Yes, this camera lack continuous autofocus, IBIS, or a long battery life with the included battery. But all of that was to be expected. Treat this as a cinema camera like it’s named and it’s possibly the biggest thing since the Canon 5D Mark II.
This title might sound familiar but this is a new comparison video and worth a look. This is not a slight against the Panasonic GH5. It’s still a capable and valuable hybrid camera that for some purposes will be a better suited than the Pocket 4K. But for absolute image quality we cannot deny we prefer the Pocket 4K.
TL;DR the image quality is great but it handles like a cinema camera. Shocking 😉
Prior to Blackmagic releasing this camera, it was Panasonic we had to praise the most for releasing affordable, solid video products. Blackmagic now has the throne. It will be hard to top the Pocket 4K at its price point.
This gets closer than previous comparisons into showing us the differences between the Panasonic GH5S and the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. You can’t really go wrong with either camera, and there are reasons to choose one over the other. We’re still liking the image out of the Pocket 4K more.
The first video shows the Pocket 4K matched to the original Pocket Camera. The second video shows more slow-motion photography. There seems to be a lot of debate about whether or not the Pocket 4K has the same magic and mojo as the original Pocket Camera. Time will tell this soon enough. When the original Pocket Camera was released there was a lot of confusing footage released at first but its capabilities quickly came clear. If we look at the footage released from those provided cameras by Blackmagic a lot of it is quite excellent and can be made into many different things in post.
This video has a mix of different frame rates and a variety of lenses. Note there is no sound and it was also shot in mostly ProRes meaning that you could still gain further dynamic range by shooting in RAW. There are a few RAW clips towards the end. We’re also happy to see the inexpensive Rokinon (AKA Samyang) lenses producing pleasant images with this camera.
Again, these are shot in ProRes with the Blackmagic cameras and thus we are not getting the full dynamic range possible. However, this test remains relevant because many people who don’t want to deal with RAW will shoot in ProRes.
It makes more sense to compare the Panasonic GH5S and not the GH5 against the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K as they have more in common. In this comparison ProRes was used on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K which we know has less dynamic range than raw from other videos that have been posted. So expect additional dynamic range from RAW, although the amount is not clear yet (best case scenario would be around a stop but early indications appear to somewhat less than that).
You all will probably get bored of reading about the Blackmagic Pocket 4K camera soon, but at the price point it’s offered at it deserves all of this attention. With disciplined shooting and adequate production value, the Blackmagic Pocket 4K should produce adequate footage for most purposes, with run and gun and ENG stuff being the exception.
B&H and Adorama have begun shipping the Pocket 4K, as have other retailers. It will take a while to get to all the pre-orders but at least the process is done and Blackmagic should be applauded for its efforts to get this wonderful camera out as quickly as they did.
Finally some substantive reviews and guides have been released. Don’t be fooled by those comparing this to the Panasonic GH5/GH5S. Those are great video cameras but they are not capable of the same image quality. The convenience and already far more than adequate image quality may make the GH5/GH5S better for your needs than the Pocket 4K.