Hey there! For those of you who are visiting for the first time, my name is Tony, and I’m a daily vlogger on YouTube. At the time of this writing, I’m vlogging on my cellphone, but I’m anxiously awaiting the release date of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. Should be early October 2018.
I spent countless hours researching the best vlogging cameras and weighing the pros and cons of each. I came up with a list of must-have features and another list of nice-to-haves for a vlogging camera.
Bottom line—the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K outshines the competitions in terms of price, quality, and features, but it falls short as a vlogging camera.
Let me walk you through my reasoning for categorizing the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k as such.
Features of a Good Vlogging Camera IMO
- 4K Resolution: I refuse to film in anything less than 4K. Recording in 4K allows you to capture four times as much information as 1080p. This makes your videos look stunning. A good vlogging camera will record in the highest resolution available to consumers, and that is 4K in 2018. Extra credit if there is no 4K video recording time limit.
- External Microphone Input: An overlooked aspect of vlogging is audio quality. You can have fantastic looking pictures, but if your audio stinks, your video suffers as a whole. An external microphone input of some kind, wether that’s 3.5 mm stereo or XLR, will allow you to plug in a high quality microphone. A high quality external microphone eliminates noise pollution and gives your audience a crisp listening experience.
- Selfie Video Monitoring: Looking directly into the camera lens when vlogging gives the most natural looking picture for the viewer. However, having a flip screen or some way to monitor your shot is super helpful especially when framing your shot with you and a subject in it.
- Image Stabilization: Having some type of stabilization, wether that’s in-camera image stabilization or lens image stabilization, is important when vlogging. Image stabilization reduces blurring caused by camera shake.
- Affordable Price: A good vlogging camera must be affordable. Otherwise, it’d be out of reach for most people.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for Vloggers?
The majority of DSLR cameras take fantastic pictures, but don’t do so well with video. I set out to find a camera that prioritized video. A well known example is GoPro. However, after reading through the above list of what makes a vlogging camera good, you’ll quickly realize that a GoPro (at least at the time of this writing) is not a good vlogging camera because the audio quality on a GoPro is poor and you cannot connect an external microphone.
I did some more research and came across the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. This camera has most the features of a good vlogging camera. Let’s dive into the details.
4K Resolution 👍
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K features a 4096 x 2160 resolution which is the dominant standard in the industry. The full size 4/3 sensor reduces crop factor which yields a wider field of view. This camera can record up to 60 frames per second in 4K. It also has great low light performance with dual native ISO up to 25,600.
External Microphone Input 👍
In addition to the built in microphones with extremely low noise floors, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has a mini XLR input with 48 volts of phantom power for connecting external microphones. Even more, this camera has a 3.5mm stereo audio jack which is perfect for connecting a directional shotgun microphone like the Rode VideoMic Pro+.
Selfie Video Monitoring 👎
After daily vlogging with my cell phone’s rear facing camera, I found that a flip screen is nice to have, but not absolutely necessary. That being said, a lot of the shots on my cell phone are poorly framed which hurts the quality of my video.
Why not use the front facing camera? Well because that only records in 1080p.
Although the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K does not have a flip screen, it has an HDMI connector which gives you the ability to connect an HDMI monitor. Think of this as an small screen that you can mount to your vlogging rig and view while shooting selfie style.
While attaching an external monitor to the BMPCC seems like a viable solution, it’s just not practical. Vlogging tends to be a “run and gun” activity where you need to quickly pull out your camera and hit record. Having to lug around a camera with a rig that includes a microphone, monitor, and probably a handheld tripod is not “run and gun”. This is where the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K falls short for vlogging.
Image Stabilization 👎
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K does not have a stabilized image sensor. However, when you pair it with the a compatible MFT (Micro Four Thirds) lens like the Panasonic Professional 12-35mm lens, you will have optical image stabilization. This lens minimizes the appearance of camera shake for sharper handheld shooting.
Affordable Price 👍
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera costs $1,295. This number will seem high to some, but when you truly understand what you’re getting for this price, you will jump for joy. At the time of this writing, there is no other camera on the market that comes close to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K in terms of price and features.
There are certainly plenty of other cheaper vlogging cameras out there. But none of them will have 4K 60fps recording with external microphone inputs.
Downsides of Vlogging with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
There is no perfect camera for vlogging. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is no exception. Here are a few areas where this camera comes up short.
- No autofocus: This means you will have to manually focus the lens when setting up your shots.
- Battery lasts 30 to 60 minutes: You’ll get between 30 to 60 minutes of record time with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. That’s okay though. This camera uses the standard LP-E6 battery which sell for a dime a dozen.
- Large Size: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K won’t exactly fit in your pocket. This camera is 7 inches wide (thanks partially to a 5 inch touch screen on the rear), 3.8 inches tall, and 3.4 inches deep.
- Heavy Weight: The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K weighs around 1.65 pounds. Add a lens, external microphone, and handheld tripod and you’re looking at a vlogging rig that weighs close to 5 pounds.
The Bottom Line
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is a great video camera for studios and when mounted on a tripod, but not so much for vloggers. While the BMPCC4K records high-quality videos and is feature-rich video, the lack of a flip screen as well as the size and weight of the camera with all the necessary accessories disqualifies it as a viable vlogging camera in my opinion.
If you have something to add in regards to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera and vlogging, let me know in the comments below.