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The 6 Best Cameras For Filmmaking - Fall 2022 Reviews

Updated
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 ton on professional video gear. Many stills and hybrid cameras on the market now 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 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 all your videography peripherals. Of course, your budget and ergonomic preferences also play a big role in determining the best product for your needs.

Because we don't currently test cinema cameras, and since 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 75 cameras, and below you'll find our recommendations for the best hybrid cameras for most aspiring filmmakers to buy. These picks were selected not only based on their overall performance but also their feature set and price. If you're looking for a simpler and 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 the best cameras for the best all-around models we've tested.


  1. Best Camera For Filmmaking

    The Sony α7 IV is the best camera that we've tested for filmmaking, which significantly steps up the video capability of its predecessor, the Sony α7 III. This camera supports a wide range of recording formats and video codecs, along with several different Log and flat recording profiles to preserve a wider range of highlight and shadow detail. You can also make the most of those profiles thanks to the 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording capability, which gives you more latitude when grading and editing your footage. The camera can record video files with bit rates up to a whopping 600 Mbps, meaning it can capture more information and record higher-quality video, although you need to use a Sony CFexpress Type A card to get bit rates that high, and file sizes will be enormous, so you'll need a computer capable of handling that kind of data to get the most out of using a Type A card.

    Battery life is excellent, and unlike competitors like the Canon EOS R6, it doesn't suffer from any overheating issues, and to top it off, it doesn't impose a recording time limit. If you want to incorporate slow-mo footage, it can record 4k at 60 fps (albeit only when using the Super 35 / APS-C crop mode) and Full HD / 1080p at up to 120 fps. On top of that, it has the same fantastic autofocus system that Sony cameras are known for and a full set of inputs and outputs, including a mic input, a headphone jack, and a full-sized HDMI port, meaning you can connect peripherals like an external recorder and microphone. All in all, this camera gives amateur filmmakers everything they need to start shooting high-quality videos.

    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 as opposed to a full-frame sensor like the Sony α7 IV, which means working with a 2x crop factor and losing out on some depth of field and low-light capability, all other things being equal. However, it still delivers excellent video quality, and the longer focal reach could also be an advantage depending on what you want to shoot. It has a ton of resolution and frame rate options, including anamorphic 4k and 6k modes to get a wider, more cinematic aspect ratio, as well as UHD and DCI (Cinema) 4k up to 60 fps for smooth action or slow-motion footage. You also get Log recording and 10-bit color depth on top of 4:2:2 subsampling (up to 30 fps) to capture more color information and give you more leeway when editing.

    If you're set on a full-frame camera for better low-light performance in this price range, the Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 is also an excellent video camera with 10-bit 4:2:2 video capture and 4k up to 60 fps (with a crop), though it doesn't have as many recording formats/codecs, and lenses will be bigger and more expensive. It's also worth noting that the GH5 II has been superseded by the Panasonic LUMIX GH6, which has a higher-resolution sensor, higher-resolution video recording, and a CFexpress card slot. If needed, we'll update this article after we've tested that model, but the GH5 II is still one of the best cameras for videography that you can get in this price range.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Camera For Filmmaking

    The Sony α6600 is the best mid-range option we've tested for aspiring filmmakers. It's an excellent APS-C model with built-in image stabilization (IBIS), a sturdy weather-sealed body, and an exceptional battery life that can easily last through long recording sessions without overheating. Like the higher-end models mentioned above, you also get Log/flat picture profiles to preserve more detail in your videos. However, the camera is limited to 8-bit color depth and 4:2:0 sampling internally, so you'll have a harder time getting the most out of Log profiles when grading and editing your footage, although you can get 4:2:2 subsampling with an external recorder. The max frame rate in 4k is also 30 fps, although the camera can record at up to 120 fps in 1080p if you want to incorporate slow-motion shots.

    If you don't need IBIS, the Sony a6400 is a bit cheaper and gets you the same video quality and the same fantastic autofocus performance, though it has notably worse battery life and lacks a headphone jack. Otherwise, the a6600 is a solidly capable video camera if you don't mind working with 8-bit video. Like the other Sonys on this list, it doesn't impose a recording time limit when shooting video, an underrated benefit for the aspiring filmmaker.

    See our review

  4. Best Budget Camera For Filmmaking

    If you're on a tighter budget, consider the Sony ZV-E10. While it's marketed as a vlogging camera, this entry-level APS-C model has a lot to offer for videographers and filmmakers who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on camera gear. It doesn't have a viewfinder like the Sony α6600, but the fully articulated screen is perfect for video work, and the camera's portable size 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 if you need to get smooth camera movements. Thankfully, it has excellent connectivity options, with headphone and mic jacks and a Micro HDMI port to connect an external monitor.

    Unlike many cameras, including higher-end models, this one doesn't impose any recording time limit, which is fantastic for longer recording sessions. Its battery life is impressive, and the camera doesn't suffer from any overheating issues. What you miss out on compared to more expensive options on this list are 10-bit internal recording and 4k / 60 fps. However, you still get 4k up to 30 fps and slow-motion recording in FHD, with 1080p up to 120 fps. Overall, this camera offers tons of great video features at a very attractive price point for the budget-conscious filmmaker.

    See our review

  5. Best Cheap Camera For Filmmaking

    While you likely won't be shooting full-length projects on a GoPro, the GoPro HERO10 Black is an affordable little filmmaking tool for action video and sports footage. Its biggest advantage is its incredibly portable size, which lets you shoot from almost anywhere. You can mount the camera in creative places to get B-roll footage and unique shots from points of view that would otherwise be hard to achieve with a larger camera. Beyond that, the camera can shoot in up to 5.3k resolution, records 4k at up to 120 fps, and offers incredibly smooth stabilization.

    Video quality can't compare to cameras with larger sensors, and it's especially poorly suited to low light. You're also a lot more limited in terms of framing and depth of field because of the camera's fixed aperture and fixed focal length lens. But these kinds of limitations can often bolster creativity as well. If you aren't looking for professional-quality video and just want something fun and cheap to get started shooting videos, this is a solid option, especially for action video. Older models like the GoPro HERO9 Black and the GoPro HERO8 Black are available if you're on an even tighter budget.

    See our review

  6. Best Camera For Filmmaking In Low Light

    If you frequently shoot in low light, look at the Panasonic LUMIX GH5s, which Panasonic released as a low-light-optimized video-centric alternative to the more hybrid GH5 (the predecessor to the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II mentioned above). Unlike its siblings, the GH5s uses a lower-resolution sensor with dual-native ISO, which is meant to minimize noise and grain when shooting at higher ISO settings in low light. It also uses a multi-aspect sensor, meaning you can change the aspect ratio without altering the angle of view. On top of that, it can record both UHD 4k and DCI (Cinema) 4k at up to 60 fps. It also comes with 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 it doesn't have in-body image stabilization. Panasonic deliberately removed it to make space for the multi-aspect sensor and to eliminate the possibility of micro-vibrations to the sensor. That means if you want stable handheld footage, you'll need to use a gimbal or external stabilizer. If that isn't a dealbreaker, however, this is one of the best cameras for videography you can get for low-light conditions.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Nikon Z 6II: The Nikon Z 6II is a solid full-frame camera that delivers impressive video quality and offers many frame rate options. However, its internal recording capability is more limited than options like the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II. See our review
  • 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
  • Sony α7 III: The Sony α7 III is an excellent mirrorless camera for filmmaking. It delivers amazing overall video quality and has a fantastic autofocus system. However, its frame rate options and internal recording capability are more limited than the Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II. See our review
  • SIGMA fp L: The SIGMA fp L is a unique full-frame camera with a compact, modular design. It supports even more recording formats than the Sony α7 IV, including 12-bit CinemaDNG RAW, and is packed with plenty of cinema features. However, its modular design takes some getting used to and potentially additional purchases. It also has a sub-par autofocus system and can't record 4k / 60 fps. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 16, 2022: Restructured article for clarity and to align more closely with user expectations.

  2. Feb 15, 2022: Reviewed accuracy and availability of picks; no change to recommendations.

  3. Jan 11, 2022: No change to recommendations after reviewing article for accuracy and availability.

  4. Dec 21, 2021: Added the Nikon D780 as 'Best DSLR Camera For Filmmaking' and added the Fujifilm X-S10 to Notable Mentions.

  5. Nov 30, 2021: Checked picks for accuracy and availability; no change 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.

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