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.
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.