Hello guys, in this post I wanted to show you how to fix some of the problems with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.
First off I wanted to say that the Blackmagic Pocket 4K is an amazing camera. Especially when you consider the price. For $1300 it records in Apple Prores and RAW at 4K up to 60fps. It delivers amazing colors and dynamic range that makes the images out of this camera truly cinematic. There is a lot of amazing things I can say about this camera, BUT in this video I wanted to concentrate on it’s shortcomings and how to address them.
I came across 4 problems that really bugged me but thankfully I was able to find a solution to all of them. On top of that there are other 3 less common problems that I know some people out there had with their Pocket 4K cameras, which can also be easily fixed.
- Weak battery
First is the weak battery performance. This camera uses the Canon LP-E6 Battery which only powers this camera for around 40 minutes. The best solution I found to this is to just buy more batteries. Of course buying the original canon batteries is expensive since 1 battery costs $60. But there are cheap alternatives like these Wasabi batteries. They cost only $10 and perform equally great just like the original Canon batteries. They even show you properly the percentage of the battery left which many of the other cheap substitutes don’t do.
Other ways that you can power this camera for longer is to use bigger external batteries. There are a lot of different solutions for that, some that require expensive V-Mount batteries and other similar power sources. I did a whole video about the different ways to power this camera for long periods of time, so check that out for more in-depth info. Honestly though I find the cheapest but also the best way is to just buy a whole bunch of these Wasabi batteries. This will keep your whole camera rig a lot smaller and it’s very fast and easy to switch out the batteries when you need to.
Battery Solutions for the BMPCC4K
- Bad LCD
Next problem with this camera is the LCD on the back. Which is actually a beautiful touch screen, full HD display. It’s also very bright and works great outdoors. The problem for me is that unless you have the camera in front of your face then you will not be able to see it because the screen doesn’t tilt or flip in anyway. If you put the camera up then you can’t see anything or if you put it much lower then also it’s very difficult to see. So easiest solution is to get monitor. There’s lots of great options out there but there are 2 in particular that I think offer an amazing deal for the money. First is the FEELWORLD Master MA5. A 5 Inch on camera field monitor that is very thin and super light yet it provides amazing features for only $150 bucks. It’s a full HD display with decent brightness of 450 nits. It also accepts cinema 4K signals and has all the key tools like zebra, false color, histogram and focus peaking.
The other even better option is this FEELWORLD FW279. It’s also a full HD monitor but with 2200 nits of brightness. So it’s very bright! It means that you can use it outside in direct sun without any problems. It’s also slightly bigger than the other monitor which makes it easier to nail the focus and see the details in your shot. It costs only $250 and has HDMI in and out. It can also accept full cinema 4K signal so it will work with all the 4K cameras out there. I have the slightly more expensive version here which is the FW279S model. The only difference in this one is that there is also an SDI in and out connection.
Both of these great monitors are powered by Sony NPF style batteries, which are cheap and easy to find online. The smaller monitor even offers a 8 volt power out port so you can power your camera using the cheap monitor battery. This is the same function that the very similar Andycine monitor that i reviewed before offers but a word of caution. Do not try to connect a dummy battery to this monitor so you can power the BMPCC4K or you will damage your camera or the monitor. I tried this already for you guys and I burnt 2 monitors before I realized that the amount of amps that this camera pulls is too much for the single battery to power both the monitor and the camera. So yes you can use this power out to power all the Sony cameras, and most Canon and Nikons but not this beautiful Pocket 4K camera. Alright on to the next point!
- No In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes, as you’ve probably already heard this camera, just like any other self-respecting cinema camera, doesn’t have in-body image stabilization. Which means you will need to stabilize the shots some other ways. There is a 100% free way you can do that by installing Davinci Resolve and stabilizing the shot in post. It works most of the time but this way you are going to be sacrificing on the quality since to stabilize in post means that you also have to zoom in a bit.
Download Davinci Resolve here: https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/
This narrows your field of view and you lose a bit of the resolution. Another way to fix that is to get a native MFT lens with built in image stabilization. I use the Panasonic Lumix Vario 12-35mm lens. Another great lens is the Lumix Vario 35-100mm which also smooths out your shots very nicely.
Now if you plan on walking around with this camera then you will definitely need to get something better than just lens stabilization. I use this camera on the Moza Air 2 gimbal. I find it’s the best deal. It’s just as smooth as the DJI Ronin-S but cheaper price. Plus it comes with more things and features in the box than the DJI Ronin-S. Now if you really want to get the Ronin-S and are wondering if this camera will work on it then yes it will. You can check out my comparison of these two great gimbals for more info.
Gimbal Comparison: DJI Ronin-S vs Moza Air 2
DJI Ronin-S Gimbal
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- Cropped Image Sensor
Another thing that can be both a positive and negative in this camera is the four thirds image sensor. It’s actually not as cropped in as the Panasonic GH5 which is a micro four thirds sensor. But it’s obviously not as big as a full frame Canon 5D or Arri Alexa LF camera. Is that a bad thing? Well not really if you want to shoot on long lenses because it means you don’t need as big a lens to get the same magnification as you would with a full frame camera. But if you want to get wider shots or narrow depth of field then this smaller image sensor can be a problem. Thankfully it can be easily fixed by using a lens adapter that is also a focal reducer. There are a few different brands out there that I’ve test out, but in the end I only found one that is worth buying. That’s the Metabones Speed Booster 0.71x version. UPDATE In the video I made a mistake and said I preferred and use the 0.64x over the 0.71x. In fact it is the other way around. Sorry! The Speed Booster allows you to use any Canon EF mount lens. Not only does it give you a wider field of view and shallower depth of field but it also has other added benefits. This adapter adds another 1 stops of light, which makes this already great camera, even better in low light. Plus it makes the video sharper when using Canon EF lenses. It’s an all around winner that unfortunately isn’t cheap. The price for this adapter is around $650.
Now here’s a few problems that other people found with this camera and kept on asking me how to fix them.
- Battery Door Compartment
First is the loose battery door compartment. Many people complain about the the door locking mechanism being so flimsy that it keeps on opening up randomly. I never experienced this problem myself. In fact my battery compartment doors are so solid that even when I was drilling a hole through them for my dummy battery wire, I still couldn’t loosen the door lock so it would just randomly open. There are people out there however that had this problem and lucky someone found a free solution. He even did a video about it that explains step by step how to do this, so follow my link to see this video in detail.
BMPCC4K Battery Door Fix
SSD Connectivity Problems
If you are one of those people who connects an external SSD to the Blackmagic Pocket 4K camera and you noticed that the drive is not recognized in the camera, then there is a simple solution to this also. This is already documented by another person so I will provide a link to the full video. Just remember that you should never, ever disconnect an SSD from the camera while it’s on. This could actually damage your drive and also delete or damage all the video files you already have saved on it. Always make sure you turn off your camera before you unplug the SSD and then once the camera is on you can plug the SSD in to initialize it and start recording to it.
BMPCC4K SSD Connectivity Fix
- Not A Great Photo Camera.
Now the last problem that I heard some people moan about is that the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is not that great for taking photos. Guess what? You are right! That’s because it’s not a photo camera but a Cinema Camera meant to take awesome freaking videos. So stop your bitching and buy yourself a photo camera if you want to take pictures! Easy fix.
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The opinions expressed in this video were not influenced by or paid for by any outside individual or company. I use and test lots of products that are sent to me or that I buy myself. In the end, I only talk about the products that I find interesting.