If you’re a filmmaker, having good equipment can make your craft significantly easier. Whether you’re looking to replace your current camera or are just starting as a filmmaker, here is what you need to know.
Before You Shop
Before you dive into the different types of cameras on the market, it might help you as a shopper understand your goals and expectations. There is no such thing as one best camera for all. Instead, you should be trying to find the camera that is best for you. To do this, you need to consider the following:
Your Skill Level
Many cameras list recommended skill levels. While these are not set in stone, no one will take away your camera if you’re an experienced filmmaker who has bought a camera targeted at beginners – the manufacturers set the guidelines to ensure satisfaction. If you are just starting as a filmmaker, for instance, go ahead and grab something designed for beginners.
Are You Only Making Films or Taking Photos as Well?
If you are using your camera exclusively for filmmaking, you may not be looking at photography features. However, if you are planning on both photo and video options, which can both be needed for uses like social media campaigns, you may need to find a camera that offers a good function for both.
The Types of Films You Want to Make
The type of films that you want to make will also influence your camera choices. Are you going to travel? Will you be shooting in extreme weather? Are you making films for yourself or for someone else? You want to ask yourself where and under what conditions you’ll be filming to help guide your choices.
If you are currently taking a class in filmmaking, your instructor can also give you certain camera specifications or, at the very least, recommendations. If you’re brand new to filmmaking and are considering taking a course, go ahead and reach out to the instructor about the camera requirements.
Define Your Budget
Figure out what you are willing to spend on a camera at this point in time. If you are a beginner, there’s nothing wrong with opting for something a little less expensive. On the other hand, if you need professional quality, you’ll want to figure out how much you can and are willing to spend.
Consider Weight: Some cameras are a lot heavier than others, and if you invest in something heavy, you will be stuck carrying that weight around between sets. Heavier cameras also tend to be bulky, which may not be ideal if you know that you’ll be shooting from multiple angles or if you need to move quickly between takes. Remember that filming often requires additional accessories, so consider those as well when deciding your camera weight.
The Good News
Manufacturers are always looking to improve their technology, so it is easier than ever to find an affordable camera that still offers good quality. Whether you are looking for something on a budget or have saved for something a little more high-end, you will probably be getting a decent camera.
Best Cameras for Filmmaking in 2021
Now that you, hopefully, have an idea of your budget and general goals, here are some of the best cameras for filmmaking in 2021.
A high-quality camera for a good price, the A7s3 offers video qualities that make full use of the New BIONZ XR processing engine. The engine delivers eight times more processing power and works in tandem with the 12.1MP1 Exmor R sensor, optimized for 4K, for higher sensitivity and speed. Further highlights of the camera include:
- Low noise images with ISO up to 409,6003 and 15 plus stop dynamic range.
- Up to 4K 120p5 10-bit 4:2:2 and full pixel readout in all rec. Modes in XAVC S (AVC), XAVC HS (HEVC) and XAVC S-I (All-I)
- 16-bit RAW movie output up to 4K 60p via HDMI Type-A connector*6
- Effective internal heat dissipation enables 1-hour 4K 60p recording*7
- Fast readout for high frame rates, faster AF, minimal rolling shutter
- No 29m 50s continuous recording limit for movie shooting
- 3” flip-out, vari-angle LCD monitor w/ touch menu and controls
- And video capture resolution that reach 4K UHD 2160p.
The KOMODO 6K Digital Cinema Camera is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment that combines high-quality images and color science. The resulting ultra-compact, all-in-one-design measures in at only 2.1 lb and around 4 x 4 x 4″. The Red Komodo remains compatible with several lens types and with the 16-bit REDCODE RAW format it can capture up to 6K at 40 fps using the powerful. Other benefits include:
- Canon RF lens mount compatibility
- KOMODO 19.9MP Super35 CMOS sensor which boasts Global Shutter technology.
- The ability to record up to 6K at 40 fps, 5K at 48 fps, 4K at 60 fps, and 2K at 120 fps in REDCODE RAW.
- CFast 2.0 card compatibility with data rates up to 280 MB/s.
- USB Type-C port and optional adapter compatibility.
- Integrated 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi. Wired control
Alexa Mini LF
This smaller scale cinema camera comes with several professional features that make whatever you record hollywood-esque. Give your work a high-quality feel with high dynamic range and great low light performance. Alexa Mini LF provides you with feature film images containing precise skin tones and gorgeous organic colors. Perfect for several styles of video projects with features that suit your needs, benefits of this camera include:
- HD OLED display, color science and ARRICAM eyepiece
- Stable color balance through temperature-controlled display
- Three operation modes: single, crew or remote
- Small and tough Codex Compact Drive 1TB and compact drive reader that works without licence or extra software
- There are many great cameras on the market, and you’ll probably end up with one of good quality.
- Have your goals set before you shop to help you choose the best camera.
- Among things to consider are your experience level, camera weight, and usage plans.