The build quality of the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is slightly odd. There’s nothing outwardly wrong with the build, but at the same time, there’s something that doesn’t feel quite right.
The outer shell is made from carbon fibre, which means that it’s ultra-tough and lightweight, and the surface finish is a nice matt black. Checking over the camera, and everything is well finished; it’s just something about the aesthetics.
OK, the buttons and dials feel a little cheaper in quality compared with those you would find on the Sony FXW-FS7 or Canon C100 MK II, but still, they’re not bad.
Maybe it’s the body’s design that is slightly futuristic and has that marmite effect of being loved and hated equally?
However, in the hand, it all feels very functional with a large grip, a big 5-inch tilt touch screen and cooling vents on either side.
Out in the field, the camera is very tactile; from handheld to mounted on a gimbal or tripod, the BMPCC 6K Pro always looks primed and ready for action.
Featuring an EF lens mount, it gives you plenty of options for using the long-running Canon optics range, and of course, countless other manufacturers produce EF mount lenses.
In the past, the Pocket Cinema Cameras have had an issue with shooting times and this all comes down to the battery type. Inside is a swappable NP-F550 battery, a 3500mAh battery should last for an hour.
Memory card-wise the BMPCC 6K Pro can take either an SD UHS-II or CFast card. A Cfast card is required for higher resolution filming.
You can also export out raw footage via HDMI and the body features two mini XLR ports for stereo audio recording.
Really the BBMPCC 6K Pro is a run and gun camera designed to be used in all scenarios with ease. The bulked-up mirrorless style design makes sense in this respect and it’s surprising just how adaptable the camera is.
The design and build all make sense once the BMPCC 6K is put to work.
Handheld, the BBMPCC 6K Pro seems just like a standard stills camera, and despite the size, that carbon shell keeps the weight in check.
The large handgrip and design of the body start to make sense when filming, and there’s no doubt that the compact size makes it far easier to capture handheld footage than the likes of the Sony PXW-FS7.
As you film, the button layout also starts to make perfect sense. Its buttons are all in the right position, and the three function buttons across the top of the body come into play, with zebras, focus assist and LUT assigned.
Mounted with a Canon 24-70mm, and before long, the camera starts to feel natural to use, both handheld with the screen tilted out or with the viewfinder attached to the top.
The tilt screen is one of the biggest issues when it comes to handling. A decent flip-out screen would have greatly enhanced the usability of the camera. However, the 5-inch touch screen is incredibly clear and easy to use.
The screen’s 1920 x 1080 resolution and 1500nits brightness make it ideal for use out in the field. We are however just coming into spring and while the screen is viewable at present, we’ll wait to see how it performs in the glaring summer sun.
With the camera in hand ready to film, the lens’s focus ring is easily in reach for adjustment, making manual focusing with the focus assist switched on intuitive and natural.
After a couple of days of shooting, any questions I had about the build quality are gone; it’s just the way the camera feels. Handheld the large grip enables a decent purchase on the camera, and like the smaller Blackmagic 4K, it quickly becomes a joy to use.
It’s relatively small and light, so that you can use any tripod.
One of the big issues with traditional cinema and camcorders is the size. Look at most of the offerings, and non are that small aside from the Sony FX3 and A7S III.
This means that if you want to pop the likes of the Sony PXW-FS7 MK II or Canon C300 MK III onto a standard tripod, then you’re going to have to think again.
The great thing about the BMPCC 6K Pro and other small run and gun style cameras is that you can use stills equipment such as compact travel tripods.
Travel tripods might not be 100% ideal, but if you’re filming in difficult to reach locations, then having a camera that will happily and steadily sit on top of a lightweight support is a real benefit.
BMPCC 6K Pro Vs Sony A7S III and FX3
Look at the market now, and you essentially have three true run and gun cameras, the BMPCC 6K Pro, the Sony FX3, and Sony A7S III.
All are very nice, and it’s good to see that Sony is starting to push the boundaries with the FX3.
However, when you look at the specs, the obvious advantage that the BMPCC 6K has over both the Sony models is the increased resolution.
But, more than that, when it comes to ease of use and handling, the BMPCC 6K Pro features ND filters built-in. For any videographer, this is essential so why Sony decided not to include such a vital feature has to be questioned.
When it comes to the build and handling, the build is good, it’s just the design is not to my taste; the handling, on the other hand, is excellent, far exceeding the smaller Sony equivalents.