Black Magic design just released the new pocket 4K firmware update 6.6, and it is everything it was rumored to be, and more. The pocket 4K was an impressive camera when it was released, but black magic design just brought a bunch of significantly notable improvements to the camera that really help it stand out in the crowd.
Most notably they added a commonly requested feature, enabling the camera to shoot cropped in to a smaller portion of the sensor, for shooting with 16mm film lenses. Shooting on 16mm film camera lenses was something that owners of the original pocket camera had become accustomed to doing, due to the original pocket cinema cameras numerous similarities to 16mm film cameras, most notably, the sensor was very small, much smaller then the average micro 4/3rds sensor, and was very similar to the size of a single frame of 16mm film. Making 16mm film camera lenses ideal for use on it. Fast forward to the release of the pocket 4k camera, and black magic design put not only a full sized micro 4/3rds sensor in the current model of pocket camera, but they put a sensor on the camera that was actually slightly larger then a standard micro 4/3rds sensor. With the increased sensor size 16mm lenses were no longer a really great option, because they left a huge portion of the sensor literally in the dark, focusing light only on a small section in the center of the cameras sensor. With this update the camera now supports cropping into a 2.6K shooting mode that utilizes a perfect portion of the sensor for 16mm film lenses.
This feature is definitely a nice upgrade to the camera, and a few people are going to be incredibly excited to use their 16mm film camera lenses on the pocket 4K, but what is really impressive about this new center cropped mode, is that you can now shoot 2.6K video, at up to 120 frames per second. Putting this camera as one of a very select few cameras that can shoot greater then HD resolutions at a full 120 frames a second, in not only a 10bit codec, but in full 12bit raw. This boost in the resolution for the cameras higher slow motion frame rates was very much needed, as the 120 frames a second mode before was both just a little too cropped on the camera, and a little too soft. With the extra resolution, and the slightly less severe crop factor of the 2.6K mode, the slow motion on the pocket 4K should see some notable improvements in quality.
This new mode was teased about a month ago, and was pretty expected, but what was not expected, and in this filmmakers opinion, a much more impressive, and disruptive feature, was a new cinema scope slow motion mode for full 4K where you can now shoot a full 75 frames per second, in 4K! a small jump from 60 frames a second to 75 frames per second might not seem like much, but those extra couple frames of slow motion create a huge difference in the mood of a shot, and with the full 4K resolution, those extra frames push this camera into another class entirely. There are very few cameras on the market that are both this small, and this capable, Z-cam and black magic are the only two companies that have cameras now with 4K in greater then 60P in such incredibly compact form factors. The Z-Cam E2 wins for sheer frames at 4K, reaching a full 120 frames a second at full 4K. but in an incredibly compressed codec, that while 10 bit, fails to retain the color detail you would expect or hope to have. Black magic offers a full 75 frames a second now, quite a few frames short of Z-Cam, but, they offer those 75 frames a second in one of the industries best codecs, B-Raw, with the ability to change white balance, and even ISO in post, and some of the best color retention of any codec on the market, black magic is really playing hard ball with their new 75 cinema scope 4K mode on the pocket 4K.
some of the other features include the ability to use anamorphic glass on the camera, both in the form of a 4:3 mode, and options to de-squeeze the image in camera. as well as custom frame guides, and an on screen level, which while not a huge feature, is definitely a very welcome one.
Over all, this new update practically makes the pocket 4K a brand new camera.
For reference, the complete list of updates for the pocket 4K
New features for Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
- Added support for Blackmagic Pocket Battery Grip.
- Added support for language localization.
- Added support for built-in camera horizon tool.
- Added support for 4K 2.4:1 4096 x 1712 recording in Blackmagic RAW up to 75 fps.
- Added support for 2.6K 2688 x 1512 up to 120 fps recording in Blackmagic RAW suitable for Super16mm lenses.
- Added support for 2.8K 4:3 2880 x 2160 recording in Blackmagic RAW up to 80 fps for anamorphic lenses.
- Added support for 2x desqueeze preview when recording 4K 4:3.
- Added support for 1.33x desqueeze preview.
- Added support for pinch to zoom up to 8x magnification.
- Added USB PTP control support.
- Added ability to embed custom 3D LUTs in Blackmagic RAW clips as metadata.
- Added common off-speed frame rate options above slider when changing frames.
- Added common ISO options above slider when changing ISO settings.
- Added 1:1 and 4:5 frame guide options.
- Added ability to type in customized frame guide ratios.
- Added ability to monitor voltage level when powering via 12V DC connector.
- Improved auto focus performance.