Why the BMPCC 6K is Blackmagic Design’s Best Cinema Camera, Yet!

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

Blackmagic Design has won me over many times with their professional, yet affordable product cinema camera line-up, dating back to their 2013 offering, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera.

But, only until I got to un-box the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (BMPCC 6K), did I realize how far they have come as a company in the design and production of their cameras.

You see, I remember years ago when the original Cinema Camera was released being astonished at its features and price-point at its announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas, NV on April 16, 2012.

At a mere $2995, the Cinema Camera had an interchangeable EF or MFT lens mount, 13 stops of dynamic range, large touchscreen monitor, SSD disk drive, high-speed Thunderbolt connection, and a 3 Gb/s SDI output — specs unheard of at the time.


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Original Sins

The original Cinema Camera had its downfalls, though — the internal battery was built-in and lasted less than 90 minutes, was difficult to hold without a rig, performed poorly in low-light, used non-standard 1/4″ audio jacks, and the CinemaDNG RAW files were huge and tedious to edit on a laptop.

Adding to their woes, production delays plagued Blackmagic Design at very the beginning, with CEO, Grant Petty, releasing an apology to customers on the Blackmagic Design forum,

As you know, we have been dealing with a supplier delay which has stalled our ability to build cameras…Over a month ago now, we completed the testing of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera and started production. Very quickly we started to see cameras failing our production testing as they suffered from blemishes on the sensor. These are high end cameras so need to be built to a very high specification. (2)

From what I remember on social media, customers who had pre-ordered the Cinema Camera claimed to not receive their order until the next year and beyond!

The Turn-Around

In an attempt to win more converts to Blackmagic Design’s cinema camera line-up, Blackmagic Design released newer cameras — beginning with the URSA, Pocket Cinema Camera, Micro Cinema Camera, URSA Mini 4K/4.6K Generation 1 and 2, Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, and finally the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.

With the CEO of Blackmagic Design, Grant Petty, acknowledging himself that there was never a true upgrade from the original Cinema Camera, Petty admits to filling that void in the BMPCC 6K announcement video.

Much of the technology that made Blackmagic Design so popular, such as their film-like color science, wide dynamic range, and raw capabilities were implemented in the BMPCC 6K.

Much of the design of the camera inherits the 4K version, but there are some differences in camera size, lens mount, and resolution.

The BMPCC 6K accepts EF/EF-S lenses which are highly popular with digital filmmakers because of the variety of options available.

In addition to using a Canon lens mount, the BMPCC 6K uses the standard Canon LP E6 batteries, used by many Canon DSLRs.

Adding to the list of benefits of the BMPCC 6K are its non-proprietary memory format — SD and Cfast cards, which can be purchased at a local camera store or big box retailer.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera records using standard open file formats so customers don’t have to waste time transcoding media. Recording works in industry standard 10-bit Apple ProRes files in all formats up to 4K or 12-bit Blackmagic RAW in all formats up to 6K. (1)

ProGrade Digital SD Card V60 (128GB): https://amzn.to/2T3NSjO

ProGrade Digital CFast 2.0 Memory Card (128GB): https://amzn.to/3dKi63q

Samsung T5 Portable SSD — 500GB — USB 3.1 External SSD, Blue: https://amzn.to/3fOqalB

Design

If we look to the left-side of the camera, we can see a 3.5mm mic jack, headphone port, full-sized HDMI port, 12v power connector, USB-C port, and Mini-XLR input.

The rear touchscreen is very responsive and bright, featuring an extremely user-friendly interface, with buttons along the side of the screen for iris, focus, high frame rates (HFR), zoom, menu, and playback.

On top of the camera are quick-access buttons for recording, adjusting the ISO, shutter speed, and white balance — along with the on/off switch and three custom function buttons.

Near the front of the camera is the scroll wheel for adjusting the aperture and other camera settings, an additional record button, tally light, and a pair of built-in stereo mics.


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Within the menus are settings to adjust record formats, a monitoring tab for the built-in touchscreen and HDMI output, audio tab for microphone adjustments, setup tab for time/date, language, etc., twelve recallable memory presets, and 3D LUTS for viewing a color-corrected image while using a film gamma profile.

I find that the operating system can be navigated without any previous experience and is powerfully simple, allowing quick adjustments via the touchscreen or the dedicated function buttons.

To get up-and-running, you’ll need the included battery, an EF lens, and a memory disk to begin recording, from the sky is the limit.

Conclusion

The BMPCC 6K is available for $1995, down $500 from the original MSRP of $2495, as a response to the live-streaming boom created by the novel coronavirus.

Also included with the camera is a SD card for a fully-licensed version of DaVinci Resolve, which retails for $299.

Competitor cameras within this sub $5K range include Z-Cam’s E2 camera, Canon’s C200, and the Red Komodo 6K.

For what the BMPCC 6K offers — 6K resolution, raw recording format, EF lens mount, a Super 35mm sensor, dual-native ISOs, and much more put this camera on a level with competition retailing for thousands of dollars more — and this time around, it’s in stock.

List of BMPCC 6K Features

  • Carbon fiber polycarbonate composite body.

  • Multi-function grip allows single hand operation.

  • Wide 13 stops of dynamic range for film looks.

  • Up to 25600 ISO for incredible low-light performance.

  • Records full resolution up to 60 fps or 120 fps windowed.

  • Standard open file formats compatible with popular software.

  • Built in SD, UHS-II and CFast card recorders.

  • Built in 5″ touchscreen allows accurate focus when shooting 6K.

  • Blackmagic OS as used in URSA Mini and URSA Broadcast cameras.

  • Blackmagic Generation 4 Color Science.

  • Professional mini XLR input with 48 volt phantom power.

  • 3D LUTs can be applied for both monitoring and recording.

  • USB-C port allows recording directly to external disk.

  • Built in timecode generator for sync multi-camera shoots.

  • Still frame capture up to 21.2 megapixel.

  • Remote camera control via Bluetooth.

  • Powers via 12V DC input and can recharge via USB-C (1).

  1. “Blackmagic Design Announces New Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.” Media | Blackmagic Design, August 8, 2019. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/release/20190808-01.

  2. Petty, Grant. “Update on Camera Shipments.” Blackmagic Forum, September 26, 2012. https://forum.blackmagicdesign.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1288#p6671.

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