The best Blackmagic cameras are well worth considering whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out in the world of video production and photography. The Blackmagic pocket cinema cameras are some of the best around, particularly if you want a 4K camera.
Blackmagic's studio- and broadcast-quality video cameras are known for their high image resolution, innovative features and versatility in a range of shooting environments. As well as shooting video, you can also use them to capture still images. So overall, they offer an excellent combination of value and quality.
However, choosing the best Blackmagic camera for your needs can be a daunting task. In this article, we'll run through our top picks, ranging from Blackmagic 4K cameras to Blackmagic 12K cameras. We'll explain how they differ, what unique features each offers, and whether they offer good value overall. Oh, and just in case you were wondering... yes, this is the same Blackmagic that produces DaVinci Resolve, which currently sits at the top of our list of the best free video editing software.
The best Blackmagic cameras available now
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As the name suggests, the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 12K delivers the ultimate in resolution and picture quality on our list. With a 79.6-megapixel CMOS sensor, you can use it to capture video in 12K with 14 stops of dynamic range, impressively cinematic colours and 60fps. If you want faster frame-rates, you can get 120fps by dropping down to 6K, and an astonishing 220fps at 4K.
As you might expect, this is the most expensive of Blackmagic cinema cameras. And it's going to be overkill for most people, even many film-making and broadcast professionals. It's also not brilliant in dim conditions, with an ISO range of just 200-3,200. But as long as you've got lots of light, this is going to give you the best picture quality of any Blackmagic camera, bar none.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is the latest release from Blackmagic Design, and at just under $2,000 / just over £2,000 for the body only, it offers exceptional value. Though it looks like a standard mirrorless camera, it does an incredible job of capturing 6K video; in 16:9 or 2.4:1 ratios, and at frame rates up to 50fps. And if you're happy to drop down 2.7K, you even can go up to 120 fps.
However, don't be fooled by the word 'Pocket' in the title; while it's fairly light at 1.2kg, it certainly won't fit in anyone's pocket. Also note that it doesn't feature in-camera stabilisation or continuous autofocus, so it's not really suitable for handheld use, and that it's only compatible with Canon EF lenses.
Those niggles aside, there are a lot of things to love about this camera. It's easy to set up, and the cinematic image quality is impressive. Connectivity is good, and you get the choice of UHS II cards, CFast cards or an external SSD for storage. So overall, this offers excellent value for the price, making it a good choice for aspiring filmmakers on low-budget productions.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is a more recent update to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (see above), and around $500 / £500 more expensive. So what do you get for your extra cash?
Well, you get longer battery life; 25% better than the Pocket 6K according to Blackmagic. You get built-in ND filters (2-, 4- and 6-stop), which allow you to adjust how much light gets through the image sensor. You get an incredible 1,500 nits of brightness on the main display, which is around three times the brightness of the average laptop, and that display can now swivel, whereas it's fixed on the Pocket 6K. There's also support for multiple XLR microphones, and you have the option of adding a viewfinder.
If you're low on funds, then Blackmagic 4K cameras have a lot to offer at a surprisingly low price. And while this model looks a bit old-fashioned, that doesn't really matter considering the superb image quality it offers for the price.
You get 13 stops of dynamic range, dual native ISOs and excellent 4K capture at 60fps. Drop down to 2.6K and you can boost frame-rates to 120 fps. Low-light performance is strong. And while the Micro Four Thirds sensor is a little smaller than the Super 35 sensor in the 6K models, it's still very decent and compatible with a large range of lenses.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K also comes with five-inch touchscreen, and the same battery life as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K. Connectivity is superb, with HDMI, USB-C, DC, and audio-in and audio-out ports all included. And for storage, you can record RAW internally or transfer to dual SD/CFast cards or an external USB-C drive. All in all, this is a great choice for a newbie or anyone on a tight budget.
Like the sound of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K (number four on our list) but want to shoot live video? Then you'll want to check out the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Plus, which offers broadly the same tech specs, but with a live switcher and large (7 inch) Full HD viewfinder with sunshade. That means you can get a compact and lightweight camera that delivers cinematic images in real time; all at a very affordable price.
You might think this camera is a bit expensive given that the resolution is "only" 4.6K. But what you're paying for here is the high frame rates. You can get a buttery-smooth 120fps with 15 stops of dynamic range. Or if you drop down to 2K, you can get an incredible 300fps for ultra slow motion capture. That's a pretty niche requirement, of course, but there are other things to like about this camera too, including an interchangeable lens mount (with EF mount included as standard), and ISO up to 3,200.
The Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 comes with a whole host of features specifically aimed at multi-camera, live, broadcast shows; most importantly a wide range of switchable inputs and outputs.
You'll benefit from swappable lens mounts, record to SD cards, UHS-II cards, CFast 2.0 cards and external USB disks, and can use a range of file formats including H.265, ProRes and Blackmagic RAW. There's also an ISO range equivalent to ISO 100-25,600, making this a great choice for low-light shooting.
That said, most of the main specs, including sensor, resolution and frame-rates, are pretty similar to that of the Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (number 2 on our list). So if you're buying a camera for individual use, rather than as part of a multi-cam broadcast setup, you'll be better off saving the money and buying the cheaper of these two cameras.
What are Blackmagic cinema cameras?
Blackmagic Design is a respected brand founded in 2001 with a reputation in the industry for excellence. And yet Blackmagic cinema cameras are surprisingly affordable when compared with other brands such as Arri and RED. That makes them a good choice not just full-time film-makers, but also for creative professionals such as graphic designers, CG artists and animators, who want to do a bit of video production as part of their job or for a side project.
What is a cinema camera?
A cinema camera is a type of digital or film camera that is designed for shooting high-quality video. A cinema camera typically has a larger sensor than a traditional video camera, allowing you to capture more light and detail, and more manual controls, which gives you more creative control over the look of your footage. They're generally designed to be used by professional filmmakers, but Blackmagic cinema cameras are surprisingly affordable, so are used by semi-pros and amatuers as well.
Can you take photos with a Blackmagic camera?
Yes, you can take stills with a Blackmagic camera. Most models have a dedicated stills button for this purpose, and the image resolution will be very high. For example, you can shoot stills at 21.2MP on the 6K Pocket Cinema models and at 8.8MP on the Pocket Cinema 4K models.
Can I use my existing lenses with a Blackmagic camera?
Blackmagic cameras use a variety of different lens mounts, including Micro Four Thirds, EF, PL, and B4 mounts. Depending on the camera model, you may need to use specific types of lenses or lens adapters to connect your existing lenses. The 6K Pocket Cinema models feature an EF lens mount so you can use lenses you already own from other cameras such as DSLR, URSA Mini Pro or even the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera.
What is Blackmagic RAW?
Blackmagic RAW is a video codec developed by Blackmagic to optimise image quality, metadata support and performance. This 12-bit non linear capture method retains full control of ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more, and can be used for acquisition, post production and finishing. Blackmagic RAW is cross-platform, free and open source. It includes a developer SDK so anyone can add support for it to their own software.
What is DaVinci Resolve Studio?
Developed by Blackmagic Design, DaVinci Resolve Studio is a video editing and colour grading software used by professional filmmakers and colourists across the industry. This full-featured non-linear editor (NLE) for macOS, Windows and Linux can be used to edit, colour grade, and add effects to video footage. A free version of DaVinci Resolve Studio is available, plus a licence for the full version is included with some Blackmagic cameras, including Blackmagic URSA Mini cameras and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K cameras.
What are the best Blackmagic cameras?
Blackmagic offers a wide range of models, from Blackmagic 4K cameras to Blackmagic 12K cameras. Each of these cameras are aimed at a different user base, and have their own strengths and weaknesses, so the best Blackmagic camera will vary depending on your needs. For example, if you're looking for the highest resolution, then you'll find it in the Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro 12k, but that will be overkill for most people. That why we've listed the best Blackmagic cameras above, and given you the details that pick the best fit for you.