It’s literally a naked truth that filmmaking or videography demands a great combination of skills and efforts. Apart from your expertise, which thing matters the utmost? Obviously, your equipment that supports your hard work.
But if your camera doesn’t comply efficiently with your skills? I know what’s boggling in your mind!
AH! It’s not an illusion that specialized filmmaking or videography cameras bite your pocket hard. These devices can easily range from a minimum 500+ to 5k to 50k Bucks even.
But then, my point here is not to exploit your emotions. The best camera for filmmaking on a budget – is it really real life?
Yes! Many top-performing best budget video and filmmaking camera options are available in the market. With that being said, this topic will give you a list of the 7 best affordable camera for filmmaking.
Keeping a strict budget in mind, I have listed out some great devices ranging from 800$ all the way to 3000$. I know, 3000$ is something that doesn’t sound a “Best Budget” like a thing.
Yet, it’s not about choosing a regular photography camera. The best budget video camera for filmmaking comes comparatively expensive.
- 1 Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget in 2021
- 2 1. Canon EOS Rebel SL2
- 3 2. Sony Alpha a6500
- 4 3. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema
- 5 4. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
- 6 5. Panasonic DC-G9LK LUMIX G9
- 7 6. Panasonic LUMIX GH5
- 8 7. Nikon Z7
- 9 The Bottom Line:
- 10 Factors to Mind while Buying a Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget:
- 11 Bust the Myths not your Brain – FAQs
Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget in 2021
24.2M - 3x
24.2M - 7.5x
4K UHD 2160p
4096 x 2160
21M - 5x
20.3M - 1x
45.7M - 2x
4K UHD 2160p
Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget
So when you enter in filmmaking tunnel and you have 800$ in your pocket, this Canon EOS rebel SL2 camera firstly pops out in front of you as a perfect video filming option. As the budget suggests, it’s an entry-level DSLR for videography with much lighter weight, compact size, and small body.
But when it comes under your hands, you can perfectly sense, it’s a seamless mixture of beginner and some intermediate level features.
Anyways, coming to the video section, this 24.2 MP camera is an FHD camera offering 1080P at a rate of 60 FPS. Yes, the 4K is missing, but taking a budget limit in mind, it outperforms many of its class members with its video and autofocusing performance.
Canon has induced Dual Pixel Hybrid autofocus for smooth tracking of movable objects. Shooting in the Live View sometimes cause AF to go slow down. This is where this Dual Pixel Hybrid AF system jumps in and makes the AF tracking smoother and swifter.
Factually, this gadget comes in direct competition with Nikon D3400, and this thing noticeably does well with its AF performance.
Summing up the video result, it’s fantastic! (Don’t forget its league). The video quality is super sharp, while colors are well saturated, giving you a fuller feel about results.
On the other hand side, the ISO performance also isn’t bad at all. From Auto ISO options, leave all the low-light management onto this APS-C device, and it performs like sweet cream. You can also manually select the ISO range from 100 to 25600.
So, as an APS-C camera, keep the ISO value as minimal as under 3200, and it’ll not pass down any granny effect.
The battery performance is somewhat okay. It gives you 650 shots in one go while using the VF. Unfortunately, the shot range drastically reduces to 250, when you put Live View on the job. Therefore, for such a scenario, don’t forget to put extra batteries in your bag.
Canon has also given this cheap video camera for filmmaking a touch of Vlogging option with its 3-inch fully articulated and flip screen. So, taking selfies and Vlogs, this compact and lightweight camera is a much viable option to enjoy with.
Why should one buy this?
Everyone knows DSLRs renders a great video and image quality but at the cost of heavyweight, complex usage, and bulky bodies. This canon SL2 model impeccably decorates the beginning of your filmmaking career with its smart AF performance, sharp video quality, and decent low light performance with easy usability.
The fully articulated screen gives a versatile mode of usability, so giving a max value for the money.
Best Sony Camera for Filmmaking
With the launch of the a6000 series in 2015, Sony made the 3rd upgrade to its alpha series in 2017 with this a6500 mirrorless camera. This camera is pretty identical to its predecessor a6300 model, which I listed as one of the best mirrorless cameras under 1000 bucks.
Being a mirrorless camera, you can really expect good compactness, portability, great weather shield, and lightweight.
Let’s first talk about video performance – this camera comes with the APS-C sensor, which I truly believe Sony should have made this as full-frame. However, don’t go on the small sensor size as this tiny thing is a monster when it comes to videography and filmmaking.
The a6500 supplies both FHD 1080P and 4K UHD in this package. The 1080P can be recorded on 24/30/60 FPS. Your eyebrows will go up as you’ll hear this compact camera also goes 120FPS on 1080P, supplying a great foundation of slow-motion videos.
For the 4K, the FPS rate is 23/30; however, it’s not 4K but the 6K. Wait! What?
I think the discussion has gone too technical. So, keeping these technical mambos jumbos aside and in simpler words, Sony records the video at 6K resolution, then through the oversampling procedure, it gives the video in 4K format.
This allows the video to gather 2.4x of more pixel saturation in the size of the 4K video. This whole scenario produces high-pitched video results and best frame quality.
Along with this video filming process, Sony has given many cinematic profiles to provide you a helping hand to add great cinematics to your videos. This feature was firstly seen in the older canon D500 mark II and III DSLRs, but when you compare this feature in Sony with that camera old Canon offering, it’s way charming and classy.
The other notable thing in this Sony a6500 model is the 5-axis in-body stabilization. Sony has at-last realized that it’s now a dire need in this A6000 series. So, talking about the IBIS system, the video performance has just gone smoother even on the handheld scenarios.
The continuous shooting rate is about 11fps, which is pretty decent at such a price point. Nonetheless, the Sony a6500 also comes neck-to-neck with Fujifilm X-T2 that throws 14FPS. But then, Sony wins the situation with the IBIS system which is a lack there.
Truthfully, Sony, and Canon both make crispy and crunchy AF systems. Canon Dual Focus AF system and Sony AF system are otherworldly. For this camera model, you get a 425 phase-detection AF points that deliver eye and face tracking recognition for smoother AF performance.
So if you really into a compact traveling camera with impressive AF performance, a6500 is undoubtedly the best pick for this query.
With all such features and offering, the Sony a6500 is also monstrous at the low-light performance. The dynamic ISO range from 100 to 25600 (e to 51200) really captures the grain-free stills and recording in low-lights.
Sony Cameras usually struggle in the battery section. Unfortunately, this gadget is also in the league of those typical Sony devices that drain the battery juice at an aggressive pace. Giving max 350 shots in one go and 20mins on 4k mode, you should prepare yourself to have a pack of batteries along with your packing.
But then, the charging through USB cable makes it much viable to run for longer durations.
Why should one buy this?
Sony a6500 delivers many performance goodies when you search for the best camera for filmmaking on a budget. Specifically, the In-body Stabilization and AF performance make it a sublime option for videography.
Other than these, the video quality is like a celestial bliss for the traveler documentaries, filming, and indoor shooting.
Best 4k Camera for Filmmaking:
In a market full of SONY, CANON, LUMIX, and Olympus, Blackmagic is a player that has made its space with a short course of time. The first impression of this camera is actually somewhat weird and strange.
The camera holds a big bulky body build with glossy carbon fiber materials. Well, the camera is primarily constructed to give you high 4K performance with the great support of storage.
This micro 4/3 camera produces a sharp 4K video without any crop factor, Say cheers to its native 4K resolution. So, with a smaller lens type, you still manage to get the full-width frame without compromising on the quality. Also, the 4K is being with a platform of 13 dynamic stops for impressive video quality and result.
Likewise, the Blackmagic is enough capable of producing 4K videos at 60FPS while the UHD at 120 FPS.
So, when it comes to uninterrupted smoother slow-motion videos, this camera does what other regular video cameras don’t.
Additionally, the Blackmagic has the support of MFT lens mount so you can easily adjust this device with a variety of affordable, lightweight, and big lenses without any problem. With this feature, this could be your both indoor and outdoor perfect videography solutions
With dual native ISO (400 and 3200), the low-light performance is soft and without any noise. Even without the noise reduction feature, it does a pretty decent job leaving no grains on the stills and video.
The most standout feature in this camera is the 5-Inch Gigantic touch display that feels like you are holding a whole cinema station into your hands. Yet, this LCD is not flip, so this camera falls short in terms of flexible usage.
While many cameras don’t give enough space to the storage department, it seems like Blackmagic has some true intentions towards this section. Giving you dual slots for SD and CFast memory cards, you also get a port for external USB-C to record into this drive directly.
So when it comes to a vast range of storage options, Blackmagic smoothly does the magic.
Why should one buy this?
Blackmagic is a professional approach for those who really care about the storage of their work. The external USB-C port is a sweet solution to get your work saved from any mishap.
Also, the post grading and editing work become a wind with a free copy of DaVinci Resolve Studio.
Best Cheap Video Camera for Filmmaking:
While several years ago, Olympus OM-D models saw a new series which was M1. Later on, that series got updated machines, and one of the best performing devices is here – M10 Mark II.
Specifically, this camera came out just before the launch of Panasonic GH5, so you can expect it takes a dig on that Panasonic GH5 and also G9 boy.
So this MFT camera comes a relatively small lens. But then, the video offering is 4k, which has comparatively the best quality among all the MFTs of its class. Also, the camera has not gotten a 120FPS slow-motion feature for 1080P video mode. To taste the 120 FPS in Olympus lineup, you can choose EMX-1.
But then, you can enjoy a higher bitrate for 4k. While many Sony and Canon Models of this league do an average of 100MBPS, Olympus has the pride to do a 237MBPS for smoother video quality.
Well, what really stands out for this camera?
The 5-axis IBIS system which is versatile and juicy like any other higher-end Canon or Sony. Olympus has designed two modes for the IBIS system, which is like Mode 1 and Mode 2. What they actually do let’s differentiate;
- Mode1: Does the IBIS stabilization along with electronic stabilization through software tweaks.
- Mode2: No electronic stabilization but provide a wider angle with no crop feature and produces a little wobbliness.
So, what’s the best system for you? For a wider angle, go for Mode2, and smooth stabilization mode1 is a win.
The second most recognizable thing in this camera is the AF system. It seems like Canon Dual pixel AF and Sony Hybrid AF system; Olympus MKII is joining the party with its 121 Hybrid points (81 was in the previous model).
It’s the fastest AF system one can see in Olympus lineup. Whether you go far from the camera or come as closest as 6-inches to the lens, it pretty accurate to judge your face with the true definition of your facial features.
Consequently, the AF is another major decisive feature of this gadget.
Another department that will catch your attention is the color science and tones of picture quality. Among the log 400, flat, graded videos profiles, Natural is somewhat that gives better real results and never let the originality of the scenery fade away.
This camera straightaway comes with the Natural color profile as a default profile, so you won’t have to dig into the settings to tweaks color tones.
As an MFT camera, I know it will be a lot of struggle for this camera to keep the noise lowest in the low lights. Yet, it handles the situation quite nicely with its low shutter speed and strongest stabilization.
Why should one buy this?
For YouTubers and filmmaking fanatics, it gives you the ultimate goodies of IBIS and astonishing color science. Being a best micro four third camera for filmmaking, it’s surely hard to beat M1 MKII for its IBIS system.
Best Mirrorless Camera for Filmmaking:
After the launch of GH5, this Lumix G9 was the first entry with so many similarities in functionalities and design. As we mentioned above and here, this micro four thirds camera has a rivalry with its own league partner and Olympus M1 Mark II.
Now, this camera comes with many exciting design features that you find in many higher-end DSLRs. First of all, you get an LCD plate on its forehead, which displays useful information regarding aperture, video and photo modes, color modes, etc.
You also get a tiny dialer at the right front bottom of the camera on which you can set a dedicated function. So, it gives you fabulous vibes of easy usability.
G9 model has got an EVF, which is incredibly smooth and even refreshes at a 120fps speed. So, whether it’s TV, sports activity, or any other outdoor moving scenery, you get a buttery scene at EVF.
This camera also has the blessings of the 5-axis IBIS system with the same high performance as the GH5, and M1 Mark II do. But it gets an edge over its rival Olympus with 6.5 stops in comparison of 5.5 stops.
Along with the IBIS system, Panasonic has introduced a DFD (Depth from Defocus) 225 AF points. This is the first time Panasonic has introduced this mechanism in its line, and it’s an alternative to the on-chip phase-detection AF setup.
So when it comes to performance, this procedure competes it very well.
This best mirrorless camera for filmmaking offers you to enjoy a burst of 20FPS with an Electronic shutter. Also, you can shoot 4K video at 60fps and 1080P at 120FPS. So looking for great slow-motion sharp videos, Panasonic just delivers it with great ease.
Momentarily, the 4K bitrate is a bit average, and you have to make a compromise on 150MBPS.
When looking at the Panasonic G9 model, you might hear of the 80MP resolution. Now, this is something tricky, and it doesn’t like this camera is an 80MP camera.
Technically, the camera has a sensor-shift technology that terms as Multi-shot High-Resolution Mode. This mode captures 8 frames with a half pixel’s width for each frame and then combines these frames resulting in one 80MP file with splendid richness in quality.
This mode is made explicitly for stills, though moveable objects get blurred. Factually, this mode does wonders for product photography, wedding shoots, etc.
While enjoying every bit of this Panasonic camera, let also take a flavor of dual storage option that absolutely raises its worth in its league race. Apart from this, you can directly charge your camera with a USB cable, yet it doesn’t have the capability to get charged while turned on.
Why should one buy this?
Undoubtedly, this camera is a master-class in a much affordable price when it comes to its competitors. The overall performance is something to cheer at, but Sensor-shift technology, great design, and significant touch-ups of innovation make it a true leader in a category of MFT cameras.
Best Video Camera for Filmmaking:
This Panasonic machine is like a bigger brother of the G9 model, and it has been marketed as a full-fledge video and best camera for filmmaking on a budget. The matter of fact, when you see the pricing and the features of this gadget, it’s like having a full pack of high-end features in much less or competitive pricing.
This camera was launch around 4-5 years ago, and so far now, it’s known as one of the legends of the market.
The video production is super stable with a dual stabilization feature. It also has the same sensor-shift technology, which you have seen in the G9 model, but this time it has that WOW element with stabilization.
The IBIS system makes the photos stable even in moving scenarios. So, what you were observing a blurry situation in the G9 model, it won’t make your mood down here in this camera.
The AF system has also gotten the 225AF points that bring this model in the list of super-sharp AF cameras. Panasonic has introduced two AF modes – Pinpoint and One-Area AF.
As the name suggests, Pin-point deals to target a specific object while the One-area gives you the leverage to focus on one particular area or zone. It’s a similar mechanism you often see in Sony Cameras.
Meanwhile, the camera is touchscreen-enabled and also has a joystick on the body to control autofocus; I personally believe the joystick works better than touch.
Although, this Panasonic Player is from MFT generation yet it records 4K at 60FPS. Also, Panasonic has introduced Limitless time recording in this camera (Until battery drains out, the memory card gets blocked with space) without any overheating issue.
So, you get a great battery backup and bigger external storage options; it can serve you all day long on 4k mode.
Being a micro 4/3 camera, the ISO setting and performance in the low-lights don’t match full-frame mirrorless gadgets; nonetheless, Panasonic has made sure you also enjoy the smoothest show here.
Furthermore, the Panasonic offers you to enjoy immensely magnified EVF (3.5M dots) along with the 3.2 articulated LCD (1.6M dots). Truthfully, the LCD display doesn’t get dimmed out in 4k mode after some minutes of use.
The camera remains fast, quiet, and sweetly responsive, even bursting out its energies at 4k Mode.
Why should one buy this?
The Panasonic GH5 has been advertised as the best video camera for filmmaking and seeing its overall performance; it truly stands precise at this claim. Yet, you want uninterrupted and most stabilized 4K content with cool cinematic profiles, Panasonic is unquestionably best buddy in this matter.
Best Cheap 4k Camera for Filmmaking:
Nikon Z series – means true video and photography oriented series by DSLR giant. For this series, Nikon Z7 is the first full-frame mirrorless camera of the Nikon family. By this model, it seems Nikon is whispering to Sony that you can’t take the full-frame market all alone.
Nikon Z7 brings the heat with Sony A7III and its own sister DSLR model D850. Well, many things go super fine here with this model, and some of the most prominent recognition is the sharp and 100% full-width EVF coverage with the paramount of 5-axis IBIS system.
Don’t forget; a fabulous 4K video performance is also the spiciest thing here.
This 45.7MP camera shares many similarities with SONY A7III. As it carries some bigger responsibilities on its shoulder, this is all the way water and dust resistance. So, when it comes to rainy outdoor shoots, here is a big green tick mark.
Further, this is a Full-frame camera, so the ISO works seem pretty awesome. The ISO ranges from 64-25600 or 32-102,400, so the low-light results are sharp with no granny or noisy effects in frames.
However, the 4K video matrices don’t look unusual and exceptional as it primarily captures the 4K video at 30FPS. Though, the video output is somewhat like crystalline and packed with the most dynamic range of authentic and bold colors.
Moreover, take full advantage of the full-frame feature, it renders a zero crop full-width frame.
As this holds a tag of 46MP, you’ll get a 9FPS burst rate. Plus, the camera allows you to shoot in RAW and JPEG. But then, the camera becomes a little slower in RAW after shooting a burst. In the JPEG format, the speed and image processing from its EXPEED 6 processor remains unchanged.
In addition to this, 493 Focus point has a 90% frame coverage. Initially, this camera didn’t have eye detection autofocusing. Later, a firmware update enabled the camera to improve its AF job with this Eye-tracking feature.
Plus, AF is being distributed in Continuous AF and Full-time AF modes. Like in most of the DSLRs, you have to press the shutter button to update the autofocus manually for continuous mode here, while in other scenarios, AF automatically keeps tracking the objects.
However, one more controversy here is the one-slot XQD memory card option. Specifically, the selection of memory card options might affects some photographers. This particular format of memory card is a speedy and secure data storage option, but with a standard of CFast and SD cards, it becomes an unusual thing to digest.
Well moving forward, EVF is super responsive and produces 100% coverage with the support of 3.6M dots. So, in the sunlight where photographers love to engage EVFs, this camera allows you to take pleasure of full-width realism through its EVF.
Further, in most sporty and quick movement of the camera, Z7 is out of those Lagging and Blurring situations.
Along with this, a rear 2.1M dots LCD is also available in case you are not in a mood of using EVF. But then, the articulating functioning is missing, and you can just enjoy a 90-degree tilt in both an upward and downward direction.
In-case of battery life, a lot of speculations are in the air. The CIPA rating tells it can take 330 shots while the battery gets fully drained out. But in my case, it has covered over 400 images while still some battery portion was remained to utilize.
Definitely, it depends on the utilization and your working style. Nevertheless, 330 shots are a low life, and this camera does well then what is being documented related to it.
Why should one buy this?
As this is a first full-frame entrant by the Nikon, so the company has tried to make the things super competitive with SONY.
Well, if you are in search of the smoothest and accurate EVF, unmatched video, and image quality, you can’t get better than this. This feature-rich camera won’t let you go unsatisfied.
The Bottom Line:
As we discussed above, filmmaking is an art, and it becomes way technical when it comes to picking the best camera for filmmaking on a budget. Every camera performs well in some specific departments. Nonetheless, your investment will flourish great results when you choose a camera that is certainly the best choice in all sections of the performance.
After saying this, I have picked three tremendous and best 4K cameras for filmmaking that can act as an all-rounder gadget.
Panasonic LUMIX GH5 the clear winner with its Dual IBIS performance, great cinematic 4K video play, 4k Video at 60FPS, and much more. Such high regarded features make this 4-5 year old camera as one of the most desirable and best budget cameras for filmmaking in 2021.
An Upper variant of GH5 is also available with a model GH5s having some modifications like DUAL NATIVE ISO and Multi-Aspect Ratios, etc. but at some budget difference.
On the second spot, I am placing the Nikon Z7 Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera. To be very honest, the Full-frame feature is something that gives this machine some edge to get notified in the list of best mirrorless cameras for filmmaking.
Yes, some Limitations are also there. Yet, Full-frame sensor means no crop factor, Great video and image quality, and one of the sharpest and 100% coverage EVF brings this gadget at the top.
While competition mostly lies and suits between 2 contenders, but then, if I won’t talk about and place SONY a6500 in my list, that would be an injustice to this gadget.
So, for the 3rd spot, here is the Sony Alpha a6500 for you.
As you know, Sony is conventionally known for its AF system, so no talks here. But then, a unique oversampling4 feature, excellent IBIS, splendid video production, and 120FPS at 1080P brings this gadget into the competition. Don’t forget, low weight and compact body also make it as top-rated travel camera for documentaries and filming.
The only lag is the battery that pushes back this thing in the race and the non-articulated screen.
Well, cutting the story short, here are these top 3 devices for a great value of money and smooth run to your filmmaking career. The rest of the devices also produces remarkable results in their respective departments. You can purposely pick these devices according to your choice.
Factors to Mind while Buying a Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget:
Videography is not easy math for everyone, so choosing relative equipment too. I am placing out some of the most crucial points to check while buying the best cheap video camera for filmmaking without any depression.
4K or Not 4K – Depends on you:
As things are typically going about videography, so better is to find your tool with 4K abilities. But then, there is a boundary of budget, don’t compromise less than 1080P.
Most of the 4K cameras offer 30Fps in 4K mode. It just fine actually, yet for the great pleasure of 4k, 60FPS is like Hurrah’s situation. Also, do check wisely is your “going to be” camera a true 4K boy or not.
Keep a check on ISO range:
What really happens in shooting and filmmaking is, the light conditions and scenarios don’t remain the same all the time. So, you have to prepare yourself for the low-light conditions.
For that reason, pick a camera that plays with a significant number in the ISO department. Apart from the conventional 25600 ISO, look for extended 51200 or more ISO powered cameras to avoid the grains.
Battery Backup saves your day:
Usually, this point seems not so important to many guys in considering the best video camera for filmmaking. But my dear, don’t take it lightly.
Some cameras are like battery bugs when it comes to videography, especially on 4k. They eventually give you 10 to 15 or max 30 minutes of filming in one go. So then, you should add THAT equipment in your camera army which holds high Up-time, doesn’t get overheated after a couple of minutes, and also gives you USB charging.
In case of a cheap or strict budget barrier, any feature among these points is highly welcomed.
Else, you have to keep a pair of extra batteries to keep the filming going on smoothly.
Bigger and Fastest Memory Capacities:
As you are dealing with HD and UHD filmmaking, the necessity of the situation is you should have 2 memory slots with higher video processing power. For cheap cameras, anything above 100MBPS bit rate is an extra.
But, for higher-end cameras, never settle below 150-200MBPS. Similarly, don’t let low battery mishap to ruin your day. Hence, a camera with dual storage card slots wins the race with great ease.
Apart from these points, you can navigate your purpose through sensor size, usability, camera type (DSLRs, mirrorless or camcorders), and Screen view quality. You can purposely pick a gadget while considering these points.
Bust the Myths not your Brain – FAQs
Are DSLRs good for filmmaking?
Yes, DSLRs are like no exception in the filmmaking. Many great filmmakers still love to carry Canon DSLRs like 5D to produce great projects.
Should I buy a video camera or a DSLR?
For better and higher video quality, both options are perfect. But then, performing well in low-light, My take is DSLRs due to bigger Lens and sensor.
Do I need a 4k video camera?
It’s not like an obligation. Although 4K has become a market standard, and this mode is gathering a lot of unique features that tending more people to join this party.
Is 4k the same as Ultra HD?
There is a difference between true 4K and Ultra HD, aka UHD. True 4K holds a resolution of 4096 X 2160, whereas the UHD is about 3840 X2160. So, yes, UHD is also a 4K.
Do I need a 4k video camera for filmmaking?
Yes, and only if you are sure about you are not going to use it in low lights as they have smaller sensors.