If you’ve ever set out to blaze a trail by shooting your own short film, you’ll know that your camera choice is a huge part of your project. Have you ever wondered what the best camera for making short films is?
As a novice filmmaker, one of the first stepping stones for honing your skills is making short films. Thanks to their short length and less complex nature, you can make a short film faster and for cheap. The benefit of this is getting to learn more about filmmaking.
A short film, though, is the same as any film. It requires the right equipment to make it.
You can have the best idea, script, actors, and crew, but if the tools you’re using to make the film aren’t up to par, you won’t be able to bring your vision to life.
Best Camera For Short Films – In Brief
While many tools are required to make a good short film, the most essential is the camera.
Film, after all, is a visual medium. Therefore, if you don’t have a good camera to capture what’s on the screenplay, the project is doomed from the start.
This raises the question, “What camera should I buy to make short films?”
To that, we answer, it depends. What we mean is that there is no overall best camera but several options to choose from. The choice you make has to reflect your needs and what you want to accomplish.
That’s why we compiled a guide on the best cameras for making short films. We’re going to be talking about the things you should consider before buying one. We’ll also discuss the things a camera should have and finally recommend some of our favorites.
Best Cameras For Short Films – The List
For this list, we are considered all types of cameras with a balance between budget and features. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
At first glance, the Black Magic Design Pocket Camera 4K looks deceptively like point and shoot camera. However, this camera is anything but that. In fact, it boasts some impressive features that’ll have any beginner filmmaker interested.
The camera isn’t a full-frame but instead has a 4/3 image sensor which sits in between the two most popular sensor formats. It’s closer to the fidelity of the full-frame but has the slim design of a cropped frame.
Either way, it gives impressive image results.
The BMPCC has a large 5-inch LCD. This will help you frame your scenes better and aid your autofocus. The camera also excels in low-light situations.
Therefore, it can capture colors naturally in your footage. Another benefit of owning this camera is its slim design and compact nature, which makes it portable.
Additionally, the camera is encased in a carbon fiber body which helps make it feel premium.
You’ll also get 4 mics which will help record better audio. The camera can shoot in 4K, as advertised, at 60fps. This makes it convenient for a quick shoot. The controls are simple and easy to use.
Overall, the Black Magic Design Pocket Camera 4K is a most solid choice for beginner filmmakers. Thanks to its compact design, video capabilities, and ease of use.
- Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K - Battery (Canon LP-E6 Type) - Lens Turret Dust Cap - 30W...
- Full size 4/3 sized sensor with native 4096 x 2160 resolution sized sensor.
- Compatible with extremely high quality Micro Four Thirds lenses.
- Super wide 13 stops of dynamic range allows capture for high end feature film look.
- Up to 25600 ISO for incredible low light performance.
Plenty of film students and filmmakers will tell you that the first camera they used to shoot films is the Panasonic Lumix GH5. You might be wondering why.
Well, this is a mirrorless camera. Unlike DSLRs, these babies are slimmer and lighter, which makes them easier to carry around. You can already see why filmmakers like this one.
Additionally, the Four Thirds sensor stands at 20.3MP. The camera can shoot Cinema 4K at 60fps, which is more than anyone can ask for.
The camera is also equipped with a 3.2-inch vari-angle LCD which makes framing shots easier.
The camera is also weather sealed. This makes it easy to use in all conditions and possible scenarios.
In addition, you’ll have dual SD card slots and an HDMI output. Furthermore, you can choose from a wide variety of lenses and accessories.
The final selling point of the Lumix GH5 is its reasonable price, especially for a 4K camera. With all this said, it’s easy to see why filmmakers start with this one. Moreover, it’s also easy to see why you should too.
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Nikon is a juggernaut of the photo and video industry which is why it won’t surprise anyone when we say that the D850 is an excellent DSLR camera.
In fact, we believe it’s one of the finest DSLRs to use for making a short film. And that might be a rather controversial statement considering Nikon is often looked down open in the videography world, especially compared to its more traditionally video-friendly nemesis, Canon.
The D850 is a versatile camera. First of all, it has a full-frame sensor which sets above and beyond the competition. What does it bring to the table for filmmakers? You may ask. Well, let’s see.
For one, the full-frame sensor is 45.7MP. Combine that with the ability to shoot full HD at 60fps or 4K at 30fps, and you got yourself one very powerful DSLR. Additionally, it’s great at shooting action and fast movement, thanks to its XQD flash memory.
The D850 also has a feature that’s exclusive to Nikon. It can transfer files via Bluetooth, thanks to Nikon’s Snapbridge 2.0 wireless connectivity system.
This makes transferring files a quick and painless experience. The camera also has one impressive 53.point autofocus system, which allows for consistent clarity and focus.
Overall, the D850 is probably the best choice for filmmakers who want to use a DSLR to shoot their short films.
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Fujifilm started as a still photography manufacturer. They switched gears towards multi-purpose cameras that feature video capabilities, with much greater success in recent years.
They’ve own over both photographers and videographers. The Fujifilm X-T30 might be even more satisfactory to the latter.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is equipped with a dual-focused 26.1-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor.
This sensor allows for impressive Ultra HD and a decent 4K video shooting at 30fps.
The kick comes when you factor in the plethora of features that add to the quality of the footage you can take with this camera.
The X-T30 will be a breeze to use for beginners, thanks to its advanced autofocus system. Filmmakers can also experiment with several lenses to get the best possible coverage.
Another impressive feature here is the Fujifilm F-Log Gamma which adds another layer for those interested in color grading.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is a wise investment as it doesn’t cost much and has enough accessory support to last for years. This makes it a perfect camera for beginner filmmakers.
This is a brilliant camera for those starting with mirrorless videography that won’t put you back too much and can stay in your arsenal for years as you upgrade later.
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This DSLR comes equipped with an APS-C CMOS Sensor. There’s a 3-inch tilting touchscreen that makes menu access and framing much easier. It’s also compatible with all Canon EF-S lens mounts.
More importantly, this camera can shoot in full HD and 4K. It’s also decently priced, which is great news for new filmmakers on a budget. The SL3 design is compact and light, considering it’s a DSLR. This makes it easier to carry, which is perfect for filmmaking.
This is really one of the best interchangeable lens cameras for beginners ever made. The autofocus system is robust and will ensure the camera will stay focused on the subject during movement.
Overall, the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is a solid DSLR for novice filmmakers. Thanks to its video capabilities, compact design, and low price, the camera is a good choice for anyone looking to sink their teeth into filmmaking.
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Sony’s offering is an interchangeable lens mirrorless camera that can actually fit in your pocket. The A6500 is an affordable camera with plenty of impressive features and horsepower under the hood.
The camera is equipped with an APS-C sensor. While that may not impress as much as a full-frame, this camera has a lot going for it.
For one thing, the camera’s tiny size helps with portability. It also makes it incredibly easy to mount on a gimbal.
In terms of performance, the A6500 packs just as much of a punch. For one, it can shoot in 4K.
In addition, you have a 120fps slow-motion mode. You’ll also get built-in image stabilization which makes it easy to do handheld videography.
The color tone for the A6500 is flat. This makes it easy to color grade during post-production.
With all of these things going for it, you can see why the Sony A6500 is a great choice for novice filmmakers looking for a first camera.
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Best Camera For Short Films – Buying Considerations
Let’s take a look at some of the primary purchasing considerations you’ll need to make when contemplating buying a video camera for your short films.
This is the number one consideration anyone should make. Even great filmmakers have to consider the budget first. When it comes to cameras, you’ll want to balance features with price.
For instance, you could be more interested in shooting action-heavy sequences. This calls for an action camera with advanced autofocus systems and image stabilization. These cameras will cost more than a basic interchangeable lens camera.
Do you want your short film to have the same quality as the latest theatrical releases? You should consider 4K capable cameras, which will cost more than a full HD camera.
Ease Of Use
filmmaking can be stressful. Therefore, a big part of production is problem-solving. One area where you don’t want any trouble is your camera.
It must be easy to use, especially for beginners. Handling must be comfortable since you’re going to spend a lot of time with it.
Pay attention to controls and menus. They should be streamlined and easy to reach and figure out. It should be relatively simple to access sound settings, exposure, and white balance.
Additionally, make sure the format your camera records in is compatible with the editing software you invested in.
You have no idea how many beginners get great footage to find out the format is incompatible with their paid software. This ends up setting them back a few more hundred dollars for compatible software.
We’ve established many times that there are two popular formats here. Full-frame and APS-C or cropped sensor. Forget about the latter, you’ll want a full-frame if you’re planning on making films.
Full-frame offers superior quality, more detailed, and sharper images. Additionally, it performs better in low light situations which will likely be the case for a novice filmmaker.
Since you’ll likely not spend a lot on lighting equipment, this sensor will do some of the heavy lifting.
if you’re shooting static scenes with no camera movement, set your camera on a tripod. If you plan more dynamic shots, get a camera stabilizer like a gimbal.
If you can’t afford either, make sure the camera has a built-in image stabilizer common in cameras nowadays.
Finally, make sure that your camera has an external mic and headphone port. This will help you capture better audio and listen to what you are recording. Sound is critical, so don’t skimp on this aspect.
Best Camera For Short Films – Wrapping up
This concludes our guide on the best Cameras for making short films. Hopefully, by now, you’ll have gained a better idea of what type of camera you want.
Remember that as long as the camera is within your budget, has lens and accessory support, produces high-quality video, and is easy to use, it’ll be perfect for you.
Additional features like 4K, digital (not accessory) stabilization and cinema modes are just luxuries that come with a higher price tag.
You can make a wonderful short film on any of the cameras we listed. So check them out, find the camera for you and make your film.
We hope you’ve found our guide on the best camera for short films useful in your quest to find a great camera to shoot your short with.
How have you found the process of producing short films? Let us know your experience in the comments just below here.