The Micro Four Thirds world brings another camera body to us in the shape of the Black Magic Pocket Cinema 4K.
If you’re a budding videographer, or film maker, this affordable 4K camera gives you just about everything you’d ever want to create high quality video. Some of the features include:
- 13 stops of dynamic range, including shooting up to 25,600 ISO in 12 bit RAW
- 5 inch touch screen
- SD or CFast 2.0 card writers
- 120 frames per second recording in HD
- 60 fps recording in 4K
- built-in microphones (located next to the lens mount)
- USB-C Expansion port that lets you record directly to an external SSD hard drive
- Bluetooth remote control
- mini XLR microphone input
- carbon fibre body construction
Of course it has to go up against the likes of the Panasonic GH-5 and Olympus EM-1 Mk II bodies, both of which offer some very handy video features as well as being excellent stills cameras, however, the kicker is that for serious videographers this camera brings a lot more video stuff to the table and it’s only going to cost $1349. Compare that to the close to $2k being asked by most retailers for the other big brothers in MFT and you’ll start to wonder if they are the right choice for your video work (assuming you are already invested in MFT lenses).
Reading through the material available on the Black Magic website, the first thing I was looking for was information on stabilisation. Sadly it doesn’t look like there is any, nor is there any information on whether the BMPC4K is able to use the lens stabilizers built into certain Panasonic and Olympus lenses. It does say that the mount is “active MFT” but that could mean it only allows for lens data to be passed through during recording. There is a mention of auto focus being available on compatible lenses, but again, no clear indication as to which ones (not that AF is used much by video shooters, but it would be nice to know). So, I guess if you want to use the camera hand held, the way they have advertised it, you're going to need hands of stone, or you're going to be looking to buy a suitable gimbal.
The monitor is large and bright, but it’s fixed to the back of the camera, so for vloggers and other kinds of narcissists it’s probably a non-starter.
There is a shutter button for stills and according to the specs it’s going to be a 4096x2160 sized sensor in there, so a resulting 8.8MP, which is (ahem) not quite the gold standard for stills these days. Bummer.
It does seem to be geared primarily towards professional video people, so my take away from the announcement is that if you’re already invested in an MFT system, you are probably going to be sticking with your Panasonic or Olympus bodies, which will do 4K video with lots of features, but also offer you 20MP stills. And stabilisation. And lots more.
Oh yes, you do get access to Da Vinci Resolve Studio editing software worth $300, which looks impressive (I have downloaded the free beta and will give it a look over soon), but if you consider that you are still going to have to buy a gimbal to create your smooth cinematic footage, the deal doesn't look all that aggressive anymore.
If you were getting serious about video would you buy this or would you rather buy the top end Panasonic/Olympus bodies?