January 14, 2018 at 12:55AM

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BMPCC upgrade?

I've been using the Blackmagic Pocket for 4+ years now and it's been a great little camera.
My question is, should I invest in gear to work around the camera's pitfalls (lowlight, battery life, crop sensor) or should I upgrade my camera to something that handles those issues better?

If you think I should upgrade my camera, what would you recommend that will perform better than the BMPCC?

14 Comments

I currently have low budget solutions to the camera's issues, but it adds time to the setup and isn't as reliable. It gets annoying to deal with, especially with run & gun work.
So should I buy a focal reducer, monitor, and a big camera cage to build a better rig? Or should I buy a new camera that fixes the issues I'm dealing with?

January 14, 2018 at 1:02AM

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David Cunningham
freelance filmmaker/photographer
249

What kinds of videos do you shoot the most? Are you getting paid for them? What do you like shooting? What is your style?

If you're videos are more run and gun, but you typically use stabilizers such as 3 axis gimbals, tripods or monopods, a GH4/5 would be a great choice. Has a lot more to offer a run and gun shooter; a great codec, small form factor (like the BMPCC), less crop with the same lens mount as the BMPCC, has better battery life, log profile, better low light, etc. However, if you have time to set up lights, you might be better off with the BMPCC.

If low light is the most important, the original A7s comes in around the price of the GH5 with much better low light, slightly worse codec (8 bit instead of 10 bit), it is full frame so it eliminates the crop entirely, however it is second only to BMPCC with bad battery life.

I guess I'm saying it depends. I shoot with a Canon C100 (but have shot with the cameras listed above including the BMPCC). I own and shoot with the C100 because; I like the way it fits my hand, XLR is an absolute must, never short on EF lenses, 5 hours of recording off one battery, low light is great up to about 10,000 ISO, the codec is good enough for what I shoot, and I am entirely biased towards the Canon color science.

January 14, 2018 at 9:51AM, Edited January 14, 10:01AM

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Matthias Claflin
Videographer
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I'm highly considering the Canon Cinema line cameras for my next camera upgrade. After shooting with the BMPCC for so long, I can't downgrade with dynamic range and the codec it offers. I mainly shoot event and interview type videos. I do get paid for them, but I'm not at the point where I have enough work to spend $2000+ on an entirely new system and lenses.
I think I'll try to get my gear in a more usable state until I've saved up enough for a big upgrade.
And the more I think about the other options, I think I'd like to keep the pocket as a B cam. So maybe selling it for a newer system wouldn't be the best idea.

Thanks for responding and helping me sort out what I should do about this!

David Cunningham

January 16, 2018 at 12:27AM

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bloxorz

January 15, 2018 at 4:57AM

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I think a good option to look into would be a Sony FS100 if you want to get something that removes the BMPCC hang ups.
1. It has wonderful battery life with cheap battery options ($20 for off brand),
2. XLR on board
3. Good dynamic range and Super 35mm sensor. The Color profiles will need to be tweaked to match the BMPCC more closely, but this camera is older so there is lots of info on color profiles.
4. E-Mount Mirrorless mount which is great for adapting lenses to. I use canon EF for zooms and vintage Nikons for primes. Both are plentiful and affordable.
5. Price used is between $800-$1000 for a solid body only kit.
6. 1080p 60fp and internal slow motion.

There are some short comings on this camera such as the 8-bit codec and form factor can be odd. It does however provide a lot of quality for the price and would remove a lot of the BMPCC's weaknesses you mentioned. I shoot events, interviews, and music videos on mine and have loved it for the shear usability it offered over a DSLR-style camera. Just another option to think about, and my two cents.

January 16, 2018 at 11:10AM

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Kyle Acker
Cinematographer/ Video Editor
502

Thanks! I'll definitely do some research and see about trying it out!

David Cunningham

January 17, 2018 at 7:40PM

The FS100 has impressive color science, but it's 8-bit codec is a turn off. If I was going Sony retro, I'd consider an F3 with S-Log, which has all of the benefits of the FS100 but also provides the option for 2K/4:4:4 and 1080P/RAW capture with an external recorder. They are selling for about $1000 these days.

Marc B

January 18, 2018 at 4:37PM, Edited January 18, 4:37PM

I can definitely see where the F3 would be a great pick up! The only thing would be cost to get all that benefit.
$1000 - $1200 for a body
$$$ For PL lenses or $200 for an ef adapter
$230 per camera media
$600-800 for a recorder that supports raw
$100+ for SSDs for the Recorder

At that point, you could also swing for the FS700 with the 4k license. They run around $2300 for the body. You would also get super slow-mo, 4k Raw/ 4:4:4 formats, and s-log. You would get to keep the ND filters from the F3 as well as have a more versatile mount to put glass on. This would be a little bit pricier than an F3 but would be "future proof" in a sense that your resolution will be useful into the future.

Just my two cents on the cameras. Any of those choices mentioned by Marc or myself would be good options, but look at what you need ultimately.

Kyle Acker

February 6, 2018 at 12:11AM

That's a tough question for sure. I would say if your doing paid gigs, the blackmagic is not as good of a workflow as the other options mentioned above, ie. gh4/5 or sony a7s.
But if your doing your own projects and want the best filmic look you cannot beat blackmagic for the price. I would recommend shooting raw with the pocket though, I figure if your going to deal with all of those pitfalls you should at least let it do what it does best. So if your doing your own projects and can have a slower turn around, get all those things focal reducer, monitor, and a big camera cage and some more large memory cards and external hard drives for storage.

January 16, 2018 at 7:41PM, Edited January 16, 7:42PM

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chris shenkle
Filmmaker, Dp, Actor, Singer
86

Yeah I agree with you there! It's great for short films and I would like to keep it as a B camera and hopefully buy a new A camera that's more run and gun.
Thanks for the response!

David Cunningham

January 17, 2018 at 7:42PM, Edited January 17, 7:42PM

I was in a similar position, trying to manage a clunky BMPCC rig for jobs that, really, just needed a traditional video camera. I got a C100 mk2 and life became so much easier, for the reasons Matthias mentions. Imagine, as a BMPCC user, being able to 'forget' about power, card space, monitoring, ND filters, audio... everything is right there. You'll miss the BMPCC image, but you can hang on to that camera for special projects with more time.

January 17, 2018 at 5:22PM

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Yeah I really think that's the route I should take for this! I just need to film some local commercials/interview type videos to save up for something like the c100 mk2 or an FS100 so I can have a reliable run and gun camera for those more professional shoots.
Thanks for your help!

David Cunningham

January 17, 2018 at 7:44PM

So I think my plan is to get some upgrades to my BMPCC and do some jobs that don't require fast turn around or run and gun work.
I'll just save up from doing that until I can purchase a c100 or Sony Fs700 (unless I find some other camera to look into/rent during my research)

January 20, 2018 at 10:29PM

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David Cunningham
freelance filmmaker/photographer
249

I have been shooting with the BMPCC for nearly 5 years now and still love it. I use it for travel mostly. Can't really beat the price/image quality and the DR is pretty amazing considering the form factor. I think it all depends on what you want to shoot. If it is travel then I still haven't found a better option. I own a C100 MKII too and if you're looking for a great camera for pretty much any jobs, especially small set ups or run and gun, without emptying your bank account then this is the one. The image, colour, ergonomics and battery life are spectacular. If you love the Blackmagic image and you're looking to invest in a more serious camera then the Ursa Mini Pro is pretty amazing. I go one recently and have been using it in more controlled environments or more landscape stuff. It's a powerful camera and the image is really stunning. Hope this helps.

March 26, 2018 at 5:25PM

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Florent Piovesan
Filmmaker / photographer
126

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