Since my recent acquirement of the Blackmagic Pocket Camera, I’ve been busy trying to find wide angle lenses for it. Being a 3x crop sensor camera, it really needs ultra wide lenses or any other possible help to get a wider field of view.
Other help? Well, 2 things come to my mind. Speed Booster/ Focal Reduction adapter or Anamorphic lenses/attachments. Maybe both? Who knows, hopefully I can try something like that out soon.
I meant to test it out with my Sony NEX 5n camera, but never got around to doing it due to no real need for extra stretch, which is one of big benefits of using an anamorphic lens.
Now BMPCC can really benefit from extra stretch and super16 size sensor means that that the taking lens can be much wider than before which makes this camera even more suitable for such anamorphic lenses than any previous popular choices like GH2/GH3.
My original idea for the setup was to use a set of Russian taking lenses including MIR-1 37mm, Helios 44-2 58mm & Jupiter-9 85mm, but the filter thread sizes mean that I couldn’t mount them on my Redstan anamorphic clamp and will have to buy a step up ring to try this setup.
For now I had to use something that would work right away, so my setup consisted of Proskar-16 mounted onto Canon FD 50mm F1.4, which is an obvious choice and the second being the widest lens I could find in my collection that would easily fit the anamorphic bracket and would not vignette. The Sirius 28mm F2.8 ended up being the wide lens of choice because it has the same filter thread size as 50mm F1.4 and the same FD mount which would allow me to swap my lenses quickly. Both lenses were used a cheap, FD to M4/3 adapter which works pretty well for the money.
Focusing with double lens setup is not easily at all. That is why I had to limit myself to a tripod and preset the focusing on both lenses for every shot. Focusing with taking lens though affected the image sharpness much more than focusing with Proskar, so maybe in certain situations its possible to get away with focusing just on a taking lens.
I knew Canon 50mm will be a great partner for Proskar because EOSHD guide suggests it as one of the best options, but I was also very pleasantly surprised by the unknown Sirius 28mm, which has plenty of sharpens, especially from F4, flares nicely, especially at wider f-stops. The build quality is as good as Canon. This is a great lens for the pocket camera and one of my future tests will show you why.
The Proskar-16 2x is one of the most affordable anamorphic attachment lenses out there and it appears to be one of the best value for money lenses too. As you can see from the video above it definitely has that anamorphic look. The signature flares are present when pointing the camera at a strong light source, bokeh is stretched and the final video has mega wide, 3.55:1 aspect ratio, which enhances the composition in a great way. Sharpness is decent enough, overall image has quite pleasant, organic look. One downside of this and most other cheap anamorphic lenses is that the closest focusing distance is not great at 5ft/1.5m. Fortunately the 3x crop size on the pocket cam meant that even with 50mm, I was able to get fairly decent close ups from around 5ft away.
So talking about stretch, by using 50mm together with Proskar 2x on BMPCC I got myself a 75mm full frame equivalent on what would be a 150mm equivalent lens without anamorphic attachment. Same goes for 28mm, which gave me a 42mm equivalent. This is more or less the field of view you’d get from Super35 size sensor, which is very useful.
It does seem though that the 28mm prime is really pushing the limits of how wide you can go with Proskar-16. On some shots where sun hits these lenses in specific way there appears to be either some vignetting or light reflections inside the lens. Still this is much more impressive than the 50mm focal length suggested for use with M4/3 sensor cameras. Maybe the speed booster would help push the field of view even viewer, I think we will find out soon.
This test was my first experience shooting with the pocket camera and of course I messed up a few shots. Pointing camera at the sun most of the time meant that even at 360 degree shutter, low ISO setting and almost closed aperture the highlights were still blowing out in many places. Poor camera display didn’t help things as I could barely see what I was filming in these challenging lighting conditions. I definitely need to look into some ND solutions for any similar tests in future.
Everything was shot in film mode, & edited on FCP7 by Yana Kalugina who is also the model in the video (she just joined Twitter, so please give her some Follow Love too) I’ve then applied the CaptainHook LUT in Davinci Resolve 10 Lite, which worked for most shots very nicely, but some shots that ended up being overexposed didn’t benefit for the LUT at all, so I had to grade them separately. I think you’ll be able to tell which ones because this was the first time I’ve property used Resolve and I’m not at all happy with my grading results.
All in all, very positive new experience, but I want to do some more similar tests to really see what kind of images I can get by combining BMPCC with the famous Russian Trio and Proskar-16. Stay tuned for that!
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