The original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera was wildly popular when it was released. A Super 16mm sensor HD camera capable of shooting RAW video at consumer level prices. What’s not to love? It was a great little camera, but it’s not without its issues. Many of the problems with the BMPCC were updated with firmware, but in 2018, such a camera needs more to compete.
And more is what Blackmagic have given us, by announcing the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K). The sensor size has gone from Super 16mm to a full-size Micro Four Thirds, it’s had an obvious bump up to 4K resolution, and it’s capable of shooting both 4K UHD (3840×2160) 10-Bit ProRes 422 and 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) 12-Bit CinemaDNG RAW.
As well as going up to a full size Micro Four Thirds sensor, the Micro Four Thirds lens mount is now active, offering communication between the lens and body. This means you’ll get autofocus with certain lenses. Like the recently announced Panasonic GH5S, the BMPCC 4K features dual native ISO technology for improved high ISO performance with 13 stops of dynamic range.
4K video can be shot at up to 60 frames per second while 1080p HD crop mode can be shot at up to 120 frames per second. ProRes footage can now also be saved to either CFast 2.0 or UHS-II SDXC thanks to the dual card slot upgrade. If you want to shoot RAW, it’ll have to go to the CFast 2.0. But that’s not all, you can also record straight to an external SSD, thanks to the built in Type-C USB (which can also double up as a power source to charge batteries while you’re using it).
- Effective Sensor Size – 18.96mm x 10mm (Four Thirds)
- Lens Mount – Active MFT mount.
- Lens Control – Iris, focus and zoom on supported lenses.
- Dynamic Range – 13 Stops.
- Shooting Resolutions – 4096 x 2160 (4K DCI), 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD), 1920 x 1080 (HD).
- Frame Rates – Maximum sensor frame rate dependent on resolution and codec selected. Project frame rates of 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94 and 60 fps supported.
Off-speed frame rates up to 60 fps in 4K DCI, 120 fps in HD windowed.
- Focus – Focus button turns on peaking, autofocus available using compatible lenses.
- Screen Dimensions – 5” 1920 x 1080.
- Screen Type – LCD capacitive touchscreen.
- Total Video Outputs – 1 x HDMI Type A
- Analog Audio Inputs – 1 x mini XLR analogue switchable between mic with phantom power support and line level (up to +14dBu) / 1 x 3.5mm Stereo Input. Can also be used for Timecode input.
- Analog Audio Outputs – 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Computer Interface – USB Type-C for external drive recording, software updates and media download.
With the connectivity on this thing, especially a built in Mini XLR socket with Phantom Power, it looks like could be an awesome little camera. If the quality’s there, the audio preamp doesn’t suck, and external power is reliable (especially from USB), it’ll be the ideal camera for a lot of YouTubers and new filmmakers who are sick of dealing with syncing audio in post.
It’ll be interesting to see if Blackmagic have learned from the issues of the original BMPCC. Because at this price it’s easily the cheapest 4K RAW capable camera out there, but if it doesn’t hold up to user demands, it won’t be all that popular. If it’s as good as we all know it could be, though, it’ll be extremely attractive to many, given its price.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is available to pre-order now for $1,295, but there’s a bit of a wait to get one. They don’t start shipping until September.