Blackmagic is releasing a new, “Pro” version of its Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, which looks to fix a lot of the pain points we found in the original. It adds a tiltable, brighter screen (and an optional electronic viewfinder attachment), a bigger battery, and built-in ND. The camera is slotting into Blackmagic’s line-up above the regular 6K, coming in at $2,495, about $500 more than the non-Pro version.
While the new features still won’t make the camera ideal for consumers, they will bring some quality-of-life improvements to filmmakers and video production houses on a budget — especially that tiltable screen. I’ve used a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera before, and it’s a dream mounted on a tripod at eye-level, but an ergonomic nightmare when you’re trying to get a shot handheld or at a high or low angle. Being able to tilt the screen up or down will help make the camera easier to use, and could even remove the need for an external monitor, depending on your shooting style.
In our review, we also found that the original Pocket Cinema 6K’s display was hard to view outdoors, but the Pro has two different solutions for that. One is that the screen now runs at 1,500 nits, which is as bright or brighter than most of SmallHD’s dedicated on-camera monitors, and should help the monitor’s visibility in bright sunlight. The second is an optional, $500 OLED electronic viewfinder, which uses a dedicated (but seemingly proprietary) connector instead of taking up the camera’s single HDMI port like a Zacuto EVF would.
To power all that, it uses a larger battery than the original, but Blackmagic only quotes an hour of shooting time with the screen at 50 percent brightness (though that is an improvement over the original’s estimated 45 minutes).
The Pro is more competitive with Canon’s C100 MK II
More exciting, especially for those who shoot outside a lot, are the built-in ND filters. The camera has four built-in filters that cut down light by two, four, and six stops for when the sun is shining a bit too brightly. Of course, I would’ve loved to see an electronically variable ND filter like on Sony’s cameras, which provide a continuous range instead of discreet stops, but at this price point I can understand why Blackmagic didn’t go that route.
Throw in an extra mini-XLR jack for a total of two, and the Pro is a nice upgrade to the original Pocket 6K. It also makes the camera more competitive with Canon’s C100 Mark II, which has a similar Super-35 sensor, EF mount, and built-in ND. The cameras may appeal to different types of shooters, but I know I’ve found myself cross-shopping Canon and Blackmagic’s offerings before, especially when I’m uncertain about what type of projects I want to work on.
If, like me, you were put off by some of the asterisks and caveats of the original version, the Pro version may be worth another look — especially since all the extra features come at a relatively low price premium.