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Cameras

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is a different beast

The three-year-old camera sees its first overhaul, and not only is it a lot more powerful, it's priced within the reach of prosumers.

blackmagic-design-pocket-cinema-camera-4k-2

The body is larger than before -- wider, with a deeper grip and taller. It's constructed of carbon-fiber polycarbonate and adds a CFast card slot on the grip in addition to the SD (which now supports UHS-II).

Blackmagic Design

This seems like quite an update to Blackmagic's handheld video camera. The new Pocket Cinema Camera 4K sports a vastly updated design, a new Four Thirds-size sensor, support for DCI 4K/60p video and the ability to connect and record directly to USB-C storage devices. 

Blackmagic plans to ship it later in the year for $1,300 (£1,029, AU$1,815).

Blackmagic added a mini XLR mic input with phantom power support and switched to Bluetooth for remote control, dropping LANC. The wildly outdated USB 2 connection also grows up to USB-C for connecting and recording to external storage.

Blackmagic Design

The changes put it in direct competition with the Panasonic GH5s announced earlier this year. Like that camera, the PCC4K has a multi-aspect-ratio, dual ISO sensor, though it has a native high sensitivity of ISO 25600; like the HD model, Blackmagic claims 13 stops of dynamic range. It also specs the the effective dimensions as the full 18.96mm by 10mm Four Thirds sensor dimensions, rather than the usual 4:3 17.3 by 13mm crop from which it gets its name. 

The full sensor, though, is the same aspect ratio as DCI 4K, 17:9. (I think Panasonic starts with a slightly higher-resolution sensor and changes the crop to get the 17:9 aspect for its implementation. Blackmagic doesn't say what resolution its sensor is.) And it's bigger than the Super 16 sensor in the previous model, while making better use of the Micro Four Thirds platform.

The three function keys on the top of the camera remain, but Blackmagic also adds white balance, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. The record button moves to a more camera-traditional spot, and three's now a button for shooting stills.

Blackmagic Design

Other notable updates include support for 10-bit ProRes and 12-bit raw recording, 3D LUTs and four built in microphones. The combination of the dual native ISO, improved capture bit depths and the LUTs should allow it to deliver HDR video.

While the controls on the back are pretty similar to the older model, they've been redesigned to take up less space, making room for a larger, five-inch HD touchscreen. It's still not tilting or articulating, though.

Blackmagic Design

One of the things that makes the Pocket Cinema Cameras so nice is the use of the Micro Four Thirds mount; it enables the system to remain small, and there's an excellent selection of compatible lenses.

Blackmagic Design

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