The 6 Best Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000
Shopping for a great low-budget video camera for under $1000? Check out the following six noteworthy options — and their predecessors.
Top image via Sony.
Whether you’re an up-and-coming beginner or a seasoned professional, we all want to get quality footage at a fair price. If you’re on a budget, and you only have $1,000 to spend on a camera, these are the best options for you. From 4K mirrorless to tiny action cameras — here are six of the best filmmaking cameras under $1,000.
1. Sony Alpha a6300 —$748
Easily one of my favorite older cameras — based on its footage quality, body size, and price. The Sony a6300 captures 4K up to 30fps, and 1080 up to a whopping 120fps. It features one of the great Sony sensors, which means it still works well with minimal light.
I’d also suggest checking out the newer Sony a6500, which comes in at $1,198.
Sony a6300 Specs:
- 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor
- BIONZ X image processor
- XGA Tru-Finder 2.36m-Dot OLED EVF
- 3.0″ 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD monitor
- Internal UHD 4K30 & 1080p120 recording
- S-Log3 Gamma and Display Assist function
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
- 4D FOCUS with 425 Phase-Detect points
- Up to 11fps shooting and ISO 51200
- Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
2. DJI Osmo Pocket — $349
4K video up to 60fps in a tiny camera, with a built-in stabilizer, the DJI Osmo Pocket is not your traditional video camera. It’s a very small handheld stabilizer with a drone-sized camera. You can also attach your phone to use as a monitor.
It’s the smallest 3-axis stabilized handheld camera DJI has ever designed — much smaller than its predecessor (the DJI Osmo), which used the camera from the DJI Inspire drones.
DJI Osmo Pocket Specs:
- Gimbal camera with 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
- Compact 4.1 oz, 4.8″ high design
- Up to 4K video at 60 fps, up to 100 Mb/s
- 1 microSD slot (holds up to 256GB)
- Connects to smartphone via Mimo app
- 12MP JPEG or DNG raw still photos
- Includes lightning & USB Type-C adapters
- Optional Wi-Fi & Bluetooth monitoring
- POV, ActiveTrack, & FaceTrack modes
- Standard time-Lapse & motionlapse
- NightShot & Panoramic Modes
3. Canon EOS Rebel T7i — $579
A longtime favorite among budget DSLR video shooters, the Canon Rebel series has been used for countless YouTube channels, low-budget/no-budget music videos, wedding films, and more. The latest is the Canon EOS Rebel T7i, which captures 1080 footage up to 60fps.
Be sure to shop around for deals, as you can often find Rebel kits on sale. With just a quick search, I found T7i kits from $579 – $799. For additional savings, you can also search for used models — or previous builds like the T6i and T5i. You can find older models around the $300 range. Also, stay tuned for the T8i — later this year or early next year — and expect to see price drops in the not-too-distant future.
Canon EOS Rebel T7i Specs:
- 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- DIGIC 7 image processor
- 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle touchscreen
- Full HD 1080p video recording at 60fps
- 45-Point All Cross-Type Phase-Detect AF
- Dual Pixel CMOS AF
- Up to 6fps Shooting and ISO 51200
- Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, Bluetooth
- HDR movie and time-lapse movie
- Movie Electronic IS, Feature Assistant
4. GoPro Hero 7 Black — $399
A longtime go-to action camera, the latest GoPro Hero features 4K video up to 60fps, 2.7K up to 120fps, and 1080 up to 240fps.
For additional savings, without as many features, you can check out the Hero 7 Silver ($299), Hero 7 White ($199), or earlier models.
GoPro Hero 7 Black Specs:
- 4K60/50, 2.7K120/100, & 1080p240/200
- 12MP still photos with selectable HDR
- HyperSmooth video stabilization
- Direct live-streaming to Facebook Live
- TimeWarp stabilized time-lapse video
- Waterproof to 33′ without a housing
- Vertical portrait mode for social media
- Intuitive, smartphone-like touchscreen
- Face, smile, and scene detection
- 16-command voice control
5. Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 — $749
Panasonic has already moved on to the GH5 ($1497) and GH5S ($2197), which means you can save on the very popular GH4. New GH4 bodies start at $749, and you can find used cameras for around $400-$500.
Don’t let the old model number fool you; this is still a great micro 4/3 camera that captures quality 4K footage.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Specs:
- 16.05MP Digital Live MOS sensor
- DCI 4K 4096×2160 at 24p
- UHD 4K 3840×2160 at 30p/24p
- Full HD up to 60p
- 3.0″ 1,036k-Dot OLED touchscreen monitor
- 2,359K-Dot OLED live viewfinder
- Support for 59.94p, 23.98p, 50p, & 24p
- 4:2:2 8-bit or 10-bit HDMI output
- High-speed 49-point autofocus
- Magnesium alloy, weather-sealed body
6. Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K — $1,295
This one comes in just over $1,000, but it is one of the most popular new cameras, so if you can forgive us the extra $295, it’s worth mentioning. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K features a micro 4/3 sensor that can capture 4K up to 60fps.
If you need to stay under $1,000, look for the previous Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera. I found a few new ones for $899, and some used ones for around $500.
Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K Specs:
- 4/3″-Sized HDR sensor
- Record DCI 4K 4096 x 2160 up to 60fps
- Dual native ISO to 25,600
- 5″ touchscreen display
- Active micro 4/3 lens mount
- Records up to 120fps windowed HD
- CFast 2.0 & SD/UHS-II card slots
- External recording via USB Type-C
- 13-stop dynamic range, 3D LUT support
- Includes DaVinci Resolve studio license
This post was originally published on February 7, 2017. It has been updated to reflect changes to the market.
Cover image via Sony.
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