This is not what it looks like

blackmagicpocketThis is the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera. It’s a compact Super 16 digital cinema camera with 13 stops of dynamic range and allows shooting with a professional film look. The surprising thing is, it fits in your pocket.

But it’s not a digital still camera.

It has a Super 16 mm-sized 1080HD sensor and built-in SD card recorder for Apple ProRes and lossless compressed CinemaDNG RAW capture. Definitely not a home movie camera, especially if you want to edit your flicks.

What might make you think it’s a still camera is its use of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens mount, but don’t be confused, because the sensor size is smaller than that of MFT. By way of comparison, the MFT sensor has a crop factor of 2 compared to full format. That means a 14 mm MFT lens delivers the angle of view of a 28 mm wide angle lens. The Super 16 sensor has a crop factor of almost 3. Using our same comparison, that 14 mm MFT lens is roughly the equivalent of 42 mm in full frame format. You can kiss your wide angle lens effect goodbye when you throw an MFT lens on this camera.

Blackmagic makes pro gear, and this one was shown at the NAB show, which is where all the pros go to see the latest and greatest.

Price on the camera has been pegged at US$995.

Why make such a small camera? The guys making movies and TV shows have glommed on to DSLRs with HD video capability because they’re smaller and lighter, can go places a big camera can’t, and can deliver perspectives larger pro gear can’t.

The camera’s Super 16 sensor is an industry standard, so it’s perfect when using Super 16 cine lenses via MFT adapters, as the shooting experience is said to be the same as using the same lens on a Super 16 film camera.

The 13 stops of dynamic range look is almost identical to shooting on a professional Super 16 film camera.

blackmagicpocket backThe Micro Four Thirds lenses offer a wide range of low cost lenses with amazing image quality, and they are compatible with mount adapters such as PL mounts for large lens and professional motion picture film rigs.

As for the professional ProRes 422 (HQ) format and 12 bit Log RAW lossless compressed CinemaDNG format, these files can be read by high end video software as they are all open standard.

Blackmagic says it will also be implementing a QuickTime wrapper for the open standard CinemaDNG and companion codec, allowing the camera to record in a format that allows RAW editing in popular editing software.

The Blackmagic is assuming if you buy the Pocket Cinema Camera, you’ll be using Final Cut Pro X and Avid Media Composer software.

The built in LCD makes focus easy, and allows playback of captured files. There’s a built-in microphone, but we suspect the assumption is you’ll be more likely to use the external jack based mic/line level balanced audio connections.

So, it looks like a digital still camera, but isn’t quite what you thought it was.

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