Sunday, April 15, 2018

BMPCC 4K & BMPCC side-by-side! Hands-on & interview w Blackmagic Design President Dan May

With only a half day on the ground at NAB 2018, I was very fortunate to be able to schedule this on-camera interview with Blackmagic Design President Dan May right before I had to leave for the airport.

I brought my five year old BMPCC along to compare to the new camera because I wanted to hold both in my hands and compare them.  Sure, I could have gone to Camerasize, but I wanted to actually see the two cameras side-by-side to determine differences in grip, weight and balance and ergonomics.

Although the new BMPCC 4K is larger - it shares much of the original camera's DNA

Surprisingly, as different as these cameras look, there were some clear similarities between them:
First is the micro 4/3 lens mount.  Although the BMPCC 4K's sensor is larger, Blackmagic put the same lens mount on the camera - which will save upgraders a lot of money. 
Second, neither camera has a viewfinder and both have fixed LCDs.  This is common to all BM cameras - and to most higher end cinema cameras - but it is striking for a camera whose competitors all have viewfinders - and many of which have tilting or fully articulated LCDs. 
Third, both cameras have a 1/4"-20 socket where most consumer cameras have a hot shoe mount.  Again, this makes sense for a pure cinema camera that doesn't need an external flash.
But all of that is superficial - what is really important is on the inside. With the BMPCC 4K, Blackmagic appears to have fixed almost every one of the original camera's shortcomings.  By now, everyone has read the specs list - increased resolution and higher frame rates; longer battery life; improved audio with phantom power; a larger, brighter LCD; yada, yada.

What the spec sheet can't tell you is that this is an extremely well built camera.  The pre-production cameras at the show were heavier than the carbon fiber production model will be, but they were still solidly put together and felt like they could stand up to the rigors of operating in the field.

This is just a sense I got from handling the camera - we will have to see how tough it really is once can get our hands on the production model. 

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Suiting up for NAB 2018 interviews!

Today, I'll be at the Atomos and Blackmagic booths to talk Ninja 5 and BMPCC 4K - also planning to tag up with Sony on the FS5 II and to stop by Apple (ProRes RAW) and see the latest from Canon, Panasonic, JVC and Fuji in person.

If there are any specific questions you want me to ask, please let me know soonest in the comments section below or over on reddit at /u/HybridCamRev - I'm leaving the show floor at 3pm to catch my flight home.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Is the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K a GH5s killer?

New $1295 Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - pre-order at Adorama
With its full 4/3 sensor, dual native ISO up to 25,600, internal 12-bit losslessly compressed RAW & 10-bit ProRes recording up to full 4096x2160 DCI 4K/60p, dual card slots with CFast2.0, mini-XLR microphone input with phantom, 5" touch screen, recording to a simple external USB-C drive, free copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio and $1295 price, the new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) introduced at NAB 2018 today is a formidable competitor for the sub-$2000 still/video hybrid cameras from Fuji, Panasonic and Sony.

Although Panasonic gives its customers 10-bit color space, Fuji and Sony cameras are limited to amateur 8-bit color - and none of them can record RAW.

Neither can these cameras record to a simple external drive (unless you buy an expensive recorder) - and they don't have XLR jacks with phantom power.

The BMPCC 4K is not a perfect camera - it lacks an articulated LCD and in-body stabilization, but with the $1000+ you'll save over the price of the GH5s, you can afford a $199 5"1080p external monitor and a $749 Zhiyun Crane 2 gimbal.

With this setup, you'll get a stabilized 4K/60p 12-bit RAW image with a max 25,600 ISO for less than the price of the 10-bit Panasonic.

Amazingly, this little camera conforms to Netflix standards for 4K production and to the Digital Cinema Initiative's Digital Cinema System Specification - so it is ideal for just about every shooter -all the way from vloggers to wedding videographers to independent filmmakers and broadcast media producers.

More to follow as soon as we have sample video!

You can pre-order the camera for September 2018 delivery from Adorama here.