Filmmaking can be an expensive activity, especially when you’re starting out, and you need to think about investing in equipment, software, and even things like hiring out locations, paying people, and more. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to the best camera for filmmaking on a budget.

Of course, you’re not expected to have a full rig from the word ‘go,’ but an essential piece of equipment you’re going to need is a camera. There’s simply no escaping it.

Today, we’re going to go through some of the best cameras available right now that help you get the best experience with your filmmaking ventures while helping you stay within a reasonable budget.

This way, you’ll have everything you need to capture the best footage you possibly can, all while future proofing yourself. So you don’t need to then buy another camera, ultimately making you spend more in the long run.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into it!

Best Camera For Filmmaking on a Budget

Yes, this is a list of what we think are the top budget friendly cameras for filmmakers, whether you’re just starting out or have a bit more experience.

First up, we have a tried and tested gem of a camera that I’m sure you would have come across before. Let’s get stuck in!

1. Panasonic HC 4K Camcorder

Panasonic has been an industry leader when it comes to video cameras for many decades, and this affordable, budget-friendly option gives you access to their premium quality features for a very reasonable price.

As you would expect, this camera comes with full 4K/60fps video recording, and even 4K still image capture modes.

One of the features that sets this camera apart from the rest is the tiltable EVF which measures in at 0.24-inches with 1,550K dot. You can even record with a cinema effect as standard using the 24p mode.

Don’t worry if you’re not using a tripod for all your shots; this camera comes with five-axis video image stabilization to ensure your footage is as smooth as that expensive butter that you can only find at your local farmer’s market!

With Panasonic’s leading auto-object tracking focus, smooth panning modes and state-of-the-art zoom technology, it’s safe to say this is a complete filmmaking experience in one compact device.

To make things even better, there’s even cinema effects built directly into the camera. This includes Slow Zoom mode, Dolly Zoom, which can be used to express actor expressions like confusion, surprise, and distress effortlessly, and a full Slow-Motion capture mode.

With the ability to store directly to an internal or external memory source, or use your camera completely wirelessly, this is one affordable filmmaker camera that’s entirely worth your attention.

Sale
Panasonic Full HD Video Camera Camcorder HC-V770, 20X Optical Zoom, 1/2.3-Inch BSI Sensor, HDR Capture, Wi-Fi Smartphone Multi Scene Video Recording (Black)
  • 20X Optical Zoom: Long 20X zoom draws in the scene from far away; Compatible with Remote Pan Tilt...
  • HDR Movie Feature: Exclusive high dynamic range feature suppresses blown highlights and blocked...
  • Wireless Twin Camera: Wirelessly connect your smartphone's video camera as a sub-camera for a...
  • 1/2.3 Inch BSI Sensor: The Back Side Illumination Sensor has a large effective area with 6.03M...
  • Remote Shooting/View: The "Panasonic Image App" lets you use a smartphone or tablet as a real time...

2. GoPro HERO7 Black

There’s no escaping the raw power of filmmaking that GoPro can put into your hands, and the latest HERO7 model is one of the best for giving you fully unlimited creative potential.

This particular model is the first to include the Hypersmooth Video Stabilization feature that helps your video achieve gimbal-like quality, without the Gimbal itself!

As you would expect, you can record your footage in full 4K at 60fps, with the still image resolution sitting around the 12MP mark.

You save directly to the internal SD card slot, send the footage over to your phone or computer via Bluetooth and WiFi, or you can stream live directly from the device.

There’s also no denying that GoPro gives you unlimited potential when it comes to what you can achieve.

Whether you’re recording action FPS shots, body shots, or basically kind of shot you want, GoPro can help you acquire it thanks to the endless number of accessories, mounts, and brackets that are available alongside the camera.

Of course, in true GoPro fashion, this is a highly portable device you’ll be able to take with you wherever you go, and its rugged design means it doesn’t matter what kind of set or environment you’re filming in, you know this is a camera that can survive the elements.

GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition with Two Extra GoPro USA Batteries + Sandisk Extreme 64GB MicroSD + Free Polaroid 16GB MicroSD (80GB Total)
  • RITZ CAMERA BUNDLE INCLUDES 5 ITEMS -- ALL BRAND NEW ITEMS WITH ALL MANUFACTURER-SUPPLIED...
  • GoPro Hero 7 Black Edition Camera, Sandisk 64GB U3 MicroSDHC & Polaroid 16GB MicroSDHC card, and Two...
  • Rugged + Waterproof: Share experiences you can’t capture with your phone. HERO7 Black is rugged,...
  • HyperSmooth: Get gimbal like stabilization – without the gimbal. HERO7 Black corrects for camera...
  • TimeWarp: Capture super-stabilized time lapse videos while you move about a scene. Increase the...

3. FUJIFILM X-T3

Although it’s a little more expensive than others on this list, we’ve chosen the FUJIFILM X-T3. While this is typically towards the higher end of most budgets, there are both new and used versions available that can help you cut the cost.

The X-T3 is a fantastic option because it comes with literally everything you need to produce films and many of the leading features you’ll find in more premium solutions, meaning you won’t have to buy a new camera for many years to come.

Inside this device, you’ll find an X-Trans CMOS 4 sensor which prides itself on its 26.1MP resolution and an incredible 3.69-million0dot high-resolution EVF.

This provides a truly impressive magnification ratio of 0.75x and movie recording of 4K up to 60fps.

This is everything a budget filmmaker will need to get started in the industry when producing high-quality films and video that make an impact on their audience.

The AF detection process is incredible on this camera, and each product comes with several accessories, including travel bags, shoulder straps, clips, and covers for each part of the camera.

While it’s important to note that this camera is the body only and doesn’t come with a lens, there are endless lenses out there for you to explore, making it easy for you to choose which one you need for your particular brand of filmmaking. Further optimising your experience without you having to pay for equipment you don’t want or need.

All in all, this is a complete budget filmmaker camera that easily goes above and beyond the call of duty of what you’d expect, and helps you ensure you’re providing yourself with the very best experience.

Sale
Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only) - Black
  • New 26.1MP X Trans CMOS 4 sensor with X Processor 4 image processing engine
  • 4K movie recording internal SD card 4K/60P 4: 2: 0 10bit recording and the first Mirrorless digital...
  • 2.16M phase detection pixels across entire frame and low light phase detection limits has been...
  • 3.69 million dot OLED color viewfinder with 0.75x magnification and blackout free burst shooting
  • 16 film simulation modes: Including eterna/cinema, B and w adjustment: 9~+9

4. Canon XA10 HD

No list of fantastic filmmaker cameras would be complete without a mention from Canon.

Canon is a staple manufacturer of cameras and camcorders. The first thing you notice about this camcorder is the futuristic design, with side mounted light bracket and shutter shield.

This camcorder is relatively small, but stacked with features and usability. A more professional offering that the FDR-AX53 we’ve featured elsewhere on the site in these guides – again, this camera is very portable. The touch LCD viewer is side mounted and foldable. Very handy.

This model has two phantom powered XLR ports, great zoom options and very useful mic and port controls. Frame rates for this camcorder are 60i, 30p and 24p for a good variety of flexibility to your videos.

This camcorder records with a CMOS sensor and has a x10 optical zoom and weight about 1kg.

You can adjust shutter speed, exposure and iris features whilst shooting footage. Face detention is included, with a focus assist which offers x2 automatic magnification for medium focus and resolution adjustments. This is all computer controlled for point and shoot capabilities.

Colour bars help adjust pic colour quality and sound tones have a dB setting for mic sensitivity, all via touch push on the LCD.

The camera has an internal flash RAM of 64GB and 2 SD/HC/XC media slots for expansion.

I really like the compact design of this more prosumer camcorder and it’s always popular with anyone who buys it.

A solidly built professional level camcorder that’s highly recommended.

Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder with 64GB Internal Flash Memory and Full Manual Control
  • 64GB internal flash drive and 2 SDXC-compatible memory card slots
  • Genuine Canon 10x HD video lens with 8-blade Iris and manual focus ring
  • Canon native 1920 x 1080 CMOS image sensor
  • Canon DIGIC DV III image processor
  • Dynamic SuperRange OIS with powered IS,Video Recording system MPEG4-AVC / H.264

5. Canon VIXIA HF Digital Camcorder

The manufacturers of the Vixia have spared no expense when it comes to this state-of-the-art device.

This compact yet highly functional camera has a stunning high optical performance rating with ultra-fast image processing and a FULL HD image quality thanks to the built-in CMOS Pro sensor.

Stunning images means your movies are guaranteed to look great!

Some of the outstanding features of this camera includes 20X optical zoom with a 35mm equivalent range of 26.8-576mm and even 15GB online file storage using Canon’s Irista file management service for free.

When it comes to affordable, high-quality filmmaker cameras, no one does it better than Canon. You know this is going to be video camera you’ll be able to use for years to come without the need to continually upgrade to ensure you have access to the latest features.

With the ability to be used anywhere safely, universal ports and mounts for all your headphones, microphones, and lighting attachments, there may not be any reason to look further than this!

Canon VIXIA HF R800 Portable Video Camera Camcorder with Audio Input(Microphone),3.0-inch Touch Panel LCD, Digic DV 4 Image Processor, 57x Advanced Zoom, and Full HD CMOS Sensor, Black
  • A 3.0-inch capacitive touch panel LCD screen that is bright and clearly visible, even outdoors in...
  • SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer helps correct camera shake quickly, so even handheld video taken...
  • The 57x Advanced Zoom allows you to create videos with dynamic variety, and is less likely to...
  • High-resolution HD CMOS Image Sensor features extra sensitivity that delivers beautifully lifelike...
  • Turn your VIXIA camcorder into a high-quality webcam using its clean HDMI output

Best Camera for Filmmaking on a Budget – In Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a vast number of budget-friendly cameras out there just waiting for filmmakers such as yourself to discover.

All you need to do is consider your budget and what you’re looking for in a camera and then simply choose which one is right for you!

We hope this article on best camera for filmmaking on a budget has helped you in making a camera choice.

Remember that whenever you think about spending money on film gear, that you do your due diligence and make a great choice. Our Buying Guides help you do just that.

Happy capturing!