There’s no scarcity of wonderful video cameras in the marketplace immediately, however one mannequin has generated extra hype than some other: the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K. With Blackmagic Design’s Hollywood pedigree, the Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K brings skilled options to an approachable finances, doing greater than some other digital camera to democratize high-end digital movie manufacturing.

We’ve spent over a decade reviewing a whole bunch of cameras — from DSLRs to cinema cameras to motion cameras, over 325 critiques in all — however solely previously couple of generations of cameras have we seen skilled filmmaking options trickle right down to amateur-friendly costs. The Blackmagic PCC4K blew us away with its excellent 4K video high quality, RAW and ProRes file choices, its beautiful 5-inch touchscreen, and surprisingly user-friendly interface. It prices 1000’s lower than different cinema cameras, and is cheap sufficient to offer beginner filmmakers an opportunity to dabble in high-quality, skilled 4K video manufacturing.

It’s hardly the one good selection, nevertheless. Mirrorless cameras from Panasonic proceed to push the envelope of what hybrid nonetheless/video cameras can do, whereas compact camcorders — though not as standard as they as soon as had been — provide good worth for the appropriate purposes.

At a look:

Greatest video digital camera: Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K

Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Why must you purchase this: Skilled cinema high quality at an enthusiast-friendly worth.

Who’s it for: Pupil, aspiring, {and professional} filmmakers.

Why we picked the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K:

Blackmagic Design is on a mission to democratize skilled high quality movie manufacturing and the Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K is its best weapon in that struggle but. It significantly extra inexpensive than different cinema cameras, and even cheaper than many hybrid mirrorless cameras that lack its high-end video options. It’s constructed across the Micro 4 Thirds system and makes use of a really comparable sensor to the one discovered within the Panasonic GH5S mirrorless digital camera (a digital camera that prices about twice as a lot). Blackmagic has taken issues a number of steps additional by together with skilled filetypes like Apple ProRes and even RAW video which may be recorded to SD or CFast playing cards, or on to an exterior stable state drive (SSD) over USB 3.

The digital camera incorporates a beautiful, 5-inch, Full HD show that’s maybe one of the best built-in monitor we’ve ever seen. The contact interface can be brilliantly designed and gives a surprisingly easy interface for such a sophisticated digital camera. Add to this the superior audio inputs and controls, together with each 3.5mm and mini-XLR, and also you’ve acquired the whole lot you might want to make your subsequent blockbuster.

Designed for skilled film workflows, the Pocket Cinema Digicam doesn’t provide the creature comforts of a contemporary hybrid digital camera. Autofocus is sluggish and infrequently inaccurate, and there may be nothing just like the face or eye-tracking autofocus discovered on mirrorless cameras from the likes of Sony and Panasonic. It’s additionally designed to be a single element inside a bigger rig, and lots of operators find yourself spending a whole bunch of not 1000’s extra on equipment to totally equipment it out. Even so, no different digital camera supplies such a superb start line because the PCC4K for filmmakers who need the highest quality on tight budgets.

Blackmagic Design not too long ago launched the Pocket Cinema Digicam 6K, an improve over — however not a substitute of — the 4K model. At $2,495, it’s costlier, however it gives a bigger Tremendous 35 sensor and Canon EF lens mount. It would discover its manner into future variations of this text after we have now an opportunity to check it.

Learn our Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K evaluate

Greatest 4K camcorder: Sony AX700


Why must you purchase this: Lovely 4K footage from a big, 1-inch sensor and brilliant zoom lens.

Who’s it for: Those that aren’t afraid to drop some money for nice picture high quality.

Why we picked the Sony AX700:

Sony’s 1-inch-type sensors have dominated the compact digital camera marketplace for years, and whereas those self same sensors are newer to video cameras, they’re no much less spectacular right here, providing superior picture high quality to the standard 1/2-inch or smaller sensors present in camcorders. The bigger sensor within the AX700 gathers extra gentle than camcorders with smaller sensors, bringing a severe picture high quality increase. Mixed with the S-Log flat colour profile, severe shooters can protect extra dynamic vary to push the publicity and colour additional in publish.

The bigger a sensor is, the tougher it’s to place a protracted zoom lens in entrance of it, however Sony nonetheless managed to tack on a 12X zoom to the AX700. The f/2.8-4.5 aperture is brilliant for the class, working along with the bigger sensor to enhance picture high quality in low gentle scenes. On the flip aspect, a built-in impartial density filter will help when the environment are too brilliant, serving to to maintain the shutter pace down in order that video doesn’t look jittery.

The sensor and lens work along with a 273-point section detection autofocus for smoother focusing with extra correct topic monitoring. 4K video is recorded at 100 megabits per second, not as excessive because the likes of the Blackmagic PCC4K, however larger than the typical consumer-grade video digital camera. Extra capabilities like HDR (excessive dynamic vary) mode, 960-frames-per-second tremendous slow-motion, and a scorching shoe connection spherical out the characteristic set.

On the outside, the digital camera gives a handful of handbook controls together with a multi-function lens ring that may management focus or zoom. Twin SD card slots permit for loads of storage and uninterrupted recording.

The worth is a bit steep for a lot of consumers, however proper in line for the category. Canon’s competing Vixia HF G60 is a barely extra inexpensive different. It additionally gives a 1-inch sensor, however with a fair longer 15X zoom and the identical f/2.8-4.5 aperture. It lacks the tremendous slow-motion mode and another superior options of the Sony, nevertheless.

The very best video digital camera for YouTube: Panasonic Lumix GH5

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Review
Hillary Grigonis/Digital Traits

Why must you purchase this: Wonderful video high quality and audio high quality, nice stabilization.

Who’s it for: Critical videographers that need the flexibleness of a number of lenses and high-quality 4K video.

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix GH5:

On the planet of hybrid nonetheless and video cameras, no identify is healthier recognized than Panasonic Lumix. The GH5 is the newest mannequin within the extremely lauded GH line that brings skilled filmmaking options to a recognizable mirrorless digital camera physique. What separates the GH5 from would-be rivals is its video high quality: 10-bit 4:2:2 video in 4K decision at as much as 400 megabits per second. Most different cameras want an exterior recorder to even get near that, however the GH5 can do it proper to an SD card.

What’s extra, not like most mirrorless cameras and DSLRs, the GH5 locations no time restrict on how lengthy you possibly can report; need to go on a long-winded rant in your rabid YouTube followers? You are able to do that. Must report an hour-long interview in your podcast? No drawback.

Rounding out the listing of options is a 5-axis inside stabilization system that retains your handheld footage easy. A 180-degree articulating monitor means you possibly can maintain observe of your framing for any selfie pictures, whereas high-quality preamps maintain audio crisp and clear when utilizing an exterior microphone. When you don’t want stabilization and need much more emphasis on video high quality, try the extra superior GH5S, which makes use of the identical sensor because the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Digicam 4K.

Learn our full Panasonic Lumix GH5 evaluate

Greatest video digital camera for journey: Sony RX100 VII

sony rx100 vii best point and shoot gets better lifestyle featured

Why must you purchase this: 4K video and glorious autofocus in a compact bundle

Who’s it for: The intense client that desires stable video high quality with out spending a fortune.

Why we picked the Sony RX100 VII:

The seventh iteration of Sony’s class-defining RX100 brings a wealth of superior options to the compact digital camera. Not solely does the RX100 VII provide probably the most spectacular video characteristic set of any compact digital camera, it additionally occurs to excel at nonetheless photographs, providing you with a one-size-fits-all system for journey. It makes use of a 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor (the identical bodily dimension because the AX700 above) matched with a quick Bionz X processor for detailed photos and quick efficiency. The 24-200mm, 8X zoom lens isn’t lengthy in comparison with the camcorders on this listing, however it’s a powerful quantity of vary for a digital camera that may simply slide right into a jacket pocket.

4K video may be recorded at both 30 or 24fps, Full HD 1080p as much as 120fps, and tremendous slow-motion as excessive as 960fps at decrease resolutions. Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and S-Log profiles are additionally included for capturing extra dynamic vary and creating video appropriate for playback on HDR televisions.

New to the Mark VII is Sony’s Actual Time Monitoring and Actual Time Eye AF focusing expertise. First launched within the firm’s high-end mirrorless cameras, this makes use of synthetic intelligence to trace transferring topics and maintain them tack-sharp — in each nonetheless and video modes. Additionally new is a microphone jack (lastly) that means that you can join exterior microphones for higher audio high quality. All of those options imply the RX100 VII doesn’t come low cost, however not like conventional point-and-shoot cameras, it’s constructed to final and needs to be considered as an funding.

Greatest video digital camera for sports activities: Canon Vixia HF R800

best video cameras canon vixia hf r800 2

Why must you purchase this: File a complete little league recreation with sufficient zoom to stand up near your favourite participant.

Who’s it for: Anybody who needs lengthy zoom and recording occasions that they’ll’t discover on a smartphone.

Why we picked the Canon Vixia HF R800:

The Canon Vixia HF R800 might not have 4K or an enormous sensor, however it has a 32x zoom lens on the entrance that may be expanded all the way in which to 57x utilizing a sophisticated digital zoom possibility. Its 1080p HD at 60 fps video isn’t going to win any contests for picture high quality, however it’s a superb video digital camera for recording household recollections and outings.

Regardless of the value level, the HF R800 brings rather a lot to the desk. Dynamic picture stabilization controls digital camera shake on three completely different axes, sluggish and fast-motion choices can create slow-motion or time-lapse sequences, and the Spotlight Precedence Mode will maintain clear skies and different brilliant objects correctly uncovered.

The HF R800 additionally makes use of a contact display screen and shops video to SD playing cards, however in order for you built-in storage, take a look at the marginally pricier Canon Vixia R82 or R80. Arguably, one of the best half in regards to the R800 is its low worth.

The very best motion digital camera: GoPro Hero7 Black

gopro action cam amazon walmart deals hero 7 black

Why must you purchase this: Nice picture stabilization and 4K/60p video.

Who’s it for: Anybody with a love for POV movies or who wants a digital camera sufficiently small to suit anyplace.

Why we picked the GoPro Hero7 Black:

Motion digital camera is turning into a deceptive title. These tiny cameras can be utilized in a a lot wider number of settings than the identify entails, from nabbing excessive sports activities pictures to recording Netflix-level films. From point-of-view pictures to automobile interiors to different tight spots the place conventional cameras received’t match, the GoPro Hero7 Black can deal with something you possibly can ask of a such a small digital camera.

Whereas GoPro is seeing extra competitors than ever earlier than, its latest flagship maintains the sting due to unimaginable digital picture stabilization that’s merely one of the best we have now ever seen. The digital camera additionally incorporates a new TimeWarp mode that creates easy time-lapses much like Instagram’s Hyperlapse app.

Constructed across the identical GP1 customized processor launched within the Hero6, the Hero7 Black data 4K video at as much as 60 frames per second or 1080p as much as 240 for slow-motion playback. The person interface, which was already considered one of our favorites, has been redesigned to make it extra user-friendly. GoPro additionally added native live-streaming so customers can share their adventures in actual time with associates and followers world wide, one thing that beforehand required third-party instruments.

Learn extra on the GoPro Hero7

The very best digital camera for stills and video: Panasonic Lumix DC-S1

Panasonic Lumix S1
Daven Mathies/Digital Traits

Why must you purchase this: Full-frame nonetheless photographs and cinema-quality video in a single digital camera.

Who’s it for: Lovers and professionals who need one of the best of each stills and video.

Why we picked the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1:

We put the Panasonic Lumix S1 on the prime of our listing of the finest mirrorless cameras, and for good cause. The primary full-frame digital camera from Panasonic, it simply exceeded expectations due to its 5.7-million-dot digital viewfinder, seemingly bulletproof construct high quality, and nice picture high quality from the 24MP sensor. It is a mirrorless digital camera like we’ve by no means seen earlier than, and, being a Panasonic, it additionally incorporates a bunch of high-end video options.

Firstly, it may well report 4K video at as much as 60 fps (30 and 24 are additionally supplied) with elective HLG mode for producing content material for appropriate HDR TVs. But it surely will get higher with the assistance of a paid firmware replace that unlocks extra video energy, together with larger bitrates, 10-bit 4:2:2 inside recording, and the V-Log colour profile — the identical one used on Panasonic’s Varicam line of cinema cameras. Meaning higher dynamic vary and extra flexibility in publish for anybody who needs to get into the nitty gritty of colour grading.

However in the case of potential alternate options to the Lumix S1, there’s a wildcard within the combine: the Nikon Z 6. With an identical 24MP, full-frame sensor, the Z 6 is a succesful nonetheless digital camera that’s each smaller and cheaper than the S1. By default, it doesn’t fairly match the S1’s video capabilities, however an upcoming firmware replace will carry RAW video to the Z 6 — a primary for a hybrid mirrorless digital camera. That’s an intriguing proposition for high-end video shooters, however till we have now the possibility to check it, the S1 will safely maintain down its place on this listing.

Analysis and shopping for ideas

Why ought to I purchase a video digital camera as an alternative of utilizing my cellphone?

In fact, not everybody wants a devoted video digital camera anymore; our telephones have nice cameras in them which are adequate more often than not. There are a couple of key the reason why it’s your decision a standalone digital camera, nevertheless.

Zoom lens

Your cellphone might have two (or 5) lenses constructed into it, however in case you want the flexibility or attain of a protracted zoom, a camcorder is your finest guess. Not solely does this provide the capability to movie topics which are farther away, however camcorders additionally use powered lens motors that present a really easy zooming motion.

Alternately, interchangeable lens cameras will grant added inventive management, even when their lenses don’t zoom as far or as easily.

Battery life and report time

If you might want to movie a protracted occasion — from just a little league recreation to a marriage ceremony — you in all probability don’t need to threat working down your cellphone’s battery. Notably with mid-range and high-end camcorders, video cameras typically provide a number of completely different sizes of battery, with high-capacity choices designed for such conditions. Mirrorless cameras, just like the GH5 above, have elective battery grips that may be hooked up to increase battery life, whereas cinema cameras may be powered by giant exterior batteries.

Picture high quality

If you wish to obtain a cinematic look, you are able to do that comparatively affordably with any DSLR or mirrorless digital camera. The mix of a giant imaging sensor and interchangeable lenses grants far more inventive management over the feel and appear of your video, letting you shoot with a shallow depth of area and vastly bettering low gentle efficiency over your cellphone.

Audio high quality

Let’s face it: Your cellphone type of sucks at recording audio, particularly in a loud surroundings. A devoted video digital camera won’t solely have higher built-in microphones, however it would additionally will let you connect an exterior mic to get one of the best ends in any given scenario, from a wi-fi lavalier mic for recording dialogue, to a shotgun mic for chopping by way of ambient noise, to a stereo mic for recording music.

What are the important thing options of video cameras?

Video cameras may be damaged down into 4 classes, every of which has distinctive benefits.

Motion cameras

These are small, light-weight, and mountable cameras designed for “set it and neglect it” purposes. Strap one to your chest, stick it to your helmet, or mount it to your bike body and simply press report. Sometimes, these cameras are waterproof and ruggedized and might survive a beating.


Though not as standard as they as soon as had been (you possibly can thank smartphones for that), camcorders nonetheless come in useful whenever you want a compact, all-in-one resolution for recording video. They’re characterised by having a zoom lens that’s built-in into the digital camera physique. Entry-level fashions are usually fairly compact and ready for use one-handed, whereas higher-end fashions are bigger and infrequently embrace skilled audio inputs and extra controls.

DSLRs and mirrorless cameras

These are photograph cameras that may shoot video — and a few fashions are superb at it. The advantages are a big sensor and interchangeable lenses, which enhance video high quality and inventive versatility over the likes of camcorders and motion cams. Due to the bigger sensors, you received’t discover any extraordinarily lengthy zoom lenses such as you get on camcorders, however it is possible for you to to select from a big selection of lenses that provide you with vastly completely different appears.

Cinema cameras

These cameras, just like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Digicam that took the highest spot on this listing, share a lot in widespread with DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. They’ve comparatively giant sensors and interchangeable lenses. What separates them is the person interface, video-specific options, and higher-quality filetypes. Whereas most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras recorded extremely compressed video, cinema cameras typically provide uncompressed RAW information or calmly compressed filetypes like Apple ProRes. The upper-quality filetype means extra flexibility in postproduction.

Can video cameras take photographs, or vice versa?

Sure. At present, most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are “hybrid” cameras, which means they carry out properly for each stills and video, even when they’re geared extra towards nonetheless images. Camcorders and cinema cameras can normally take photographs, as properly, however usually lack the decision of a devoted nonetheless digital camera. Whereas a mirrorless digital camera will simply have 20 or extra megapixels, a camcorder or cinema digital camera tends to solely have as many because it wants for video — for 4K decision, that’s round 8MP.

What’s knowledgeable video digital camera?

Whereas skilled cameras are inclined to have higher sensors and, likewise, higher picture high quality, what actually separates them from client fashions are the person interfaces and connectivity options. An expert video digital camera can have extra direct entry management — bodily buttons and dials on the digital camera physique — in addition to a slew of enter and output choices for each audio and video. Within the case of cinema cameras, these even have fewer comfort options than client cameras — auto-focus and auto-exposure could also be restricted or nonexistent, for instance.

Ought to I purchase a 4K video digital camera?

The reply might be sure, if for no different cause than 4K is shortly turning into the default. Even midrange mirrorless cameras now come geared up with 4K video. Nevertheless, in case you don’t have a 4K tv or monitor, you received’t absolutely notice the advantages of a 4K video digital camera — and many individuals can’t see the distinction, anyway. That mentioned, taking pictures in 4K does permit you some flexibility to crop and reframe a shot in publish, which is usually a very welcome characteristic whenever you want it. It additionally does a significantly better job rendering effective patterns, just like the threads in clothes, that will in any other case trigger moiré at decrease resolutions.

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