11 Best Cinema Cameras in 2020

By Ann Young 6 days ago Camera & Lenses

Looking for a cheap cinema camera?

best cinema cameras

best cinema cameras

Top 11 Best Cinema Cameras

Recording videos at a professional level requires a proper cinema camera. Regardless of whether you are an amateur, an experienced videographer or a vlogger, you need to look through a number of options before you find a perfect fit.

When choosing the camera, firstly, you have to decide how much you are ready to pay for it and why do you need it. For more details, go on reading the review.


1. Panasonic HC-X1 4K Ultra HD

Professional camcorder with advanced image stabilizer

1/3
  • panasonic hc-x1 4k ultra hd cinema camera
  • panasonic hc-x1 4k ultra hd cinema camera

    Sensor: 9.5 MP 1-Chip 1-inch MOS | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 3.5-inch 1.2m dots | Ports: HDMI / USB Type-A / USB Micro-B / A/V (3.5mm) | Weight: 4.4 lbs

    ⊕ Advanced image stabilizer
    ⊕ 4K, FHD, UHD support
    ⊕ 2-channel XLR audio
    ⊕ Live HDMI output
    ⊖ Haven’t been found

    This compact model is an ideal option for everyone, who films documentaries, sports and other kinds of events at a professional level. It boasts a recently introduced 24-inch wide-angle LEICA lens with 20x optical zoom.

    The camera offers 4 shooting modes: multi-format FHD (1920x1080), HD Super Slow Motion, Cinema 4K (4096x2160, 17: 9) and wide-angle UHD (3840x2160, 16: 9).

    For the shooters’ convenience, the camera provides a dual slot for SD memory cards. It automatically switches cards from slot 1 to slot 2. If you replace memory cards on cue, you will achieve continuous shooting for many hours. Moreover, if you record footage on both cards simultaneously, the important moments will be surely captured.

    One more noteworthy feature of this professional video camera 4K is its compact size. Besides, thanks to electronic and optical stabilization, the camera will provide you with qualitative 4K video content while you film in the mountains, during sports or wedding events.


    2. Blackmagic Design Micro Studio Camera 4K

    Best 4K cinema camera for studio environments

    1/3
    • blackmagic design micro studio camera 4k cinema camera
    • blackmagic design micro studio camera 4k cinema camera

      Sensor: 8.8 MP Super 35 | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 5-inch 521k-dot touchscreen | Ports: SDI / HDMI | Weight: 0.67 lbs

      ⊕ Video recording in 4K
      ⊕ Super compact
      ⊕ Expansion port with several control connections
      ⊖ Recording at 60fps requires a memory card
      ⊖ Lacks filters

      Due to its remarkable feature-set, this model is considered one of the best studio cinema cameras. It is distinguished by compatibility with a vast array of professional optics and Ultra HD resolution support. An integrated 6G-SDI interface lets shooters connect Micro Studio Camera to video switchers when filming in a live mode.

      With 82.5x65.4x69.5mm dimensions, Micro Studio 4K is the smallest studio Ultra HD camera. Its body is just a bit larger than the bayonet. It means that the camera may be set up in unusual locations for shooting unique footage in the stealth mode.

      This model is also the best 4K camera when it comes to versatility. Due to the presence of HDMI and SDI connectors, a standard mount and an expansion port, it is possible to create multiple customizable configurations. To connect professional microphones of various types, external input is present. Mounting holes on the top and bottom panels make the camera compatible with a great number of accessories.


      3. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

      Mirrorless cinema camera with 6K

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      • blackmagic pocket cinema camera 6k
      • blackmagic pocket cinema camera 6k

        Sensor: 21.2 MP Super 35 CMOS | Video: 6K (50 fps) | Screen: 5-inch 511k dots touchscreen | Ports: HDMI / USB | Weight: 1.98 lbs

        ⊕ Autofocus
        ⊕ 6K resolution
        ⊕ User-friendly
        ⊕ Big sensor
        ⊖ Learning how to use it requires some time
        ⊖ Poor battery life

        This model is rightfully called one of the best mirrorless cinematography cameras. Its most notable features are a big sensor, 12-bit RAW and 6K resolution. I still can’t believe that it is possible to create such a robust, affordable device that will be suitable for both beginning and experienced users.

        Even though it is a cinema caliber model, it is rather user-friendly. I admire the camera’s wonderful ergonomic design and straightforward touch-screen menu system. Through manual control, users can adjust shutter speed, ISO and aperture.

        For instance, in case you have to modify the resolution by adjusting RAW or ProRes, switch to a different memory card or adjust other settings, an intuitive menu system divided into themes will help you with that. Thanks to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, directors are capable of recording qualitative films in order to share them on the web or for film festivals without spending much money on equipment.


        4. Canon XC10 4K

        Professional movie camera for qualitative videos

        1/3
        • canon xc10 4k cinema camera
        • canon xc10 4k cinema camera

          Sensor: 12 MP CMOS | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 1-inch 1m dots | Ports: HDMI / USB 2.0 | Weight: 2.3 lbs

          ⊕ Films 4K and full HD video
          ⊕ Has video stabilizer
          ⊕ A number of shooting modes and frame rates
          ⊕ Developed for photographers and videographers
          ⊖ XLR audio support is absent
          ⊖ SD card is required for filming in motion

          This professional model belongs to the category of the best filmmaking cameras capable of producing decent photographs as well. You can notice such a feature if you pay attention to its design resembling a standard camera. However, not all features remind us of a regular camera, like a rotary handle clearly meant for holding the device while filming videos.

          XC10 offers four different formats for shooting. Talking about stabilization, the camera provides an electronic one along with the optical system. Mind that you can take advantage of electronic stabilization in Full HD mode only.

          Autofocus here is practically the same as in all regular video cameras – it is fast, precise and smooth. If you have to record a light scene, record with a sharp change in focal length or in other unfavorable conditions, XC10 will perform well and won’t let you down.


          5. Sony PXW-Z90V

          Wonderful option with cutting-edge multilayer sensor

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          • sony pxw-z90v cinema camera
          • sony pxw-z90v cinema camera

            Sensor: 14.2 MP 1-Chip 1-inch CMOS | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 3.5-inch 1.6m-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI / USB | Weight: 2.2 lbs

            ⊕ Big image of decent quality
            ⊕ Plenty of configuration options
            ⊕ Image zoom is clear and operates properly
            ⊕ Quality construction
            ⊖ Digital extender can’t be used when filming
            ⊖ Wi-Fi operates only with a new network

            This camcorder impresses shooters with HDR HLG and the cutting-edge SMOS Exmor RS multilayer sensor. The model is also praised for non-fixed wide-angle Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens with the 12x optical zoom support, zoom Clear image 18x (in QFHD resolution with Super Resolution technology) and 24x (in HD). These characteristics make PXW-Z90V one of the best cinema cameras.

            Due to the hybrid autofocus algorithm and 273 points that cover 84% of the frame area, fast phase focusing is guaranteed. Autofocus can detect faces and can be fixed on the subject you select. In addition, it is possible to predict the trajectory and film objects in a top-notch quality.

            If you have this camcorder, there is no need to worry about losing the intensity of colors, as it records from 1 to 100 fps without crop. But in case you feel like the colors aren’t intense enough, you may fix it in video editing software.


            6. Nikon Z6

            Best 4K cinema camera by Nikon

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            • nikon z6 cinema camera
            • nikon z6 cinema camera

              Sensor: 24.5MP FX CMOS | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 2.1m-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm | Weight: 2 lbs

              ⊕ 6K time-lapse and 4K video rendering
              ⊕ Efficient integrated stabilization
              ⊕ Compatibility with the majority of Nikkor lenses
              ⊕ Shoots photos and HD videos
              ⊖ Limited duration of filming – 30 minutes per one video

              Nikon SLR cameras aren’t the most popular ones when it comes to filming videos and aren’t typically used by professional videographers. However, with the new Z system, Nikon has taken it up a notch, considering that the capabilities of iron aren’t used to the fullest. But the company promises to update the Z system soon.

              Z6 is undoubtedly the best cinema camera produced by Nikon so far. It films 4K videos at a speed of 30 fps without crop, which is a significant advantage. You can record footage for approximately 80 minutes but with a limited duration – 30 minutes per one video.

              The camera provides matrix and electronic stabilizers. A latter one can be enabled only when needed. In Full HD, the model films up to 120fps, with two modes available – normal and slow.

              Videographers will appreciate the presence of connectors for headphones and an external microphone. I found several reviews where users weren’t satisfied with the work of autofocus during filming.

              Actually, for the proper functioning of autofocus, you just need to open the user settings menu in the G (video) section and select the AF Speed parameter there. Also, Z6 is a good fit not only for cinematography purposes but for taking top-grade pictures and time-lapses as well.


              7. Panasonic Lumix GH5

              Wonderful option for vloggers

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              • panasonic lumix gh5 cinema camera
              • panasonic lumix gh5 cinema camera

                Sensor: 20 MP Micro Four Thirds CMOS | Video: 4K (60 fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 1.6m-dot vari-angle touchscreen | Ports: HDMI Type-A / USB 3.1 | Weight: 1.60 lbs

                ⊕ 4K video rendering
                ⊕ A joystick for selecting a focus point
                ⊕ 2 compartments for SD memory cards
                ⊕ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
                ⊖ No integrated optical stabilization
                ⊖ No phase-detect autofocus

                Comparing with previously released models, the grip on Lumix GH5 is more qualitative. Besides, the camera became a premium one. Its metal case features rubberized overlays that prevent the camera from slipping out of the hands. Since the model is moisture and dustproof, water won’t ruin it in case it is raining. The camera will handle video recording in winter as well.

                Two compartments for SD memory cards are located on the right side. There you will also find a connector for a wired remote control, which suits a variety of electronic stabilizers. As for the left side, there you will see the external microphone and headphone jack, full-size HDMI, and USB Type-C with enhanced data transfer rate.

                GH5 supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. It films videos in 4K resolution at a speed of 50fps. Also, it is possible to film Full HD at 180fps. In fact, Lumix GH5 is the best video camera for YouTube vloggers, journalists and all filmmaking enthusiasts.


                8. Canon XA10

                Cinema camera with 64GB internal memory

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                • canon xa10 cinema camera
                • canon xa10 cinema camera

                  Sensor: 2.07 MP CMOS | Video: Full HD (60 fps) | Screen: 3.5-inch 922k dots touchscreen | Ports: HDMI / USB | Weight: 1.72 lbs

                  ⊕ Night mode
                  ⊕ Stabilizes video smoothly
                  ⊕ Manual adjustment of exposure, iris and shutter speed
                  ⊕ Touch and Track feature
                  ⊕ 64GB of internal memory
                  ⊖ Touch menu may operate slowly

                  This camcorder is an excellent combination of super compact size, remarkable feature-set, intuitive controls and top-notch video quality. It is the best Canon cinema camera for those, who are looking for mobility during filming.

                  If you record in manual mode, it is possible to adjust shutter speed, iris and exposure. This can really help in case the shooting conditions suddenly change.

                  One more helpful feature of this model is improved autofocus, which enables videographers to achieve stunning footage in low or super bright lighting or various contrast conditions. Thanks to the presence of infrared Night Mode, filming videos in low or no ambient light won’t be a problem. To track and keep the focus on the movement of a certain subject, there is a Touch and Track feature.

                  On the whole, XA10 is a reasonably-priced camera with plenty of features that will come in handy for all videographers. It will be your faithful companion while filming nature, sports events, music videos, independent movies and while traveling.


                  9. GoPro Hero 7 Black

                  One of the most popular compact video cameras

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                  • gopro hero 7 black cinema camera
                  • gopro hero 7 black cinema camera

                    Sensor: 10 MP CMOS | Video: 4K (30 fps) | Screen: 2-inch 230k-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI / USB-C | Weight: 0.26 lbs

                    ⊕ 4K video filming
                    ⊕ Super smooth video stabilization
                    ⊕ The presence of voice control
                    ⊕Robust and water-resistant
                    ⊕ Live streaming and time-lapse recording
                    ⊖ The number of voice commands is limited

                    ⊖ Water-resistance could be better

                    GoPro Hero 7 Black is a modern and user-friendly camera that produces stunning video content. It is often praised for a GP1 processor that the company designed for their cameras. The processor boosts the operation of the camera and image quality. In general, the model films 4K videos at 60fps, 1440p – at up to 120fps and slow-motion Full HD – at 240 fps.

                    Hero 7 is the best cinema camera in the entire GoPro product line as it provides super smooth video stabilization (which is absent in other GoPro cameras). If you record footage in motion, the image will stay smooth. In addition, when recording, you may take advantage of the SuperPhoto feature to snap a top-notch picture. The camera offers only 13 voice commands, for instance, “GoPro, record a video” or “GoPro, stop recording”.

                    Among other notable features of Hero 7 are integrated Wi-Fi and GPS. With GPS, it is possible to add geographical marks to photos or videos. Also, the camera is shock- and water-resistant (no deeper than 10 meters). If you plan to film underwater, buy a case for camera. Hero 7 is capable of recording a time-lapse and is compatible with a variety of GoPro apps.


                    10. Sony HDR-CX625

                    Well-functioning cinema camera for amateurs

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                    • sony hdr-cx625 cinema camera
                    • sony hdr-cx625 cinema camera

                      Sensor: 2.29MP Exmor R CMOS | Video: Full HD (60 fps) | Screen: 3-inch 461k dots touchscreen | Ports: Multi-HDMI / Multi/Micro USB | Weight: 0.67 lbs

                      ⊕ Shoots 1080p videos in Full HD
                      ⊕ Widescreen filming mode
                      ⊕ The maximum resolution is 1920x1080
                      ⊕ Nighttime recording feature
                      ⊕ 30x zoom
                      ⊖ No internal memory
                      ⊖ Charger jack is placed inconveniently

                      If you are searching for the best movie camera at a medium price, this option is for you. It pleases videographers with an automatic stabilizer Balanced Optical SteadyShot. With its help, the camera doesn’t shake that much while filming, no matter what the focal length is.

                      The focus is automatic, operates within several milliseconds – just press the button and the camera will quickly react, capturing important moments.

                      HDR-CX625 provides simultaneous video recording in two formats – XAVC S or AVCHD & MP4. When the recording is over, you will see two identical files on a memory card. One file is professional, ready for video editing.

                      The other one weighs less and can be transferred immediately. Videographers will appreciate a manually adjustable 30x zoom, and a reliably made microphone that supports necessary sound and neutralizes unnecessary noises.

                      Another prominent feature of HDR-CX625 is nighttime recording, which doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t provide blurred and dark footage. The final video will be rather sharp and preserve intense colors. Consider this camera model if you are new to filming videos and want to achieve professional-looking results.


                      11. Panasonic HC-V160

                      Affordable compact cinema camera for beginners

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                      • panasonic hc-v160 cinema camera
                      • panasonic hc-v160 cinema camera

                        Sensor: 2.5 MP BSI MOS | Video: Full HD (60 fps) | Screen: 1/5.8-inch 230k dots | Ports: Mini-HDMI (Type C) / A/V / USB 2.0 | Weight: 0.4 lbs

                        ⊕ Cheap price
                        ⊕ Perfect for newbies
                        ⊕ Compact size
                        ⊕ With maximum zoom, the image preserves clarity
                        ⊕ Wide viewing angle
                        ⊖ Display doesn’t react to the touch
                        ⊖ Poor battery

                        Here is the best camera for filmmaking on a budget on my list. It features a battery, a charger and a number of cables for connecting to a computer or TV. The lens cap and internal memory are absent. So, before you start filming, buy an SDHC or SDXC memory card up to 64GB. On the whole, the model is compact. I would recommend it to all beginning videographers.

                        HC-V160 features a wide-angle lens and 38x zoom. Also, it lets you record videos of up to 40 minutes. In case you are going to shoot for a longer period of time, you will need an extra battery. This cheap cinema camera provides a reclining display for easier recording, but the display doesn’t react to the touch. To navigate the menu, press the buttons located on the left.

                        How to Choose the Best Cinema Camera?

                        Before you select a particular model, you need to know what aspects and characteristics play the most important role in the work of a camera. I have singled out 5 factors that you should definitely take into account when picking the best cinema cameras.

                        1. Resolution Size

                        High video resolution guarantees the best results. But you don’t always need it. For instance, if you are going to post videos on the web, 1080p will be quite enough. If you are filming a movie that will be later shown on a big screen, 4K isn’t really required. However, as Ultra HD content and televisions are becoming more popular, you may consider investing in a 4K camera to be in high demand on the market, especially if you plan on renting out your services. So the choice of video resolution depends mostly on the task you will handle with the help of your camera.

                        2. Sensor Size Importance

                        The image sensor is an important component of all cinema cameras. Some people suggest you to pay attention to the bigger sensor size. But again, it isn’t always the case. In the photography sphere, when we think about “regular”, we mean “full frame”, the size of which is nearly identical to that of a photo taken on 35mm film. If that size is smaller, we say that it has a “crop factor”. In the videography sphere, the regular sensor size is related to the Super 35 (3-perf 35mm) frame, with a crop factor of 1.5x in comparison with full frame.

                        3. Dynamic Range for a Cinematic Look

                        The camera’s dynamic range is the range in luminance the device is capable of capturing. Over a number of years, dynamic range remained one of the weakest points of digital sensors, especially in comparison with film. You have probably seen old videos, where a window or sky simply appeared white, without any details visible. Nowadays, cameras that have a wide dynamic range can capture scenes with more detail in highlights and shadows. For a perfect cinematic look, a wide dynamic range is required.

                        4. Low-Light Performance

                        The best video camera should perform well in low light conditions. In this case, a determining factor is pixel size. If it is large, the camera will properly collect light and reduce picture noise. Therefore, look for a big sensor or a sensor with lower pixel density if you often have to record videos in low light.

                        5. Indicate Your Needs and Budget

                        Before you start browsing through the options, you absolutely need to define your needs and budget. For instance, if you are at the starting point of moviemaking and can’t afford a high-grade model, it is better to invest in a cheaper camera.

                        The variety of mirrorless and DSLR cameras that provide decent video quality has recently increased. Moreover, the prices of bigger, professional cameras have lowered. All of that means you can achieve a great cinematic look with a camera and don’t spend too much money on it.


                        Ann Young

                        Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

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