Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
The second version of the revered digital film camera line has now been out for 18 months, how is its staying power? Does the newer 6K version make this camera obsolete? Lets dig in to how this camera has been holding up, and how it will likely fair in the future.
BMPCC4K Is Ahead Of Its Time
When this camera was launched in September 2018 it was a game changer for many aspiring film makers. This was evident in the fact that it was backordered on release for months and only finally caught up with demand well over six months after release. Even for some of the more established film makers the BMPCC4K became a convenient backup or secondary camera that allowed them to add a second camera for a very affordable cost while still maintaining almost as much quality of their main.
Long Lasting Features
BRAW, BRAW, BRAW. This raw codec is amazing to work with and is revolutionary for most film makers who have become accustomed to shooting in ProRes. Working with BRAW is a delight and works well even if you are editing on a rig that is not on the super high end of the spectrum. Besides the codec, one of the early concerns people had with the camera was that is was largely plastic and not very “solid” feeling. This seems to have been overblown as the camera really holds up well over time. The lighter weight also makes this camera great for run and gun shoots as well as shoots that require travel. There is nothing worse than having a shoot that requires hiking in and having to carry a few hundred pounds of camera gear. Another concern was the micr four thirds sensor size. While the is will never solve the full frame vs micro four thirds arguement, and there are certainly merits on both sides, I think seeing the footage that has been films on this camera over the last 18 months certainly proves it can hold its own. Also it seems to be able to cool itself very well meaning even shooting in warm environments usually does not cause an issue.
Not Well Aged Features
One of the bigger drawbacks for some is that the BMPCC4K really needs to be rigged up in a cage. You can certainly shoot on canon batteries and CFAST cards but the former only seems to last about 20 minutes and the latter is rather expensive to shoot on. The camera really comes into its own with a cage, external v-mount battery, and a SSD drive to record on. With this setup you can easily get a few hours of footage before needing to charge and clear the drive. This really ups its game.
I don’t think it can be denied that this camera was a large step forward when considering the ratio of cost vs quality. The question is should you invest in the 6K version which costs twice as much as the original. That will be an individual choice. The 6K version certainly provides a buffer for framing shots and allows a certain crop after shooting while still maintaining a 4K video. If you have the money to spend twice as much this is certainly a consideration, if not the 4K version should certainly do fine.