April 20, 2021
Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget

Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget

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Planning on creating solid content and amazing films on a shoestring budget? You’re not alone. Whether you are hoping to cover weddings, music videos, interviews, or other events and personal projects, you will find something suitable on this list.

But the best part is that the cameras listed here are inexpensive – all under $2000. That price might sound outrageous to you if you’re completely new to filmmaking. You could buy a used 2005 Chevrolet Equinox LS for that price in some places!

“Inexpensive” is a relative term, and in the world of video cameras, that price range is the cheapest you can ever get.

Okay, point made. Let’s dive right in and see what models are available on this list of the best camera for filmmaking on a budget.

Panasonic LUMIX GH5

panasonic lumix gh5 camera isolated on white background

Panasonic’s GH5 is a mirrorless digital camera costing a little under $1300 (body only) – an excellent choice for pro filmmakers.

The relatively small 20.3 MP digital camera has plenty of video features, including 5-axis in-body image stabilization, digital live MOS sensor, silky smooth 4K resolution and HD video quality, and excellent battery life.

It has a robust and solid build-quality and can connect to several devices using a USB 3.0 external port. This model’s downside is the relatively small MFT sensor, making it lag behind its competitors when it comes to color rendition and low-light performance.

Canon EOS M50

cannon eos m50 camera

If you’re shopping for the best portable camera that works great for a journalist or vlogger, the EOS M50 might be worth checking out. Canon did some amazing job with this compact digital camera, and while it features a small lens, the APS-C sensor is comparatively large.

Considering its price, it is hard to beat this option with its excellent dual-pixel autofocus, built-in electronic viewfinder, brilliant colors, and impactful 4K resolution ultra-HD videos. You can capture high-quality still images with the 24.1 megapixels sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor.

It’s easy to assume that the EOS M50 will cost up to several thousand bucks considering the brilliant and stunning videos it can create. Surprisingly, it is up for grabs for only about $650. Any pro will be quick to agree that this compact camera is insanely cheap and definitely worth buying.

Fujifilm X-T3

fujifilm x t3 camera

If you’ve got up only about $1500 to spend on a good-quality filmmaking camera, the X-T3 mirrorless model by Fujifilm might be worth considering.

The camera comes with a large APS-C sensor, giving it a better shallow focus and improved low-light performance. Other outstanding features include 4K slow motion, ultra-fast autofocus, excellent dynamic range, and impressive color rendition.

X-T3 is not only included on this list of the best camera for filmmaking on a budget because of its relatively low price. The log-mode shooting is an impressive feature for such an inexpensive model. The mode compresses shadows and highlights, allowing the camera to capture a wider range of contrast.

If you choose Fujifilm’s budget camera, though, you should consider getting one or two extra batteries. The included battery leaves more to be desired. However, there’s an option to power it using a USB-C port.

Panasonic LUMIX G7

panasonic lumix g7 camera

If you’re really short on cash or simply don’t want to spend more than $500 on a 4K digital camera, the G7 could be the best camera for filmmaking on a budget that will go easy on your bank balance.

This Panasonic model offers exceptionally great value for beginner filmmakers, with full high-definition slow motion, 4K video quality, electronic live viewfinder, and a tilt/swivel LCD.

You will get clear shots with this camera even when shooting under direct sunlight. The device is compatible with various accessories, including DMW MS2 Stereo/Shotgun microphone, BUS Class SD cards, DMW FL580L external flash, and more.

The camera is not perfect, though (not as if there are any perfect models). It doesn’t come with a headphone socket, you won’t be able to rig it up like the G85 (discussed below), and there is no weather-sealing and in-body stabilization with this model.

Panasonic LUMIX G85

panasonic lumix g85 camera

Here’s free advice: consider adding $200 (or thereabout) to the price of the G7, and get yourself a Panasonic LUMIX G85. This model comes with everything the G7 can do, plus a little more.

The 16MP mirrorless camera comes with a 3-inch tilt-and-touch LCD screen and 5-axis in-body dual-image stabilization, making it great for handheld shooting. You’re not buying “body only” with this option. Instead, you’re getting a starter kit that includes 12-60-lens, offering a wide zoom lens range.

It shoots in 4K and is high-definition at up to 60p slow motion, but you’ll have to deal with slightly slower autofocus when shooting in 4K.

Panasonic LUMIX GH5s

panasonic lumix gh5s camera isolated on white background

A better video quality combined with improved low-light performance and more pro video features is what sets the GH5s apart from other budget filmmaking cameras. For a little under $1800, you get a 4K mirrorless camera with 10.2 megapixels, a multi-aspect sensor. Plus, it’s a great camera that is pretty easy to use, just like its predecessor, the GH5 model.

Unlike other cameras with a native aspect ratio, GH5s features a high-sensitivity MOS sensor that is big enough to capture different frame shapes without the need for cropping. In simple English, it means you get an ultra-wide dynamic range regardless of whichever aspect ratio you choose to use.

It also means you get better image quality even when shooting in low-light conditions, thanks to the dual-native ISO feature that reduces image noise in low-light mode.

While this is arguably the best camera for filmmaking on a budget, especially if you’re looking to spend under $2000, it doesn’t give you the benefit of in-body stabilization. Also, you’ll have to make do with 10MP if you are shooting still images.

Final Thoughts

filmmaking camera isolated on rock outdoor during day time
Image source: Pixabay

Hopefully, you’ve found the best camera for filmmaking on a budget from this list. Whether your choice is the pricier GH5s, the more affordable G7 (both from Panasonic), or you choose to go with Canon’s EOS M50, the most important thing is to figure out exactly what type of filmmaking camera is most ideal for your type of project.