This is a niche post relevant to early adopters of the amazing new Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro (while the rest of you might be curious anyway). One of the most exciting options for Blackmagic’s new Pro reboot is a detachable electronic viewfinder (EVF) that costs $495 and features an OLED screen, wide range of vertical swivel, and four eyecups ranging from regular to “cinema” sized (one each for your left eye or right eye preference). The EVF receives its power and video signal through a proprietary connector, thus only can be screwed down directly onto the BMPCC6K Pro, and it is not compatible with prior models.
Bluestar is a well-established, reputable provider of viewfinder eyecushions, and already they have rebranded their smallest model #6009 with the label you see below, confirming compatibility with the BMPCC6K Pro.
As you can see at the link, it comes in a wide variety of colors and materials, though only a few are immediately available for shipping — the rest are via special order. You can also order directly from the manufacturer, though shipping might take longer, and might cost more. I chose the “Genuine English Chamois” material and color, to stay as neutral as possible, compared to bright red and so on. The other available surfaces (in a variety of colors) are Ultrasuede and Fleece. It’s a real bargain at $5.75 for any combination.
Something that endlessly frustrates me is how quickly the nearby glass of EVFs get greasy streaks from eyelashes that become extremely difficult to wipe off on-the-run, in the field. I experienced the same with this EVF, and could see the value of a cushion further distancing my eye from the glass. That doesn’t always go well; I’ve found that Hoodman adapters, for example, can distance the eye so far back that it crops the edges of the frame — you literally have to peek around for seeing edge-to-edge. The good news here is, not so: Bluestar’s cushion sets your eyelashes just far enough back to steer clear, while retaining the full field of view. That’s how it went for me, anyway, and your mileage may vary — but probably not by much.
You’ll be surprised how reliably the elastic bands keep the cushion attached to the larger “cinema” style eyecup included with the Blackmagic EVF. In fact, the only risk is the actual rubber eyecup sliding off the EVF barrel — I’m tempted to simply glue it on, but will learn the hard way by risking it and then losing it someday.
Whether or not the EVF altogether is for you, is a personal choice. The elephant in the room is that Blackmagic still hasn’t fixed the terrible color rendition on the back-panel display (it’s tinted blueish-green), so ironically, the only way to get color accuracy at this time is by looking through the EVF. Color aside, I find that the primary value of the EVF is adding a third point of contact with the camera for more stability, especially given its awkward form factor. The Bluestar cushion goes even farther to improve that point of contact, so that you can really jam it into your face for a solid connection. I find myself most of the time swiveling the EVF upward, looking down into it like a Bolex, and cradling the lens for pulling focus and zooming. Granted, we’re talking here about folks fortunate enough not to need eyeglasses — or in my case, wearing contacts. But actually, your vision might be good enough to get by taking off your glasses, and adjusting the generously wide diopter range of the EVF to compensate — worked for me too!
Buying the EVF was a tough choice for me — I had just gotten the Z CAM EVF, which is a bit more capable and feature-packed. But it’s gigantic and heavy relative to the proprietary Blackmagic EVF, and it requires external power. Blackmagic might be able to tweak their new EVF a little with improvements: mainly for me, I want easier-to-see focus peaking, which needs to be adjusted for the EVF’s pixel density compared to the settings currently geared towards the pixel density of the BMPCC6K Pro’s (currently color-sick) back panel display. Namely, you can barely see focus peaking through the EVF, and Blackmagic needs to amp it up with a discrete setting.
Many folks have proposed that Blackmagic create an extension cable/arm to allow the EVF to be repositioned away from the camera body, but this seems silly to me. It’s miniature to begin with, and although the Pocket line can’t exactly fit in your pocket, I don’t see many folks shoulder-mounting these things either (defeats the purpose). So I guess I’ll save the Z CAM EVF for whatever big rig is in my future. The Z CAM is built like a tank and it adds a fantastic wireless monitoring feature too, so I’ll look forward to that. Maybe we’ll get a full-frame URSA someday!