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When it comes to the best digital camera for filmmaking and the best digital camera, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k doesn’t beat out our number one pick, the Sony Alpha A6300 mirrorless digital camera, but that doesn’t mean the pocket camera fails to deliver stunning image quality. This camera offers a wide variety of options that make it an excellent option for independent and student filmmakers that want much of the same functionality as more expensive options.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is a small camera that packs quite the punch. With amazing features like dual native ISO, compatibility with SD UHS-II memory cards, and RAW recording capability, the Blackmagic Pocket Camera captures high-quality video at an extraordinarily accessible price.
Unlike the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS, the image quality on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is absolutely superb thanks to a plethora of high-quality features. This cinema camera has 13 stops of dynamic range and dual native ISO that make it possible to capture great video in low light, unlike the Mamiya digital camera. The Pocket Cinema Camera also allows shooting in the Blackmagic RAW format, so the results are excellent and ready for any necessary processing work. This isn’t the same video quality as something like Blackmagic’s new Ursa Mini Pro, but that camera is also almost ten times the price. For a few models that have lower prices, you might like the Nikon Coolpix A900, Nikon D810 DSLR, and the Nikon D7000.
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Another characteristic of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera is that makes it a fantastic choice for students and independent filmmakers. The buttons and user interface are designed intuitively to make shooting incredibly easy. The USB C port makes it simple to connect to and record directly to the computer of your choice, and the mini XLR audio input extends your possibilities for capturing high-quality sound. The lens mount works with several different lenses; even though this camera doesn’t have in-camera stabilization or autofocus, many native lenses will alleviate these issues.
Recording media necessarily uses more energy than still photography, so it should come as no surprise that the battery life on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is pretty terrible. This digital film camera can last about 30-40 minutes on a single charge, which means filmmakers ought to have several spares on hand if they don’t plan on utilizing third-party power options. The battery meter is also fairly inconsistent, meaning the camera might die without warning. When compared to the battery life of less-expensive options like the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 or the Sony A6100.
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Small-but-mighty is an incredibly apt way to describe the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. Reviewers agreed that the combo polycarbonate and fiberglass body is weighty and satisfying to hold without being overly heavy. The grip is ribbed and ergonomic: reviewers note that this camera is easy to carry around for several hours of video capture. The Blackmagic Pocket camera’s body has a standard tripod mount, which is definitely a necessity because of the lack of in-camera stabilization.
When it comes to value, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is an excellent choice. Given some of the specs on this camera—high-quality 4k video, dual native ISO up to 25,600, and a crisp 5” LCD touchscreen—the price tag is surprising in the best possible way. The Pocket Cinema Camera packs a lot into a DSLR-sized body and is described by many as the “Swiss Army Knife” of digital film cameras, a title which it definitely deserves. The availability of a variety of lenses also makes this camera a great buy for the budget filmmaker.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is an excellent choice for low-budget filmmakers that want stellar image quality for a stellar price. It’s easy to hold and use, but the pocket camera is not without some issues. The battery life is especially poor, making it hard to recommend to vloggers and the like who aren’t going to be shooting while tethered to a computer. The lack of in-camera stabilization and continuous autofocus might make this camera harder for amateurs to pick up, but many lenses do offer these capabilities if they are required.