How to Choose Your Beginner Video Camera (for Filmmaking)

Here at B&H, questions we tend to get
are specifically from parents who want to buy their son or their daughter their first video camera. But which one? In the age of digital, there’s just so many
options to choose from. It can feel a little overwhelming. Well, never fear B&H is here and we got you
covered. But first a brief disclaimer for all the pros
out there we know you’re probably mixing and matching your camera choices based on your
own creative styles or experiences. Please take note the following suggestions
are coming from a more general “good place to start” perspective. With that said, let’s get into it. As you begin your search the first question you want to
ask your student filmmaker is: Because video cameras are actually designed
with specific applications in mind. Once you figure out how they will use their
camera the options are much easier to narrow down For example, Journalism and event type shooting. This application is typically associated with
an on-the-run shooting style. Where you have no time to set up a shot you’re
dealing with low light or too much light. You have zero control of location or the subject. Well, there’s a camera for that. Prosumer Camcorders. Ergonomically designed to be handheld or shoulder
mounted. Prosumer camcorders have built-in features like autofocus, fixed zoom lens, audio inputs for microphones. Plus, they shoot in full HD or Ultra HD 4K
resolution. The video files small by nature, so you can
quickly manage your media, edit on-the-go and upload to social media quickly. These kinds of cameras include: The Sony PXW-X70,
Sony PXW-Z150 and the Canon XA15. YouTube Videos. Now this is a broad but trendy platform that
supports all types of video production. But, for our purposes let’s stick for a
popular form of video Vlogging. Commonly associated with steady mix of features
like the selfie mode, autofocus, slow motion, shallow depth of field and time lapses. Well there’s a camera for that: “Mirrorless
& DSLR Cameras. Mirrorless and DSLR cameras offer a variety
of image acquisition because they have larger sensor sizes and can shoot 4K. Resulting in really stunning cinematic images. Thanks to their small, compact size these
cameras can be used almost anywhere while doing almost anything that have Vlogger may
be doing. An articulating LCD screen makes shooting
your selfies much easier. Plus, these cameras can shoot high-res photos
with their time lapse transitions. Make it the perfect combo camera for your
student filmmaker. These types of cameras include: the Sony a6300,
Sony a7R III, The GH5 from Panasonic and oh the Canon 6D Mark II. Also, a good choice. Don’t forget, your GorillaPod. Documentary. Documentaries have been experiencing a bit
of resurgence last couple years thanks to streaming distribution platforms like Netflix
and Hulu. I think documentaries are the better for it. A good documentary camera is one that is ergonomic,
simple and robust. But, also offers cinematic image quality,
with pro level audio inputs. And there is a camera for that. Professional Camcorders. Larger image sensors, higher bitrates and
improved color space are all features of a professional camcorder. A larger image sensor, interchangeable lens
system or quality zoom lens built-in, with autofocus and image stabilization built in
are all what make this type of camera the ideal choice for documentary filmmakers. Because any given time, one can be doing an
in-depth interview or running around a crowded sports arena or baseball field. In documentary, you need to ready for anything. Therefor the cameras you want in your bag
include: The Canon C100 Mark II, The Sony FS5 and the Panasonic DVX-200. Drawbacks include, a little more expensive
and heavier to handhold. So, don’t forget a monopod. Narrative. Narrative filmmaking has no doubt transform
the age of digital. The core elements remain the same and only
a handful of cameras that can deliver the goods. Like resolution, color space, ISO performance
and raw acquisition. And you guessed it, there’s a camera for that:
Digital Cinema Cameras. Filmmakers at the highest level, use digital
cinema cameras because they can record in high resolutions like 4K/5K sometimes 6K. While shooting in a format called raw, which requires little to no compression of the images recorded. Providing the utmost room for post whether
it’s visual effects, or color grading. The native ISOs are always clean which means no digital noise in your shadows, phenomenal skin tones. I can go on and on. But, essentially, these cameras are mission-critical. Because they deliver the best-looking images
money can buy. So, if you want the best-looking footage on
campus next year, making all your friends green with envy, these are the cameras to
consider: The Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro. The Canon C200, the Sony FS7 and the
Panasonic AU-EVA1. Some drawbacks include, manual focus and exposure,
bigger file sizes. They require heavy expensive rigs and camera
crews to use them properly. A lot of cameras mentioned today can blend
between applications and genres of videos but, hopefully this helped guide you in
the right direction. And of course, there are always more things
to consider when purchasing your first video camera. We couldn’t cover them all. (I only get 4 minutes.) So, tell us about your first video camera
and how it worked for you. In the comments section below. I want to hear from you. This is Jake from B&H, just keep shooting!

Comments 44

  • Jake, beginner here. I want to film Stringer videos. I want to be able to shoot both daylight & night-time videos of First Responders in action. Your suggestions please. Again this would be my first video camera.

  • I think some of the current crop of bridge cameras are a viable option. The Panasonic FZ2500 is a great camera. Even the FZ300 produces some remarkable images.

  • Hey what are you shooting?

  • Very nice video.

  • Thank's so much
    That's was very helpful

  • the picture of fs7 actually is sony fs5

  • What about shooting weddings?

  • For now I have 3 xa11 for my events I use them in multi angle recorder, they are amazing.

  • All cameras are expensive for beginners or students.. I'm film making student from India.. started from Canon 60d and ended up with sony A7S ii.. suggest cameras that students can buy n can afford lenses as well

  • I know it is off topic but what would you choose to shoot/film sports like lacrosse? DSLR or video camera?

  • Do you have any suggestion for a dvx 200 similar camera but within the range of 2000 euros. It has to be used for corporate reportage, wedding and small documentaries. Thank you

  • 2:37 WHAT LENS is that ?

  • hey I'm a beginner filmmaker who wants to shoot short films but i don't have that much money (budget would be about £200 – £300). Are there any camera's you can recommend me?

  • I am a student and I want to make shortfilms.I cannot buy cameras of large amount.Please recommend cameras that I could buy.
    If there is any best quality camera under Rs.5000 or Rs 8000

  • Im not to sure what I want to film yet….I'm just getting started. Trying to allow myself to expirience all types of enviroments. What would be a good camera for that?

  • Love the video thanks for all the information 🙂 What camera would u recommend me for 3-4 hour podcasting and film making?

  • what do you think about the black magic pocket cam for weddings and events?

  • whats up, im 13 and I play the drums and Im considering filming myself while I play. I was thinking something in a medium price range and has good audio feedback. any suggestions?

  • Great video! Just what I needed, fast and informative. I am starting a new position and have been asked if I can create elearning videos for assembling a product (indoor mfg). As I see it, much like "How it's made" might be a good approach. I am working on my Masters in Instructional design so, that said, I am on a student budget, not a masters budget. I am thinking this would fall in your line of "narrative". Can  you suggest an affordable start for a student who needs everything?

  • This list is flawed or at least named inadequate. Not so many students can afford almost anything on your list.

  • So if i'm a beginner and I want to shoot short films, could i just stick with the Canon 6D MK II?

  • everybody has a different opinion about what's the best camcorder, but only you can decide what's best for you

  • What would you say is a good camera for under $2000 AUD (us $1,400) that i can use in low light and making short films ?

  • Are DSLR's (and mirrorless) still limited by recording time caps like they were a few years back? Honestly, I have found the quality of the output to surpass all but the priciest pro cinema cams for a fraction of the cost. But their penchant for shutting down every 12-15 minutes of filming made them tricky for uninterrupted live event recording or podcasting.

  • Can you make “ the Best Camera for musicvideo” or “the Best camera for handheld filmmaking”

  • Hi, great video, quite informative and concise (under 5min).

    Could you/anyone recommend me a camera which is an All-rounder and i can Grow with for a while. Being a beginner Filmmaker i am not quite sure which to favour either Photos or Videos as both of them are important for my craft/interests hence an All-Rounder camera (will also be good starting point & learning curve).
    As a beginner my budget is limited. However, if you could suggest me Best All-rounder cameras under $500, $1000 & $1500 and the respective Kit to go with, it would be a great reference point and really helpful.
    I have done my own research but your opinion on this would be of great value.
    Thank you.

    Note: I really appreciate you responding to the Comments even after having so many Subs (681K) and will still do even If you don't respond to mine.
    All the best
    Keep going.
    Love from India.

  • What is the camera I can buy to be used in shooting a save the date wedding video? Note that it must be price friendly. Thanks!

  • My first (and current) video camera is an entry level Panasonic HC-V360 Camcorder, which I bought in March 2017, with absolutely zero experience of film making. I had this burning desire to write a documentary series on the Japanese Shoguns, but when I realised I could get a very good beginner camcorder fror a little over $200 I decided to have a try at doing the whole thing by myself. Here it is:

  • No help at all

  • this list kinda sucks, I mean great cameras but this isn't a beginners list. I don't know a single film STUDENT who could possibly afford these. the cinema cameras were all in the 6,000s and up!

  • hey what about people who idk are broke

  • Here's a legit beginner list:
    iPhone or Galaxy
    Lumix G7
    Lumix G85
    Canon SL2
    Canon M50
    Panasonic FZ2500
    Sony A Series (6000, 6400)
    Canon xa10 and xa 15
    Used Lumix GH4

    Buy any of these used and you'll be in great hands!

    But remember… 80% of good video is good audio so make sure you've got that covered!

  • Can I use a camcorder for YouTube?

  • It smells like broke in the comments

  • Weird how people assume a beginner has to be a student or someone with no money.

  • What about music videos??

  • What can i get for 1500 – 1700 e ? I really like the cannon c100 and how the footage looks.

  • Any thoughts on a Canon m50 for a beginning filmmaker. I'm not a Vlogger or documentary type, just focusing on shorts first. Thanks all!

  • What camcorder would you suggest for capturing air displays by aircraft & also commercial rocket launches ? I’m an amateur at this & hence looking for something that’s easy to use & handle.

  • this list doesnt make any sense and so does the video ngl.

  • I like how you broke it down!!👍🏾

  • The best camera for all type of film making is

    The one you have in your hand

  • Tnx

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