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Voigtlander 17.5mm and SLR Magic 12mm on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT with John Brawley

We are still waiting on the official word about whether we’ll start seeing volume shipping in the next few weeks on the EF version of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, but John Brawley has been busy putting the Micro 4/3 version through its paces. That version, which has a passive (non-electronic) mount, may actually be more suited for the camera considering the sensor is about the same size as MFT. There may not be a tremendous amount of lens support at the moment, but Brawley has tested a few that MFT BMCC users might think about purchasing, the Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 and the SLR Magic 12mm T/1.6. On a pre-shoot for a feature film he is working on, he busted out the BMCC and grabbed these shots:

Here’s a little bit about his process and when each lens was used:

The day shots are all with the SLR magic 12mm and the shots after sunset of the reeds are the 17.5mm Voightlander. This was shot RAW and with a single node of correction. All handheld with no rig.

He mentions that the 17.5mm is a little bloomy and soft wide open in the comments on the Vimeo page. I think the SLR Magic 12mm is probably going to be the best fast/wide option for this camera in either mount. There really aren’t any other lenses like it that can cover the Micro 4/3 size, and as long as the sample you get is fine, it’s going to be pretty sharp wide open. Even though I’m confident you can get plenty shallow with the BMCC if you want, both of these lenses are going to help for those who are into crazy shallow DOF. You still won’t be able to get quite as shallow as wide open on a fast prime on a Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon D800, but it should be enough for even the most adventurous filmmakers. The 12mm is equivalent to a 27.6mm on full-frame and the 17.5mm is equivalent to about a 40mm.

The other nice thing about a lens that can open up to 0.95 is that you’ve got another stop of light over an f/1.4 lens — which is equivalent to going from ISO 800 to ISO 1600. Since the BMCC is noisy if you’re pushing past 1600 in RAW, the 17.5mm and 25mm Voigtlanders will be good for available light shooting.

Who has the MFT model pre-ordered? If so, do you own any of the lenses above, or are you considering them? Let us know what you think about them in the comments.



We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 72 COMMENTS

  • I might if I could work out a system for getting the shot set up time somewhere in the neighborhood of the C100/C300. It’s definitely priced right even with the additional required gear.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 01.10.13 @ 9:05PM

      I have 2 cameras pre-ordered since April…I have the voigtlander 17,5mm 0.95 the 25mm 0.95 the 35mm 1.2 and the 50mm 1.2. Where are the cameras??? I am sick and tired of waiting. This has gone too far and all we get is this kind of news??? Handheld shots with sunsets? You must be kidding. This is the worst thing a manufacturer can do to a potential customer. I am stuck between purchases. I live off my work!!! I don´t test cameras only as my hobby. Actually filming is where I make the money to pay my bills. I compromise with my clients and I had to buy other equipment to “excuse” the absence of my BMCC´s. Does Black Magic care about this? I always defended Black Magic products, I “bought” DaVinci resolve, several graphics boards for my editng suites, hyperdeck shuttle and what I get back is this??? If this is correct marketing my name is Obama!!! I shot 4 TV movies this summer that should have been shot with the BMCC´s… Is this the respect I (we) get? I wish they should have kept manufacturing graphics boards. It would have been more honest from them…I rest my case.

      • Richard Lapthorn on 01.12.13 @ 4:07PM

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

        Seriously this is the funniest thing I have read in ages.

        Is this a joke rant??? Please tell me it is, because you are a genuinely funny guy :)

        I rest my case

        • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 01.14.13 @ 9:52AM


          1- This is not a joke it is someone that trusts a manufacturer and plans his work ahead
          2- I am a funny guy since I know myself.
          3- If you think it is funny to make an investement and almost one year later not having worked with the gear due to a manufacturar not keeping their deadlines, either you are an amateur meaning you can wait as much as you want to keep your business palns going, or you really don´t care either you keep your proposals to your clients. To give them raw footage the only chance I had would have been to buy a RED which I don´t do. Also where I am baed if you rent a camera for 20 times you will pay as much as buying a new one.

          I got my hands on a BMCC in june and July again in September and still Black Magic always delaying the delivery dates. Anyway just interpret my words as you wish. I hope this doesn´t happen to you. Then you will see what I mean.

  • The shots with the SLR Magic 12mm are lovely. Does anyone know if there are other similar SLR Magic lenses worth it for m43rds mount?

  • With EF seemingly becoming the standard mount, wouldn’t the EF version be a better choice. I realize people such as Bloom were enthralled with MFT for its multiple mount options such as PL, but it looks as if EF is becoming equally/more ubiquitous over PL, e.g., Zeiss CP, Canon CN-E, third-party, and there are Nikon-to-EF adapters that seem to work.

    MFT is good because of Voightlander, SLR Magic, etc., and using other lenses in every mount (but who would? they are not wide or fast). I think ‘active’ MFT would be a big plus, but passive…….

    • I think it all comes down to what kind of work/shooting style you’re into. For me it makes a lot of sense to have this camera in MFT/passive mount because I only work with manual lenses anyway… I own a lot of Nikon glass (mostly the fast AI’s) and never used an autofocus lens before for any shoot. If you come from or aim to work in a “cinema style” environment you’re not going to use any “auto” lenses because cinema lenses are all manual and I think they will stay that way for a long time because it’s the only way you can have full control over them. Even professional photographers use their Canon L series lenses on manual focus combined with full manual control on the camera!

      On a personal side I just hate Canon glass for video work… They are great for photography but their “extreme” sharpness and the way they resolve color just doesn’t cut it for me. (except maybe for the wonderful 70-200 f2.8)

      • 70-200 on BMDCC, boom! you have a telescope :P

        • lol… yeah, kind of! the good news with this sensor size is I could actually use my favourite lens of all time: the Angenieux Optimo 28/290mm T2.8 (knowing it would look utterly ridiculous and totally overkill)

          • marklondon on 01.4.13 @ 9:21PM

            But that would be COOOOL. That is a hell of a lens.
            I also see the MFT being used for PL glass.

        • I was once doing this surfing shoot, and was completely unprepared. Had a Mk2 and a 70-200. Grabbed a few shots as the surfers were coming close to the shore and that was it.

          Took a look at the photog next to me. He’s standing there with a 600mm prime on a crop sensor. He tells me he also has a x2 extender in his pocket just in case.

          So there you have it — telescopes are definitely useful in some situations. I imagine sport photography/videography in general…

          • marklondon on 01.5.13 @ 6:10PM

            I shoot surfing all the time. I rent a 600mm and run 2 extenders on it for @1800mm at F8. You need a very stable platform (I use my Sachtler 20 legs and hed), but it works. Also shoot with my 200mm with 2 extenders for some shots.

      • Holy crap, you’re my friggin’ clone. My sentiments EXACTLY.

        I’m not a huge fan of Canon EF glass either. Most of the time it’s fairly soft and somewhat muddy, even from the L line. That and I just don’t like electronic lenses of any sort. Oddly I love their FD glass though.
        Like you, this camera is made for me with a large package of Nikkor AI and AI-S and Zeiss glass. Only wider focal lengths are needed to add more support, really.

    • “With EF seemingly becoming the standard mount” When Da Fuq did this happen.

      For low budget future proof with manuals on a nikkon mount. I thought this was common knowledge.

  • The footage hold up so well even after Vimeo compression!

  • all this and we still cant get a update on our pre-order…smh

  • After all this footage being released… I see know reason to abandon your DSLR camera…

    I see no difference at all. Especially with all this amateur handheld shooting.

    • This is why you will never be a famous director or cinematographer.

    • Jeff Akwante on 01.4.13 @ 6:07PM

      DSLR footage isn’t even comparable with BMC footage, I agree this footage was to shaky for my tastes.

      Look up stuff like Dynamic range, resolution, and bit depth, and then tell us that you see no reason to abandon DSLRs.

      • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 01.10.13 @ 9:12PM

        Should watch Shane Hurlbut´s Act of Valour and then say it´s not comparable… ;-) He shot 1DMKIV, 5D,and 7D. At least he has a “movie” shot with it… Also Red Tails which is amazing….These are only two examples but please watch them and try to say which camera they were shot with…now you know :-)

    • Christian Anderson on 01.4.13 @ 6:31PM

      Take it easy. Perhaps Tom just hasn’t been to the optometrist in a long time. Poor guy.

    • Wow. I’m a noobie and I have no problem seeing the amazing increase in quality

    • Frederik O. on 01.4.13 @ 7:46PM

      Tom you are right. This footage really does not look good!! It is way to soft and not sharp maybe because of the lens. Even Brawley says that the Voigtlander is soft. (Read the vimeo comments) There is way sharper BMCC footage online, that look a lot better.

      It looks like DSLR footage!!!! Anybody who says something else, should keep in mind that you get tricked by the beautiful landscape and sunset and the beautiful Resolve (one node) grade.

      • marklondon on 01.4.13 @ 9:28PM

        No-one is being fooled by the grade.
        That does not look like it was shot with a DSLR. Please link to the DSLR footage you regard as equivalent or better.
        Also, that looks like handheld footage. Real, artful heldheld footage. You kids and your IS lenses, warp stabiliser and imitation steadi-rigs. :-)
        One day you may come to appreciate it for its emotional heft. I noitice Frank Glencairn got a ton of similar comments for ‘real’ handheld and double-print slowmo on his recent piece. Too funny.

        • Frederik O. on 01.5.13 @ 11:08AM

          The problem with you guys is that you haven’t seen any real DSLR footage. Most of you are unexperienced filmmakers and think that this BMCC takes you ability to shoots beautiful stuff to the next level. Of course the BMCC is by far the better camera (more dynamic range, RAW…, resolution) but even the best camera does not represent an antidote for the lack of experience. I know 16 year old kids, who bought a RED Scarlet and now they are running around in the forests with their friends and guns and film their action stuff, but really is looks cheaper than most DSLRs. Then 1 year later they loose interested because they wondered why their professional cinema camera does not produces images like “The Matrix” or “The Transporter”. haha now take a wild guess why.

          OK, here is the footages which was shot with the 5D Mark II and looks better than the above BMCC stuff, which is too soft in my opinion and has only a little bit more dynamic range. By the way I will post more links to DSLR footages so that you can put you distorted BMCC point of view in perspective!!!

          Watch in HD:

          • No need to go on. It’s fine if you don’t understand or can’t see the obvious, drastic difference. That should make it easier for you to continue using DSLRs.

            But make no mistake, just because you can’t see it or haven’t used it doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It is, and nothing you’ve linked and nothing you will ever link from a DSLR will exhibit anywhere near the technical baseline IQ that you get from Blackmagic.

          • Frederik O. on 01.5.13 @ 11:50AM

            Well that seems to be your common approach Kholi :-) On the bmcuser forum you question Andrew Reids credibility as a DP because the GH2 smokes the BMCC in Prores in his video, and your only explanation for the obvious is that Andrey Reid is a bad DP. I have said that the BMCC is by far the better camera… bu the above footage is soso… and not really mind-blowing like the mexico footage.
            Even you said on the thread : “GH2 comes in looking like a champ…” Don’t forget that the GH2 has 244 mbit/s with one hack, and the maximal data rate of the Red One is 280 mbit/s (but is is 4K). So something to think about :-)

          • I didn’t “question” Andrew’s approach, I basically said that Andrew was much more experienced with the GH2, thus the GH2 looked the best out of the cameras.

            If you’re going to quote me, make sure you understand what I’m saying. Like Andrew, who was upset about what I said, you’ve got it completely wrong.

            I’ve got a GH2, had one forever, I know it cuts well with many more expensive cameras. No hack, no tricks, no nothing puts it on the same level. From experience, here. My point was, you’re posting of footage you consider good, well that’s great… if you think those look great then you should be okay shooting with a DSLR, no?

          • If I may ask, what’s a “REAL” dslr footage? That term is too ambiguous for it’s own good. No matter how “REAL” it is …It’ won’t magically fix the technical limitations. All those Canon videos you posted look beautiful for what they are but you ask not to be fooled by the sunset on a quickly shot handheld video yet you post short films, videos with high production values, tons of equipment, narrative, color correction and one of them even took 9 days to shoot..some even had a 2 unit director.

            John Brawley states:

            ” I schlumped down to the beach in the last minutes of light with my poor focus puller and director. I thought people would be interested none the less even though I explained why it was hand held. This wasn’t intended to be a shoot out or test footage. It was a lovely sunset and I shot it for myself. ”

            If you want to compare which videos look “cooler” or more “cinematic” to your liking then congratulations you won hands down with all those “REAL” compressed 8 bit videos with no comparable settings, lighting or lenses. This m4/3 lenses are crazy fast… f/ 0.95 is bound to be soft in most cameras so I don’t see how posting videos shot at sharp apertures in broad daylight (Where most cameras shine) is supposed to prove a point.

            As for the Panasonic GH series, amazing cameras, match beautifully with the BMCC.

            I’m not defending the BMCC footage at all, I shot a feature on a Mark III and I really like it’s’s low light it provides as well as the 35mm sensor. I strongly believe that It’s not the Arrow…it’s the Indian. The camera is nothing more than a tool to help you convey what’s on your mind but if you make an honest comparison… Image Quality wise the BMCC is superior to DSLR technology, there are no tricks, specially the Canon brand…by a mile.

            It’s not that DSLR don’t have great dynamic range, It’s just that the archaic 8 bit codec compresses the footage so damn much that it completely kills any similarity to the BMCC. In top of that the BMC doesn’t have an optical low pass filter so it’s definitely sharper and can be sharpened even more than a 5D, 7D, T4i or any other camera with a 4 years old compressed 8 bit codec, you name it. Some people like to judge the final product but sometimes forget what it takes to get there and how hard it is.

            “The problem with you guys is that you haven’t seen any real DSLR footage”

            First of all, stop assuming…I could easily say that you are the one that haven’t seen any ” R E A L ” Black Magic footage since they’re not in production of for sale yet. It may look somehow similar to a DSLR because well…you know it’s still a Digital Camera but it’s the one that provides the best Image quality and the one closest to film….and that’s what count. (to me)

            The tech is clearly better, now wait for it to be on the hands of people that know how to take advantage of it.

            and in the worst case scenario that you still think it looks no better than a DSLR then you should be pretty happy with it because it gives you a lot more than any DSLR has ever given you at a similar price point.

            (and please don’t watch in HD, download the 2gb file)

          • marklondon on 01.5.13 @ 6:16PM

            That’s a joke.
            It doesn’t look as good as either the Mexico BMC shoot or the Brawley stuff above (and that’s AFTER PL lenses, sharpening and a pro grade).
            Take a look at the aerial as it crosses the sunlit brown hill before the crater 18 seconds in, and tell me you think that’s as sharp as it could be.
            DSLRS are great, but the BMDCC is much sharper, and we’ve yet to even see it with heavyweight glass on it!

        • Frederik O. on 01.5.13 @ 11:13AM

          Another one on the 5D Mark II:

          • Frederik O. on 01.5.13 @ 11:18AM

            And another one that looks sharper than the glorious BMCC from above:


            I could go on like this…

          • Frederik O. on 01.5.13 @ 11:23AM

            Another one that isn’t even color graded, yet the colors look better than from the BMCC video above, it also looks very cinematic: And not so soft:


          • VINCEGORTHO on 01.5.13 @ 2:25PM

            I feel what you’re saying.
            This camera has people thinking it’s technical specs will provide the talent they need to make cinematic footage.
            DSLRs are a great tool. But if your work was mediocre with that, you’re just going to have mediocre work with more color and dynamic range.
            Majority of those who desire the BMC haven’t made full use of their 5DII that now collect dust.
            I still want to see a controlled lighting situation made to look as cinematic as can be.

            How many BMC have been shipped? How many films have been made, yet?
            Just a series of test. Shots of house plants or people minding their own business in public.
            Vimeo should delete these.

          • Oh Fredrik you are so lost. No, those videos that you link to do NOT look better than BMCC footage. Sorry you must calibrate your eyes.

    • There’s no debate here, the BMCC simply gathers more correct information. It’s a better camera through facts alone.

  • DSLR = 8 Bit
    BMCC = 12 Bit

    Just a few billion more colors than a DSLR, no big deal.

    I have the GH2 right now and was considering the Olympus 12mm prime, but this 12mm lens has peaked my interest and it’s a much better price. But I do feel like the Olympus is going to be a much higher quality lens. What do you guys think?

    • VINCEGORTHO on 01.5.13 @ 2:09PM

      The problem is users rarely even use the potential of DSLRs.
      12bit is great if you know what you’re doing. But most footage from DSLR users is terribly over exposed.

      • That’s the competition I am not scared of. I have a GH2 and I have to overexpose it a little sometimes just because I don’t have the correct lighting setup.

        Also DSLR stuff is going to look over exposed because it doesn’t have as good of a dynamic range as this camera, so what’s overexposed on a DSLR can be corrected to look good on the BMCC.

  • The latitude, color and detail of this camera’s sensor is just unreal. 2.5k true raw for $3k.
    PLEASE release it already! :-D

    • marklondon on 01.4.13 @ 9:30PM

      I have clients out the door for this camera (the MFT version). Let’s hope it gets here soon!

      • VINCEGORTHO on 01.5.13 @ 2:31PM

        Why do I get the feeling they are using your pre order money to make the cameras and the all their advertisement was basically their Kickstarter campaign

        • Are you mistaking Digital Bolex for Blackmagic Design?

          I just want to be clear that I didn’t miss Blackmagic’s Kickstarter Campaign for this camera… cause, then that would mean I’m way out of the loop.

  • Not sure why the camera shake is there. They are mostly static shots so use a tripod. And apply stabilization in post.

    • marklondon on 01.4.13 @ 9:29PM


    • Oh god forbid there be any movement whatsoever! What a cardinal sin!

    • John Brawley on 01.5.13 @ 2:07AM

      Maybe it’s because I was on a beach with my only tripod carrying the other production camera I schlumped down to the beach in the last minutes of light with my poor focus puller and director. I thought people would be interested none the less even though I explained why it was hand held.

      Thi wasn’t intended to be a shoot out or test footage. It was a lovely sunset and I shot it for myself.


      • I, for one, am very glad you shot it and put it online. It was a beautiful sunset with rich colour that I enjoyed watching, so thanks!

      • Ha Hilarious! Don’t sweat it John. Beautiful sunset mate.

      • VINCEGORTHO on 01.5.13 @ 2:12PM

        can you please make a video where you educate users how to expose correctly.
        Everything on vimeo (mostly dslr) is poorly done in this regard. When DSLR users make the BMC transition, it wouild be nice to see some footage as well made as yours Mr. Brawley.

      • When I started shooting video, an experienced cameraman once told me: “nobody cares if your fingers were cold or if you didn’t have your tripod with you because your cousin had borrowed it, or if you were hungry and wanted to get home quickly. Nobody cares. All they see is your footage and if it’s not good then it’s not good!”

        So I am sorry, I didn’t watch the whole thing because I have seen too many shaky dslr and small camera videos where someone didn’t use a tripod or stabilization, “because it was just a quick test”.
        I totally hate the shakiness of small cameras and especially can’t stand it when it’s in a video like this, where it doesn’t fit at all the scenery and the mood and the music.

        If you shot it for yourself and you think it is good, that is totally fine. But you can’t upload it to vimeo and hope to get praises from everyone – because it is just shaky, and not because you wanted it to be shaky, but because you didn’t use stabilization.

  • Dave Kendricken on 01.4.13 @ 9:03PM

    Gorgeous stuff.

  • Neil Brimelow on 01.4.13 @ 11:28PM

    If anyone has any doubt that the BMCC is not a step above just about every DSLR out there, then please watch this BMCC Mexico footage.

  • Ruslan Randzhabar on 01.5.13 @ 1:47AM

    What about BMCC with MFT mount + EF to MFT adapter with apeture control (like one from Redrock)? We should be able to use almost any lens and all we lose is Image Stabilization.

  • All this time you convince yourself that you dont want the bmcc, you need great low light, you need massive dof, you need crazy wides, you gotta get full frame…,but see images like this…and your jaw drops..and all those justifications just vanish…SUCH….GORGEOUS….COLOURS AN DYNAMIC RANGE..I WANT A BMCC IN MY LIFE!!!

    • marklondon on 01.5.13 @ 6:22PM

      I’m on the same page. I can rationally explain why you shouldn’t own one, then you see some of the footage and that’s all out the window.

    • Color is key. It’s why the ARRI Alexa is currently the top camera. I haven’t seen it yet, but I know Skyfall was filmed with Alexas and color corrected/graded by Company 3* using DaVinci Resolve so you know the color will look amazing.

      *Reference Notes: For Skyfall ARRIRAW files were captured to Codex drives via T-link connection.Company 3 de-bayered the ARRIRAW files and transcoded the imagery to DPX files, with the CDL metadata remaining intact, to be augmented or revised during the final DI, which was done under Deakins’ supervision by colorists Mitch Paulson and Adam Glasman at Company 3’s London location.

  • So if you could choose one camera, which one would you choose?

    1. BMCC
    3. RED ONE MX
    4. SONY FS-700
    5. CANON C300

    Thank you for honest opinions.

    • 1. scarlet 2. c300 3. fs 700 4. bmc

      • I actually have money for all those above and chose BMCC over both the Scarlet and the C300. I like the picture out of the BMCC more. It is more natural looking and the colors seem more vivid.

    • Augusto Alves da SIlva on 01.10.13 @ 9:36PM

      I don´t understand why every camera has to have a legion of fan boys. I love the image of the BMCC, the Alexa, Epic, GH, 5D, C100,C300,C500…To me cameras are only tools…That is why we have screw drivers and Philips screw drivers…each one has its place and utility…I am a DP not a defender of a single camera. I am not going to shoot my foot. In six months more cameras will have been released and for half the price…Or perhaps wait until NAB and you´ll see Black Magic anouncing a 4K cine camera with half of the pre-orders still waiting…. :-)

    • Daniel Mimura on 01.18.13 @ 3:46PM

      R1MX cuz uncompressed RAW of the BMCC is almost 6 times the file sizes for only 60% of the resolution.

      And also BMCC last because unlike the other four cameras, it doesn’t exist except in prototype.