The Five Best Lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC)

I’ve been playing with the BMPCC (Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera) for a few weeks now and have, after much experimentation, finally narrowed the massive selection available for this camera (especially via adapters of various sorts) down to my 5 essential picks. Here they are, in no particular order…

Best General-Purpose Lens: Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8


This is one of those lenses that isn’t just good for the BMPCC; it’s awesome for just about any Micro Four Thirds camera. Featuring a focal length equivalent of 24-70mm on a standard MFT camera like the Olympus OM-D EM-1, a fast f/2.8 aperture, and optical image stabilization, this lens lends itself perfectly for BMPCC shooters. Given the Blackmagic’s 3x crop factor, this lens becomes a still-slightly-wide 36-105mm. Moreover, given the fact that the BMPCC has an active MFT mount, the image stabilization works just fine. In short, this is your desert island lens; it’ll work for almost every common scenario you might come across.

Best Compact Lens: Olympus 12mm f/2


You’d think I’d pick one of the pancake lenses available from Panasonic or Olympus, like the 20mm f/1.7 from Panasonic. To be sure, that’s a solid performer, but I chose the 12mm for 2 key reasons.

The first is that it’s still a pretty compact lens and has a nice, fast f/2 aperture with the equivalent of a 36mm equivalent focal length (for BMPCC, that is. It’s 24mm for MFT cameras like the Olympus OM-D series or the Panasonic GH4). The second is that it’s a lens that lends itself a bit better for the BMPCC in terms of focus.

Although the BMPCC does have a basic autofocus feature, most video shooters will find themselves using manual focus to nail things perfectly. The focus ring on the Olympus 12mm f/2 slides back to engage manual focus mode on the lens, revealing a handy distance scale. This also adds one other benefit; the lens gains hard stops at either end of the focus range, something I find very useful when I’m in that mode.

The majority of my test footage for my previous Blackmagic Pocket Camera review was shot on this lens.

Best Lenses for Low Light and Shallow Depth of Field


At the time of this writing, we had only 3 Nokton lenses but now have 4. So this list really is my top 6 recommended lenses instead of 5 – bonus!

Say hello to the Nokton family.

With a max aperture of f/0.95, these lenses are available in the equivalent of 31.5mm, 52.5mm, 75mm, and 127.5mm focal lengths for the BMPCC. A fat, generous focusing ring and a manual aperture ring, combined with gorgeous optics, round up what is, without a doubt, the best family of lenses for low light and achieving shallow depth of field for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

Achieving said shallow depth of field isn’t easy on the BMPCC and is perhaps one of the few drawbacks of this otherwise stellar camera. The sensor is relatively small, which increases your depth of field. In many cases, especially for run-and-gun documentary photographers, this is a good thing; it’s a lot easier to achieve focus on this camera. But for those who are looking for that buttery bokeh, well, you’ll have to work a bit harder.

The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

That’s where these lenses come in. With a max aperture of f/0.95, even with that small sensor, you end up with the relative DoF (depth of field) of an f/2.5 lens with the iris wide open. That’s not an exact number, mind you; there are other factors at play here and the conversion isn’t exact, but it does get you into the ballpark. So, at f/2.5, that 25mm lens makes for a nice interview lens and will allow you to throw a decent part of your background out of focus. You’ll need to play with camera to subject to background distance, but it’ll be easier to achieve with this lens than with any other.

In the video above, there is a single shot, at the 1:05 mark, that was shot with this lens. As you can see, at ISO 800 and the iris wide open, it’s actually slightly overexposed at night time. These are your ideal “candlelight” lenses and when you shoot with them for the very first time you’ll see why.

One caveat, which resulted in me throwing away a lot of the footage I’d initially shot with these lenses: they will focus past infinity, so you need to be careful with that.

What are your favorite lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera? Sound off in the comments below. If you’re looking for more gear evaluations, reference our top picks for the best lens for Sony a6000 and more!

Sohail Mamdani is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.


  • Gaines Johnson

    Thank you for the lense recommendations. I found it most helpful deciding which lens to invest in for the type of work I’m planning to be doing with the BMPCC.

  • Sohail Mamdani

    Try the Rokinon primes. I really like them. They’re relatively inexpensive and fast.

  • blunderblogger

    Hi i have a BMCC 2.5k MFT mount camera.I am looking to shoot mainly music videos but do intend to dabble into short films and event coverage. can you advise on the best lenses to get. so far am for a great wide angle lense, a prime and a standard lense with any two more lenses Keeping in mind that i want to shoot music videos for will the ok for short films and event coverage as well. I have a tight budget so not looking to go all out. Looking for good quality for decent prices.

    also is reasonable/possible to use a MFT-EF adaptor so i can used canon lenses, if so got any good adapters in mind?

  • Paul Abrahamsp

    I have the Olympus 12mm f2 really nice lens for night, brightly lit street. Looking for something that can go below f2, perhaps the speedbooster is the way to go. I have the Zhong Yi Speedbooster which is ok with my Zeiss ZF.2’s not quite as sharp as the Metabones but cheaper. The trick is to get below f2…

  • Abehjha

    My favorite lens for this camera is the Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8; Though if you plan on shooting a lot in low light situations, I’d invest in the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8.

  • Sonny Brown

    Isn’t the native ASA 800?

  • Jon Truelove

    I’ve used a couple different Panasonic zoom lenses on my BMPCC (the one with the 12mm wide end and the 14-45) and I personally think the optics are okay but it is the handling of these lenses on the BMPCC that I find fussy. Having the manual control over aperture on this camera (well, on the lens) is really important to me and that’s where I think the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower prime lenses shine. I use an inexpensive Canon-to-micro-four-thirds adapter and a Bower 24mm f1.4 prime on the BMPCC and the low-light performance is outstanding. I try never to go above 400 ASA on the camera to avoid color noise (I’m weird about noise); with this lens I can do this in quite dark situations and come out with great results. So +1 for the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower lenses (which includes the Rokinon “cine” lenses).

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