If you’re interested in seeing a comparison between the Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K, Panasonic GH5/GH5S and the Z CAM E2, click here.
Important: Some of the information is unverified. Some are just rumors. Don’t take this comparison seriously. Don’t take the prices or the specifications seriously either. For accurate information please consult manufacturers’ websites and data. Don’t take any decisions based on this comparison.
It’s obvious, isn’t it? The Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K (Amazon, B&H) is supposed to be a “pocket” cinema camera, but it isn’t (unless you’re talking giant pockets). The Sigma fp is actually pocketable, and it has a full frame sensor.
At the time of writing the price of the Sigma fp hasn’t been announced, but I’d be surprised if it isn’t close to the BMPCC 4K. This would make it hard for filmmakers looking to purchase a low-budget cinema camera for their short film, feature film or web series.
Keep in mind, this is just a fun preliminary comparison based on available information. Let the comparisons begin!
Let’s start with the camera bodies:
|Camera||Price of body||What you get||Warranty||Notes|
|BMPCC 4K||$1,295||DaVinci Resolve Studio ($299), AC Power supply, dust cap||12||Could have added a battery!|
|Sigma fp||$??||Battery BP-51, Strap and Holder, USB AC Adapter UAC-11, USB Cable, Hot Shoe Unit HU-11, Body Cap||?||One battery and only USB charger.|
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K (Amazon, B&H) is definitely looking good here. Even if the Sigma fp has a few more accessories, you get the full version of Davinci Resolve ($299) with the BMPCC 4K.
But we’re just getting started.
Comparison of sensors
Here’s how the camera sensors compare:
|Camera||Sensor Size (mm)||Native Aspect Ratio||Maximum Resolution||ISO Range||Notes|
|Pocket Camera 4K||18.96 x 10 mm||1.89:1||4096 x 2160||Up to 25600 (Dual Native)||UHD might be cropped to 17.7 x 10mm|
|Sigma fp||35.9 x 23.10 mm||1.55:1||3840 x 2160||100-25600|
ISO-wise they are similar, though because the fp is a full frame camera it will be better in low light, just given the size of the photo sites. It’s too early to tell, though.
The Pocket Camera 4K has dual native ISO, though as I’ve shown in my tests it’s not worth much, so it doesn’t factor in this comparison.
There is also a rumor that the Sigma fp might crop in 4K mode. If this were true (not verified or confirmed by Sigma), the camera is still a Super35mm-sized sensor in 4K. For those looking to emulate the film look with cine lenses, this is still the better option.
What about frame rates? Here’s the data:
|Camera||Maximum frame rate at 4K||Maximum frame rate at 1080p||Claimed Dynamic Range||Shutter|
|Pocket Camera 4K||60 fps (12-bit)||120 fps||13 stops||Rolling|
|Sigma fp||23.976 fps (12-bit), 29.97 fps (10-bit)||120 fps||12.5 stops||Rolling|
The Blackmagic Pocket 4K has an advantage here, both in dynamic range as well as maximum frame rate in 4K. If high-speed shooting is important up to 60p, then this is your camera.
Comparison of video features
What kind of 4K do you get anyway?
|Camera||Best Recording Formats (4K)||Max. Internal Data Rate (non-RAW)||Max. RAW Data Rate||Color information|
|Pocket Camera 4K||Blackmagic RAW Compressed||110 MB/s (Prores 422 HQ)**||203/135 MB/s*||RAW|
|Sigma fp||H.264 (Internal)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Cinema DNG (External)||N/A**||285 MB/s^||RAW|
- *In Q0/3:1. For most people 3:1 should be great, and many shoot in 5:1 or even higher.
- **Sigma hasn’t completely clarified if internal RAW will be an option in the future
- ^In 12-bit 23.976 fps
The Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K (Amazon, B&H) definitely has the most versatile codecs – both RAW and Prores. Cinema DNG is an open standard, but is hard to deal with due to lack of support on many NLEs and file sizes.
Comparison of media
Next let’s talk about media:
|Camera||Dual Card Slots?||Media for 4K||Market price per GB (128 GB / 250 GB SSD)||Price per hour of 4K 24p RAW||Notes|
|Pocket Camera 4K||One of each||CFAST 2.0, SSD via USB-C||$1.81 ($0.38 for SSD)||$859 ($190)||Cheap to shoot RAW, SSDs are cheaper, but unwieldy and not as reliable. USB-C isn’t a strong connector.|
|Sigma fp||No||SD Card UHS-II, SSD via USB-C||$0.31 ($0.38 for SSD)||N/A ($382)||You can’t record cinema DNG to SD cards, because the speeds are too high. Sigma hasn’t clarified what is possible with SSDs.|
CFast 2.0 is a lot more expensive than SDXC UHS-II. But, because of compressed RAW, it works out to be a viable option for those who don’t want to rely on external SSDs like the Samsung T5. If you are willing to go to lower data rates, you should be able to record RAW on to SD Cards (UHS-II) as well.
Comparison of audio features
Here’s a look at the audio features:
|Camera||3.5mm TRS headphone jack||Microphone inputs||Channels||Audio levels||Notes|
|Pocket Camera 4K||Yes||Min XLR, TRS||2ch||Yes||You need an adapter for XLR|
The Pocket Camera 4K definitely looks good here, with its Mini XLR input with Phantom Power. You do need an adapter (B&H) to convert to XLR but it’s a small expense.
And of course, it has a headphone jack as well. Both cameras have timecode.
The little things
The little things make all the difference. In addition to the little things, there are the ‘littler’ things – the stuff you only learn about after having used a camera for a while. At this stage the littler things will have to wait, and we’ll focus on the little things, which are:
- Ergonomics, toughness and usability
- Video ports
- Viewfinder and Monitor
- Size and Weight
- Focus and Exposure tools
Here’s how these cameras compare on ergonomics:
|Camera||Volume cubic inches||Weight (body only)||Mounting Points||Notes|
|Pocket Camera 4K||89.2||722g||One 1/4-20||Fan makes a sound|
|Sigma fp||21.8||370g||Two 1/4-20||Fully silent|
The Pocket Camera 4K is larger in volume, has a fan, isn’t dust or splash proof, and is heavier by a long mile. Its size is more high-end DSLR territory.
That’s not all:
|Pocket Camera 4K||No||HDMI Type A||No||5″||Peaking, Touch AF|
|Sigma fp||No||HDMI Type D||No||3″||Peaking, AF unknown|
Neither camera has a viewfinder. The Pocket camera has a bigger monitor.
Regarding exposure tools:
|Camera||Waveform||Histogram||Zebra||False Color||3D LUTs|
|Pocket Camera 4K||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The Sigma fp has a waveform monitor, but the BMPCC 4K makes up for it with False color and 3D LUTs.
Battery life and Power
All the features in the world are useless if you have to hire a donkey to carry your batteries:
|Camera||Battery Type||Battery life^||Cost of one battery||Cost per 4 hours of battery life||External connector|
|Pocket Camera 4K||Canon LP-E6||60 minutes||$64.00||$256.00||12V LEMO|
|Sigma fp||Sigma BP-51||90 minutes?*||$40.00||$107.00*||DC Connector CN-21|
*This is based on the assumption the battery life is 90 minutes. It could be totally wrong. Either way, both cameras require external power sources for real-world cinema work. It’s not fun to carry around multiple batteries and worry about charging them every night.
Which is cheaper to own?
Since we don’t know the prices let’s skip this section. It’s just a placeholder for when the information is really available.
|Camera||Price||Media per hour||Battery for 8 hours||?||Side Grip||Total (Rounded)|
|Pocket Camera 4K||$1,295||$??||$??||$??||$0||$??|
|Sensor and ISO||Tie until I test the Sigma fp in a real world situation|
|Video features||Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
|Codecs and Color||Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
|Media||Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
|Audio||Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
|Ports and Monitoring||Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
|Most value for money||Can’t say, but if I were to guess I’d say the Blackmagic Design Pocket Camera 4K|
Before we take our final decision, we’ll let the cameras tell us what they offer that the others don’t:
|Pocket Camera 4K||$1,807||Cheap, RAW recording, Prores, XLR input.||Poor battery life, fan, not a pocket camera, unreliable camera based on my own personal review.|
|Sigma fp||$??||Modular, full frame and S35, Director’s Viewfinder mode.||Uncompressed RAW, H.264 internal codec, low frame rates in 4K, No support for LUTs.|
- If you want full frame RAW (still not confirmed if there’s a crop in 4K) or Super 35mm RAW.
- The director’s viewfinder mode (which is what I find most attractive about this camera!)