The evolution of photography took a sharp turn towards high-grade still shots with the introduction of DSLRs and within no time, these cameras were ruling the photography sessions with their premium performance. Months after their widespread popularity and effectiveness in terms of usage in all types of gatherings like conferences, weddings, parties and ceremonies, people began to demand video capturing capabilities from them as well.
It wasn’t long before the companies realized the potential of another surge in the photography market income and began investing their efforts on the integration of video capturing capabilities within their cameras, be it the mirrorless cameras, camcorders or DSLRs, all of them began appearing in the market with photography and video qualities. Time passed and the video quality enhanced to 4k. People love to capture their photos and videos in very high-quality 4k cameras. Besides other filmmaking activities, nowadays, there is a huge demand for 4k vlogging cameras among the youtubers and vloggers.
4k, as we all know, is much smoother, sharper and color accurate but it doesn’t have to be a major investment if you are smart enough. With good research, you can find models from even renowned companies like Nikon and Cannon, which offer 4k filmmaking cameras at cheap rates.
It’s only that we have taken that role of effort-investing and have compiled the best models for your ease. This article will comprise of the details of the cheapest 4k cameras for filmmaking that is acceptable in terms of performance and reliability. The information of the cameras has been collected precisely and measured on the basis of customer reviews and technical blogs.
Top 3 Best Selling 4k Cameras On A Budget
Best Cheapest 4k Cameras For Filmmaking
So quit the wait! and have a look at the list of the best affordable filmmaking cameras available on Amazon. Many will be below $1000 with only a few above that range.
1. SONY Alpha A6300 (Best Affordable Filmmaking Camera)
This mirrorless camera initiates the list with a boom. Sony Alpha A6300 carries a classic black look with the company’s logo on one side and the lens on one side. With conveniently placed control buttons and high 4k video performance, this is a very good purchase.
Sony Alpha A6300 features a 24 Megapixel video camera with an improved working mechanism by the incorporation of copper wiring for greater light gathering and speed. The ISO range is 100-51200 which makes it a highly versatile option for differing light intensities. It is perhaps one of the most effective cameras for low-light conditions such as nighttime restaurants photography, fireworks celebration coverage and night drag racing capture.
One of the cheapest 4k Sony camera for filmmaking comes with a superior 4D focus system that can focus fast moving objects with precision. And This capability is further increased by 11 fps burst shooting option along with a slightly lower 8 fps option.
The main point of the inclusion of this model is its video capturing capability. It can shoot full HD and 4k videos in the Super 35mm format. Also, captures the frames at a mighty 6K quality and then downsamples it to a 4K resolution to create footage of highest quality. This process is claimed to be Sony’s success behind the provision of affordable yet top video-capable cameras.
It also includes a mic and a 3 inch non-touch screen which has a user-friendly interface whereby the user can twirl with contrast, brightness, and focus settings. The screen is however low in resolution and has to be switched to “Sunny Weather” for complete viewing in bright sunlight. The moisture and dust resistance quality also increases its utility along with the option of silent shooting which makes it highly capable of quiet or sensitive environments.
Sony A6300 comes with a battery life of 400 frames which is a long life. The camera also scores high marks in the department of handling. It is just the right size to be held in all hand sizes, has dials inaccessible range and a raised edge on the thumb rest. The shooting mode dial is hard the right amount. It can neither be turned easily mistakenly nor offers resistance when actually turning it.
It comes with a small tripod, screen protectors, card reader, and a cleaning kit.
2. Sony 4K Handycam Camcorder FDRAX33 (Best Filmmaking Video Camera Under $1000)
This camcorder delivers one of the best image stabilization capabilities in the camera and the prospect of getting it at a price tag of under $1000 makes the deal even sweeter.
This is a camera meant for video shooting because of its long frame and flip out screen. It features a 20 Megapixel 7.8mm sensor which is capable of taking high-quality pictures and one might think negatively about the small size of the sensor but Sony has compensated this for the excessively refined BOSS (Balanced Optical SteadyShot) system which is an image stabilization system that aids in taking focused pictures and recording videos even while you are walking or even pacing. This technology is yet to be integrated into the much expensive models.
It can record 4k video up to a high resolution of 3840x2160p at 24/30 fps and still shots in 6048x3400p. Such high quality capturing quality, when available at such an inexpensive rate, asks for nothing more but Sony, as always, has managed to deliver something extra for the customers.
It has a 0.24 inch EVF which makes the capturing job even easier. It has 9 shooting modes which include fireworks, night scene and snow and a shutter speed of range 1/8-1/10000 for taking shots according to the situation at hand. The screen is 3 inches and is touch sensitive, unlike A6300, and can be turned 270 degrees.
Another exciting feature is the Multi-Camera Control which allows the user to connect five camcorders via Wi-fi at the same time. This becomes extremely useful in parties and grand occasions when there are several spots to cover at the same time.
It incorporates Direct Pixel Readout which enables it to employ the entire width of the image sensor which results in smoother edges and greater color gradation.
It also contains a mic, self-timer options, 1960mAh battery and weighs only 2.65 lbs which are about 3 lbs less than the A6300. This camera is well suited for long sessions because of its weight but the internal memory is very less and it cannot store many of your videos and photos especially if you are shooting at 4k. An external SD card is a necessity for this model. Also, the sensor is small to create space for the BOSS system but it still manages to outrun many of its competitors. The control buttons are well placed and the settings on the screen are easily manageable.
3. GoPro Hero 7 (Best Camera For Filmmaking On A Budget)
With effectiveness crossing the barriers of land and jumping into the waters, this camera provides great video quality on the land and underwater. A typically classy product with some top notch features that are too good for the price!
GoPro Hero 7 has achieved handsome recognition on Amazon and rightly so.
It is adorned with a complete roundup of what a convenient, high-grade video camera must possess: image stabilization, picture quality, handling, and versatility. It may not be the most visually appealing camera out there but the inside takes it miles away from its beautiful competitors. The HyperSmooth feature stabilizes the image and video perfectly and even works at 4k shooting. It is an electronic scheme which crops the image by 5% and dissolves the edges of the picture to smoothen it up so that the camera has room to eradicate the shakes. It also manages the roller-shutter problem which is a vibrating effect that is encountered when capturing fast moving objects or still objects while running.
It can shoot 4k videos at 60 fps and 1080p videos at 240 fps. The HyperSmooth feature won’t function in the 4k capturing so you have to live with the stability of your hand. It offers a completely manual settings mode as well whereby you can control every setting including aperture, shutter speed, and ISO according to your liking. It also has a good battery life of about 2 hours on time-lapse video at 1080 p and 45 minutes at 4k shooting.
It also has a time warp feature which takes focused pictures while you are moving around an object or a scene and SuperPhoto mode that auto-balances the settings including the brightness, contrast, and noise reduction to capture intelligently adjusted pictures. It frees you from the hassle of altering the settings each time you take a photo.
The microphone quality has improved and it delivers a crisp and clear sound when connected with an external device like a guitar. It has a voice command feature which enables you to control the camera by specific voice commands like “GoPro, start recording”. When you are taking a selfie or are at a location were using both hands is not feasible like a mountain top or an unstable tree branch, this option comes in very handy. Along with this, the live streaming feature allows you to share the video or picture with your friends through the choice of social media platform and the resolution.
Combine this with the added capability of waterproofing. It is waterproof till 10 m so you can capture the moments under water and take tantalizing photos while diving, swimming and playing water sports. It contains a smaller 2-inch touch screen which can be regarded as a demerit and is notified by some customers to get hot on continuous 4k shooting. Apart from that, this is an epic piece with countless features that are very hard to beat at such price range.
Therefore, we suggest GoPro Hero 7 as the best budget camera for filmmaking.
4. Panasonic LUMIX FZ80 ( Cheapest 4k Digital Camera For Filmmaking)
How can Panasonic lag behind in camera’s list of any type; be it highly accessorized and expensively priced or moderately adorned with sufficient utilities at cheap rates, the company seldom disappoints its wide range of customers.
This camera delivers an improved 4k video capture mode along with a good optical performance, useful viewfinder, and autofocus capabilities. This stylishly manufactured model will provide you a combination of aesthetics and convenience.
It features an 18 Megapixel CMOS sensor which is not merely an increased resolution than its predecessor but has improved in performance as well. It captures sharper images with good color retention. The ISO range is 80-6400 and it is proven to work the best in low to moderately lit conditions. The most striking feature is the 60x zoom which performs with good effect at the majority of focal lengths. It can be used to highlights the minor features of an image like veins on leaves and pores on the skin. The lens is tested to perform excessively well between focal lengths 20mm-1200mm. It, however, shows frustrating distortion at the extreme ends of the lens and the image starts getting inflicted with abrasions.
It is furnished with Power O.I.S Image stabilization which works fine. It compensates the camera shakes and give clearer images even at full speeds and at high shutter speeds. It is capable of shooting 4k videos at 30 fps which is a new feature. It records them at a definition of 3840×2160 pixels at a bit rate of 100Mbit/s while it shoots 1080p videos at 28Mbit/s. The 4k video mode is used in conjunction with the 4k Photo mode which sets the focus points of your choice after the photo has been taken. You can shoot videos at 100 fps and 200fps with VGA resolution. The snap movie feature allows the user to record a slip ranging from two to eight seconds with the freedom to define the start and end positions for the focus. Other modes include Time Lapse and Stop Motion.
The 3-inch screen has a high resolution of 1040k dots and is touch sensitive which makes focusing ever so easy. There are options at one side for touch controls that include touch shutter feature, filter effect and many more. The viewfinder has improved also with a proportion of 4:3 so there are no dark edges.
It weighs only 1.36 lbs and is one of the most comfortable cameras to handle. It carries a snug grip and the rear thumb rest goes all the way down the right edge of the back side. The four-way controller adjusts the ISO, self-timer, white balance and drives modes. It integrates a built-in Wi-fi and USB 2.0 ports for connection with a smartphone or laptop. It doesn’t support UHS-II format and offers a 330 shot battery life.
5. Panasonic 4k Ultra HD Camcorder (Best Movie Making Camera Under $600)
This camera specializes in a seamless combination of 4k video shooting and in-camera 4k cropping tools that helps in the creation of a video which comprises of different angles and details.
This model is supported by 18.29 Megapixel CMOS sensor that not only captures high-quality pictures but manages to shoot 4k videos while conveniently integrating with the 4k image processor that works at 24 or 30 fps. The 4k editing options allow the user to perform in-camera cropping, pre-planning, and post tracking. Through these set of options, ultra HD and lively videos are captured that give no sense of destabilization as the focus is panned from one object to another because all of this is done before the video is captured. The post tracking option offers similar performance but after the video capturing. This intelligent technology has helped this camcorder to be rated highly among customers and camera enthusiasts.
It features a Leica Dicomar lens which is capable of being optically zoomed to 20x. It can also zoom up to 25x in 4k and 40x in 1080p formats. It is integrated with 5 axis image stabilization that works supremely well to give clearer and focused picture quality. It eradicates the effects of blurring while you are working without a tripod and would seldom need a stand for the purpose of stabilization with this model.
Another exciting feature is the Wireless Multi-camera which enables the user to do picture-in-picture recording by the employment of Wi-fi. Simply connect your camera with at most three smartphones and use two of them to record picture-in-picture videos of the same setting. It becomes a very fun activity with friends on hiking trips of adventurous outings. One of you can record the cascading waterfall from high mountains while the other can focus the scented meadows.
The HDR Movie Mode enhances the versatility of this camcorder. It can combine two pictures that are taken with varying exposure times and view them as a single video with good quality and sharp edges. This model weighs 1.65 pounds and is not very appealing in outlook but certainly sustains the effects of extended use. It is claimed by some customers that it does not perform very well in low light conditions and only works about 30 minutes when shooting 4k videos. Other than that, it provides a good battery life of about 01.5-2 hours on 1080p video shooting.
6. Panasonic LUMIX GX-85 (Low Budget Filmmaking Camera Under $500)
Panasonic introduced LUMIX GX-85 as a commendable amalgamation of affordability, functionality, and compactness. It integrates top-notch features in a small-sized and portable body.
Panasonic LUMIX GX-85 features 16 Megapixel Live MOS sensor with no low-pass filter but that provides better digital sharpness. It is fitted with Venus Engine processor that prevents distortion, color incorrectness, and aliasing effects and goes on to give a well-focused, contrast-balanced picture quality.
It is coordinated with Depth From Defocus technology that ensures quick autofocusing capability. LUMIX GX-85 is tested to focus an object in a small time period of 0.07 seconds and has shown a heightened improvement from its ancestor model. It includes Starlight AF mode that senses tiny differences in contrast and focuses the object efficiently. It comes with other focusing options like PinPoint AF, Full-area AF, Eye Detection and 49-Area mode that allows the user to choose multiple areas of focus in a single object.
It combines optical image stabilization with sensor-shift stabilization to offer a much competitive scheme of 5-axis image stabilization even at high resolutions of both video and photo formats including the 4k video format.
The lens can capture 4k videos of fixed resolution 3840x2160p at 21 and 30 fps and saves it in MP4 video format. It does this at a bit rate of 100Mbps which is the same as Panasonic FZ80 and 1080p at 20-28Mbps. It can continue to shoot 4k videos till the file size reaches 4 GB after which the nest file is created immediately without any playback delay. It also incorporates the live cropping feature in the 4k video which provides a seamless panning effect in videos and the freedom to set the start and end time for the planning to get desired movements.
The 4K Photo lets the user to extract still shots at 30fps from the 4k video so you can get the important part of the video after the video has been shot. Couple it with 4K-Light Composition Mode that captures brighter pixels in a single composition shot that gives an alluring coverage of nighttime scenes like fireworks or dazzling lighting.
It delivers an ISO range of 200-2560 so it is equally effective in low to bright light conditions. The camera allows the pictures to be taken in both RAW and JPEG formats. It contains a total of 22 vibrant filters that are adjustable in terms of settings and can be recorded simultaneously with an unfiltered picture.
This low budget 4k filmmaking camera also introduces a new electromagnetic shutter unit that has convincingly low vibrations because of the two-solenoid construction which makes it a highly likable option for sensitive environments like photo exhibitions and museum visits because of its quiet operation.
All of these options are packed in a small, easily handled body which is also durable along with a flip-out touch screen with very good touch sensitivity. The EVF is the same as the older model but it has an increased battery rating of 1025 mAH that gives a battery life of 290 shots. The built-in Wi-fi can be used for wireless transfer of files.
7. Nikon D7500 (Best 4k Video Shooting Camera)
You might be thinking why Nikon hasn’t featured in this list so here it is. Embellished with versatility in terms of usage in all conditions and environments, adorned with speed and recognized for easy handling, this piece sure soothes plenty of filmmaking photographers.
Let’s start with the lens. Nikon D7500 has a mighty 21 Megapixel camera that is great for taking landscape photos or portraits. This model is known to have a dream lens within the affordable price for photographers all over the world and is highly suitable for all lighting conditions with an ISO acceptable range that goes up to 12800. After that, the handling becomes increasingly difficult.
Nikon D7500 includes “zebra stripes” in a video that shows the points of overexposure. The autofocus quality is commendable and 51 AF sensors can capture jumping animals, flying insects and moving leaves with precision and appreciable sharpness. DX crop-sensor camera and the autofocus takes a wide area of the viewfinder. The Group AF option of the Nikon D7500 allows the user to track fast-moving subjects.
The 4k video shooting integrates a 1.5x crop which is unfortunate but the performance is quite good and accurate. The shutter gives 8 fps which means you can do wildlife and sports coverage effectually. It has the ability to focus the ball striking with the chest of the midfielder or the tail of the leopard/cheetah as it hunts the deer. Also has a flip out and tilting 3.2 inch LCD screen which is 922k dots and ergonomic.
The menu settings are easy to locate and understand. You can calmly switch between Effect modes, ISO settings, focus options, and flash. This model of Nikon is solid in built, comfortable in handling with an excessive number of on-body controls which is very convenient for many photographers. Nikon D7500 comes with a built-in Wifi and a good battery.
If we talk about the demerits of this Nikon D7500 model, they are not many. The first would be the cropping factor in 4k video shooting and the second is the low resolution of the rear screen but that doesn’t have to be widely considered because it is actually the lens we need to worry about.
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Last update on 2019-08-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API