I’ve been using Blackmagic Design’s collection of Pocket Cinema Camera 6K at our university for a few years and wanted to see how the cheaper Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 stood up to its big brother. Blackmagic Design dropped the price of the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K in 2020, then made the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 at the same price, but with more features.
The Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is a very solid camera, much like a DSLR on steroids. My review unit included the five-inch tilting LCD touchscreen, three F570 batteries, the Blackmagic Pocket Camera Battery Pro Grip, and the optional electronic viewfinder.
The 23.1 x 12.99mm HDR Gen 5 Super 35 CMOS sensor sits behind a Canon EF mount that accepts a host of lenses. With Blackmagic RAW recording options at 6144 x 3456 and 6144 x 2560 at 23.98 at 50 fps; 5744 x 3024 @ 23.98 @ 60 fps; 4096 x 2160, 3728 x 3104 and 2868 x 1512 from 23.98 to 29.97 fps, you have plenty of options. Within this you need to select your compression level in Constant Bitrate 3:1, 5:1; 8:1; or 12:1; or Q0, Q1, Q3 or Q5 of Constant Quality. ProRes allows 4096 x 2160 and 3840 x 2160 at up to 59.94 fps and up to 119.88 fps if using 1920 x 1080 at HQ, 422, LT or PXY compression.
The device can record to SD (UHS-11), CFast card or external SSD if the brand is on Blackmagic’s recommended media list. The storage medium of your choice will appear at the bottom right of the LCD screen.
The top of the camera features a sliding on/off switch, three customizable function keys, and buttons for ISO, shutter, white balance, still photo capture, and a shutter button. recording at the end of the handle. While holding the camera to take pictures, the left side covered the microphone and headphone mini jack inputs; HDMI; USB 3.1 input; 3-pin mini XLR audio inputs 1 and 2; and the 12 volt DC input. The rear features Iris and Focus, High Frame Rate (HFR), Zoom, Menu, and Playback buttons. You can also access many of these features on the five-inch, 1920 x 1080 tilting LCD touchscreen. The bottom has two tripod mounting holes and the battery compartment.
When turned on, the on-screen menu offers tabs for Recording, Monitor, Audio, Setup, Presets, and LUTS, each with multiple options. Anyone who has ever used Blackmagic Design cameras will be very familiar with these settings.
The optional accessories I received were the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Pro EVF which easily mounts on top of the camera and comes with multiple rubber eyepieces to suit the shooter’s needs, and the Blackmagic Pocket Camera Battery Pro Grip which holds two F570 batteries and mounts in the internal battery compartment with a few other minor adjustments. The two optional accessories are very practical, and I will talk about them in detail later.
Thanks to the latest software update, the built-in gyro sensor helps stabilize moving images when shooting in Blackmagic RAW. The software uses this data and AI to dramatically smooth your shots. The gyroscope detects the data and stabilizes the images in post.
Having the perfect film project lined up for the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2, I wanted to make sure I had shots that were indoors, outdoors, and needed to be stabilized. As a big proponent of 6K RAW shooting, I set the camera to 6144 x 2560, 5:1, at 24 fps.
Using two different Canon EF mount lenses (16mm – 35mm f/2.8 and 24mm – 70mm f/2.8), I decided to shoot “Goodbye, Mr. Bonde” , a six-minute short film about an aging secret agent not quite ready to throw in the towel. The first exterior shoot would be the longest in Pennsylvania’s scorching, humid August weather. I installed the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Pro EVF with the larger rubber eyepiece because it would be difficult to see the LCD touchscreen outside. When using the eyepiece, a sensor automatically turns off the LCD screen to save battery power. The optional viewfinder is worth every penny, especially when shooting outdoors. As mentioned earlier, if you have several different shooters, the multiple rubber cups on the eyepieces will make everyone happy.
The Blackmagic Pocket Camera Battery Pro Grip held two batteries, which extended the shooting time considerably – about an additional hour per battery. However, the handle adds a bit of weight if you intend to hold it by hand. On a tripod, you’re just happy to have a longer shot with an extra battery. If you plan to go back and forth with the handle and without the handle, be sure to allow plenty of time to complete the conversion. The LCD touchscreen is the most power consuming, so it helps to have two batteries in the handle.
By removing the grip and switching back to the internal battery, I really wanted to test out the stabilization capabilities of the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2. Instead of using the tripod for most shots, I had the actor enter or exit shots handheld. Greg, who is my human stabilizer, had his shots refined by the gyro-stabilized camera shots we would see in post.
With multiple shots, he held the camera in his hand and moved slowly left or right, knowing that DaVinci Resolve’s camera gyroscope feature would smooth everything out. I got about an hour of shooting time with one battery. A small detail: the batteries are charged via a USB cable connection rather than the mains. This may be more convenient for some, but it seems to add a lot to charging time.
The rest of the shoot went well, with Greg doing all the moving shots that were asked of him. Personally, I prefer minor camera improvements over major overhauls. With the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2, it was like wearing a favorite comfortable shoe. I know where everything was, what the camera could do, and the added peace of mind of knowing it would do everything right.
I had to install the latest DaVinci Resolve 18 to edit Blackmagic RAW files. Even though I shot in 6K, I used a 1920 x 1080 timeline set to center crop to edit the footage. HD timeline speeds up editing, and I always have the full 6K image if I need to push in any shot. Anxious to stabilize the handheld footage, lowering the camera’s gyroscope feature in Stabilization, I selected Analyze and moments later the shot was free of abnormal movement. This is the fastest I have ever stabilized any shot!
There is really nothing to rave about and very few complaints. When a product improves and the price drops, you can’t lose!
Application and Key Features
A host of Blackmagic RAW shooting formats, an articulating LCD touchscreen, a user-friendly interface, built-in gyro stabilization, all from a trusted company with a versatile camera that does more for less.
Price – Available from authorized Blackmagic Design resellers
Blackmagic G2 Pocket Cinema Camera – $1995
Blackmagic F570 Battery (2) – $55 each
Blackmagic Pocket Camera Battery Pro Grip – $149
Blackmagic Pro EVF Pocket Camera – $495
DaVinci Resolve Studio – Included Free with Pocket Cinema Camera6K Pro G2
Total package – $2,639
Blackmagic Design United States
E-mail: [email protected]