Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Hands-On Review feat. Core SWX Powerbase EDGE

About a week ago we filmed my hands-on review of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K on a rainy and gloomy day, and despite not getting to film a lot of footage because of the atrocious weather, we managed to shoot some stuff that hopefully may be helpful to some of you.

At the moment, I am working on my full review of the camera, which I aim to get out in the next two weeks, and in the meantime, I wanted to share with you my experience so far with the BMPCC 4K, which at the time of this hands-on review, I had been using for about two weeks roughly.

For those of you wondering, I had the camera setup with my trusty Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art EF via a Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA 0.71x EF to MFT adapter, and for power I mainly used the Powerbase EDGE external battery from Core SWX. This proved to be an invaluable addition to my kit, and I will have a full review of the Powerbase EDGE on the website very soon.

The BMPCC footage in this review was shot with the above setup, while the interview bits were filmed on the good ol’ Canon 5D Mark IV in glorious 1080p, because we didn’t have fast enough SD cards for 4K… sigh…

Regardless, here is my hands-on review of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

BMPCC 4K Hands-On Review Summary

Positives/Some of my favourite features:

  • Cinema Grade Image Quality
    • 12bit RAW, 10bit ProRes on board – no need to say anything further
    • 4K DCI, UHD, and Full HD in both codecs
  • 5-inch Touchscreen and Industry leading Menu
    • very responsive, high resolution touch screen
    • clear and intuitive menu
  • Professional and Extensive Media Recording Options
    • CFast 2.0 – expensive, but very reliable
    • SDXC UHS-II
    • External SSDs via USB-C

Issues/Cons: 

  • Poor Battery performance and Battery Management
    • inconsistent and incorrect battery indicators
    • poor/inconsistent battery life – 20 to 35 minutes at best (if I’m lucky)
    • battery would often die at 50% or less?
    • camera would shut down unexpectedly as battery approaches 20-25%
    • I had a 3rd party battery get stuck!!! Major issue (resolved with ingenuity and “elbow grease”)
  • Windowed Sensor Mode
    • Massive 2x + crop in any frame rates from 60fps and above, incl. 100 and 120fps
    • 1080/120fps appears softer than 1080p/60 or 1080p/25
  • Playback shows incorrect parameters
    • current settings – WB, ISO, shutter speed displayed instead of actual recorded settings?
    • this can be very confusing and needs a firmware update stat!

Blackmagic Pocket 4K Review

Despite the major downsides, one of which I hope Blackmagic fix with a firmware update soon (the erroneous playback, I doubt they can fix the crop or the battery issues), the BMPCC 4K is in a league of its own when it comes to internal Raw and ProRes options in such a form factor and more importantly at this sub-$1300 price bracket. With some rigging, external battery (like on larger cinema cameras) you can surely transform the BMPCC 4K into a mini cinema camera and great images deserving the big screen.

So, that was my two week hands-on review of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, I hope you found it useful and I am interested in knowing what your thoughts are on the BMPCC 4K? Have you received your camera yet? Thinking of pre-ordering? Do share in the comments below.

Gear I used in this review: 

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K – B&H, Adorama
  • Core SWX PowerBase EDGE – B&H, Adorama
  • Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 Art Canon EF – B&HAmazon
  • Metabones Speed Booster ULTRA – B&H, Amazon
  • Sandisk Extreme Pro Cfast 2.0 64GB card – B&H,

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