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The 5 Best Cameras For Filmmaking - Spring 2023 Reviews

Best Cameras For Filmmaking

Investing in a mirrorless or DSLR camera is an increasingly viable option for amateur filmmakers who want to produce high-quality videos without spending a fortune on professional video gear. Many stills and hybrid cameras on the market have impressive internal video recording capability and support a variety of recording formats, codecs, and picture profiles, allowing you to control the creative process from shooting to editing. Generally speaking, when looking for a filmmaking camera, you should consider the camera's video resolution and frame rate options, whether or not it has in-body stabilization (IBIS), and design features like memory card slots and ports to attach peripherals like microphones or external recorders. Of course, budget and ergonomic preferences also play a big role in determining which camera is best for you.

We don't currently test cinema cameras, and because dedicated cinema cameras run the gamut from affordable prosumer models to astronomically expensive professional models, this article focuses primarily on consumer stills and hybrid cameras with advanced video features for those looking to get started shooting films. Note also that your chosen lens will significantly affect your camera's performance, including its stabilization and autofocus performance.

We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best hybrid cameras for aspiring filmmakers to buy. If you're looking for a simpler, more affordable camera to create videos for online media platforms, check out our recommendations for the best cameras for YouTube. Otherwise, see our list of the best 4k cameras for the best 4k-capable cameras we've tested or our best cameras overall for the best all-around models we've tested.

  1. Best Camera For Filmmaking

    The Canon EOS R6 Mark II is one of the best hybrid cameras we've tested and a powerhouse for videos and content creators. With key improvements over the already-excellent Canon EOS R6, the Mark II is now a great option for those looking into a mirrorless camera for advanced video work. Canon removed the 30-minute recording time limit from the original R6 and improved its heat management to help prevent some of the original's overheating issues, making it that much better for video work. It's also one of the few options at this price to offer 4k up to 60 fps with no crop.

    Internal recording is fantastic, with 10-bit 4:2:2 recording to get a wider dynamic range and give yourself more leeway when grading and editing your footage. Plus, it can output 6k ProRes RAW video with a compatible Atomos recorder, which is great news for filmmakers who prefer to work with RAW footage. That aside, the oversampled 4k video quality out of the camera looks fantastic. It also has highly effective in-body image stabilization to help you get smoother handheld footage. Overall, it's an excellent option for enthusiast hybrid shooters looking to step up their video game or get into filmmaking.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Camera For Filmmaking

    Another great option for aspiring filmmakers is the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, a hybrid camera heavily geared toward videographers. It uses a Micro Four Thirds sensor instead of a full-frame sensor like the Canon EOS R6 Mark II, which means working with a 2x crop factor and losing out on some depth of field and low-light capability. However, it still delivers excellent video quality and has a ton of resolution and frame rate options, including anamorphic modes to get a wider, more cinematic aspect ratio, as well as UHD and DCI 4k up to 60 fps. You also get Log profiles and 10-bit 4:2:2 4k recording (up to 30 fps) to capture more color information and give you more leeway in post-production.

    That said, if you're set on a full-frame camera for better low-light performance, the Panasonic LUMIX DC-S5 is an excellent choice in a similar price range. It has 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture and cropped 4k 60 fps recording, though it doesn't have as many recording formats/codecs. Full-frame lenses will also be bigger and more expensive. The GH5 II has since been replaced by the Panasonic LUMIX GH6, which has a higher-resolution sensor, higher-resolution video recording, and a CFexpress card slot. But, for the price, the GH5 II is still one of the best cameras for videography that you can get.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Camera For Filmmaking

    The Canon EOS R7 is the best mid-range camera we've tested for filmmaking. It sits below the Canon EOS R6 Mark II in Canon's mirrorless lineup and offers many of the same features but uses a smaller APS-C sensor. It's one of the most capable APS-C cameras for video, with internal 10-bit 4k recording at up to 60 fps. It also has fantastic battery life and excellent heat management, making it well-suited for long-form video recording.

    If that wasn't enough, the camera also features a highly effective in-body image stabilization system for smoother handheld recording. Of course, its APS-C sensor can't capture as much dynamic range as a full-frame camera like the R6 Mark II. It also doesn't support as many resolution options and recording formats as the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II. Having said that, if you don't need full-frame video quality and low-light performance, this is a fantastic video camera for the money.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Camera For Filmmaking

    The Sony ZV-E10 is the best camera for filmmaking on a budget. Though it's marketed as a vlogging camera, this entry-level APS-C model offers a lot for videographers and filmmakers who don't want to spend a fortune on camera gear. It doesn't have a viewfinder like the cameras above, but the fully articulated screen is perfect for video work. The camera's portable size also makes it a breeze to shoot anywhere. Unfortunately, it doesn't have IBIS, but you can pair it with optically stabilized lenses or use a gimbal to get smooth camera movements. It also has excellent connectivity options, with headphone and mic jacks and a Micro HDMI port to connect an external monitor.

    There's no time limit on recording, which is great for longer recording sessions. Its battery life is also impressive, and you're unlikely to have any issues with overheating. Compared to higher-end options, though, you'll miss out on 10-bit internal recording and 60 fps 4k video. However, you still get 4k at up to 30 fps and 1080p at up to 120 fps for slow-motion recording. Overall, it's a great choice for the budget-conscious filmmaker.

    See our review

  5. Best Low Light Filmmaking Camera

    If you frequently shoot in low light, the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s is one of the best options. Released as a video-optimized alternative to the GH5 (the predecessor to the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II above), this camera uses a lower-resolution sensor with dual-native ISO, meant to minimize noise and grain when shooting in low light at higher ISOs. It also uses a multi-aspect sensor, meaning you can change the aspect ratio without altering the angle of view. It can record UHD 4k and DCI 4k at up to 60 fps. It also has a full set of inputs and outputs, including a full-sized HDMI port to easily connect an external monitor.

    The other big difference is that this camera doesn't have in-body image stabilization. Panasonic deliberately removed it to make space for the multi-aspect sensor and eliminate the possibility of micro-vibrations to the sensor. That means you'll need to use a gimbal or external stabilizer if you want smooth handheld footage. If that isn't a dealbreaker for you, this is one of the best cameras for videography in low-light conditions.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Fujifilm X-T4: The Fujifilm X-T4 is an excellent upper mid-range option for hybrid shooters, with 4k recording at up to 60 fps. While its APS-C sensor is a bit better-suited to low light than the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II, it has fewer recording format/codec options, and it's limited to 4:2:0 subsampling internally. See our review
  • SIGMA fp L: The SIGMA fp L is a unique full-frame camera with a compact, modular design. It supports many recording formats, including 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW, and has plenty of cinema features. However, its modular design takes some time to get used to and potentially means additional costs compared to a more traditional camera like the Canon EOS R6 Mark II. It also has a sub-par autofocus system and can't record 4k / 60 fps. See our review
  • Sony α7 IV: The Sony α7 IV is another fantastic hybrid option, with video specs mostly on par with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II. However, it can only record 4k / 60 fps video with a Super35 crop and can't output RAW video. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 04, 2023: Renamed the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s from 'Best Camera For Filmmaking In Low Light' to 'Best Low Light Filmmaking Camera'.

  2. Apr 05, 2023: Replaced the Sony α6600 with the Canon EOS R7 as the 'Best Mid-Range Camera For Filmmaking'.

  3. Mar 02, 2023: Moved the Sony a7 IV to Notable Mentions and replaced it with the Canon EOS R6 Mark II as the 'Best Camera For Filmmaking'.

  4. Feb 02, 2023: Removed the Nikon Z 6II and Sony a7 III from Notable Mentions.

  5. Jan 03, 2023: Brushed up text for accuracy and clarity with no changes to recommendations.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best filmmaking cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our reviews for video-capable cameras. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.