You can’t go anywhere in the the indie filmmaking community without someone touting the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. For many gear hungry filmmakers, the camera has simply become a must-have.
I was interested in finding out more – So I reached out to the folks who make the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. And they put me in touch with the Diamond Brothers. As you’re about to find out, The Diamond Brothers are no joke. These filmmakers tread the line between technology and storytelling.
In addition to directing and producing awesome content, the Diamond Brothers recently completed a 13 part series for FILA, created the launch spot for Sony’s PS4 and created a seven-part interstitial series for VH1. Given their experience, I asked them to write the following review on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera
So by now everyone has seen the new Pocket Cinema Camera from Blackmagic Design that was announced at NAB 2013. Late last year we were able to get one, and we are very excited about the results. Let’s go over the basics first.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera has a Super 16 sensor and records either Lossless CinemaDNG RAW or Apple ProRes HQ (Log or Rec709) both at 1080p.
It has an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount with Iris and Focus control for active lenses and shoots to SDXC/SDHC SD cards.
Thankfully, it has a removable battery that is essentially the Nikon EN-EL20 battery, so you can easily find them online.
Other than that, the specs and operation of this camera are almost identical to its larger cousin, the 2.5K Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera however does not have a touchscreen, but instead opts for a four way directional control. This was done to keep the size and weight down.
- Removable Battery
- 13 stops Dynamic Range
- Highly adaptable Active Micro Four Thirds Lens Mount
- Micro HDMI out
- LANC control
- No Audio Metering
- No Histogram
- No in camera card formatting
- No library/thumbnails of recorded clips
So let’s talk about Super 16 for a second. This was a very smart choice for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, as it opens up a wide array of options for lenses. Of course shooting with an active Micro Four Thirds lens is a great choice as the market for these lenses has been huge since the popularity of the Panasonic GH series, as well as others.
But we’d like to talk about some other options. As of now there are more than 15 different MFT adapters ranging from Canon and Nikon to Olympus, PL, Leica, Pentax, Contax/Yashica and more.
In our estimation, the most exciting lens choice for this camera, however, is C mount. Most people commonly know the C mount as a BOLEX film camera lens. They are small and fast and easily changeable via screw in system.
While not all of them will work with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (including cover the sensor, focus to infinity, and a few others), they are very reasonably priced, and it has become somewhat of a challenge for us to find some obscure options.
A great resource is vintagelensesforvideo.com. They go into great detail about lenses and mounts for a variety of cameras, but routinely have good insight into what will work and what won’t specifically for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
Where this camera shines is its ability to be versatile.
Since it’s so compact you could easily use it for a POV camera or Interior Car Mount. Also for documentary shooters, it’s a great option to keep with you to catch on the fly moments that a larger camera could interfere with. At the price of $995 it seems almost silly not to have one of these cameras in your kit for any situation.
Recently we were asked to shoot some helicopter footage for a charity concert in Central park. So we grabbed the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with an MFT to EF mount and threw a Leica R prime on it and brought it up as a B cam / BTS cam. It was perfect due to the tight space in the chopper and the compactness of the camera.
The great thing is that you can also build this camera up into as a big of a beast as you can imagine. Third party companies, such as Wooden Camera, make cages and audio accessories that will help you easily put this camera into any scenario.
Here’s a perfect example.
Some friends of ours had a movie accepted to Sundance and needed a small versatile setup to record a “director’s intro.”
We gave them the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera with a C-Mount Zoom, the Wooden Camera cage with rail support and the A-Box for audio. They shot it in a restaurant. They were able to be discreet and stay out of the way of customers.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is a great addition to the ever-expanding camera lineup that Blackmagic Design is developing. With its ability to shoot to inexpensive SD cards, a removable battery, adaptable lens mount and very aggressive price point, this camera is not only a great entry camera for people just beginning but a solid addition to any professional kit.
About The Diamond Brothers
The Diamond Brothers are equal artists and technological mercenaries treading the fine line between bleeding edge technology and storytelling. Directing and producing award winning content they have recently completed a 13 part series for FILA, launch spot for Sony’s PS4 and 7 part interstitial series for VH1.