This is how much the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K can really cost you
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K sounded like something of a unicorn when it was first announced. 12-bit 4K RAW video for less than $1,300? It was truly unbelievable. But since its release last September, it’s proven to be very real a very capable camera. It pretty much has no competition at this price point if video is your focus.
But is it really just $1,300? Is that all you have to buy? Well, no. In this video, Lewis McGregor talks about all the addons you’ll likely have to buy to really make it usable, and how much all that extra stuff costs.
You don’t have to buy all these extras, and which you’ll want to get will depend on what you already have. But at the very least you’ll need to buy a lens and probably some form of storage in order to be able to shoot anything with it at all, assuming you don’t already own anything compatible.
Folks coming from Panasonic will likely already have Micro Four Thirds lenses, but if not, you’re probably looking at the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Vario II Power OIS, which runs right around another $1,000. You could use Canon EF lenses, but then you’re looking at around $650 for a Metabones Speed Booster if you want any kind of quality. Personally, I’ve been using Nikon lenses and the Viltrox focal length reducer with the Pocket 4K. It doesn’t have autofocus, but who needs that?
When it comes to storage, you might already have some UHS-II SD cards, but given the high bitrates of 12-bit RAW footage, you’ll probably need to buy more storage, and almost certainly larger. 256GB is the minimum recommended, given that you could be saving out at a rate of around 1GB every 10 seconds. An Angelbird 256GB CFast card is around $330. You could go with an SSD, though. The 500GB Samsung T5 SSD costs a mere $90 by comparison.
But to do anything with it other than sit it on a tripod, there a few other items you might need to buy, too, as Lewis mentions. You’ll want some form of a cage, as there aren’t really any attachment points on the Pocket 4K for accessories like lights or microphones. And, no, the 1/4-20″ socket on top of the camera doesn’t count. You really don’t want to be screwing a whole lot of weight into that. So, a SmallRig or Tilta cage it is for another $80-100.
Then for that cage, you’ll want a top handle ($20-80), possibly an SSD holder ($25) if you decided to go the Samsung T5 route for storage. You’ll want to get a bunch of spare LP-E6 batteries, too ($61 each for genuine, $12 each for cheap 3rd party), or some other form of power source. Lewis recommends V-Mount batteries in his video, but I’ve been using the Pocket 4K for the past few weeks and I decided to go the Sony NP-F and LP-E6 dummy battery route. It works rather well, and is less expensive (and less heavy) than V-Mount.
That’s pretty much the basics you’ll need for going handheld. The camera, lens, storage, power, cage and handle. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but this can basically double the cost of the camera itself. Exactly how much it’ll cost depends on which route you go for lenses, power and how good a deal you might find on certain items.
But this isn’t a crazy, money-no-object, wishlist of extras for the Pocket 4K. It’s the bare basics.
also doesn’t include things like gimbals, shoulder rigs, ND filters, or even audio gear – the internal mics are decent, sure, but they can’t work miracles. And it doesn’t include the amount of portable storage you might need to have on hand if you go away shooting somewhere for a few days and need to unload cards or that Samsung SSD. And you can double that portable storage capacity if you want to have backups.
Getting into filmmaking isn’t cheap. It can very quickly get very expensive. How quickly really depends on you, but ultimately, if you stick with it, you’ll spend it eventually. A lens or two here and there, a new gimbal, a fancy motorised slider, oh, and a travel slider, a couple of substantial tripods to put them on, a shotgun mic, and wait, you need wireless lavs, too, and a field recorder, and noise-cancelling headphones, and etc.
Like I said, it adds up.
Personally, I think it’s worth every penny.
[via No Film School]
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.