Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Review (Update 2020)

Gear Aug 11, 2020

The new innovative Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is the camera that has surprised many video creators and filmmakers by its new features and design. The combination of the latest advanced digital film technologies and the design allows you to have it all just in the palm of your hand.

Let’s take a closer look at the BMPCC 4K itself including;

  • Features & Description
  • Reviews
  • Update: Is Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K still relevant in 2020?
  • Specs
  • FAQs

Features & Description of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Spoiler alert!

BPCC 4k really shouldn’t be compared to any other camera since you will not find anything like this in a similar price range. Not even close!

Image Quality

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at 60fps, features a 4/3 CMOS size sensor, and a dual native ISO up to 25.600, meaning that you will get amazing HDR images and astonishing low light performance. External controls are able to give you quick access to the main functions, while the large 5-inch touch-screen makes it simple to frame shots, focus accurately, and change camera settings.

The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has a 5″ touchscreen LCD display, which reduces the needs for an external, onboard monitor, at the same time as a full-sized HDMI port allows you to take the signal to a larger display.

Connectivity

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K includes a mini XLR input with phantom power, a 3.5mm jack, and an internal stereo microphone. Besides, the camera also includes a Bluetooth remote control. Moreover, for adjustable control, a license key for post-production DaVinci Resolve Studio is included.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K includes features as built-in SD/UHS-II or CFast 2.0 recorders in RAW or ProRes at up to 120 fps in full HD. Moreover, the camera has an MFT lens mount, built-in microphones, full-sized HDMI, XLR input, 3D LUT support, Bluetooth, and more.

Person Holding BlackmagicDesign Pocket Cinema Camera 4k

Benefits of BPCC

Blackmagic claims 13 stops of dynamic range, which is very high and quite amazing in this price range – e.g. higher compared to Sony A7 III.

ISO

This camera keeps the colour information almost perfectly. With increasing ISO, many cameras (especially the ones under $5000), tend to shift in direction of too much noise, too much brightness or they become very desaturated. Especially at this price point, low light is also handled very well.

The ISO is acceptable up till 6400 at least, but you could go even higher for documentary purposes per se. The best setting is at the native ISO 400 and 3200, which also means 2500 is not as clean as 3200.

Resolution

What really sets this camera apart from the others is the shooting options, the resolutions, and that the camera can record internally in such a small and inexpensive package. It can record ProRes HQ, ProRes 422, ProRes LT and ProRes Proxy as well as DNG RAW inside the camera. That means 12-bit video images inside such a small body.

It’s really alone in the market with specs like this.

Design

Stereo microphones are placed on both sides with the option of plugging in the external microphone too. The position, however, could be better since the grip is too close to the microphone which can cause some unwanted noise. Still, it is well-equipped when it comes to audio with many input options.

Menu is considered to be very simple, straightforward, and user-friendly and so much better when comparing it to other cameras. You can operate the camera even without reading the manual and you will find everything within a couple of minutes.

Design-wise, the camera is a bit wider than usual which can create problems with fitting it into gimbals or with the comfort of the grip. It is also much bigger than the original pocket camera. Even so, the camera is super light in comparison to other brands and models.

Usability

BPCC is a very powerful camera not only for beginners or aspiring filmmakers. It has a stills function, but it is definitely a video camera and not a machine for photography.

However, it’s not really a camera for vloggers or YouTubers since there is no continuous autofocus and no flippy screen. But definitely great for documentaries, shooting while traveling, indie filmmakers, or small production companies.

What about the Downsides?

There is no in-body stabilisation, so you will definitely need a tripod or gimbal. There is also no continuous autofocus with any lens and bad autofocus, but you can use speed booster without any limits.

BPCC doesn’t include a flip-out screen and cannot be tilted in any way either. So, using HDMI output is pretty much a must, as well as a need to purchase an external monitor.

Touchscreen is very good and easy to use, however, there is a lack of buttons. The screen is bright enough for most circumstances, but you will still probably need some kind of shading on a sunny day. Viewfinder is not included, which would be a problem if you are farsighted and you can’t actually see the screen up close.

Battery life is super low so you will definitely need an external power source. It lasts approximately 60 minutes (recording at 24 fps without any external USB-C device connected). Battery is placed on the bottom which is really inconvenient if you are also charging externally or connected to external monitors or other add-ons.

Reviews of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Update: Is Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K still relevant in 2020?

This camera was released in September 2018 and has an incredible potential for filmmaking. The release price was $1,295, nearly half the price of Panasonic's video-oriented GH5S, making it the cheapest 4K RAW camera available by a long way. But for the camera to be usable for filmmaking, you should expect to spend double of its original price. In 2020, the price still hasn’t changed.

The biggest advantage for most customers is that BPCC 4k shoots 12-bit raw which is perfect for commercial use, corporate video, TV, films, or music videos.

As mentioned before, the battery life is not the longest. Depending on resolution, it could last from 30 to 60 minutes. The advantage is, that LPE6 batteries are very cheap and easy to carry with you anywhere.

Firmware updates make the camera better with every reform too. They included additional resolutions and frame rates, faster start-up times, and most importantly punch-into focus that works during recording, and now does up to 8 times magnification up from its original 2.

This camera still wins with its 4k at 60fps, dual native ISO, wide ISO range, and other lovable features as false colour, shutter angle, histogram, and recording to an external SSD, at $1,295.

At this incredibly low price, you really can’t find anything better!

Specifications of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

Effective Megapixels: 8

ISO: 100 to 25,600 (Expanded)

Weight: 1.5 lb / 680.38 g

Size: 7 x 3.8 x 3.4" / 177.8 x 96.52 x 86.36 mm

Waterproof: No

Sensor size: 18.96 x 10 mm (4/3")

Shutter Type: Rolling Shutter

Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds

Lens Communication: Yes

Built-In ND Filter: None

Built-In Microphone Type: Stereo

Wireless Interfaces: Bluetooth Control

Display Type: LCD

Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Recording Formats: Blackmagic RAW Q0, Q5, 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 at 4096 x 2160, 3R0 and 1920 x 1080 with film, extended video or video dynamic range. ProRes at 4096 x 2160, 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 with film, extended video or video dynamic range or custom 3D LUT

Bluetooth: Yes

Built-In GPS: No

Total Video Inputs: None

Total Video Outputs: 1 x HDMI Type A

Battery Type: Canon LP-E6

Battery Life: 60 minutes

Power: 12V-20V

FAQs

How is the Autofocus working on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K?
The autofocus on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is not continious. It has a touch autofocus, which works very well, especially when moving.

How is the battery life on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K?
It can work up to 55-60 minutes on continuous recording.

How sharp is 120fps?
120 fps is not the sharpest footage, but nevertheless, it gives an amazing quality of an image. It is still sharp enough to shoot an extreme slow-motion shot, depending on the preferences.

Places for you to purchase and rent the BMPCC 4K

If you are considering getting started shooting with the BMPCC 4K, you can rent daily, weekly or monthly from Wedio (Available in Denmark, Berlin, Amsterdam, and London), a camera-sharing community, or buy from your local retailer.