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Editors Choice: If you’re in a hurry and in the market for a cheap and reliable camera under the $1000 price tag, the Canon EOS M50 is one of the best options.
You get a traditionally-designed, Dual Pixel CMOS autofocus camera. It shoots 4K UHD at 24fps video, Full HD 1080p at 60fps, and even 720p at 120fps.
There are numerous available options on the market that include kits including lens, microphones, and other essentials giving you everything you need to get started with filming your next project.
If you’re having a hard time finding the best, affordable professional cinema camera for filmmaking it’s probably because of the crippling price tag.
Locating a top-of-the-line camera that meets current cinematography standards involves over-priced bodies, expensive lenses, complicated lighting equipment, and much more.
Search long enough and you’ll discover that you can get the most bang for your buck without having to break the bank on a brand new camera model of the year.
Due to the ever-changing modularity and ergonomics of cinematic cameras, newer models hit the market every few months. But, some of the most versatile and popular cameras are the earlier models sold at cheaper prices.
The market frequently creates new models to keep up with the curve, but each upgrade isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker to shoot a great film.
Luckily, I put together a list of the best cinema cameras under $1000 in 2020 for beginners to advanced filmmakers, looking to get the best deal on an affordable camera.
1. Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera Body
A great, affordable option for your first cinematic camera is the Fujifilm X-T3 Mirrorless Digital Camera.
This classically-styled camera is Fujifilm’s first model to feature 4K/60P 4:2:2 10bit internal SD card recording.
If you’re in the market for a popular brand, the body itself can get you started with a manageable price. For this price, you get the ability to simultaneously record or backup video while monitoring 4K/60P footage.
The enhanced ISO performance creates a wider range of video capabilities like the 4K interframe NR function with a higher level of noise-identifying accuracy by using disparate data between adjacent frames.
The supported video formats include the universal H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and H.265/HEVC if you’re looking for more data compression, a necessary component of cinematic filmmaking.
4K/60 with high bitrate video
High-speed burst modes
|Overly-sensitive touch interface|
Lacks in-body image stabilization
Where to buy: Check the deals available on Adorama. You can often save a bunch if you buy a bundle that includes a lens, an SD-card, and more.
2. Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera
The Canon EOS M50 Mirrorless Camera is a versatile and lightweight camera with great, interchangeable lens capabilities.
You get high-resolution 4K UHD at 24fps video, Full HD 1080p at 60fps, and even 720p at 120fps for slow-motion capture.
The Canon EOS M50 includes the unique DIGIC 8 processor that provides high quality, 24.1 megapixels (APS-C) CMOS Sensor with ISO 100-25600 (H:51200). This gives the camera great quality and improved automatic lighting optimization.
Additional features include a 5-axis image stabilization for shake-free recording, BlueTooth, built-in flash, and external mic input. These are essentials for vlogging and when you’re first starting out in filmmaking.
|Dual Pixel CMOS AF|
4k video recording
|Few lens options|
Dual Pixel AF not compatible with 4K
3. Panasonic Lumix DMC – G85 Mirrorless with 12-60mm OIS Lens
The Panasonic Lumix DMC G85 16 MP is an affordable camera for the filmmaker on a tight budget.
You get a mirrorless camera with a 6MP MOS sensor and a sensitivity range from ISO 200 – 25600 suitable for numerous lighting conditions.
You get a handful of shooting speeds including 10fps with single-shot, 6fps with continuous autofocus, and 30 fps at 8MP with its 4K Photo Mode. Plus, you get UHD 4K video recording (3840 x 2160) with 30p or 24p frame rates at 100 Mbps.
It’s a heavy-duty design, built-in stereo microphone with a 2.36-dot electronic viewfinder, auto flash modes, and connectivity for external mics, HDMI, and WiFi.
|Great image quality|
High ISO performance and dynamic range
Fast and accurate autofocus
4K video recording quality and features
|Viewfinder low light adaptability|
Limited continuous autofocus in 6fps
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama, which includes a spare battery and a 64 GB SDXC memory card.
4. Z Cam E2C Professional 4k Cinema Camera
It’s always a smart idea to go with the cost-effective models of popular cameras like this aluminum alloy cinematic camera, the Z CAM E2C Professional 4K Cinema Camera.
A compact model of the Z CAM E2, this camera shoots UHD 4K at up to 29.97fps and or 1080p at up to 59.94fps.
The UHD 4K video is shot in MOV/MP4 format using H.265 for 10-bit color recording or H.264 supported 8-bit recording.
The Z CAM Cinema Camera supports REC.709, Z-Log2, FLAT, HLG, and records on SDXC Class 10 cards.
Easy use on gimbals
12-bit ProRes RAW recording
|No grip (needs a cage and handle like this one from Came-TV)|
Needs external monitor
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama.
5. Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Camera with XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ Lens – Silver
A versatile, compact design of the Fujifilm X-series, the Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Camera is an affordable option for any stage of the filmmaking process.
The speed of the quad-CPU X-Processor 4 increases read speeds when recording 4K video, and reduces the rolling shutter distortion if you’re filming moving subjects.
The F-Log gamma setting provides numerous advanced editing capabilities including image adjustments, highlighting tones, and 4K inter-frame noise reduction.
|Good autofocus and image quality|
Traditional exposure controls
Excellent 4K video
No in-body stabilization
Limited video clip length
Myke Thompson is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and humorist based out of Los Angeles. When he’s not working on his own projects, he supports other artists as a creative manager in music, art, film, and television.