BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera – My Final Thoughts

Let me start off by apologizing for sooo many BMPCC posts in the last week, but for the record i'm just as tired blogging about the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera as I am hearing about it. The reason I had to get all of this information out quickly is because yesterday I had to send the little guy back to the www.dvestore.com, and not many other people will have this camera in the coming months.

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BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera w/ Canon 70-200mm F/2.8 IS - photo credit Dion Wong

So this should be the last 'video review' you'll get from me for a while. In this video I thought about doing a wrap up and summary of things you already knew and some things you probably didn't know about the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

There will of course be many occasions (at least for me) where ProRes and RAW are just overkill for storage and post work, so other small cameras like the Panasonic GH3 (sale ends in two weeks BTW) or Canon 5D Mark III are more beneficial offering high quality with smaller file sizes and longer battery life. The BMPC camera also does not double duty as a fast stills camera, so many will still end up carrying a second body around just for that reason.

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Keiko Alingas w/ @GearAddix BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera Shoot - photo credit Dion Wong

I'm not saying this isn't a a great camera, in fact i'm still excited for my Pocket Cinema Cameras to arrive. I think the size, quality, features, and price of this camera make it a tool that many professionals would love to have available to them. If you can afford the BPMC and the few items it requires to work smoothly, then by all means go for it. If they unlock the RAW features, this camera will be (dare I say) 'a game changer'. I think i'll end this article here since most of my thoughts are already added in the video (above).

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find-price-button BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera - DVEStore Preorder

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras Currently Available on eBay









45 thoughts on “BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera – My Final Thoughts

  1. I think many of you guys are missing the point here. This is a great camera at the price point. The dynamic range is incredible at 13 stops or so. No other similarly priced camera offers that, not even close. Just keep in mind that with those ProRes files you just need to spend some time grading to get the full potential of the camera. So, if you're looking for a fast turn around for your project, this camera might not be for you. If you are knowledgeable about color grading and have the patients to color correct your footage, you'll get amazing images.

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @gabe - The BMCC has always been worth its price, but the large files will make it hard to work with at events.

  3. Emm

    Post author

    @gabe - Better glass helps. A wide aperture allows more light so you can shoot at a lower ISO.

  4. Sorry: one last q: do you think the BMCC is worth the money now that the BMPCC is around. Raw on both, DR is pretty much the same, I think. AND isn't the sensor pretty miuch similar. I know there are real differences, but it seems that for someone transitioning from DSLRs, who wants to take the visuals to a higher level, then the BMPCC might be a good first step. Or am I nuts?

  5. @Emm, thanks!!

    But I have some problems with low light and the GH3. I just got an SLR magic 12mm, and that sucker made a difference. Maybe it's the glass? Is that a stupid question? LOL

  6. Emm

    Post author

    @gabe - If you're shooting events, I think another GH3 would be a better choice. You can shoot longer run times and work with less batteries. If you're working on a short film, the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema might be one option.

  7. Hi,

    Quick q/suggestion. I have a GH3. Currently, I'm shooting some events and short films. I want a second body--something that's better in low light. Would yu suggest this? Should I try to hold on for another grand and get the Cinema Camera? Or do you think a hacked GH2 or g6 is a better option for what I'm trying to do.

    BTW. stills are not a consideration--this would be for video/film ONLY

  8. Joseph Rose

    @Emm - If you had to make a simple recommendation for someone starting absolutely from scratch... Pocket Camera or GH3?

  9. Mark W.

    I have been looking hard at getting this cam. But after all my research I am not impressed. IMO some of the cheaper cams can produce superior imagery in the right hands, especially the eos-m.

  10. Greg

    Love the reviews! One of the first issues you mentioned was the spacing issue if you use a manfrotto plate and a larger lens. What would you recommend to put some space between the camera and QR plate, while avoiding twisting/loose connections?

  11. Todd

    I shoot with the original BMCC EF and pre-ordered the BMPC to compliment it. The cameras do have challenges to overcome but the DSLR's a few years back did as well. The BMPC offers a high quality codec that easily works with NLE's. Sure you will need more storage, but in my case the quality is worth it. I do feel that BM is working hard to find solutions to fix the problems.

  12. Emm

    Post author

    @Mitchell - I have not tested that, but with the exFAT file system, I don't think there is a limitation to file size.

  13. Mitchell

    Thanks so much for your review! I have a quick question, do you know how long the camera will record for before it stops the recording automatically? For example, a Canon T2i will only record for 12 minutes in 1080p before it automatically stops recording. Is there something similar that happens with this camera?

  14. Martin D

    @Scott ...well put, nicely stated. Hopefully, the hardware or physical design is such that firmware updates may cure some of the hiccups. I still think it's a good camera for certain situations. I'm still having a lot of fun with my hacked GH2. I'll be using it until either it or myself passes away ...lol.

    I do think ...for a first attempt with such a unique little camera ...that BlackMagic deserves praise for their efforts. I'm curious to see what BlackMagic will do next ...they still have my attention. I wish them success.

  15. Scott

    @JosephRose I have to agree. The image is beautiful, but far from blowing the GH3 out of the water, nevermind MkIII RAW. The camera shake and difficulties achieving proper focus would likely not compensate for the moderate increase in dynamic range over the lastest dslr's. I commend Blackmagic for their efforts in bringing affordable/high quality digital cinema to the masses, but there's just too many hiccups to overcome with this version of the pocket camera. Maybe there'll be something interesting announced at IBC.

  16. MovieBuff

    Great review!
    Can you show us more footage?
    "Tainbrain" has a few great questions that many of us are wondering about (moire & aliasing).

  17. Joseph Rose

    @Alex - An all-inclusive awesome camera solution for $995 would be amazing, but this is far from that. It seems like it just needs SO much to get off the ground. And so far the one thing no one has said about it is that the image it creates is SO much better than the DSLRs most people are using. Is anyone comparing this to a 5D or even the GH3 and saying that the Pocket Camera blows it out of the water by a longshot? If that were the case it might be worth all the hassles.

  18. Alex

    Its incredible to me that people are using the word "expensive" in a sentence with BMPCC at the same time. This camera is essentially the price of a point and shoot and yet people are STILL saying its too expensive? I don't get it. Whether it works for your needs or not is subjective (ex. I think it will be killer for quadcopter aerial video) but don't knock the price folks.

    Just my two cents. (and sense?)

    Emm, thanks again for putting all this time and effort into educating us. Much appreciated.

  19. Kirill

    I was on the fence for ages, but you've basically convinced me NOT to go for this camera. I have a 5D3 (now hacked) and fs700 and given that all my lenses are Ef mount, there is literally zero reason to consider this further. Thanks for saving me a grand and months of headaches waiting :)

  20. Max

    @Martin, that is my feeling as well. I have not touched this camera but all the initial reports of usage issues and footage I have seen make me think this camera is very much in an evolutionary stage rather than a revolutionary camera that makes my credit card itch. Of course ymmv...

    I appreciate the effort to highlight this camera with the time constraints you had Emm...

  21. Martin D

    Hey Emm,

    thanks! ...for all of the hard work!

    My feelings on the BMPCC ...it's a niche camera for particular situations ...that don't come up often enough to justify all of the extra work (catering) to get this camera to complete the job or task.

    I think this camera hints at what's around the corner, but with 4k rumors ...I wonder what's going to happen in the next 2 to 3 years ...and will this little camera matter at all.

    A lot of folks are putting out great stuff with much more affordable cameras & gear. I'm glad to see more affordable equipment, but the BMPCC (in my opinion) is the new expensive gizmo that needs some re-engineering with at least a firmware upgrade ...maybe two or three. It's an interesting little camera, but I can't see the expense for a lot of individuals. It appears that BMPCC needs audio design engineers ...I believe they had audio issues with their previous camera.

    Thanks again for your time, effort and honest feedback. The videos were very informative ...and that's sincerely appreciated. I think the BMPCC video blogs/reviews may have saved some folks who were on the fence ...around $1000. I do believe that there is a particular need for this camera, but not for the vast majority of people. In a few more years, something is going to blow this camera away ...hopefully, at a cheaper price.

    Thanks again for all of your work ...the crews hard work too!

  22. Emm

    Post author

    @Scott - I think the BMPCC look is more organic (no so digital) and the color looks more filmic. I think this would be a good camera if you want that type of look. Not to say that can't be achieved in a GH3, it's just easier getting it right out of the BMPCC.

  23. Scott

    How does the IQ compare to the GH3? I'd assume it would be higher and obviously it's subjective, but do the two look generally comparable in an average scenario or are we talking night and day difference. I have one on pre-order, but I'm trying to balance the apparent workarounds and hidden costs with the 'possibly marginal' increase in image quality (at least until RAW is enabled). Given your experience with the GH3, do you see a big jump in quality?

  24. Emm

    Post author

    @Harly M. Lery - I had to DIY a cable to work with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera. I'll throw up some photos or a video with instructions. I'm sure many will want this solution since it's cheap.

  25. Emm

    Post author

    @Harley M. Lery - That's my Tekkeon battery I use for everything. I modified a little cable to make them work together.

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @apostoos - We didn't. It was evening time and the lens defaults to the widest aperture F/2.8. If you want to adjust the aperture you have to first mount it to a Canon body and change it in there and remove it (without powering off the camera), or get a smart adapter like the one from RedRock Micro.

  27. Emm

    Post author

    @Max - That could be a subjective opinion. From my opinion, color wise it's better than other cameras, and we have yet to see RAW. Resolution and shallow depth of field (which is why people love the Canon 5D), it doesn't share that same look. Of course for the price, it's really hard to argue so why not own this camera and another?

  28. Max

    I would like to hear your thoughts on the actual picture quality vs some of the other camera alternatives...

    Thanks!

  29. Mike C

    I believe audio is only in the left channel. Same no audio for me...I'm a one eared work listener 😉

  30. Aron J Anderson

    I'm not sick of hearing about this camera. Thanks Emm for all the info. I'm glad to hear that after using this cam that you are still excited to get yours.

  31. Tainbrain

    Emm -

    Great info. Thank you!

    How is the Moire' in this camera?

    I shoot products that have extensive patterns in them prone to moire BADLY and I can't find any info about the BMPCC moire.

    I shoot with 60D with the Mosaic Anti-Aliasing Filter. Any thoughts on Moire with the BMPCC?

  32. Emm

    Post author

    @nabil - They have D-Tap cables available for use with those heavy heavy batteries, but I really think small batteries would be better to keep the form factor down.

  33. nabil

    Thanks for taking the time to do the reviews! I'm really looking forward to receiving my pre-order.

    Which external batteries would you recommend for it?

    Thanks once again!

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