5 Best Video Cameras for Movie Making (Reviews 2018)

My team and I have spent a few weeks on a search for the best video camera for movie making and we have finalized Sony a7R III as the best video camera in the market for user range.

We have considered a good number of factors before finalizing this camera. We considered these factors before choosing the camera: zoom capabilities, connectivity, quality, portability, continuous shooting modes.

The movie making industry is growing and advancing from time to time. Nowadays movies produced or rather created are of high quality. High-quality movie production is made possible due to the cameras they use in movie making. Below are some of the best cameras for movie making.

Our Selected 5 Best Video Cameras For Movie Making

Sony a7R Mark III

Being one of the highly sought mirrorless cameras in the contemporary filmmaking industry, a7R is without a doubt the most recent high-resolution camera from the Sony Company. Similar to such cameras as Nikon’s latest release, the resolution goes hand in hand with high speeds alongside autofocus features therein seeing to quality results in videography. The high speeds conform to shooting about ten frames per second. Moreover, the Sony product boasts a high and fast processor with improved focus and handling as well as a large battery for more extended performance hours.

The most significant features in the camera include the 42-megapixel sensor with faster video processing and lower noise reduction i9n image processing. Between the shots, the camera provides updates that keep the user up to date on the performance and nature of their work. It also contains a touchscreen with a joystick to improve focal positioning. It has a thicker grip than its predecessors therein proving to be the best in features with the meaningful longer battery life and customizations. The video features that distinguish it from the rest is the 4Kfootage oversampled to a 5K capture. The video’s focus is also inclined to ensure that there is a refocus on the background.

To see to the storage issue in video cameras, the a7R contains twin slots for inserting SD Cards, of UHs-I and UHS-II that appears not to be compatible in most cameras. Since all the film-makers’ objectives have high-resolution videos, the camera contains the Bayer-cancelling Mode in the multi-shot option to enhance the high resolutions. Finally, it utilizes the phase detection mode even with adapted lenses therein maximizing performance for better results therein essential to video professionals on a budget.

PROS:

  • It has dual memory card slots
  • It has a tilting touchscreen LCD
  • It captures quality HD videos
  • It can autofocus even in extremely low light
  • It has good battery life
  • It has a better ISO performance
  • It has excellent button controls

CONS:

  • It does not have a built-in flash
  • It is not completely dust and moisture proof
  • Only one memory card slot is compatible with UHS-II.

Buy Sony a7R III!


Panasonic Lumix GH5s

Panasonic Lumix GH5s is among the few digital cameras whose introduction to the filmmaking industry platform have set new standards at this time.  It is designed to offer an experience that results to professional and amazing works due to its highest sensitivity sensor and best image quality ever recorded in LUMIX history. The mirrorless Panasonic GH5s offers a variety of compact lens options like the LEIKA set with interchangeable lens camera standard (ILC) which are meant to meet the quality of the video regarding brightness and sharpness of images. Its mirrorless design ensures high performance, mobility, and durability. Besides, this specific design ensures light gathering is well accounted for to provide a professional cinematic and optically distorted images in 4k video production.

This amazing camera still cuts the edge by being installed with up to 60 pixels per image with a multi-aspect and dual native ISO, a brand of up to 10 bit and offering unlimited recording. Lumix GH5s supports important recording features as the 14bit RAW, Panasonic XLR mic- adaptor support, the return of multi-aspect capture and a dual native ISO. It is also capable of using a high-speed video class at least 60 SD memory card that is recommended for a 4K video recording. Besides, it is still compatible with an SD memory card of video speed class 90.

The Panasonic Lumix GH5S is fitted with a 3.5mm mic jack with a line input, a 3.5mm headphone jack, HDMI socket, and a 2.5mm remote socket. It allows transfer of JPEG and RAW files of data through a swift switch to a fast Wi-Fi of 50GHz (IEEE802.11ac). Alternatively, the user can use the 3.1 USB-C 3.1 socket for file transfer.

PROS:

  • Produces quality images even in low-light locations.
  • Recording time is not limited
  • It has an anamorphic mode
  • Presence of a holder for the HDMI cable that ensures that it is tightly held into position.
  • It is partially resistant to water, dust, and moisture
  • It is relatively light
  • It is durable

CONS:

  • It is noisy when sensitivity is increased.
  • Has a low battery life
  • It is not completely waterproof

Buy Panasonic Lumix GH5s!


Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

In filmmaking, Canon Mark IV is without a doubt the most significant camera in attending to a range of different video features from landscapes to wildlife and sports. It is a 30.4-megapixel camera, from the canon company, just as competitive and renowned as Sony. From its features, it turns out to be an improvement of its predecessor 5D Mark III. It has a full frame DLSR with a touchscreen LCD that enables the video professionals to dictate the focal point before and during the recording manually.

The Mark IV contains a long battery life of 900 shots with a 4K video recording mode. For a quick and reliable mode of transferring data, it contains an in-built Wi-Fi that connects to other devices as tablets without necessarily needing laptops. It is, therefore, a top performer, with high-quality shots from the camera. In the latest innovations, the camera boasts having the dual pixel Raw, able to shift focus after taking the shots of choice. The dual pixel feature also sees to image and video micro-adjustments that have more exceptional final products. The feature, therefore, aids individuals not to miss focuses or efficiently use the camera, it has buttons fitted for almost all the settings thus having smooth navigation.

Since it is ideal for both indoor and outdoor shoots, it contains the anti-flicker feature in adjusting exposures. Moreover, the introduction of built-in GPS enables the videographer to geotag specific information on the pictures and videos shot. Being among the most advanced cameras, it can have continuous shots of up to 7fps therein ideal for both studio work and quick video clips thus essential for utilization by individuals on a budget.

PROS:

  • Long battery life
  • It is comfortable and easy to use
  • Suitable for any weather
  • It has built-in WI-FI and GPS good video and image quality
  • Excellent color
  • It has dual slots for memory card
  • It is relatively cheap

CONS:

  • It has a limited video recording limit
  • It has a high bitrate so it is difficult to playback 4K quality videos
  • The dual memory card slots support different formats.

Buy Canon EOS 5D Mark IV!


Sony PXW-Z150

The Sony PXW-Z150 definitely among the best cameras for movie making. Firs the Z150 has 120fps and an image stabilizer, this way you do not need a tripod for you to capture quality videos and movies. The camera is equipped with a 1″ Exmor sensor to ensure that more light reaches the camera sensors. The sensor is about 20x megapixel so as a filmmaker it is possible to focus on a specific background and defocus the rest of the background. The readout speed of the Sony PXW which has been doubled compared to other previous Sony camera to ensure 5x slow-motion image capture.

The Sony PXW-Z150 provides and captures high-quality videos for 4K and HD productions. The PXW-Z150 gives its user the option to choose and switch between the NTSC and PAL. It has a 12x optical zoom lens to capture even the most distant videos. The lens is 29-348mm wide to ensure that the video captured have superb clarity and sharpness.  Equipped with a pixel super-resolution technology the camera can enlarge or rather zoom 4K videos and images up to 18x and HD videos up to 24x.

The Sony PXW-Z150 is very light. Thus it is easy to use when shooting movies. The camcorder is both automatic and manual. The manual option is preferred by movie makers who want to be creative. It has two memory slots to extend the recording time. It supports SDXC and SDHC memory card. PXW is equipped with a relay mode to switch from one memory card to the other when recording.

Finally, the PXW-Z150 camcorder WI-FI and NFC networking capabilities. It is useful for live streaming. Sony’s content browser mobile software ensures that you can control the camera from your smartphone, you can pause, and record zoom.

PROS:

  • It has a lightweight body hence it is portable
  • It performs better even in low light
  • Allows users to capture images even in the dark
  • It has a built-in Wi-Fi capability thus users can store videos in FTP servers
  • It can be remotely controlled
  • It has a long lasting battery

CONS:

  • It is expensive
  • It sometimes requires a tripod when using EVF

Buy Sony PXW-Z150!


Canon XA30

Canon’s announcement that they would be releasing the new XA30 was welcome news for event shooters and documentary producers. This camcorder, which features the latest and most impressive video recording abilities, looks designed for professional use if the price tag is something to go by. Still, it’s a camera anyone can have and operate without problems. The Canon XA30 has a design that’s undeniably professional looking, although it is quite lightweight. The camcorder features Canon’s latest new HD Pro CMOS image sensor, which makes its performance in low light quite remarkable.

This sensor eliminates the difficulty that camera users often face while trying to adjust their cameras in a way that outputs what they’re seeing. With the new sensor, you get images that reflect exactly what you see with your eyes. Thus, you only need to focus on the scene you’re shooting without worrying about the quality of images. You also get a +3dB upgrade to your signal-to-noise ratio, which makes it possible for you to get very clear pixels when working in environments with poor lighting.

The camcorder features a new 20X optical zoom lens. Expect an amazing zoom range of 35mm, while the minimum image distance is 23.3″. Unlike its predecessors, the Canon XA30 features an improved eight-blade design. This feature makes your images appear more natural and realistic. The camcorder has an easy to use standard zoom ring. The ring allows you to make use of the available sensitivity modes. The flexibility of the lens is quite remarkable, allowing you to use a wide variety of adjustments.

You can easily adjust everything including recording modes/ codecs and frame/bit rates. If you wish to shoot a documentary or film, you can always use the default frame rate, which is 24p. During shooting out in the field, you have the option to speed up or slow down your video because it’s available during playback. This feature is made possible by the camcorders upgraded software. For action movements, you can slow down footage, while speeding is ideal for time-lapse. You can also create time-lapses on the spot, thanks to the interval recording feature.

Buy Canon XA30!


How I picked the best

In choosing the camera, I looked at some factors. First of all, I wanted a camera that was not too pricey. Seeing as I wasn’t looking for a professional camcorder, my budget was about 1000 dollars. Fortunately, I found that most consumer dedicated camcorders went for a price in that region. Secondly, I wanted a camcorder that would produce high-quality images and footage. While my first option was to get a 4K camcorder, I was open to getting a decent 1080p option. I also wanted a camera with a 20X optical zoom lens for higher quality shots. Such features as compatibility came into play too as I wanted a camcorder that’s easy to handle and move around with.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Video Camera for Movie Making (Buying Guide)

Price

When picking a camcorder, it’s essential to realize have a budget. As you draw a budget, it’s important to have an idea of how much a decent camera goes for at the moment. Of course, a camcorder’s features will determine how much the camera costs. Expect to pay the price in the region of $1000 for a consumer dedicated camcorder with the 4K capability and 20X optical zoom. A professional camcorder will usually be listed for a price higher than that, from $2000 or thereabouts.

Zoom capabilities

The zoom capability of a camera does affect its performance significantly. Some decent camcorders have a 10X optical zoom. However, there are many improved models that have 20X optical zoom lens. These are better as they have a higher zoom range. That said, it’s smart to consider how flexible a camcorder is when it comes to operating the zoom function. There are those that have a focus assist function to help the user zoom and focus on images precisely. Some let you select the part of an image you want to zoom easily. Opt for a camcorder with both high optical zoom and which are easier to operate.

Connectivity

Fortunately, most camcorders have the connectivity feature. They can connect to your smartphone and other computers through Wi-Fi, allowing you to share footage and pictures from the camera to your other devices.  If you want to transfer raw footage to someone else, you can do that via the cloud, or to any private server that uses FTP. To add to that, the camcorder should be able to connect to any wireless hotspot, computer, wireless-enabled smart TV, smartphone and so on. Simply download the app and use to control the camera while shooting.

Quality

Some camcorders feature the advanced HD CMOS Pro image sensor, which makes each recording both sharp and highly detailed. You want a camcorder that has top-notch low-light performance too, one that will capture dim sessions without adversely affecting the camera’s pixel resolution. Check the low-luminance noise rating, so you never have issues capturing scenes in areas with poor lighting. Also, deserving recognition is the camcorder’s image stabilization feature which. The feature allows for better stabilization of the camera across all zoom levels. Again, it’s always good to choose the 20X optical zoom HD video lens. This feature helps the user sneak into greater detail from a long distance away, and when coupled with the image sensor and processor, it becomes possible to get some high-quality recordings.

Portability

A camcorder’s portability will usually depend on, among other things, its weight and size. While most camcorders will not be small enough as to fit in your pocket, they will usually have a handle that makes them much easier to handle and carry around.

Continuous shooting modes

The camcorder’s continuous mode, also known as burst mode or sports mode, lets you capture several photos in quick succession. Some camcorders have a high fps, allowing you to capture many still images per second so you can choose the best. The processing power of the camera is the biggest determinant of the speed at which it captures successive photos.

Read More: Best Digital Picture Frames with WiFi

Is this for me?

What makes this camcorder ideal for you is that it can fit in a wide array of occasions. For instance, budding filmmakers who are making simple stories that have few or no crew can make great 4K productions using this camcorder. It’s also the perfect piece for family use at home or during vacations. And for the traveling videographer who wants to make quality videos without needing to use professional cameras, this camera comes in handy. Educators will also find this camcorder useful for class settings as a teaching and learning tool. Finally, social media enthusiasts who love producing typical everyday content can go for this camcorder too.

Why trust me?

Having worked with camcorders for many years and sampled different models of cameras over the years, I know a thing or two about the features that make for a good camera for shooting videos. Indeed, I have tested different brands, shooting in a variety of environments to establish the quality of footage and images each camera offered. This is the reason you should take my recommendations seriously.

Recommendations

The camcorder market offers quite impressive options for enthusiasts, and with enough research, you should be able to get just what you are looking for. The cost of the camera is a factor while choosing a camera, but it should never be the top factor when you are selecting an item. You’ll be surprised how good some discounted cameras are when compared to their more expensive peers. Still, expect that professional camcorders will cost much higher than the consumer dedicated ones. Ultimately, look for features like zoom, image quality and flexibility in operation as you pick a camera.

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

Photography is my life and I have taken it as my profession after my graduation.

I cover life and motion through my Canon 5D Mark IV.

But when I am a professional, I almost cover everything from fashion, architectural, editorial topics, and corporate lifestyle.

I have worked with clients such as CNN, Alabama State University, Steelcase, LiveStrong and more.

I'm based in Alabama. If you need my service, just feel free to contact me.

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