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Editors Choice: If you’re looking to spend under $1500 on a fair priced and reliable camera, the Lumix DC-GH5 might be one of the best options for you.
As one of the latest Lumix cameras on the market, you get a top-of-the-line durable camera with a great body design and familiar interface. It’s a great camera for extreme filmmaking in the wild or vlogging in your bedroom. The body is weatherproof and dust-resistant.
The GH5 comes with a 20.3 megapixel Mirco Four Thirds Live MOS sensor. It can capture 4K videos at a maximum rate of 60 frames per second without a time limit and no pixel binning. If you want to take a step back, capture Full HD video at 180 frames per second.
A small, but necessary additional feature is the full-size HDMI terminal which allows the camera to be pair with any standard filmmaking equipment.
It can be a tedious endeavor, searching everywhere for an affordable professional cinema camera whether it’s for amateur filmmaking, advanced cinematographer, or casual vlogging.
The exorbitant price tag on the latest cinema cameras creates a roadblock for all levels of the filmmaking process.
Finding a new camera that checks all the boxes for current cinematography standards involves factoring all the high-costs for bodies, interchangeable lenses, lighting, audio equipment, and more.
Pay attention to the features like the camera’s image sensor size, resolution, dynamic range, and color sampling in addition, to size
I put together a list of a few cameras that you will give you the most bang for your buck. These select few brands are not the cheapest on the market, but definitely are a reasonable step down from the thousands and thousands of dollars needed from most expensive cameras.
models to keep up with the curve, but each upgrade isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker to shoot a great film.
Check out the best cinema cameras under $1500 in 2020 for all levels of filmmakers searching for a great offer on an affordable camera.
1. Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC4K)
The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4k is one of the most popular, affordable cinema cameras for filmmaking. This camera has outstanding capabilities despite its size.
You get a next-generation handheld 4K digital film camera with all the professional-grade features of the more expensive and much larger cameras on the market.
The BMPCC4K has an 18.96 x 10 mm (4/3) CMOS image sensor with 100 to 25,600 ISO and 13 stops of dynamic range.
You can record HD using standard SD cards, Ultra HD in ProRes at 60fps, and RAW at up to 30 fps using UHS-II cards. CFast 2.0 cards are used for recording 12-bit RAW at all supported frame rates.
The camera’s design supports a few filmmaker must-haves like Micro Four Thirds lens mount, mini XLR input, Bluetooth, built-in microphone, and USB-C Expansion Port.
Dual native ISO
SD, UHS-II, CFast compatible
|No In-body image stabilization|
No electronic viewfinder
No continuous autofocus
Where to buy: We found this great deal available on Adorama, complete with a 64GB SDXC memory card and spare battery.
2. Canon XA40 4K UHD Pro Camcorder with 20x Optical Zoom Lens
If you’re looking for a step up your vlogging on YouTube, the Canon XA40 4K UHD Pro Camcorder with a 20x HD Optical Zoom Lens is the camera for you.
This model is great for cinematographers, and broadcasters looking to produce documentaries and journalistic productions. As a lightweight camera, it’s essential for mobile productions without the hassle of heavy, bulky equipment.
The Canon XA40 4K has a 1-Chip 1/2.3” 4K UHD CMOS Pro Image Sensor with 5352×3950 (21.14 MP) resolution.
You get the advanced DIG!C DV 6 Image Processor and top-quality 20x high definition optical zoom lens with a zoom range up to 23.6”/60.0 cm.
The 0.24-inch tilt-type color electronic viewfinder is a great plus. It provides a 100% field of view and 1.56 million dots of resolution.
|No mini-HDMI support|
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama with a free accessory kit including a Green Extreme BP-828 Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, SanDisk 64GB Extreme Pro UHS-I U3 SDXC Memory Card, and ProOptic 58mm Digital Essentials Filter Kit.
3. Sony A7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Digital Camera Body with FP R2 TTL Flash
Next, is the Sony A7R II Alpha one of the more durable cameras out there, with a compact, magnesium alloy body.
The A7R II includes a 35mm full-frame 36 x 24mm CMOS image sensor with a back-illuminated structure with approx. 42.4-megapixel and a maximum resolution of 7952 x 5304.
You get full-frame formatted 4K movie recording with the option to shoot in super 35mm format with no pixel binning or line skipping.
The 5-axis image stabilization provides excellent handheld shooting compatible with a variety of high-quality E-mount and A-mount lenses.
You get great precision with the automatic Fast Hybrid Autofocus that stands out from average AF in its efficiency, response, and detail.
|High-resolution full-frame sensor|
In-body image stabilization
In-camera 4K UHD recording
Great low-light performance
|Record button placement|
Low light focus
Low battery life
No touch screen
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama with a multi-device shoulder bag, cleaning kit, and 32GB memory card or this cheaper deal on Adorama, with the body only.
4. Canon XC10 4K Professional Camcorder
The Canon XC10 4K is a little limited in comparison to the Canon XA40 mentioned earlier on this list, but where one camera lacks the other one thrives.
The compact, lightweight, and versatile camera is a more affordable option if you’re in the market for a Canon camera. It’s a great choice for the newer generation of amateurs to seasoned professional videographers.
The Canon XC10 4K has a 1-Chip 1” CMOS Sensor with 4000×3000 (12.00 MP) resolution for recording in a compact form factor.
Additionally, this model supports slow-motion video recording and provides 2.1x more power with a removable battery.
|Great video quality|
No XLR audio input support
No dual pixel CMOS AF
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama, which includes a free camera bag, memory card, and cleaning kit accessory bundle.
5. Fujifilm X-T30 Mirrorless Camera with Fuji XF 50mm F/2 Lens
One of my favorite designs, the X-T30 Mirrorless Camera is a versatile, and compact design from the Fujifilm X-series. Like it’s predecessors, it’s an affordable option for filmmakers that can really give you a bang for your buck.
It’s a 26.1-megapixel camera with a 23.5 x 15.6mm CMOS sensor, and a maximum resolution of 6240 x 4160.
It shoots internal UHD 4K30 video at up to 200 Mb/s, DCI 4K30 and Full HD 1080p. The overall video performance is enhanced by the quad CPU X-Processor 4.
The quad-CPU X-Processor 4 speed increases when recording 4K video, and reduces the rolling shutter distortion while filming moving subjects.
An additional plus, the F-Log gamma setting provides a handful of advanced editing capabilities including image adjustments, highlighting tones, and 4K inter-frame noise reduction.
Decent image quality
Traditional exposure controls
Excellent 4K video
No in-body stabilization
Limited video clip length
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama with an XF 50mm F2 Lens or a much cheaper option with the body only.
5. Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Body With V-Log & Accessory Bundle
The durable design of the Lumix DC-GH5 is hard to beat. The magnesium alloy full die-cast frame is freezeproof, splash, and dust resistant making it equipped for any cinematic environment.
Within this durable camera is a 20.3-megapixel Micro Four-Thirds sensor with no low pass filter allowing you to capture sharp images with a dynamic range. The 5-axis dual image stabilization nearly eliminates lens and body shake with your 4K recording.
One of the camera’s best features is the UHD 4K video at up to 60 fps and the ability to record 4:2:2 10-bit files with digital camera initiatives and UHD 4k at 24/30 fps resolutions. You get great, detailed images with the high bit-rate recording without the unnecessary fuzz and distortion.
Easily connect your external monitors and recorders for a high-quality output with a full-size HDMI port. For storage, the camera comes with twin SD cards lots compatible with UHS-II and U3.
|Durability and design|
Great battery life
4K/60p video with no time limit
|Autofocus lag in video mode|
Where to buy: We found this great deal on Adorama with a V-Log firmware upgrade kit and an accessory bundle including a 128gb memory card and multi-device shoulder bag.
So that’s it. Did I miss any great cameras in this price range? Or do you feel there are better choices out there? Let us know in the comments below.
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.