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Blackmagic announces Pocket Cinema Camera and $3,995 Production Camera 4K (hands-on)

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Last year Blackmagic Design announced its Cinema Camera, and this year at NAB the company is going both bigger and smaller with two new cameras. The company's Production Camera 4K features 12 stops of dynamic range, a Super 35-sized sensor, and a global shutter. It has SSD slots to capture your footage, and much like its predecessor, the camera's interface is run almost entirely through the touchscreen on its back. The Production Camera 4K is priced at a compelling $3,995 — a number that calls to mind RED's infamous Scarlet promise of "3K for $3K." The price and capabilities of that camera ended up changing long before it ever shipped, but Blackmagic appears ready to go in this instance, with an expected July ship date.

The $995 Pocket Cinema Camera is another beast entirely. It's a small camera — roughly the length and width of an iPhone 5 — that is able to capture 1080p video with 13 stops of dynamic range. That's in line with the Canon 5D Mark III, but it's coming in a smaller package and a much friendlier price. The Pocket Cinema Camera uses a Super 16-sized sensor, and records its footage directly to SD cards. As far as lenses go, it features a Micro Four Thirds mount, but adapters can open up the variety of lenses that can be used. Blackmagic is pitching it not just as a pocket, on-the-go video camera, but a versatile device that can also be used with large lenses and rigs for more professional use. Unfortunately you're not going to be using it to shoot any slow-motion action sequences; like the Production Camera 4K, it can only shoot between 23.98 fps and 30 fps.

A great balance between heft and portability

We were able to spend a little time with Pocket Cinema Camera, and while we weren't able to shoot any footage ourselves, we were able to get a sense of how the device felt as well as how its output looked on a monitor. The camera felt solid and reliable, demonstrating a great balance between heft and portability — though unfortunately it doesn't use the same touchscreen interface as its larger siblings. The video output looked solid, though it was hard to gauge that 13-stop dynamic range in the brightly-lit set Blackmagic was using. However, the company also showed off some images it said were taken with the camera, which demonstrated how an indoor scene could be captured in its entirety — as well capturing what was happening outside a window on a sunny day. Blackmagic is aiming to release the Pocket Cinema Camera in July as well, and judging by the throngs at the booth here at NAB we imagine it may have quite a few potential customers lined up.