Blackmagic may not be a company you’re overly familiar with, and there’s good reason for that. Historically, the company has built big, expensive video cameras aimed primarily at professional videographers. It has devoted fans, and those who use their cameras love them, and quite often enjoy being part of that community and ecosystem.
With its latest camera though, there’s very good reason for you to be excited, especially if you’re an aspiring video maker or YouTuber. It condenses down a lot of the high-level features into a portable package that’s relatively affordable.
A big part of why the camera is so attractive to video makers is the big screen on the back. It’s a huge 5-inch touchscreen panel that not only makes it easy to see everything you’re shooting and focus, but is also the canvas for Blackmagic’s really simple menu user interface. Changing video shooting resolution and frame rate is just a few taps away, which means no scrolling through tiny, complicated menus.
Versatility is another huge factor in why we think this ideal for content creators too. Need versatile storage options? No problem: it can record directly on to regular SD cards, or if you’d rather you can use UHS-II, CFast 2.0 or even make use of the built in Type-C expansion port and record direct onto a small portable SSD, like the Samsung T5 or Sandisk Extreme models.
Need versatility in lens choices? Again, not an issue. The camera supports the standard Micro Four Thirds fitting, so you can use any lens that works with other MFT cameras, which means you don’t necessarily have to spend thousands on decent glass. You still can, if you want to, but there’s a huge array of prices, focal lengths and apertures available in the MFT lens market nowadays. What’s more, there are plenty of MFT adapters out there too, just in case you want to slap an old Canon lens on it.
Sound recording is another element with plenty of versatility too. For most, the built-in 3.5mm mic input will be the most useful, especially when using microphones like the popular Rode Videomic series, but it also has an internal stereo microphone system, and a mini XLR input with 48 volts of phantom power for those who want to use more professional wired boom or lapel mics. And if that wasn’t enough, there’s even a full sized HDMI output with support for HDR, in case you want to plug the camera into a monitor/screen at any time.
Add all of that to the fact that it can record video in resolutions up to 4K (both DCI and UHD), at frame-rates up to 60 frames per second, and you have one of the most versatile, portable and fully featured video cameras around. Full list of supported resolutions and frame rates is below:
- 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps
- Full HD (1920 x 1080) – 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, 60 fps
For the video spec nerds out there, it’s capable of shooting in any number of codecs, including lossless CinemaDNG RAW and Apple ProRes at various bitrates, with dual ISO and 12 stops of dynamic range. The full tech spec sheet is definitely worth reading through.
Perhaps the one element the makes all the others elements so exciting is the price point. All this versatility and professional quality comes at a (relatively) very affordable price. Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera 4K comes with an official RRP of £1,055. That’s considerably cheaper than the company’s other high end cameras, and is also less expensive than the likes of the Panasonic GH5 or Sony Alpha series cameras. It might not take photos as well as those, but for video, this Pocket Cinema Camera 4K offers a lot of bang for the buck.
It’s also worth noting that when you buy the camera, you also get access to a full version of Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve Studio editing software, which means you potentially save hundreds, and get access to a professional editing suite without needing to stump up the cash for Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
The list of regular consumer retailers to offer the camera is quite short, but, we’ve found it at Wex for a slightly higher price of £1,110. Word of warning: if you do decide to get one, be sure to pick up a couple of extra batteries as well. With all that power, and the big touchscreen, it’s quite a battery-hungry machine.
We’re looking forward to getting one in, but it’s great to see such a feature-rich video camera that’s affordable enough for those starting to get serious, and also offers all the professional ports and tools you need to improve and produce more pro-level video.