The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is one of our favorite cameras in our arsenal because it’s tiny, shoots RAW, ProRes and packs tremendous dynamic range. The problem is it’s a little difficult to find lenses for, especially when you’ve spent years gathering EF lenses for Canon DSLRs. So we made a point to speak with Carl Zeiss’ Richard Schleuning on what lens options are available for the Pocket Cinema Camera.
As Schleuning points out this is the most common question he gets at trade shows, particularly for the Pocket Cinema Camera. The tough part is the Micro Four Thirds mount with a sensor that is just a bit smaller than that size itself. So Zeiss lenses tend to induce a crop factor when placed on the camera.
The solution? Schleuning makes note of the Metabones Speed Booster adapter they made specifically for the Pocket Cinema Camera, which not only adapts EF mount lenses to micro four/thirds, but it also helps eliminate the crop factor. He explains that, after quite a bit of testing, the adapter doesn’t seem to affect the quality of Zeiss glass or degrade the image at all. “So any of our ZF2 series lenses adapted to Micro Four Thirds with [the Metabones Speed Booster] gives the filmmaker a small, lightweight solution that’s affordable and that give them the manual focus control”.
Another solution we’ve also seen success with the Redrock Micro LiveLens Adapter, which adapts your EF glass to micro four/thirds and allows you to electronically access the aperture via a dongle controller.
Another solution Schleuning presented was a Zeiss CP2 lens with Micro Four Thirds mount. As we’ve talked about before at NAB, the Compact Prime 2s have interchangeable mounts, allowing you to convert them to a micro four thirds mount to connect directly to the Pocket Cinema Camera. This does carry a 2.8x crop factor. As Rich points out, “It really comes down to the style that you’re shooting and whether or not those long lenses make a lot of sense.”
The final solution he presents is a halfway point between the previous two. An F mount to Micro Four Thirds adapter, attached to a Zeiss CP2 with a swapped in F mount nets you a cinema lens that attaches to the BMPCC directly. This is naturally a much larger solution, eliminating the appeal of the small form factor the Pocket Cinema Camera brings to the table. “But if you are looking for cine-type of control” Schleuning explains, “those gives you the benefit of the extra stop and speed, a little wider angle field of view, but with a longer focus throw and the manual iris the CP2 gives you.”
At the end of the day, Schleuning points out that you can technically and physically mount all sorts of lenses to the Pocket Cinema Camera due to the large amount of adaptors, and they’ll work. The real issue is whether or not “it produces the image quality [you] want”. So his suggestions are to do your research and rent lenses prior to making the commitment to buy. Test them extensively, play around, and make some mistakes to see what you’re getting and if that’s the look you want to go for with that combo of lens and camera.
So shooters, what’s your lens solution? How have you been able to reach that visual sweet spot with you Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera? Let us know in the comments below!
Recently some blessed BMPCC shooter devised an app to calculate what your lens will look like on the BMPCC. Check it out here: bmpcc.rubenkremer.nl
For more information be sure to check out our interview with Zeiss’ Rich Schleuning above. You can also learn more about Zeiss’ various lens lines at Zeiss.com/Cine for their cinema lenses, and Zeiss.com/Photo for their still lenses.
For more information about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, go to their website at www.blackmagicdesign.com
For more information about the Redrock Micro Live Lens Active Mount go here: store.redrockmicro.com
Check out the newly released Metabones Adapter for the BMPCC and EF Lenses here: www.metabones.com
Don’t forget – if you’re in New York or planning to be on August 13, 2014 be sure to check out Blackmagic Day NY. If it’s anything like the LA show, you’ll be glad you did! www.blackmagicdesign.com/spendaday