Well, unexpected would be an understatement. I triple-checked the information very early this morning to make sure I wasn't seeing things. Today at IBC Blackmagic announced that they will be introducing a model of the Cinema Camera with a Micro 4/3 mount (same mount used on the Panasonic GH2). One of the biggest complaints about the camera was the lens mount being EF only, and now this issue has been addressed. This is fantastic news -- but there is a little bit of a catch.
Thanks to Luke Neumann for bringing this to my attention at 3:30AM EST. First, here are some pictures to salivate over:
A catch you say? Yes, the catch is that this mount will be what we call a dumb mount (or passive as Blackmagic calls it) -- though it's unclear if it will ever be able to receive electronic iris controls (though based on what John Brawley saws below that seems more promising now). This means there will not be any electronic control between the lens and the camera -- so you must use lenses with a manual iris ring. The old model will be renamed the Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF, and this model will be named the Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT to avoid confusion.
According to John Brawley, here is the deal with pre-orders and when you can expect the camera to be available:
As the mount will initially be passive, you should think about this mount if you are happy with manual IRIS lenses...So to recap, the m4/3 version will be IDENTICAL to the EF version in every other respect, and you should be able to switch your order without penalty (dealer dependent). The m4/3 version will start shipping in December.
Now users have some choices to make. If you go with the Canon mount camera, you'll be able to enjoy electronic control of the lenses as well as image stabilization (at some point, since it's not enabled just yet). If you go with the MFT version, you won't be able to use Micro Four Thirds lenses that do not have an iris ring, as there will be no way to control the aperture -- not to mention all other lens mounts will need adapters that can handle lenses without an iris ring if you choose to use one. The only way that automatic iris MFT lenses will work is if the iris opens to full wide as you mount the lens, and then you would only be able to use the lens at its widest aperture. Admittedly I don't know how this will work on the new camera, but you will most likely want to stick with manual iris MFT lenses.
This definitely makes the camera a lot more interesting for a lot more people. While we could get really picky and ask for completely interchangeable mounts, the fact that Blackmagic listened to the complaints and is introducing a MFT model is a huge deal. What this really means is that the BMCC can now use almost any lens ever made, including expensive PL glass -- without needing to modify the back of the lens. Check out this handy chart from Samuel Hurtado to see exactly what lenses you can adapt.
So now that we've gone over lenses for the EF only model, let's go over what lenses might work well with this camera -- and their equivalent 5D Mark II/Mark III field of view (since they need to have a manual iris):
- Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Micro Four Thirds Lens (57.5mm)
- Voigtlander Nokton 17.5mm f/0.95 Lens for Micro 4/3 Cameras (40.25mm)
- SLR Magic HyperPrime 50mm F0.95 micro four thirds (115mm)
- SLR Magic HyperPrime CINE 12mm T1.6 micro four thirds (27.6mm)
So there are definitely some interesting options now at the wider end, especially those lenses capable of opening up all the way to f/.95 (which also give you another stop in low-light over an f/1.4 lens). So while this news isn't perfect, it's about the best thing Blackmagic could have done based on all the feedback with the EF mount only camera body.
Blackmagic also announced a few other new products, and I'll be detailing the more interesting ones in a future update. You can pre-order either version from the links below, and you can also check out some more photos from John Brawley below.
What do you guys think?
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera EF -- B&H
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera MFT -- B&H
- Blackmagic Cinema Camera Models -- Blackmagic Website