The Blackmagic pocket cinema range have long been some of my favourite, lower priced video cameras. The original was so good for its time, that it is still proudly placed in our kit room, albeit slightly under used these days.
So when Blackmagic said they were sending us out the 6k pocket cinema camera to review, I was more than a little excited. For sure it sits slightly outside of our normal coverage of entry level, vlog friendly camera gear. But for those looking to step up their game in the filmmaking world, there’s little else available at this price point I’d consider.
In this article we’re just giving our first impressions, so be prepared a full review coming soon, but without further ado, lets jump in and look at this miniaturised, 6k filmmaking power house in more detail.
BMPCC 6K SPECS
First up the sensor, and on this model Blackmagic have done away with the four thirds sensor size of old, in favour of the larger, Super 35 format. This coincides with these cameras now making use of an EF lens mount, perfect if you’re like us and have a lot of EF lenses in your kit bag already.
That super 35 sensor produces a whole host of shooting resolutions and frame rates. From 6k 50fps, 4K DCI, 1080 120fps and pretty much everything in between. The sensor is also capable of producing an incredible, 13 stops of Dynamic Range & makes use of a dual native ISO system, for really clean, low light shooting.
We’ve also got codecs galore, which is no surprise considering this is a mini cine camera. From BlackMagic’s proprietary B Raw in it’s various flavours to the almost universal host of Pro-Res options.
The Rear of the camera features a gorgeous 5” HD touchscreen LCD monitor & the menu system that is both easy to use and from a UI design point of view, really impressive to look at.
POCKET 6K FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Our first impressions of using the BMPC 6k were honestly jaw dropping. The image that this camera gives is just ridiculous and I’m honestly having a hard time to believe that you can get this quality an image, from a camera at this price point.
But that is what Blackmagic Pocket Cine Cameras have always done, defied beliefs and price points. So I suppose I’m just saying, that the 6k continues that massive bang for buck trend!
As continued viewers of our channel will know, I’m not an advocate for resolutions as high as 6k, I always think the trade off between workflow and perceived quality is never there. But that said the last two cameras I’ve tested that can shoot up to 6k resolution have started to change my mind.
With the blackmagic 6k you can only get those huge frame sizes when you use the BRAW codecs. Final Cut & Premiere editors can use these codecs natively by installing a plugin from the Blackmagic site, so fear not!
The Data rates of these RAW files are, as expected, pretty hefty coming in at around 400MB/S on average. However if you’re willing to compromise, you can of course make use of the much more versatile and lightweight PRO Res 422 HQ codec which uses around a quarter of the data, but only when in 4K or below.
That said, that 4k image really holds up, both in terms of technical performance and in it’s aesthetic qualities. It is still really beautiful and in a much more useable file format, for the more causal creator. I know this is sacrificing the bleeding edge of what this camera is technically capable of, but for me the 4K ProRes 422HQ Codec is the sweet spot of usability & quality.
And talking of usability, much like the image quality, I’ve been blown away by how easy this camera is to use. Whoever designed the menu systems needs to be recognised here, because they’re so nice to use, it puts other manufacturers to shame.
Beyond the UX of the camera, it’s just a joy to shoot with, I never struggled or stumbled with it and unlike a lot of new cameras when you get them, there was barely any learning curve. It feels like an intuitive filming tool, and one that isn’t going to hold me up, or back on location.
Of course, there is some negative points to cover, from our first impressions. There’s no internal ND filters, which for a video camera is slightly annoying. And also for those coming from the more ‘run n gun’, DSLR & mirrorless world, there is no continuous auto focus. This is fairly standard in cameras like this, but definitely worth bearing in mind.
So after only a few days with this lovely little camera, it’s fair to say I’ve already fallen for it. I can’t wait to properly get to grips and shoot some more with it and it’s safe to say that it’s already left a real impression on me.
Be sure to look out for our full review on it, but in short, this is a camera that not only defies it’s form factor and it’s price, but it’s also far exceeded my expectations and beliefs as to what is possible within this budget.
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