November 13, 2016 at 2:02PM

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Lumix G7 or BMPCC

I've been looking for a new camera to purchase for video. I've narrowed my search down to two options: the Panasonic Lumix G7 or the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. I'm by no means an active filmmaker, but would love to be soon. I'd also use this camera to document a road trip. I'm a college student on a budget, but I could afford the G7. But should I save up for the BMPCC, or just get the G7 as an entry level? Thanks!

16 Comments

I'd suggest a used GH3. It's a solid step up from the G7 for about the same price. The BMPCC is just a bad mirrorless camera with raw capability. It really makes you work long and hard at getting a usable image both on-set and in post-production.

November 14, 2016 at 8:22AM

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Dude... dont tell the guy that! you sound like a freaking Panasonic Fanboy! You didn't even give a constructive feedback!...? Look man Its going to come down to choice. Based on what you described though, the Panasonic Camera would be your best bet as you need to run and Gun and you need to just get shots while having fun and battery life would be of paramount importance to you. The BMPCC is not a Run and Gun camera... its a professional film camera which means it will need some additional peripherals to make it work. Ah mean i would take mine if i was the one shooting because id want the creative latitude when im through shooting. When you shoot with the BMPCC and you you give it the proper treatment, its heavenly. The BMPCC has been used on feature films you just need to know what you are doing with the camera as it is a professional camera. It pains me to say this but, i can agree with dude up top that the Gh3 would be a good camera for you to get that will serve you with other projects that you may have.

Wentworth Kelly

November 14, 2016 at 11:46AM

Where does the g7's 4K-1080 downscaling put it in comparison with the gh3's 1080?
(sorry, I replied to the wrong response)

Easton Oliver

November 14, 2016 at 5:31PM

i'd agree or a Blackmagic micro, it also pack a nice punch.

Lucas Brothers

November 15, 2016 at 9:25PM

Stupid double-post

November 14, 2016 at 2:30PM, Edited November 14, 2:31PM

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Where does the g7's 4K-1080 downscaling put it in comparison with the gh3's 1080?

Easton Oliver

November 14, 2016 at 5:28PM

Wait, you yell at me for my feedback but agree with it? :D

I have no ties to Panasonic and have used a great wealth of other cameras, including BM. I won't go into why the BMPCC is not a professional (nor film) camera as I've listed many of its issues on other threads. The GH3 isn't professional for that matter, but is much better for a beginner on a budget.

Having to tack on a bunch of extras to make something practical is not a sign of a professional device, it's a sign of poor design. Professional cameras don't need to have their optical blocks replaced, a bunch of weird rigging to go hand-held, don't have to make sure there's no fast movement etc. I seriously considered getting a BMPCC myself, but the cost of converting it was the same as buying a camera that didn't need all that. The deal breaker was that there's no way to fix the rolling shutter, which is far worse than even a modest consumer camcorder.

November 14, 2016 at 2:31PM, Edited November 14, 2:31PM

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Easy one:

Do you need a camera that you can use for every kind of film? Or do you need a camera that you will only use for cinematic work?

If it's the first one you'll take the G7. If it's the second one take the BMPCC.

That because BlackMagic cameras are made for cinematic work only. That's the only thing you need to check if the choice is between a BlackMagic and a non-BlackMagic camera.

November 14, 2016 at 3:49PM

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Eric Halbherr
Director, DP, Editor, Creative Storyteller
1831

"Where does the g7's 4K-1080 downscaling put it in comparison with the gh3's 1080?"

Both the G7 and GH3 scale the image. The G7 obviously does line-skipping because the rolling shutter effect is absolutely nauseating in UHD mode but not so bad in HD mode. The GH3 skips lines as well. That said, the G7 has no OLPF at all while the GH3 has one but it's optimized for still images. It's one of many reasons I'm weary of using still cameras for video. Any way, the G7 will appear slightly sharper but it's an illusion caused by more moire.

You'll notice that everything in this industry is a compromise. OLPFs prevent alias/moire for a given resolution but they are expensive, around $400 for 4/3" and $1,200 for Super-35, so most cheap cameras (including BMs) don't have them unless they have small sensors. More pixels generally mean worse dynamic range and rolling shutter, better CODECs mean extra licensing fees, CCDs (no rolling shutter) mean higher manufacturing costs, good audio really adds to price, accurate color costs sensitivity, better resizing requires bigger processors, which means more heat, more power, more cost. If a camera is inexpensive, it's because there's a lot of compromises. You just have to decide where you want to make those compromises. I have access to some great film and video equipment but wanted something inexpensive for casual shooting. I ultimately decided on a Canon with a 1/3" 2MP sensor (with OLPF) because minimal rolling shutter and aliasing are more important to me than sharpness and shallow DoF. People are always seeking a cinematic look but film doesn't have the issues that are common to DSLR video.

November 15, 2016 at 8:47AM

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I shoot with my BMPCC as a run-n-gun camera all the time. I agree that it isn't that well made, hardware wise (the micro HDMI port just broke off when I was at Disneyland), but I love having the codec and image quality when I get back home and have to make sense of all the footage I shot.

It's probably not a bad idea to go with it as a beginner, since you're forced to learn some things that will serve you well later on. Just ask around for tips on how to use it, and you'll learn as you go. It is worth it.

People who have Panasonic cameras love them, and there is nothing wrong with their images, but the BMPCC has this image with nice highlight roll-off and color rendition that is better, in my opinion, than every camera out there in the price range we're talking about here.

November 16, 2016 at 6:28PM

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Harlan Rumjahn
Low-level government official
91

I understand why people get frustrated with BMD as a company and with their cameras. But if you can put up with/work around the issues, a used BMPCC - ideally with Speedbooster - still produces the very best image for the money.

For a beginner on a road trip, however, I think it would be a pain. The screen isn't great, the battery life is a problem and you can't delete clips in camera. But borrow one when you're home and play with it for a week - you might fall in love with the image, as many others have.

November 17, 2016 at 4:49AM, Edited November 17, 4:50AM

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if you have no equipment yet, think about what you will need first. Will you need sound?
What about stabilisation, will you shoot on a tripod or handheld?

If you just want to learn how to compose an image then you might be better off buying a cheap camera and some lenses rather than a better one and only one.

You might want to invest into sensor stabilization, otherwise you will not be taking very usable handheld footage.

November 17, 2016 at 4:21PM, Edited November 17, 4:23PM

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Daniel
just a filmmaker
64

One thing I do when I do run & gun shoots; I have a fairly heavy duty fluid-head tripod and leave the camera on it all the time. I can use it as a tripod, monopod or hand-held stabilizer by holding the center column (extended enough to be the center of gravity).

November 18, 2016 at 7:24AM

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Hi Easton, I have owned both cameras and like both, but....G7 is just easier. BMPCC is hard work. Poor in low light - so useless for run and gun - the battery WILL die in under an hour and the post process is laborious. Get the light right and you'll get a beautiful image, but if you are only going to use it occasionally, G7 hands down, easier to rectify mistakes with, shoots 4k, you can use the screen ( can't on BMPCC, it is rubbish) G7 is just much more user friendly out of the box. You cannot - I repeat CANNOT - use the BMPCC straight out of the box. Hope this helps.

November 19, 2016 at 7:24AM

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Q-ell Betton
writer/director
100

First write a good story, then use whatever camera you have...

November 20, 2016 at 5:56PM, Edited November 20, 5:56PM

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Fabien Michel
Director
74

Lumix G7

November 24, 2016 at 4:04AM

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I had the BMPCC, it's an awesome camera. I upgraded to the BMCC (for the 2.5k) and I also recently bought the Panasonic G7. I shoot EPK for features and tv series as my day job but also use these cameras for short films, music videos etc. I can say I regret selling my BMPCC, it's a great camera that doesn't have to be difficult in post if you just shoot ProRes rather than raw with it, but it's also nice to have raw if you're good at color grading and/or want to spend more time because the image is pretty incredible. Size is great, but you will definitely want an external monitor. The monitor on it is really bad. Can't view it at all in the sun. The Pansonic G7 however has a pretty good little monitor on it, easy to see. Yes it's small but it is very clear and it articulates, which is nice for low shots etc. The image is 4:2:0 color space rather than the 4:2:2 or Raw on the BMPCC and that does make a difference. But you get 4k. I only shoot in 4k on the G7 because the HD on it isn't very good at all. Both cameras are capable of good footage though. I have a couple examples if you like. Short Film (all shot on G7): https://youtu.be/wVIPozjmOxU. And a music video where I shot with the G7 for night shots, except the truck scene, and then all day shots were done with the BMCC: https://youtu.be/_myYAWm_QEU I hope this helps.

November 25, 2016 at 9:41PM

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Jimmy Keegan
Director
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