September 18, 2014 at 6:48PM

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BMCC MFT or BMPC 4K ?

So, I've been looking into getting a new camera, and I'm curious what input/advice some of you guys may have?

Two cameras in considering are the Blackmagic models, 2.5k Cinema and the 4K Production.

The 2.5k can run for $1000-1500 used with Davinci Resolve included. A lot of my lenses wouldn't particularly work well with the 2.3x crop, but with an MFT mount, I can get a speed booster and still get a S35 look with my Nikkor glass. The 2.5k camera is better in low light, I've heard, but it has some Moire & aliasing compared to its 4K counterpart, which also has issues of FPN (Fixed Pattern Noise) and isn't the greatest in low light, but has a built in S35 sensor and an EF mount.

What do you guys think? This is really just for narrative work, not so much business. Any opinions or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

17 Comments

I can definitely say that the 4k is terrible in low light - and sometime in bright light... or good light - or when not plugged in. Speaking of which, they have terrible batteries - if you plan I buying then you MUST consider a power option because when shot our feature this summer we used the 4k and had to pull extension cords everywhere because the battery is not a battery. I used all Nikkor glass and I think you'll find the EF mount a better option on either. Get yourself a nice Novoflex adapter and they work great. All in all its a decent camera and we are happy with the quality of what we shot - but there are many challenges to using them that you'll want to get comfortable with before going into the field.

September 18, 2014 at 9:28PM

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Scott Selman
Content Creator | Filmmaker | Producer
962

Thanks!

Matt Bastos

September 19, 2014 at 6:08PM

I have a 4K and a 2.5K

4K low light is terrible, FPN isn't terrible especially at 200iso-400iso, now having options of ProRes HQ, LQ, 422, Proxy makes a huge difference in media storage requirements so its not longer a media beast.

2.5K is better in low light, however still only 800iso but does hold a lot better, no compressed RAW means its a media hog at RAW, The crop factor sucks, but once you get use to it its kind of nice when you want to shoot long lens stuff a 135mm becomes a 300mm basically, but sucks for wide stuff however still possible. With the speed booster that all goes away and your back to a s35 anyways. Just remember its passive lens mount if you go MTF.

Both require a rig to make work so I am assuming you have already thought of that and are prepared for it. They need a battery system and monitor more than most cameras.

September 19, 2014 at 1:10PM

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Chase Axton
Cinematographer
1176

Thanks, Chase!

Yeah, I have all manual glass right now, so whether or not the mount is active doesn't mean too much to me.

I have a camera rig now, and I plan to buy a battery (if I go with the BMCC). Such a tough choice! I might decide to rent them first, and shoot a short with it, to see how it goes.

Matt Bastos

September 19, 2014 at 6:10PM

I have a 2.5K MFT, and I've used a good friend's 4K a fair bit... not enough to get a full sense of the differences, but I don't regret getting the 2.5K one bit.

The 4K takes great images, but the 2.5K's higher dynamic range feels more visually powerful in most circumstances than higher resolution. And even though I've migrated from the 5D Mark II and have a lot of Canon mount lenses, the MFT mount is fantastic for acquiring new lenses. It can fit almost any lens out there (including high-quality yet cheap ones that don't use all the extra glass required for longer flange distances), so until Blackmagic announces a 4K MFT, that's another plus for the Cinema Camera.

The 4K has some troubling issues with noise, and not just the fixed pattern noise that gets a lot of attention. It has more issues in lower light, and worse performance at ISO 800 (which is where it's capped, while the 2.5K goes to 1600). The results speak for themselves here: https://vimeo.com/90530653

That said, the 4K's global shutter is quite nice, and puts an end to the "jellocam effect" that made such a bad stir during the height of the HDSLR period. I'd argue this is something that your average viewer is unlikely to notice or be bothered by (and can, to a fair degree, be fixed in post), but if you're doing a lot of action-filled camera movement, the 4K may have an edge if you're shooting in well-lit environments.

If it comes down to price being an issue, I highly recommend the 2.5K without question. An active mount would have been nicer, but it's only a problem when using native, electronic MFT lenses. Again, since MFT sits closer to the sensor than almost any other lens mount, the world of compatible lenses opens up dramatically with this camera with the help of (cheap!) adapters.

September 19, 2014 at 9:30PM

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Sean Parker
writer/director/editor
143

I thought the same! Thanks friend.

Matt Bastos

September 24, 2014 at 10:00AM

I thought the same! Thanks friend.

Matt Bastos

September 24, 2014 at 10:00AM, Edited September 24, 10:00AM

I think the speedboosted BMCC delivers the best image under 10k at the moment. The only big reason to go with the Production camera is if you do stuff with tons of motion. BMCC has a little more moire and aliasing but honestly I've only had it mess up 1-2 shots in shooting thousands of shots over 2 years. That extra dynamic range and low light ability is just killer. I've shot usable footage at ISO 6400 (1600 boosted 2 stops in post).
Can't go wrong with either one though.

September 20, 2014 at 10:02PM

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Neither - I recommend the pocket camera. Lighter, can pack just as much dynamic range as the BMCC and probably will use a host of your lenses that you already have. I work at a mega church as a video guy and the BMCC (and its 4k counterpart) is heavy and oddly-shaped. If you're doing narrative work, especially run-n-gun stuff, I'd recommend the pocket cam.

September 22, 2014 at 2:08AM

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I have actually been really interested in the pocket camera. I was a little turned off by the Super 16 sensor, but with a Speedbooster option or the rental of Super16 glass, it could be really cool to work with!

Matt Bastos

September 24, 2014 at 10:18AM

Absolutely go for the BMCC MFT, as it is much cheaper, better at low light, and has a m4/3 mount which is mirrorless (thus opening up lens choices hugely). Only get the BMPC4K if a global shutter is *essential*, and you're willing to gain that at the expense of all the other negatives of the BMPC4K. Also, do check out the BMPCC as it is offers the same image quality as the BMCC but at a cheaper price and in a smaller package (I went with a BMPCC myself).

September 22, 2014 at 4:46AM

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David Peterson
Wedding Cinematographer
2394

Thanks David! What sort of lenses do you find yourself using with the BMPCC? I have been heavily interesting in those cameras, but some of my lenses being for full frame or Super35/APSC, I've been on the fence. But I have been looking at some Super16 glass, such as the 10-100mm 2.8 Zeiss Arri B mount. Very enticing.

Matt Bastos

September 24, 2014 at 10:20AM

Hi. My opinion it's like the feloww... go for the 2.5 k BMCC or the pocket but not for the 4K (at less you need that)... the 2.5k Still having more look of cinema...

September 25, 2014 at 2:47AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7641

Blackmagic Cameras are incredibly frustrating, we had a BMPC and we sent it back as it was unusable, bad FPN even in daylight at 200 ISO (apparently quality and level of FPN varies from camera to camera which should tell you something about quality control). We never shot RAW on it but some of the ProRes we shot was amazing and very cinematic.

We went with the BMCC my friend and colleague quite likes it purely for the image but we both hate the ergonomics and interface. Both our shooting styles are very economical and fast, not quite run and gun but near enough and the size and shape of the cameras is all wrong (there's an element of DIY project about it) for a shoulder rig. We shot 4 and a bit TBs for 80% of a feature using RAW and I found post work flow a lot of extra effort with proxies and bouncing around but graded footage looks amazing and you can pull over/under exposure back quite a bit. Don't forget to budget extra for storage (and backup).

Can't comment on MFT but as others have said I would go for EOS mount or get the pocket camera, which is the only camera BM have got right so far (and it's not without it's issues).

I would still rather use my 5D Mark II than any Black Magic camera and I'm selling that to buy a A7S as I think it is the only viable camera in this price range.

October 12, 2014 at 10:26AM

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Studio LAX
Editor/Producer/Director
413

I have the BMPC. My camera came with the latest firm-ware, and has no FPN problems, and has no noise when shot at 200-400 ISO. You can shoot low-light at 200-400ISO and boost the image in post ProRes or Raw and it will look very nice. The high light and low light recovery in Raw is crazy.

Here is one sample of low-light to show what can be achieved at 200ISO with decent glass in horrible available lighting. https://vimeo.com/96297619

I think people bash this camera because they want an awesome look from inexpensive lenses and are too lazy to use lights. I come from a studio photography background. I shoot fashion and beauty in NYC. I am very comfortable using lights and the emotion they create. Those who bash this camera IMHO probably have a reality show aesthetic and want to film plein air style with available light. This camera climaxes with decent light.

I was little frustrated when I first got the camera, because I did not understand the beauty of the BlackMagic sensor or system of cameras. But as I am learning the BlackMagic system, this camera continues to surprise me what it can do.

The global shutter produces a very elegant image. The skin tones out of camera are drop dead gorgeous, and the detail is out of this world. So many people are sleeping on the BMPC4k/BMCC2.5K Don't be one of them.

I am very happy with my camera and the images it creates = $$$.

April 17, 2015 at 1:48AM

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'd like to ask a newbie question: since BMCC has an MFT mount, adding a speed booster like the "metabones Canon EF Lens to BMCC Speed Booster" will mean to use EF lenses. But then should I always use the speed booster and buy EF lenses or should I buy MFT lenses? Thank you!

March 9, 2016 at 11:08AM

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Jan
75

BMCC/BMPCC with Metabones Speed Booster unless you do a lot of panning. The BMCC has better DR, a much preferred color science and intercuts well with Alexa footage.

October 25, 2016 at 1:45PM, Edited October 25, 1:46PM

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Marc B
Shooter & Editor
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