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Thoughts on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro - why EF mount?


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Andrew, it's great to see you posting more reviews on cameras again, because that's where you're good at. Critical views on gear without all the PR humbug that other sites quote from the manufacturer...

 

I do have one question. You still seem very fond of Prores, and you said you would like to have that on the new GH6 as well. I have Prores (and the DNX formats) on my Atamos Ninja Inferno, but nowadays I hate to use them...

 

My point is that these codecs seem obsolete to me. They take up extreme amounts of storage space, and to my eye don't really have an edge on h264 and h265 with higher bitrates. I understand that they were very welcome a couple of years ago since they weren't CPU and GPU hungry, but is that still an advantage nowadays when CPUs and GPUs have become so powerful? On my latest desktop and laptop I think that these low compression codecs have become even slower because of the gigantic storage burden. Then there is also the huge problem of archival space. Two hours of footage fills up my 2TB ssd on my Atomos... When working on multicamera shots of classical concerts, I am literally buried under data!

 

Maybe your experiences are different? I can imagine that if one does short films or commercials, the data flood is less of a problem? Do you still experience a higher quality image with Prores versus high bitrate 264/265?

 

I am curious to hear your thoughts...

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Sounds to me like a lot of us here aren't the target audience for Blackmagic. Not everyone wants to adapt lenses, look up compatibility charts, etc. Wanting MFT mount with S35 sensor or a mount specif

Like the original Pocket6K, there is a far bigger argument for it having an MFT mount. You can still have electronic control of EF lenses with non-speedboosted adapters, you can have a windowed m

The body shape is just... disgusting (and that’s coming from someone who owns and uses a P4K). They should just make the screen AND EVF each a $500 extra, and reshape the body into something more like

On 5/20/2021 at 5:22 PM, BTM_Pix said:

Like the original Pocket6K, there is a far bigger argument for it having an MFT mount.

You can still have electronic control of EF lenses with non-speedboosted adapters, you can have a windowed mode for the native MFT electronic lenses, the manual MFT lenses like Voigtlander and Meike etc all cover the s35 sensor and of course, with the shallower mount, you are able to put PL mount lenses on it.

It makes it a lot more sense for P4K owners to upgrade to/replace/augment their setups as well.

Like JVC found though, trying to undo the pre-conceived notion of the relationship between the mount size and the sensor size being absolute is a bit of a tough sell.

To be fair, Blackmagic also have their higher end cameras with EF mount so from the point of view of the Pocket6K being a B cam for those it makes sense.

I'd be interested to know from which direction the majority of the Pocket6K sales are coming though, as A cams for Pocket4K/new owners or B cams for Ursa owners.

Going the sidefinder route like Sigma have with the Fp so that all three flavours of Pocket could have had benefited from the new EVF would have been nice.

 

 

Yes, few people realize that the MFT mount enables a somewhat larger sensorsize than most MFT cameras use. I became aware of this with the GH5s, because it's sensor has a considerably larger size than the the standard GH5, resulting in a much wider image in lenses. In fact it seems to be somewhere in the middle between m43 and apsc...

It would be great to have more cameras with a variable use of sensor surface being used. That way we would be much more flexible when using manual lenses and with or without ibis...

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10 hours ago, LPG said:

Andrew, it's great to see you posting more reviews on cameras again, because that's where you're good at. Critical views on gear without all the PR humbug that other sites quote from the manufacturer...

 

I do have one question. You still seem very fond of Prores, and you said you would like to have that on the new GH6 as well. I have Prores (and the DNX formats) on my Atamos Ninja Inferno, but nowadays I hate to use them...

 

My point is that these codecs seem obsolete to me. They take up extreme amounts of storage space, and to my eye don't really have an edge on h264 and h265 with higher bitrates. I understand that they were very welcome a couple of years ago since they weren't CPU and GPU hungry, but is that still an advantage nowadays when CPUs and GPUs have become so powerful? On my latest desktop and laptop I think that these low compression codecs have become even slower because of the gigantic storage burden. Then there is also the huge problem of archival space. Two hours of footage fills up my 2TB ssd on my Atomos... When working on multicamera shots of classical concerts, I am literally buried under data!

 

Maybe your experiences are different? I can imagine that if one does short films or commercials, the data flood is less of a problem? Do you still experience a higher quality image with Prores versus high bitrate 264/265?

 

I am curious to hear your thoughts...

Prores is still much nicer to edit than .264 and .265. The quality gap has gotten smaller though, so I never bothered to get an external recorder for my GH5. Generally I hate external recorders anyway. Still I'd prefer ProRes over h.264/265, though I don't think we'll ever see it adopted by any of the major camera manufacturers due to licensing. As far as data size, have you considered ProRes LT? 

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17 minutes ago, newfoundmass said:

Prores is still much nicer to edit than .264 and .265. The quality gap has gotten smaller though, so I never bothered to get an external recorder for my GH5. Generally I hate external recorders anyway. Still I'd prefer ProRes over h.264/265, though I don't think we'll ever see it adopted by any of the major camera manufacturers due to licensing. As far as data size, have you considered ProRes LT? 

Yes, I have tried the lighter flavours as well, but as soon as I stepped down on the scales of Prores I found the quality lacking and well under the h264/h266 codecs...  Maybe I am missing something?

It could be that very complex gradings might benefit from Prores, but up till now, I didn't 3xperience any problems with my new hardware. Resolve is extremely fast, even with a rather modest AMD 3950 and RTX2060 GPU. I agree that a couple of years ago 4k in h264 was a pain, but nowadays I have the impression that the extra storage demands of Prores slow down the process more than the handling of h264...

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20 hours ago, LPG said:

I do have one question. You still seem very fond of Prores, and you said you would like to have that on the new GH6 as well. I have Prores (and the DNX formats) on my Atamos Ninja Inferno, but nowadays I hate to use them...


My point is that these codecs seem obsolete to me. They take up extreme amounts of storage space, and to my eye don't really have an edge on h264 and h265 with higher bitrates. I understand that they were very welcome a couple of years ago since they weren't CPU and GPU hungry, but is that still an advantage nowadays when CPUs and GPUs have become so powerful?

Try editing and color correcting 8 cam live shoots with compressed codecs ...

yes, archival is a problem, but highquality h264 is not that much more compact than braw.

 

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21 hours ago, LPG said:

My point is that these codecs seem obsolete to me. They take up extreme amounts of storage space, and to my eye don't really have an edge on h264 and h265 with higher bitrates.

Indeed, but still love them for older cams that still have low bitrate codecs like C100, FS100/FS700, etc...
You can get those Ninja 2 / Blade nowadays for next to nothing and get a free monitor with scopes and false color as a bonus.

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4 hours ago, Yannick Willox said:

Try editing and color correcting 8 cam live shoots with compressed codecs ...

yes, archival is a problem, but highquality h264 is not that much more compact than braw.

 

Hi Yannick, up till now I have worked with up to 5 cams, and that went smoothly.

I agree that somewhere there must be a turning point where h264 becomes slow and Prores remains doable, but at that point gigantic data traffic of Prores will also become a burden?

I have no experience with braw... Is it s good compromise between IQ and data efficiency?

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On 5/23/2021 at 6:07 AM, LPG said:

Yes, I have tried the lighter flavours as well, but as soon as I stepped down on the scales of Prores I found the quality lacking and well under the h264/h266 codecs...  Maybe I am missing something?

I suspect you are a devotee of the "higher resolution sharper images" school of thought.  This is also called "the video look".

I did tests that mathematically analysed various codecs and the h264 / h265 codecs were mathematically more accurate than Prores at similar bitrates (which makes sense considering that maths is how the designers of compression algorithms test those algorithms and Prores is based on an older compression algorithm) however, humans are not computers.

My suspicion is that the preference for prores over h264 etc is in the errors.  

For starters, Prores is ALL-I so renders motion very well, which is not something that is taken into consideration by the mathematics used to test algorithms.  Yes, h264 etc can do ALL-I although most implementations do not enable it.

Secondly, to my eye at least, Prores tends to give a softer look to an image than h264, which appears spiky and sharp/brittle in comparison.  Anyone familiar with film will know that it isn't sharp at all.  Anyone shooting RAW will be familiar with this.  Prores has a very similar sharpness to RAW images, and requires sharpening in post to tune the image if you want a more modern feeling image.
H264 and H265 feel very different to Prores.  Yes, camera manufacturers tend to sharpen the image before applying H264/5 compression so that will add to this effect as well, but when you're comparing Prores to h264 you're comparing the whole image pipeline and this is what tends to happen.
Unless you're a fan of the "video look" then these images likely have too much sharpening applied, and I find that my skills in softening an image with blurs are more developed than my skills in sharpening images purely because of how much sharpening is typically applied.

All of the above would be similar for Motion JPG implementations as well, and the cameras with that as a codec also have a very good reputation.

Finally, I suggest this - after reading this post look around you and notice your surroundings.  Do they look 'sharp'?  Look at your hands and the texture of your skin, look at the fabrics of your clothes, look at the device you're reading this on.  Do they look 'sharp'?  No.  Reality isn't sharp.  It's detailed, sure, but in an understated way, it just IS, without all the details yelling at you to notice them.  Unlike h264/h265.

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20 hours ago, LPG said:

Hi Yannick, up till now I have worked with up to 5 cams, and that went smoothly.

I agree that somewhere there must be a turning point where h264 becomes slow and Prores remains doable, but at that point gigantic data traffic of Prores will also become a burden?

I have no experience with braw... Is it s good compromise between IQ and data efficiency?

5 cam in 4K with previews running, plus programme ? Which PC do you have then ? I cannot do that in my Ryzen 5950X machine ... Not at smooth 25 fps.

I can do that zith braw. braw is more compact than prores at same quality levels. If I have a multicam shoot, and there is a GH5s running, it is like 200 GB for the GH5s (on 150mbit, not on 400 mbit codec !), and about 300 GB for braw Q5, same resolutions. So, braw is more performant and actually more compact, because for the gh5s I need to create proxies.

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On 5/21/2021 at 12:03 AM, Andrew Reid said:

blackmagic-pocket-cinema-camera-6k-scale

However one thing I find puzzling about the Pocket 6K Pro is the lens mount.

 

 I have been using the P4K with a speed booster since it's release and when the 6K Pro was released, said here on this forum that I was  disappointed it had an EF mount. At the time,  I would have preferred a mirrorless mount.

Fast forward to six weeks ago and I needed a second camera so bought the 6K Pro. The mount has not been an issue and actually I have enjoyed not needing an adaptor.

I work professionally in Film/TV production and both my pockets get used as B Cameras and C Cameras to much bigger A Cameras from Alexa Minis down to FX9's. While the industry standard mount is PL the next most common mount used is EF. There are many cine lenses that are swappable from PL to EF or available in versions of each. While I love the P4K with speedbooster, I also like being able to run lenses natively without an adaptor. EF lenses are everywhere and many lenses that get cine Modded like Leica R's get converted to EF. Sure a mirrorless mount with a PL adaptor would be great but most popular lenses we use have EF equivalents or mounts that can be converted such as Angeniuex zooms, Celere HS Primes etc.

For me a speedbooster was a necessity on the MFT sensor to bring  it into line with cine standards but with an APS C sensor, this is not the case. 

On 5/21/2021 at 12:49 AM, Caleb Genheimer said:

The body shape is just... disgusting (and that’s coming from someone who owns and uses a P4K). They should just make the screen AND EVF each a $500 extra, and reshape the body into something more like RED/Kinefinity/ZCam/BGH1.

I didn't like the form factor of the original Poxket 4K and 6K. The non 'Pro'cameras needed an external monitor and battery solution so the dslr form factor was kind of lost on these models. With the Pro, you really can use the camera as is, with no external accessories so it's ergonomic form factor are more welcome. I do still wish is was in more of a Komodo form factor though as the un centered lens mount makes it harder to rig on a Ronin but once you have mucked around a bit with counter weights, and a offset plate,  it's fine. 

In terms of it being 'disgusting', do you mean visually? I mean, really....does that matter? Does a Carpenter look at his drill and think, ew that looks disgusting? 

Anyway, mine are usually rigged with cages and other accessories (still waiting on a 6KPro cage) so you can't really see what the camera looks like. 

On 5/22/2021 at 9:39 PM, LPG said:

I do have one question. You still seem very fond of Prores, and you said you would like to have that on the new GH6 as well. I have Prores (and the DNX formats) on my Atamos Ninja Inferno, but nowadays I hate to use them...

I am curious to hear your thoughts...

There is a reason why Arri/ Red/ Blackmagic and Post production houses world wide still use ProRes and not H264 or even H265!

I will say, that I find ProRes a little more redundant on Blackmagic Cameras as BRAW is such great quality and more efficient but apart from that, ProRes is still used more on professional film sets as an acquisition format compared to RAW. 

Post wise, ProRes is far easier to edit than H264 and H265. Even though the data rates are higher, it's less taxing on the system. 

In terms of a comment saying that ProRes seems softer, what cameras are we talking about? Many cameras that shoot ProRes also have less internal sharpening applied. Mirrorless cameras that shoot H264/5 usually have a lot of sharpening in camera so may seem sharper,

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Thanks guys for your thoughts on ProRes. Food for thought. Interesting to hear that BRAW is such a good alternative.

Yes, I know that ProRes still holds a firm grip in the professional world, but that might also be a case of old habits slowly die... 

I was just curious to know from others whether they still think that the advantage of less burden on the CPU/GPU  was greater than the disadvantage of gigantic data rates and file sizes. As it is, I find archiving already a very taxing job...

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12 hours ago, Yannick Willox said:

5 cam in 4K with previews running, plus programme ? Which PC do you have then ? I cannot do that in my Ryzen 5950X machine ... Not at smooth 25 fps.

I can do that zith braw. braw is more compact than prores at same quality levels. If I have a multicam shoot, and there is a GH5s running, it is like 200 GB for the GH5s (on 150mbit, not on 400 mbit codec !), and about 300 GB for braw Q5, same resolutions. So, braw is more performant and actually more compact, because for the gh5s I need to create proxies.

Yes, on my AMD 3950  with RTX 2060 Super it does run relatively smooth in Resolve, not so smooth in Premiere Po. I have got 64 Gb RAM and of course fast PCI SSDs. If you add some taxing grades, multiview becomes problematic, but that is my later stage anyway...

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2 hours ago, LPG said:

Thanks guys for your thoughts on ProRes. Food for thought. Interesting to hear that BRAW is such a good alternative.

Yes, I know that ProRes still holds a firm grip in the professional world, but that might also be a case of old habits slowly die... 

I was just curious to know from others whether they still think that the advantage of less burden on the CPU/GPU  was greater than the disadvantage of gigantic data rates and file sizes. As it is, I find archiving already a very taxing job...

To offer the counter argument, I always shoot H.265. With a Ryzen 3600 and GTX 1080, I edit 4k 10 bit H.265 for every project and only get dropped frames on Fusion composites--which incidentally drop frames on ProRes as well! Fusion's integration into Resolve is still wildly inefficient.

In side by side comparisons on my camera, H.265 outperforms ProRes HQ, at <1/7th the data rate.

Side note, I was talking to someone on a shoot where they estimated 24 TB of footage (Redcode). That's going to cost them $650 in hard drives for one copy, $1300 to have a backup. If I were shooting it, I'd shoot 100 mbps H.265 and needed $300 of drives. For that extra $1000, I could get top of the line graphics card--okay, maybe not during the great GPU shortage--to cut through the footage easier... and if necessary I'd use proxies. I've saved $5k+ of hard drives in the last four years by shooting H.265 instead of ProRes, and come out with better quality as well.

 

That said, the Braw files that I have worked with also had a fantastic quality/size ratio, so I would certainly consider Braw above any flavor of ProRes.

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7 hours ago, KnightsFan said:

To offer the counter argument, I always shoot H.265. With a Ryzen 3600 and GTX 1080, I edit 4k 10 bit H.265 for every project and only get dropped frames on Fusion composites--which incidentally drop frames on ProRes as well! Fusion's integration into Resolve is still wildly inefficient.

In side by side comparisons on my camera, H.265 outperforms ProRes HQ, at <1/7th the data rate.

Side note, I was talking to someone on a shoot where they estimated 24 TB of footage (Redcode). That's going to cost them $650 in hard drives for one copy, $1300 to have a backup. If I were shooting it, I'd shoot 100 mbps H.265 and needed $300 of drives. For that extra $1000, I could get top of the line graphics card--okay, maybe not during the great GPU shortage--to cut through the footage easier... and if necessary I'd use proxies. I've saved $5k+ of hard drives in the last four years by shooting H.265 instead of ProRes, and come out with better quality as well.

 

That said, the Braw files that I have worked with also had a fantastic quality/size ratio, so I would certainly consider Braw above any flavor of ProRes.

Interesting!  I would love to hear Andrew's opinion!

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On 5/21/2021 at 1:12 PM, bjohn said:

That's because these are cinema cameras. Traditionally, cinema cameras do not have AF, are used under controlled lighting situations, and don't have IBIS. Cinematographers generally prefer full manual control and dislike IBIS (more organic approaches such as steadicam are preferred). This also sort of explains why they haven't released a full-frame camera, since full-frame is not a cinema format; I read recently that only one major motion picture in history has been shot in full frame. Full frame is making inroads in television, but slower to catch on in cinema. In general, the cinema world is slower to evolve; it's a different world from video. Of course, MFT is not a cinema format either but in the case of the BMPCC 4K I think Blackmagic saw value in increasing the sensor size from the Super 16 format of the previous Pocket while retaining the popular MFT mount.

Oh I get why they don't have it, but for the run and gun work I do; those missing features eliminate them from any serious consideration for me; which is kind of funny since I have no AF now with the S5 and EF adapter but IBIS and lowlight performance is incredible. I think if BM ever made a more prosumer version with a more rugged body, better form factor, and a few tools for us run and gun shooters like IBIS and AF, they would sell a ton of them. 

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On 5/26/2021 at 12:40 AM, herein2020 said:

Oh I get why they don't have it, but for the run and gun work I do; those missing features eliminate them from any serious consideration for me; which is kind of funny since I have no AF now with the S5 and EF adapter but IBIS and lowlight performance is incredible. I think if BM ever made a more prosumer version with a more rugged body, better form factor, and a few tools for us run and gun shooters like IBIS and AF, they would sell a ton of them. 

They are selling a ton of Pocket cameras regardless!

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On 5/23/2021 at 8:39 AM, Amazeballs said:

I would go with e-mount if it was possible. The biggest assortment of lenses for all tastes and budgets. 

Plus adapters to EF. Amazing I know! 😆

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I've been doing some commercial shoots with the BM 6K's lately and the 6K PRO will probably be my next camera purchase. For the money it is kind of a no-brainer: 6K BRAW / ProRes, Dual ISO Super35 sensor, 5" bright LCD, best GUI, SD/CFAST/SSD storage options & internal NDs.

That said, I do agree the biggest drawback is EF mount. While there are a large amount of EF cine lenses, they're on the bigger side and a lot of the more recent compact cine lenses including anamorphic lenses such as the SIRUI series are mirrorless mount exclusives. One of the big attractions of the 6K/6K Pro is 6K 2.4:1 ratio recording but I can't seem to find any affordable anamorphic EF lenses?

But for client work, 6K RAW is really impressive and the cropping capability kind of a game changer as far as I'm concerned. Many of us had hoped the R5 would give you that in a hybrid but my experience with R6 is that its simply too unreliable to use on a commercial shoot. The Canons are good for b-cams / BTS purposes.

As for ProRes vs H264/H265, while on many recent computers the processing difference may not be too obvious with 4K, I can assure you that with 6K its night & day as far as rendering, editing, playback. My iMac Pro struggles a bit with h264/h265 6K footage while ProRes cuts like cheese and renders 20x faster.

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