July 19, 2016 at 5:10AM


BMPCC lens

I recently purchased a BlackMagic Pocket cinema camera. I am trying to make a documnetry which will invlove:
Interviews with people, Shots of the city and streets, and possibly nature shots. I have at most 1000 USD to spend and would like to buy lens/ lenses which look cinematic which gives the image character. I wouldnt mind getting a speedbooster for nikon or ef as I have no lens collection whatsoever. I just want a really nice cinematic image with a professional look.


Does anyone have any thoughts?

July 20, 2016 at 2:02AM


I shot my entire first feature with the BMPCC. The trailer is on my profile. We shot mostly on a 14 mm panasonic lens (the one that appears on the box of the Black Magic)

Chris Foster

July 27, 2016 at 10:48AM

One of the advantages of the BMPCC is it's Super16 format sensor and M4/3 mount, which allow it to accept a wide range of lens options.

A key for selecting lenses for a smaller format like S16, is finding a suitable wide angle lens. Compared to the more typical Super35 format, lenses on S16 yield approx. 1/2 the field of view (for example, a 24mm lens on S16 will have a FOV similar to a 50mm lens on S35). This can offset to a degree by using a Focal Reducer (an adapter with an optical element that increases FOV and amount of light entering into the lens).

True "native" S16 cinema lenses are expensive and may be more of a rental item. Thus for a more limited budget, you probably going to be looking at still lenses.

Below is my personal short list:
1) Canon 25-100mm C Mount Lens $250
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYmJ9vm9V38
2) Canon 15-150mm C Mount Lens @ $500
- https://vimeo.com/80767443
3) Nikon 17-35mm @ $800

You'll note that lenses above are:
- All manual lenses (manual focus/aperture), which is how I prefer my lenses.
- Zoom Lenses, which I find is more suitable for a documentary style shoot.
- Older optics, which in my opinion cuts the "digital" look.

Hope this helps!


July 20, 2016 at 6:56AM

John Dimalanta
Freelance Photographer/Cinematographer

You have any lenses already?

I think it is not a bad idea at all to go with a speed booster. Whether it's EF or Nikon it will massively open up your lens possibilities and give you an extra stop of light. If are able to pair that with something like a 17-50 f2.8 you're already in a pretty good place coverage wise. If you want to go true cinematic the Sigma 18-35 is bloody brilliant but it won't give you a long zoom.

July 21, 2016 at 4:38AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

I have a lot to say about this, but I'll try to keep it short.

If you have the money and don't mind switching out lenses, then I recommend getting something like a set of Voigtlander Primes. There are other new cinema-grade sets of primes like Lomos and Cookes that are awesome.

I don't have a ton of money, and most of the lenses that work well with this camera's sensor aren't going to be as useful when you upgrade to a camera with a larger sensor. Because of this, I couldn't justify spending the money on a set of fancy new lenses. The problem with zoom lenses on this sensor size is you need something that starts wide enough at a fast enough aperture to be useful.

I think the Sigma 18-35 plus Metabones is probably the right choice, but it won't give you the soft organic look (that it seems like) you're looking for. It sort of turns your cinema camera into a camcorder, which would be very useful for doc work. That being said, I'm not sure the BMPCC would be an awesome doc camera unless you really solve your battery situation and have a good audio set-up that can help sync sound.

The Canon 25-100mm C Mount above is my favorite lens listed above, but it starts kind of close (25mm on Super-16 is a close portrait equivalent).

If you want to go vintage zoom and you are committed to spending $1,000 anyways, I suggest the Angenieux 17-70mm. That's what I would buy, at least. Here's a video: https://vimeo.com/100655284

There are other Angenieux zooms, some of them are really beautiful, and others are less so. There's also a Canon 12-120mm that people are very fond of: https://vimeo.com/127246002 -- this one is f2.2 but I think there are faster variations as well (for more money).

There are other weird vintage zooms you might want to research. I'd suggest looking into Bolex H16 lenses, Bell and Howell Filmo lenses, and other super 16 lenses. Some of these will have varying amounts of vignetting, which I don't mind, but you might. Remember: a lot of these lenses are just plain old (rather than old and "vintage" beautiful) and aren't worth shelling out a ton of money.

The newer zooms that I know about are:

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 for nikon -- $400 + Roxsen focal reducer = $500
Cheaper alternative, not amazing looking but would get the job done. The focal reducer would (probably?) make this lens fast enough.

(as mentioned above) Sigma DC 18-35mm f/1.8 -- $600 + metabones speedboster = $1100
I think this would be a good answer for doc work because you get all the camera's auto features like auto aperture and image stabilization. This looks "professional" but not necessarily as "organic" as other lenses.

Then there's the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 -- $800
I think this lens looks really nice, and you get auto features, but you couldn't use it at night or indoors without additional lighting.

You might want to go for a newer zoom. Vintage manual focus/aperture zooms might be kind of touchy to get the right shot, which doesn't lend itself to fast-paced doc work. If you want "soft, organic, vintage" it might be better to get a fast, wide prime and run around with that. It would limit you, but it would also make your life easier and streamline your look. Wide for the BMPCC is like 8mm to 17.5mm

The best (sometimes inexpensive, but usually not) Vintage Super 16mm primes (for my eyeballs) are:
zeiss standard speeds
cooke speed panchros
optar illuminas
Schneider Cinegons
cooke kinetals
carl zeiss tevidons
and then some Angenieuxs, Kern Switars, and Wollensak are decent depending on the lens.
I've seen some forum posts about vintage Kinoptic and Lomos, but I didn't do much research on those brands. People also really like the Kowa 8mm.

Watch out for CCTV lenses because they have nice-ish glass, but they're hard to focus to infinity and you'll have to get them adapted/machined, and I think they are a stupid investment in the long run (unless you find them really cheap). They're not really cheap on Ebay anymore because of nerds.

Also, at this point, vintage c mount lenses aren't a secret anymore, and you'll probably overpay for them on Ebay.

There are people who have spent a lot of time researching this stuff -- check out the facebook group "C Mount on M4/3" if you want to fall down a lens rabbit hole.

And then new primes worth considering:
- The SLR Magic primes, which I don't think look that great for the money.
- The olympus 17mm f1.8 looks pretty good and is cheap.
- Again, the Panasonic leica-made lumix lenses are awesome. I think the widest is 20mm which I decided wasn't wide enough for me.
- And then there are the Voigtlander primes, which I think are my favorite for the money (if you're going to go new).

Ultimately, it really depends on the look you're going for -- so my favorites might not be your favorites. My knowledge comes from internet research -- I don't have enough money to do hands-on research on most of these lenses. There might be some lenses I'm missing. I gave up researching at some point and just bought a lens and started shooting cuz that's what this is all about, right?

July 21, 2016 at 11:18AM

Alex Phillips

Nikkor/Nikon Non-AI glass have lots of character and provide rich looking footage, especially when shooting RAW. You can pick these up for a lot less than the AI/AI-S models. My favorite is the Nikkor Pre-AI F2 35mm. A Metabones Speedbooster is a worthwhile investment if you want to maximize of the utility of the BMPCC. The off brand speed boosters are a real mixed, with some unable to accurately pull focus with some vintage lenses.

July 21, 2016 at 1:21PM, Edited July 21, 1:24PM

Marc B
Shooter & Editor

I use a Nikon speedbooster with my BMPCC, but before I got that I had both a Panasonic 12-35 and an Olympus 12-40 (not at the same time obviously, as they're very similar lenses). I much prefer the Olympus - not only do you get the meager extra zoom, but it has a repeatable focus rack, which is lacking on the Panasonic.

If I had my druthers I'd get a Minolta MD speedbooster for it (which Metabones does not make - they only make one for Micro 4/3), but there are a few off-brand ones. I have no idea how well they work, I've never used one, but I'm always inclined to try them. I have a lot of nice Minolta glass and love being able to control aperture manually.

But, if you are looking for a straight lens with no adapter or Speedbooster, I recommend the Oly 12-40 f2.8. Served me well for a long time.

July 21, 2016 at 6:27PM

Matt Williams
Director of Photography

I'm in the same boat. Those old manual Minolta MC lenses are my go-to vintage glass, but the flange distance of Rokkor glass make these difficult to use on the BMPCC with a standard MC to M43 adapter.

Marc B

July 22, 2016 at 8:36AM

I would buy the Olympus 12-40 f/2.8 Pro. A great lens!

July 22, 2016 at 4:15AM

Simone Salvatore
Filmmaker / Recording Engineer / Musician

I recommend the 12mm-35mm f/2.8 from Panasonic and a Heliopan ND filter - both could be had for about $1,000: http://microbudge.com/tools

July 22, 2016 at 10:21AM


Just an additional point, but I've never found stabilisation that great on my bmpcc and I spend half the time cramping up like crazy trying to keep it stable, even on the panasonic 12-35. I'd prioritise the lens over stabilisation and just make sure you have a monopod/tripod or something with you at all times. Good luck

July 25, 2016 at 3:30AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

And while you get those Lens make sure you get an IR Cut filter... you will want to avoid IR contamination which is prevalent. I have the BMPCC i use it to do Music Videos, Commercial Work, Films...Everything, and a bunch of other stuff. Mine is heavily rigged. Its a wonderful camera but make sure you sort out the IR Cut Filter. Another thing, Be Careful of the vintage lenses, they characteristics may not work for commercial work so if you are going to buy some of them look online for test done with that lens to make sure its what you really want. Happy Shooting!

July 25, 2016 at 3:34PM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

+1 for IR cut. It's not worth leaving home with out one as you'll regret it if the sun comes out. I'd get as big as possible and some step-up rings so that you can use it on any lens.

July 26, 2016 at 1:09AM

Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director

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