The Best Lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (AmazonB&H) has an active EF mount.

It’s “active” because you get f-stop and focal length information to the camera, and that is recorded in the metadata. You can also manually populate metadata with slate data such as project, scene number, take and special notes.

You can control the iris (aperture) and zoom if the lens is electronic.

Exclusive Bonus: Download 4 cinematic LUTs for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and 4K, for free.

What about autofocus?

You only get single touch AF. There is no continuous AF, so forget about all the goodness of Canon’s dual pixel AF.

The camera does have a focus peaking function for manual focus.

Canon has hundreds of lenses for the EF mount, and it can be very confusing for a beginner to pick one. Moreover, there are hundreds of third-party lenses as well, made by companies like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, etc.

This article will help you pick the best lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (AmazonB&H).

Let’s get started!

Why do you have (or need) such a large range of lenses for the EF mount?

Canon makes different types of camera systems. The combination of sensor size and lens mount is what makes a system unique. Here are the two relevant systems for the BMPCC 6K:

SystemSensor SizeLens Mount
Full frame36 x 24mmEF
APS-C22.5 x 15 mmEF-S and EF
BMPCC 6K 6K Frame23.10 x 12.99mmEF and EF-S
BMPCC 6K 4K Frame15.4 x 8.9mmEF and EF-S

To understand more about 35mm equivalent focal lengths, click here.

You can use both EF and EF-S lenses made for APS-C sensors with the BMPCC 6K. That’s great news.

The APS-C sensor generally corresponds to the Super 35mm sensor/film size for filmmaking. So there’s nothing “wrong” or “worse” or “unprofessional” about APS-C sensors! Most of the great movies you’ve seen in your life were shot on sensors the size of APS-C.

Does lens quality differ between EF and EF-S?

Sadly, yes. Canon has always prioritized lenses for full frame sensors, because that is their target audience. You have to remember these cameras were still photography cameras, and they predominantly still are.

The best Canon lenses are given a red ring around the camera, and are labelled “L”. E.g., this is a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L-series lens (Amazon, B&H):

You have to remember the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (AmazonB&H) is a 6K camera, and you need really good lenses to resolve 6K correctly. Otherwise what is the point of shooting 6K? You might as well just get the BMPCC 4K instead.

What do you get with expensive lenses?

You get these main benefits over cheaper lenses, generally speaking:

  1. Better image quality overall, and over the entire focal length range.
  2. Consistent image quality over multiple samples.
  3. A wider aperture, in most cases.
  4. Faster autofocus performance – though this is not very useful for the BMPCC 6K.
  5. Quieter focus and zoom motors – not very useful for the BMPCC 6K.
  6. Better construction and weather sealing.
  7. A more consistent size and weight range.
  8. Better ergonomics. E.g., the focus and zoom rings are smoother and larger.
  9. Better resale value.
  10. More consistent filter-size threads.

For simplicity-sake, I’m going to divide this article into the following groups, so you can find what you want quickly.

  1. The Best Budget lenses for the BMPCC 6K
  2. The Best lenses for the BMPCC 6K, price no problem.
  3. The Best Cine lenses for video.

I will be focusing entirely on EF and EF-S lenses. If you’re keen on focusing manually, you can also adapt other lenses from Nikon F or Leica R or the PL mount using an adapter.

I’m going to recommend one must-have lens, which should probably be your first purchase. Then I’ll recommend three others that will complement your kit and help you achieve more.

Let’s go!

What are the best low budget lenses for the BMPCC 6K?

Get this: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art (Amazon, B&H)

Alternative: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM (Amazon, B&H) – if you want an extended reach.

If you don’t have money for this lens, then go for the Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM (Amazon, B&H)

Three amazing lenses to add to your kit:

  1. Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM (Amazon, B&H) – for low light work and a great “walk-around” lens.
  2. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM (Amazon, B&H) – for wide angle work.
  3. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM (Amazon, B&H) – for telephoto work.

All the lenses I’ve picked here have image stabilization (IS). To a beginner on a low budget this is important – especially for video where your shutter speeds tend to hover around 1/50s.

What are the best lenses for the BMPCC 6K?

Get this: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art (Amazon, B&H)

Yes, it’s the same lens! Just because the price is reasonable doesn’t mean it’s not the best choice.

Three amazing lenses to add to your kit:

  1. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM (Amazon, B&H) – extend your range with just one lens.
  2. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM (Amazon, B&H) – the low-light legend, and it works great as a general-purpose walk-around lens.
  3. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM (Amazon, B&H) – the wide-angle version, though it doesn’t have IBIS the image quality is superior in every which way.

Please remember, all the lenses have been picked to resolve a 6K sensor. Cheaper lenses just don’t give you that.

What are the best cine lenses for the BMPCC 6K?

Cine lenses are not cheap. They are for working professionals who earn money from their cameras, and who need the extra features a cine lens brings.

What do you get with cine lenses?

Generally speaking, you get the following benefits with cine lenses (though not all might be true):

  1. Less focus breathing.
  2. Some zoom lenses are parfocal.
  3. The construction is solid and designed for heavy use under many scenarios. Being heavy, they also don’t shake much on touch.
  4. Manual focus rings are precise so a focus puller can use tape to nail focus. You can also use wireless follow focus systems standardized for this.
  5. The aperture ring is de-clicked so you can smoothly ride the aperture during a shot.
  6. The size, shape and weights are very similar so you can swap lenses without readjusting balance on gimbals, steadicams, cranes, etc.
  7. True cine lenses should be color matched, so they cut well together.

To know more about how a cine lens is different from a photo lens, read this article.

Just like photo lenses, you can get Canon-branded cine lenses and third-party cine lenses.

Canon cine lenses

Canon cine lenses come in both primes and zooms. Let’s start with cine primes.

Primes

As for primes, Canon makes two sets of cine lenses:

SetMountsFocal lengths
Sumire PrimesPL and EF mounts14, 20, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135^
CN-E primes EF mount only*14, 20, 24, 35, 50, 85, 135^

*Some companies offer a conversion service from EF to PL convert it to PL at an additional cost.

^Average T-stop is T1.5, though the range is from T1.3 to T2.2, and the 14mm for both is a T3.1.

The Sumire lenses are almost twice the price. What is different about them? Canon claims these are completely new optical designs, and the lenses were designed for a more aesthetic look to them. I’ll let Canon explain the difference:

Many other manufacturers also provide cine cameras in the EF mount. E.g., the Panasonic Varicam and Red cine cameras.

To be honest, at this price range and budget, you owe it to yourself to test both sets and see which one you like. To my eyes, I prefer the CN-E primes, though they don’t come in PL mount. That’s a big negative in this price range and market.

If you’re interested to know more about other full frame cine primes, read this comparison.

Zoom lenses

Canon has zoom lenses that are in both the PL and EF mount (they were launched near to the CN-E prime set, so I don’t know why they were offered in the PL mount while the CN-E primes were not).

One key difference between the cine primes and cine zoom lenses are that the primes cover full frame cameras, while the zoom lenses are designed for APS-C and Super 35mm cameras.

If you could only pick one, get this: Canon CN7x17 KAS S Cine-Servo 17-120mm T2.95 – you could shoot entire projects with just this one lens.

Three amazing lenses to add to your kit:

  1. Canon CN-E 15.5-47mm T2.8 L S – for wide angles.
  2. Canon CN-E 30-105mm T2.8 L S – for telephoto work.
  3. Drool over this, the most popular lens among wildlife documentary filmmakers: Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9

Third-party cine lenses

This is where things get interesting!

Pick these two and call it a day:

  1. Sigma 18-35mm T2 (Amazon, B&H)
  2. Sigma 50-100mm T2 (Amazon, B&H)

You could shoot entire projects with just these lenses, and I don’t think there are any other bang-for-your-buck cine lenses for the EF mount in this class and price range.

You could buy PL lenses and adapt, then the sky’s the limit.

Cheapest cine lens option for the BMPCC 6K:

  • Rokinon 24, 35, 50, 85mm T1.5 Cine DS Lens Bundle (Amazon, B&H).

I would be lying if I said these lenses are in the same league as the others on this page. They are popular but they don’t really consistently resolve 6K or have exact color matching properties. But they are great value for money if you can’t afford anything else.

That’s it! These are my suggestions for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K (AmazonB&H) for video and cinema work. Hope you found it useful!

21 replies on “The Best Lenses for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K”

  1. Can you take still images with this camera, or is it possible to grab the fram? And what’s the size of the image in my?

  2. What about 100 to 400mm f5.6 mkii L series canon lens? Will it be usable & what will be the effective focal length?

  3. Shot with the camera today and tried my Tamron 70-200, that works well on my Red and old production camera. It did not communicate. The camera was running firmware 6.5. I’ll update it tomorrow. The Tamron 17-50 works well, even IS. But I’m hoping the Tamron 70-200 will eventually work. What do you think?

    1. I believe with Tamron you need to update the lenses to the latests firmware and hope for the best!

  4. Thank you I was looking for something like this ? your articles are always elaborate and detailed appreciate it…

  5. I don’t think you can use EF-S lens on the bmpcc 6k have you done it. can you show me we’re it says it can I would be very excited if that was true thanks

  6. Under the budget options you mention that Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art is definitely the most recommended choice but as I understand, it doesn’t have Image Stabilization and yet you say that having IS is really an asset for a beginner. Being a beginner myself I’m concerned then if the Sigma is a good choice for me. Could you please elaborate a little bit further? Of course, specifically for BMPCC 6K.

    Thanks!

    1. IS is only an asset if you’re shooting handheld. If you are using a gimbal then there’s no need for it.

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