Blackmagic, I Love You, but Let's Move On From EF Mount

Blackmagic updates their popular Pocket Cinema Camera, but sticks with a lens mount from 1987.

Blackmagic has just dropped the new Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro camera with a whole host of interesting new features to compare. A 1500-nit adjustable monitor is the biggest deal and will legitimately make it easier to use, even in broad daylight. Internal ND filters will also make life easier on those outdoor shoots. Best of all, they have moved to the bigger NP-F570 battery, which will be a huge benefit when working on set, where short battery durations have been a frustration for many.

There's even a nifty new optional viewfinder, which will definitely be interesting to users who still like pressing their eye on the eyecup. When I can, I personally like to operate from a viewfinder instead of a screen, and I know I'm not alone. You get immersed in the scene in a way that looking at a small screen can't always replicate.

But they, somewhat surprisingly, stuck with the EF lens mount on the BMPCC 6K Pro.

Which, well, is a bummer. Canon themselves, original EF mount creators, announced the RF mount back in 2018 and have moved on to a heavy focus on RF lenses and cameras. The new RED Komodo is an RF mount. The Sigma fp is L-mount—the Panasonic S1H, L-mount. These are both mounts designed for our mirrorless sensor universe, with shallow flange focal distances, easy to adapt to PL or vintage EF lenses.

While yes, you still can use an EF to PL adapter, it comes with limitations on how much the rear element can stick out behind the lens mount. It just doesn't work with all the options a DP might want in the field.

Why did Blackmagic do this?

It's hard to say. The most logical answer is that there are hundreds of lenses in EF mount, which is an argument for the decision, but they are (for the most part) still photo lenses. They're an affordable way to get your hands on lenses with the optical quality to match the camera, but Blackmagic could easily have gone RF or possibly L-mount then provided a $100 adapter to mount EF lenses on the camera body. 

With the BMPCC 6K Pro, they have added internal ND filters, which is honestly a huge bonus, especially since they are IR NDs, which will give better color reproduction. If you're doing a lot of day exterior shooting, those ND filters will come in very handy. But Canon has managed to do internal NDs in the C70, with the shallower RF mount, so it doesn't seem like EF is really required for internal NDs.

Honestly, I have no real idea why Blackmagic stuck with the EF mount here. We reached out to them to learn why and will update this post if they comment.

There could be licensing costs to the RF mount or the L-mount that would make the price point too high for the camera. The RED Komodo is three times as much. Maybe Blackmagic did the math and the research and enough of their users are happy with EF mount that it made sense for them. Keeping the price affordable is a key priority for Blackmagic while packing in a ton of features. If at some point in the process it seemed like switching mounts would prevent adding the NDs or drive the price over $3K, I can see why the decision might be made. L-mount is technically "open" but that doesn't always mean it comes without some costs.

Either way, Blackmagic's mission of getting amazing cameras into the hands of as many filmmakers as possible strongly continues with the BMPCC 6K Pro. 

Update: BMD President Dan May has told No Film School, “EF lenses are incredibly popular and come in a wide variety of sizes and prices. It made sense to make this camera EF compatible at the start."

The camera will likely be popular among filmmakers even those who already own the BMPCC 6K/4K because of its $2,495 price point. The new tilting 1500-nit monitor, internal RAW recording, and fresh color science will be a dynamite combo for a lot of shoots.

Maybe in reality it's only a small set of us who are eager for a Blackmagic to go RF mount. Back in 2019 when the original 6K came out, I was surprised by the EF mount. I still can't help but wonder when that dynamite combo might finally arrive.

The BMPCC 6K Pro is available now.      

Your Comment

21 Comments

There are only a handful of RF lenses though, and they are really expensive. EF seems like a solid choice. This write up just sounds like you're upset because you invested in RF for another camera. It would make sense to address the majority of the market, so EF is not a surprise and there are plenty of cine EF lenses too.

February 17, 2021 at 4:19PM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1937

I own zero rf lenses. I am all for mirrorless mounts. You can get less crop on a pocket 4K with a speed booster xl than an Ef mount 6k.

February 17, 2021 at 4:55PM

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cee dee
451

If the Pro was RF I could have taken advantage of Canon's RF speedbooster I am using on my Komodo. Most the speedboosters I've tested are not that good I've seen tons of video on youtube of people with the 4k and the edges and corners have either a warp look or IR pollution. The Canon version is extremely well made and would have been a great option if the Pro was natively RF.

February 23, 2021 at 7:44PM

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I don't own any RF lenses: honestly would prefer them to go L mount (I like open mounts), to make it easier to adapt to PL. EF to PL is a hiccupy adapter.

February 18, 2021 at 2:11AM

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You voted '-1'.
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Charles Haine
Filmmaker, Tech Nerd

The real reason is that it's much easier to put NDs behind an EF mount, like they have with the Ursa cameras. Putting them behind a RF mount takes more like a Japanese level of engineering. Not Blackmagic's strong suit. What they really need to nail is AF.

February 17, 2021 at 4:25PM

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Stu Mannion
writer/dir/dp
1066

RF mounts is a waste today, maybe in 2/3 years for sure. But the cost the license, the cost the the RF lenses and the lack of Cine RF lenses alone make it easy to understand why EF mount was the choice.

Add to the fact that all BM camera can support EF mount (4K with adaptor) also make sense.

I would have preferred a 8K sensor in this pro body. While all the upgrade are nice, they are not enough for me to make me want to sell my 6K today.

February 17, 2021 at 6:07PM

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The majority of their cameras going back to their first Cinema Camera used either EF or M4/3. They're keeping consistent so that their new cameras can fit into your existing kit. If they where to switch to something else almost their entire existing customer base would have to essentially build a new lens kit from scratch.
Plus when you look at lens options, RF is still pretty new and there aren't alot of options. Most E-mount lenses are focus by wire which means manual focus is almost impossible. It's fine when you're using Sony's killer continuous AF but on a cinema camera where you have to hit repeatable focus pulls it's just not a viable option.
EF isn't the most versatile option out there as far as adapting to other mounts goes, but it has probably the widest selection of lenses available.

February 17, 2021 at 6:50PM

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Phil Spruner
Video Editor and Filmmaker
137

I would much prefer a MFT Pro model 4K or 6K as for anamorphic, EF mount is a poor option especially for microbudget work.

February 17, 2021 at 9:58PM

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Stephen A van Vuuren
Filmmaker
666

Wish it was a locking EF mount.

February 18, 2021 at 5:29AM

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Simon Chan
Director of Photography
145

Only other mount that would make sense is a MFT or offer interchangeable like on the Ursa's. RF is not open for licensing yet and was only agreed with RED due to an IPA w/Canon. Leica has it's L Mount alliance with Panny, Sigma. BMD is not part of that alliance so that kills the L and RF right off the bat. A little research or knowledge goes a long way before a clickbait title.

February 18, 2021 at 5:46AM

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Boo Radley
DP/Editor
18

What you see in the article is knowledge combined with reason, and not just used to say that something can't be done.
I can't help but find funny how you managed to learn about the existing mount system, yet failed to comprehend the idea expressed in the article.
Also, you might want to research what clickbait is and how this title differs from this concept.

February 21, 2021 at 7:40AM

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You voted '+1'.
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"Why did Blackmagic do this?

It's hard to say. The most logical answer is that there are hundreds of lenses in EF mount, which is an argument for the decision, but they are (for the most part) still photo lenses. They're an affordable way to get your hands on lenses with the optical quality to match the camera, but Blackmagic could easily have gone RF or possibly L-mount then provided a $100 adapter to mount EF lenses on the camera body. "

That doesn't look like knowledge or reason. The only idea expressed is they wanted to move on from the EF.

February 22, 2021 at 5:12AM, Edited February 22, 5:13AM

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Boo Radley
DP/Editor
18

I disagree. Other posters have already made the point I was going to raise. I don't own any EF mount cameras but have an adapter for each cam

February 18, 2021 at 7:44AM

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Aaron Harper
Rental House Manager
495

The best mount would probably be e-mount at the moment. There is an abundance in lenses, it is a modern mirrorless mount and it fits best into the small form factor that this camera is. However, BM should have to come to an agreement with Sony, what I suppose is difficult or simply impossible.

Postponing the choice might be the real strategic argument at this time. There is not yet a real advantage in switching to RF. Maybe L-mount will be the better option in the future. So just wait and see.

February 18, 2021 at 8:55AM

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Jan-Willem Arnold
Film maker
91

And why not Sony E-mount? Not invented here? Surely not the case as EF is Canon. Curious, I agree.

February 18, 2021 at 5:46PM

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It makes sense to me to keep EF mount indefinitely I would think. It's a great range that is compatible with a wide range of glass from budget options to some of the best glass there is. EF is still runner-up for professional, cinema-standard cameras, right? Most cameras that come standard with PL have interchangeable EF options... and all the best lens makers are making PL and/or EF. There are some great options for MFT and RF lenses, but I don't know of any upper-echelon, really serious lens makers who are making them...

February 18, 2021 at 7:59PM

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Micah Taylor
Writer | Director | DP
127

I believe the real reason is manufacturing cost. A lot of people, myself included, whinge about the form factor and those utterly stupid rubber I/O covers and the battery configuration, let's face it, you have to use the battery grip to get acceptable run time, or an external battery option. Blackmagic know this, but it's cheaper to slap some minor improvements in an old design, than it is to build an entirely new camera. I'll come back to Blackmagic when they have a Red / Arri / Z-Cam / Kinefinity modular box design. Mark my words, they'll kill it when they do, because they'll offer all the necessary components (nose to tail) for more integrated experience than Z-Cam and Kinefinity, at a much more attractive pricepoint and with BRaw/Resolve to seal the deal. Hurry up and build the BMCBC!

February 19, 2021 at 1:40PM

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Bebels
8

So many great upgrades for just $500, and still, that DSLR mount. If not for that fact, they'd have had a buyer in me, as it is, I'm going to have to keep browsing Sony's and Z-CAM's options.
Of course the EF mount offers a great selection, but any mirrorless mount offers it too, plus so much more — including the freedom to choose whether we want to speedboost or not, on a case-by-case basis.
I see the points about restricted mounts that are being raised in the comments, but why not place the S35 sensor behind an MFT mount they already know and use, just like JVC and Z-CAM did before BMD?

February 21, 2021 at 11:31AM

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Canon reached another milestone with its production of EF lenses, hitting the 130 Million lenses manufactured mark last summer. They are ubiquitous. There is more range in quality and design, by far, than any other lens mount. Nothing even comes close.
So, for a budget-minded camera system like the pocket 6K what else would you choose? There is no match for this mount. There is a lens that fits EVERY budget from inexpensive to over-the-moon crazy expensive cine-style offerings. There are multiple brands (apart from Canon) producing a myriad of variations.
For this particular camera it is the perfect system. Perhaps RF will one day have the same stature but that day is a long, long way off.

February 21, 2021 at 7:08PM

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Marshall Cant
Autodidact Polymath
8

You seem to be missing the point, sure, EF offers a great lens selection, but putting a fixed EF mount on a camera is not the right way to offer EF compatibility — an adaptable mount that offers options, including EF (and speedboosted EF), is a much better approach.

February 22, 2021 at 8:47AM

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You answered your question in the first sentence - it's a mount been around since 1987. That means there are quite possibly millions of lenses out there you can use, and others you can use with an adapter. I have a BMPCC4K and a Viltrox EF-M2 focal adapter. It's ok, but, as a Canon DSLR owner, I wish they had made the 4K with an APS-C/Super35 sensor and EF mount. Currently, RF is too new and the lenses too expensive to be taken seriously by low-budget filmmakers.

February 25, 2021 at 10:11AM

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Ian Nicholson
Head Tutor at Sydney Short Film School
115