Three Cheap, Underappreciated Cameras Filmmakers Should Consider
Research demonstrates that in a crowded marketplace, sometimes your best options aren’t always the biggest, most expensive brands.
Fujifilm, Panasonic, and Olympus are quality, big-name manufacturers, but it feels more and more like Canon, Sony, and Blackmagic dominate the digital filmmaking camera market.
However, the fact of the matter is that we’re currently in the salad days of highly capable and highly competitive companies pushing out some great products at an absolutely insane rate. Gone are the days of year-to-year lulls between major announcements, and spec and price point breakthroughs — the game seems to be changing by the month.
So, while the allure of the latest headline is strong, it’s in your best interest to do your research and consider every option currently on the market. In fact, here are some good resources to consider:
- The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000
- The Best Mirrorless Cameras for Filmmakers and Videographers
- Camera Insights: The Best A-Cam and B-Cam Video Setups
But, before you pull the trigger, here are three affordable and highly regarded — yet underappreciated — digital cameras you should consider.
While they’re known for their photographic exploits and classic-film looks and style, Fujifilm has quietly released one of the best filmmaking cameras of the past year. With a 26.1 megapixel APS-C format sensor and internal 4K 10-bit video recording at 60 fps, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better specs without jumping up to a much higher price range.
- 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 Sensor
- X-Processor 4 with Quad CPU
- UHD 4K60 Video; F-Log Gamma & 10-Bit Out
- 2.16m-Point Phase-Detection Autofocus
- 0.75 x 3.69m-Dot OLED Viewfinder
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Tilting LCD Touchscreen
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi; Sports Finder Mode
- Weather-Sealed Magnesium-Alloy Body
At $1,199, including a stock f/3.5-5.6 12-60mm lens (here’s a great article on why you should use and love your stock lens), this micro four-thirds mirrorless Lumix is a surprisingly comparable alternative to Panasonic’s popular GH5 and GH5s options. A 20.3 megapixel sensor that pushes 4K UHD up to 30 fps with V-Log recording pre-installed for 12 stops of dynamic range, makes the G95 worth your consideration.
- 20.3MP Digital Live MOS Sensor
- Venus Engine Image Processor
- UHD 4K30p Video, Pre-Installed V-Log L
- 5-Axis Sensor Stabilization; Dual I.S. 2
- 0.74x 2.36m-Dot OLED Viewfinder
- 3.0″ 1.24m-Dot Free-Angle Touchscreen
- Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi Connectivity
- Lumix G Vario 12-60mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
Another solid micro four-thirds mirrorless camera on the market, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II (rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?) is one of the better low-light cameras for its price point, with great auto-focus technology and a comparable sensor size (20.4 megapixel) with 4K DCI up to 24 fps and UHD up to 30 fps.
- 20.4MP Live MOS Sensor
- TruePic VIII Dual Quad Core Processor
- Micro Four Thirds System
- 2.36m-Dot LCD Electronic Viewfinder
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen
- DCI 4K/24p & UHD 4K/30p Video Recording
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization
- Dual F.A.S.T. 121-Point Autofocus System
- Weather-Sealed Construction
Cover image via Fujifilm.
Want more camera buying resources and filmmaking insights? Check out some of these articles:
- Industry Interview: DJ Stipsen, DP of “What We Do in the Shadows”
- Where to Find Vintage Lenses (and Tips on How to Use Them)
- The Best Power Options for the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
- Efficiently Lighting and Shooting Product Shots for YouTube
- 7 Tutorials on Adding The “Cinematic” Look to Your Videos