Thanks for your input, brunerww! Those side-by-side tests are very convincing! Moire is a terrible thing, glad to see the GH3 barely has any!

1080/60p would actually be incredibly useful to me for a few particular projects I have in mind, an a headphone jack is also necessary for what I need to do. I was under the impression the 60D did have one but I must've misread its tech specs late last night. :P

Looks like I'll be saving for the GH3 after all! I should be able to afford it around Christmas. Sadly, my paycheck is literally just *barely* too little to be able to get the one on sale. Figures that life would do that to me. :P
 
Dang, I didnt know gh3 did 1080 60p. That's pretty awesome. Now I too am vexed.. I was all set to order my BMPCC... lol

One must consider that although 60p is cool, how much does one REALLY use it? Some folks will use it all the time, me, if I look back over the last year, I see that only one project used slomo, and that was a non-paying gig.. so meh, maybe not a big deal for me..
 
I'm probably not going to use it a lot, but will use it for several particular shots I want to do.

For example, one of the first things I'll be doing is making a music video (just for grins) along to one of my favorite songs, and I'll utilize the 1080p/60p mode for one of the effects I want to try. :)

that wasn't the major selling point of the GH3 to me, though. What sold me was its waterproof body and really, really awesome lack of moire/rolling shutter.
 
I've seen a couple of field-of-view comparisons between the BMPCC and the GH3, as in this example:

http://vimeo.com/72534882

But I haven't seen any side-by-side comparisons of dynamic range between these two cameras - until now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOK06Bo86uQ

Really looking forward to getting my BMPCC in for a real side-by-side comparison with the GH3 (e.g., resolution with manual lenses, moire, rolling shutter, low light noise, ergonomics).
 
But I haven't seen any side-by-side comparisons of dynamic range between these two cameras - until now:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOK06Bo86uQ

I saw that, it's kind of a bizarre comparison - the exposure between the two shots is clearly different. The blackmagic shows a lot more shadow detail, but it's also exposed so that it doesn't show any sky/clouds detail through the window. The G3 on the other hand is exposed to show a lot of detail in the clouds, which naturally pushes the shadows of the room down - so it doesn't seem like a good comparison of dynamic range.
 
Ugh, that comparison *is* awful! Doesn't offer anything conclusive!

Well I have some good news guys, Blackmagic have addressed the issues with the blooming sensor and white orbs appearing at particularly secular highlights! So all newer models should work out of the box without that horrible blemish!

This brings me back to being a purchaser of the Pocket Camera, when it finally is available for order through B&H. :P

For the price and features, it just can't be beat!
 
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