8 Best Cameras for Filmmaking on a Budget

What is good camera for filmmaking on a budget?

best cameras for filmmaking on a budget

If you need to purchase a budget camera to take stunning footage and create high-quality video content, make sure to read these reviews to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular devices.

Whether you are a travel blogger or a fitness instructor who gives lessons online, you will find the right option for you.

Top 8 Best Cameras for Filmmaking on a Budget

  1. PANASONIC Lumix G7 - Our Choice
  2. Canon EOS M50 - Cheap
  3. Sony Alpha A6600 - For beginners
  4. Panasonic LUMIX G95 - Stylish
  5. Canon EOS REBEL SL3 - Live-view option
  6. Blackmagic Design - Fingertip controls
  7. Canon XA11 - With electronic viewfinder
  8. Fujifilm X-T30 - Solid build

Nowadays, filmmakers sometimes shoot movies using their smartphones so it’s your skills that you need to work on first and foremost. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras deliver perfect video quality as well but cost much less than professional pieces of equipment.

1. PANASONIC Lumix G7

Our Choice
camera for filmmaking panasonic lumix g7

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 17.3mm x 13.0mm | Resolution: 16 MP | Lens: 150 mm | Viewfinder: 2,360k dot| Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7 fps

⊕ Perfect handgrip
⊕ Great electronic viewfinder
⊕ Easy-to-use touchscreen
⊕ 4K video and image quality
⊖ Buttons feel like plastic

The camera is equipped with a 16MP Micro Four Thirds sensor and delivers stunning visuals thanks to the HDR technology. With it, you can take 4K Ultra HD videos and photos with a 3840x2160 resolution. It’s also possible to save photos by extracting frames from 4K footage.

Thanks to adjustable shutter speed and changeable aperture settings, you can quickly make any adjustments by using front and rear controls.

White balance and ISO can be quickly adjusted as well. 6 buttons are customizable, you can assign different functions to them.

This best camera for filmmaking on a budget comes with an OLED live viewfinder providing a 2,360k-dot resolution.

There is also a tiltable 3-inch LCD screen with a 1,040-dot resolution that can be used even under direct sunlight. The camera works well with the F3.5 5.6 II ASPH, Lumix G Vario 14 42 and 45 150 millimeter F4.0 5.6 objective lenses.

2. Canon EOS M50

Cheap
camera for filmmaking canon eos m50

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 22.3 x 14.9 mm | Resolution: 24MP | Lens: 45 mm | Viewfinder: 2,360,000 dots | Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10 fps

⊕ Advanced dual pixel CMOS AF
⊕ Stunning image quality
⊖ 4K video with a 1.6x crop factor

This camera has an impressive autofocus feature that allows capturing the best moments with little to no effort. It features a 24.1-MP APS C CMOS sensor and is equipped with the powerful DIGIC 8 Image Processor that accounts for perfect color reproduction, high clarity and impressive range.

A touchscreen LCD can be used under different angles which is great when you need to take photos of the subjects positioned above or below you. It also makes viewing your photo gallery easier. Thanks to an electronic viewfinder, you can see detailed images with a 2,360,000 dot resolution which makes taking perfect shots easier.

With the help of the Camera Connect application, you can save your pictures and videos to any device or upload them to a cloud storage service in no time by using an automatic transfer option. It’s also fairly easy to share pictures on social networks and send them to a printer.

This best video camera for filmmaking supports a 3:2 aspect ratio. The EF M15 45 objective lens delivers astounding speed and precision, whether you use its autofocus feature or work in a manual autofocus mode.

3. Sony Alpha A6600

For beginners
camera for filmmaking sony alpha a6600

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 23.5 x 15.6 mm | Resolution: 24 MP | Lens: 135 mm | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11 fps

⊕ Compact size
⊕ Weather-resistant
⊕ Autofocus feature
⊕ Great battery life
⊖ Outdated design
⊖ Controls are tightly clustered

The 24 2MP APS-C Exmor sensor with front-end large-scale integration and a native ISO of 102 400 add to the overall quality of the visuals whereas 425-phase and 425-contrast detection points account for the autofocus usefulness.

Thanks to 11fps burst shooting, autofocus and auto exposure settings, you can take action shots and save them in a RAW format. By using powerful tracking options, you can produce stunning footage of animals. The camera features 5-axis picture stabilization and boasts high shutter speed.

This best camera for beginner filmmakers comes with jacks for a microphone and headphone, which allows working with sound on a professional level. Its hybrid autofocus delivers impressive speed, high precision and powerful tracking capabilities thus making it possible to create stunning 4K movies.

AF benefits from focal plane phase-detection that adds to its stable performance whereas contrast-detection features improve AF accuracy. When you need to take footage or a still of a moving subject, AF ensures that it always stays in focus.

4. Panasonic LUMIX G95

Stylish
camera for filmmaking panasonic lumix g95

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 17.3 x 13.0 mm | Resolution: 20 MP | Lens: 60 mm | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 9 fps

⊕ Easy to use
⊕ Rugged design
⊕ Quiet shutter release
⊕ Perfect stabilization
⊖ Comes without speaker

The four-thirds 20.3-MP digital MOS sensor delivers amazing performance boasting the 25600 maximum sensitivity due to the absence of the low-pass filter. The Lumix G 12-60mm 3.5-5.6 objective lens is perfect for mirrorless devices. It allows V-log L video recording in 4K and comes with a 4K 24/30P video capture feature and a 12-stop dynamic range.

If you need to connect this best camera for filmmaking to an external monitor, you can use a micro HDMI cable when you are taking footage. It allows for 4:2:2 8-bit HDMI output. The camera comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack so you can connect it to the Panasonic DMW-MS2 stereo microphone or any other external mic.

5. Canon EOS REBEL SL3

Live-view option
camera for filmmaking canon eos rebel sl3

Type: Optical | Sensor size: 22.3 x 14.9 mm | Resolution: 24 MP | Lens: 55 mm | Viewfinder: EOS| Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 5 fps

⊕ Comes with a viewfinder
⊕ Live-view option
⊕ Articulated screen
⊕ Great battery capacity
⊖ No stabilization features

The Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is perfect for taking family photos and capturing any subject. It is one of the most compact and cheap movie cameras capable of recording 4K videos.

It features the Canon Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus and has a tiltable LCD monitor that is quite helpful for taking selfies. Paired with a 24.1MP CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 8 processor, it delivers stunning performance.

Thanks to the EOS Rebel SL3, you can experiment with taking 4K time-lapse videos and use the Creative Assist options.

6. Blackmagic Design

Fingertip controls
camera for filmmaking blackmagic design

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 18.96 x 10 mm| Resolution: 16 MP | Lens: 82 mm | Viewfinder: URSA| Screen type: TFT LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 60 fps

⊕ Doesn’t weigh much
⊕ Back panel controls
⊕ Fingertip controls
⊖ None

The Blackmagic camera is quite portable and has a seamless design. It can be used in a handheld mode and features a wide array of advanced features.

With its body made of carbon fiber polycarbonate composite, it is pretty lightweight and has a convenient handgrip. The controls are easy to access, you can quickly adjust ISO, white balance and change a shutter angle.

The shooting speed can be easily changed if you use the high frame rate button located below your right thumb. It’s also possible to zoom in by using the magnifying glass button, use setup menus and view your photo gallery.

This camera also has start and stop buttons for recordings and special buttons for stills. You can find the power button on the top panel near to three function buttons that can be customized according to your needs.

7. Canon XA11

With electronic viewfinder
camera for filmmaking canon xa11

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 1/2.84-inch | Resolution: 16 MP | Lens: 42 mm | Viewfinder: TFT| Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 45 fps

⊕ Amazing image quality
⊕ LCD touchscreen
⊕ Comes with dual SD card slots
⊕ Smart optical stabilization
⊖ None

The XA11 camera features Canon’s signature design and offers unprecedented picture quality. Thanks to its optical zoom HD lens that allows for 20x magnification, advanced HD CMOS Pro sensor and the DIGIC DV 4 processor, it delivers stunning performance and enables you to take state-of-art photos and footage.

Its 3-inch LCD screen offers rich colors, perfect contrast and impressive view angle of more than 80°. You can easily tilt the 0.24-inch electronic viewfinder that has the 100% field of view. Thanks to a 1.56 million dots resolution, it’s easier to make critical focus adjustment.

To access camera settings, you can use a joystick placed to the right of the viewfinder. This best camera for short films supports SDHC and SDXC memory cards and is capable of transferring data in no time.

You can also record video to 2 SD cards at the same time, which is extremely useful when you need to create a copy of your footage. When you use the Relay Recording option, the device starts saving footage to a new SD card if the other one doesn’t have free storage space anymore.

8. Fujifilm X-T30

Solid build
camera for filmmaking fujifilm x-t30

Type: Electronic | Sensor size: 23.5 x 15.6 mm | Resolution: 26 MP | Lens: 45 mm | Viewfinder: EVF | Screen type: LCD | Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20 fps

⊕ Stunning quality
⊕ High-precision autofocus
⊕ Intuitive exposure controls
⊕ Solid build
⊖ No stabilization features

This camera features the 26.1MP BSI APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor and a new four-core X-Processor, which accounts for high-accuracy autofocus and allows for face detection when you capture 4K video of a moving subject.

The autofocus can be used in an AF-C mode to achieve better accuracy when taking videos or pictures of moving people. If you need to work under poor lighting conditions, you will appreciate the -3EV limit for phase detection autofocus.

With this best camera for filmmaking on a budget, you can record 4K videos at 30 fps and take 120 frames per second at 1080p if you need to use a slow-motion mode.

The device delivers stunning color accuracy and is capable of recording 10-bit 4:2:2 color thanks to an HDMI port. Its 3-inch LCD touchscreen can be tilted in 2 ways, which is handy when you need to take a picture under an extreme angle. You can switch a level to activate a scene recognition auto mode and select one of 58 presets available.

Image Name Features  
camera for filmmaking panasonic lumix g7
PANASONIC Lumix G7
Our choice
  • Sensor size: 17.3mm x 13.0mm
  • Resolution: 16 MP
  • Lens: 150 mm
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7 fps
CHECK PRICE
camera for filmmaking canon eos m50
Canon EOS M50
For Filming
  • Sensor size: 22.3 x 14.9 mm
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Lens: 45 mm
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10 fps
CHECK PRICE
camera for filmmaking sony alpha a6600
Sony Alpha A6600
Stylish
  • Sensor size: 23.5 x 15.6 mm
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Lens: 135 mm
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11 fps
CHECK PRICE

How to Choose the Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget?

best camera for filmmaking on a budget

Sensor Size

A sensor is one of the most important parts of a digital camera. Some people believe that a larger sensor automatically means that a camera will deliver stunning image quality. However, it’s true only to a certain extent. When you take stills, a full-frame picture is of the same size as an image on 35mm film. If an image is smaller, it is likely to be described as cropped.

When people look for a decent camera for filming, they want to buy a device that supports the Super 35 standard, or has the 3-perf 35mm frame. It has a crop factor of 1.5x. You can easily capture footage with frames of such size if you use an APS-C sensor to take 16:9 video. Most directors still consider the 35mm frame to be the standard in cinematography. However, the latest advances in technology resulted in raising popularity of digital sensors. With 35mm and full-frame video cameras gradually becoming outdated, nowadays it’s less important to mention crop factor. Despite that, it might be used for illustrative purposes when people talk about different sensor sizes.

Finding Your Price

There is no need to break the bank to purchase a high-end camera at any cost but beware that some entry-level options deliver poor video quality. It’s vital to decide what you are going to use your camera for. More expensive devices come with extra features that don’t add much to the overall video quality but might be useful if you quickly master the ropes. However, if you are too budget-conscious, it might lead you to purchase a virtually useless device. There are plenty of smartphones that allow taking stunning pictures so it’s worth considering if you really need a basic camera. If you aim at the higher quality, get ready to pay around $500. You can find a slightly cheaper camera but the result might be disappointing. Keep in mind, though, that neither a high-end nor a budget video camera won’t turn you into a great filmmaker overnight.

Mirrorless and Four Thirds Cameras

Those who want to read more detailed descriptions of mirrorless cameras can find all the information they need in my reviews. The prices of such devices significantly differ depending on their sets of specs and the size of the image sensor.

There is a wide range of products to choose from, with some full-frame mirrorless devices that can easily beat the best full-size DSLRs. However, they are often overly expensive. You need to have a lot of cash to purchase a mirrorless camera but it’s well worth its price due to its advanced specs.

Creative professionals value such devices for their interchangeable lenses with different magnification capabilities. By purchasing new lenses, you can master new techniques and take photos of a wide variety of subjects.

Thanks to a laser sensor, image quality is much higher than with basic point-and-shoot devices. It results in better print image quality. You can also focus on any subject in no time which allows you to capture the most memorable moments. While such cameras might seem a bit bulky, they can be used even by small-handed people with great ease. However, if you have big hands, you might need to consider other options. A wide range of exposure features, RAW files support and decent video quality make a mirrorless camera a worthy rival to similarly priced devices.

FAQ

  • • Is it worth purchasing a 4K video camera?

If you decide to buy the best camera for filmmaking on a budget with high resolution, beware that your images and videos will take more space and will be more difficult to store. Each frame of your video will take from 1K to 4K, which might cause further inconvenience if you need to edit your files quickly.

  • • How many cameras do I need to use to create a movie?

If you have a big budget, it’s vital to work with a multi-cam setup to produce great content. However, aspiring filmmakers sometimes use single-camera setups. To take 32 shots for the movie “Notorious” Alfred Hitchcock used 13 camera setups.

  • • Is it better to film 4K or 1080p?

It is much more convenient to take videos in 4K. However, it doesn’t imply that you need to post-process your footage in 4K as well. For online video content, 1080p will suffice. The main advantage of working in 4K is that you can zoom in easily and you have better-quality materials to edit.

  • • Is it worth recording videos in 4K?

The key advantage of using a high-end camera is that it makes it easier to work with a green screen and comes with stunning color grading features. If you simply decide to save your files in 4K, it will result only in larger file sizes and extended editing time.

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