Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, our site will earn a commission from qualifying purchases

Best Camera for filmmaking on a budget

What is the best camera for filmmaking on a budget? Gone are the days when expensive prices made filmmaking a career for a few wealthy individuals.

Nowadays, there exist affordable professional cameras that will get you started as a filmmaker even on a low budget. Choosing the best one, however, is not easy and calls for caution to ensure that you get a camera that will serve you best.

When choosing the best camera for your film work, you need to consider specific features that will work perfectly for the filmmaking niche you wish to venture into.

The more features you will have, the more powerful and better quality your work will be. Choosing the wrong camera will result in limits in the quality you can achieve and overall output.

This article will help you choose the best budget camera you can buy for filmmaking. If you prefer a camcorder for filmmaking or taking casual shots, check out our latest post.

Which are the best Cameras for Filmmakers on a budget?

  1. Panasonic Lumix S5 – Best Overall Camera for Filmmaking
  2. Fujifilm X-T4 – Best Runner-Up Camera for Filmmaking
  3. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4k– Best for Cinematography
  4. Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K – The Best Micro Four Thirds camera
  5. Sony – HDRCX405 HD Video Recording– Best Handycam Camcorder
  6. Canon EOS 90D: best Canon camera for filmmaking
  7. Sony Alpha a6400: Sony filmmaking camera on a budget
  8. Nikon Z6: Budget Nikon camera for filmmaking
  9. Canon 80D: DSLR Camera for filmmaking on a Budget
  10. Panasonic GH5: best budget camera for filmmaking

Panasonic Lumix S5 – Best Overall Camera for Filmmaking

  1. Type: Mirrorless
  2. Pixels: 24.2MP
  3. Sensor: Full-frame
  4. Maximum video resolution: 4K
  5. Maximum continuous shooting speed: 7 FPS
  6. Display Screen: 3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen, approx. 1.84 million dots
  7. Viewfinder: OLED, approx. 2.36 million dots, 100% coverage
  8. Lens Mount: L-Mount

The Panasonic Lumix S5 is our pick for the best overall camera for filmmaking on a budget. It features a sturdy weather-resistant build that will allow you to shoot in any weather conditions.

The overall ergonomic and durable body and build make it stand out as a better option compared to the older Panasonic Lumix S1 version.

Different image stabilization options such as IBIS – in body image stabilization and Lens image stabilization ensure professional and smooth video output.

This Full Frame Mirrorless camera comes with a large 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor that allows enough light into the camera for quality output. You will be able to shoot 4K video resolution at 60 frames per second.

Finally, the Panasonic Lumix S5 will allow you to shoot slow-motion shots in Full HD at stunning 180 frames per second.

If you are a photographer, the Panasonic Lumix S5 will produce one of the highest 96-megapixel resolution still images. This is one of the best photo qualities compared to other Mirrorless cameras.

Pros

  • 4K video recording at 60 frames per second, plus Full HD at stunning slow motion shots at 180 frames per second
  • Full touch screen 3-inch TFT LCD screen
  • Wide 24.2 MP CMOS Sensor
  • Dual in-body and lens image stabilization
  • Better build quality than its predecessor
  • All weather body
  • Affordable Price range
  • Long Battery Life

Cons

  • Features contrast Auto Focus while Phase AF would have been better

Fujifilm X-T4 – Best Runner Up

  1. Type: Mirrorless
  2. Megapixels: 26.1 MP
  3. Sensor: APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4
  4. Max Video Resolution: 4K at 60 FPS
  5. Max Continuous Shooting Speed: Up to 15 FPS
  6. Display: 3-inch Vari-angle LCD touchscreen
  7. Viewfinder: OLED electronic viewfinder
  8. In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS): 5-axis IBIS
  9. Film Simulation Modes: Classic Fujifilm film looks
  10. Autofocus: Fast and accurate autofocus system
  11. ISO Range: 160-12800 (expandable to 80-51200)
  12. Weather-Sealed Body: Dust and moisture resistance
  13. Dual SD Card Slots: Dual slots for extended storage and backup
  14. Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for easy file transfer and remote control
  15. Battery Life: Long-lasting battery
  16. Lens Mount: Fujifilm X Mount
  17. Video Output: HDMI port for external monitoring

The Fujifilm X-T4 boasts an impressive 26.1 megapixels on its APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor, delivering stunningly detailed images with Fujifilm’s signature color reproduction. This sensor, combined with the X-Processor 4, ensures you get beautiful images with low noise, even in challenging lighting conditions.

If you’re into videography, you’ll love the X-T4’s 4K video capability at a smooth 60 frames per second. This camera allows you to capture cinematic footage with incredible clarity and rich colors. And with a max continuous shooting speed of up to 15 frames per second, you’ll never miss a fast-paced moment in photography.

The camera features a 3-inch vari-angle LCD touchscreen with approximately 1.62 million dots, offering flexibility for creative compositions and easy navigation through menus. 

Composing your shots is a breeze with the X-T4’s OLED electronic viewfinder boasting approximately 3.69 million dots and providing full coverage of your frame.

Say goodbye to shaky footage! The Fujifilm X-T4 comes with 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS), ensuring your shots are steady and your videos are smooth and professional-looking. 

The fast and accurate autofocus system in the X-T4 ensures your subjects remain sharp and in focus, no matter how fast they’re moving.

Fujifilm is known for its fantastic film simulation modes, and the X-T4 is no exception. With classic Fujifilm film looks you can add an artistic touch to your images straight out of the camera. 

The camera offers an ISO range from 160 to 12800, expandable to 80-51200, giving you the flexibility to shoot in various lighting conditions.

The X-T4’s weather-sealed body provides dust and moisture resistance, making it a reliable companion for outdoor shooting, no matter the weather conditions. 

With dual SD card slots, you get extended storage and an automatic backup option for your valuable footage.

Pros

  • Perfect Inbody image stabilization
  • Very long battery life
  • Good autofocus

Cons

  • More expensive than most options in this review

Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4k– Best for Cinematography

  1. Type: Cinema Camera
  2. Sensor: 4/3″ Size HDR Sensor
  3. Effective Resolution: 4096 x 2160
  4. Max Video Resolution: 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) up to 60 FPS
  5. Display: 5-inch Touchscreen LCD, approx. 1920 x 1080 resolution
  6. Viewfinder: No built-in viewfinder
  7. In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS): No
  8. Film Simulation Modes: Not applicable (This feature is specific to Fujifilm cameras)
  9. Autofocus: Focus peaking and focus assist tools are available, but no continuous autofocus
  10. ISO Range: Dual Native ISO of 400 and 3200 (expandable up to 25,600)

The Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K features a 4/3″ Size HDR Sensor, capturing stunning visuals with exceptional dynamic range.

With an effective resolution of 4096 x 2160, this camera delivers cinema-quality images and videos. 

You can shoot in jaw-dropping 4K DCI resolution at up to 60 frames per second, giving you the flexibility to capture both cinematic and high-speed action shots.

On the back of the camera, you’ll find a generous 5-inch Touchscreen LCD with a resolution of approximately 1920 x 1080. Navigating through settings and reviewing your footage is a breeze with this intuitive display. When it comes to connectivity, the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K has got you covered. 

With USB-C, mini XLR, 3.5mm audio jack, and HDMI ports, you can easily connect external devices and monitors to enhance your filmmaking workflow. Recording Formats and Media Storage This camera offers versatile recording options, including ProRes and Blackmagic RAW formats. 

These formats provide excellent post-production flexibility, giving you more control over color grading and editing. For media storage, the camera supports both CFast 2.0 and SD/UHS-II card slots, allowing you to choose the storage solution that suits your needs.

ISO Range and Weather-Sealed Body The Pocket Cinema Camera 4K features a Dual Native ISO of 400 and 3200, expandable up to an impressive 25,600. 

This means you can confidently shoot in low-light conditions without compromising on image quality. 

Additionally, the camera’s robust and weather-sealed body ensures it can withstand the elements during outdoor shoots, giving you the freedom to capture stunning visuals in any environment.

Lens Mount and Battery Life The camera comes with an active Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Mount, providing a wide range of lens options to suit your shooting style and creative vision. 

To keep you shooting for extended periods, the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K uses the reliable Canon LP-E6 type battery, ensuring you won’t miss any critical moments during your filmmaking sessions.

Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K – The Best Micro Four Thirds camera

  1. Type: Mirrorless Camera
  2. Sensor: Digital Live MOS Sensor (Micro Four Thirds format)
  3. Megapixels: 20.3 MP
  4. Max Video Resolution: 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) up to 60 FPS
  5. Display: 3.2-inch Touchscreen LCD, approx. 1920 x 1080 resolution
  6. Viewfinder: OLED electronic viewfinder with approx. 3.68 million dots and 100% coverage
  7. In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS): 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0 for steady shots and smooth videos
  8. Autofocus: Advanced DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology for fast and accurate autofocus
  9. ISO Range: 200-25600 (expandable up to 100-25600)
  10. Weather-Sealed Body: Rugged and weather-sealed design for outdoor shooting
  11. Video Recording: 4K 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording
  12. Full-Size HDMI Out: Allows for clean 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output
  13. Media Storage: Dual SD Card Slots (UHS-II and V60 compatible)
  14. Connectivity: USB 3.1 Type-C, 3.5mm microphone input, headphone jack, and HDMI Type A
  15. Battery Life: Uses Panasonic DMW-BLF19 type battery
  16. Lens Mount: Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Mount

One of the best Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras in the market. If you’re serious about photography and videography, this camera might be your new favorite tool. So, let’s dive into its fantastic features!

The Panasonic LUMIX GH5 boasts a Digital Live MOS Sensor in Micro Four Thirds format, delivering outstanding image quality and stunning details. 

With an impressive 20.3 megapixels, your photos will be sharp, vibrant, and full of life. When it comes to video, the GH5 shines bright. It can capture 4K DCI video at a resolution of 4096 x 2160, up to a smooth 60 frames per second. This means your footage will be cinematic and ultra-high definition, perfect for all your creative projects.

On the back, you’ll find a generous 3.2-inch Touchscreen LCD with a resolution of approximately 1920 x 1080. Navigating through menus and reviewing your shots has never been more convenient.

But that’s not all – the GH5 comes with an OLED electronic viewfinder boasting around 3.68 million dots and offering 100% coverage. Composing your shots has never been this immersive and accurate.

Say goodbye to shaky footage! The GH5 features In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS) with 5-Axis Dual I.S. 2.0. This technology ensures your shots are steady and your videos are smooth, even in challenging shooting conditions.

 The advanced DFD (Depth from Defocus) technology takes care of autofocus, providing lightning-fast and accurate focusing. No more missed shots due to slow focus!

With an ISO range from 200 to 25600 (expandable up to 100-25600), the GH5 handles low-light situations with ease, allowing you to capture clear and noise-free images and videos.

 If you’re an adventurer, you’ll love the GH5’s rugged and weather-sealed design, making it a reliable companion for outdoor shooting in various conditions.

 For videographers, the camera supports 4K 4:2:2 10-bit internal recording, providing you with excellent color depth and flexibility during post-production.

The GH5 offers various connectivity options, including USB 3.1 Type-C, a 3.5mm microphone input, a headphone jack, and HDMI Type A. Your creative possibilities are endless!

 And when it comes to storage, the camera won’t let you down. It features dual SD card slots compatible with UHS-II and V60 cards, ensuring you never run out of space during your shoots.

Sony – HDRCX405 HD Video Recording- Best Handycam Camcorder

  1. Type: Camcorder
  2. Sensor: 1/5.8-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor
  3. Effective Resolution: Full HD 1920 x 1080
  4. Max Video Resolution: Full HD 1080p at 60 FPS
  5. Display: 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD, approx. 230,400 dots
  6. Viewfinder: No built-in viewfinder
  7. Image Stabilization: Optical SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode
  8. Autofocus: Fast and accurate autofocus system
  9. ISO Range: Not specified (typical for consumer camcorders)
  10. Weather-Sealed Body: Not weather-sealed (typical for consumer camcorders)
  11. Recording Formats: AVCHD and MP4
  12. Media Storage: Uses SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards
  13. Connectivity: USB 2.0, composite video/audio output, HDMI output
  14. Battery Life: Uses Sony NP-BX1 type battery
  15. Lens: Built-in Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with 30x optical zoom
  16. Additional Features: Face Detection, Smile Shutter, Intelligent Auto Mode, and more.

If you’re an aspiring filmmaker on a budget, this camcorder might just be the perfect tool for you. We’ll be taking a closer look at its features and why it’s a great choice for filmmaking. So, let’s dive in!

The Sony HDRCX405 is equipped with a 1/5.8-inch Exmor R CMOS sensor, which means it captures stunning and detailed footage. With its Full HD 1920 x 1080 effective resolution, your videos will be crisp and vibrant, making your storytelling even more compelling. Plus, you can shoot in Full HD 1080p at 60 FPS for smooth and lifelike motion.

On the back, you’ll find a 2.7-inch Clear Photo LCD with approximately 230,400 dots, giving you a clear view of your shots. Although there’s no built-in viewfinder, the LCD makes up for it with its sharp display.

The HDRCX405 features a built-in Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens with an impressive 30x optical zoom. This allows you to get up close and personal with your subjects without sacrificing image quality. Whether you’re capturing a wide landscape or a close-up shot, this camcorder has got you covered.

One of the critical aspects of any film is smooth and stable footage. That’s where the Optical SteadyShot with Intelligent Active Mode comes in handy. 

It counteracts shaky hands and movements, ensuring your videos are steady and professional-looking. The fast and accurate autofocus system in the HDRCX405 makes sure your subjects remain sharp and in focus, even during fast-paced scenes. Say goodbye to blurry shots!

 When it comes to recording formats, the HDRCX405 supports AVCHD and MP4, giving you flexibility in choosing the right format for your project. And for storage, it uses SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, making it easy to swap out cards and keep filming.

The camcorder is equipped with various connectivity options, including USB 2.0, composite video/audio output, and HDMI output. This means you can easily transfer your footage to your computer or directly stream it to a larger screen.

 Now, let’s talk about some exciting additional features. The HDRCX405 comes with Face Detection and Smile Shutter, ensuring that your subjects’ faces are captured perfectly. The Intelligent Auto Mode makes shooting a breeze by automatically adjusting settings for the best results.

So there you have it – the Sony HDRCX405 HD Video Recording Handycam Camcorder is an excellent budget-friendly option for budding filmmakers. 

Its impressive image quality, powerful zoom, and intelligent features make it a reliable companion for your creative projects.

Canon EOS 90D: best Canon camera for Filmmaking

  • 32.5 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) sensor

The Canon EOS 90D is the best Canon camera for filmmaking. Despite its powerful features, this camera comes at a very affordable price.

This balance between features and price is unmatched by any other camera in the industry. You will create clear and powerful videos and photographs in high resolution. This is thanks to a large 32.5-megapixel cropped sensor and a powerful DIGIC 8 Image Processor.

For video recording, the Canon EOS 90D comes with a 220,000-pixel AE Metering Sensor capability with 4k resolution at 30 frames per second.

You will have a natural like Movie Servo Autofocus mode that will produce professional-level quality output. The subject tracking camera is perfect thanks to the dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus plus eye and face detection settings.

This makes the Canon EOS 90D a perfect camera for Music videos and short films.

How we Choose the Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget

When choosing the best ones in the market, we considered several factors. First, we considered the type of Camera the ideal candidates for the top spot fall under.

There are different types of cameras that you can choose from based on your needs. You can either choose Mirrorless and DSLR cameras or Camcorders, Point and Shoot, and Action Cameras.

For professional output, we recommend DSLRs or Mirrorless cameras over the other 3 types. Compared to the other camera types, they can produce professional films and photographs once you get used.

A video communicates using both video and Audio content. For good film production, you need a camera that can capture both quality video and audio recordings. Choose a camera with a good audio and visual system.

Lenses and Manual Controls are important because they will help you manipulate your recordings as you shoot even before you are in the editing stage. You will be able to shoot cool variations of your raw footage.

Video resolution is another important consideration you need to make if you intend to be a professional filmmaker. You need a camera with a minimum of 1080 pixels full HD resolution.

However, if you want to kickstart a pro career from the start, 2K and 4K resolutions are our best recommendations. 2K is more clear and colorful than HD while 4K is better than 2K.

The Price is another consideration when choosing your camera. Simply put, you can only buy what you can afford. As you choose, make sure to consider your budget and the final goals of your project.

Finally, the last thing to consider is the Frame Rate Per second or FPS and the Sensor Size. You want a camera that captures more pixels per second or has a high Frame Rate Per second.

The sensor size determines the amount of light going into the camera. A larger one enables it to produce higher detail output and work easily even in low light conditions.

10 Best Cameras for Filmmaking on a Budget?

  1. Panasonic Lumix S5 – Best Overall
  2. Fujifilm X-T4 – Best Runner Up
  3. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4k– Best for Cinematography
  4. Panasonic LUMIX GH5 4K – The Best Micro Four Thirds camera
  5. Sony – HDRCX405 HD Video Recording– Best Handycam Camcorder
  6. Canon EOS 90D: best Canon camera for filmmaking
  7. Sony Alpha a6400: Sony filmmaking camera on a budget
  8. Nikon Z6: Budget Nikon camera for filmmaking
  9. Canon 80D: DSLR Camera for filmmaking on a Budget
  10. Panasonic GH5: best budget camera for filmmaking
  1. What is a good cheap camera for filming?

    Panasonic Lumix S5 – Best OverallFujifilm X-T4 – Best Runner UpBlackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4k

  2. How do I choose a camera for Filmmaking?

    When choosing a camera for filmmaking you need to consider the video recording resolution of the camera. You also need to choose a camera that has IBIS or in-body image stabilization. It will help you shoot quality footage easily. Other features such as LCD screens, memory slots, and budget are also important considerations.