The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro was introduced last month and now we were finally able to get our hands on it. With new color science (Generation 5), tiltable LCD screen, optional EVF, and built-in ND filters, this new camera looks like a very appealing filmmaking device for a very reasonable price.
March is a crazy month, especially when it comes to the weather. Sun, snow, strong winds, you name it, we have it all here in Vienna. So what does the weather have to do with a camera review? Well, finding the “right time” to film, weather wise, is certainly not an easy task, yet, with the help of Anne Wieben, an engaging cheerful opera singer operating from Vienna, I was able to complete my “production mission” by spending a few productive hours with her.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro – Overview
Let’s start with highlighting what hasn’t changed when comparing the new BMPCC 6K Pro camera to the original BMPCC 6K. Like with its predecessor, it has a Super 35 sensor size, Canon EF mount, BRAW internal recording and great menu structure. (More information about the original 6K camera can be found here in our review and lab test). I hear you asking, then what justifies the $500 price difference?
BMPCC 6K Pro – The Features that make the Difference
In my opinion, Blackmagic Design did a good job by listening to users and adding some extra functionalities to their new camera. So in this regard, the word “Pro” is absolutely justified.
Built-in clear/2/4/6 stops ND filters
This feature alone might be worth the extra cost over the original model for many users, including myself. I can only hope that other manufacturers will favourably consider to follow what Blackmagic Design did here and add an ND filter to their future compact (mirrorless) cameras.
Tiltable LCD screen
No more sending the camera in for an external modification or spending nerve-racking hours like my colleague Gunther, trying to do it all by himself. For many if not all, this additional LCD functionality is much of a welcomed thing.
Two mini XLR audio inputs
One mini XLR audio input was nice to have in the original BMPCC 6K camera, but having two of these is even better….For the above video I did not use the audio inputs, simply because I did not find a mini to full XLR adapter cable at the office. Saying this, I used the 3.5mm mini jack audio input, and to my surprise, the audio recording quality turned out to be great! I still remember the time when BM cameras had barely usable audio as pre-amps which were extremely noisy. Speaking of sound, I tend to believe that the maximum headphone output volume is not so great. I wish it could simply be louder. I would love to hear what you guys think when working with this camera, especially when filming at a “busy surroundings” like a wedding or such.
Color Science Generation 5
We all learned to love and appreciate the image quality that cameras by Blackmagic Design can produce almost “out of the box”, but for me, Color Science Generation 5 takes even takes it a step further. I really enjoyed grading the footage coming out of this camera and as I’m not a professional colorist, I really appreciate the fact that I can still come out with relatively satisfying results.
Double tripod plate secure mounting points
The above photo is from the battery grip, but the idea is the same. Even the camera itself has those two 1/4 inch tripod plate mounting points. I know it sounds strange, but not so many compact cameras have this essential option.
For a very reasonable additional sum, the camera functionality can be improved by deciding to invest in the following:
Battery Grip ($145)
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras are known to be “power hungry”, but at least the company is acknowledging this by trying to improve the situation. To start with, the new camera will accommodate Sony’s NP-F750 type battery. Those are widely available and at a very affordable price. On top, the new battery grip can also accommodate two additional batteries, so now you have three batteries in one place to start your production with… Oh, and on the camera body itself, just above the mini XLR audio input you can find a USB-C type connector. With it you can charge the battery of the camera with a suitable battery power bank. Note: You can’t power the camera using just a power bank via USB-C!
EVF for 6K Pro ($495)
If you have been following my work for a while, you most probably know what I think about the necessity of having an EVF on EVERY filming device, especially if it’s tagged as a “Pro” or “Cinema” camera. And in this regards BM did very well by offering a “cable free” EVF to go along their new camera.
But unfortunately, not all is jolly good with this new Electronic View Finder. After working with it for quite some time, I must say that the new EVF is “leaving a lot to be desired”. With its 1280×960 resolution and 3200pixels per inch, it is simply NOT sharp enough to act as a focusing aid tool. I’m really curious to hear and find out how you guys get along working with it. I doubt it is my tired eyes to blame here and not the EVF, yet, I’ll be very happy to be proven wrong.
Value for Money
Since Blackmagic Design have started to produce cameras, they were extremely fair with their pricing. After all, the philosophy of Grant Petty (The owner of Blackmagic Design) is that “tools for creative creators must perform well and be very cost effective”. (Watch the interview I conducted with Grant over three years ago. It is still relevant and interesting to hear how much passion he has for our industry). And in this regards the new Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro does not fall short: for $2495 one gets a very capable and matured camera. Even if you decide to top it off with the additional EVF ($495) and battery grip ($145), this complete package might appeal to many.
Laowa OOOM 25-100mm
Venus Optic (Laowa) was kind enough to send us a copy of their new zoom lens. And although I originally wanted to test the lens in conjunction with their rear anamorphic adapter, I had to drop my original plan as the cameras EF mount if far from being flexible in accommodating and adapting to other lens mounts. So I settled on using the lens “as is” (without the rear anamorphic adapter) and the experience was interesting.
On the positive side, this 25-100mm affordable zoom lens is doing very well, optically wise. I really like the images it can produce! What I think can be improved is its weight (it is a rather heavy lens), and no less important (at least for me), its focal length. 25mm on a super35 sensor is not wide enough for my taste. Also, the single 1/4-inch attachment point for mounting a tripod plate is a bit fiddly; it should actually have two 1/4-inch threads, just like the camera itself. I still hope to test the lens together with its anamorphic attachment, but for now, this is just a short impression from my side after working with this lens together with the new camera.
The BMPCC 6K Pro is a well thought-out camera and what I would like to see in the (near) future is the ability of the company to move away from the ancient EF lens mount. A modern camera deserves a modern flexible mount and if BM is able to talk to Canon and get their approval to use the RF lens mount on future cameras it will be a hell of a great deal. Maybe BRAW internal recording in Canon’s cameras in exchange to RF lens mount on Blackmagic Design cameras is something that both companies could agree upon…
Many Thanks to Anne Wieben. You can find out more about her work by clicking here.
Filmed with BMPCC 6K Pro. At 6K/25p, BMRAW, Constant bit rate 8:1 and Constant Quality Q3 (Similar output quality to my taste). Color LUTs by Lutify.me
What do you think about the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro? Did you consider buying it, or maybe you have it already…Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.