Cameras, even in today’s modern world, can be quite expensive. That price tag can get even higher for aspiring filmmakers. Luckily, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to capture good footage. In fact, there are many great budget filmmaking cameras on the market if you know where to look.
In this guide, we will break down a list of affordable cameras and then go over what each one brings to the table by taking a look at a few special characteristics that make them especially useful for filmmaking.
- If you want a capable camera, the Sony Alpha A6100 is for you. This well-rounded model comes with Touch Tracking, external mic input, and real-time eye AF.
- The Panasonic Lumix G85 is a good model for people who value simplicity. While this has many advanced features, like a Live View Finder and electromagnetic drive, it is also easy to use thanks to the intuitive interface.
- The DJI Osmo Pocket is the perfect camera for filmmakers who need something light and maneuverable. This unique-looking model comes with a 3-axis gimbal for added stability and high image quality.
Who Should Get This?
These cameras, first and foremost, are for filmmakers. Each model provides excellent image quality, shots, and angles for anyone who needs to record solid video. They also come in at a much more manageable price point than higher-end options and do so without sacrificing quality.
All of the devices in this guide are very affordable, so they also work well for users on a budget. While these are best for filmmakers, the cameras also work for any hobbyist or casual user who simply wants to ensure their videos come out great each and every time.
Best Camera for Filmmaker on a Budget: What to Consider?
Anytime you’re shooting on a camera, you need to ensure that it takes good videos. When getting a lower-budget model it’s easy to skimp on image quality. However, that can hurt your overall production. Always strive to get the best possible image quality for your budget. That should be your top priority and what most of your money goes to.
While every filmmaker would always like to shoot in ideal conditions, that simply isn’t how it works. There are going to be plenty of times where the sun or your environment doesn’t cooperate with the camera. As such, try to get a device that shoots well in both bright and low-light conditions. Even if it does cost a bit more, being able to record darker footage will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
Ease of Use
Making a film requires a lot of angles, which means you’re going to need to put your camera in a lot of precarious positions. When considering what model to get, always keep in mind its size as well as its maneuverability. The easier a camera is to use, the easier it will be to get the shots you want. While a more complicated model might sound appealing, it will only make it harder to work.
Best Camera for Filmmaker on a Budget: Our Picks
Filmmakers who want features at an affordable price will love the Sony Alpha A6100. This device comes with special Touch Tracking technology that enables you to focus on any subject with just one touch. Beyond that, it also records high-resolution video through realistic color reproduction. The external mic input, which simply increases your audio options, is another awesome way to advance your shooting.
This model also comes with real-time Eye AF to shoot moving portraits. This particular feature is so well realized that it also works on partially lit or partially hidden faces. There are also numerous lens choices with this camera, which is never bad to have, and you can tilt the screen 180 degrees to get even more angles.
What We Like:
- Numerous lens choices
- 180-degree tilt screen
- Great object tracking
- Real-time AF tracking
- Movie recording with mic
- Touch tracking
- Bright, vivid colors
- High-speed data processing
What We Don’t Like:
- Can’t record for long periods of time
The Panasonic Lumix G85 makes this list because it’s one of the easiest-to-use cameras out there. While some models come with too many features or are much too convoluted, the Lumix G85 makes sure that all filmmakers at all levels can take advantage of its traits. It has an intuitive interface on top of quick-access thumbwheel controls and an integrated 2360L dot eye level electronic viewfinder.
The above features are then backed by shutter shock reduction, as well as a new electromagnetic drive that greatly cuts down on shock created by movement of the diaphragm. The shutter sound is cut down as well. To expand on that, this comes with dual image stabilization and one of the best autofocus systems around. The 16-megapixel sensor is simply a cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.
What We Like:
- 4K video capture
- Interchangeable lens camera
- Dual image stabilization
- Excellent autofocus system
- 16-megapixel sensor
- Easy to use
What We Don’t Like:
- Low light focus could be crisper
- Battery life not as strong as similar models
If you want a lower-budget device that’s a bit off the beaten path, the DJI Osmo Pocket is a good option. Do not be put off by this model’s strange look, it is a great way to record videos if you’re on a budget. That is thanks to the 3-axis gimbal, which helps the model adjust to every movement you make, universal port, and non-slip, single-handed design. It’s easy to use and maneuver, but also captures great video with every shot.
Not only is the Osmo Pocket small, it is also packed with different features. If you like options, this is the filmmaking camera for you. It has ActiveTrack, FaceTrack, Timelapse, Motion Lapse, Pano, Story Mode, and Nightshot. You also have the ability to link this up with multiple accessories, including an extension rod, wireless module, and waterproof case.
What We Like:
- 4K video
- Incredibly lightweight
- Powerful and compact
- Easy connect to your phone
- Many viable functions
- 3-axis gimbal
- Built-in touch screen
What We Don’t Like:
- Must connect phone to use camera
- Not weatherproof
Useful Tips and Information
Getting a good camera is an important part of shooting videos, but you also need to know what you’re doing. Film is a big discipline with a lot going on, but if you want to get to know the basics, this guide is the best option.
As covered above, making a low budget film, while not easy, is not as hard as it once was. The models in this article help cut costs, and the tips outlined here will help you save even more cash in the long run.
Once upon a time, shooting films on a camera would cost an incredible amount of money. Fortunately, times have changed. There are now many ways to get cheap, effective equipment, and that includes the models analyzed above. Each one is unique and will take your filmmaking to another level.
Do you record film on your camera? What model do you use and why? Let us know below.
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager here at AnySoftwareTools. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.