If you are looking for your first cinema camera or thinking of upgrading your current rig there are tons of options out there but if you are looking for the best bang for your buck. Then you will want to make sure you read this Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro review.
Before we dive deeper into how this camera performs in the real world, let us first briefly go over the evolution of the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera range.
The BMPCC range of cameras is manufactured by Blackmagic Design based out of Australia which is also the company behind Davinci Resolve video editing software. One of Blackmagic Designs' primary goals is to make high-quality video affordable to everyone.
In September of 2018 they released the BMPCC 4K with a Micro Four-Thirds sensor and MFT lens mount, which was back-ordered for months and is still available for purchase today.
They then followed up that release with the BMPCC 6K which was launched in August of 2019 and shared a similar form factor but utilized a Super 35mm sensor and the popular Canon EF lens mount.
Although these cameras created high-quality images at a relatively affordable price there were a few shortcomings that users had to workaround. For example, these initial Blackmagic cameras offered short battery life requiring operators to bring multiple batteries on a shoot or find an alternate solution to power their cameras.
Additionally, the camera's 5 inch LCD screen was relatively dim, roughly 400 nits brightness, and was difficult to view in bright daylight conditions. The LCD screen is also fixed to the back of the camera and not adjustable which made viewing the screen difficult for some users.
These two issues often required camera operators to purchase external monitors and an alternate battery solution to power their cameras which often included the need for rigging out the camera with a cage.
The Blackmagic 4K and 6K cameras are a good value and are still available today but the user base requested that Blackmagic Design improves upon some of the current features. Notably better battery life and a brighter, adjustable LCD screen, and recently Blackmagic Design made some key improvements…
Fast forward to February of 2021 and Blackmagic Design announced the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro which addressed the battery life issue by switching from Canon LP-E6 batteries to Sony NP-F570 style batteries. They also introduced a new optional battery grip that improved on the previous battery grip design used by the BMPCC 4K and 6K models.
Another huge improvement was the addition of a 5-inch adjustable screen with 1500 nits of brightness which makes the screen easy to see in bright sunlight. But they didn’t stop there, they also added built-in IR ND filters of 2 stops, 4 stops, and 6 stops.
The BMPCC range now records with Generation 5 color science which is used in the high-end URSA Mini Pro 12K model. Further improvements are the addition of a second Mini Xlr input and an optional EVF (electronic viewfinder).
Design, Build Quality, and Handling
In regards, to the build quality the BMPCC 6K Pro is designed from carbon fiber polycarbonate composite and the new improved handgrip design feels quite good in your hands compared to the 4k and 6k versions.
It weighs roughly 2.73 Lbs or 1238 grams and resembles a large DSLR, at first the form factor seemed a little large but when paired with a lens like the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 it feels very well balanced.
Depending on what you are used to it may feel a little heavy when used with a high-quality lens but it is relative in comparison to other cinema cameras of similar visual quality. As far as button placement and the camera menu it is very intuitive to operate and the touch screen makes it easy to make adjustments quickly on the fly.
In comparison to camera menus from brands like Sony, Canon, Panasonic, and Nikon it is by far one of the simplest camera menu systems of any camera. One downside of the camera design would be that due to the exposed fan vents at the top of the camera it doesn’t provide much weather sealing.
So keep that in mind, if you need to shoot outdoors you will need some form of weather cover to avoid water ingress on rainy days.
Let’s briefly go over some more of the key specifications of the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro and then we will get into how this camera performs in the real world.
The BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro sports a Super 35 sensor (23.10mm x 12.99mm) which has a 1.55x crop factor compared to a full frame 35mm sensor.
- Dynamic Range of 13 stops.
- Dual Native ISO of 400 and 3200.
- Multiple resolutions and frame rates with the ability to record in either BlackMagic 6K Raw or Pro Res 422 HQ.
- 6K 12 bit raw recording internally at 6144 X 3456 up to 50 fps and up to 60 fps at 6144 X 2560 resolution in BlackMagic Raw. You can also shoot at 120 fps at 2.8 cropped.
- Canon EF Lens Mount.
- 5 Inch adjustable LCD Touch screen with 1500 nit brightness.
- Built in IR ND filters 2 stop, 4 stop and 6 stop.
- 4 built in microphones with 2 mini xlr inputs with 48 Volt phantom power and a 3.5 mm audio input.
- Built in speaker for playback and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- Full HDMI port a USB-C port and 12V DC Power in.
- Intuitive camera operating system with LCD screen calibration and the ability to upload custom luts or use the built in luts.
- Multiple recording options internally to a standard SD card, UHS-II or C-fast 2.0 media. You can also record externally via the USB-C port to an small external hard drive like the Samsung T-5 which is a very affordable storage option.
You also get a license for Davinci Resolve Studio 17 which makes editing 6K BlackMagic Raw simple once you get past the initial learning curve. One of the benefits of working with BRAW files is you can adjust the iso, exposure and tint in post similar to working on a raw image in Photoshop or Lightroom.
In the video above you’ll get a summary of this review and you will be able to have a look at some footage shot with the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro.
What I Liked
- You get a very high-quality 6k image at a lower price point than other cinema cameras and the simple menu system and controls make it extremely easy to operate.
- Blackmagic raw is also fun to work with in Davinci Resolve 17 and the built-in ND filters combined with the adjustable 5-inch bright 1500 nit screen make the BMPCC 6K Pro useable for shooting in bright daylight without an external monitor.
- Although some people may disagree with me, I think the Canon EF lens mount is a real bonus, and here’s why: With a large number of photographers and videographers switching to Sony or the Canon mirrorless cameras there is an abundance of used high-quality Canon EF lenses available at often half the retail price you would normally pay for them.
What Could Be Improved On?
- Although the BMPCC 6K Pro is now using the NP-F570 style battery they still don’t last as long as batteries from other camera brands so there is still some room for improvement in this area.
- Also, the camera lacks in-camera stabilization so you will need to use it with a gimbal such as the DJI RS2 or a tripod for stable footage.
- Unfortunately, the BMPCC 6K Pro does not have continuous auto-focus only touch to auto-focus. Now some people will argue that true cinema cameras don’t have in-camera image stabilization and continuous auto-focus but it would be nice to have.
- In closing, although I already own the Sony a7S III and really enjoy using it but I also purchased the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro because it does some things the Sony just can’t do.
For the price point, it is arguably the best bang for your buck when it comes to cinema cameras in 2021 and I believe you should give it a serious look.
You can learn more about the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro right here.