It is easier than ever these days to shoot high-quality video, even if you don’t have a fancy setup. For example, the cameras in smartphones are even starting to shoot in 4K! That’s why if you’re a filmmaker looking to up your production quality, an event videographer looking for a great all-in-one solution, or a vlogger with high standards, there are certain features to look for when shopping for your next camera.
Today, we are going to look at seven of these key features. We will explain why each element is important and then present a few great cameras to consider. Every camera on this list sells for less than $2,500. While that may not seem low, that is indeed on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to professional video cameras. So, if you’re looking for the best camera for filmmaking on a budget, these are some good options.
Before we get into tech talk, let’s look at some components you should consider factoring in:
Full Frame Sensor
High Frame Rate
Okay, now that we’re a little more familiar with modern features, time for the fun part. Let’s look at some cameras:
Our first option for best camera for filmmaking on a budget is the Sony A6500. This camera is tiny, which is awesome for traveling and it’s great for handheld. It’s also the perfect size for sticking on a gimbal. If you’re not using a stabilizer, the internal stabilization works great.
With a smooth autofocus, the a6500 shoots in 4K, handles up to 120fps, and even records using a log picture profile. This is a whole lot of tech for such a small package!
This Nikon is a great versatile shooter. To start, it has a 153-point AF system. Pair that smoothness with 4K resolution and the new Expeed 5 processing engine and it’s easy to get an awesome, clear shot. Slow motion works in HD. Nikon’s 10-bit, N-Log Format looks great. The only setback is the lack of internal stabilization. However, this can be addressed with a gimbal and stabilization in post.
Blackmagic Pocket 4k
For the filmmaker who wants that major budget picture with an indie price tag, check out the Blackmagic Pocket 4K. Unlike the other cameras on this list, this will record Raw. In the world of film, this is invaluable in the post production stages for it’s editability when it comes to colorization and white balance. This is a major reason it’s one of our options for best camera for filmmaking on a budget.
When it comes to high frame rates, it will shoot in 4K at 50fps and 1080p at 100fps. The autofocus and exposure features are top notch. The only thing that could make this rig better would be a full frame sensor.
This is in many ways, the big brother to the A6500. The Sony A7III takes the same software and couples it with a full frame sensor, making it a great camera for event videographers working in low light conditions. At an ISO of 3200, shots remain clear and become only minimally grainy at 6400. Set at normal speed, 4K looks stunning. While shooting at 120fps, resolution shifts to 1080p.
Pair all of this with Sony’s fantastic autofocus and stabilization functions, and you’ve got a killer go-to for weddings, banquets, concerts, and more.
In conclusion, when trying to find the best camera for filmmaking on a budget, you really can’t go wrong with any of these cameras for your video work. However, you should keep in mind that there will always be positives and negatives to whatever you purchase. The best thing to do is establish what type of project(s) you will be doing the most, and determine what camera will best serve you.