Finally! Blackmagic Design released the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K that every Blackmagic user has been asking them for at every NAB Show since the original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was released back in 2013.
If you’re not familiar with Blackmagic Design, you should be.
Who is Blackmagic Design?
I started using their Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K (long name, even larger camera) when it came out in March of 2016 and was in love with it. Even to the point where I was bringing this giant camera with me to trade shows to use it to film all of my footage (a lesson I quickly learned was not a good idea when I would have severe back pain after each show from carrying it on my shoulder).
The image quality coming out of their cameras has earned them the name (whether they like it or not) of the “poor man’s RED cameras” (RED being the crazy expensive cameras that YouTubers like MKBHD use and movies like The Hobbit used it to shoot with). And considering how many they’ve sold, I don’t think they mind much.
To give you an idea, the Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K I have (now stationary on a tripod thankfully while I carry my Sony A6500 with me to events instead) has often been compared to Arri Alexa cameras, RED cameras, and other $50,000+ cameras. Go on, do a Google search for any serious cinema camera then put “vs. Ursa Mini” behind it and see how many there are.
Now, honestly, to compare the Blackmagic URSA Mini to these other cameras isn’t fair. These other cameras excel in a lot of other ways that the Blackmagic doesn’t, but when you consider the price of the URSA Mini (and the entire lineup from the Australian company for that matter), it’s hard not to want to put them up against each other. The URSA Mini 4.6K is $4,995.
For the price, I’d say it’s hard to find any camera that will give you as good of image quality (not considering any other factors of the camera in this scenario) as Blackmagic can.
So when the Pocket Cinema Camera came out and offered crazy dynamic range for just $995, people were excited, to say the least, that maybe there was a more consumer-friendly form factor for this high-quality image (Avengers: Age of Ultron even used them in some scenes as B-Cameras to give you an example of it still being used years later in proper budget movies). I even went out and bought one, but for a lot of other reasons, I sold it promptly after that. Again, image quality is fantastic, but there was a lot of other things wrong with that camera for what I was doing that I couldn’t get past.
I told myself that with all the new prosumer cameras coming out with 4K and amazing image quality that Blackmagic was bound to release a sequel to the Pocket Cinema Camera soon.
Literally. Years. Went. By.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Today at NAB, however, they finally released the long-awaited sequel called the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. And I got a chance to play with the prototype and learn what the specs, release date, and price are going to be so let’s just list that all out real fast.
- 4K DCI, UHD up to 60fps
- 1080P up to 120fps
- ISO: 25600 max with dual native values at 400 and 3200
- 13 Stops of Dynamic Range
- Records RAW and ProRes
- Timelapse up to 1 frame per 10 mins
- Records internally to an SD Card or CFast (and can record to both without taking them out if needed)
- Micro four-thirds sensor and mount (I was slightly disappointed by this but considering what they have been able to accomplish with my APS-C sized sensor in the URSA Mini 4.6K, I’m optimistic)
- They are currently testing speed-boosters (the things that allow you to use lenses meant for larger sensors) so there will definitely be some but not sure from who, etc.
- Has an XLR Mini in for lossless audio
- 5″ Touchscreen
- Running the newer version of their firmware which I can personally tell you made a huge difference in operating my URSA Mini 4.6K and is much more intuitive and easy to use than the previous ones.
- Removable LP6 Battery
- Battery life I’m told is a little over an hour which isn’t great so a better battery solution will be needed for a lot of people, I imagine.
- Price is $1,295
- Available in Sept (some retailers like B&H are taking pre-orders already)
For the price of my A6500 basically you get a serious cinema camera basically.
Now, of course, I’m excited cause I’ve been waiting for this darn thing for so long, but I will definitely be getting one and putting it up against the other popular cameras for consumers to see if it really does as well as I hope it will.
Click here for a PDF of the full tech specs: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Tech Specs
If you want to see the camera, I apologize as I didn’t bring my tripod since I didn’t expect to film at the convention today, but here’s a quick and dirty video I put together as fast as I could for you guys if you’re interested.
What do you guys think? I’m hoping I get one when it’s released and expect a full test against all the popular other cameras out when that happens 🙂
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