August 9, 2019

Is EF the Right Lens Mount for the BMPCC 6K?

The new $2500 BMPCC 6K from Blackmagic is obviously huge news, but we are left wondering if EF was the right lens choice.

The original Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K was a huge, huge, huge hit. They basically can't keep them on the shelves and are popping up everywhere you look. The combination of 4K resolution, RAW capture, and a $1295 price point was just impossible to beat.

While we enjoyed the camera, one of our frustrations was that in many ways it felt more like an evolution of the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera (BMCC) than the original Pocket, since honestly, you couldn't fit it in your pocket. It even looked a bit like the BPCC. 

Yesterday, in their press presentation, Blackmagic acknowledged that and released what we can really think of as the updated BMCC: the new 6K EF mount Super35mm sensor sized Pocket Cinema Camera 6K.

Pocket seems like an odd name to stick with for such a big camera, but the big question here is if EF is the right mount for this camera. 

Obviously, practically every other spec on this camera is dynamite. For under $2500, you get a Super35mm sensor capturing 6K RAW images. You get the ability to shoot to cards or straight to SSD drives. You get real audio and power connectors. This camera really feels like all the specs you want at a single price point.

And if it was 2 years ago, EF would've been the mount that made us all go, "Hooray!"  

There is no perfect camera with every single feature we want, however, especially for only $2495, the EF mount is the one questionable spec that almost feels backward facing in an otherwise future-facing camera, especially in 2019.

The issue is that EF has a flange focal distance (the distance from the lens mount to the sensor) of 44mm. A more modern mount, like RF (the new Canon mirrorless mount), has 20mm, L- Mount (the open standard that Panasonic, Sigma, and Leica are pushing) is 20mm, and Nikon is down to 16mm.

The beauty of that short flange focal distance, in addition to more flexible lens design, is that it allows for a wider array of adapters. All of those formats are designed for full-frame sensors, while the BMPCC 6K is only roughly Super35mm sized (smaller than full-frame but not as small as MFT), but EF was designed for full-frame, too. If you shoot Super35mm with an EF lens you are just using the center of the lens.

With the BMPCC 4K, which uses MFT and its 19.25mm mount, you can adapt it to almost anything you want for cinema, especially PL.

In fact, Metabones just made a special speed booster adapter for the BMPCC 4K that is particularly enticing. A number of manufacturers made adapters for MFT to PL, EF, L, or whatever weird old lens your heart desires. The EF mount really doesn't adapt to anything much at all since there are very few lenses that have a flange focal distance that is so much larger than 44mm that there is room to fit an adapter in between.  

What does exist for EF is the worlds largest selection of lenses. There are more lenses in EF mount in the world than probably any other interchangeable lens mount. With decades of history, you can buy beautiful EF mount lenses from a variety of manufacturers that will fit your needs. However, if Blackmagic had gone with something like the "L" mount, and then maybe even included an L to EF adapter in the first year's orders, there would still have been support for all of those EF lenses and the camera would feel a bit more future proof.  

You could use an L to LP adapter for PL lenses. You could use an "open" mount instead of the "Canon" mount. Especially since it seems like RED is going to go for the EOS R mount on their hinted Komodo unit.

Of course, the counter-argument is that going for a more modern, shallower mount is worrying too much about the future and not enough about the present. For 99% of users, they will be happy with an EF mount, especially considering the stellar combination of features the camera otherwise puts out. 

Right now there just isn't a robust library of lenses for L, Z, or ER mounts, and it will be a long time, if ever, until those formats catch up in volume to EF. This is a $2495 camera after all (if we mention that so much it's just we're so amazed that a 6K RAW $2495 camera is here) and EF glass probably matched it in quality and availability of lenses. Then again, if they did EOS-R with something like the internal ND adapter, they could put internal NDs into the mix, which would be very nice.

We don't have a final call on this one. We own enough EF mount glass that we're compelled to consider purchasing the camera, but the ability to use a PL adapter with this camera would be wonderful and that is something that you can do with the BMPCC 4K that you can't do here. 

The BMPCC 6K is available now for $2495.

Do you think Blackmagic made the right choice to go with the EF mount for the BMPCC 6K? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.     

Your Comment

22 Comments

What other lens mount would they use? It's a cine camera and most cine cameras are either EF or PL mount. It would be a bit ridiculous to put a PL mount on this.

August 9, 2019 at 3:39PM

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Alex Alva
1207

Exactly, like what else would they do? I think EF is great, there are so many high quality options out there now without ever touching canon products, who cares if Canon updated their lens mount...

August 9, 2019 at 3:53PM

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Cory Anderson
VFX Artist
164

Yeah, all Canon cine are EF and I doubt they will change them to RF anytime soon.

August 9, 2019 at 4:24PM

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Alex Alva
1207

What is an ER mount? I think you meant RF.

August 9, 2019 at 4:03PM

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Right. And the price point was $1295 for the BMPCC 4K not $1500

August 9, 2019 at 8:51PM

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Rick P
21

This is absolutely a “right now” camera. They don’t want to future proof this. They want us on a buying cycle, like video game consoles and tablets. Cheap enough to pull the trigger every 2-3 years. Hopefully their production can meet demand as I’m going to need 2.

August 9, 2019 at 5:25PM

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Kyle Whitelaw
Producer/Director
26

Exactly. When mentioned that 99% of users are happy about ef I think that settles it

August 10, 2019 at 2:19AM

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Aaron Harper
Rental House Manager
198

"Right now there just isn't a robust library of lenses for L, Z, or ER mounts, and it will be a long time, if ever, until those formats catch up in volume to EF." Pretty much answered your own question. EF is just universal for small indie filmmakers and most people have many EF lenses and don't want to put thousands towards a new lens set.

August 9, 2019 at 7:38PM

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Brad Watts
Filmmaker/Creative Director - Redd Pen Media
458

Yeah, seriously. You can put EF glass on anything Canon, the EVA1, anything RED, the Alexa mini...and with adapters, anything Sony, anything Fuji, anything Panasonic.

Pretty damn universal at this point.

August 12, 2019 at 11:57AM

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I just wish they had internal ND! Or at least a slot to put filters in that 44mm of dead space!!

August 9, 2019 at 9:13PM

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Jean-Marc Abela
Director, DoP, Editor
125

Right? That's why I was hoping for RF, then I could use an internal ND adapter for EF.

August 10, 2019 at 9:56AM

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Charles Haine
Filmmaker, Tech Nerd

I think the main thing to be brought out here (which was my first thought when seeing this release, and what Charles might be alluding to) is with the Pocket 4k, because it is MFT you can adapt it (ultra .64x) to full-frame glass.

Honestly, I think that makes it a slightly better camera if you want the largest image size possible.

A lot of cine lenses even though they're EF mount are typically being made for a FF Sensors. You're losing image size, lens effect, and DoF by slightly cropping the edges of that glass.

August 9, 2019 at 10:12PM, Edited August 9, 10:12PM

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Zachary Lewis
Cinematographer
174

Your average content creator own EF mount lenses... BM is very aware and are doing exactly what they need to do to secure their share of the market. If you do the research you would also see that man companies came onboard creating lens adapter to convert from mft to ef so it just makes sense

August 10, 2019 at 2:57AM

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Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op
3048

I would have liked to see an interchangeable lens mount like the UMP. Then it would come with EF but have reasonable priced options to PL, F, etc..

August 10, 2019 at 4:03PM

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Jonathan Gentry
DP Potomac Media
232

Absolutely. If you primarily shoot on Sony mount lenses, you probably already have an FS5/FS7 and likely don't even need this camera to begin with. If you shoot primarily on a GH5, chances are you bought a speedbooster and EF lenses. If you shoot on the high-end Ursas, you have the swappable mount. Then theres the ARRI/RED crowd who....again, probably don't even need this camera.

EF was absolutely the way to go here and I'm happy they did it. I am however very unhappy with how long it took for customers to receive the 4K model. I ordered mine when it was ANNOUNCED and it sat on backorder for months before I cancelled the pre-order. I then ordered it once it finally was in stock, received it 7/3/19 and now...BOOM 6K model announced.

My big worry is, am I going to order the 6K and wait months for it, only for BMD to announce another, superior model shortly after the backorders are filled?

August 10, 2019 at 7:32PM

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New cameras coming out doesn't suddenly make the camera you own any worse. I have the P4K and I still think it's the right camera for me. With the speedbooster on it I can get great lowlight and shallower depth of field than the 6K pocket and 4K 60fps is plenty good enough for me. Plus even with the speedbooster it's cheaper than the P6K.

August 12, 2019 at 1:31AM

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Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
1026

They said specifically in the announcement video that this was meant to be an upgrade path for people who owned the older S35 model with ef mount and glass.

August 12, 2019 at 11:29AM

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canon ef-s (aps) mount lens should work fine, right?

August 12, 2019 at 5:19PM

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In general, EF does have a large selection of lenses ... used and new. I would have preferred a different mount but ... that's life.

August 12, 2019 at 9:35PM, Edited August 12, 9:35PM

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z-cam using ef mount too. I think it's bonkers. At this price point you have potential to appeal to a lot of sony / panasonic shooters with glass that requires a short flange. It's time for an open short flange FF mount.

August 13, 2019 at 12:01AM

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I really wish they went with E Mount. It would have opened up so many more lenses for adapting.

August 14, 2019 at 11:46PM

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Myke Scaffidi
Editor/DP
154

As a lifelong Nikon glass user, I'm about to buy the 6K. Does anyone have options for attaching some of the best Nikon F mount glass to this BMPCC6K? And by best, I mean I have some of the best (and unique) primes they ever made. Thanks

August 21, 2019 at 10:30AM

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Peter Baylis
Photographer/Videographer
109