​One of the questions that I get asked pretty often by people as a filmmaker and educator is what is the best camera for filmmakers​, for somebody who doesn't have a lot of money, ​but still, wants to start getting their feet wet with cinematography. Actually, there are a lot of ways you could answer that question and I guess my first answer is whatever camera you can find​.​​​​​​ However, the main idea is that nobody can really tell you what camera to buy because everybody has different ​objectives so I'm hoping this ​article ​will help you find the perfect camera ​for your needs.

objectives or goals

do you really want to become a filmmaker?

​The Ultimate Guide to Buying Professional Video Camera

The Ultimate Guide to Buying Professional Video Camera

​​So in this article, I will ​review the best possible camera choices for all the independent filmmakers for different budget ranges and for various shooting needs. Please note that this post is aimed mainly towards the filmmakers or anyone who are mostly concerned about the video feature of a camera. If you are more interested in photography then this ​post may not be for you, so keeping that ​in mind.

​So in this article, I will ​review the best possible camera choices for all the independent filmmakers for different budget ranges and for various shooting needs. Please note that this post is aimed mainly towards the filmmakers or anyone who are mostly concerned about the video feature of a camera. If you are more interested in photography then this ​post may not be for you, so keeping that ​in mind.

​​​Since we are talking about ​Filmmaking let's start with the camera body itself.  Balancing between price and quality can be a little hectic. ​But according to my research, I found out the perfect combination of a camera.

​​Since we are talking about ​Filmmaking let's start with the camera body itself.  Balancing between price and quality can be a little hectic. ​But according to my research, I found out the perfect combination of a camera.

best camera for filmmaking on a budget

​Canon EOS 700D / EOS Rebel T5i

eos 750d

Canon EOS 700D

​​​​Considering the fact that everyone ​is looking for a budget camera my only recommendation ​is the Canon 700D, which is also known as EOS Rebel T5i. ​First of all, you can get this camera for around $500. Sure there are new models available, but those small upgrades don't justify that big price jump. In my opinion, you should get this camera and spend extra cash on audio equipment and lenses rather than on body itself. ​

​​​Considering the fact that everyone ​is looking for a budget camera my only recommendation ​is the Canon 700D, which is also known as EOS Rebel T5i. ​First of all, you can get this camera for around $500. Sure there are new models available, but those small upgrades don't justify that big price jump. In my opinion, you should get this camera and spend extra cash on audio equipment and lenses rather than on camera body. ​

​Considering the fact that everyone ​is looking for a budget camera my only recommendation ​is the Canon 700D ​for many reasons. ​First of all, you can get this camera for around $500 sure there are new models available, but those small upgrades don't justify that big price jump. In my opinion, you should get this camera and spend the extra cash on audio equipment and lenses.

​​​The Canon 700D has an 18-megapixel sensor, decent auto focusing capability and also an articulating touchscreen which is the most important thing for a YouTuber because it really speeds up the workflow. ​Actually, it looks like a very small thing but it's really handy ​especially ​if you are looking for a vlogging camera. Plus the T5i ​comes in a compact body so It's ​really lightweight and durable​.​

​This camera can do 1080p at 30fps and also 24 FPS for all of the cinematographers out there, but as you start exploring you will quickly realize that Canon doesn't provide a lot of tools and features compared to ​Sony or Panasonic. But then there is something called Magic Lantern and if you install the software on your Canon ​ you will get features which are available on much more expensive cameras​. The menu system on the T5i  is ​also one of the strong points of the Rebel series. It's easy to navigate and is perfect for beginners, as you can easily change your settings on the fly just by using your touch screen.

​Although it's not 4k the T5i does produce a very film-like footage and paired up with the Canon lens you can get almost perfect full HD video. So overall for the budget filmmakers I would recommend Canon Rebel series cameras preferably T5i or T6i, which is also really nice if you have some extra money.

Although it's not 4k the T5i does produce a very film-like footage and paired up with the Canon lens you can get almost perfect full HD video. So overall for the budget filmmakers I would recommend canon rebel series cameras preferably T5i or T6i, which is also really nice if you have some extra money.

Pros

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    ​Flip-Out Screen
    Flip-Out Screen
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    ​High ISO Sensitivity
    High ISO Sensitivity
  • ​Good Price to Quality Ratio ​ ​
    Good Price to Quality Ratio Touchscreen Ligh Weight Can be used for Photography as well
  • ​Touchscreen
  • ​Light Weight
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    ​Can be used for Photography as well

​Cons

  • ​Not so good Auto Focus in Video ​ ​
    Not so good Auto Focus in Video Low Dynamic Range Rolling Shutter
  • ​Low Dynamic Range
  • ​Rolling Shutter

​Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

panasonic Lumix G7

​​The biggest appeal of this camera is its price tag, you get a 4k camera that records on Micro Four Thirds sensor for less than $600. Plus it has a very similar sensor and processor to the GH4 so the image quality is basically the same and actually better in some ways such as ISO performance.

​​Good audio quality is just as important or even more important than having good video quality. Having said that this camera has a microphone input and a hot shoe adapter where you can slide in a shotgun mic. In addition, you have the ability to manually control the audio levels in camera. ​Moreover, G7 features pop-out articulating LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder so you can see exactly what you are recording without any interference.

​Good audio quality is just as important or even more important than having good video quality. Having said that this camera has a microphone input and a hot shoe adapter where you can slide in a shotgun mic. In addition, you have the ability to manually control the audio levels in camera. ​Moreover, G7 features pop-out articulating LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder so you can see exactly what you are recording without any interference.

​The Panasonic G7 offers 4K video at 24 and 30 frames per second, so if you are familiar with its older brother the Panasonic GH4 surprisingly you will notice that this camera has similar video quality at half the price. One area where the G7 actually shines over the Panasonic GH4 is at high ISOs such as 3,200 and 6,400. This camera has both automatic and manual exposure and focus, so you can take full control over the settings like most filmmakers do.​

So who's this camera for? Well, this is for ​someone ​looking to get that next level grade video and to step up the game a little bit, have 4k and really nice image quality.

Overall the Panasonic G7 is by no means best budget 4K camera that has has a lot of features which will satisfy beginner filmmakers and in addition consumers who want 4k content. ​

The Panasonic G7 offers 4K video at 24 and 30 frames per second, so if you are familiar with its older brother the Panasonic GH4 surprisingly you will notice that this camera has similar video quality at half the price. One area where the G7 actually shines over the Panasonic GH4 is at high ISOs such as 3,200 and 6,400. This camera has both automatic and manual exposure and focus, so you can take full control over the settings like most filmmakers do.​

Pros

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    ​4K Ultra HD Video
    4K Ultra HD Video
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    ​Touchscreen ​ ​ ​
    Touchscreen Built-in Wireless Electronic Built-in Viewfinder Articulating Screen
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    ​Built-in Wireless
  • ​Electronic Built-in Viewfinder
  • ​Articulating Screen

​Cons

  • ​No Image Stabilization ​
    No Image Stabilization No Environmental Sealing
  • ​No Environmental Sealing

The biggest appeal of this camera is its price ta,g you get a 4k camera that records on Micro Four Thirds sensor for less than $1000 not only that, but since it has very similar sensor and processor to the GH4 the image quality is basically the same and actually is better in some ways such as ISO performance and the video is pretty good as well.

So who's this camera for? Well, this is for a prosumer someone that's a consumer but it's looking to get that next level grade video this is for someone that isn't really satisfied with the camcorders they want to step up the game a little bit, have 4k and really nice image quality.


The brand new Panasonic G7, the latest in the G Series the Panasonic G7 is often being touted as a mini GH4 because it's got 4k video it has the same kind of autofocusing system and a very similar sensor.

Overall if you're using the G7 for a video I think you're going to be very pleased with it. The quality is great it's got some nice features
good manual control and it's better than a lot of the competition.


The Panasonic G7 is by no means best budget 4K camera that has has a lot of features which will satisfy beginner filmmakers and in addition consumers who want 4k content.

Having good audio quality is just as important or even more important than having good video quality if you have a video that has bad audio it will immediately turn people off. This camera has a microphone input and a hot shoe adapter where you can slide in a shotgun mic. In addition, you have the ability to manually control the audio levels in camera.

Another feature is the pop-out articulating LCD screen, which will be extremely helpful if you are a one-mend band and need the screen to check whether the camera is on focus. This camera also has an electronic viewfinder so you can see exactly what you are recording without any interference from the Sun.

The Panasonic G7 offers 4K video at 24 and 30 frames per second if you are familiar with its older brother the Panasonic GH4 surprisingly this camera offers similar video quality at half the price. One area where the Panasonic G7 actually shines over the Panasonic GH4 is at high ISOs such as ISO 3200 and 6400.

This camera has both automatic and manual exposure and focuses settings so you can have the camera automatically focus on the closest subject or you can use the tap the focus feature to make focusing really simple if you want full control like most filmmakers to do.

You can also switch the camera to manual focus mode and focus manually. Exposure works the same way you can have auto exposure or you can take full control and set it to manual exposure, going along with manual focus this camera also has focus peaking which allows you to visually see what's in focus on your screen.

For the positive features it has and for the price, I think it's a great camera to have.




DJI Osmo & GoPro Karma


  • ​DJI Osmo Mobile
  • ​DJi osmo+
    DJI Osmo Mobile & Osmo+
  • ​Karma + HERO5
    Karma + HERO6
GoPro Karma Grip

​​Today most of the filmmakers have the GoPro in their arsenal in order to shoot nice aerial videos with their drone or some ​other ​action shots by attaching the camera to different things.

However, the problem is that running with a GoPro camera will get you some pretty unwatchable video. So, in this case, the GoPro karma grip is the best solution. With a motorized 3-axis gimbal you can get perfectly stable video. The built-in battery gives you up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of stabilization and you can charge both the grip and the camera and transfer footage through the USB-C port.

At this price point, it's probably not an impulse purchase considering the fact that so many people already have a GoPro at home.

​Today most of the filmmakers have the GoPro in their arsenal in order to shoot nice aerial videos with their drone or some ​other ​action shots by attaching the camera to different things.

However, the problem is that running with a GoPro camera will get you some pretty unwatchable video. So, in this case, the GoPro karma grip is the best solution. With a motorized 3-axis gimbal you can get perfectly stable video. The built-in battery gives you up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of stabilization and you can charge both the grip and the camera and transfer footage through the USB-C port.

At this price point, it's probably not an impulse purchase considering the fact that so many people already have a GoPro at home.
Today most of the filmmakers have the GoPro in their arsenal in order to shoot nice aerial videos with their drone or some action shot by attaching the camera to different things.


However, the problem is that running with a GoPro camera will get you some pretty unwatchable video. So, in this case, the GoPro karma grip is the best solution, with a motorized 2-axis gimbal you can get perfectly stable video.

The built-in battery gives you up to 1 hour and 45 minutes of stabilization and you can charge both the grip and the camera and transfer footage through the USB-C port.

At this price point, it's probably not an impulse purchase considering the fact that most so many people already have a GoPro.

best ​DSLR for filmmaking ​

​best dslr for filmmaking

Canon EOS ​80D


Canon EOS 80D

​The Canon ESO 80D is a direct successor to the EOS 70D which was released not too long ago, but Canon has put a new sensor in the 80D which is now a 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor that's a big upgrade coming from the Canon 70D which had a 20-megapixel sensor. So you have four megapixels extra to work with, that's actually four million pixels extra.

The Canon ESO 80D is a direct successor to the EOS 70D which was released not too long ago, but Canon has put a new sensor in the 80D which is now a 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor that's a big upgrade coming from the Canon 70D which had a 20-megapixel sensor. So you have four megapixels extra to work with, that's actually four million pixels extra.

​The 80D is welcomed with a new and redesigned user interface similar to what you get on the 5D Mark IV. So with this new user interface, you get smoother animations and the menu design is much more organized. Plus now you can actually scroll through the image metadata in the playback menu to view a whole lot more info. The picture style has also been upgraded. Now you can set detailed parameters for the sharpness setting, so apart from just a strength setting you can adjust the level of fineness as well as the threshold for the sharpening, so ​that way you have more control over the sharpening filter. ​

​Now if we look at the 80D in terms of the external build it's going to be a very familiar layout compared to the previous models, not much has been moved around but there are some minor tweaks. For example, the speaker has been moved just above the viewfinder so it actually faces you, compared to being on the side of the camera on the previous models.

​The 80D does not have GPS, but it does have Wi-Fi and it's moved from the old EOS remote app to the new canon camera connect App. Personally, I really like the move because it is working much better than the EOS remote App and finally you can actually use it in video mode. Plus camera connect App enables you to remotely start and stop your video recording when you pair to the camera by Wi-Fi which is a really nice feature. Plus now you can do 60fps in 1080p which previously you could only do so in 720p and instead of saving the video files into an MOV file it now saves them into mp4 files.​

​​All in all the 80D is a pretty good camera considering all the features which you get ​at the price point. ​It's definitely a very pleasant upgrade ​from the previous model and has a lot more features than the other camera in the category which makes it perfect multi-purpose camera. So If you have some extra money to spend or if you are a bit more serious about your investment or you are simply looking for an upgrade than this can be a great option.​

​All in all the 80D is a pretty good camera considering all the features which you get ​at the price point. ​It's definitely a very pleasant upgrade ​from the previous model and has a lot more features than the other camera in the category which makes it perfect multi-purpose camera. So If you have some extra money to spend or if you are a bit more serious about your investment or you are simply looking for an upgrade than this can be a great option.​

Pros

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    2​4.2 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
    4.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor
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    ​Fast Autofocus in Live View
    Fast autofocus in Live View
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    ​Touch screen
    Touch screen
  • ​Intelligent Viewfinder
    Intelligent Viewfinder

​Cons

  • ​ISO range is limited
    ISO range is limited
  • ​No slow motion
    no slow motion

My second peak for this list is another one from Canon and it is the Canon EOS 80D. If you have some extra money to spend or if you are a bit more serious about your investment or you are simply looking for an upgrade than this can be a great option. It has all the features of the 700D and even more. It also has superb autofocus ability in video mode, unlike the 700D.


The brand new Canon 80D has a 24.2 Megapixel (APS-C) CMOS sensor that's a big upgrade coming from the Canon 70D which had a 20-megapixel sensor with Canon's DIGIC 5+ image processor.

Considering all the features which you get with this camera at the price point I think it's a really good deal. This camera shoots extremely good video, it can shoot 1080p at 60 frames per second, it has much improved dynamic range the auto focusing on the Canon 80D is amazing it almost nails the critical focus on every single shot.

This camera feels great in the hint and has a very comfortable in ergonomic grip. The Canon 80D has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC and that means we can download Canon's App and connect remotely to the camera to pull images and easily upload them to a social network.

Personally, my favorite thing is remote shooting where you can see a wide representation of what the camera is shooting and from their control shutter speed our ISO or aperture and control the focus.

The Canon 80D also has a touchscreen and my favorite thing about it is being able to easily pinch to zoom to check your key focus. The Canon 80D is amazing and if you have the money I definitely recommend picking it up and if you don't start saving how this thing is amazing.


The Canon ESO 80D is a direct successor to the EOS 70D which was released not too long ago, but Canon has put a new sensor in the 80D which is now a 24.2-megapixel sensor compared to the 20.2-megapixel sensor of the 70D. So you have four megapixels extra to work with, that's four million pixels extra.

Now if we look at the 80D in terms of the external build it's going to be a very familiar layout compared to the previous models, not much has been moved around but there are some minor tweaks. For example, the speaker has been moved to just above the viewfinder so it actually faces you compared to being on the side of the camera on the previous models.


The 80D is welcomed with a new and redesigned user interface similar to what you get on the 5D Mark IV. So with this new user interface, you get smoother animations, the font is different and the menu design is much more organized. Plus now you can actually scroll through the image metadata in the playback menu to view a whole lot more info. For example the lens, the focal length and even more.

The picture style has also been upgraded you can now set detailed parameters for the sharpness setting, so apart from just a strength setting you can now also set the level of fineness also know as the radius and you can also set the threshold for the sharpening so we have more control over the sharpening filter. There's also a new fine detail picture style which was probably carried over from the 5D and know you can also set toning and filter effects for the monochrome picture style as well.

Now the 80D does not have GPS, but it does have Wi-Fi and it's moved on from the old EOS remote app to the new canon camera connect app. Personally, I really like the move because it is working much better than the EOS remote app and finally you can actually use it in video mode. Plus camera connect app enables you to remotely start and stop your video recording when you pair to the camera by Wi-Fi which is a really nice feature.

One nice touch Canons added to the 80D is that now you can do 60fps in 1080p which previously you could only do so in 720p and instead of saving the video files into an MOV file it now saves them into mp4 files for some reason.


So all in all the 80D is a pretty good camera however if I were to sum it up in one sentence I would say what's Canon did is that they've taken the feature set of a 5D they've crammed it into the body of 80D with improved specs. The 80D is a very pleasant upgrade it has a lot more features than the other camera in the category and it's a great camera to use. It's a very good multi-purpose camera and along with many tweaks that make a lot of sense and adds more convenience to the user. So yes the 80D is a very good camera and it's definitely a worthy upgrade from the 70D

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Canon 5D Mark IV

​The Canon 5D Mark IV is probably the most favorite camera for indie filmmakers. Considering the fact that the previous generation of this beast the Canon 5D Mark III was the go-to camera for ​all independent filmmakers around the world. ​​The fourth-generation model ​is Canon's latest entry and while it is undeniably the best 5D camera yet it also has a particularly challenging job. Arriving four and a half years after the introduction of the mark III expectations are understandably high. The good news here ​is that for filmmakers the mark IV delivers on everything we've come to expect from the 5D name.

The Canon 5D Mark IV is probably the most favorite camera for indie filmmakers. Considering the fact that the previous generation of this beast the Canon 5D Mark III was the go-to camera for ​all independent filmmakers around the world. ​​The fourth-generation model ​is Canon's latest entry and while it is undeniably the best 5D camera yet it also has a particularly challenging job. Arriving four and a half years after the introduction of the mark III expectations are understandably high. The good news here ​is that for filmmakers the mark IV delivers on everything we've come to expect from the 5D name.

​The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is the company's latest full-frame DSLR aimed at enthusiasts and even professionals looking for a second Canon DSLR body. ​The Mark IV gets Canon's incredible dual-pixel autofocus technology along with 30.4 MP sensor, which ​delivers some of the fastest and smoothest video autofocus we've ever seen. Plus it ​features 61-point AF system, ISO range of 100 to 32000 and 7.0 frames per second continuous shooting speed.

​The mark IV finally gets a 4K recording at 30p or 24p, a fully articulating touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi, and GPS capability along with ​to make this camera an ultimate tool for filmmakers. ​

​Overall the EOS 5D Mark IV follows its predecessor's footsteps and offers some unique design and exciting features which you are going to love especially if you like the Canon's picture profile.​ In today's highly competitive market we often think it isn't good enough for a camera to excel at just one thing, but what Canon has shown with a 5D Mark IV is that it's a multipurpose DSLR which can handle everything with same quality.

Overall the EOS 5D Mark IV follows its predecessor's footsteps and offers some unique design and exciting features which you are going to love especially if you like the Canon's picture profile.​ In today's highly competitive market we often think it isn't good enough for a camera to excel at just one thing, but what Canon has shown with a 5D Mark IV is that it's a multipurpose DSLR which can handle everything with same quality.
4K video recording at 30p or 24p

Pros

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    ​Full-frame sensor
    Full-frame sensor
    Dual Pixel AF
    Superior high ISO capability
    Touchscreen
    Wi-Fi
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    ​Dual Pixel AF
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    ​High ISO capability
  • ​Touchscreen
  • ​Wi-Fi with NFC + GPS
    Wi-Fi with NFC + GPS

​Cons

  • ​Camera appears ​to be heavy
    camera appears little heavier
  • ​HDMI-out limited to 1080p
    HDMI-out limited to 1080p

​best mirrorless camera for filmmaking ​​

​best mirrorless camera for filmmaking ​​
​best dslr for filmmaking

​Sony a7S Mark II

Sony A7s mark II

Sony a7S II

​​​The Sony a7S Mark II is the best camera for all the independent filmmakers to look for. It has a ​12.2-megapixel ​lens which ​shoots stunning 4K footage internally with this full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor, even in extremely low light condition. ​You also got a ton of video features such as zebras, focus peaking and​ most importantly Sony's V-Log picture profile. ​

​​The Sony a7S Mark II is the best camera for all the independent filmmakers to look for. It has a ​12.2-megapixel ​lens which ​shoots stunning 4K footage internally with this full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor, even in extremely low light condition. ​You also got a ton of video features such as zebras, focus peaking and​ most importantly Sony's V-Log picture profile. ​

​​Now when it comes to hardware the Sony a7S has a really good feel to it, so the overall build quality is very nice. The grip is adequate and each button is customisable which is one of the things that I love most about it. Plus it's got a 12 option function menu to really keep every button that you could ever want at your disposal, ​that can be activated anytime even during shooting which is a really handy feature. Moreover, the a7S has the microphone, headphone, and HDMI inputs in order to have full control of the audio. The electronic viewfinder is also very helpful for seeing exposure in direct sunlight. ​The camera has built-in Wi-Fi which is a great addition and NFC ​ for easy pairing. The only complaint that I had is that photographers get full control manually of all of the camera settings, however, videographers only get a start and stop record on the App.

​Now when it comes to low-light this is where the a7S shines. In the megapixel war, Sony has chosen to keep things a little bit different and put in a 12-megapixel sensor which allows to bring in much larger light-absorbing pixels and the results were clearly amazing. Sony a7S is actually a really good still camera as well, for all those looking for some monster pixels soaking up a tremendous amount of dynamic range.​

Overall the a7S is a great camera, especially for video. Sony has challenged the industry in so many ways that the a7S feels like a no-compromise camera, unlike some of my Canon models. It really feels like all of the limitations are technology related and not that Sony was holding back on this camera at all.

Now when it comes to low-light this is where the a7S shines. In the megapixel war, Sony has chosen to keep things a little bit different and put in a 12-megapixel sensor which allows to bring in much larger light-absorbing pixels and the results were clearly amazing. Sony a7S is actually a really good still camera as well, for all those looking for some monster pixels soaking up a tremendous amount of dynamic range.​

Overall the a7S is a great camera, especially for video. Sony has challenged the industry in so many ways that the a7S feels like a no-compromise camera, unlike some of my Canon models. It really feels like all of the limitations are technology related and not that Sony was holding back on this camera at all.

Pros

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    ​Large, accurate viewfinder
    Large, accurate viewfinder
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    ​Uncompressed ​4K-resolution
    Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 4K-resolution
  • ​Perfect Autofocus in low light ​
    autofocus in very low light
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    ​Decent battery life
    Decent battery life
  • ​Silent Shooting mode
    Silent Shooting mode
  • ​Outstanding high ISO performance
    Outstanding high ISO performance
  • ​Very good dynamic range
    Very good dynamic range

​Cons

  • ​Single card slot
    Single card slot
  • ​Limited selection of native full-frame lenses
    imited selection of native full-frame lenses

​Panasonic LUMIX GH5 ​

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Camera

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K Camera

​​The GH5 has been the source of a lot of talks lately and for good reason. It's a very interesting and well-priced camera with a micro 4/3 sensor, which shoots 4K footage internally with Panasonic V-Log picture profile. ​The camera feels Solid with better buttons, joystick and the dial which I think is a big improvement over the GH4.  Actually, all the buttons and dials are laid out nicely so that everything that you need to change is easily accessible and feels very intuitive as well.    

​The GH5 has been the source of a lot of talks lately and for good reason. It's a very interesting and well-priced camera with a micro 4/3 sensor, which shoots 4K footage internally with Panasonic V-Log picture profile. ​The camera feels Solid with better buttons, joystick and the dial which I think is a big improvement over the GH4.  Actually, all the buttons and dials are laid out nicely so that everything that you need to change is easily accessible and feels very intuitive as well.    

​The new version ​also features a full-size HDMI port, USB-C port, mic, and headphone jacks. Plus the flip-screen with a really solid LCD which is also a touchscreen and a very responsive. The menu is really intuitive, definitely one of the easier to navigate and understand compared to other systems. The nice thing is that right up front on the display before even going into the menu we have quick access to the essential functions like white balance, ISO, shutter speed, picture profile and record settings.

​One of my absolute favorite things on this camera is the slow-motion capabilities. It feels really smooth and I probably say that it's my favorite camera under $10k that I've shot slow-mo with. Just super easy to use and really solid results, rolling shutter is actually pretty minimal for this type of camera ​and definitely a lot better than on a7S.

​Either way, the GH5 is cheaper and completely holds up and in some cases passes the a7S. Overall I would say that the GH5 is an intuitive and easy to use camera with solid image quality, great slow motion features and it is absolutely geared towards filmmakers. Panasonic has definitely been listening to what their users actually want, so in the end, I think this is an excellent upgrade to the GH4.

So should you buy a GH5?  In my opinion, if the micro 4/3 doesn't bother you and the price is "ok" ​and you don't need something that's crazy good ​in low light, this would be a perfect camera for you.

Either way, the GH5 is cheaper and completely holds up and in some cases passes the a7S. Overall I would say that the GH5 is an intuitive and easy to use camera with solid image quality, great slow motion features and it is absolutely geared towards filmmakers. Panasonic has definitely been listening to what their users actually want, so in the end, I think this is an excellent upgrade to the GH4.

Pros

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    ​4K Internall Video Recording ​ ​
    4K internall Video Recording V-Log Flat Picture Profile 1080pHD in 200 mbps Bitrate 4:2:2 10-Bit video can be recorded through external recordersasdsa
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    ​V-Log Flat Picture Profile
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    ​​1080p HD in 200mbps Bitrate
  • ​4:2:2 10-Bit video can be recorded through external recorder

​Cons

  • ​Micro Four Thirds Sensor ​ ​
    Micro Four Thirds Sensor Poor Dynamic Range Not so good low Light Performance
  • ​Poor Dynamic Range
  • ​Not so good low Light Performance
The sixth entry in this list is the Panasonic GH4. This is the mirrorless camera with a micro 4/3 sensor. It shoots 4k footage internally with Panasonic v-log slat picture profile. This is a very good camera considering its price point. The newer version of the camera the Panasonic GH5 has recently launched at CES 2017 and will be available soon. Here are some pros and cons to consider.


The GH5 has been the source of a lot of talks lately and for good reason. It's a very interesting and well-priced camera not to mention GH4 was a big deal for a lot of people. The GH5 feels Solid with better buttons, joystick and the dial which I think is a big improvement over the GH4.  Actually, all the buttons and dials are laid out nicely so that everything that you need to change is easily accessible and feels very intuitive as well.

With the new version now there are mic and headphone jacks and most importantly a full-size HDMI port and USB C port. Plus the flip-screen with a really solid LCD which is also a touchscreen and a very responsive. The menu is really intuitive as well definitely one of the easier to navigate and understand compared to other systems. The nice thing is that right up front on the display before even going into the menu we have quick access to the essential functions like white balance, ISO, shutter speed picture profile and record settings.

One of my absolute favorite things on this camera is the slow-motion capabilities, this one feels really smooth and I probably say that it's my favorite camera under $10k that I've shot slow-mo with. Just super easy to use and really solid results, rolling shutter is actually pretty minimal for this type of camera as well definitely a lot better than a7S.


Either way, the GH5 is cheaper and completely holds up and in some cases passes the a7S. Overall I would say that the GH5 is an intuitive and easy to use camera with solid image quality, great slow motion features and it is absolutely geared towards filmmakers. Panasonic has definitely been listening to what their users actually want in an upgrade, so in the end, I think this is an excellent upgrade to the GH4.


So should you buy a GH5? in my opinion if the micro 4/3 doesn't bother you need something at that price and you don't need something that's crazy good and low light, this would be a perfect camera for you.
My last week for this list is the Sony A7s mark II. Now, this is the camera for all the independent filmmakers to look for even in 2017. It is a 12-megapixel mirrorless camera which should stunning 4k footage internally with this whole full-frame sensor even in extremely low light condition. Its support Sony's if log 3 flat picture profile which extends this dynamic range to around 15 stocks, which is incredible. Here is a list of pros and cons to be considered

The new Sony A7s mark II brings some awesome capabilities to the original a7 and combines them with a new 12-megapixel sensor. You got a ton of video features such as zebras, peaking and it'll record it all internally at up to 60 frames per second at 1080p or up to 4k at 30 frames per second if you use the external recorder through the HDMI port.

Now when it comes to hardware the Sony A7s has a really good feel to it, so the overall build quality is very nice. The grip is also adequate and each button is customizable which is one of the things that I love most about it. Plus it's got a 12 option function menu to really keep every button that you could ever want at your disposal, these can be activated at any even during shooting which is a really handy feature during the video recording.

The A7s also has the microphone, headphone, and HDMI inputs in order to have full control of the audio even while shooting which is awesome. The electronic viewfinder which is pretty good quality is also very helpful for seeing exposure in direct sunlight. Now this camera also has built-in Wi-Fi which is a great addition and NFC is also here for easy pairing and the only complaint that I had is that photographers get full control manually of all of the camera settings, however, videographers on this camera only get a start and stop record.

Now when it comes to low-light this is where the A7s shines. flying in the face of the megapixel war Sony has chosen to keep things a little bit different and put in a 12-megapixel sensor which allows to bring in much larger light-absorbing pixels and the results were clearly amazing.

Now guess what the sony a7s is actually a really good still camera as well for all those looking for some monster pixels soaking up a tremendous amount of dynamic range I mean low light results for photographers were equally stunning with the autofocus being quick and accurate a plenty of options

Overall the Sony a7s is a great camera, especially for video. now Sony has challenged the industry in so many ways that the A7s feels like a no-compromise camera, unlike some of my Canon models. It really feels like all of the limitations are technology related and not that Sony was holding back on this camera at all, all of the options that I want are there.
My next pick in this list is the indie filmmakers favorite Canon 5D Mark IV. The previous generation of this beast that Canon 5d Mark III has been the go-to camera for most independent filmmakers around the world for quite a few years now. Canon has recently launched the upgraded version of the cameras that Canon 5d Mark IV with some key improvements. There is a list of pros and cons to be considered.

DJI Phone Camera Gimbal

​Professional digital film camera ​​

professional digital film camera
​best dslr for filmmaking
The fourth entry is a bit odd on this list but can be a great option to look for. It's the iPhone 7 plus or any other smartphone with DJI Osmo mobile or the DJI Osmo itself. This is probably the best option to get awesome looking cinematic 4K footage inexpensively. Chances are you already own an iPhone 7 or any similar smartphone which should decent 4k footage natively. The 4k footage from the iPhone 7 plus looks really awesome and cinematics you can attach it with a DJI Osmo mobile and use the whole rig as a Steadicam to get fluid moving shot just download the Filmic Pro Mobile app from the App Store to get manual control over the video camera of the iPhone to set exposure and focus manually and you are good to go. Otherwise, you can go for the standalone DJI Osmo which is also a motorized gimbal stabilizer with an awesome inbuilt 4K camera.

​Canon C100 Mark II​​​​​​

Canon C100 Mark II

Canon C100 Mark II

Canon has produced a number of dedicated camcorders in their cinema EOS lineup since 2012 and this C100 Mark II ​is the beginning of the second generation within the range. It comes exclusively with Canon's EF lens mount allowing access to the full range of Canon EF and EF-S lenses. The camera uses an 8.3MP Super 35mm CMOS sensor, which can shoot in an ISO range from 320 right up to 102,400 ISO and this is paired with the new Digic DV 4 image processor. The end result from this promises greater fine detail, better color reproduction than that seen in the video produced by the previous model or Canon's DSLR's.

​​​The camera can record full HD 1080p files at up to 59.94 frames per second in both AVCHD and MPEG formats, with a maximum bit rate of 35 megabits per second in mp4 or 28 megabits per second in AVCHD. ​But if you need both codecs it can be recorded simultaneously, one to each of the two SD card slots in the camera. If you need greater bit rates then the C100 Mark II also allows for clean uncompressed HDMI output for recording up much higher bit rates, when recording to external field recorders. The C100 Mark II also includes Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology for automatically pulling and holding focus anywhere in the center portion of the frame. The auto focus capabilities include face detection for holding accurate focus on human faces ideally for tracking your subjects and a dynamic shot, which is perfect in documentary shooting scenarios.

For audio, the camera has built-in stereo microphones and also ​features XLR mic inputs with phantom power in the removable top handle. ​Audio files are recorded at 16-bit linear PCM or Dolby digital files.

​Building on the ergonomics of the previous model the camera is better laid out and more comfortable to use. Plus ​the new LED screen is completely redesigned to give brighter, more accurate images and nearly a hundred percent coverage of the frame. It also has a wider range of motion than its predecessor, allowing it to be used both by the camera operator or a director. Other subtle improvements in ergonomics include stronger indentations on the buttons to find them by feel, changing the color-coded on record button to meet the industry standard. The camera also features wireless FTP transfer and accepts both canons GPE - GPS receiver to get accurate location and time information. And there is a remote control for adjusting the camera settings remotely when used out of reach for example on a drone.

All ​these features make Canon C100 Mark II​ ​perfect camera for professional filmmakers.

Building on the ergonomics of the previous model the camera is better laid out and more comfortable to use. Plus ​the new LED screen is completely redesigned to give brighter, more accurate images and nearly a hundred percent coverage of the frame. It also has a wider range of motion than its predecessor, allowing it to be used both by the camera operator or a director. Other subtle improvements in ergonomics include stronger indentations on the buttons to find them by feel, changing the color-coded on record button to meet the industry standard. The camera also features wireless FTP transfer and accepts both canons GPE - GPS receiver to get accurate location and time information. And there is a remote control for adjusting the camera settings remotely when used out of reach for example on a drone.

Canon has produced a number of dedicated camcorders in their cinema EOS lineup since 2012 and this C100 Mark II ​is the beginning of the second generation within the range. It comes exclusively with Canon's EF lens mount allowing access to the full range of Canon EF and EF-S lenses. The camera uses an 8.3MP Super 35mm CMOS sensor, which can shoot in an ISO range from 320 right up to 102,400 ISO and this is paired with the new Digic DV 4 image processor. The end result from this promises greater fine detail, better color reproduction than that seen in the video produced by the previous model or Canon's DSLR's.

Pros

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    ​Super 35mm 8.3MP CMOS Sensor
    Super 35mm 8.3MP CMOS Sensor
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    ​Dual SDHC/SDXC Media Card Slots
    Dual SDHC/SDXC Media Card Slots
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    ​ISO 320 to 102,400
    ISO 320 to 102,400
  • ​AVCHD + MP4 Recording
    AVCHD + MP4 Recording
  • ​HDMI Output with Timecode
    HDMI Output with Timecode
  • ​WiFi Capability
    WiFi Capability

​Cons

  • ​No 4K
high-definition camcorder

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini 4K

Blackmagic Design URSA Mini

Credits To: Blackmagicdesign.com

​​​The Blackmagic Ursa Mini is basically a professional-grade Cinema Camera designed for small-time production companies, as well as independent filmmakers and it comes at a super aggressive price point. Essentially the Ursa mini is a compact version of the full-size Blackmagic Ursa Cinema Camera that came out a couple of years ago, ​but in terms of the design and form factor, it's quite compact. There's a couple of different versions available, so you can choose to get either the 4K version or the 4.6K version. Both are Super-35mm CMOS sensors and obviously, you can select from EF Canon mount or PL mount if you want to use cinema-grade lenses.

​​The Blackmagic Ursa Mini is basically a professional-grade Cinema Camera designed for small-time production companies, as well as independent filmmakers and it comes at a super aggressive price point. Essentially the Ursa mini is a compact version of the full-size Blackmagic Ursa Cinema Camera that came out a couple of years ago, ​but in terms of the design and form factor, it's quite compact. There's a couple of different versions available, so you can choose to get either the 4K version or the 4.6K version. Both are Super-35mm CMOS sensors and obviously, you can select from EF Canon mount or PL mount if you want to use cinema-grade lenses.

​By all means, this is pretty much a professional-grade camera designed for actual field use. Plus all the parts are made of magnesium ​so it's very lightweight ​​and ​durable. The whole camera is really optimized for professional workflow environment, so you have things like 12G-SDI in and out port as well as dual XLR inputs with phantom power. It also features physical audio gain controls for your microphone levels, and a headphone jack to monitor the audio parameters.

​In terms of the controls and operations, this camera is actually fairly easy to use. A big 5-inch articulating touchscreen is a very responsive and easy to use and most of your camera settings and parameters are going to be done through the menu. In terms of controlling other aspects of your picture such as the white balance, the ASA as well as the shutter angle ​they are controlled in the menu and it's very hard to change them on the fly when you're shooting. So it would be nice to have some physical buttons ​to control some of these important settings.

BlackMagic Ursa Mini

Credits To: Blackmagicdesign.com

One of the great things about this camera is certainly the amount ​of different recording formats. Firstly in terms of the resolution, you can either shoot in two different 4k standards​ and in all those different compression rates. When you shoot RAW you're pretty much shooting the native resolution of the sensor which is 40000 x 2160, but you also have a QHD and of course Full HD. In terms of frame rates, you can shoot all the way from a 23.98 to 60 frames per second or 120 frames per second in Full HD.  The video quality coming out of this thing is absolutely sensational, especially in well-lit conditions. When you shoot at ProRes 444 the dynamic range is absolutely excellent and raw it's going to be even better. Plus you also get a free copy of DaVinci Resolve which is always awesome with these Blackmagic cameras. ​

To summarize ​it's an excellent camera in terms of form factor and ergonomics and the build quality is impeccable. ​You have excellent audio ​monitoring options, so it's ​perfect for ​video and the audio recording. The last thing I like about the camera is the overall competitive price point. Obviously, you're going to need a couple of essential accessories but even ​with the ​baseline configuration it's very competitively priced and it's hard to find any other camera in this category.

Pros

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    ​4.6K Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
    4.6K Super-35mm CMOS Sensor
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    ​ 4608 x 2592 Video ​​​​​​
     4608 x 2592 Video up to 60pCinemaDNG and ProRes 444 & 422 RecordingFull Set of External ControlsBuilt in ND Filters
  • ​​​Full Set of External Controls
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    ​Built in ND Filters

​Cons

  • ​Price ​
    price tag

​RED Weapon 8K

RED Weapon 8K

RED Weapon 8K

​​Red cameras are inherently difficult to review because their modularity ​which ​gives almost unlimited configurations plus they are extremely expensive. So I will focus mainly on the body and what to expect from this beast. The most obvious reason you want to buy this camera is the sensor. In the Weapon body or brain as RED likes to call is their HELIUM sensor which shoots  8192 x 4320 video at up to 60 frames per second, but the benefit of this is not immediately obvious to the average person. It's not about publishing at 8k, it's about flexibility in post. Being able to ​edit the footage with a very minimal loss in image quality.

​The great thing about the 8K is that it enables filmmakers to do zoom into the footage, reframe it, crop it without any noticeable loss of sharpness up to a certain point. For example, filmmakers use this advantage to get the perfect symmetrical composition in post-production. Another thing you can do with the extra resolution is getting better motion tracking, because more resolution means more detail to track. Finally, there is also an option to downsample video footage. For instance, if you're shooting at 8k and you're delivering to a 4K television you can downsample that to 4K without any problem. ​It means that you take 4 pixels and average them to 1 pixel for delivery, so it makes your image cleaner.

​Resolution is actually just a small part of the story, much more important is the actual sensor. ​But like any piece of professional equipment, a RED Weapon does not make you the next Steven Spielberg. Sure you can crank the ISO to 2,000 in an effort to mask your lighting errors with a high-quality camera and a lot of people would never notice, but to truly get the most out of it you have to be aware that a camera has a native ISO where its dynamic range capabilities are ideal and everything ​needs to be balanced to get the right amount of light on the sensor.

​So to sum up this is the dream camera that everyone ​loves and for me, it's definitely the future of the cinematography.

So to sum up this is the dream camera that everyone ​loves and for me, it's definitely the future of the cinematography.
​Red cameras are inherently difficult to review because their modularity ​which ​gives almost unlimited configurations plus they are extremely expensive. So I will focus mainly on the body and what to expect from this beast. The most obvious reason you want to buy this camera is the sensor. In the Weapon body or brain as RED likes to call is their HELIUM sensor which shoots  8192 x 4320 video at up to 60 frames per second, but the benefit of this is not immediately obvious to the average person. It's not about publishing at 8k, it's about flexibility in post. Being able to ​edit the footage with a very minimal loss in image quality.

Pros

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    ​35.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
    35.4 Megapixel CMOS Sensor
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    ​60 fps at 8K Full Format
    60 fps at 8K Full Format
  • ​Playback Frame Rates: 23.98 - 60 fps
    Playback Frame Rates 23.98 - 60 fps
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    ​Carbon Fiber Body
    Carbon Fiber
  • ​Integrated dual channel digital stereo microphones
    Integrated dual channel digital stereo microphones

​Cons

  • ​Price
Digital movie cameras
The Blackmagic Ursa Mini is basically a professional-grade Cinema Camera designed for small-time production companies, as well as independent filmmakers and it comes at a super aggressive price point for camera geeks this is almost a perfect camera when it comes to the design and form factor.

Now essentially the Ursa mini is a compact version of the full size of Blackmagic Ursa Cinema Camera that came out a couple of years ago now obviously in terms of the design and form factor it's quite compact measuring 21 centimeters in terms of length and it's about 16 centimeters in terms of width and the camera body itself weighs just about 2.2 kilograms or just under five pounds.

There's a couple of different versions of this camera so you can choose to get either the 4k version or the 4.6K version. Both are Super-35mm CMOS sensors and obviously, you can select from EF Canon mount or PL mount if you want to use cinema-grade lenses.

By all means, this is pretty much a professional-grade camera designed for actual field use. It's made out of magnesium parts it's very lightweight and strong as we mentioned before. The whole camera is really optimized for professional workflow environment so you have things like 12G SDI in and out port as well as dual XLR inputs with phantom power. It also features physical audio gain controls for your microphone levels as well as a headphone jack so you can monitor all your audio parameters.

In terms of the controls and operations, this camera is actually fairly easy to use. A big 5-inch articulating capacitive touchscreen which is a very responsive and easy to use and most of your camera settings and parameters are going to be done through the menu which does make sense. In terms of controlling other aspects of your picture such as the white balance, the ASA as well as the shutter angle all those things are controlled in the menu and it's very hard to change them on the fly when you're shooting. So it would be nice to have some physical buttons and control over some of these important picture parameter settings.

One of the great things about this camera is certainly the amount of variety you have in terms of different recording formats. Firstly in terms of the resolution, you can either shoot in two different 4k standards and obviously in Full HD and all those have different compression rates.  When you shoot RAW you're pretty much shooting the native resolution of the sensor which is 40000 x 2160, but you also have a QHD and of course Full HD. In terms of frame rates, you can shoot all the way from a 23.98 to 60 frames per second or 120 frames per second in Full HD.

The video quality coming out of this thing is absolutely sensational, especially in well-lit conditions. When you shoot at ProRes 444 the dynamic range is absolutely excellent and raw it's going to be even better. Plus you also get a free copy of DaVinci Resolve which is always awesome with these Blackmagic cameras. The sharpness is as you would imagine in the 4k setting absolutely sensational extremely sharp images.

To summarize everything firstly I love the modular design, it's an excellent camera in terms of form factor and ergonomics and the build quality is impeccable. Certainly, there's a level of customization which is going to be excellent for people that want to configure their own rigs for this camera. Next, you have excellent audio options and great monitoring options, so it's excellent for both the actual video quality and the audio is going to be up there as well.

The last thing I like about the camera is the overall competitive price point, obviously you're going to need a couple of essential accessories but even at the kind of baseline configuration it's very competitively priced and very difficult to find a camera with all these features and a 4k raw cinema camera especially an established market from other manufacturers.
Overall this is a pro camera and not ideal for amateurs or families the pocket camera is great when it comes to shooting films music videos commercials and documentaries.

​Conclusion​


best camera for filmmaking 2017

​​So those are my basic kind of starting recommendations for somebody interested in filmmaking. You can probably get one of those camera bodies for just $100-$300 and I would certainly think you could put together some sort of kit for under $1000 even with some pretty good lens. So that isn't really a lot of money considering that these cameras will give you an image quality that a few years ago you couldn't have for four or five thousand dollars. So if you're looking for a starter camera that's my best advice at this point.

If you have any recommendations, feel free to relay your comments, suggestions or corrections.

​So those are my basic kind of starting recommendations for somebody interested in filmmaking. You can probably get one of those camera bodies for just $100-$300 and I would certainly think you could put together some sort of kit for under $1000 even with some pretty good lens. So that isn't really a lot of money considering that these cameras will give you an image quality that a few years ago you couldn't have for four or five thousand dollars. So if you're looking for a starter camera that's my best advice at this point.

If you have any recommendations, please feel free to relay your comments, suggestions or corrections.
So those are my basic kind of starting recommendations for somebody interested in filmmaking. You can probably get one of those camera bodies for just $100-$300 and I would certainly think you could put together some sort of kit like this for under $500 even with some pretty good lensing under $1000.  So you know that's kind of $200-$400 dollars you're going to spend at least that probably putting together something like this, but that really isn't a lot of money considering that these cameras will give you an image quality that a few years ago you couldn't have for forty or fifty thousand dollars. So if you're looking for a starter camera that's that's my best advice at this point.

Magic Lantern
best camera for filmmaking on a budget
In this article I will start out the best possible camera choices for all the independent filmmakers for different budget ranges and for various shooting needs, so keep reading. Please note that this post is aimed mainly towards the filmmakers or anyone who are mostly concerned about the video feature of a camera. If you are more interested in photography then this video may not be for you so keeping that aside let's jump into the list of my top 8 camera recommendations for in Independent Filmmakers.

One of the questions that I get asked pretty often by people as a filmmaker and educator is what camera do you recommend for somebody who doesn't have a lot of money, who wants to start getting their feet wet with cinematography or filmmaking and you know there are a lot of ways you could answer that question and I guess my first answer is whatever camera you can find.

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