More affordable cameras with a more specifically “cinema” design are becoming more and more common. With some strong competition it is time to check out some of the most compelling options – which today is going to feature the Sony FX30 and Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro.
These are two quite different cinema cameras, though they both are aiming to be that pseudo-mirrorless ultra-compact form factor.
I think it should be easy to determine that no matter what you will be getting excellent image quality you will want to watch this comparison from BenGleasonMedia to see which camera better fits your shooting style and workflow.
If you were quick to make a judgment on the best budget cinema camera of the year you might just pick the FX30 since it is very new and very good. However, the Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro has been the king for nearly two years and for good reason.
Let’s take a look at core specs for both cameras.
- APS-C/Super35 CMOS sensor
- 4K recording (overampling 6K)
- 4K up to 120p, 1080 up to 240p
Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro:
- Super35 CMOS sensor
- 6K recording
- Raw 6K recording up to 60p
Looking at these specs one clear difference is the resolution. The Blackmagic can record the full 6K resolution of the sensor compared to the FX30 only being able to output 4K. In testing, this did result in the Blackmagic having a slightly sharper image.
That shouldn’t be enough to make to choose one camera over another. A feature that could turn you, though, is autofocus.
Blackmagic essentially doesn’t have autofocus. There is some single AF stuff you can activate with native lenses only, but it isn’t actually that usable. Sony’s AF system is very, very good. Plenty of control, plenty of options, and it’s highly accurate.
Sony also made a smaller camera. Blackmagic is a bulky camera and it’ll generally require some additional accessories to get it where you need it. The FX30 is smaller and doesn’t exactly need extra components.
Another aspect is the media. Blackmagic has SD card slots, which are fine, but it’s tough to find reliable ones for the top-level internal raw recording. You can use portable SSDs via the USB-C port, but even though they are cheaper they are a pain to swap out and keep track of.
SD cards are smaller and more convenient. Sony uses SD cards too and they work with most modes. You can also pick up CFexpress Type A cards if you absolutely need the top codecs in the 120 fps modes.
Time to talk batteries. Blackmagic has been bad. The 6K Pro now uses larger NP-F550 type packs but it still isn’t nearly as long as what you will get from Sony and the NP-FZ100.
We’ve been talking about the cons of Blackmagic for a minute, but there are plenty of benefits as well.
For one thing, the menu system in Blackmagic cameras is much more streamlined and easier to use. Sony’s menus have always left a lot to be desired. Blackmagic also offers better assist tools, such as waveforms, false color, etc.
Among the biggest advantages of the Pocket 6K Pro is that it has built-in ND filters. These are a lifesaver and are much easier to use than carrying around a set of screw-on filters. Sony’s small form factor and IBIS system (and probably price goal) kept the ND filters away.
The decision will come down to what you need and what your shooting style is. For more fast-paced shoots or with limited crew (perhaps just yourself) then you want something that is smaller and has features that will make your life better, such as AF.
These situations are where the Sony FX30 seems like a winner. If you have more time and want maximum image quality and can rig up the camera fully to make the most of it then Blackmagic’s Pocket 6K Pro will come out ahead.
Costs are slightly different. Sony is a touch cheaper at $1,800 (or $2,200 with XLR Handle) while Blackmagic costs $2,500. This will likely put the FX30 in the winner’s column for many people.
Which camera do you think is better? The Sony FX30 or Blackmagic Pocket 6K Pro?
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