October 31, 2016 at 7:01PM, Edited October 31, 7:03PM

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May I get your opinions on this Cinema Camera Deal?

Hello. So this question is posed to more experience cinematographers/filmmakers alike. There's this bundle in my area for the Black Magic Cinema Camera 2.5k MFT mount. It's selling for $1,600 and includes:

Blackmagic 2.5K Cinema Camera
Blackmagic Cinema Camera Handles for handheld shots
256G 2.5" SSD
External battery pack
MFT to Canon lens adapter
MFT to Nikon lens adapter
Rokinon 35MM 1.4 manual lens
Opteka Shoulder Rig
Opteka Follow Focus
Lilliput 7" field monitor
Hoodman Hoodloupe Optical Viewfinder

All in one bundle. I wanted to know, as a beginning filmmaker in terms of gear I am new. Is this a great deal to craft beautiful films on and learn the practices of cinematography? (taking to account latest firmware fixes etc.) I understand the main gripe in BMCC is the cost to get it running but if I'm correct this bundle covers a large chunk of that. Thanks and please no brand loyalty or hate just based on the tech science and experience!

P.S: I do not own any lenses so cropping of footage from lenses I own is not an issue because I don't have any at all. I'm also not big on sensor size, I wanted the Bolex (and still do).

21 Comments

As one that's used both Digital Bolex the BMCC, I can say that the BMCC is nothing like it. It's just a cheap DSLR with raw video capability. Between the moire/alias, rolling shutter, weak color filters, bad audio, bad form factor etc. I put it in the "not good enough for serious users" category. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I'd rather use almost anything else. Having been forced to use many BM products, I find their whole business model is to put out a product as quickly as possible as cheaply as possible, even if it doesn't work right. Getting back on topic, I was always able to get a natural look out of the D16 in seconds. After 20-minutes of fussing with BMCC video, I had to give up on it. It's not just a matter of adjusting contrast/hue/saturation. If you want it to match the real world, you have to be able to cut out windows and color each one differently, use motion tracking and chroma blur to hide moire/alias etc. which I don't have the time or patience to do. Some people i know intentionally focus slightly short to reduce moire at the cost of resolution. I wonder if there's an aftermarket birefringent filter one could add...

The D16 shares NONE of those artifacts. Kodak and the Digital Bolex team know their stuff and spared no expense to make sure the real world is represented in their products. In the sub-$2,000, I'd get a Sony. Yeah, you're stuck with low bit-rate long GoP CODECs and fixed lenses, but you can get a much more realistic image out of them with no fuss and that's a worthy trade IMO.

November 1, 2016 at 7:39AM, Edited November 1, 7:49AM

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Thanks! There's a digital bolex for 2500 (512 gb) in my area! But with that price I know lens are cheap BUT what about storage? Wouldn't that cost me well over $2,000 alone? Anyways if you can give me more insight about the workflow of the bolex I would absolutely consider it.

Jackson Flowers

November 1, 2016 at 9:29AM

*Also I wouldn't be able to shoot more than 12 minutes on it I believe?

Jackson Flowers

November 1, 2016 at 9:30AM

All those other replies are spam!

"There's a digital bolex for 2500 (512 gb) in my area! But with that price I know lens are cheap BUT what about storage? Wouldn't that cost me well over $2,000 alone? Anyways if you can give me more insight about the workflow of the bolex I would absolutely consider it.

*Also I wouldn't be able to shoot more than 12 minutes on it I believe?"

OK no. The base package has a 250GB SSD, which can hold about 55 minutes per load in HD mode, certainly more than any 16mm or 35mm camera I ever used. What you need to do is adopt a film-like workflow, where you rehearse takes before shooting and keep a camera report to choose what takes you think you'll need while shooting. When you dump stuff to your computer, delete the takes you don't need (AKA, don't print). For long shoots, you'll to offload takes during breaks.

I was hired to do a 3-hour concert for a rock band earlier this year, so I borrowed a D16 with a 250GB SSD (and hired a few other camera ops with their own cameras). I had to be clever about how I shot but between the internal SSD and CF cards, I was able to get everything I needed.
I tested all my lenses on that camera before hand. The beauty of a C-mount is its short flange-focal distance. I could easily adapt common passive lenses to it. Strangely, one of the sharpest lenses I had was the cheapest; an 8.5mm Pentax CCTV lens. It had other shortcomings that made it not so desirable but I could get about 900 lines out of it at F4, which is the limit of HD video. Most UHD cameras I've tried can't even do that!

As for my workflow, I used Raw Therapee to grade and convert the DNG files to low-compression JPG files, then used AVI Demux to combine them into an AVI file for editing without recompression (MJPEG). From there, I can delete the individual JPG files. I also like to delete all DNG files before the slate so I don't convert stuff I don't need.

November 2, 2016 at 7:48AM, Edited November 2, 8:16AM

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Ok so more of a directorial skills thing with this camera. Plotting, knowing what you want got it! And as far as computer specs can it handle 16gb RAM and 500-1TB of storage? (these are computers I'm looking at)

Jackson Flowers

November 2, 2016 at 10:32AM, Edited November 2, 10:32AM

That sounds like a fine system. RAM, incidentally, doesn't make much of a difference unless you run tons of programs at a time. Too much RAM can actually increase latency.
I highly recommend dumping to SSD and trans-coding to a work HDD because the throughput is better. Any way, a lot of processing power is required to demosaic raw image files with any quality (cameras themselves use bilinear interpolation, very low quality). I haven't done any D16 material with my newest computer, but my old i5 with regular HDD did about 2-frames per second on Raw Therapee's best algorithms. Once in AVI form, it was extremely efficient.

P.S. If you didn't know already, the D16 is a digital CINEMA camera, not a novice toy. You will need a light meter and since it's capable of color-space well beyond what TVs and computer screens can do, you will need to dial back the saturation/contrast a little or use an LUT to get it in the Rec. 709 zone.

I think I still have some test shots if you want to experiment with them. The camera I was using didn't have the current firmware though, so there's a bit of a magenta tone that's not too hard to tame.

November 2, 2016 at 12:22PM, Edited November 2, 12:53PM

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its a great deal

November 15, 2016 at 9:19PM

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Lucas Brothers
Director,Producer,Screenwriter,storyteller,Editors
96

indeed a great deal, thanks for the share.

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Fox

April 29, 2017 at 12:33PM

From what i have seen, the BMCC isnt that different from the BMPCC, while the BMPC is way ahead and i saw some for 1800.
Still, if you ask about bikes in a racing forum you might end up with a racing car.
Its a great deal.

November 18, 2016 at 8:35AM

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Daniel
just a filmmaker
126

Maybe it's too late. I think it's a good deal, but I woul suggest you look for a used Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. It's made for narrative work, supe cheap, GREAT image quality, different 10bit prores codecs, raw recording...
In the end it depends on what are you going to use it for. Coming from a lot of DSLR use in the last years, the BMPCC is miles ahead, and after little use I find it really easy to use. You need stuff like speedbooster (I have a Roxsen one, excellent and cheap), you need batteries (sony batteries with a plate adaptor, cheap and plenty of hours of power), SD cards that are really cheap nowadays...
For the price it's IMPOSSIBLE to beat the Pocket, in my opinion.
As it's always recommended, do some research and know what you are going to use it for.

November 30, 2016 at 6:42PM

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Andres Mata
Camera, Editor, Director of Photography
269

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December 13, 2016 at 1:58PM

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Rajesh Kumar
student
78

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January 4, 2017 at 12:08PM, Edited January 4, 12:08PM

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This sounds like a great deal. Adobe Premiere Pro made it much easier to shoot in 2.5k because they now have an integrated proxy workflow. I own this camera and Shane Hurlbut also says that this is THE camera to have if you are a budding cinematographer.

January 9, 2017 at 3:08PM

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Chris Williamson
Director
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January 24, 2017 at 5:41AM

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RAM, incidentally, doesn't make much of a difference unless you run tons of programs at a time. Too much RAM can actually increase latency.
I highly recommend dumping to SSD and trans-coding to a work HDD because the throughput is better. Any way, a lot of processing power is required to demosaic raw image files with any quality (cameras themselves use bilinear interpolation, very low quality). I haven't done any D16 material with my newest computer, but my old i5 with regular HDD did about 2-frames per second on Raw Therapee's best algorithms. Once in AVI form, it was extremely efficient.
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April 17, 2017 at 12:42PM

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Its a good deal. If that's the camera you want, I'd say go for it.

I've shot with it many times and despite what some are saying here you can get a great picture with it. Blackmagic 2.5K cameras are often used as C Cam's in TV shows intercut with Arri Alexa because of it's Alexa like gamma curve.

Just be aware that you'll need a separate audio recording solution like a Tuscan DR60.

Hope that helps

Ben Kumanovski
Director | Cinematographer
www.globalpictures.com.au

May 22, 2017 at 3:37PM

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Ben Kumanovski
Director | Cinematographer
312

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May 30, 2017 at 1:45AM

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September 19, 2017 at 7:11AM, Edited September 19, 7:13AM

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September 27, 2017 at 10:27AM

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Reema Gupta
Blogger
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November 7, 2017 at 2:09AM

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CEO
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February 12, 2018 at 7:29AM

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