PortKeys BM5. A monitor that can also control your camera?

PortKeys BM5

PortKeys is a company I’ve just learned about. They sent me info on a new PortKeys BM5 5″ HD monitor that does more than most monitors. It can also interface with the camera’s menu and functions. Interesting right?

PortKeysBM5 Data Port
Cable is included for data port to communicate with the camera.
PortKeysBM5 cameras

The list of cameras that interface with controls is the Z Cam, Sony, Blackmagic, Canon, and Panasonic. The type of features available are few but PortKeys is working on adding more. For now, the options available that can be controlled vary based on the camera. Mainly focus, record, zoom functions and autofocus plus make changes to ISO. What’s not clear is how the functions are controlled as the monitor appears to be a touchscreen. It does have a glass safety cover mounted to the front. Also where the cable is plugged into each camera to enable control isn’t clear. Many hybrid mirrorless cameras have a multiport or LANC for just this type of control.

PortKeysBM5 Menu

With cameras that have touch focus the PortKeys BM5 monitor could allow you to set aside the OEM display like the C200 that is bulky but has that nice touch to focus feature. I would like to have a 5″ version for that and be able to place it where I want as opposed to the front of the handle.

PortKeys BM5 with cold mount
PortKeys offers an L bracket with two cold shoes similar to the SmallHD Focus

The 5″ BM5 monitor itself has some pretty good specs. A big one is the screen is 2000nit making it a true daylight usable monitor with a resolution of full HD 1920 x 1080. The screen has 8-bit color depth and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. The panel is a WLED or White LED

The frame looks to be robust and it is made out of Aluminum Alloy, and the screen is made out of toughened glass.

PortKeysBM5 Front back
SDI and HDMI in/out

For IO the PortKeys BM5 includes both HDMI in and SDI with both in and out. I don’t believe it can support 4K, UHD singles as it’s not listed in the specifications. A LEMO connector is on the back for adding a Tilta NUCLEUS wireless controller. I’m not clear how the controller will interface with the monitor as this is still in development.

PortKeys BM5

The monitor can be powered with a single Sony NPF type battery or with external power via a LEMO connector. It draws 13W. The monitor is also fairly light at 350 grams or 12.3 oz.

The PortKeys BM5 looks to be a smaller version of the companies BM7, with the addition of camera control.

Screen Shot 2019 03 16 at 10 18 33 AM
The PortKeys BM7

The BM5 has the same brightness, software, and screen resolution as the BM7.

Screen Shot 2019 03 16 at 10 25 14 AM
PortKeys LH5

Unlike a lot of the other competing monitors on the market such as the Atomos Shinobi, the BM5 does not look like it features a touch screen interface. PortKeys does make the LH5 which is a 5″ 1500nit monitor that does have a touchscreen.

Software Function

  • 3D LUT
  • Waveform
  • Guides
  • Zebra
  • Check Field
  • Grids
  • Audio Meters
  • Tint
  • Image Flip
  • Backlight
  • Color Temperature
  • Peaking
  • Zooming
  • Cross Hair
  • Waveform SDI Output
  • Camera Control
  • SDI TALLY
  • HLG
  • Display Flip
  • OSD Flip
  • False Color
  • H/V Delay
  • Aspect
  • Custom RGB
  • Sharpness
  • Chroma
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • UnderScan
  • 3D LUT SDI Output

HDMI Signal

SDI Signal

The PortKeys BM5 is surprisingly affordable at only $399 USD and will be available in late April. These lower cost monitors always sound good on paper, but it remains to be seen how well they hold up compared to offerings from companies such as Atomos and SmallHD.

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