Tags 4k, accessory-guide, bmpc4k, cameraarticle
Now that the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K is shipping, we thought it would be a good time to follow up with our lens and accessory guide for the newest member of the Blackmagic family. With a Super 35 sensor capable of recording a QFHD (3840×2160) or HD Cinema DNG raw or ProRes files and a global shutter, the Production Camera 4K should prove to be an invaluable tool to have in your camera arsenal. An active Canon EF Mount opens your lens possibilities, but the rather unique form factor requires some specific support and accessory items. In this article, we’ll present the various accessories and lenses we’ve enjoyed using.
Nikon F to Canon EF
The Blackmagic Production Camera 4K uses the Canon EF mount, and adapters are available from NovoFlex that allow Nikon lenses to be mounted to the camera. These adapters are strictly mechanical, so all control functions are handled directly on the lens. The NovoFlex adapter for Nikon lenses features an iris control ring for Nikon “G” series lenses that does not include aperture control.
AbelCine & IB/E HDx35 Mark II
The successor to our original HDx35 adapter, the Mark II now features a universal mount system, which includes support for Canon EF bodies. The HDx35 Mark II allows you to mount 2/3″ (B4) mount lenses to your Production 4K camera, which gives you a great selection of zoom lenses with no loss in optical quality. If you connect our HDx35-Power cable to a P-Tap power source, full servo zoom functionality is retained, making this a great option for sports or documentary shooters.
Canon EF Cinema Prime Lenses
Canon’s Cinema Primes have proved themselves to be a popular option and are available as a 14mm T1.3, 24mm T1.5, 50mm T1.3, 85mm T1.3, and 135mm T2.2. These primes are designed to provide coverage for a full-frame 4K sensor with an 11-blade aperture design and a 114mm front diameter for consistency. Canon has also introduced a new 35mm T1.5 that’s currently in development. These lenses are compatible with all Canon EOS HDSLRs, as well as the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K. Pricing and availability will be announced soon.
Canon EOS Lenses
The ever-expanding line of Canon EOS lenses are all supported on the Cinema Camera. From specialty lenses like the various tilt-shift options, to fast f/1.2 primes, there are over 60 Canon EF lenses to choose from. For versatility, our perennial favorites include the 16-35mm f/2.8, 24-70m f/2.8, and the 70-200mm f/2.8. Of course, as the Cinema Camera’s body only weighs 3.75 pounds, the 17-40mm f/4, 24-105mm f/4, and 70-200 f/4 lenses are great lightweight options for the run-and-gun shooter.
Rokinon has released a set of compact Cine lenses that are native EF mount. With gear rings on both focus and iris and well positioned witness marks, these lenses combine the features of a cine lens with the size and weight of a stills lens. Available in 14mm T3.1, 24mm T1.5, 35mm T1.5, 85mm T1.5 and a 8mm T3.8 fisheye, these lenses are a great addition to any kit.
Zeiss Compact Zoom CZ.2
The new Zeiss Compact Zoom family is designed to complement the venerable CP.2 range. Available as a 28-80 T2.9 or 70-200 T2.9, these 18-blade aperture lenses with interchangeable mounts (including Canon EF) will cover full frame cameras (24mmx36mm), which makes them a versatile option for those shooting with multiple cameras, whether S35 or HDSLRs.
Zeiss ZE or ZF.2 Lenses
Zeiss designed these high quality lenses for the still photography world, but they also work very well for video and are available in Nikon F (ZF.2) or Canon EF (ZE) mount. If using the Nikon mount ZF.2 lenses, you’ll need to use the Novoflex EF to Nikon adaptor. The ZF.2 lenses have manual aperture rings and both the ZF.2 and ZE lenses have focus rings with hard stops, which makes pulling focus much easier. There are many different ZF.2 lenses to choose from, including 18mm, 21mm, 25mm, 35mm, 50mm, 50mm macro, 85mm, and 100mm. Zeiss ZE lenses are available in 18mm, 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 50mm macro, and 100mm macro. The lenses vary in size and speed, but they all match in terms of color and contrast.
Because of its unique design, the Production Camera 4K cannot be handheld in the traditional manner. Wooden Camera is one of the first to develop a system that incorporates a cage that can be used as handles suitable for handheld work. The Wooden Camera Cage integrates with their universal baseplate or Mini baseplate and various top handle options, which makes for a nice complete package. The Quick Cage is a lighter weight solution that features a quick release to go from rods to handheld applications.
Shape WLB expands on the cage idea with several shoulder mount kits centered around their new Blackmagic Handheld Cage. The Blackmagic Shoulder Mount and Shoulder Mount Offset both utilize the popular Quick Handle system, providing a convenient and easy-to-adjust shoulder mount option. The Shape Handheld cage comes with 15mm rod mounts, which make attaching matteboxes and follow focus units a breeze.
OConnor’s Universal Baseplate is a versatile baseplate solution that fits the Cinema Camera perfectly. In addition to the standard center tripod mounting points, the universal baseplate was designed with offset bridgeplates in mind – if you plan on using larger lenses that require 19mm support, the universal baseplate is a great starting point.
If you’re looking for a low-profile cage, the Contineo Cage from View Factor offers a streamlined solution that doesn’t add any width to the camera profile. Consisting of multiple 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 mounting points all around, the Contineo also includes a 15mm rod mount bracket for top or bottom iris rods.
There are several support kits made specifically for the Production Camera 4K, but the Universal Baseplate and Mini Baseplate will also provide the platform you need for matteboxes and follow focus units. Because the camera is wider than it is long, the Mini Baseplate tends to be a better match. However, if you are interested in a pre-packaged support system, Zacuto has several kits available like the Blackmagic Striker, Stinger Shoulder Mounted Kit, and the simpler Tripod Kit. Many of the kits include the new Blackmagic Top Handle; the Ultra Lite Kit builds on the Top Handle and adds top iris rods. The new Horizontal Zwiss plate allows for additional battery mounting options and is included with the Tripod Kit.
Blackmagic has optional low-profile handles for basic handheld work.
If you’re using the Production Camera 4K on an offset shoulder rig, a nice alternative to the built-in LCD screen is the Alphatron EVF-035W-3G. The Alphatron utilizes a high resolution, 3.5″ 960×640 screen and can be mounted to the various 1/4-20 mounting points on the body with a Noga arm or Zacuto Zamerican Arms and Zacuto ZicroMounts. The Alphatron EVF utilizes Sony “L” batteries and can accept an SDI input, as well as an HDMI input.
With a high-resolution 1280×800 screen and compact size, the TVLogic VFM-056WP 5.6″ monitor is a great tool for anyone using the Production Camera. Other features include production-ready waveform monitor, vectorscope, peaking and false color. For those looking for wireless solutions, our modified battery plate allows you to power the monitor and a Teradek Bolt Transmitter or Receiver.
The Cinema Camera relies on a non-removable internal battery that will provide power for 90 minutes before requiring a recharge. Switronix’s PowerBase is an inexpensive 70Wh battery with a regulator module that can attach to the bottom of the camera or any female 1/4-20 mount. In addition to powering the camera, the PowerBase also provides two P-Tap ports for additional on-board accessories. If you prefer to use standard V Mount style batteries, the GP-S-BMCC battery plate provides two P-Tap outputs in addition to the Production Camera DC connector. For those who require additional power outputs, the Jetpack is available in Gold Mount or V Mount configurations and includes camera power, two P-Tap, USB, 2-pin Lemo (5v), 3-pin Lemo (7.2v), and 4-pin Lemo (12v) outputs.
View Factor has a battery plate with integrated power cable for the Production Camera available in Anton Bauer gold mount or IDX V-mount configurations. Both of these battery plates can mount to various systems, including the Zacuto Zwiss Plate or horizontal Zwiss plate, and the Anton Bauer Matrix plate.
If you have your own Gold Mount or V Mount battery plates, you can combine them with the Wooden Camera Battery Slide and an P-Tap cable for a convenient rod mounted solution. If you’re in need of a new battery plate, Wooden Camera has Gold Mount or V Mount plates available with the correct AC/DC connector pre-installed.
The Production Camera has two 1/4″ balanced audio input jacks, so to use XLR microphones, you’ll need an adapter of some sort. While there are various adapters and XLR to 1/4″ cable options, Wooden Camera has a sleek solution called the A-Box, which mounts to any 19mm rod. The A-Box includes a 19mm bolt-on rod that you can attach to any mounting point via a 1/4-20 screw. Note that neither the camera or A-Box provide phantom power.
If you’re looking for a straightforward follow focus, the Redrock Micro microFollowFocus and Zacuto Z-Focus follow focus units have been very popular. If you’d like to have some additional controls, the Arri MFF-2 is certainly worth considering. As an evolution of the MFF-1, the MFF-2 has inherited all its features but adds a few new ones as well. The MFF-2 is still reversible for use on lenses that may rotate “backwards,” but now gives you the ability to switch between three different focus knobs. The OConnor O-Focus Photo Set is a versatile solution with interchangeable knobs and the option for double sided operation. Both the Arri MFF-2 and OConnor O-Focus offer friction gear wheel options for photo lenses without gears.
Arri’s popular MMB-2 is available as a 4×4 and 4×4/4×5.65 or as a slightly heavier double 4×5.65 system and can accommodate 114mm lenses directly. For larger lenses, or if you’re looking for a heavy duty solution, OConnor’s popular O-Box will accommodate lenses up to a 150mm clamping diameter and includes two 4×4 and two 4×5.65 trays.
The Production Camera utilizes a standard LANC remote port, so there are several remote trigger options available on the market. While any LANC controller will allow for remote start & stop functionality, there are several LANC controllers that also allow for remote focus and iris control as well. The Bebob ZOE-DVXL and the Manfrotto MVR901EPLA have both been tested by Blackmagic.