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What’s (Black-) Magic on the new Pocket Cinema Camera!


NAB 2013: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera unveiled from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Right now the new Pocket Cinema Camera can be preordered at Adorama (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here). But what’s so Magic with the new Blackmagic?

First of all, if you are a pure photographer stop here. The Pocket Cinema Camera is a video camera! But if your priority is shooting film than this little (and non expensive) camera may be for you! You can read all specs of the camera at Blackmagicdesign. What I like about the camera is that it has been (well) designed and developed with one specific goal in mind: Deliver the best video quality in the most pocketable package. It shoots 12 bit CinemaRAW DNG and has 2 Megapixels…exactly what you need for HD shooting and not a pixel more that gets “wasted” like on current hybrid photo/video cameras. The result is an amazing sharpness and 13 stop dynamic range:

The new Pocket Cinema Camera has the same sesnor tech as the bigger Blackmagic Cinema Camera. And the video below nicely shows you how much better the Blackmagic is when compared with the Canon 5DmarkIII:

Comparing the Cinema Camera & 5D Mk III from OneRiver Media on Vimeo.

Now you get that kind of quality for $995 and in a cool small sized camera. I think Blackmagic did an incredible good job and also added more value to the full Micro Four Thirds system that is more and more becoming the mainstream mirrorless system! Yes, that camera “wowed” me yesterday! Well done Blackmagic!

P.S.: You may also read the Pocket Cinem Camera review written by John Brawley and the hands-on at Leavethatcouch. Again, preorders at Adorama (Click here) and BHphoto (Click here).


  • That’s why I’d stop on 16 megapixels even for still cameras.

    • Anonymous

      That is the most misleading picture I have ever seen. First the sunlight is not even in the same place in the Black Magic picture. It is there and it is blown out just the same except for it is on the table instead of the cabinet.

      Manufactures will do anything to make it look like their camera can achieve impossible dynamic range.

  • Look at the stills comparison and check out difference in the highlight on the table and the absence of highlight on the sideboard in the second frame. Yes the second has more DR but the lighting conditions are different in both frames so are not completely comparable. It does not do justice to the Cinema Camera and looks like a shoddy PR stunt. 2/10 could do better.

  • eclairz

    Generally the human eye with 20-20 vision can see around 5MP so unless you do a lot of cropping or you expect people to spending minutes (not seconds) viewing each photo or printing massively then 16 MP is already over the top.

    The eye has much greater dynamic range than most cameras (and monitors for that matter) which is strange why most manufacturers design for gear heads instead of the eye (the object that is used to view the images in the first place), why without cropping I still love my E-1, just about right if I don’t need to crop.

    • Sorry. You lost me. 5MP of what? compared to 15MP of what? you talk MP and dynamic range of the human eye!
      I don’t understand the statement.

  • PannyBoom

    imagine if blackmagic made a micro 4/3 hybrid camera! amazing video codec an great stills, great design.. dam dream, dream, dream.

    • Sleeper

      And they do!

    • E-1

      Who wants a 2MPixel still camera?

      • Fine for contact prints!

      • When I look back at the rawfiles of my Canon EOS D2000(Kodak DCS 520) which is 2 mp,
        I see the huge headroom for exposure corrections. 2mp is more than enough for people photography, but prob not for landscapes. I upscaled the files with photoshop in order to get high quality prints from photolab(never let them do the upscaling!)in 30x40cm

      • Tom

        Because I’m not a professional photographer, 2MP actually makes a lot of sense for me. My pictures are primarily of my family, and will either be viewed on Facebook, Instagram, or at home on my TV for a slideshow. I do work professionally in the motion picture and television industry, so appreciate things like a professional codec and DR over pixel count. For those instances where I do need to take high resolution stills, then I would break out a stills camera. This seems like a win win for everyone, specialized tools for video and specialized tools for photography, rather than jack-of-all-trades master of none products like we have been seeing.

        • Yeah but you are swapping file size in Stills for file size in video. :) I would prefer in stills as I wont be doing cinematic videos of my family… However, shooting professional video, I would buy one of these.


  • Is this a 2.9x crop?

    Anyone know roughly how many GB an hour of the ProRes video takes up?

    Also… does anyone else find annoying (or know a solution) the way the m43 AF lenses reset their focal position when you power off and on the camera? i.e. you focus manually, power off, power on and it has reset the focus, you have to focus again. I assume even the Oly 12mm in ‘manual’ mode will do this as it is still focus-by-wire (can anyone confirm?)

    • NtT

      You can disable this in the camera menu… (Reset lens – NO)

      • Thanks for the tip… which camera do you have? I had a quick look and I don’t see that on my GF2

    • Ok, from the Blackmagic website… it’s 220Mbps ProRes

      If I got this right that adds up to about 92GB per hour

      So you’re going to need 128GB cards and swap frequently :)

      • so the RAW files must be much larger again… I assume that’s when you’d record to an external drive via the HDMI?

        • Anentropic

          Gee. I’m so good I answer my own questtions before I ask them. I should have been a politician, they do that. See I am a politician.

          • Gabriel

            lol, Do you have a Delorean car ?

        • Chris

          External via HDMI? That wouldn’t be RAW.

      • Javierpbs

        The current largest SD is from Lexar at 256GB, expect 512GB in the next 12 – 18 months. Although the higher capacities are vv pricy they push down the rest of the market meaning that 128GB cards should be quite affordable. These things will shoot for ~ 1h on a battery so you would swap the SD card and battery at the same interval (that would be my approach)

        As for your other question on recording to an external medium via the HDMI, that is not the intention of the HDMI port, it is there to hook up to an external screen for preview purposes. HDMI does not have the throughput to carry CinemaDNG and is not intended for that use case regardless…

  • Bob

    WOW…that video from OneRiverMedia is really well done and informative. Soooooo…does this mean that (I am a stills-shooter) Canon will be taking all that video junk out of my DSLR’s and lowering the price!!! :-)
    …seems like specific technology for the two disciplines (video vs. stills) is finally hitting a fork in the road…or am I missing something here????

    • Tom

      I doubt it, if anything they will have to raise the price to keep the profit margin from the loss of sales to the BM products or more realistically, finish the production run and EOL the product. In the future they will have to increase the capabilities of the cameras to compete, or make cheaper products at a cheaper price and make up the profit in volume. There is no cost savings to remove lines of code, after the development work has already been put in.

  • Bob

    Also…how does the Blackmagic image quality compare with Canon’s cinema-specific cameras? (I know that the Blackmagic wins hands down in the cost dept.)???

  • Mike1

    I applause Blackmagic for the approach in making video cameras. For too long the big names, Canon, Sony…, alike reserve the high quality codecs to their $10K plus cameras. Their marketing department is trying to sell you the idea that a camera can be good at both stills and video, the so-call hybrid was born. Provided there will be no production and quality issues, Blackmagic will change the rules of the game. No more hydrid is needed. You just need to carry 2 very portable cameras, e.g. an EM5 plus the Pocket BMCC, you are in real business of both stills and videos.

    The big names, are you listening? Give us these codecs on your reasonable priced cameras or you will be gone.

    • E-1

      The high DR is not from the codec but the low-resolution sensor.

      • Mike1

        That’s why hybrid doesn’t work well – still and video use different resolution from the same sensor. By the way I didn’t imply high DR was from the codec.

      • I dont think low mp means high DR automatically, it has lots of headroom, but prob needs advanced algorythms to show the wide range of stops directly in a shot without the need to process it manually.

  • frankv

    So, the still do not compare at all, right, nice comparison, not… This immediately puts me of trying to find out more about this product as it seems to be needing unfair comparisons to make it look nice.

  • Javierpbs

    The BMD rep on the first video makes a number of mistakes.

    The camera does support Cinema DNG (RAW), not just ProRes.
    The lens attached to the camera is a Cosina Voigtlander, not a Zeiss as he states

    • Tom

      I think he also states that the LCD is the same resolution as the sensor. It is actually 800×480.

  • Javierpbs

    I’m glad and proud that we have such an innovative company as BMD here in Australia. It’s not often I get to say that!

    • ISO 1638400

      You’d be suprised. There is a lot of innovation and inventors in Australia. The problem is very little or no support from government or business to finance such initiatives. As a result, the ventures often go overseas along with much of the profits.

  • Rinaldo

    You’re welcome, admin! ;)

  • Timccr

    So what angle of view would the Pany 7 – 14mm have on this very cool sounding pocket camera?

    • oluv

      isn’t the crop the same as micro four thirds? or maybe the sensor is cropped to 16:9 instead, or is it even smaller?

      • oluv

        ok, it is a 3x crop, which means the 7-14 would become a 21-42/4 lens

        • wa

          No aperture is still 2.5, aperture is a constant, the DOF and FOV changes, not the aperture…

      • explanation

        Crop is smaller (micro43 crop x2, Blackmagic crop x3, in 16:9 format crop x2,88), because sensor is smaller, but due to low resolution of sensor (only full HD 1920×1080) single pixel is bigger then in Canon 5DmkIII.

        Micro43 moount, but angle of view different:
        OMD with 14/2.5 = equivalent 28mm in FF
        Blackmagich with 14/2.5 = equivalent ~40mm in FF (in 16:9 format) or ~42mm equivalent

        • Timccr

          Sorry for being dumb but I am still confused. Does that mean the Pany m43 7-14mm becomes a 21-42mm or a 10.5-21mm?

          • Anders

            It becomes a 21-42 (in FF terms)

    • Anders

      According to John Brawley, this has a 1.3X crop factor to the BMCC which in turn has a 2.3X crop factor to a m43 sensor, makin this roughly a 3X crop to m43.

      Your 7-14 would be a 21-42 …

      The Oly 12/2 would be a 35mm

      and the 60 macro a classic 180 :-)

  • Ken

    Not caring for the dynamic range claim when the common dslr photo has bright sun streaming in and the black magic on the right is shot under overcast conditions. The sun going behind clouds will give every camera an extra three stops of dynamic range…

    • Stu5

      Watch the video below the photos and you will see the extra DR makes a huge difference.

  • aqasem

    Any info about 5 axis IOS ?

    • Tom

      Not needed in a cinema product. For handheld work, OIS could actually work against you and the look you are going for, depending on the situation. Otherwise the product will be supported by typical cine-style fluid head tripods or stedi-cam. If additional stabilization is needed, will be done in post.

      • camaman

        The product will be supported by typical cine-style fluid head tripods or stedi-cam”

        Making it totally contrary to the point of this small camera.

        This little toy would benefit greatly from 5-axsis IBIS.

        But like any other 1st gen product it is half finished…

        • The comment you replied to also said:

          “For handheld work, OIS could actually work against you and the look you are going for, depending on the situation”

          Sure, for my home videos I rather dig 5 axis IBIS, simply because I use it as an alternative for a proper stabilized rig, while still wanting results that are very close.

          That isn’t how most serious videographers seem to approach this, and my ‘home video’ requirements are simply not going to say anything relevant about what a serious videographer might need.

          Maybe you are a serious videographer, and among the few of those who do see a huge benefit in OIS/IBIS, but somehow I doubt that, rather, I think you are just another person recording their home videos… There are different cameras for people like us, that do include features desired by ‘hobby videographers’ (please note, hobby relates to the intensity and seriousness of the video recording, and not to the seriousness of the content or to if you actually make money with it or not)

          There are also hybrids that do aim at serious videographers, but still include features that typically aren’t used much in professional video recording and production, mostly due to those being hybrid cameras that also aim at still images, and are being bought by ‘serious’ and ‘hobby’ videographers alike.

        • chris

          I pre-ordered. For stabilization – regardless of lens – I’ll be using the Cheesycam modded Steadicam Smoothie … aka Baby Merlin. Its far smoother than any IBIS or OIS. It can handle my 5d3 easily and it seems like it was born for the Nex. The PCC is slightly larger than my 5n, which I use for 60p and Steadicam shots. I’m selling the Nex to fund the PCC and I’ll pick up a GH3 for 60p whenever the PCC is in hand.

          The PCC is a video camera and nothing else – don’t know why people are even bothering to talk about stills because the only way to get one is to export a frame from a video timeline. But a EM5 or GH3 if you want stills. The DR and 10-bit 4:2:2 codec will produce an image that easily surpasses any DSLR outside of the $12,000 Canon 1dc. The only thing that kept me from ordering the M43 Cinema Camera was the lack of an active mount, which the PCC has solved – for 1/3 the price. Love it.

      • I think for such compact design, i would prefer OIS instead of the ones you mention. But then again, i am no professional user.

  • Tom

    I love the fact that the camera does not use a touchscreen. Why do people think that smudging the primary viewing device is a good idea? I do not like that the connectors are on the left side. In the event that this is put on a rig, it is generally a bad idea to have cables coming off of the operator side. I also do not like the fact that the media slot is apparently on the bottom. Swinging media means that it will have to be removed from a tripod and baseplate removed every time? I’m sure some 3rd party will make a plate that allows access to the door, but would have been nice to have connectors on the right and the media slot on the left. Everything else about the camera I love. It would have been nice to have a 50/60p mode for slo-mo, but at under $1000 I’m not complaining. I would like to be able to record 2.5K rather than 1080p, so I can do things in post like slightly adjust the frame around my safe areas, apply post stabilization without resampling the image, etc… possible?

  • HMR

    This is an interesting product for Video-centric people and if executed well, will probably cause a split in the Hybrid category. Could Panasonic be on top of this? What is that “mysterious new camera” that they will be announcing?

    If not a competitor, they’d better be working on it. It is THEIR lens mount ( and Oly, of course) that’s being used here and last I checked, it was Panasonic who had the long legacy of professional video equipment, not Black Magic.

  • Frye

    I’m hoping (or wishing?) that this pushes Panasonic to implement cinema Raw into their GH cameras. Super 16 is okay, but I’d still prefer a 4/3 sensor. This cam is a game changer but hopefully the game is just getting started.

  • ISO 1638400

    Dear Blackmagic Design

    Thanks! :)


    SanDisk, Lexar, Kingston, Samsung, Transcend, Verbatim, Seagate, Western Digital, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Toshiba, Intel, Corsair, Crucial, OCZ and all Flash Memory, HDD and SSD manufacturers.

    Dear Blackmagic Design customers,

    Please buy more Flash Memory cards, HDDs and SSDs.

    Thanks! :)

  • cloudscapes

    I have no doubt that this camera has great dynamic range, but that “common DSLR shot” photo is a joke. DSLR from 2005 maybe. A point&shoot I used to own years ago had better dynamic range than that obviously “enhanced” shot.

    • P4INKiller

      Right, except it’s not a raw photo, it’s a frame of video.
      Your argument is moot.

  • Z

    Anyone know if IS will work when using Panasonic lenses with OIS?

    • Frye

      From what John Brawley writes, it sounds like yes.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the focusing system on this? Is AF supported at all for m4/3 lenses, or is it manual only (which I know is preferred for video, but just curious). Someone mentioned focus peaking…

    I’ve read everything I could find and watched a few preview videos, but this is my only major outstanding question. Perhaps the answer is so obvious that I’ve missed it.

    • Keith

      Manual focus only, but with peaking available on the LCD. The “active” MFT mount refers to the camera being able to set aperture, provide power to OIS systems, and allow manual focus on native MFT lenses (which generally have focus-by-wire systems that don’t even allow manual focus on a passive mount).

      See the following hands-on for more info:

      • Anonymous

        Thanks; It’s what I expected. I’ll check out the link when I get home. I hope the reviews are as favorable as the initial impressions!

  • utomo

    The camera is good, but need more zoom.
    I hope next time they release new cameras with more zoom

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