Personal View site logo
2K BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, active m43, $995
  • 4493 Replies sorted by
  • We sold ours. Did not bother with shooting test shots. It was immediately obvious from just turning the camera on and mounting various lenses that the BMPCC would never work without a full rig for critical workflows where we need to know that we nailed focus; and if we were going to go with a full rig than why put up with lower resolution penalty of the BMPCC?

    Will you be able to get good images with a naked camera? Sure, but not with confidence. And then media costs are higher with the "Pocket" camera. Go with the BMCC and ultimately it will save you money.

    BTW, we found that not all of our MFT Panasonic lenses would engage OS with the Pocket, and we really had a hard time holding such a small camera steady without it. The BMCC is actually easier to handhold without getting lost in jello. Just our opinion. And we had the camera in hand, and in house.

  • @peaceonearth but see this is the nasty side effect of everyone jumping into the production game. Skilled camera people have always found solutions to challenging shooting conditions. if you need a camera that just works without much fuss in the field doing documentary work, then you find the appropriate camera for that kind of work. Will it cost more they you can afford for your production's budget? Maybe. Then that's where compromise comes into play, and we have to get creative. Can't afford a mattebox - build one. Camera's LCD screen is hard to see in daylight - construct something that solves that problem.

    I know a good cinematographer who has decided to use 2 or 3 of these BMPCC for a project because they will suit his needs. He is well aware of limitations of the cameras. He will know how to work around those limitations.

    I think BMD should fix whatever problems are within their control, especially if they are issues that affect the camera's reputation. Having said that, I really do believe that people getting into production, who don't have a wealth of professional experience need to understand that sometimes things don't work as advertised and you either need to move on or deal with compromise. Yes, budget is a factor for everyone. We'd all like the best of the best but usually there is a price to pay for it. I see a sense of entitlement sometimes and not sure where the blame should go - those who feel entitled to getting the best for practically nothing or the manufacturers who market and over promise, under deliver. Either way, my rule of thumb has always been to test and then move on. Find the right tools for your style and the rest will be up to you.

    Someone will film a gem with this BMPCC and everyone will scratch their heads and say "how did that happen?". Talent and perseverence. Same as it's always been. Okay, maybe throw luck in there too. :-)

  • @smsjr, I think the overmarketing absolutely has to stop. Why are we all willing to put up with blatent lies? You can tell me 'that's how it's done' all you like, that still doesn't make it right - and it earns any manufacturer that plays this game bad will. Nobody wins this way.

    For example, why do BM talk up their cam's audio recording capabilities when both the BMPCC and BMCC aren't usable for quality audio at all (not even a backup)? There's just no point.

    'Pro' is supposed to mean high quality, higher-end features + reliability. Since when has everyone decided that pro also means 'well, half the features won't work, or as well as advertised'?? Again, just because that's what seems to happen doesn't make it right.

    Example, the black spots in overexposure - BM say 'all CMOS sensors do this'. And most people quote the Alexa as justification that it's OK. Guess what - these are the only CMOS cameras that record black blowouts! Do all CMOS sensors do it? If yes, then most hardware and/or firmware designs hide it! Why is it fine for an expensive 'pro' Alexa or consumer-ish-priced BM to not fix it (1 year later)??

    Yes, we ask too much of BM for the money. But guess what, they promised it - that's the real problem. Manage expectations, and people won't bitch when they finally realise what they're really getting.

  • @_gl you are not wrong. It is a mess. But the market has been heading this way for some time now. Race to the bottom if you will. Do I like that I can get Avid software for $995? Sure. It's still good NLE. However, am I worried about whether they can sustain that business model and stay in business? Sure. I've always loved a balance between quality and pricing. Take Sound Devices for example. Exceptional quality, affordable for sound professionals, and support is fantastic. Perfect balance.

    If BMPCC is a dud, Black Magic will have to examine their business model. If it's a success amongst the market they are aiming for, you will continue to see a similar business model, but perhaps some improvements over time as they get more experience.

    Black sun spots were on RED footage from get go. Firmware tweaks dealt with that. No longer a problem on current generation. Alexa has purple sun spots. Had them on $60 million dollar movie just worked on. easy fix in post. Annoying? yes. dealbreaker? No.

  • Question: Can anyone name me a digital or film camera (dirt cheap or muy expensive) that does not have any of its own quirks or issues?

  • The issue is not if the BMPCC has quirks, but do the BMPCC and BMCC live up to the professional expectations the BM marketed. Look at BM's website picture of the BMPCC attached to a massive Angenieux lens costing tens of thousands of dollars, and found only on the highest level set.

  • @Ian_T 'quirk' is one thing. But let's take the GH2 - it delivered what it promised right? No major hardware flaws, no big recalls, no features that were advertised but not actually in the shipping camera.

    Imagine if you read on Panny's adverts "120fps capability", bought the cam, but it wasn't actually there. Would you be pissed? Where is BM's RAW exactly? Where's BM's high-quality audio recording ability that makes it 'the perfect documentary camera' or the perfect 'pocket' camera? Where's the black spot in their own 'into the sun' demo pic (on their Pocket site)?

    That's the problem - talk big, underdeliver. If you want to understand why people complain, you have to agree it's because they believed BM's hype and got excited (I did).

    At the end of the day, the real Pocket is a much more limited cam, but at least capable of very nice images. Except they didn't tell us that.

  • @J_leonetti

    How can one think the problem of not being able to shoot and needing an external monitor or EVF of some sort kind of goes against the NAME of the camera is a small one? That baffles my mind? Most of the people buying this thing I'm sure do not want to carry around anything like that. That's the point of this camera. Sure the image is fine and great for the money but this problem is very confusing to me. Sure, the pros are going to hook up a monitor or evf so it's a non issue but what is the real percentage of pros to everyday joes? I have no idea what the number is but I'm will to bet it's mostly everyday joes shooting stuff in very uncontrolled environments. That's how they marketed this camera. That's a fact. No me personally, I always planned to use an EVF or external monitor so it didn't bother me that much but most of the people I've talked to didn't plan on this and that's my point.

  • @_gl Agreed. Just go look at Franks latest post and see what the "pocket" cam looks like if you want to shoot something good and professional with it. IMO the screen provided does not give you the tools to get exposure right and that's kind of a bummer for the way they marketed the cam. On the other side, good images though! :) So pretty much you're getting a sensor and a processor for $999. That's what it comes down to. Still a pretty good deal once you rig it up. Prob great for car rig stuff!!!

  • @vicharris could you post a link for Franks latest post?

  • The marketing on the BMD site CLEARLY shows you need to add lenses/rigs etc and any real cinematographer knows this already. Does anyone take an Alexa or Epic and just shoot hand held no rig no loupe nothing?....OF flipping course not!

    The only thing BMD did wrong IMHO was #1 mention RAW since it isnt in the product "yet" and #2 call it "pocket" WHY are people taking this literally? OF COURSE YOU NEED A RIG...its a flipping cinema camera!!!

  • You don't need a rig if it's a car cam/arial cam/inconspicuous cam/underwater cam/B cam. If it is someone's A cam then yes a rig of some kind is a must.

  • @No_SuRReNDeR it's amazing that someone needs to actually spell it out like this.

  • To me the point is that stripped down it's the smallest camera with this level of image quality and flexibility you can buy at this price range. You can add to it and it's STILL going to be small. The only real issue is if the camera fits the needs of the user. I was going to get a Pocket but decided instead to try out the Magic Lantern RAW on a 50D. It's been interesting but it's still not a finished product. Only paid $450 for the 50D. I could still eventually add a Pocket since it's so affordable and has some real possible uses where size and being able to shoot without drawing attention is an issue. Still think overall it's a great niche product. The remedies to most complaints are plentiful and in some cases very cheap. Don't see the legitimacy of many of the complaints.

  • @Brian2022020 granted... should have specified A cam-

  • @No_SuRReNDeR @BurnetRhoades But you're killing the whole Pocket concept!

    Just kidding. I'm also really tired of "the pocket concept".
    Want small, get this:


  • @No_SuRReNDeR, are you really this desperate to defend BM (or your purchase) at all cost? BM's site has one photo showing it rigged up - every other photo shows it solo + small lens (pancake etc). And did you actually read their pages?

    EDIT: just read their 'Shoot Anywhere' page:

    The whole point was that you could use it literally as a pocket camera. Even JB's first official footage was solo/handheld (and now we know why there was no in-cam sound on those).

    If you want to rig it all up, you're golden. If you wanted to shoot stealth, or capture stuff as you found it (documentary style), it's not gonna happen without extras.

  • As comparison, does the internal screen and focus peaking work well enough on the BMCC that you can use it without needing an HDMI monitor to achieve critical focus?

  • I don't get the flak here. I can clearly see myself using this with just a loupe, the Sennheiser MKE300, an Olly or Voigt 17mm and a vari-ND. Focus peaking and zebras is all I need to nail the shot. Add some extra preformatted cards and a couple of batteries and this is as portable as you can get :)

  • @SuperSet Indoors your fine but it's always in an odd spot on a rig, even if it's small. But I would never go without an external of some sort. I always thought of the screen on the BMCC as just an input and settings panel. I had this thought even when I didn't have one. If you're calling it a cinema camera, of course you're going to need some external source with preferably scopes if you can't hook up ultrascope. I don't think anyone really thought otherwise. I'll tell you one thing for sure, the screen on my shitty knock off 3.5"EVF is better than the one on the back of the pocket. That kind of blew my mind.

    Also this discussion has gotten very silly. Many people handing out opinions when they've never even touched one of these cameras. Reminds me of the BM Board. I think everyone should just chill out till they've actually held one or shot with one. I didn't even have an opinion or it never crossed my mind that the screen would be an issue. The way BM marketed this camera, even if they put Cinema anywhere, was in the direction of stealth and concealment. Nobody can argue that. It's a fact. Yes, they did attach a stupid sized lens to it but you know what, no monitor.

    If they would have called it a mini cinema camera or something like that, I think we wouldn't be having these pointless conversations anyways.

    Some people might be ok with using this camera outside without an external monitoring source. That's fine and that's why everyone is different. That's cool but I would never consider it and that's not how this camera was sold to us. Bummer. But I guess you have to cut corners somewhere to get a great image. I understand that.

    Will I get one when they work out the kinks and RAW is implemented for maybe car interior and crash cam like stuff, probably but I would rather have a 2.5K for $1200 or so right now instead.

    Who knows, maybe a GH3! :)

  • @vicharris +1 I agree, I think once we start trying these cameras out with lenses we're familiar with, and playing around with settings, then we'll know what the camera can do. Once they're available for rental I'll probably do a 3-day rental of the BMPCC. Curious how my Lomo lenses will combine with BMPCC.

  • So no go on using the BMCC LCD for manual focus? Bummer.

  • @matt_gh2

    I wouldn't be worried about lenses. We tried SRLs 12,25 and 35mm out, as well as Rokinon 24mm, 85mm, Tokina 11-16mm and old Nikon AIS 50 and maybe the 105, not sure on that one though. I really haven't gone over the footage but the only lens I would be worried about is the the Tokina 11-16 since it isn't that great on the BMCC. But line I said, I didn't do a controlled test with it like I did on the BMCC so I could be wrong.


    Yep, I would never do it outside. Indoors you're cool though. I would still prefer something better though but that's just me. I don't like shooting without scopes anymore because I'm not even close to being that good of a DP without them. I'll admit it :)

  • Re-calibrated cameras have been reporting that the "black spot" issue has vanished as well.

    Now, firmware V 1.4.2 addresses that with the Pocket Camera. Looks like it's available on BMD's website.

    Not sure if it changes anything with the 2.5K camera.