I love the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K. The size and weight of the cameras are wonderful. The camera boasts good dynamic range, BlackmagicRAW, easy to edit ProRes codecs, a very well designed menu layout, and wonderfully long battery life… (record scratch) wait, what?
Yes, it is true the Canon LP-E6 battery life on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K were originally designed to use with the camera is not the longest. The Canon LP-E6 the batteries? I own an abundance of the little rectangles of DC juice. The LP-E6’s I use to power my Blackmagic Design Video Assist 4K and my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K. Actually, I own around fifteen of the little guys, or girls, whatever you prefer. To be honest, fifteen LP-E6s barely feels like enough battery reserves for a long day of shooting.
So I tried out the Blackmagic Pocket Battery Grip made specifically for the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and 6K, but ONLY USES SONY L SERIES batteries. Consider my life changed. No longer did 30 minutes of continuous recording cause nervousness or apprehension. Alright, I joke, but in all seriousness, the Blackmagic Pocket Battery Grip helped the Pocket Camera cross a sort of battery-powered Rubicon.
I often use my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K as a B Camera to my URSA Mini Pro 4.6K. My URSA Mini Pro has solid long-lasting V-mount batteries powering it through entire days of shooting. Having enough batteries for the URSA Mini Pro is easy. Pack your bag with four to five good V-Mounts and a charger, just in case, and you are good for a long day. I feel so good about my URSA Mini Pro’s V-mount batteries I just forget they are there and I just shoot. I experience zero nagging thoughts rotating around battery life. I. Just. Shoot.
Not so much with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K or 6K and LP-E6 batteries. The Pocket Battery Grip extends shooting time from ~ 45 – 50 minutes with an LP-E6 to ~ 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. At the very least I get twice the battery life with the Pocket Battery Grip. Better yet? I get more peace of mind. I get a camera I can set up and leave for most shoots.
The Pocket Battery Grip Build
The Pocket Battery Grip is made of heavy-duty plastic. When packed with two batteries the Battery Grip has good weight in the hand. The slide feels okay but beware of those times when you are in a hurry and you slam the battery slide into the Pocket Battery Grip. It can be easy to shove the battery slide into the grip without the slide on the internal tracking. It will get hung up if you don’t watch out.
When I tested the Pocket Battery Grip, if you look at the example above, I used the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K as a “B” Camera on a simple photo tripod instead of a fluid head. This was a very light-weight solution for me that day, but it meant I would try to move the camera while the photo head was a little stiff. This caused a little flexing between the camera body and the battery grip. Now, I usually would not operate this way. Just be aware if you do operate in this way. I’m not saying this is a loose connection. It is solid, but it is only one screw attachment point and if you man-handle it too much you might cause a crack or two.
The bottom line? When you buy the Pocket Battery Grip you will have to SWITCH from using Canon LP-E6 to Sony L Series batteries beucase the Pocket Battery Grip only uses Sony L Series batteries. With the Pocket Battery Grip, you will get improved battery life but the number of batteries you need to carry will stay the same. Let me explain, one good LP-E6 will power the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K for around 45 to 60 minutes. This, of course, depends on the camera’s LCD screen brightness, accessories attached/powering, and the age of the battery itself. With the Pocket Battery Grip, you have twice the battery life, slightly over 2 hours, with twice the batteries. If you carried 10 LP-E6 batteries then you may need to carry the same amount of the L Series batteries. In the end, the Pocket Battery Grip gave me a whole lot of peace of mind. Now we need accessory manufacturers’ to build camera cages to include the Pocket Battery Grip.
When you’re not shooting, the batteries can be charged in the grip using your camera’s DC connection. The grip’s design creates a larger, non-slip handgrip and it incorporates a storage slot for your camera’s battery door cover.