Who needs a $2,000 point-and-shoot camera?

What you see above you is Blackmagic’s Pocket Cinema Camera. It would seem to be some sort of leftover from a long-distant time before smartphones. Looking a little like a descendant of a mid-2000s digital camera, it comes in at a hefty high price that doesn’t even include a lens. At a time when even national TV shows use phones to get interviews, it would seem to be the biggest, most expensive waste of time of the year.

Except, it’s not.

This Blackmagic camera isn’t for regular folks. It’s not for quick interviews that won’t be seen again unless they end up in some sort of #failvideo complilation. No, this camera has a different purpose in mind for its users. And if you’re still stuck on the price, you’re missing the point.

The point, you see, is not to replace a $500 phone. It’s to replace a $50,000 cinema-quality camera. It may not reach that level of quality, but it comes darn close, recording each frame in pristine, artifact-free 4K resolution. It’s a perfect solution for filmmakers, both pro and amateur, who want top-quality results in environments where a full-quality cinema camera just won’t work.

You knew that movies are all digital now, right?

One of the first major motion pictures to be shot digitally was 2002’s Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Today, most movies are shot using extremely expensive digital cameras. It’s a major improvement in what filmmakers are able to do. Keep in mind that traditional movie cameras don’t even have viewfinders that show what the camera is seeing. In these older cameras, focusing was done using a person with a tape measure. No I am not making this up.

Digital image capture has meant that it’s not only less expensive to capture the action, but it looks better. The technology has far surpassed 35mm image capture. Even when movies are shot with real film, they’re scanned and edited digitally. This is just how we do things now, and I’d be surprised if you were surprised by it.

However, while studio-quality movie cameras are less expensive than before, they’re still expensive. And they’re still big. There’s a place in the market for cameras that can be put in hazardous situations, ones that can be placed almost anywhere, and cameras that are pretty much disposable. Keep in mind that the memory cards used by these cameras are practically indestructible. So, as long as the camera “gets the shot,” it’s done its job even if it gives its life.

A place for prosumers?

There’s a place for this sort of camera for the prosumer as well. If you’re doing local commercials, weddings, that sort of thing, you’re probably using a digital SLR. These cameras are cheap and do a good job compared to a phone, but they’re not really made for movies. This Blackmagic camera is. If your livelihood depends on capturing beautiful images, you owe it to yourself to step up to something like this. Compared to high-end DSLR or mirrorless cameras, the price isn’t even that bad.

Shop now for this camera as well as other video capture gear, now at Solid Signal!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.