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I am looking to get a Blackmagic Pocket 4K. I know that you can do the EF conversion, and use Canon EF lenses, but I want to keep the cost down on my initial purchase.

I am looking at either getting a Zoom Lens (14-42mm) F3.5/F5.6

or

Two (or possibly just one), prime.

17mm Prime(F1.8) 45mm Prime(F1.8)

I suppose the right idea is to prefer using a prime? But the convenience of a zoom is something that I have gotten used to. I don't really do zoom shots, but it's convenient setting up a shot and using the zoom instead of moving the camera around where you sometimes won't have adequate space to do so. It is also convenient to not have to change lenses on a rig for different shots.

I am an amateur (hobbyist) videographer, hoping to get better and later offer more professional videography.

Is the prime's really THAT much better? In photography, I feel a prime has more worth when you do some pixel peeping, but does it make a huge quality difference for video? (I don't own and have never used a prime).

I currently shoot on a Fuji x-T20 (aps-c / 18-55), making use of a gimbal and tripod. The Blackmagic will be on a rig.

Thanks in advance.

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For most people, the first workhorse lens will be a zoom, because of the versatility.

Sharpness in lenses isn't a huge factor for video; at HD resolution and below, lenses that photographers turn their noses up at for their sharpness do a perfectly adequate job. Once you're shooting 4k it starts being a bit more important, but even still that's way below the sort of resolution most photographic lenses are made for. Unless you're talking about lomo lenses, you'll probably struggle to see the difference. What you will notice is the extra stop and a half that the prime gives you. If that's something you really need, then buy a prime second.

If money wasn't an object and you were using them for drama or other scripted content, a set of primes would be ideal. You get the range of a zoom with the quality of primes. But even if you had all the money in the world, you still wouldn't choose that for documentary work, because you're not going to want to be changing lenses to get different shots when you're running and gunning.

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  • Thanks. This makes sense to me. I wanted to stick with a zoom as that is what I use on my Fuji X-T20, but wasn't sure if I was going the wrong way by not rather getting primes. I got the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm F2.8, and may add one or two primes later. – Louis van Tonder Mar 5 at 11:13
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I have that camera. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The camera doesn't have any in-body stabilization, so the footage can be very shaky unless you're prepared. In my situation, I knew I wanted to use a gimbal to stabilize. This works great, but it will affect your lens choice. If you plan to use the BMPCC on a gimball ever, remember that you won't be able to touch the lens to focus it, change iris, or zoom without disturbing the gimbal operation, so if that's in your playbook, you'll either need a remote follow focus setup (for a prime lens), or a lens that can be controlled remotely through the camera's bluetooth interface (for an autofocusing and/or stabilizing photo lens). Keep in mind the autofocus on this camera is very slow, and not very "auto." You have to tap the screen to re-focus unless you use bluetooth or remote follow focus.

  • When you say that you plan to use the BMPCC on a "Rig" I assume you mean shoulder rig. Consider how you are going to monitor the footage and control the camera with it on your shoulder; if you're planning to use the camera's built-in screen, the camera's center of gravity will be VERY (entirely) forward. Without proper counterbalance, you're better off not using a rig at all. With a properly balanced shoulder rig, you can just about let go of the thing with both hands, and it should stay balanced on your shoulder. There's no way to do that with this camera without an EVF or, like I said, some serious counterbalancing, which will more than double the total weight of what you're carrying. With a shoulder rig, it's possible to grab the focus/iris/or zoom ring, and you won't shake the image as much as you would on a gimbal, BUT it can be very awkward to reach, and it's better to have a follow focus setup with remote hand grip controls in this situation as well.

  • The crop factor on this camera is 2x. So, if you buy a 50mm lens, it's going to look like a 100mm lens on the BMPCC. So, you'll want to get something wider than you think you'll need; a 35mm prime would be good for portraits/interviews. If you want to do landscapes, you'll want at most a 12, and if you want to show real-estate interiors, you'll want an 8. If you film in 4K, but deliver in 2K, you can use the extra pixels to digitally zoom (or stabilize), so again, it's better to err on the side of wider rather than telephoto. Using a wider lens also has the added benefits of requiring less stabilization and having a larger focal plane, which translates to touching the lens less.

  • The price you pay for using a zoom lens is speed. Zoom lenses have more moving parts, and more elements than prime lenses, which translates into less efficient light transmission and a higher minimum f-number than you'd find in a prime lens at the same price-point. Yes, they are convenient. The cost of that convenience is image quality.

For my starter kit, I went with three ultra cheap manual lenses. I got a SLR MAGIC 8mm f4.0 for about a hundred bucks. It was designed for drone use, so it works perfectly on a gimbal, and even handheld, the footage doesn't look shaky. I wouldn't use anything higher than that without stabilization, though.

I also got a Meike 25mm f1.8, which translates into a 50mm equivalent, and is a good general-purpose lens. At 1.8, it works in low light situations, although it is not at its sharpest. It was also around a hundred bucks, so at that price, I'm not complaining.

Then to round out the kit, I found a m.zukio 40-100 olympus 5.6. I use this one the least because the crop factor makes it a 80-200 equivalent. It does have autofocus, though, and it was also VERY cheap. It's an OK lens for sports, in the daytime. At night, I had a hard time finding enough light with it at a local dirtbike track for HFR footage, and could just eek out a decent exposure at normal speed. I suspect a football or baseball field would have more light, though.

TO BE CLEAR, I don't use my personal lenses for paid work. These lenses are basically toys for practicing. For paid jobs, I rent good glass, and what I get depends on the shoot. If the shoot calls for a remote follow focus, I'll rent that, too.

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  • Thanks for the tips on the bmpcc. I ended up going for a Panasonic 12-35mm F2.8. – Louis van Tonder Mar 5 at 11:12
  • Congrats! I think I've rented that one before. How do you like it? How's the OIS? – Jason Conrad Mar 12 at 17:18
  • I got it used, and it seems to work pretty good. I am happy thus far. As for the I.S., I have not really tried without it, but it seems to do the job. I have not really had the time to really experiment with some shoots as I am still waiting on some equipment. – Louis van Tonder Mar 13 at 7:51
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For videography you do not necessarily look for "a good" lens for pixel peeping, you want a good autofocus system and a wide aperture for a "cinematic look".

This depends on what type of videography you are doing. Interviews, documental, landscape, indoors, outdoors, using a tripod, using a handheld. Jason Conrad's answer is interesting because he is using that same camera and has experience with the crop factor. But I think you need to pay attention to the line of work you want to develop.

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