This is my top 5 list for the best cameras under $3000. I have included a short spec list and footage shot from each of the cameras within my list. Of course this is my opinion. Not every camera will be perfect for you. Please let me know if you disagree with this list and what other cameras should have been in this countdown.
#5 Canon Rebel Series
The rebel series line of cameras has always been my number 1 recommendation for filmmakers and video producers just starting out. It’s a versatile camera that allows you to shoot clean video and capture beautiful still photos. The camera has a APS-C sensor and can record full 1080p HD. You have all the control over the ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture, which is a must in any video camera. Overall, I think it is the perfect beginners camera.
#4 Pansonic GH4
The GH4 can shoot 4K video and shoot 60 frames per second at 1080p. I think the GH4 is a great camera for beginners and freelance professionals who don’t mind the Micro Four-Thirds sensor. It pretty much offers the same features as the Rebel cameras. Just with the added plus of 4K and 60fps at 1080p.
#3 Blackmagic Cinema Camera
The BMCC is a very powerful tool. It can record 12-bit RAW video which is insane for a camera just under $2K. The camera also offers Proress and DNxHD formats, which are still great. The camera shoots in a flat profile for optimal control with color grading. However, I do not recommend this camera to beginners. The camera has a MFT sensor, which has a FPN (Fixed Pattern Noise). If you don’t take lighting seriously, this camera can be hard to work with. But if you know what you are doing, the BMCC can produce amazing images that can compare to RED.
#2 Canon C100
The most well rounded camera for video production. The C100 has built ND filters and two XLR audio inputs. So you don’t need to sync sound in post. The camera can shoot 1080p video at 60 frames per second.
#1 Sony a7S II
The a7S II is the most staggering camera on paper and in low light situations. The camera offers 4K video and can shoot 120 frames per second in 1080p. The ISO can reach up to 409,600. The camera is small enough for run-and-gun setups. You can easily take this camera on vacation with you. Overall, it’s a great camera if you are passionate about shooting video.
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