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Lens tests on the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC)
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  • @IronFilm can you give more info on the computar 12.5 - 75?...lens quality...does it vignette? it sharp?

  • Now getting manual/vintage. Other than pro S-16 glass from Zeiss, Angenieux, there is not a lot of choice out there without vignetting. The S-16 certified lenses will cost you more than the camera in good condition and they won't be small or lighweigt, being PL-mount. So, I was looking into C-mount and found two nice lenses from Schneider and Zeiss (Jena) in 10mm (anything wider was vignetting). The Schneider Cinegon 10mm 1:1.8 is a wonderful lens, very well built and still small. Both focus and aperture operate smoothly. It is nearly free of distortion or vignetting and while a tad soft WO, it improves considerably when stopped down. BUT (there's always a but,right) it doesn't show that often in good used condition any more and I doubt you'll get it for less than 300,- €. Beware of the smaller version, it doesn't cover the sensor. The one that works has a huge front lens and the front part in silver, the rear in black. It fits most C-mount adapters without modification.

    The only good alternative I found is the Zeiss Tevidon 10mm 1:2.0. It has very low distortion and covers, is even smaller than the Schneider and can be found in good condition for less than 200,- €. So, what to watch out for? Well, being a product from a communist era, the sample variation is massive. I found one that was even sharper than the Schneider in the corners WO, while another one was quite soft and even a bit de-centered (without showing any visible damage from the outside). So, go for a seller with a decent return policy. Then there is a bayonet version (no adapters that I know of) and a C-mount version. They are easy to replace with just three screws and there is one seller from China (Yeenon) offering a replacement that fits thin C-mount adapters right away (25,- U$ plus shipping). If you buy the original C-mount version, you'll need to get off about 1.2mm at the outer rim with a lathe. Not hard to do, since the ring can be separated from the lens. You'll need a very thin adapter, but they are easily available from China.

    The focus rings are both nice, the aperture ring has nearly no dampening on the Zeiss, both are clickless. The Zeiss has a triangular bokeh at small apertures, even if there are more blades and is circular at large apertures, the Schneider's is square. In the photos you can see the version of the Cinegon you have to look for on the left and the modification on the rear of the Tevidon you'll need where the underlying brass becomes visible on the right.

    600 x 843 - 98K
    600 x 600 - 78K
  • While the Lumix 12-35mm is undoubtedly a great lens, it's not cheap and it distorts without correction.

    The Schneider Cinegon 12mm 1:1.9 was a big disappointment. While it looks impressive, has great mechanics and a large front lens, it vignettes. And I don't mean some darkening in the corners: they are black and the area next to them is blurred. It simply doesn't cover. A Kern Switar 12mm didn't cover either, but that was to be expected.

    A cheap Cosmicar 12.5mm 1:1.4 was a surprise, though. It covers, even if it's a TV lens. At 1.4 it was still a bit soft, but at 2.8, where the Lumix zoom starts, it didn't look bad at all for a fraction of the price. Pretty low distortion too, but the corners are a bit darker (not black). It has smooth mechanics and a funky sawtooth bokeh like some Cookes. I'm not sure if they are all like this, since a few manufacturers worked under that label. For less than 30,- € it was worth a try. It's very light too, some 130 grams, while the beautiful 12mm Hyperprime would weigh 324 grams and be much more expensive.

  • Could you do a few SD card tests or let us know what cards you're using? PBloom just twittered all his cards didn't work, and somebody else made a video showing the new cheaper Sony 95mbs cards did work well.

  • our friend Seb Farges used the Cosmicar on a GH2. Nice video for special purpose but the lens is very very soft.

  • @CRFilms The camera is gone by now. They supplied a card with it, a Sandisk Extreme (non Pro) 64 GB. The Pro version works too, as you'd expect. A Transcend 32 GB class 10 didn't work. But please let's reserve this thread to lenses, there's a general thread on the camera too.

    @peaceonearth There must be big differences, mine was not as soft.

  • Now to 16 and 18mm, where we had more choice. Apart from offers for larger sensors or MFT, there are quite a few C-mount lenses. I tested a Kern Switar 16mm 1:1.8, a Schneider Cinegon 16mm 1:1.4, a Zeiss Tevidon 16mm 1:1.8 plus a Fujinon TV zoom starting at 18mm 1:2.5 and the Schneider variogon. Surprisingly even the Kern Switar – which was made for N-16 – covered the sensor.

    The zoom (probably made for 2/3")is pretty weak on this sensor, it doesn't vignette, but it's very soft in the corners and doesn't get much better when stopping down. All three primes were OK, they had less distortion than the Lumix zoom 12-35mm @16. Wide open they were all a bit soft, but improved considerably when closed down to 2.8.

    The best one in 16mm was the Zeiss Tevidon, which is also quite small and light (80 grams). At 2.8 it was even better than the Lumix in the corners, it's only drawback was the short throw of the aperture ring, which is also very easily moved by the lightest touch. Beware of sample variation again, seems I was lucky.

    And finally, there's the Schneider Variogon 18-90mm 1:2.0, a serious cine zoom. Not really wide for the BMPCC, but a fantastic lens, a bit low contrast WO, but nearly distortion free, no CA and getting sharp when only one stop closed. Very good build quality, buttery smooth zoom, focus and 5-sided aperture (with T-stop marking) but nearly twice as heavy as the camera, you'll want a lens support for this. I found mine in excellent condition below 300,- €, but that might change soon when the camera is out in numbers.

  • @IronFilm Anybody tried this: Panny 14mm + the DMW-GWC1?

  • and the Samyang 14mm 3.1 VDSLR??

  • Can someone tryout the 14-140mm?

  • I have the 14mm + DMW-GWC1 that I will try as soon as my camera arrives. I preordered on April 8 from B&H but nothing yet.

  • @kurt10 I found the Samyang 14mm disappointing on the GH2, a lot of distortion, breathing and weak corners. Sent it back and so didn't test it on the BMPCC. Plus, it's pretty slow compared to lenses made for smaller image circles.

  • Found an interesting zoom: the Computar 12.5 to 75 1:1.2. It's a TV zoom and you wouldn't expect it to cover S-16, but it does. It's soft WO, but stopped down get's pretty sharp. Will retain some CA in the corners though. Stepless aperture, smooth focus and zoom ring, should be parfocal when shimmed correctly.

    Unfortunately, it's not the perfect zoom for the BMPCC, but it's still cheap around 100,- €. Strange thing is it has low distortion at 12.5 but distorts massively (pincushion) at longer values.

  • +1 on the Samyang 14mm. Leave it at the door :)

  • Does anyone with a BMPCC have a Super 16 PL mount ultraprime t1.3 etc?... That to me would be IDEAL granted the lenses can cost more than car...

  • nomad , yup that is the same lens that I own (Computar 12.5 to 75 1:1.2), I have found it kinda surprising myself how it seems to look best at the widest end. Anyway, I think for its performance ratio of price / f-stop / zoom range, it is quite unbeatable value!

    btw, does anybody know what millimeter sized lens cap should fit with the Computar 12.5 to 75 1:1.2? As I got mine with it missing.

  • Yep, 55mm – very nice, BTW, since most of Minolta Rokkors and Zeiss C/Y have the same thread.

  • @nomad do you have any experience with the Fujinon HE20-1 2x teleconverter or with its smaller brother the HE15-1 or with other converters meant/built for 1" coverage? it should theoretically be able to convert any 2/3" lens to 1" coverage for the BMPCC, Balazer helped me already in testing it with a lens... but I am looking for further/more experiences with it because it could be a proper solution for my Angenieux 16mm glass, which does not cover 1" (I use Nikon 1 to test the coverage until I will receive my (pre)order)......

  • I haven't tested it (the HE20) with any Angenieux, but whatever I used it on the quality was not HD any more. Very soft edges, CA, strange bokeh.

    IOW: crap!

  • @nomad thanks, that is a pity, did you exclusively test it on M4/3 or also only on its center area (which will be the use with the 1" BMPCC sensor, it actually seems to have been designed for maximally 1" coverage) I ordered a few from Ebay to test them, maybe some problems can be solved but I doubt that now..... any experience with other maybe better converters?

  • I gave up on converters (other than the SpeedBooster, which is great), but I never tested on the BMPCC.

  • @nomad Yes, the speedbooster seems to be great but that one will only crop from a lens which covers a larger sensor area and does not allow 16mm glass to be used on super 16 format. I know that other type teleconverters will always remain a compromise.... still the end result could theoretically maybe be useful, but for now you are right it does not seem to be good enough......

  • @nomad it would by the way be very nice if in the long run there would be a special M4/3 to M4/3 speedbooster version produced especially for the BMPCC..... but I am afraid that that one will be never see the light, theoretically it should be approximately possible considering the sensor size difference between normal M4/3 and the BMPCC... it would allow to use all GH2/GH3 fitting lenses including those via cheap adapters to be used as wider lenses on the BMPCC, correcting the sensor size difference this way.

  • If the 12.5-75mm can cover S16 sensor, I wonder if the Rainbow 11.5-69mm f1.4 can also....