DEFINITION April 2022 - Newsletter


“It’s becoming clear that modern designs support big sensors in small boxes without much compromise”

On optics One limiting factor in making cameras small is lens size, something that needs to grow as sensors expand – if we want to maintain the same field of view and f-number range. Many small box cameras will be dwarfed by the PL lenses they might one day mount. Lens mounts designed to accommodate the swinging mirror of a DSLR, such as Canon EF, will always take up more space than something like Micro Four Thirds. Canon has sought to replace EF mounts on its products now that electronic viewfinders have, arguably, become competitive. In the context of the small box cameras we’ve been discussing, though, there never was a need for a viewfinder mirror. Anyone putting an EF mount on, say, a Z Cam will be aware that quite a lot of that mount is simply an empty spacer tube, designed to sit the lens at the right distance from the sensor. Adding a component designed for the purpose of taking up room isn’t very helpful if we decided a small camera was a good idea in the first place. On that basis, deeper mounts (EF, PL, Nikon F) are less beloved by fans of the condensed camera.

MAGIC TOUCH It’s difficult to discuss cameras which pack serious cinema power into a small box without bringing up Blackmagic. While its Pocket Cinema Camera series has begun to stretch the definition of ‘pocket’ as the models keep coming, the latest Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is a little powerhouse. It crams in ND filters and a useful excess of resolution for anyone interested in 4K results. The use of this range as crash or point-of-view cameras – even on higher-end productions – is something journalists are often sworn not to discuss. To an extent, that goes for most of these devices – with the possible exception of Canon’s see-in-the-dark camera, which is rather special-purpose. It’s becoming clear that modern designs support big sensors in small boxes without much compromise. That can only be a good thing.

feels like the video/stills equivalent of the 16mm film documentarist’s camera. More recently, Panasonic significantly upped its cinema game, with the hugely capable DC-S1H, which has raised some appreciative eyebrows the world over with its attractive images. The Lumix DC-BS1H is effectively the previous model’s well-regarded sensor in a box-camera style, making it a little easier to rig for cinema-type production, and reducing its profile overall. The BS1H’s sensor has a dual- gain set-up and gives 6K resolution. On a full-frame sensor, that means massive pixels – which is a good thing. At full resolution, it will shoot 24fps, or 30fps at 5.4K. For something a little more restrained, consider the BGH1, which recapitulates the BS1H using Micro Four Thirds sensor technology borrowed from the GH series, yielding 4K pictures at 60fps. Both cameras record to SD cards.

POCKET ROCKET Blackmagic’s 6K Pocket Cinema Camera has built-in ND filters and a Super 35 sensor

87. APRIL 2022

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