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Will Montgomery

Camera & Lens Decision

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I have a very small budget project coming up. Need to shoot some office building interiors without people on a weekend.

 

The question is this:

 

Should I use my BMPCC with PL mount adapter and rent some higher-end glass OR rent a 4k BMCC and rent Canon L glass (or Zeiss ZE)

 

The project doesn't call for 4K but I like the options if gives in post for subtle pushes and the like. BUT I can rent some superior Super 16mm Zeiss lenses if I go with the BMPCC.

 

So I guess it comes down to 4K or HD with superior glass? (and sensor size, yes...)

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It honestly depends on how you're viewing the final product. I think the pocket camera is perfect for everything outside of theatrical distribution. The 2.88X crop factor makes most poop glass look good because it's only taking an image from the center. That's how I can get away with using Korean-made Rokinon glass and it looks acceptable. If it's going to be seen on a big screen, I'd absolutely use a bigger sensor camera like the Blackmagic 4k and with that comes glass expense as well.

 

I shoot pretty much everything today with my pocket camera and I have yet to run into a situation where it wasn't capable. I did a two television show pilots in 2014, big crews, 5 ton grip truck, the whole 9 yards. We had more audio equipment then camera equipment… people were like "you're shooting with that toy" and when they saw the final product, it shut them up right away.

 

So yea.. umm, just roll with what ya got and have fun! :)

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I have a very small budget project coming up. Need to shoot some office building interiors without people on a weekend.

 

The question is this:

 

Should I use my BMPCC with PL mount adapter and rent some higher-end glass OR rent a 4k BMCC and rent Canon L glass (or Zeiss ZE)

 

The project doesn't call for 4K but I like the options if gives in post for subtle pushes and the like. BUT I can rent some superior Super 16mm Zeiss lenses if I go with the BMPCC.

 

So I guess it comes down to 4K or HD with superior glass? (and sensor size, yes...)

 

As noted, if your final output is going to a 'big screen', then perhaps 'big camera/lens' is the solution... given budget...

 

I usually shoot my BMPCC with my Lumix 14-140mm zoom, but a few weeks ago the Wife was out of town so I could surreptitiously use her Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens. While this may not be good for interiors that need a 12mm or the like on the Pocket, the difference was very 'appreciable'...

 

Were it me, I'd go with the PL mount and Super 16mm. The one issue there is if the coverage is good at the low mm zoom, and wide open apertures, that may be required for interior small room work. Since I don't have access to such I've not tested with 'high end' lenses... In the case of the Nikon, since the lens is for Full Frame stills... it definite had no problems with the Super 16-ish BMPCC.

Edited by John E Clark

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I would go with the Pocket and run high-end glass. Ultra 16 or SK4 will give you a way better image than the 4K with Canon L glass. I would even do this for a theatrical release. The 4K looks great but the Pocket's imager is very robust, in my opinion more-so than that of the 4K production camera.

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Biased as I am I will take better glass to make my,and my ac's life easier over rote resolution any day. Also I prefer the pocket since it's pretty versitile in either a small or a large package.I'd also go Sk4s; but that's preference as well.

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I could surreptitiously use her Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 lens.

 

I have this lens, and with the Metabones adapter it is a really good option. The only plus I see to some MFT lenses is the autofocus which is of course, not that great anyway.

 

Sounds like I should spend a little time with my rental house and figure out the best PL lens options and probably do some testing. It will need to be very wide for the interiors without the Metabones speed booster.

 

I have some tests with PL lenses and the BMPCC I did a few months ago...I will dig those out for reference.

 

Thanks for all the input!

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Would the BM pocket camera suit the following? A made for DVD documentary/movie that will consist mostly of people in outdoors locations, speaking to the camera at times, talking about their work and showing them at work. The film would be shot entirely in daylight hours. The aim is for DVD release but with the possibility of being shown in a cinema and projected in largish halls/churches etc on smaller equipment. If it was shown at a cinema, the image would not have to be the usual top feature film quality - just good enough for a very limited release doco at a cinema. It's not aimed at winning any film awards, just hopefully winning hearts. Surely for this sort of thing it's not necessary to hire top of the line cinema equipment. The only concern I have is it was actually shown in a cinema. This may be a condition that the producers insist on - that it's good enough for that. What am I looking at for this project in a digital camera? The BM pocket is affordable. I've only shot on film before, up to 16mm (as an amateur), except on very low cost digital cameras for my own use.

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Well yes, it fits all those categories. Remember, most movies are finished in 2k anyway, so the 1920x1080 resolution of the pocket camera is a few pixels away from 2k.

 

I suggest a pocket with real cinema lenses, they really make the camera sing.

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Thanks, that's good to know. I've been looking at a documentary that was released in 2009, and as far as I can tell it was filmed on a Panasonic HD varicam. Looking at the 'making of' section on the DVD, it looks a fairly large, slightly unwieldy camera, but able to be held on the shoulder for handheld shots. It says Panasonic and HD on the side but that's all I can clearly see in the shots. The documentary is what I'm using as a guide for what I want to do and what is possible. The documentary was made for DVD but was also released in cinemas, which is where I first saw it. I remember the quality on the big screen was fine - no problem. Though not quite top cinema quality but good enough. How would the image from the circa 2008 top of the line varicam HD compare with the BM pocket camera? If the BM can do as well or better with clarity of image on the big screen, it would definitely be fine for what I'm looking for. Thanks for any advice.

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The original Panasonic Varicam was a 720P camera, not a 1080P camera, so in theory a 1080P BlackMagic camera "out-resolves" the old Varicam, ignoring a host of other mitigating factors like softening from compression schemes, quality of optics, etc.

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Thank you, I truly appreciate any help. Can anyone suggest an alternative to the BlackMagic camera that is comparable in price and final result, able to possibly be shown in a cinema though not needing to be top notch? I looked into the Canon EOS system but looked maybe a bit expensive for the producer (put it this way - I'd like to have a lower priced option up my sleeve just to open the discussion of budgeting side of things) as this costs $400 a day AUD. Maybe I should be looking at a DSLR.

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There really isn't anything else for that price bracket, with the kind of quality of the pocket. Blackmagic designs kinda hit it out of the ballpark on their first attempt and nobody has released anything like it.

 

Remember a few critical things. Still cameras are designed to shoot stills, they are NOT designed to shoot video. All of them crop the imager, which changes your field of view dramatically. Also, none of them have the high quality Pro Res 10 bit 4:2:2 or 12 bit 4:4:4 raw capability built in, like the pocket camera does. They all require external recorders to get any serious "quality" out of the image. The standard 8 bit 4:2:0 100Mbps MPEG capture these cameras can do, is substandard in today's world. It maybe a great "efficient" codec for windows computers and streaming online, but it's not for professional applications and people who care about quality.

 

Now it's true, there are a few decent still cameras that CAN shoot video... Panasonic GH4 and Sony A7SMKII for instance, but both are more money then the pocket and are lacking the 10 bit 4:2:2 support internally.

 

I firmly believe if you're ok with a 1080p camera, nothing beats the pocket for the sub $1000 price range. You can get them used for $500 on ebay all day, every day. That's a killer deal in my opinion.

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