Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

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Sareesh Sudhakaran

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Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostFri Oct 05, 2018 3:49 pm

My experiences with the BMPCC 4K. The good, the bad and the ugly:



If you want a summary of the positives and negatives, I've published it here: https://wolfcrow.com/blog/blackmagic-po ... ld-review/

Notes:

Dual Native ISO as introduced by Panasonic means if you shoot specifically in those ISOs, the footage must be similar enough to match later in post. E.g., you shoot at the lower ISO (800) at daylight or in studio and the higher ISO (5000) in low light/night. They should have similar color and noise response. The Varicam does this quite well. No camera is truly dual native, of course, but that's the general meaning of the term.

With the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, there's no way ISO 400 and 3200 matches in terms of color response and noise. 400 and 1250 are similar. Maybe BMD can market this as some other term instead of "dual native ISO"? It's not dual native ISO in my book, and if so, it's definitely not ISO 3200 as I've tested it. More like 400 and 1250.

I'm sure others will test this as well, and maybe BMD can fix it with a firmware update or color science update. Maybe Resolve 15.1 isn't doing something right, who knows?

Also, thanks to Imiy F. for pointing out the clips from a similar format are only visible on playback. That's even weirder. The BMPCC 4K isn't restricted by electrical frequency or whatever, so why have this at all? I hope they fix this.
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Sean van Berlo

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostFri Oct 05, 2018 6:42 pm

Sareesh Sudhakaran wrote:Dual Native ISO as introduced by Panasonic means if you shoot specifically in those ISOs, the footage must be similar enough to match later in post. E.g., you shoot at the lower ISO (800) at daylight or in studio and the higher ISO (5000) in low light/night. They should have similar color and noise response. The Varicam does this quite well. No camera is truly dual native, of course, but that's the general meaning of the term.


I have literally never heard of your definition before. Dual Native ISO just means a dual-gain structure is applied to the sensor, which yes, results in comparatively lower noise and better color at the native ISO than at the ISO's just below that, because gain stops being applied. It just means that all the other ISO's are either 'pulled' or 'pushed' from those two ISO's.
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Robert Niessner

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostFri Oct 05, 2018 8:14 pm

Sareesh Sudhakaran wrote:Notes:

Dual Native ISO as introduced by Panasonic means if you shoot specifically in those ISOs, the footage must be similar enough to match later in post. E.g., you shoot at the lower ISO (800) at daylight or in studio and the higher ISO (5000) in low light/night. They should have similar color and noise response. The Varicam does this quite well. No camera is truly dual native, of course, but that's the general meaning of the term.


Seems I didn't get the note that you are the definitive authority of what defines the term dual native ISO ...

But lets take it from Panasonic themselves:

Dual native ISO means exactly that: there are two optimal settings for the camera. The native
ISO of a camera is the sensitivity that gives the best images. Any other setting means
applying gain, which amplifies the noise floor. Ideally, you should always use a camera at its
native ISO.

Shooting in natural light opens up new creative options. City scenes at night explode with
colour. Dawn and dusk shimmer with a newly-found luminosity. In very low light, you might
imagine it would look like monochromatic night-vision, but it doesn’t. Instead, you see a full
spectrum of colour.


Doesn't sound like similar noise and color response, eh? Wouldn't make sense, too.

Sareesh Sudhakaran wrote:Also, thanks to Imiy F. for pointing out the clips from a similar format are only visible on playback. That's even weirder. The BMPCC 4K isn't restricted by electrical frequency or whatever, so why have this at all? I hope they fix this.


Or you could have read the manual or asked here on the forum before going public with those wrong assumptions. Dozens of people in the answers below your videos have already told you what's going on and you could have done a quick research - or simply asked Blackmagic as they gave you the sample camera.
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rick.lang

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Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 2:43 am

Sareesh is putting a lot of effort into his reviews with his crew just to test the camera. A potential problem is that he may be lacking in a thorough depth of knowledge both of the operation of the camera and what is happening internally. Strange he doesn’t consider Resolve professional software but he may be lacking in experience and expertise with that as well. I’m sure he has an impressive history working with various cameras, but I’m not convinced, sadly, that someone who is looking at the Pocket4K as a possible purchase will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in these reviews. Yes, he’s testing the camera but he seems to do little research to further investigate the bad and the ugly findings.

I’m not going to go into a list of shortcomings in the review (other than the remark about Resolve) because I have better things to do with my life. I hope BMD refines their criteria for distributing early versions of the camera in the future and although I understand BMD shouldn’t edit a reviewer’s findings, perhaps they should be allowed to review those findings before they are public so that clear errors may be corrected.
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Rakesh Malik

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 3:57 am

rick.lang wrote:Strange he doesn’t consider Resolve professional software but he may be lacking in experience and expertise with that as well.


Seriously... that puts him the clueless clod category. Whether you favor it or not, anyone with a clue knows how prevalent it is in high end post.

I’m sure he has an impressive history working with various cameras, but I’m not convinced, sadly, that someone who is looking at the Pocket4K as a possible purchase will be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in these reviews. Yes, he’s testing the camera but he seems to do little research to further investigate the bad and the ugly findings.


Having seen his posts here I'm not sure I'd ever give Wolfcrow any further attention. He's convinced me that it's not a trustworthy source of information.

Oh well.



I’m not going to go into a list of shortcomings in the review (other than the remark about Resolve) because I have better things to do with my life. I hope BMD refines their criteria for distributing early versions of the camera in the future and although I understand BMD shouldn’t edit a reviewer’s findings, perhaps they should be allowed to review those findings before they are public so that clear errors may be corrected.[/quote]
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Sean van Berlo

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 4:13 am

I mean, Resolve is professional coloring software, it's not a widely accepted NLE (yet). And this is coming from someone who generally likes Resolve and has seen someone edit a feature film on it.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 4:24 am

rick.lang wrote:I’m not going to go into a list of shortcomings in the review (other than the remark about Resolve) because I have better things to do with my life.

Haha. Well measured Rick.

As always, you're a gentleman and courteous with your critiques. Others would have had the gloves off by this point, and be swinging. Keep on keeping this place a respectful, safe environment for those lacking.
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Denny Smith

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 4:54 am

Yes, Rick is a gentleman and a scholar!
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Wayne Steven

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 5:12 am

Unlike some people, who often plod in on my conversations.

Good grief, give the guy a break, he's doing more than being a cloud of negativity on every thread. If nobody comes here because it's become another BMCUser whinging dead head experience, then you have nobody but them and their linear brain cells to blame.

This will only harm sales. I hear complaints about buying Red because of the fanatical club that comes with it. As this is low end newbies pro market, it is not so good.
Often people deceive themselves so much they do not understand, even when the truth is explained to them.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 2:24 pm

My main takeaway from the review is that the Pocket is not a good documentary camera. Which I agree. It’s not, unless you rig it up for it, which adds weight and size (which is why I still think Pocket was the wrong title for the camera). If you want a smaller setup, a GH5 or similar cameras might be better with a flip out screen, weather proofing, in body stabization, awesome auto focusing, in body nd filter, 1.5 hour battery life, etc. This stuff is handy to have in a small package your taking around the world in unpredictable environments where you gotta be quick and ready to go.

The Blackmagic Pocket is not this kind of camera. It’s meant for fictional work. Not nonfiction. You can definitely use it for events, but your better off with other cameras if events is more your thing.

And ya, it sucks that the camera still only plays footage that the camera is currently formatted to. Definitely creates a scare for those who aren’t used to it.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 3:25 pm

I agree with tour sentiment, Wayne. Sareesh is sincere and he may even do some further fact-checking and research before publishing in the future when he’s not on familiar ground.

I think part of our concern stems from his statement in the recent review that he will not be buying this camera. Granted some of his concerns may be valid as it’s not for everyone for all purposes, as Chis mentions, but it does draw out a response from some us since his recommendations are heeded by so many followers and he comes to those conclusions through a somewhat flawed understanding that most of his followers won’t discern.


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Robert Niessner

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 7:29 pm

In other words: If you want to see a review well done, watch the ProAV guy - he obviously did his homework and did some research before talking about specific stuff.

Nothing against someone doing a review as a first time user, but if you claim having some authoritative and/or guruness, then better know your stuff really well or someone else with better knowledge will put a finger on it and correct your errors in public.

EDIT: Guy is not AVPRO but ProAV. Have corrected that in my original text.
Last edited by Robert Niessner on Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 8:52 pm

Chris Chiasson wrote:The Blackmagic Pocket is not this kind of camera. It’s meant for fictional work. Not nonfiction. .



I guess, for some people.
Otherwise it will work wonderfully for whatever you're filming.

I already used it in the first 36 hours, unrigged, to shoot a pretty serious autumn mountain bike doc segment.
Pretty much the uber run and gun, real time, challenging scenario. And it was superb.
Even used the stills function to get some great head shots for the accompanying story.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 9:18 pm

rick.lang wrote: Strange he doesn’t consider Resolve professional software but he may be lacking in experience and expertise with that as well.

:roll: right...
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 10:09 pm

Robert, I had watched the AVPro videos of October 2 and 5. Impressive presentation. All the while he is intercutting footage from his ‘other’ camera that is following him as he shoots. So we see everything his camera sees through the eyes of the other camera. So of course I’m comparing the cameras in my mind on how they treat colour and resolution and motion. The other camera seemed decent, but I did like the graded results from the BMPCC4K.

At the end of the review, he reveals the camera he used as the BTS camera. That big Pocket is a small fraction of the cost of the other camera and footage looked as good or better.


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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSat Oct 06, 2018 11:03 pm

Rick. I haven't seen this review. I've pretty much seen enough for now. But reviews, at what ever level, are opinion pieces, and I review them to get the information I wan't out of them. So a camera man walks in and says he's gone g to review something on YouTube, you shouldn't expected the same quality as a professional periodical dues with a professional reviewer. A lot of reviews you look at maybe around 4 or so of them to get an idea of what they are dealing with. So stalking and hassling a guy so he never comes back is not a good look. You have the right idea Rick, of not overdoing the negativity.

Anyway, the comment above of thus not being a documentary camera is ironic, considering where it is targeted. But valid criticism. There are a number of low hanging fruit a big company like BM could include from the list given above to make it better. It's like saying that an iPhone is a good fictional camera without being able to have software with high quality gradable recording and good manual controls, rig etc. Which I think is constructive for the next upgrade.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 6:22 am

Wayne, in the AVPro review, it wasn’t so much as what the reviewer was saying about the BMPCC4K but the actual images he was showing from the new camera as he films the BTS with his much more expensive camera shooting the identical scene. The images spoke for themselves without any unusual and polished grading. It was so refreshing to see how it captured skin and difficult situations with élan in comparison to that dismal and flawed comparison to the GH5s. The ease with which AVPro demonstrated good results is encouraging that the camera is not only excellent value within its limitations but that it also has great potential.


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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 6:47 am

I meant Sareesh's review. We shouldn't expect everything. In another X goes it might be as good as the best reviews in the segment. Initial efforts are not necessarily an indication of what can be.
Often people deceive themselves so much they do not understand, even when the truth is explained to them.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 7:43 am

Has anyone been able to get the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K to work with the Ronin S yet? That seems like it would make a great combo given the lack of IBIS.


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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 8:59 am

Describing the Pocket 4K as only either a documentary camera or a 'fiction' camera is extremely simplistic.
I've used the original pocket camera to shoot product videos. By which I mean they are documentary, not fiction, but each sequence is set up in advance. So I film myself using the product. I film the product itself (the hardware).
I just shot my first music video. Again, it's more documentary, but being a music video I have the freedom to shoot a lot of material and dump the stuff that was out of focus, or badly lit etc....
I'm about to take delivery of a Pocket 4K.
There is absolutely no way I will be shooting drama with this new camera. I will continue to use it to help promote my own (music) products. I will continue to shoot music videos for my own music.
In the modern era there are many people making films for Vimeo, Youtube, Instagram - either for fun, as a career, or to promote their business. And again, this idea that you only need a cheap point and shoot to make videos for Youtube is very simplistic.
Both the original Pocket and new Pocket 4k are as affordable as something like the GH5, arguably better quality, and and for me, much more flexible.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 10:09 am

Chris Chiasson wrote:The Blackmagic Pocket is not this kind of camera. It’s meant for fictional work. Not nonfiction. .


I also disagree with this, especially since I am nearly finished filming our first short documentary on the original Pocket. Yes, I needed to rig it out with a cage, monitor, and battery; yes there were times I wished there were built-in ND filters, but it did a great job and I was able to carry everything I needed (camera, lenses, tripod, video head, filters, monitor, batteries, chargers, media, sound recorder and microphone, etc.) in a carry-on bag. Setup was quick; in some cases I had to set up the camera and sound-recording equipment on very short notice.

Sure, there are tasks it's not suited for out of the box (the lack of in-body stabilization means that handheld shooting isn't very practical, even for lenses with OIS, although I've gotten steadicam-like footage by mounting the original Pocket with an OIS lens onto a monopod and holding the monopod in front of me while I walk). But "documentary" and "nonfiction" cover a huge range of possibilities.
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Chris Chiasson

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 12:13 pm

Brad Hurley wrote:
Chris Chiasson wrote:The Blackmagic Pocket is not this kind of camera. It’s meant for fictional work. Not nonfiction. .


I also disagree with this, especially since I am nearly finished filming our first short documentary on the original Pocket. Yes, I needed to rig it out with a cage, monitor, and battery; yes there were times I wished there were built-in ND filters, but it did a great job and I was able to carry everything I needed (camera, lenses, tripod, video head, filters, monitor, batteries, chargers, media, sound recorder and microphone, etc.) in a carry-on bag. Setup was quick; in some cases I had to set up the camera and sound-recording equipment on very short notice.

Sure, there are tasks it's not suited for out of the box (the lack of in-body stabilization means that handheld shooting isn't very practical, even for lenses with OIS, although I've gotten steadicam-like footage by mounting the original Pocket with an OIS lens onto a monopod and holding the monopod in front of me while I walk). But "documentary" and "nonfiction" cover a huge range of possibilities.


Again, if you read the part you edited out, I said that sure, you can rig it for documentary work. Thus it can be used for documentary work no different then rigging a smartphone to film a commerial. The point isn’t that it can’t be done. My point is that you’re better off just getting a camera that’s more suited for the tasks you want done, then take a camera that’s not suited for the job, and buy all the extra gear to make it suitable. Especially if documentary and events is your main thing.

That’s why when I watched the review of the dude complaining about a lack of this or that, and that’s why he can’t recommended it, I’m like “This guy is clearly more used to having those features in the camera itself, and not owning any work arounds.” That’s why, for his needs and wants, he’s better off with another camera. Because by design, it’s not meant for the things he wants to use it for. Most people that will be the case. No camera is the end all be all camera. Not even the Pocket 4K.
Last edited by Chris Chiasson on Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 12:42 pm

The 'dude' complaining doesn't get to set the rules.
Sure, if he wants stabilisation, auto-focus etc then this is probably not the camera for him, but that doesn't rule it out for other non-fiction users.
You stated it's not meant for non-fiction like it was an obvious rule.
I've been using the original Pocket with minimal extras for years. The new 4K is probably going to make it easier actually. 'Non-fiction;' isn't JUST run and gun street photography.
It needs to be made clear in case there are potential BM Pocket 4K customers reading this.
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rick.lang

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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 1:50 pm

We are still in the early days of the BMPCC4K in terms of knowing where the camera will perform at its best and where is requires more effort than another camera. I think there are some operational restrictions or areas that it’s not the best solution. One example that comes to mind is the lack of weather proofing on all BMD cameras that obviously can be a concern for the URSA cameras and the BMPCC4K with top vents open to the elements. But that said, if it’s very light rain, I try to protect the camera and keep recording with the URSA Mini 4.6K camera. The Pocket4K vents are not as large a target as the URSA's. However I always let event clients know that when it’s raining I can’t film. So far that’s been a very infrequent occasion. Rolling shutter recording fast action may be another example of not being the best camera for that purpose. But on the AVPro footage, one of the comments was that the viewer noticed the rolling shutter shooting normal scenes because the shooter used the camera truly handheld—I didn’t see it, but I’m not the best critic as i tend to concentrate on the colour.

It’s becoming obvious, at least to me, that one area that this new Pocket4K excels compared to the original Pocket camera using the camera handheld. And that is due to the increased weight and heft of the camera that conforms to one’s hand and is more stable due to the increased inertia. The new camera doesn’t feel and act like a featherweight camcorder or tiny point-and-shoot and almost everyone welcomes the increased weight that is in a Goldlilock’s zone, not too heavy, not too light, it’s just right… for skilled shooters.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostSun Oct 07, 2018 6:39 pm

Jim Giberti wrote:I already used it in the first 36 hours, unrigged, to shoot a pretty serious autumn mountain bike doc segment.
Pretty much the uber run and gun, real time, challenging scenario. And it was superb.
Even used the stills function to get some great head shots for the accompanying story.



This is footage I'd like to see and a "review" I'd read. Personally I find these are the situations where a good codec is important because conditions are less then ideal and there's grade tweaking to be done in post. Always wondering how hand held is handled in post. One of my niggles about the original Pocket was that the rolling shutter often made post stabilization a bit useless.
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Re: Blackmagic Pocket Camera 4K Real World Review

PostWed Jan 02, 2019 5:16 pm

For the person asking about using the camera with the Ronin-S, here's how i'm mounting it using the new external focus motor. Anyone advice on how to stop the play?


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