Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera vs Canon 5DMKIII

I want to throw a quick disclaimer at the beginning of this comparison: I love both of these cameras! I’ve spent countless hours shooting with the Canon 5DMKIII, and the image out of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC) is amazing for what it is. Both have pros and cons, and neither one is “better” as far as I’m concerned. You will never find a “perfect” camera, so please don’t get overly defensive about the cons of any given camera.

Here is my video comparison of the two cameras, with more thoughts after the break.

The BMPCC image is amazing. The dynamic range and raw capabilities of this camera are the kind of features that a few short years ago would have been relegated strictly to things like the RED Scarlet, so the fact that you can now get them in a $1,000 camera barely bigger than an iPhone is INSANE. That being said, the functionality of this camera leaves a lot to be desired. You have to deal with a 2.8x crop, mediocre low light performance, micro four-thirds lens mount, no great audio options, bad screen, confusing controls, and giant files if shooting RAW. Whether the epic image is worth the awkward operation is worth it is definitely a call that you’ll have to make based on your production.

The Canon 5DMKIII is an ergonomically solid camera. It’s easy to shoot handheld with, it switches to stills in seconds, it’s easy to throw a mic on, the low light is great, it’s light, the menus are super easy to navigate, the files are SUPER easy to edit.. It just works! The downside is relatively limited dynamic range, virtually zero flexibility in post, and honestly the footage is always somewhat soft. It’s been my go to camera for most productions I’ve done over the last year, especially when I’ve been shooting in places like Haiti where we can’t afford to run out of hard drives or have power issues, and are shooting tons and tons of footage.
e5993dd896c611e3ba1a0ecec7883c5c_8Personally I think the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera would make a great B-camera to some of the other more capable raw cameras out there like the Red Epic and the Blackmagic 4k Production Camera, while the Canon 5DMKIII is a great camera for events, travel, and any time you might need really great low light performance.

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  1. I’m a little confused, its hard to compare cameras with such vastly different DOF in the shots. I know the 5d3 will naturally have a shallower DOF but if you are shooting narative you are choosing your DOF on purpose, not just opening the lens to whatever it happens to be. I think much of the softness of the 5d3 there has to do with it being wide open. Not that I don’t already know the BMPCC would still blow the 5d away with resolution and DR but just trying to keep things fair.
    What lenses were used on each camera?

    • Hey Jesse! Sorry for the confusion. While it is true that you can choose DOF much more carefully in narrative, my point was more than your DOF will be vastly different than what you are used to, and you’re relatively limited as far as options go to get really shallow. The 5diii footage is 35L and the BMPCC was the Olympus 12 2.0 if I remember correctly.

  2. you guys should look into the metabones adapter which make BMPCC go to the next level for DOF, less crop, and one more stop of light!!! :)

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