This is Jay P. here coming to you with a camera comparison on two hot cameras on the market. To compare the BMPCC4K with the GH5, we tested the dynamic range, stabilization, color science, ease of use, and ergonomics of both!
Check out Borrow Lenses for any lenses, cameras, or equipment you need to rent for a shoot. For our shoot today, we have with us model and actress, Rachel Lerman @rach_lerman
Coming from a still photo background I like shooting in raw because it gives you more control over the image. The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k gives you the ability to shoot in raw, so we are going to test it out today!
Black Magic is known for their color science, so let’s take a look at how they match up to each other. We have a very soft lighting setup right now, with just a light glow coming from the clouds with some blue sky behind her.
So we’ve graded these two clips within the range of the correct vectorscopes. So on the right-hand side, we have the raw log footage and the left we have the graded version according to the proper color channels.
So the GH5 Skin Tone is a bit muddy, but it could have a little bit more contrast. In comparison, the BMPCC4K, has a lot more vibrancy and saturation to the colors; it looks a lot more natural. Her chin has a really nice roll off into the shadows that are really soft. She has really nice fair skin, but you can see a more naturalistic hue to it in the BMPCC4K, whereas as her skin looks pale and light in the GH5. With the colors, it is really up to personal preference and the style that you are going for.
Slow Motion Test
I always like to see slo-motion comparisons for cameras just to see artifacting and how they break down. First off we are going to do it in 4K with the black magic at 60FPS and then we are going to do it with the GH5 with the same settings. Then we are going to test it at 120fps at 1080p. They are both going to be using the same lens with the same focal length so we can accurately compare the two.
With the BMPCC4K, the color is just more vibrant and cinematic. The slo-motion looks great in it as well, you don’t see any of the blacks artifacting and there is nothing breaking up. For the color of both of these cameras, you could argue either or, it’s a matter of preference to a certain extent. Personally, I think that the BMPCC4k has a lot more depth and detail to the color, it’s a richer tone overall.
The slo-mo footage is still holding up really nicely, but the color has shifted more towards magenta. BMPCC4K, the color held really well. With the GH5, you see a little pixelation on her head, but it’s also at 1080p.
Now we are going to walking test for both of these cameras. This is a bit of an unfair test because the BMPCC4K doesn’t have internal stabilization, whereas the GH5 does. But this article is to help you decide to which camera to get, so it’s not going to be fair!
Handholding the GH5 has a little bit of jitter, but it is holding up pretty well. In spite of the fact that I was trekking through uneven tall grass, and I was going pretty fast, it’s pretty stable.
Since the Black Magic has no internal stabilization, the footage is going to be completely shaky. Now this footage is pretty hard to watch because of how much jitter there is. It kind of like an action shot.
BMPCC4K with the Tilta Gravity G2 Gimbal
With the gimbal, it’s definitely a lot smoother of a shot. With all three of the shots in a side by side comparison, the BMPCC4K with the Gimbal is the clearly the winner. However, that is an unfair comparison, because with any camera with a Gimbal would perform better. So if you want to use the BMPCC4K for handheld following shots, you would need to put it on a Gimbal, but it’s great for that because it’s lightweight! However, that’s more equipment that you have to carry around.
SKB Case Test
We have tested this case many times. We decided to try it out by “accidentally” throwing it off of our van! Let’s see how it fared.
Great! It’s held up for test #200, until our next case test!
For our scene, we have a bright light outside, and our model has changed into a red shirt. We don’t have a fill light, so we are shooting this relying completely on ambient light. We are testing to see how these cameras recover with harsh lighting conditions, so we intentionally didn’t light her properly.
So a side-by-side comparison of these, with the GH5 you lose the shadows really fast, and you aren’t able to recover the whites.
The BMPCC4K is holding more whites and shadows right off the bat on the neutral setting.
Even with -2 stops, the BMPCC4K is still holding up pretty well, the color is still shining through and there isn’t nearly as much artifacting as there was before. The only thing that is looking good on the GH5 is the white beam, but it’s just overpowering everything else in the shot. There is almost no color saturation in the shadows of the GH5 shot.
There are all kinds of grain and noise in the GH5. Is this shot during the same time of day? Yes, they were both shot using the same lens, same focal length, same settings. Just look at the huge difference in quality between the BMPCC4K and the GH5. With the BMPCC4K you can still see all kinds of detail outside the window.
Now if we go up +1 stop, this looks like a better exposure for our model on the BMPCC4K. This is at ISO 800.
When we go up to ISO1600, the GH5 just completely falls apart. The whites are just completely overexposed.
By the time, we’ve hit +4 stops it looks like she’s on a white background. In comparison, the BMPCC4K is still holding onto those shadows and some of the background outside the window.
This is with ISO400, what I’ve noticed about the GH5 so far is that it renders skin tones are more muted in comparison to the BMPCC.
As we move to ISO800, there isn’t much of a difference. It seems like the blacks are coming out a little bit more on the BMPCC.
Between 800 and 1600, there are really clean blacks.
For the BMPCC, their native ISO is supposed to be 3200, but when we look at the 3200 and 1600 together we notice that 1600 is actually performing much better in terms of getting richer and cleaner blacks. It gets noisier at ISO 3200.
Here we can see that the GH5 is struggling to perform and has a lot of artifacting. The BMPCC4k as well is starting to fall slightly, but overall is still outperforming the GH5.
Who would ever use 12800? That’s ridiculous! But nevertheless, we are still testing it! The BMPCC4K is still passable. It’s nice from afar, but far from nice!
The BMPCC4K has the ability to reach this ISO, but it’s not worth using for anything unless you are going for a grainy film style loo
Jay P’s Special Lantern Test!
So for this fantasy shot, we only had two lights. We used one diffused light for her lantern that is open from the side so it can light the side of her face. We also used an Aputure 120DII right behind her on the left to give her a rim light.
The two shots look pretty similar, but it’s hard with smoke because that tends to diffuse the light and shadows depending on how much of it there is. It feels to me like the GH5 is a little bit denser in the shadows, we see a little bit more detail with the shadows in the Black Magic. They both are very beautiful and usable images.
The Final Wrap-Up
Drawbacks of the BMPCC4K
Battery life was pretty bad with the BMPCC4K, so we went through about 6 batteries in about 8 hours. It does use a Canon battery, so it’s not hard to get ahold of them. The GH5 only used 1 battery in 8 hrs. When you buy the BMPCC4K, it comes with a battery, but it doesn’t come with a battery charger. The only way to charge the battery is through the camera. It also doesn’t come with a mini-XLR adapter.
BMPCC4K boasts about the 2 internal mics on the camera, but it’s still an onboard mic, so the quality isn’t going to be amazing. The BMPCC4K also doesn’t have continuous autofocus; it only has the push to focus.
The big thing for me was that there was no EVF, I just like being about to look and see through the viewfinder. The screen was big and beautiful on the BMPCC4k, but with the GH5 I really like being able to look in. The viewing angle for the screen is really great for the BMPCC4K, so you can see the screen even from the extreme right and left.
Advantages for the BMPCC4K
Dynamic range was really great. Really starting to become a cinema camera, it has a stop or difference on the GH5. The color as well on the Black Magic blows the GH5 completely out of the water.
For the price point of $1300 in comparison to the GH5 at $2000, it is definitely pulling ahead of the game. These cameras are both micro-four third sensors, but they are adaptable to full-frame lenses. BMPCC4K does have an adapter for your other lenses, but it does crop on the image. We tested the cameras to perform at the highest quality, but it also takes up a lot of storage space to house and edits all this footage.
The controls on the BMPCC4K are extremely easy to use like the ISO is just a simple slider bar. In terms of the ergonomics of the body itself, it’s not small enough to actually fit in your pocket, but it is a pretty portable size for a solid camera. Also, the button placement for the camera is a bit confusing, however, because right, where your thumb rests, are two buttons, one for auto exposure and one to zoom in. It’s hard to not accidentally press the buttons when you are rushing or just unfamiliar with the system.
Just get out there and keep clickin! If you haven’t checked out our Youtube channel, you can watch our video on this write-up here!
Check Out Jay P’s Gear @ B&H: https://bhpho.to/2ES90Eb
Black Magic Pocket Camera 4k
12-40mm Olympus Pro
Van Guard Alta Pro 2 + 263 CGHT Carbon Fiber Kit
Dynalite Baja B6 Battery-Powered Monolight
Aputure Light Dome II
SKB iSeries Case
Illuminati Light and Color Meter
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