The biggest (dare I say, only) reason to get this camera is the image quality , and wow, it does not disappoint. Shooting 6K video with 12-bit colors produces footage that is unbelievably flexible, especially in the colors. Selecting movie in the dynamic range on a white background, gray-looking footage straight out of the camera. But do not be fooled: there is a tone of data stored in those files that lets you push and pull the colors in any direction you please. This means you can achieve all kinds of dramatically different looks. Want it to look like some washed-out 1970's filmstock? Easy. Or make it look like at early-2000s Busta Rhymes video? Not a problem.
While the colors are incredibly malleable, you do not quite get much flexibility in the shadows. Blackmagic claims 13 stops of dynamic range, but I think that may be a bit exaggerated. It's pretty easy to blow out highlights if you're not careful, so then you stop down. But you can only bring the shadows up so far before you start seeing a lot of noise in them, and that noise tends to be purple and ugly. The camera's sensor has a dual ISO native of 400 and 3200, and both look really good. Things started getting pretty noisy at ISO 6400, but it was still usable. At ISO 12,800, the digital noise is far more prominent, and I'd definitely avoid the camera's maximum of 25,600. My Sony A7Riii has better dynamic range, is less likely to blow out highlights, and detail in shadows is better-preserved (as you'd expect from a full-frame camera). But because it's only 8-bit video, the colors are not nearly as flexible.
The BMPCC6K's flexibility with colors runs circles around other mirrorless cameras
There are a lot of advantages to shooting in 6K. Most likely, you'll get 4K for your finished product, right? Well, when you shrink a 6K frame down to 4K, that over-sampling gives it a nice little boost in quality. So you can crop in about one-third, and you do not have any loss in quality. Or say you've got some shaky footage. You'll probably want to apply a stabilization effect (such as Warp Stabilizer in Adobe Premiere), but that crops the edges of your video a bit. If you were shooting in 4K and finishing in 4K, that crop would have to stretch back to a 4K frame, which causes pixel-stretching and a noticeable drop in sharpness and quality. When you're shooting 6K, you can stabilize a
very shaky video (which would require even more edge cropping) and still not get any pixels get stretched. You can see some examples of that in my video above. It's pretty amazing. There's a built-in 6K time-lapse mode, if that's your thing.
Part of the BMPCC6K's special sauce is the proprietary Blackmagic RAW codec. It's some pied piper-level compression. I shot the above video using the 5: 1 constant bitrate setting, which produced fantastic footage. If you want to try out a little more color info, you can even go to 3: 1 compression, but that's just a professional colorist would see while using a very expensive monitor. Even with that impressive compression, though, files are very large. If you're shooting 6K24 in Blackmagic RAW 5: 1, you're looking for 1.5GB for a 10-second clip, and you can double that if you're shooting 6K50. That's significant, and it wants to eat through your cards very quickly. 4K24, Blackmagic RAW 5: 1.
Blackmagic RAW files are almost always easy to work with. Up to recently, you had to use Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve software to edit it. Now, Blackmagic has released macOS and Windows computers using the files with relative ease, which meant I could cut the above video in Adobe Premiere. DaVinci Resolve 16 is now a fully functional post-production suite, and has best-in-class tools for color grading (especially if you're shooting Blackmagic RAW).
The maximum speed when shooting 6K is 50 frames per second, but if you know your project timeline wants to be 24 fps (which gives a more cinematic look than the standard-for-video 30 fps), then you can shoot in the high frame rate mode. This will shoot at 6K50 but save the file as 24 fps, slowed down to half-speed. The half-speed footage it produces looks really good, and if you know for sure that you want that clip to be slo-mo, then it's an easy option. It does not sound the same, it does not sync to the half-speed footage and will run out halfway through the clip. Still, it's better than not having audio at all, and you can stretch it in audio editing programs if you want.
The camera looks friendly enough, with its reasonable price, its big, bulbous shape, and its extremely intuitive touchscreen menu (seriously, the menu is fantastic), but do not be fooled. This is not the type of camera that a beginner can grab and just start busting out beautiful clips. For starters, it does not have the car features you would expect on a consumer or prosumer camera. It does not have things like auto ISO, which would be nice for times when you want to lock up in your shutter speed and iris. It also does not have any in-body stabilization (which is what we see in mirrorless cameras from Sony and Nikon), so handheld shots are really shaky. You're going to want a tripod or a gimbal for basically every shot. So, the body is not weather-sealed, so using it in the rain or dusty areas would be a significant gamble.
The worst part is the autofocus. For starters, there is no continuous autofocus option, so it can not track a subject if it moves in the frame, which basically means mirrorless shooters can do and do well. (Sony's Eye-AF is the current leader in this arms race.) If you want to use autofocus, you press the button in the back, and then it usually takes a few seconds to shoot in the focal point, which makes it effectively unusable during a shot. You may not tap to focus or move the focal point away from the center of the frame, which means you may have to move your shot to focus on something, and then move it back, and even then, the autofocus is not super accurate.
Getting the best footage out of the BMPCC6K requires a skilled hand and a lot of patience
All of this is to say that you need a good eye and a hand for manual pulling focus, and that's a skill that can take years to develop. But even if you are a skilled DP, the screen's paint of brightness is going to make it really difficult for you to see what you're doing if you're shooting outdoors, so you may be spending yourself more on an external monitor.
"It's just a consumer price, but it's really a pro camera," Blackmagic's director of sales operations – Americas, Bob Caniglia, says: "This is a great deal for professional DPs." told me. "The consumer price helps us reach people who are new to it. It's not really something the weekend that's going to get, unless you know what's going on. "That's about my read on it, too. If you've got some filmmaking skills, this thing is incredibly powerful. But even so,