Hey Film Jammers! Today, we’re looking at the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k and the ARRI Alexa Mini in a full BMPCC 4K vs Alexa Mini review. Yes, you read that right. We’re comparing a $1300 camera against a $50,000 cinema camera!
We’ve got test footage from each camera at 24p, 60p, and 120p as well as some landscape footage, a low light test, and a rolling shutter test. So, BMPCC 4k vs ARRI Alexa Mini…who wins?
We’ve got both cameras setup with very optically similar Canon 50mm lenses: The 50mm 1.2 L and the 50mm T1.3 CN-E. The Blackmagic has a Speedbooster on so we can attach EF lenses and convert the sensor from its native Micro 4/3 size to Super35, so it has a similar field of view to the ARRI.
BMPCC 4K vs Alexa Mini
At 23.98 4k, both cameras look pretty similar. The Blackmagic held up well in sharpness compared to the Alexa Mini. The colors are looking pretty good as well. Although there is a slight green cast on the Blackmagic compared to the ARRI. We put the same ARRI Rec 709 LUT on both images. They were not matched so you can see the differences straight out of camera. With a little color tweaking in Resolve, we were able to get them really close. Check out the video above to see the landscape footage we shot!
Slow Mo Test
Both cameras looked really solid at 4k 60p. The colors to us looked more natural on the ARRI, but both cameras are again pretty close. Considering we’re comparing the BMPCC 4k to a camera almost 50 times the cost, it’s pretty amazing what the little Blackmagic Pocket 4K can do.
Now, neither camera can shoot 4k at 120 fps, so we lowered the resolution to 1080p on both cameras for this slow motion test. The Blackmagic also crops in at 120 frames per second as well. It is noticeably grainier and softer than the Alexa Mini footage. We’d probably steer clear of the 120p when shooting on the Blackmagic, unless you really need something slowed down. We prefer the cleaner and sharp 60p on the BMPCC 4k. Meanwhile, the Alexa goes all the way up to 200fps in 2k, so keep that in mind too!
BMPCC 4K vs Alexa Mini Skin Tones
One main difference we noted was that the ARRI Alexa Mini held up the skin tones a little better. Overall, the color seemed a bit more natural. But with a slight color correction tweak, we made a custom LUT for the Black Magic and got it pretty darn close. Again the images here are straight out of camera only with the rec 709 LUT applied.
Rolling Shutter Test
Both the BMPCC 4K and the Alexa Mini look pretty decent. Rolling Shutter is not a huge concern on either cameras. Make sure to watch the video to see this test in action!
Low Light Test
These cameras performed really well out in the sunlight with lots of dynamic range on both. But what we really want to check out is how the shadow detail holds up on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K. One of our favorite things about the ARRI Alexa Mini is how clean the blacks are. The BMPCC 4K was not too bad in comparison, but the Alexa held up better when pushed in the grade.
Final Thoughts on the BMPCC 4K vs Alexa Mini
These two cameras have such a price difference and seeing side by side how close we were able to get the Blackmagic Pocket 4K to perform like the ARRI Alexa Mini was really impressive.
For the price, this Blackmagic pocket camera is a great option, and you get a license for DaVinci Resolve with the camera (which is $299). Resolve is a powerful editor and color grading software. It seems like the perfect entry level setup, to us at least.
One major plus of the ARRI is its internal NDs. We shot most of our tests outside and we had to add on external NDs onto the lens of the Blackmagic. We didn’t use a matte box in our test to keep the camera build smaller. Either way, prepare to apply more filters when shooting on the BMPCC 4k. Having the convenience of the calibrated internal NDs with the Alexa Mini is really nice.
ND FILTER NOTE: Always use high quality ND filters. Using lower quality NDs can add a color shift to your image. On the BMPCC 4K using IR NDs is also recommended.
Some final things to keep in mind: We’d avoid the 120 fps Slow Mo on the Blackmagic because it does get a bit grainy and soft, but at 4k 60p it is quite good. Also, the BMPCC 4K goes through a lot of batteries. We found having 6 extra LP-E6 batteries was about sufficient for a day of shooting….or you can use an external battery solution to keep you juicing throughout a day of shooting.
What do you think Blackmagic 4K vs ARRI Alexa? If you have any questions on the techniques used in this review video, please let us know in the comments!
Check out ARRI Alexa Mini SLOW MOTION Footage (200 fps & 60 fps) Fruit Ninjas if you want to see a little more ARRI Alexa Mini footage!
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GEAR USED IN THIS VIDEO
- BMPCC 4K – https://amzn.to/31mNXRk
- Canon 50mm 1.2 L EF – https://amzn.to/31lFf5Z
- RODE Wireless GO – https://amzn.to/2FaqmuF
Other equipment we use to film:
- Canon C100 – https://amzn.to/2u04CMm
- Canon C300 – https://amzn.to/2TbymjT
- Sony A7III – https://amzn.to/2TAoYqK
- Canon EOS R – https://amzn.to/2QaPZlK
- Canon 24-105mm – https://amzn.to/2ILo9tp (main interview)
- Canon 100mm macro – https://amzn.to/2KsZuaF (product shots & CUs)
- Sachtler – https://amzn.to/2KTXbfH
- Profoto Beauty Dish – https://amzn.to/2zgfjPV
- Profoto D2 500 Strobe Kit – https://amzn.to/2J28AZx
- Canon 5D mkIII – https://amzn.to/2KRE3zl
- Profoto Air Remote – https://amzn.to/2MU7MZa
Filmed on location at: https://www.LitewaveMedia.com in St. Petersburg, FL
Special Thanks to the St. Petersburg Clearwater Film Commission Digital Creator Program
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