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Would it be a bad idea to buy a Blackmagic Pocket Camera?(r/Filmmakers)
I have one, and if your budget includes $995 for the camera and about $375 more to get it up and running (batteries, LCD viewfinder, etc.), the BMPCC is still a great camera for beginning cinematographers.
If you really want to learn cinematography – and you don’t need a still camera, I recommend the BMPCC. It is the least expensive interchangeable lens camera you can buy that has 13+ stops of dynamic range, a built-in 3.5mm headphone jack, can record 12-bit RAW and 10-bit ProRes straight out of the box and sets the shutter in degrees instead of fractions of a second (cinema cameras use degrees, still cameras use seconds).
DSLRs in this price class have about 10 stops of DR, no headphone jack, record to low bit rate h.264 codecs and you have to set their shutters by dividing 360 by the desired shutter angle, multiplying the answer by the frame rate and then taking the inverse. It’s less complicated than it sounds, but it’s a pain.
Here is what this little powerhouse cinema camera can do:
There are lots more examples in the [Pocket Cinema Camera group] (vimeo.com/groups/pocketcamera) I moderate over on Vimeo.
This camera is terrific, but its ergonomics and battery capacity leave a lot to be desired. You will also need to address the camera’s high data rate storage requirements (especially for RAW).
But it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get started. Here’s the setup I use [Referral Links]:
[Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera – $995] (www.amazon.com/Blackmagic-Pocket-Cinema-Camera-Thi…)
[Ikan BMPCC-PWR-BC-S Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Belt Clip DV Power Kit for Sony L – $69.95] (www.amazon.com/Ikan-BMPCC-PWR-BC-S-Blackmagic-Pock…)
[2 x Sony NP-F550 batteries – $19.76] (www.amazon.com/Masione-Replacement-NP-F550-Digital…)
[Dual Battery Charger – $25] (www.amazon.com/Channel-Digital-NP-F730H-2NP-F970-I…)
[SanDisk Extreme PRO SDSDXPA-064G-X46 SDXC Flash Memory Card with up to 95MB/s – $42.97] (www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Extreme-Flash-Memory-SDSDXP…)
[Kinotehnik LCDVFBM LCD Viewfinder for Blackmagic Pocket Camera (LCDVFBM) – $152] (adorama.evyy.net/c/60286/51926/1036?u=http%3A%2F%2…)
[Fotasy HRDV Ergo Handle Pistol Grip and Cleaning Cloth for Sony Camcorders (Black) – $31.74] (www.amazon.com/Fotasy-Handle-Pistol-camcorders-Bla…)
[ALZO Cold Shoe Mount for Blackmagic Cinema Cameras and Pocket Cinema Camera – $9.59] (www.amazon.com/ALZO-Blackmagic-Cameras-Anti-Rotati…)
For about $1375 plus lenses, you should be able to get everything you need to get started.
Here’s what my setup looks like, ready to shoot: lh6.googleusercontent.com/-f3hbYYV_y8o/VHDp77GMxoI…
With the pistol grip and LCD viewfinder, the BMPCC becomes a very handy little camera.
Although it has a steeper learning curve than a consumer DSLR, and color grading in post is pretty much mandatory – in my view, this is the best filmmakers’ camera in this price range and well worth the money for someone who is just starting out.
Hope this is helpful and best of the holidays!