Can an ultra-compact camera hold up against a true cinema camera that costs six times more? Wouldn’t you like to know. Well, now you can take a look at a direct comparison between the affordable Pocket Cinema Camera 6K from Blackmagic and the pro-oriented C500 Mark II from Canon. It puts them side by side in a real, production-quality shoot where all their strengths and weakness are revealed for professional applications.
Brought to us by filmmaker Armando Ferreira with the help of director/DP Lukas Colombo and his crew from Moai Films is a brilliant comparison between the two cameras. Matching the footage as close as they possibly can and shooting a short scene with a full crew and lighting is a perfect real-world test of the two cameras.
Once they start outfitting the cameras for the shoot you can start to see the major differences between the cameras. The C500 Mark II and its Wooden Camera cage and accessories seems a bit more streamlined and looks nicer than the setup with the Pocket Camera 6K and the Kondor Blue cage.
An interesting thing to note is the lenses. Colombo opted for the Sigma Cine lenses, but used the 50mm with the Canon and its full-frame sensor and used the 35mm with the Blackmagic and its Super35 sensor.
This allowed them to more closely match the field of view for the shots. He even immediately recognized that the 50mm on full-frame appeared wider than the 35mm on the Blackmagic, which turned out to be very useful in the small rooms.
The next things Colombo addressed related specifically to the C500 Mark II. He found the color science to be very pleasing, a common opinion on Canon cameras.
On a more critical note, he thought that the menu system seems dated, not an unfair opinion when you compare it to the nice touchscreen controls of Blackmagic, but it is a fairly standard setup for cinema cameras for better and worse. Colombo does say having more physical buttons will be faster, as long as you don’t have to enter the actual menu. After that they jump right to the sample footage.
After watching the footage I had a couple takeaways. Both are very, very good when it comes to the image. However, since they had the audio go straight into the camera you can quickly tell that the audio setup for the Blackmagic is a little lacking.
Colombo thought that the footage showed off the slight difference in dynamic range between the cameras, with the Canon C500 Mark II doing a better job with a bit more details in the shadows.
He also gave props to the fact that the Canon had internal ND filters and doesn’t need to be built out as much. He does vastly prefer the more modern features of the Blackmagic, such as a smartphone app and the ability to record directly to portable SSDs.
There is a lot more to unpack when it comes to comparing these two types of cameras, which is why Ferreira has said there is a lot more coming soon.
I think the Blackmagic held up quite well, making it a viable pick for independent filmmakers who don’t have the budget for a traditional cinema camera like the C500 Mark II. Still, it doesn’t matter what camera you have, anyone can make something great with nearly any camera.