PortKeys BM5 – A Field Monitor That Can Control Your Camera

March 15th, 2019
PortKeys BM5 - A Field Monitor That Can Control Your Camera

Portkeys, a Chinese company specialized in HDMI and SDI field monitors, recently announced an impressive new monitor: the PortKeys BM5.  This 5″ monitor features a lot of monitoring tools, but it can also control your camera. Let’s take a look at it.

PortKeysBM5_Featured

PortKeys BM5 Monitoring Functions

The BM5 is PortKeys’ new 5-inch 1080P flagship field monitor. It features an HDMI and SDI input, and an SDI output with cross-conversion. In case you need to monitor your sound, a 3.5mm output jack is located on the left side. There is a USB port at the bottom of the monitor for future firmware upgrades.

Regarding power, the BM5 uses a single Sony NP-F style battery. Like the SmallHD Focus monitor, you can use the power output of the BM5 to feed your camera via a dummy battery. On top of that, you have the option to power the monitor with an external battery by using the Lemo port on the monitor, and the included Lemo to D-Tap cable. The screen itself is a WLED panel, which is a marketing term to say LED panel, so blacks should be nowhere near an OLED panel.

PortKeysBM5_02

In terms of construction, the PortKeys BM5 is entirely made out of aluminum. In front of the screen, there is a toughened glass in to protect it against shocks. It weighs only 350g, which is relatively light for a rugged field monitor. The BM5 is daylight viewable with an impressive brightness of 2000 nits and a viewing angle of 178°.

To mount the BM5 to your camera or rig, the monitor features a 1/4″ hole at the bottom and one at the top. Also, an “L bracket” – like the SmallHD Focus – to mount the monitor more easily to your camera is available as an accessory.

PortKeysBM5_01

The BM5 support resolutions up to 1080p at 60 frames per second.

Finally, there are four functions buttons at the top of the monitor and a menu button plus scroll wheel to navigate in the menus.

The list of monitoring tools is quite impressive and includes:

  • 3D LUT monitoring and 3D LUT SDI output.
  • Waveform and Waveform SDI output.
  • False color and zebra.
  • Peaking and zooming.
  • HDR support.
  • Framing guides, grids, aspects.
  • Sharpness, chroma, brightness, backlight, tint, color temperature adjustments.

While the BM5 features every tool you need nowadays, this is not what caught my attention. What’s impressive is the “camera remote” port and the remote camera functionalities.

PortKeysBM5_03

The PortKeys BM5 top and bottom. The remote camera socket is located at the left of the USB port.

A Monitor to Control Your Camera

I don’t remember any third-party field monitor – other than any OEM screen that usually ships with your camera – that can control a camera. By connecting the supplied cable from the monitor to your camera, the BM5 can control some of the camera functions.

The functions you can control are pretty basic at the moment: start/stop the recording, change your ISO settings, adjust the focus settings…etc. I think this is just the beginning.

The PortKeys BM5 camera remote functions are compatible with the Z Cam E2, Sony/Canon/Panasonic cameras. Full list below.

PortKeysBM5_04

When communicating with the company they told me the following:

We plan to add subsequent control to Sony FS5/FS7, Canon C200/C300 II, RED, and ARRI cameras. We even plan to add the Tilta Nucleus N/M wireless follow focus The user can update the monitor’s firmware via the USB port.

To me, being able to control the camera using a field monitor (like a RED Touch for example) is a big thing. If I can get a bigger monitor to mount on a Canon C200 or Sony FS5 and still be able to control the camera like the standard little screen, it’s a go-to.

Price and Availability

The $399 price tag of the PortKeys BM5 is outstanding for a monitor with that much functionalities. The field monitor will be available end of April. We will add B&H buy links when it become available.

What do you think of the PortKeys BM5? Do you think the camera remote functions are useful? Let us know in the comments down below!

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MichiJohnsonFrank NadaKansas City Photography Recent comment authors
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 Dan Brockett
Dan Brockett
MemberMarch 15th, 2019

I’m very interested in this monitor for three reasons, 2,000 nits, aluminum and SDI. For $399.00, this kind of blows the Atomos Shinobi out of the water, although I am sure the software implementation will not be as slick as the Atomos interface, which is very good.

I cannot understand this obsession with controlling your cameras functions from a gimbal or monitor, don’t need it, don’t care, that seems like a slight convenience. Our gimbal camera is the Fuji X-T3 which none of the gimbal and monitor manufacturers even seem to know exists so there are no protocols for controlling it anyway.

王志欣
王志欣
GuestMarch 15th, 2019

Thanks Jeff.?

 Joe Oberster
Joe Oberster
MemberMarch 19th, 2019

I’d love to know if you can power the monitor via D-tap, and then power the camera from the monitor at the same time. Just a curiosity, really.

 Joe Oberster
Joe Oberster
MemberMarch 19th, 2019

So when they say it “supports resolutions up to 1080p”, does that mean it will not show a 4K output from the camera?

Kansas City Photography
Kansas City Photography
GuestApril 15th, 2019

This is so cool I didn’t see this coming :O

Geert Oomens
Geert Oomens
GuestMarch 15th, 2019

This monitor is crazy for the money I follow them for about a month now en will definitely buy the monitor when it’s out. I will be using it for the bmc pocket 4k en I also am very curious about controlling the camera en my Tilta nuculeus n. Hope it is as good than on paper.

 Robert Niessner
Robert Niessner
MemberMarch 18th, 2019

Don’t expect the monitor being able to control the PCC4K. I think they are listing the Production Camera 4k, because that one has LANC, while the PCC4K doesn’t.
So far the only possibility to remote control the PCC4K is via Bluetooth. Blackmagic said they are looking into making the USB-C port an option, but so far this has not been implemented.

Troxster
Troxster
GuestMarch 15th, 2019

About time, I’ve been waiting for someone to do this, now if they would only add a control spec to hdmi, then we would be off and running.

Joelle Mcneil
Joelle Mcneil
GuestMarch 15th, 2019

To good to be true.

 David Gurney
David Gurney
MemberApril 13th, 2019

Doesn’t make sense…

Oh, did you mean TOO good to be true?

Ramy Daniel
Ramy Daniel
GuestMarch 16th, 2019

Finally! I’ve been waiting for someone to start this since Atmos came to market, now hopefully this would attract more competition ?

Michael
Michael
GuestMarch 17th, 2019

Does Portkey have any internet appearance?

Arturo Marino
Arturo Marino
GuestMarch 22nd, 2019

SDI & HDMI and camera control for under $400? absolutely yes! take my money.

Johnson
Johnson
MemberMay 10th, 2019

Has shown up on the Portkeys Euro webshop/site and says in stock at euro 454 ex tax
Not the promised pricepoint but would be great if you could present a true fact review
Did some search and believe this will also show up as an Ikan Saga SX5 coming out later this year also promising 2000 nits

Nino Leitner
AdminMay 10th, 2019

We’re working on a review, but it will take a while until it’s done and out.

 Mister M
Mister M
MemberOctober 9th, 2019

How does this Product perform compared to the Atomos Shiobi SDI?

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