Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K vs. Sony a7 III
Which one is better for you?
There’s no such thing as the “best” camera out there, especially when you consider all the factors that go into your purchase, such as budget, workload, specific production needs, etc. With that said, the new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC) is out, offering cinematographers on a budget a good deal to consider. We wanted to identify the pros and cons to the Sony a7 III, a camera that’s been making waves in the DSLR/mirrorless camera market. Here’s what we discovered.
The Blackmagic body currently retails at $1,295, while the a7 III body goes for a much higher $2000 because of its full frame sensor and professional photography capabilities in additional to its video capabilities. At $700 cheaper than the Sony, the BMPCC is extremely compelling, as long as you’re willing to deal with the micro-four-thirds (MFT) lens mount and reduced depth-of-field.
The BMPCC more than makes up for its MFT mount. It has a durable carbon-fiber body and a 5″ touchscreen monitor, comes with a full license of DaVinci Resolve Studio, and is capable of shooting 4K 12-bit RAW video to a CFast card or via USB-C to an external SSD. It also has 13 stops of dynamic range and can shoot up to ISO 25,600. No other camera at this price point has similar video capabilities.
The Sony a7 III has a full-frame sensor with 5-axis in-body stabilization, 15 stops of dynamic range, shoots up to ISO 51,200, but it is not capable of recording RAW video natively. It can however, output 14-bit RAW video to an external recorder like the Atomos Shogun. It also still shoots 4K at 100MBPS, at up to 30FPS, and 120FPS in 1080p.
The BMPCC also has much better I/O than the a7. It features a full-sized HDMI port and even a mini-XLR input for audio that’s capable of sending 48 volts of phantom power to work with professional microphones.
Both cameras have much improved battery life. The BMPCC uses Canon LP-E6 batteries, like in the 5D MKIII, with a promise of roughly 60 minutes of battery life. Sony have switched from the NP-FW50 to the NP-FZ100 in the a7 III. This is the battery used by their much pricier a9, with nearly double the capacity of the a7 II’s old battery.
On paper, the low price of the BMPCC with its fantastic 4K video capabilities makes it a great choice over the a7 III, but it’s a matter of what your production needs and whether or not you need full-frame.