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The best camera for low budget filmmaking?

Updated 19 June 2017

What’s the best camera for low budget filmmaking in 2017? It depends on your budget and what kind of filmmaker you are. So here’s my choice in different price ranges (body only). They’re all mirrorless cameras or DSLRs. For serious filmmaking and documentary you could also consider professional camcorders or cinema cameras. And for ease of use, you could kit out your iPhone.

Best all-round camera under $2000/£1700 (body only):
Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5 camera body

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The Panasonic GH5 mirrorless camera has more pro filmmaking features than any other camera in its price range, in a relatively small and affordable package. It has powerful in-body image stabilisation and can record a range of broadcast-quality 4K and HD formats. You can add a pro audio module. Cons? The MFT sensor is relatively small and Panasonic’s colours aren’t as good as their competitors. More...

Best all-round cameras under $1200/£1000
Canon 80D or Panasonic G85/G80

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The Canon 80D DSLR is popular with vloggers. It has Canon’s excellent colours, fast video autofocus, and a headphone socket. The APS-C sensor is good for photography, and Canon have a wide range of great lenses. But it can’t shoot ultra high definition 4K. More…

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The Panasonic G85/G80 can shoot 4K and has in-body image stabilisation and a weatherproof body. Unlike the 80D, it’s mirrorless so you can use the eye-level viewfinder while filming. But there’s no headphone socket. More…

Best camera under $600:
Panasonic G7

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Panasonic’s little G7 is a very affordable camera for beginner filmmakers, with 4K and slow motion in a small package. Its MFT sensor isn’t as good for creative shallow focus as cameras with larger sensors, and it doesn’t have a headphone socket or stabilisation. More…

Best under $300/£250:
Used Canon T3i

Canon T3i

It’s hard to beat used older models of Canon’s video SLRs such as the T3i. They have good colours, a relatively large APS-C sensor, and a good range of lenses. You could also opt for the mirrorless EOS-M, or a camcorder. More…


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