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There’s not much to criticize about the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Pro 6K—besides its cumbersome name. An array of thoughtful features and a focus on video first make it the perfect stepping stone between traditional mirrorless shooters and high-end movie cameras, if you can get past its hefty weight and middling battery life.

An Affordable Pro Package

The BMPCC 6K Pro utilizes a Super 35-mm sensor which has been one of the most popular sensor formats for filmmakers for decades. While it’s technically smaller than full-frame sensors, it’s comparable to the APS-C sensors you’ll find in many photography cameras (though it’s a bit wider). The camera also uses an EF lens mount, which means it has access to a pretty wide range of popular lenses.

Most notably–so notable they put it in the name–this camera can shoot up to 6K footage, which is hard to find at this price point. Why might you want 6K footage, you ask? Well, if your editing rig can handle it, you get a lot more flexibility to crop, zoom, and motion-track footage in postproduction, without sacrificing picture quality. For low-to-no budget productions, a common way to get this flexibility is to shoot in 4K and distribute in 1080p, but 6K allows you to keep that power while still outputting the highest resolution most people can watch right now.

The camera also supports shooting in both Blackmagic RAW and Apple’s ProRes RAW formats (the latter is only supported up to 4K, though). Both formats are great for capturing as much detail as possible while shooting and adjusting your color grade later. Blackmagic also makes DaVinci Resolve, which started as top-tier color grading software and has since evolved into an entire video editing package that can sometimes give Adobe a run for its money. So naturally, the camera  comes with a free copy of the $300 Studio version of the app.

DaVinci Resolve’s free version is already incredibly powerful, and most cinema cameras that push into the 6K range are quite a bit pricier than the BMPCC 6K Pro. If you’re looking to get your foot in the door on pro-level filmmaking, it’s hard to find a cheaper entry point. 

Chonky Bod

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro

Photograph: Blackmagic Design

The 6K Pro felt incredible when I first pulled it out of the box. It’s smooth but grippy, and the crisp LCD screen dominates the camera. Unlike most competing cameras, physical buttons are fairly sparse here, and the ones that are on the body have all earned their place. A few physical buttons and a dial on the right side let you adjust settings like ISO and white balance without digging through the interface.

On the rear of the camera, buttons to adjust the aperture and focus automatically (if your lens supports these features) are handily right next to your right thumb. Finally, there are three programmable buttons along the top, which by default are mapped to the False Color feature, a default LUT, and frame guides. However, you can change these to whatever function you find most useful while shooting.