Blackmagic Production Camera 4K & Rokinon Cine Lens Review

FME Studios made the decision to buy the new Blackmagic 4K Production Camera when the price dropped, seemed like a a no brainer. We also bought the line of the affordable Rokinon Cine Lenses. First and foremost the BMPC4K camera is not a low light camera. When the camera arrived I put our 24-15 f4 Canon L-series lens and it just didn’t perform in low light. However, using the Rokinon cine lenses has really improved it’s low light performance. Now, if you are shooting an interview or scene where you have and are controlling your lighting, you will be very happy with the image the BMPC4K creates. With a decent piece of glass on, it really is impressive.
As far as drawbacks, it’s more of the same you’ve likely read or heard. The battery doesn’t last too long and there is no high frame rate option. I won’t get into those, because for the price of this camera and the image it creates, you can’t really ask for much more. I will however warn those interested in the camera that the screen can be almost impossible to view when shooting outside on a sunny day. The glare is a major issue, but can be solved with an sdi external viewfinder.

Blackmagic has impressed me lately with the numerous firmware updates over the past few months. They have added a histogram, audio meters, time remaining, card format and a new UI. Of these, the histogram stands out. Sometimes it can be tricky knowing if the exposure is right or not, but this makes it scientific.

When using the camera in our green screen studio in Indianapolis, we have found that high resolution clips are very easy to key. As compared to a more traditional video camera or a dslr, this camera destroys them for this application. The images, like many other cine cameras, are calibrated to read green more than any other color. When shooting on the green screen, make sure your color balance is right. This camera picks up green like nobody’s business so just ensure your talent’s skin tone is balanced and natural.

All in all I would recommend this camera a lens set if you are shooting in controlled environments. This is not a run and gun camera as much as it is, true to its name, a production camera. While I have some successful shooting on a shoulder rig on the go, it really shines in studio and on location with lighting. To check out some video we shoot with the BM4K go to