The Five Best Lenses For the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

The Five Best Lenses For the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera

I’ve been playing with the BMPCC (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera) for a few weeks now, and have, after much experimentation, finally narrowed the massive selection available for this camera (especially via adapters of various sorts) down to my 5 essential picks. Here they are, in no particular order… Best General-Purpose Lens: Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 This is one of those lenses that isn’t just good for the BMPCC; it’s awesome for just about any Micro 4/3 camera. Featuring a focal length of 24-70mm on a standard Micro 4/3 camera like the Olympus OM-D EM-1, a fast f/2.8 aperture, and optical image stabilization, this lens lends itself perfectly for BMPCC shooters. Given the Blackmagic’s 3x crop factor, this lens becomes a still-slightly-wide 36-105mm. Moreover, given the fact that the BMPCC has an active M4/3 mount, the image stabilization works just fine. In short, this is your desert island lens; it’ll work for almost every common scenario you might come across. Best Compact Lens: Olympus 12mm f/2.0   You’d think I’d pick one of the pancake lenses available from Panasonic or Olympus, like the 20mm f/1.7 from Panasonic. To be sure, that’s a solid performer, but I chose the 12mm for 2 key reasons. The first is that it’s still a pretty compact lens, and has a nice, fast f/2.0 aperture with the equivalent of a 36mm focal length. The second is that it’s a lens that lends itself a bit better for the BMPCC in terms of focus. Although the Blackmagic Pocket Camera does have a basic autofocus feature, most video shooters will find themselves using manual focus to nail things...
Sample Images: Benefits of Shooting Olympus and Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds

Sample Images: Benefits of Shooting Olympus and Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds

Mirrorless cameras and the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system are gaining in popularity. From Panasonic’s GH3 to the Blackmagic, more and more cameras are coming out in MFT mount. Olympus originally pioneered the Four Thirds system and, along with Panasonic, announced a new Micro Four Thirds standard in 2008. This new system increased in quality while decreasing in bulk. Olympus Micro Four Thirds Cameras and Lens Variety Olympus carries three main breeds of camera: Digital SLR, OM-D, and the Pen. Their DSLRs are Four Thirds Mount and the OM-D and Pens are Micro Four Thirds. While Four Thirds and MFT lenses cannot be used interchangeably, what is nice about  MFT is that it aims to be a universal mounting system for mirrorless cameras. There are several brands outside of Olympus that make MFT lenses that mount well on the OM-D and Pen cameras. This opens up your lens experimentation options. For instance, while manual-focus only, the Voigtlander Nokton 25mm and 17.5mm lenses for MFT open up to a very wide 0.95 f/stop, a rare feature. You can also use extremely low-profile pancake lenses, such as the Panasonic Lumix 20mm f/1.7 for MFT. For reach, there is the Panasonic 45-200mm Mega Optical Image Stabilization lens or Olympus’ own fast 75mm  f/1.8, whose 9-blade diaphragm produces excellent bokeh. If you are into experimenting with many lenses at once without being married to 1 particular brand and without killing yourself trying to carry them all, then give the MFT system a shot. Keep in mind when choosing your MFT lens that MFT sensors have a crop factor of 2.0 (as opposed to...
Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Small Cameras with Big Impact: Traveling Light without Compromising Quality

Don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our big cameras, especially those pro bodies with huge, high-quality glass. Lugging it around, however, is not so ideal – especially while on vacation or during situations where there just isn’t a lot of room to shoot. High-quality sensors are coming in smaller and smaller form factors, which is good news for globe-trekking photographers or for those who simply need to pack lightly. These small cameras are perfect for: Hiking to get that great sunrise/sunset shot from a high vantage. Inconspicuously taking candids out on the street. Using auto or fully-manual settings on a simplified system. Here are 5 recommended small cameras with incredible image quality: Sony RX1 & Sony RX1R These full frame cameras sport 24 MP sensors and fixed 35mm f/2.0 Carl Zeiss lenses. They shoot full HD 1080p video and have incredible low-light performance. The “R” version lacks an optical low-pass filter, which is ideal for catching extra detail in landscape shooting. The only bummer about these? You’re stuck with that lens. However, on the full frame sensor the 35mm is a great walking-around focal length and the all-metal Zeiss construction is top notch. Another great small-form-factor offering from Sony is their NEX series of mirrorless cameras (with some sample images here). Olympus E-P5 This retro-looking, handsomely-built micro four thirds camera does full HD 1080p video and shoots stills up to 9 FPS on its 16MP sensor. It is very slim and yet still accepts interchangeable lenses, like the fast 17mm f/1.8 M.ZUIKO. Many of our street photographers extol the virtues of this camera. Fuji X100s Another retro beauty, the X100s comes equipped with...
Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it. The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer. Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review. The Build This thing is solid and extremely well-built. I’ve got chubby little sausages for fingers, but I can still get a pretty decent grip on it, thanks to the tab on the back and the indent in the front that give your thumb and middle fingers a secure place to grasp onto. The buttons, though tiny, are pretty responsive, so it’s not hard to use many of them just by feel The back of the OM-D, shown above, is...
How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Black and white photography is one of the oldest forms of photography; yet its popularity seems to have been on the uptick of late. With plugins like Alien Skin’s Exposure and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, digital photographers now have some amazing tools at their disposal to create black and white images of varying types. But the problem with shooting for black and white is knowing what will look good as a monochrome image. It can take photographers years to look at a scene and know what it will look like when rendered in monochrome. The old adage of “If it doesn’t look good, just convert it to B&W and call it art,” doesn’t hold very true. Rather, the axiom “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)” is much more accurate. You have to know what will stand out as a black and white image, and that’s what this week’s tip is about. Most – if not all – digital cameras out there have a black-and-white or monochrome setting. For example, my 5D Mark II has a Monochrome setting under the Picture Styles menu, as does my Olympus Micro-Four-Thirds camera. Simply select this setting and shoot. Your subject – whether it’s a portrait or a landscape or a street scene – will be recorded as a black-and-white image. Furthermore, if you want to see what an image will look like in B&W when you adjust your exposure, switch to Live-View on your camera. If you have a smaller, Micro-Four-Thirds or Sony NEX camera, this is what you use anyway to take your shots. You’ll get a live preview of what a B&W image...