November 9, 2017 at 11:22AM

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BMPCC or LX 100 For First Camera?

Hey, thank you everyone for your time. I would appreciate recommendations for a first camera. I would be filming outdoor scenes mostly and don't need to be able to record sound.

I am looking at the Panasonic LX100 and the BMPCC. The LX100 is more affordable, seems simpler to use, and provides great image quality for the price. The BMPCC would cost me quite a bit more to set up it seems (I am looking at used camera + speedbooster + lens) but I do prefer the filmic image quality, although I also really like the 4K quality from the LX100.

Thank you for your time.

- James

6 Comments

If you go with the BMPCC, I wouldn't bother with a speed booster. There is lots of great, affordable micro 4/3 lenses on eBay. Not to mention Panasonic is making some great lenses and when you can afford it, Veydra makes some great cinema lenses for micro 4/3.

That being said, I would recommend going with the BMPCC because of the interchangeable lens system. I think this is essential when purchasing a camera for filmmaking.

November 11, 2017 at 11:39AM, Edited November 11, 11:42AM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
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Thank you for your insight, Matthias.

James Miller

November 11, 2017 at 7:57PM

I actually wanted to go into more detail but I didn't have time when I wrote this. The LX100 also uses a highly compressed codec, which is fine when you are starting out but will quickly become limiting. With the BMPCC you have the option of ProRes (very versatile format) and RAW which gives you plenty of room to grow.

The problem I saw with the LX100 is that the lens is roughly a 24-70 (35mm equivalent) which to me has always left something to be desired. I regularly shoot anywhere from 85mm to 200mm. However it is also variable aperture, meaning that on the short end (24mm) it is a f/1.8 and on the long end (70mm) it is f/2.8. This is to be expected from a camera at this price point, however this points to two problems; 1) The sensor is micro four thirds, and therefore if you put an 85mm f/1.4 on the BMPCC it is going to do much better than the 70mm f/2.8 on the LX100 in low light (assuming you keep them around their native ISO). If low light is important to you, then really neither of these cameras are right for you, but the BMPCC can at least change to a faster lens when needed, and 2) the LX100 isn't going to give you a really shallow depth of field if you want it, even zoomed in all the way.

If you absolutely must have slow-mo, then the LX100 really is the only choice here. It has 60fps in 1080p where as the BMPCC only does 30fps or 24fps.

When it comes down to it, I don't need to go over all the specs with you, I'm sure you've done your research. It depends on what you are looking for, I suppose. If you are looking for a great filmmaking camera, you can't go wrong with the BMPCC, however if you want a camera to just mess around with in your spare time that requires little to no effort, the LX100 is definitely the only option of the two. The BMPCC is going to have a steep learning curve but when you do learn it, you'll be able to jump to any cinema camera on the market and have a reasonably good idea of how to use it.

That being said, I shot a short film this year on the BMPCC in RAW with some old Ziess Super Speed MKiis that I rented. They were dirt cheap to rent and gave me an amazing image. If you want I can send you a couple shots from it (as the editing isn't actually finished so you can see in some footage not compressed by youtube or vimeo.

Matthias Claflin

November 12, 2017 at 12:39AM

Hey James,

I recently co-directed and co-shot a short with a BMPCC, check the link below to get a sense of what the camera is capable of...

http://www.cbc.ca/shortdocs/shorts//night-strike

I have to echo some of Matthias' points regarding the image quality of these cameras (namely the ability to shoot in ProRes or Raw), which gives you a lot more options when colour correcting your footage in post. Also, the dynamic range on these cameras is pretty impressive as well -- very helpful if you are shooting in low light situations. A con would definitely be lack of slo-mo. Lack of 4K is possibly a concern, though not a deal breaker as most mobile devices (and this is a personal rather than scientific opinion) can't really distinguish between a good HD image and 4K, so it ultimately depends on where you plan on distributing your work. The batteries drain fast on these puppies as well but there are workarounds if you need to shoot continuously for 60+ minutes. Ultimately, it's what you do with your camera that counts, people are shooting with iPhones these days right?! So if cost is a real barrier then my advice would be to hone your craft with a "starter" camera. Good luck and happy filming!

November 13, 2017 at 12:55AM, Edited November 13, 12:57AM

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Darren Video
Director/Editor
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Thank you for sharing your short documentary, Darren. I really appreciated it. The BMPCC definitely produces great quality video.

When you say lack of slo-mo, does that just mean that because it can't shoot at a high frame rate slow motion won't look smooth?

Thanks.

James Miller

November 13, 2017 at 12:41PM

Yes exactly James, as Matthias mentioned above the BMPCC can only record at 24 and 30fps, you would need a higher frame rate (generally 60fps or higher) to produce smooth slow motion.

Regards,
Darren

November 13, 2017 at 2:00PM

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Darren Video
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