Last updated on December 21st, 2022
Filmmaking used to be very expensive. However, modern technology makes it slightly affordable, becoming more accessible to aspiring filmmakers.
Several camera models are available in the market, but they are not all suitable for taking videos or filmmaking. We encourage you to pick a camera that has excellent video features.
Cameras have different categories, but the ones we will cover here are the best filmmaking cameras on a budget.
10 Best Cheap Filmmaking Cameras on a Budget
The following cameras are the best, cheapest cameras on the market for filmmaking.
1. Fujifilm X-T30 II
The Fujifilm X-T30 II uses the 4th generation X-Trans CMOS 4 back-illuminated sensor, which reduces noise and extends ISO capabilities to ISO 160.
The X-Trans sensor reduces inaccurate colors and moiré without using optical low-pass filters. You get the best image quality, packed with detail and color in this cheap filmmaking camera.
It autofocuses for as fast as 0.02 seconds on any subject, ensuring you do not miss a shot. The X-T30 II has improved subject tracking for still images and videos, and low-light focusing extends -7EV for more versatility.
All this technology weighs only 378 grams, making it a lightweight option. The X-T30 II has a two-way tilting display, so you can conveniently see what you are capturing. The touchscreen enables focusing on different areas of the frame so you can jump from one part to another in seconds.
These are only some of its features that make it an excellent low-budget or on-a-budget camera for filmmaking. Consumers have three options when purchasing this system:
- Body only
- Body + XC15-45mm kit
- Body + XF18-55mm kit
If your budget permits, we recommend getting the body + XF18-55 kit.
- An interchangeable lens camera allows you to use different lenses, depending on your shooting needs or style.
- 26-megapixel CMOS imaging sensor
- Up to 30 fps with tracking docus
- 4K30 and 1080p240 video capabilities
- Undersized viewfinder
- Not ideal for vlog-style videography
- Supports only UHS-I memory card slot
2. Nikon Z FC
The Nikon Z FC combines the Z-lens mount with controls and looks dating back from the classic FE and FM-series film cameras. The Nikon Z FC is the second crop-sensor camera from Nikon using the Z-mount.
It has about 20.9 megapixels and dedicated dials for shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation. Nikon claims the Z FC targets a style-conscious, younger audience.
The following are its key features:
- 20.9 megapixels CMOS sensor
- UHD 4K video up to 30p
- Burst mode up to 11 fps
- 2.36M-dot OLED viewfinder
- Dedicated exposure compensation, shutter speed, and ISO dials
The following are supported video frame rates:
- 4K at 30 fps
- 4K at 24 fps
- FHD at 60 fps
- FHD at 30 fps
- FHD at 24 fps
- The price is fair for its features
- Image quality is good
- The video quality is good
- Dedicated dials for exposure compensation, ISO, and shutter speed
- Excellent ergonomics
- Feels like the plastic build quality
- No weather resistance
- No UHS-II support
3. Sony Alpha a6400
The Sony Alpha a6400 is a great choice for independent content creators, vloggers, and amateur filmmakers. The image quality is good and supports 4K video. It has a 180-degree tilting screen, making it easy to shoot from almost any angle. The eye-detect autofocus is an excellent feature for single-hand video capturing.
Launched in 2019, the Sony Alpha a6400 is still an excellent, inexpensive camera for filmmaking. It features a 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a BIONZ X image processor.
The camera features 425-point contrast autofocus with an 84% coverage. Shooting in different conditions is possible with an ISO range of 100 to 32,000, and it supports 4K at 24 and 30 fps. It’s one of the cheapest filmmaking cameras.
- Compact and high-quality build
- 24-megapixel APS-C image sensor
- 180-degree rotating LCV
- Accurate autofocus system
- 4K video support
- Short battery life
- Limited external controls
4. Sony ZV-E10
The Sony ZV-E10 camera sports a 24MP APS-C sensor aimed at vloggers.
The articulating selfie screen makes it easy to shoot from almost every angle. It has microphone and headphone ports, enabling support for different accessories that assist in video capture.
External microphones will enhance your video recordings, which is essential in filmmaking. It is also an interchangeable camera, so you can use different lenses depending on shooting conditions and style.
It supports 4K at 24 fps and 1080 at 120 fps video. A single battery charge supports 440 images or 80 minutes of continuous video recording. We recommend purchasing additional batteries if you think you will shoot more than 80 minutes of video.
- The compact size makes it lightweight and portable
- Articulating screen/LCD
- Excellent autofocus capabilities
- Supports external mic and headphone
- Panning will have a rolling shutter
- No support for 4K at 60 fps
- In-camera charging is slow
5. Panasonic Lumix G100
The Panasonic Lumix G100 captures 4K 24 fps and 30 fps videos. It is a micro four-thirds system compatible with all Lumix interchangeable lenses. The tracking audio system seamlessly works with the face detection system. Its flip-out screen makes shooting from different angles easy.
Electronic image stabilization (IS) is also available with the body and syncs well with compatible lenses. You can also shoot in FHD at 120 fps if you do not feel like shooting in 4K.
Framing guides are available for different aspect ratios, including 9:16 and 1:1. This framing guide lets you see the cropped region for Instagram, Youtube, and other social media platforms.
- The directional audio tracking feature
- Interchangeable lenses
- In-camera charging
- The compact body makes it an excellent video camera
- Image stabilization is not very good
- Focus hunting during video mode
- A limit of 10 minutes per recording in 4K and 29:59 minutes in 1080
6. Canon VIXIA HF G50
The Canon VIXIA HF G50 supports 4K 30 fps recording, making it an excellent contender in the affordable camera range. It has up to 20x optical zoom and supports UHD recording. The optical zoom ranges between 29.3 to 601 mm and sports an 8-blade aperture for beautiful bokeh.
It uses a 4K 1/2.3-inch sensor and a DIGIC DV 6 image processor. You can put up to two SD cards at once for more excellent storage. The camera also supports slow and fast video recordings ranging from 0.4x to 1200x.
- Impressive zoom range
- Excellent 4K video capability
- You can title the electronic viewfinder
- It supports interval recording for Full HD and 4K
- Charging takes a few hours
7. Canon EOS M50 Mark II
The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is a compact mirrorless, interchangeable, and cheap filmmaking camera with a 24-megapixel cropped sensor. It has the Digic 8 image processor and dual pixel autofocus with eye tracking.
The 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder is excellent for shooting. You can shoot a 4K video, but we do not recommend it. The 4K at 24 fps is cropped and cannot utilize the dual-pixel autofocus feature of the camera. Focus is unreliable in 4K unless you are in front of your subject.
On the other hand, you can take advantage of the dual-pixel autofocus if you are recording in Full HD / 1080p. It does an excellent job of tracking the subjects’ eyes.
- Excellent eye detection and face tracking in the photo and video modes
- Supports external microphone
- Compact and comfortable to hold
- The electronic viewfinder is excellent for a day shooting
- 1.5x crop on 4K video
- Poor 4K video autofocus performance
8. Canon EOS Rebel T8i
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i, also known as Kiss X10i or EOS 850D, sports a 24-megapixel cropped sensor processor. It is compatible with EF-S and EF mount lenses.
The Rebel T8i supports 4K video but has a 1.6x focal length crop on top of the APS-C sensor. Effectively, it becomes a 2.6x crop before enabling image stabilization, and there is further cropping once you enable IS.
The image stabilization can still struggle to reduce camera shake in 4K video due to the longer effective focal length. 4K in this camera is only available at 24 fps and uses contrast-detection autofocus.
We recommend shooting in Full HD because you can record more distant subjects and relatively smooth pinch motion. You also have the option of up to 60 fps. This is a decent-quality, cheap filmmaking camera.
- Excellent ergonomics and solid build quality
- Compatible with EF and EF-S mount lenses
- The touchscreen display is fully articulating and versatile
- Limited wide-angle possibilities for 4K video
- Noin-body stabilization
9. GoPro Hero Black 10
The GoPro Hero Black 10 has several improvements from its predecessor. It includes a more responsive touchscreen interface, image quality improvement, low-light noise reduction, and 4K at 120 fps, making it a great and cheap filmmaking camera.
GoPro’s HyperSmooth 4.0 is still the best video stabilization in an action camera available on the market. Hero 10 adds a layer of hydrophobic coating on the lens cover.
Videos still have a softness when recording slower rates of 120 and 240 fps.
- Fast interface and menu
- A powerful GP2 image processor
- 4K at 120fps is fun to use
- Camera stabilization support
- Poor low-light performance
- Small sensor
10. Insta360 ONE RS
The Insta360 ONE RS contains three pieces: the camera module, the control module, and the battery. Like the GoPro, it can be used for general filmmaking but excels in adventure and action videography.
The ONE RS is similar to its predecessors by having two cameras in the same system.
The following are the three camera modules of the ONE RS:
- 4K boost lens with a 1/2-inch 48-megapixel sensor
- 5.3K 1-inch wide-angle lens module
- 360-degree lens module
The modular configuration is a clever idea, but it makes the camera clunky. The mounting case opens for the side using a more straightforward mechanism than previous models. A plastic shield on top reduces wind noise, but it does not seem effective.
The ONE RS supports up to 4K at 60 fps if you are not using active HDR mode, and it caps at 30 fps if active HDR mode is enabled. You can capture 1080p slow-motion videos at 200 fps.
- Good battery life
- Excellent video editing mobile app
- Switching camera types is easy
- Inferior video quality than the GoPro Hero 10
What to Look for in an Affordable Filmmaking Camera
The following are some factors worth considering when looking for a filmmaking camera.
Manual adjustment of sound levels, white balance, and exposure is a nice feature. These may not matter to you if you are only starting with filmmaking, but it gets handy as you get serious.
Ease of Use
Does the camera have good ergonomics? Do you feel comfortable holding the camera for an extended time? Are the controls user-friendly? These are some questions worth answering.
How wide (wide angle) or focused (telephoto) do you need your videos? A wide-angle field of view is likely more critical because you can get closer.
We only consider the optical zoom range and not the digital zoom range here. Also, the widest aperture allows the most light but has a more shallow depth of field.
Did you check if the built-in microphone is good? Does it have a headphone socket and an external mic socket? You may need an external microphone when you get serious, so we recommend choosing a camera that supports it.
Image stabilization lessens image shake. If you are shooting handheld videos a lot, we recommend getting a camera with IS. The most effective IS combines optical stabilization (lens-based) and in-body stabilization (sensor-based).
Larger sensors are only better up to a certain point. Larger sensors work better under low light conditions and have a more shallow focus effect.
The three main sensor sizes are micro fourth thirds, full frame, and APS-C.
The most helpful video format is 1080p. However, filming in 4K has a few advantages. It looks better if you downsize it to 1080p, and it also gives you more area to crop during post-processing.
There are several cheap filmmaking cameras in the market to start your directing career. It is unlikely to get all the features you want in a single device, so trade-offs ought to happen.
We recommend choosing the camera with the most checks on your must-have list. You may also need to prioritize what you want in a camera. Some people may find the ease of using a higher priority than manual control.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is filmmaking hard?
Filmmaking is, without a doubt, a challenging and time-consuming art form, but it is not impossible to achieve with the right tools. A cheap filmmaking camera can open up a world of opportunities for novice filmmakers, allowing them to create projects of great quality in their own time, without needing to rely on expensive equipment.
Even though filmmaking comes with its difficulties, having the right resources at one’s disposal can make the process easier than ever before. With determination and hard work, anyone can become a successful filmmaker.
Who are the most famous filmmakers?
Some of the most acclaimed filmmakers who have made their mark on cinematic history are Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Alfred Hitchcock and Francis Ford Coppola.
These renowned directors have created some of the most iconic films of all time: from Spielberg’s revolutionary ‘Jurassic Park’ and Scorsese’s timeless ‘Raging Bull’, to Tarantino’s violent cult classic ‘Pulp Fiction’ and Hitchcock’s suspenseful masterpiece ‘Psycho’. Coppola also revolutionized Hollywood with films like ‘The Godfather’ series and the Academy Award-winning war epic ‘Apocalypse Now’, which is heralded as one of the greatest films ever made. Each of these legendary filmmakers has truly left an indelible mark on cinema with their immense talent and unparalleled vision.
Unfortunately for you, these directors don’t use cheap filmmaking cameras for their movies.
How much do film cameras cost?
Film cameras have made a comeback in recent years, and with good reason. They offer a tactile experience that digital cameras can’t match, and create images with unexpected depths. But how much does it cost to get into film photography? You may be surprised to learn that these little marvels of technology don’t require you to break the bank. Entry-level film cameras can usually be found for around $100, and even higher-quality models are available for a few hundred dollars.
So if you’ve been considering taking up analog photography, now is the perfect time to make the jump.
Is GoPro good for short films?
GoPro is an excellent choice for shooting short films, especially for outdoor or action-packed productions. Its wide field of view and high image quality makes it ideal for capturing fast-paced scenes and dynamic angles.
Moreover, its waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof design allows you to use the camera in a variety of extreme conditions — perfect for when you need to capture footage in harsh environments such as deserts, forests, or mountains.
With GoPro’s various mounting options, you can also get creative with your shots and explore different perspectives that help tell the story. Additionally, GoPro supports a range of accessories like microphones and gimbal stabilizers which further enhance your filmmaking capabilities. Thus, there’s no denying that GoPro cameras are great.
Is a 35mm image sensor good for filmmaking?
A 35mm image sensor is almost always touted as a great filmmaking tool, with its large format and high resolution providing stunning results. But before you take the plunge and invest in one, it’s important to consider your needs and make sure this type of camera is really going to work for you. After all, nothing ruins a shoot faster than selecting equipment that isn’t up to the task.
Fortunately, if your filmmaking aspirations are focused on larger productions or features, then a 35mm image sensor is certainly worth looking into — provided you have an equally impressive budget to back it up.