Black Magic Design Pocket Cinema Camera...What's it like?

I must start by saying WOW, this thing is tiny for what it claims to achieve!

Now I know I may seem to be a little late to the party with the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) but, I was in need of a high end video capture device that was light and small and the BMPCC still fits the bill with full raw video capture, V.log flat colour profiles and 12 stops of dynamic range this thing really packs a punch!

So, during the sale of my other camera gear (See my "fair well full frame" blog post for the down low) I thought I would pick one up and see if the little cine cam lived up to the hype, so, what is it really like?? 

Well it does do the things it says it will, I mean it really does! It feels great in the hand, you can run and gun with very little weight and, being designed around the convenient micro four thirds (MFT) lens mount, not only keeps it compact and bijou but also gives some great lens options in the Panasonic and Olympus Pro lens line. 

However, it's not all good news! 

I feel as though the batteries are more of a fail safe for if the power cable should drop out. I mean it has one of the better power cables I have come across as far as connection security goes but it is still a limitation being tied to a wall socket.

I do have 4 batteries but I still wouldn't be confident spending the day shooting with no power source....I mean I can probably get 2 hours absolute max from the 4 batteries, not great, but there are some work-arounds in the form of third party external power packs which seem to work well but it just takes away from this sleek camera's facade! 

On the subject of batteries, the camera does get quite hot, I mean it is all screen at the back which will generate heat but the batteries themselves also seem to heat up in use.

For example, I left a battery in the body after a shoot and, when I got home I opened my bag to get the memory cards and the camera had turned on in my bag and with the combination of the batteries, screen and the fact it was in a thick padded camera bag the camera had gotten so hot that it was litteraly almost to hot to hold! I was genuinely concerned for the state of the SD card! Needless to say I have since not left a battery in the BMPCC when in transit or storage!! 

At the time of release 1080p at 30fps was most definitely above average and even now the quality is still more than acceptable but with 1080p at 50 and 60fps and of course the rise of 4K capture means that this camera could be in need of an update or could be in risk of being left behind! 

Now I don't know the physical limitation of the BMPCC's hardware but I wonder if a firmware update may be able to squeeze some more out of this little camera even just the increase to 50 or even 60 fps, as mentioned above, or even just better battery management would be a wonderful addition.

Ok, Ok,  it's not all doom and gloom the BMPCC is fully compatible with MFT Image stabilised (IS) lenses and also with the fantastic metabones adaptor you can run almost any lens you want, the adaptor is fully active so you can have full control of IS and autofocus feature of many pro DSLR lenses. This very adaptable mount makes a desirable camera for anyone who is already embedded in a pro lens eco system and means that, if I hadn't sold all of my canon glass, I could have very easily used them with the black magic. 

I instead bought an Olympus m.zuiko 12-40 f2.8 pro to use for the project I was working on and although it didn't have IS it did produce some beautiful results on a tripod and monopod! 

So what is my conclusion? Well it's great..... for the right person. What I mean by that is that although it is fantastic it needs to be wrangled by a professional. I always hoped that this camera would open cinema level equipment to the masses and in many respects it did but it is a very involved camera that requires good technical video knowledge.

Having said that, these cameras can be picked up so cheap now on eBay that it is a great way to step up your gear to the next level. I say go for it, give it blast!!