The Blackmagic Design 4K Pocket Cinema Camera is now, finally here, and it is almost as if you can hear the world rejoicing!
When you wish upon a star, sometimes, just sometimes something comes true. When Blackmagic Design teased a 4K follow up to the Pocket Cinema Camera on Friday it set the internet buzzing. And now we have the details. In short the new 4K Pocket Cinema Camera goes above and beyond expectations. The original camera caused waves. No doubt this camera will cause a tsunami!
Each time Blackmagic Design releases a new camera it just gets better and better. The Pocket Cinema Camera was one of the company's earliest models alongside the 2.5K Cinema Camera and later the 4K Production Camera. In fact it was one of the company's defining models. The Pocket is by far one of BMD's most popular ever cameras. And despite the fact that it has incredible capabilities for a camera of its price and size, it was always lacking three main features. High frame rates for slow motion, decent audio inputs, and importantly, 4K resolution. Higher framerates were sort of addressed with the 60P capable Micro Cinema Camera. But that was always a stop gap for Pocket owners who wanted to upgrade. It was never a true Pocket Cinema Camera replacement and it was limited to 1080p.
The rear of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC4K) showing new, brighter LCD display. Note the HFR button.
Well now the world finally has a true 4K Pocket Cinema Camera, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief! Even better is that the new camera benefits from all the lessons learnt over the years from previous models. Gone is the silver minimalist design of the original camera, instead replaced now by BMD's current all black, angular aesthetic. But it is the main features that grab the attention. Sit down and please don't be drinking a hot drink when you read this.
Form factor and main features
The 4K Pocket Cinema Camera uses an all new fibre reinforced polycarbonate based body design. Whilst it is noticeable larger than the original camera and looks very similar to many mirrorless camera bodies, it is still very light. The MFT mount is retained so that your glass investment is maintained. This is a full size MFT CMOS however, so the existing Metabones Speedbooster that was designed for the original camera won't work on this one. No doubt a new one will be produced, with the added benefit that it will be much easier to find a wide angle lens.
But all of this is by the by. Lets delve further into the detail. Dual ISO? Check. This is a huge thing. From the demos that we have seen this camera has incredibly low noise. Maximum ISO is 25,600. There is a new 5" touch screen display that is hugely improved over the original. And it will record internally to 12-bit raw DNG and 10-bit ProRes. Can it do ProRes RAW? No, not at this time. But we wouldn't rule out a firmware upgrade just yet. You might ask why this is the case. The answer is, well, industry. That's just the way the dice rolls. Let's see what the future brings. The LCD is fixed, and does not flip out.
Simple controls with a lot of functionality. Note the large on/off switch and strap bars.
Okay, so I have teased you enough, what about those framerates and resolution? It produces a full 4096x2160 resolution picture at, be ready for this, 60fps. Yes, this camera will be able to do half speed slow motion at full 4K resolution (assuming your final output isn't 60p), with 120fps possible by windowing the sensor at HD resolutions.
Audio? This is where things get even better. We all know that the audio recording on the 4K Video Assist monitor/recorder is good, showing the company's commitment to better sound recording. Well BMD have seen fit to include 4 built in mics to the camera body as well as a mini XLR input with phantom power. For basic shooting, no more will there be a need to attach cumbersome external audio recorders.
Footage can be recorded to CFast 2.0 cards or high speed SD. But the winning feature here is the USB port. If you have a USB-C HDD you can simply plug it right in to the camera body and record directly to it. Your footage is then completely NLE ready by plugging it into your editing computer.
A full size HDMI port also features that can either output a 10-bit feed to external recorders, or with overlays and LUTs for external monitoring. This is a feature that was heavily requested.
As a follow on from the Micro Cinema Camera the new 4K Pocket uses Canon LP-E6 batteries. For external power there is a choice between a long asked for safe locking DC plug or alternatively it can be powered by USB-C.
In some photos the BMPCC4K looks much larger than its predecessor. As you can see here, it is still quite diminuative in size.
This will be a big seller
The original Pocket Cinema Camera caused a storm. It is still well loved now, despite its shotcomings. The new 4K version would appear to resolve pretty much all of the complaints users had with the original camera, and then some. Oh, and it also takes stills as well, meaning that the BMPCC4K really should make for a superb travel companion.
There's even better news. Contrary to the excitable rumour mill, retail is set to be $1295. The 4K Pocket Cinema Camera will be available from Sept 2018.
Read RedShark News Editor In Chief David Shapton's views and an exclusive first hands on with the camera!
Blackmagic's press release follows on the next page.