Panasonic Gh4

Jul 172014

Disclaimer: if you know what you are getting into, and you understand the shortcomings of the BMPCC, then it is a great camera. But if you think that using this camera is headache free, read on:

I present to you the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC): a poor lcd screen, awful battery life, the worst in camera mic I have ever heard, bad moire (rolling shutter), aliasing, poor low light performance, and a clunky menu system. Oh, and great video quality..

The amazing $1,000 camera that might drive you crazy!

The amazing $500 camera that might drive you crazy!

This was supposed to be an amazing camera, but it is not a fun body to work with. I know, “$500 dollars” you say. It certainly is a better deal than it was a week ago.  But please don’t buy it if the BMPCC will be your first camera. I’d only recommend buying it as a backup to your main body. It does produce amazing picture quality in well lit situations. When you take your time and utilize the camera’s strengths, you will get the best video quality than can be had for under $1,500. Not shabby for a $500 camera. But… it takes a lot of work and patience to get a nice looking final results.

You Need a Lot of Patience to Use The BMPCC

  1. You need a tripod, the BMPCC sports a 2.88x crop factor, meaning most of your lenses will appear to be very zoomed in.
  2. Image Stabilization will only work properly with MFT lenses.
  3. To get Image Stabilization with Canon lenses, you need to buy a Metabones Speed Booster.
  4. To get a shorter focal length out of your lenses and faster f/ratios you will nee a Metabones Speed Booster.
  5. You will need spare batteries since the battery life is shit.
  6. You don’t want to pan you shots too fast because of the awful rolling shutter.
  7. There is lots of noise at high ISO, so keep your ISO low and light your scenes well. The BMPCC is not a low light camera (like the Sony a7s)
  8. The audio is maybe the worst in camera audio on the market. If you want audio, you HAVE to use an external mic or recorder.
  9. You will spend lots of time navigating the clunky non intuitive menu.
  10. Once you have your footage, you must spend lots of time editing it (I hope you have a solid computer).

Who Should Buy The BMPCC

After completing these 10 steps you should have some amazing footage. I really mean it, the BMPCC puts up beautiful footage. If you are a camera geek, or want to dip your toes in prosumer/professional filmmaking than buy the BMPCC. Buy it, shoot videos, edit the videos, upload everything to Vimeo and have a blast. If you are not a diehard camera person you will give up on this camera. Maybe wait for all the people who purchase it right now to resell it on eBay for $250 in a few months (they should have read this article).

The Future of BMPCC, Replacement on the Horizon?

BlackMagic always has something up their sleeves. No doubt they feel pressure form the GH4 and a7s. Slashing the price of the BMPCC by 50% is crazy – It tells me they want to move on. I have never seen a 2nd generation camera from BlackMagic, usually its just a whole new body. So do I expect a BlackMagic Pocket replacement? Yes. But it won’t be called the BLack Magic Pocket mkII or second generation. I think it will be called something completely different, and it will be in a different form factor. And it will be bigger. And it will cost $1,000 and be a better competitor to the GH4.  And it will not hit shelves this year. But don’t take my word for it, I’m just speculating.

  2 Responses to “BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera: Not Worth it for $500”

  1. Pretty much sums up the BMPCC and yes I +1 in saying that do not buy this as your first camera especially if you have never had any experience grading footage, you will regret it so much with a massive headache to top it off. In saying that I ended up buying it is a B camera to complement a Sony A7s when I sell my Canon cameras since Canon have just not been lifting there game lately I mean they have some nice glass which I am keeping but they have to step it up with their cameras!

    • Yeah, just crazy how fast Canon got left behind. A real shame b/c their lenses are my favorite. Well, I hope the 5Dmk4 and 7Dmk2 catch up at least to a GH3. I hope BlackMagic Sony and Panasonic keep competing in the $2,000 price range, it’s great for consumers.

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