The Sony FX30 vs. the BMPCC 6K G2—Which Affordable Cinema Camera Is Right for You?

Sony is targeting the affordable cinema camera market with its new FX30, but is it a good choice for filmmakers considering the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras?

Blackmagic Design cameras have always dominated the affordable cinema camera space. No other brand has been able to consistently offer production-ready features for such an affordable price.

That is, until Sony released the FX30 with IBIS and industry-leading autofocus, making it a great alternative to the robust Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 and even the legendary (at least for us) BMPCC 4K. All for an attractive price of $1,800.

You may be wondering if the FX30 is right for you, or would the BMPCC 6K G2 or even the 4K be the better option? We take a look to help you make the right decision.

Blackmagic & Sony 

When Blackmagic introduced the original Cinema Camera at NAB 2012, the surprise announcement was met with fanfare, love, and hate. While the camera eventually became a hit with filmmakers, the weird form factor and MFT sensor had their detractors. Since then, Blackmagic has introduced several other camera options, including the URSA Mini Pro 12K, URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2, and the more compact Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2, 4K, and 6K Pro.

BMPCC 6K G2
BMPCC 6K G2Credit: Blackmagic Design

If you’re a creative who is looking for an extremely affordable cinema camera option, it could be tough to decide between Sony’s FX30 and the BMPCC 6K G2 (or Pocket 4K). On the one hand, you have several years of development and successful use of the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras. On the other hand, Sony has been a leader in HD and UHD cinema cameras for decades, with the nearly identical FX3 and popular A7 series of cameras, all the way up to Sony VENICE. Plus, they have a history of game-changing cameras, including the F900 CineAlta that George Lucas chose to film Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on way back in 2000.

We’re going to look at the Sony FX30 with the BMPCC 6K G2 and 4K, as they are similar in size, features, and price. While the BMPCC 6K Pro has additional features that would tick some extra boxes, it costs $2,535, so we won't include that in our comparison.

Overall Features

The Sony FX30 features a brand new 6K back-illuminated APS-C Exmor R CMOS sensor at 26.1 megapixels (20.1MP are usable) and Sony's E-mount. This is oversampled to deliver a solid 4K in 4:2:2 10-bit XAVC. It can film in 14+ stops of dynamic range when filming in SLOG3 and even outputs a 16-bit RAW signal to an external Atomos recorder. Additionally, the FX30 features a fantastic 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) for smooth handheld shooting and an optional top handle that expands your audio options. 

Sony FX30
Sony FX30Credit: Ira Edelman

Meanwhile, the Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 has a similarly sized Super 35 sensor with a 6144 x 3456 resolution and an EF lens mount. It has 13 stops of dynamic range and can record in the coveted BRAW internally, along with ProRes. There is no in-body image stabilization that can match the FX30, but there is a gyro that has been unlocked in all three BMPCC units, which can do a good job stabilizing your footage in post. You also have a nice selection of both video and audio ports. 

Finally, the BMPCC 4K features a smaller Micro 4/3 image sensor at 4096 x 2160 DCI 4K resolution, 13-stops of dynamic range, an MFT lens mount, and the same internal BRAW and ProRes recording options. Like its older sibling, there is no internal stabilization, but it does have the gyro feature.

Size and Weight

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is nice and compact at 7.08 W x 4.84 H x 4.41 D inches (17.98 x 12.29 x 11.2 cm) but weighs 2.65 pounds (1.2 kg) without a lens or accessories. The smaller BMPCC 4K is very similar in size at 7 W x 3.8 H x 3.4 D inches (17.78 x 9.65 x 8.64 cm), and weighs 1.5 lbs. (.68 kg).

However, both cameras are constructed out of durable, lightweight carbon fiber polycarbonate composite. While they're both super easy to hold all day, the form factor does take getting used to. 

BMPCC 4K
BMPCC 4KCredit: Blackmagic Design

Meanwhile, the Sony FX30 is built out of magnesium alloy and is smaller than both the BMPCC 6K G2 and BMPCC 4K at 5.1 W x 3.1 H x 3.3 D (12.97 x 7.78 x 8.45 cm). It has a simple box shape and weighs 1.2 lbs. (.54 kg), which is just a little less than the BMPCC 4K. There are also several 1/4-inch attachment points around the camera, meaning you won't really need a cage like you might for the BMPCC cameras. 

Sony FX30
FX30 w/ Top HandleCredit: Sony

Overall, these three cameras are very similar in size and weight, although the FX30 is slightly smaller and comes a bit more prepped out of the box thanks to its cageless design.

While all three can be used on set (with the first generation BMPCC 6K having already been used to film television), there are several form factor differences that might make you lean one way or the other. 

Our Thoughts

Both the new Sony FX30 and BMPCC 6K G2 cost about the same ($1,798 and $1,995, respectively), making these two cameras some of the most affordable cinema-ready tools on the market. If you want a cheaper camera, the BMPCC 4K will cost $1,295 (body-only). But once you start adding lenses and accessories, the prices could jump around all over the place.

Sony FX30 and BMPCC 6K G2
The Sony FX30 and BMPCC 6K G2

For us, the biggest features of the Sony FX30 are not only the affordable price but the IBIS, autofocus, and battery life, which ran almost double the BMPCC 6K G2 in our tests. While Sony's autofocus is a lifesaver for some filmmakers, many creatives have likely invested in a great set of manual lenses and won't need AF.

The biggest drawback that we found is the lack of internal RAW filming (it's all external) and the need for the optional top handle if you need robust audio ports.

And that's where the BMPCC 6K G2 and BMPCC 4K truly shine. They both shoot in BRAW and ProRes internally. If you were to give a production the choice of XAVC or BRAW/ProRes, the latter two would almost always win out. When there's money on the line, the most versatile format has the upper hand, and while Sony's XAVC codec is incredibly robust, BRAW is still the winner for now.

But, if you are looking to save every penny, you can’t go wrong with the BMPCC 4K with its affordable price of $1,295 for the base model.

Ultimately, the decision is up to you on which camera is best. From what we discovered, the decision will come down to either internal RAW recording or battery life, IBIS, and autofocus. While that may seem like a lopsided comparison, remember that not everyone needs IBIS or autofocus for their projects.

Keep in mind that both the Sony FX30 and the BMPCC cameras will require some additional add-ons for extra functionality. This can include things like Sony's top handle or a cage for the Pocket Cinema Cameras, making them a little bit bulkier, heavier, and more expensive. 

Learn more about the Sony FX30 here, and Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Cameras here. If you want to get either one, let us know why in the comments!     

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3 Comments

I had suppported Blackmagic Design from first cinema camera, at today I have pk6kg1, to be pragmatic, go back to xavc codec is a no no, the real attractive point to me is the excellent autofocus of Sony with continue follow focus for run and gun or doc work where you not have time to check focus, but … to me is not enough to change. The freedom of raw to me is a game changer that cannot trade for any other feature (also with its downside of space, expansive support, and more).

October 2, 2022 at 3:14PM

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Carlo Macchiavello
Director (with strong tech knowledge)
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good article.

October 3, 2022 at 3:17PM

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DCO20
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At these prices, one could buy both the FX30 and BMPCC. With an appropriate adaptor, the FX30 can share the same EF lines.

I think the choice depends on the work one days. If you're doing narrative, commercials, docs with planed shots in which IBIS and Autofocus aren't important, BMPCC makes sense.

If you're doing a lot of run-and-gun where IBIS and Autofocus save the shot then the FX30 would be the choice. But, since the FX30 can certainly serve well when working on planed shot work (although not as good as the BMPCC) I think it's a bit more "well rounded" in its uses.

Like the BMPCC, the FX30 can use gyro stabilization through Catalyst as BMPCC does through Resolve just in case that's a preference. One wonders if Sony will find a way to unlock recording the FX30's 6K sensor.

If you're handing off post certainly ProRes and BRAW are preferred but if you're doing your own post or a facility doesn't mind AVC 10 bit 422 or Intra are certainly fine.

I also like the fact that the FX30 Clear Image Zoom can give primes some zoom capability which can be important when framing shots even if you don't have that 6K "wiggle room" the BMPCC gives you. FX30 can record 4 channels of audio as well (2 xlr and 2 3.5mm). It can take photos in a pinch with less flexibility but more pixels than the FX3 and certainly the BMPCC.

October 6, 2022 at 11:25AM

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Craig Seeman
Editor / Camera Operator
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