January 22, 2013

Blackmagic Joins the Micro 4/3 Barbecue: is an Active MFT Mount Cinema Camera Cooking?

Just a few short months ago, it was announced that the Blackmagic Cinema Camera would be receiving a Micro 4/3 lens mount option alternative to its original Canon EF mount. Granted, for those of us still waiting on the BMCC to ship, a few short months is no stretch of time to merely shrug off -- particularly when the mount announced was to be a "passive" or "dumb" one, meaning electronic control would not be supported for smart MFT lenses. There's been speculation that this would change -- and given Blackmagic's recent addition to the consortium of companies aligned with the official Micro 4/3 standard, this speculation seems less outlandish than ever.

Here's the lean meat of the press release from Olympus (who spearheads the standard), via PhotoRumors:

Olympus Imaging Corp. and Panasonic Corporation jointly announced the Micro Four Thirds System standard in 2008 and have since been working together to promote the standard. Now we are pleased to announce that five more companies have recently declared their support for the standard and will be introducing products compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard.

Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., one of the world's leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology; JK Imaging Ltd., new representative for the world-famous "KODAK" branded cameras; PHOTRON LIMITED, the world's leading manufacturer of high speed digital imaging systems; SVS-VISTEK GmbH, an innovative company that develops professional machine vision components and systems and ViewPLUS Inc., a developer of advanced imaging-related equipment. With the addition of exciting new products from these companies, the Micro Four Thirds lineup will become much more diverse, further increasing the potential of this advanced digital imaging system.

As the company responsible for initiating both the Four Thirds System and Micro Four Thirds System standards, Olympus Imaging Corp. will continue to develop and enhance the product lineup for both standards to meet the diverse needs of our customers.

One could passively assume this is just a move for posterity or solidarity -- this type of support is common enough in the industry, and stands for something significant in itself (though perhaps not to the every-shooter). More likely though it's one giant step in the direction of an electronic MFT mount Blackmagic Cinema Camera, which would allow all sorts of electronic-only Micro 4/3 lenses to be used on the camera. It would also potentially allow for Canon EF lenses to be controlled electronically through an adapter. There are no guarantees, however -- or even a timeline  -- but don't be surprised if we see it sometime this year.

Furthermore, there's a likelihood Blackmagic (who does listen, and closely) has taken heed of all the imaginings that high-profile shooter/reviewers have been doing about the BMCC since word of the Metabones Speed Booster hit the streets. The Speed Booster (MFT version to come) looks to adapt a lot of your gear to a level that basically breathes an entirely new life into it. Conversely, Metabones could stir added life-force into the viability of the small sensor BMCC system for those who have previously disregarded it for its high crop factor. Given, of course, that requisite smart Micro 4/3 mount.

Again, the Speed Booster could be good news for MFT shooters even without a smart mount, as long as your lenses can be controlled manually. That said, certain elements aligning (pun intended after the fact) could make the BMCC even more formidable in its niche -- assuming Blackmagic and Metabones jump on the respective opportunities that lay before them.

What do you guys have to say about this? Is it a likelihood, or even inevitability, that these technologies sync up? How else do you see BMD joining the MFT standards group fitting into the scheme of things?

Link: Blackmagic Design Pty. Ltd., JK Imaging Ltd., PHOTRON LIMITED, SVS-VISTEK GmbH and ViewPLUS Inc. join the Micro Four Thirds System Standard Group

[via Photo Rumors]

Your Comment

113 Comments

I'm too freaking excited for this! That passive mount is the ONLY reason I haven't already gotten myself a BMCC... Hope it comes! And I've been hearing lots of great things regarding the SpeedBooster... it just seems too good to be true to be honest!

I think I'll need a little more time to let this sink in. :O

-- Ron Parida, Automotive Commercial Director

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply

All reports point to this being a necessary legal step towards using a MTF mount on the camera, passive or active. It's not a signifier of an active mount, just part of the process for the passive model.

January 23, 2013

-1
Reply
Ant

Metabones + activem43 mount would be perfect. Also if they can also allow ProRes recording in 2.5K instead of RAW, for those moments where we need lighter files

January 22, 2013

1
Reply

Hell, while we're at it, let's just have the thing record to Cineform. It's a more efficient codec than ProRes and would allow for longer recording times while keeping the quality top-notch.

Active MFT + Speed Booster + Cineform would be the bee's-f'n-knees as far as I'm concerned.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Derik

cineform is so underrated. this would be a multitude of bees' knees.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
alex

They should just buy Metabones. Worked re DaVinci.
Package them together for 2014 version. Dominate the space, plus fits an integrated model.
I'd like 1080 48 or 60fps please. That's the clincher for me personally.
Have had many clients already order it, and we've just started seeing commercial footage start turning up.

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
marklondon

They haven't even got the first camera they promised out yet!

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
Neill Jones

Right. And by the time the BMCC is out, NAB will bring amazing (and unexpected) competition to the plate.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
FabDex

That's what I'm saying.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply

Is all this competition speculation?
Who's forshadowing whats to come at NAB?

January 23, 2013

1
Reply
VINCEGORTHO

Um, we're seeing quite a bit of footage already. So they seem to be arriving thick and fast now.

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
marklondon

Just got ours about a week ago :)

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Logan

What would the crop factor then be for EF lenses + speedbooster? would it be for example

50mm + speedbooster = 35mm + 2.2x BMC crop = 70ishmm? eg. slightly less than APS-C?

Is that right or am i being an idiothole?

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Chris Lambert

Chris: you are pretty accurate. For ASP-C, the Speed Booster basically makes a 50mm -- a 50mm. With the crop factor of the BMCC, ~70mm is pretty close.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
BenJamin

A Samyang 24mm- 35mm F0.9 sounds like something i would attempt to mate with, if i was anymore excited lol

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
Chris Lambert

well that escalated quickly

January 23, 2013

1
Reply

I think the crop factor with the speed booster is around 1.6x for the EF mount for the BMCC

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
some guy

I keep seeing people refer to what the crop factor would be with a Speedbooster on EF to MFT. But people seem to be taking the numbers from a Speedbooster designed to scale down to S35. Wouldn't a MFT Speedbooster be optically different, designed to properly scale the image from full-frame EF to MFT the same way as it's E-mount counterpart? That would be logical, unless Metabones intends to cut corners.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
angus

The micro 4/3 version will also be a 0.7x reducer like the NEX version. One of the designers explains why here:
http://diglloyd.com/blog/2013/20130114_6-Metabones-Speed-Booster-Caldwel...

So a 50mm reduced 0.7x is a 35mm lens, which on a BMCC with a crop factor of 2.3 is going to work out to around 80mm. The math is a bit dizzying, but all we really need to understand is that all of our lenses will have the same characteristic on the BMCC+Speed Booster combination as they would on any APS-C or Super 35mm camera....except now they'll be a stop brighter too!

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
JR

Does anyone else think "Speed Booster" is a strange name? Borders on gimmicky for such a nice piece of kit. I wish they would have called it something like "Concentrator".

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
BenJamin

Agreed, I think having an active MFT mount would help a great deal with sales. Looking back I wish they would've waited to release one rather than announcing a passive mount and not having any clear idea of when it would arrive. I ordered my MFT BMCC just a few weeks ago which makes me think I won't see it until Christmas unless they really ramp up shipping quick. I fear that NAB 2013 coming up quick and the possibility that most orders not having been fulfilled by then could seriously hurt sales. Reason? If another company shows up with another camera with similar specs that's ready to ship (ie if Olympus or Panny decided to blow everyone's minds and release one at NAB) the BMCC could possibly have people cancelling orders quickly and jumping on some other bandwagon. It's going to be a very interesting year in the digital cinema world.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Eduardo Gonzalez

So far no MFT BMCC has been released yet, am I right?
Maybe they decided to deliver the EF mount first, to have time to provide an active mount from their very first MFT camera to be distributed.

Otherwise, upgrading their hardware from passive to active MFT, only a few months after the first passive mounts have been sold, would be a very unfair move from Blackmagic Design.
And so far, despite their production problems, they've been quite good in their behaviour.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
JJStanley

There are passive mount micro 4/3rd BMC cameras out there in the wild, and I think the plan was to offer the passive 4/3rds mount after the EF mount's orders are caught up, but really, why can't they offer an active 4/3rds mount? Is there some significant additional cost for an active 4/3rds mount that I'm missing?

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
some guy

What would prevent a camera company from just building an adapter like this right into the camera? Would seem pretty useful especially if it could be turned on/off similar to how ND filters are built into cameras.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Clayton Arnall

I'm so tired of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, that's all everyone is talking about, all the time. And still they have not managed to deliver to over 95% of their "soon to be" customers.

And honestly 3000 dollars is not so cheap. Everyone is saying that wow 3000 dollars its a bargain. Come on, it's not free, 3000 dollars is 3000 dollars. The reason everyone says it's a bargain is because there is nothing else close to it yet, and if you compare it to Scarlets, c100's, c300's and other cameras it sure is a bargain. But if you wait 2 months more until NAB 2013. It won't be THE BARGAIN. Because then we will see new cameras that will directly compete with the BMCC. And still the BMCC would not have fulfilled it's orders.

Also good luck with using this Camera handheld, or using pans and tilts. The camera seems to have a terrible rolling shutter "jello". Even worse than the 5D.

I would rather save up and buy a ...... well I don't know yet. I will probably have to wait until NAB 2013, but I can't go and buy this BMCC now anyway, so I do not count this overhyped camera because it simply does not exist to most of us.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
mike

New cameras? From whom? Canon? No. Sony? No. Panasonic? No. You're tired of the BMCC? I'm tired of people thinking that these corporate giants will all of a sudden drop their cameras to low prices, or undercut their cameras with new cameras. If the BMCC will be challenged, it will be from a new company, or a company making their first "cinema" camera - and if history tells us anything, they'll most likely have manufacturing and supply problems.

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
Voltaire

Whatever is announced at NAB 2013 probably won't ship until late 2013, early 2014. That's how these things work. It's always a waiting game. Yes the BMCC has rolling shutter, but no worse than any DSLR, and no, the moire is not as bad compared to say a Canon 7D or 5D Mark II. This is coming from actually using it, not from clips floating around online.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

+1

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
Voltaire

Yes unfortunately you are right. It's a waiting game and as I see it Sony won't compete with the BMCC, they are going for RED with the F5 and F55.

Maybe KINEFINITY? DIGITALBOLEX? GOPRO NEW CAMERA? Another Chinese "new" manufacturer? How about RED?

I read somewhere on reduser a dialogue between JARRED and MARK TOIA where they discuss dumping the Scarlet phasing it out and they will probably build a new camera altogether, maybe a BMCC contender? Who knows...

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
mike

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
Voltaire

Oh...I forgot one huge thing... THE MOIRE is more than terrible on this camera. It's huuuugeeee.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
mike

lmao!!!! yep........but all this talk and they havent really shipped anything.....barely the canon mount....barely

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
steve

Any links to tests, samples and/or reviews to back that up?

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Ernesto

Sorry, I haven't seen virtually no Moire in all of the footage of the BMCC I've seen so far.

I've seen more Moire than I would want to out of the new GH3, but not the BMCC, which really let me down because I was really looking forward to buying the GH3. Now my choices are to buy a GH2 and then wait till I can buy a BMCC.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
some guy

Wallet open. Take cash.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply

All the talk about the next camera, the next one, and the next one. " I'll wait until NAB", "I'll wait until Christmas", "I'll wait till the S35mm version comes out". Is this so that you never actually have to go out and shoot something? You can only make something with the camera in hand, not the one in the brochure, or the nice picture on the website with a pre-order button next to it, or the one talked about by a corporate facist that he promises will blow everyone's mind and the lid off the competition once they can actually reveal what it is and what it does. Log off people, put your raincoat on and grab your 5D, Z1, GH2, Af100, gopro, flip cam, iphone and go express yourself. By the time you come back there might be a camera that you want that you can actually buy. Oh and while your at it pick up some litter.........if we all pick up one piece......!!!!!!

January 22, 2013

-1
Reply
Neill Jones

Finally, somebody is talking sense.

January 22, 2013

0
Reply
Trust

No, someone is yet again needlessly raising a false dichotomy.

Just cos we're talking about a camera doesn't mean we're not out shooting as well. Plus, do you really think repeating the same thing, that's been said on the comments of almost every single camera-related post on this site, is going to get people out shooting if they're not?

If you don't want to talk about a camera, don't. Read one of the many other posts on this site and others.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
Luke

I do believe that the dichotomy exists. Non-related threads would not be polluted with BMC rhetoric if it wasn't true. Excessive commenting about cameras that you don't have is an unconscious attempt at vindication from something.

January 22, 2013

1
Reply
ryan

I don't see how this is evidence. People are excited about the BMCC... again that doesn't mean they're not shooting.

I'm also excited about other cameras, ones I'll never own like Epic Dragon, because a) they're technically fascinating and b) they could change things across the industry. Doesn't mean I'm waiting til I get one to do anything.

Basically, I think many understand that if you're always waiting for the "best" solution, you'll wait forever. It's unfair to assume that people interested in new tech are guilty of forgetting that.

January 23, 2013

-1
Reply
Luke

So if guy one says hey the c300 some great benifits, I'm going to use it on a feature and guy two says that's stupid, epic dragon has way more dynamic range. Guy two is not shooting. They are too illogical, being illogical and producing films is disastrous, and I'm sure no noteworthy completed projects are coming from bmc extremists. Just because you may be a logical supporter doesn't mean that others haven't taken it too far, those are the ones who are molding the reputation of the camera.

January 23, 2013

0
Reply
Ryan

Sure, there are people like that. As with anything. But to say that you think there is a dichotomy suggests that if you talk about cameras, you must not be shooting. Which isn't true. Point being, I don't think it's useful, or fair, to make blanket statements like these.

January 23, 2013

0
Reply
Luke

I wonder if post-production people tell each other to "just sit down and edit something" when they get all riled up about the next version of Avid or something. I wonder if they assume you aren't working if you get excited about the technology of your field. That would be weird.

January 23, 2013

-1
Reply

Editors don't get riled up about new software, I think they realise that it is the human not the software that makes their work what it is. Plus anyone that's used Avid for the last 10 years knows that the latest update will come with last years bugs, that's not really something to get excited about is it. And yes actually I would advise to "just sit down and edit something" as I don't think obsessing about a software update is going to make you a better editor is it.

January 23, 2013

-1
Reply
Neill jones

Your not out shooting withTHIS camera though are you?

January 23, 2013

1
Reply
Neill jones

I don't see your point.

January 23, 2013

1
Reply
Luke

If you're saying I should be putting my money where my mouth is and using the current BMCC since it's already good enough, a few things.

1) I never said it wasn't good enough, in this thread or others. I was just disputing the dichotomy you implied.
2) I have said in previous threads that active m4/3 is not something I'm interested in personally.
3a) You have no idea if I'm currently shooting with the BMCC.
3b) I'm currently planning a shoot with the "original", EF-mount BMCC (which I plan to rent).
4) I also shoot with a 550D and 5Dmk2, and discussing other cameras hasn't prevented this.

January 23, 2013

1
Reply
Luke

None of those things below Luke, I was stating that you can't even get this camera yet if you wanted to shoot with it. Re-read my earlier post.

January 23, 2013

0
Reply
Neill Jones

Like I said, I didn't understand you, and took a stab at what you might mean. Either way, I still don't really see your point; I don't see how that pertains to "talking about a camera not stopping you shooting".

January 23, 2013

2
Reply
Luke

I'm with you. I keep my eye on what's coming out, but in the mean time I shoot with what I have.

January 22, 2013

-2
Reply

Pages