Making the Movie

Filmmaking tips, resources, reviews, news and links.

HD Camera Comparison

Table of Contents:
High End Cameras
Mid-Range and Prosumer Cameras
DSLR Still Cameras That Also Shoot HD Video
Learner Cameras (Consumer Camcorders Capable of Upgrades)
A Word on 3D
HD Camera Shooting Hints

I’ve noticed many people coming to this site looking for camera comparisons. Even if you are only showing your film on the web, I do not recommend shooting in SD (Standard Definition, 640 x 480 pixels of resolution). You should ‘acquire’ in UHD video, 2k HD (2048 × 1536 pixels) or on film (super 16mm or better) You can probably still get away with HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) for several more years, especially if your primary mode of distribution will be online.

Note: Film is now more expensive and film-based workflows are rare and getting rarer. Almost all independent and Hollywood films now shoot with digital cameras.

There are too many possible cameras to list them all, so I’ve narrowed them down to the ones I believe are best suited for making a low-budget film.

Here are my criteria:

  • At least 1920×1080 resolution, 23.98p frames per second (1080p) – I now consider this the minimum for a feature film that will be taken seriously by festivals, distributors and the majority of movie audiences. 720p is too soft on big screens and 1080i (interlaced) not as cinematic. Everything has now standardized around 1080p, which means that, if you can afford it, you should consider future-proofing at an even higher resolution: 4k or above.
  • Interchangeble lenses – I no longer am recommending getting a cheap camera and an expensive lens adapter. It seems pretty clear that filmmakers want the ability to change lenses built into the camera already. For more background, check out Making the Movie’s Guide to Lenses for DSLR Filmmakers which explains the different types of lens mounts and choices made for independent feature films.
  • Tested workflows – This criteria is a bit more subjective, but it encompasses whether I consider the camera experimental when it comes to shooting feature films or not, whether the footage is recorded with enough latitude that it can be manipulated with a color-timing program to achieve more cinematic looks, etc.

For general information about buying a camera, read my column on the Mastering Film website: Which Camera Should I Buy for My Movie? I also recommend reading Ryan E. Walter’s Guide to Putting Together a Digital Camera Package (2012) for a look at the thought process of a d.p. assembling a camera package.


High End

This category is for cameras which are currently used to shoot major commercial films. I have tried to organize them roughly in terms of current popularity.

Arri Alexa / Alexa M / Alexa Plus / Studio
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $60,000-$120,000
Rental Quote: $1500/day, $4500/wk

For d.p.’s accustomed to working with Arri film cameras, the Alexa workflow comes easily, and many popular film camera accessories require no adaptation. As of 2011, it has become a standard among Hollywood productions of all sizes. Martin Scorsese and Bob Richardson chose it for their first foray into HD with Hugo and Lars von Trier used it to shoot Melancholia. The four versions (Alexa, Alexa M, Alexa Plus, Alexa Studio) represent different configurations of the modular system (and different prices). For example, the M separates the camera head from the recording body and the Studio model features a mechanical shutter and optical viewfinder. A firmware update now allows for shooting up to 120fps.

Arri also had success with the D20 and D21 models in its high-end digital camera range, but these look like they are being phased out with the new Alexa line. [Last updated 1/2/13]

Arri Website

RED Epic
MSRP: $58,000

RED’s follow-up to the RED One has even more resolution (up to 5k) and high-speed capabilities (300fps at 2k). The next gen “dragon” will allow for even faster frame rates at even higher resolution, and a reported 15+ stops of latitude.  Recent Hollywood films shot on the RED Epic include The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Flight; and Jack the Giant Killer.

For most indies, the additional resolution and ability to shoot a high frame rates is probably overkill, but for those who have experience with the RED One, the transition is supposedly quite easy. [Last updated 1/2/13]

Comparison footage of RED Epic vs. Sony F23

Sony F23, F35, F65 CineAlta
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: F23 – $150,000 full package?; F35 – ?, F65 – $65,000 (w/ viewfinder)
Rental Quote: $3200/day (full package)

The F23 was the first modular camera in Sony’s CineAlta system, a line developed explicitly for movie use. It features wide gamut, 444 color, slow-motion and speed-ramping.

The F35 ups the sensor size to an equivalent of 35mm film, has a PL mount and works with the portable SRW-1 recorder.

In September 2011, Sony announced the F65. Just as the Sony’s F23 was an answer to the Red One, the F65 appears to be an answer to the Red Epic. It goes “up to 8k resolution” but has advantages at lower resolutions through a “supersampling” technology that allows for greater contrast in the details. It also has frame rates up to 120 fps, rolling shutter reduction, RAW output, wide latitude and color gamut. [Last updated 11/8/11]

Sony Website


Mid-Range and Prosumer

Here’s where we start to get into cameras that would be in purchase-rather-than-rental range for some lower-budget films, although it can still make financial sense to rent these. And don’t forget to check Craigslist or other sites for people selling off their old kits.

MSRP: Obsolete. Originally $17,500 for camera body only

The RED One is the original RED camera. The company was founded by Jim Jannard, the guy who brought us Oakley sunglasses. Jim is a camera nut and wanted to make a super-flexible camera capable of high-end images. There are some technical tradeoffs that RED makes to achieve their quality/price ratio and some filmmakers, like Rian Johnson, prefer other high-end cinema cameras like the Genesis or F23. Since the RED was released, many major motion pictures have been shot with it, including the Stephen Soderbergh-directed Contagion and the David Fincher-directed The Social Network. Plus, it became the camera of choice for quality independent films like The Myth of the American Sleepover. Although it is now superseded by the RED Scarlet and RED Epic camera bodies, rental houses still carry the original and filmmakers are still out there doing great work with them.

For those accustomed to shooting with film cameras, the RED has a large learning curve.  It is more a camera embedded inside a computer than a simple mechanical device.  There are various firmware “builds,” each with their particular quirks. Having a dedicated tech in addition to the d.p. is recommended. The Red One shoots up to 4k resolution, and uses a PL mount or can be adapted to use B4, Canon EF or Nikon 35mm lenses. [Last updated 30 March 2015]


RED Scarlet-X, Scarlet Dragon
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $7,950-$14,500 “brain-only”, ~$20-25k shoot-ready

Officially announced November 2011, the Scarlet-X is like a junior version of the Red Epic. It is capable of a dizzying array of resolutions and frame rates. It provides up to 4k capture, and its cousin, the Scarlet Dragon (using RED’s Dragon sensor) goes up to 5k (in the most useful frame rates). [Last updated 30 March 2015]

Some Thoughts on Scarlet-X and Canon C300

blackmagic-cinema-camera-profileBlackmagic Cinema Camera
MSRP: $2,995

Blackmagic made a huge splash in 2012 by announcing a camera body at a truly affordable price that is capable of RAW recording, beating out RED’s Scarlet, which was supposed to cost $3k but didn’t. It is available with EF or passive MFT (Micro Four Thirds) mounts and the sensor records 13 stops of latitude at 2.5k resolution. Purchase of a camera includes Da Vinci Resolve software to color grade the RAW files, which record directly to the built-in SSD. Or record in ProRes422 or Avid DNxHD codecs for super-easy post workflows.

Despite some difficulty in attaching common cinema accessories and in mounting, handling the camera, this has quickly become a favorite of indie filmmakers. At this price, more budget is freed up for other toys. [Last updated 1/2/13]


Canon-C500Canon EOS C100, C300, C500
MSRP: $6,500 – $26,000

Canon’s C line of camera bodies are a direct answer to RED’s camera line, providing a modular system for recording cinematic video at various price points. All have the same wide-latitude super-35 CMOS sensor and Digic DV III processor. All of them take Canon EF lenses, and the C300 and C500 have a PL-mount version as well. I’ve personally shot with the C300 and Canon’s CP.2 lenses and was very impressed with how cinematic the results were.

The C100 is the entry level, capable of recording AVCHD only, although it does have HDMI out with TC.

The C300 can record 1920 x 1080 4:2:2 in XF MPEG-2 on board or can capture uncompressed with an external recorder. It still does not do 4k, so you’ll have to shell out the big bucks for the C500 if that’s what you want.

The C500 does 4k RAW recording at 10bit for up to 60p or 2k RAW at 12bit for up to 60p. Frame rates can even go up to 120p at 2k resolution. You will need to buy/rent an external recording device for this, though, since the built-in recorder can’t handle that much data. [Last updated 1/2/13]


kinefinity-kineraw-s35Kineraw S35
MSRP: < $10,000 ? This Chinese-made 2K camera became available for pre-order as of December 2012. Already there is some nice test footage available that shows the capabilities of the camera, which has a whole set of controls that can be manipulated via an iPad app. The camera can be ordered with an Canon EF mount. [Last updated 1/2/13] MORE: No Film School update

The PMW-F3, Sony's 'indie' budgeted HD CameraSony PMW-F3

MSRP: $16,000 body only; $23,000 kit

Announced in November 2010, the PMW-F3 has a Super 35mm-sized sensor, accepts PL-mount lenses and can record at 1080/23.98p, as well as slow motion up to 720/60p. If you don’t want to record XDCam — and many filmmakers won’t because of the compression and color space (4:2:0) — you can go out 4:4:4 10bit via dual HD-SDI to an external recorder (if I read this right). I also like the ability to put sound in directly via XLR, which will streamline sound workflows for many indie projects. [Last updated 11/22/11]

MORE: Sony Website


MSRP: $7790 and $6500

The PMW-EX1R supersedes the EX1 with an improved hand grip and some other features, that indie filmmakers might not need — do your research. They both have the same 3 x 1/2″ CMOS chips as the EX3, shoot progressive up to 1920 by 1080 and offer variable frame rates (1-60fps at 720p). They record to SxS memory cards or there’s an SDI with timecode out. Originally when released this only went out 1080i not 1080p. I cannot determine if firmware updates have fixed this. Overall, this is a more compact, ‘run and gun’ version of the EX3 (see above). [Last updated 11/8/11]

MORE: Adam Wilt’s PVC review

Sony NEX-FS100

MSRP: $4,699 from B&H

With dual-XLR inputs, and uncompressed video out via HDMI, this is one great bang for the buck for an indie who knows how to do a little configuring.


Panasonic AG-AF100

MSRP: $4800 ($3500 at Amazon, No longer available at B&H)

This has a micro-four-thirds sensor — smaller than the sensor in the popular Canon DSLRs (see below) but it is designed expressly for video, which gives it some advantages over them. The workflow seems to be pretty straightforward and I’m guessing it will be easy for filmmakers who already grew up with Panasonic’s popular DVX100 and HVX200 cameras to make the transition. It was used to shoot the indie film Know How in conjunction with a nanoFlash recorder and some old Nikkor lenses. [Last updated 21 May 2013]

Philip Bloom test and review



SLR stands for Single Lens Reflex, which is the basic type of pro stills camera, the one where you look through the viewfinder, and thanks to a mirror contraption (the ‘single lens reflex’), you can see what the lens is seeing — right until you pull the shutter and the mirror lifts. When these went digital — the D in DSLR — it became a no-brainer to add video capability. Recently, the video quality and manual features on some of these DSLR’s has gotten to the point that indie filmmakers have begun using them to great effect.

The advantages are: cheaper lenses and great depth-of-field and everything else that comes from nice photo lenses, bigger sensors than many HD video cameras meaning more light and color info. People who are already familiar with shooting stills find it easy to make the transition. The disadvantages — rolling shutters that create a “jello cam” effect when there are fast pans or handheld motion, heavy compression of image, lack or poor implementation of some video-centric features, such as sync sound.

Canon 5DmkIII / 5DmkII

Buy mkIII: $3,499 (body only) from Amazon $3,499 from B&H
Buy mkII: $2,199 (body only) from Amazon $2,199 from B&H

The 5D has a larger sensor size than the 7D and T3i. There are small but nice improvements for video shooters in the mark 3 from the mark 2, especially in the ability to set levels on audio recording, improved handling of moire, aliasing and low-light ISO noise. Filmmakers will have to weigh the cost differential, which may be even wider if you are considering buying used.

The HDMI out has burn-in on it; hopefully this will be fixed with a firmware update. Issues with rolling shutter and sharpness remain. Pro D.P.s recommend doing sharpening in post, in any case, rather than using the camera’s sharpening algos.

For the 5D cameras Zeiss’s CP.2 line is available in the EF mount, as are new Canon CN-E zooms, so excellent cinema-friendly lenses are available if you have dough to buy or rent. LAST UPDATED 17 April 2013

5dmkii vs. Red vs. GH1 test shoot
Cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, ASC, his tips for menu settings and equipment

Canon EOS 7D
MSRP: $1,599 (body only) from Amazon and from B&H

The 7D was the first Canon DSLR to shoot 23.98 progressive — the same speed as standard film projection. Other flavors can certainly be used, especially if you’re going straight to the web and not into a feature film-type workflow. This camera has the same chip as the cheaper T2i, but has an option for HDMI out (useful for attaching an external LCD monitor) and is much more rugged. If you are going to be shooting in adverse conditions, I recommend ponying up the extra cash, as my T2i felt fragile, for example, when I used it in the desert heat and dust.

For the 7D camera, Zeiss’s CP.2 line is available in the EF mount, as are new Canon CN-E zooms, so good cinema-friendly lenses are available. [Last updated 3/27/12]

I talked about the 7D’s drawbacks when it first came out

canon-eos-1d-cCanon EOS-1D C
MSRP: $15,000

Canon has designed their C100-500 line more expressly for cinematic shooting, but this pricey DSLR version is capable of 4k for cheaper than the C500. 4k video records in Motion JPEG, regular HD video in H.264. There is a clean HDMI out for grabbing a less-compressed 1080p HD feed (still 8bit 4:2:2). Vincent Laforet used this to shoot the Movi demo. [Last Updated 4/6/13]


Canon Rebel T4i / T3i / T2i (550D)
MSRP: $799

I own a T2i at the moment — so you get sense of my budget. I got it when it came out because the initial tests showed that the images created by the 7D were identical to those created by the T2i. The 7D does allow some better ISO customization and has HDMI out, but neither of those were dealbreakers. T3i is not much of a change from the T2i, just adding a swiveling display.

So far, this camera is working great, and I feel like a got a steal with the much lower price — but I do recommend with any DSLR package: budget for the accessories that will turn it into a cinema rig. [Last updated 12/31/12]

T2i vs. 7d shootout


Learner Cameras (Consumer Cameras Capable of Upgrades)

If you want your film to have the best possible chances, I am recommending 24p cameras with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution. But you can learn filmmaking on cameras of nearly any quality. Below are some cameras that do not meet my criteria, but might meet the budget you have, and have been used to make feature films before with great success in the days before 1080p was de minimus.

Panasonic GH1/GH2
MSRP: $1,199

I had to move this out of the DSLR section since a commenter reminds me it is technically an EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) camera. Still, it operates much like a DSLR. While it lacks some of the features and lenses of the Canons, there’s a good chance you could find a used one with a whole digital-shooters kit already put together for a song cheaper.

UPDATE 10/6/10: A GH2 has been announced and pre-orders are available at Amazon: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 16.05 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-inch Free-Angle Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Hybrid Lens (Black)

This blog’s original coverage of the GH1
The GH1 formula
Mounting the GH1

Canon XH-G1
MSRP: $6,999

The compact-body version of the XL-H1, much has been made of the Genlock, TC and HD-SDI jacks on this camera. Jammable timecode is something that people who shoot sync-sound will appreciate. [Last updated 11/8/11]

SEE: Studio Daily reviews the XH-G1 and XH-A1

Canon HV20 and HV30
MSRP: $1000

The specs for the Canon Vixia HV30 are nearly identical to the HV20. The main upgrade is the ability to shoot 30p or 30 progressive frames per second which should help with certain kinds of for-web work. (Like the HV20, it can also shoot 24p or 60i.) Other upgrades include making the zoom button bigger, making the LCD screen resistant to solarizing and making it possible to attach a particular battery pack called the BP-2L24H.

The Canon HV20 excited a lot of budget-conscious filmmakers because, with accessories like a Kona card for direct capture of the HDMI out and a lens adapter, it can produce amazingly high-end images. If you’re willing to do some hacking, this might be the camera for you. [Last updated 10/9/10]

CamcorderInfo HV30 review
This post at HD for Indies sums up a lot of the HV20 customization and workflow techniques.

Panasonic DMC-LX3, LX5
MSRP: $400

I shot and edited a film in two weeks using the LX3, which was so stealthy that we were never spotted the whole time we shot in public. True, it only goes up to 720p and to attach lenses I had to do some modifications, but I was only ever planning to distribute the film on the web.

The LX5 has similar specs (only does 720p) but now compresses in AVCHD Lite codec, which should mean a better image (theoretically). [Last updated 11/8/11]

The Gear used to make #2wkfilm Natural Victims


A Word on 3D

Shooting in 3D increases the complexity of the shoot enormously, and is not for the faint of heart. As of November 2011, 3D camera rigs for indies are still very experimental. Still, it is worth considering because it will help future-proof your film.

I’m bullish on 3D. Along with 4k+ TVs & playback, it is the inevitable next development for consumers who have finished upgrading to HD. The biggest Hollywood movies are now almost uniformly coming out in 3D and I expect that to filter down — just as color and sound did when they were introduced to movies.

For more, read the extensive post with my thoughts on 3D For Indies.


A hint on avoiding headaches in post: Know your post-production workflow before you shoot, so that you can organize the footage appropriately while you shoot. Having files or tapes in HDV vs. DVCProHD vs. HDCam vs. HDCam-SR vs. AVCHD vs. XDCAM vs. .dpx makes a huge difference!

A hint on making the decision between two similar cameras: Flip a coin. It doesn’t matter that much. Other considerations like lighting, acting, production design and a d.p. who knows how to use the camera will affect your film much more. Mark Stolaroff of No Budget Film School is very eloquent on this topic.

If you have experiences with these HD cameras, share them in the comments below. Please send any corrections or additions to makingthemovie AT-SIGN gmail DOT com.


  1. great info dude. thanks alot

  2. My film teacher’s been waiting for that Red Scarlett for so long… sorry to hear it’d delayed again.

  3. Please provide me more information about making of movies in HDV camera. Will it be more exppensive while considering value of stock.

    • J. Ott

      October 21, 2010 at 8:47 AM

      Hi Wilson,

      I’m no longer recommending shooting in HDV. While the stock and cameras are cheap, there are lots of headaches in post due to the heavy compression of the video. For small, fun videos — absolutely. You should shoot with whatever you can get your hands on. But if you want to compete in the commercial market, I no longer think HDV is worth the headaches it takes to get high-quality images.

  4. if you want to compete in the commercial market, I no longer think HDV is worth the headaches it takes to get high-quality images.

    So what do you use other than film for the television commercial works ?

    • J. Ott

      October 22, 2010 at 12:44 PM


      Look at the ENG cameras offered by Panasonic and Sony. This site is not concerned with television, however. That’s why I’m trying to refocus the discussion towards cameras that will provide a cinematic image.

  5. The info on your site was very helpful. I would like to inquire, if I may, as to what would be the best camcorder to buy if your budget is currently maxed at $800? My friend and I are writers by trade but feel that we should go ahead and try to shoot one of our short stories, so a lot of this is new to us.

    • J. Ott

      November 3, 2010 at 10:17 AM

      Hi John,

      For a budget that low and for a first attempt at making a film, any video camera which you already have or can borrow is best. Beyond that, the FlipHD is fine and that will still leave you with plenty of money to put into costumes, props, sound and lighting.

      Personally, I recommend saving your money while you learn the skills and make connections with crewmembers and actors. If you only want to make one film in your career, start thinking of yourself as an executive producer and hire people who already have the skills and the contacts it will take to make the film.


  6. Another Excellent camera i would recommend for a low budget movie production is Sony’s HVR-Z1p, which I have owned for 5 years now.

    If you use its Cineframe 25 mode it gives you a very filmic, cinematic look and the quality is excellent. You have to see it to experience and comment on it before getting pre-occupied with negative comments from those people who just don’t know how to use this camera.

    If the 25cf video is captured using Cineform codec, you get pure progressive workflow in the post. I have no complaints about the quality of Z1p; it is beautiful and very cinematic.

    You can also use a Nanoflash to capture 50mbps or 100mbps 4:2:2 HD video out from Z1p. We are making an action movie in Pakistan and are using a Z1p as the main camera.

  7. Hi John,
    I am a graduate film student and am currently looking at getting my first personal HD camera. I want it to experiment and further my understanding of cinematography and develop my reel. My school allows access to cameras based on classes that we are in and since I am concentrating on directing I am somewhat inhibited by what I have access to. I have shot on a Bolex, K-3 and recently worked on a short where we used a Red. I didn’t get to work with it a lot cause I was not the DP, but I fell in love, however it is out of my price range.

    I’ve been looking at the 5d and the 7d. There is a lot of information out there concerning the differences between the two cameras, but I am still overwhelmed. I keep reading that the 5d allows you to get really wide shots and is slightly better in low light situations, but the 7d offers more shooting speeds and just over all more features. There is also an issue with quick moving shots and a “jello effect” that is created. Does one perform better then the other in these regards?

    I understand that lenses and my personal abilities will hold a lot of weight about what I can get out of the camera. I am also not necessarily stuck on having to get a 5d or 7d.

    Getting this camera is an investment in my future and is supposed to be a tool that I can experiment with. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • J. Ott

      December 25, 2010 at 11:38 PM

      Hi Nate,

      You’ve basically nailed the major differences between the 5DmkII and the 7D – the 5D, with a larger sensor, will perform better in low light, but was made earlier, before Canon was supporting the 23.98 frame rate standard fully. So the 7D is made with filmmaking more in mind and has some minor improvements. I’d also say consider the T2i aka 550D, which is about half the price of the 7D but has an identical sensor. The 7D is more rugged and has the HDMI-out feature.

      I personally don’t mind the “jello” effect. I more mind the compression of the video, which doesn’t leave much latitude for color correction. It’s very nice to be able to shoot 720p at 60fps and then convert in Cinema Tools to 23.98fps and get beautiful true slow motion.

      As something to learn with, any of these are great and recommended much above any other options out there right now (late 2010). I’d go for something on the lower end of your budget range and invest in “glass” or lenses, which will not lose their value as quickly as a camera body. In fact, you may want to consider renting the body and lenses, even for a kit as cheap as a Canon DSLR + 18-200mm zoom, and shooting some shorts. These things update quickly.

      Good luck and please report back!

  8. Hi John,
    Iam a beginner in film making. I would like to start my career by making short-movies. so iam planning to buy a Handycam. Can u suggest me the best one that I can go for which meets all the specifications that you look for a Camera for film-making. Can i go with Sony-HDR-CX550V-Camcorder ?

    • J. Ott

      January 9, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      Hi Sai,

      I can’t make a decision for you about cameras. If you are really just starting, whatever is cheap and available is a great way to start and to learn. Most of what you can learn in terms of cameras you can learn on a relatively cheap model: how to light, frame, move, focus and expose a shot. There are really two questions that you should ask about any piece of equipment: will this help me tell my story? Will this provide a level of quality that is expected from a film with my distribution plan? Filmmakers are proving all the time that audiences care more about story and less about visual quality.

  9. I am interested in quality-photo/audio. What initial format is best to use if a 35mm blowup is needed down the road? I do not want to lose any picture or audio quality in the transfer.

    • J. Ott

      January 16, 2011 at 1:50 PM

      The best capture format to use is 35mm itself. Then probably a 4K camera such as RED, then maybe 16mm with a slow, meaning low grain, film stock. The audio you should be capturing separately – what is called dual-system. DAT tape was a standard for a long time, but now I believe most high-end films are using complex digital recording systems. You’ll want both boom and lav (lavaliere) microphones.

      Any time there is an analogue transfer, there will be “quality” lost. That’s the nature of analog. You try to copy things as few times as possible. Digital duplicates are identical in theory, but digital doesn’t degrade gracefully. If there’s a problem with digital data, that can mean big gaps are lost entirely. Analog just tends to have static or scratches that the viewer can easily ‘see through’. Think of watching an old VHS tape vs. a scratched DVD. Chances are you can get the gist of the movie on the VHS tape just fine, even if the quality is low. The DVD, on the other hand, is perfect until it hits the scratch, and then unwatchable.

  10. THANK YOU SO MUCH (!) for what you’ve set down here. …All very brief and helpful! Hypothetical question: If you were attempting to ‘simulate’ the look of 80’s fantasy-adventure films (e.g. “Labyrinth”, “The Neverending Story”, “Legend”, “The Goonies”, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “The Goonies”, and so forth…), in HD, as a DP, what would you use – in terms of camera & accessories – and focus on most with your cinematography? Any suggestions, however general or subjective would be most gratefully received. THANKS AGAIN! Cheers!

    • C.R.,

      See if you can get some of the old anamorphic lenses that were used on those films and shoot with those. You’ll probably want an HD camera that responds like a film camera such as RED or the Arri. You can try to replicate the look in post, but if you want to be authentic it helps to use the actual lenses with all their quirks. Look at what Soderbergh did with Ché.

  11. The SI-2k is not on your list. Thought it’d be right next to red.

  12. Thanks! That’s helpful.

  13. your words are very helpful thank you,

    can I make a high quality movie with canon 5d mark 2?
    will it direct import into FCP or do I have to capture through a DV recorder?

    • Krinchen,

      Yes, you can shoot high-quality with the Canon 5DmkII. An episode of the T.V. show “House”, for example, was photographed with the camera. Of course, which camera you shoot with is the least of your worries if you are concerned with high quality. You have to know what to do with that camera, the lighting, actors etc.

      As for the workflow, yes, the files are .movs which import directly into Final Cut Pro. There are some software solutions which help organize and speed up the import process. Good luck!


  14. Canon 7D with stock lens and wide lens,focus follow kit with french flaps mattebox,lilliput 7″ HD monitor w/shade,zoom h4n portable recorder,AT879 shotgun,shure uhf lavalliere mic kit-hows that for a kit

  15. I’ve been shooting on a standard definition Panasonic DVX100A for a few years and now feel that HD is the next next logical step. I’ve been toying with the Canon T2i/T3i idea, but have been warned that those, or any DSLRs, are not a good choice for a serious filmmaker (due to built in compression when shooting to SD cards) and that I should start saving to buy a $6000+ camera. (I’m also unnerved by the notion of only 11 – 12 minutes of continuous shooting at a pop on DSLRs). $6000 will take me an eternity to raise. Something less might be achievable in my lifetime. What do you suggest?

    • Hi Dale,

      If you’re already good with the DVX100, I would move to Panasonic’s HVX line. Since $6K is out of reach, you should look at renting. Hopefully you live near a rental house that will let you come in and train with the camera without paying to rent. If you’re in a remote location, you’ll have to have the package shipped to you, so you’ll be paying for training time. The learning curve shouldn’t be as steep, though, as if you switched over to DSLR workflow.

      P2 also has time limits, depending on the size of the card. Unless you are shooting documentaries, ~12 min limit on a take shouldn’t be much of a problem. Remember that reels of film last about this long, so nearly every movie ever made has been shot this way. If your style involves lots of long takes, you can always be creative with blending takes like Hitchcock did in Rope.

  16. Hello J,
    I am trying to buy a good Camcorder to start my production ( Independent film ), but I can’t decide.
    Can you please tell me , what I need to look in a camera like 1080 P, HD . I want to buy a camera that if I need to transfer to 35 or 16 it is ok.

  17. @JT,

    You’ve found the correct page. All of the above cameras fit your criteria.

  18. Any tips in setting using Sony HVR-V1U. Just wanted to get the maximum quality from this camera as much as possible. Appreciate any input.

  19. We shot an HD feature last year with TWO HV20’s and recently SOLD it to Maxim Media. It’s not the Camera, It’s the operator.

  20. Hi john, thank you so much for this great site. I just stumbled upon it moments ago and devoured this page line by line.

    I am now in pre-pro for a low budget film and am looking to make a purchase in the 1,000-3,000 range (new, I don’t want used). I ‘HAD BEEN’ settled on the HV30 (or other Vixia) but then began to lean toward HDSLR. Then someone pointed me to the Sony NEX-VG10 and I found great footage online which, you guessed it, has me torn between these three choices. I know DSLR does a fine job but I like the idea of having a real video cam (and later on add a DLSR to my collection). But I could still go DSLR. I’m just confused. The VG10 does a great job but doesn’t shoot in 24p like the HV30. Would you just forget 24p and move forward with the Sony? I know I must decide myself, and you can only inform. I was wondering if there could be a 4th camera option I haven’t included here?

    Thanks again for your contribution to the craft.

  21. Thanks, Lance. Yeah, I can’t really make that call for you. It’s totally dependent on what suits the film and how you intend to master it / screen it. A 24p camera is probably a good investment if you plan to move on and grow to the point where you will use cinema workflows. On the other hand, the t.v.-look of 1080i can be just fine, especially for documentaries/sports. Good luck!

  22. @fob,

    Check out the forums for that specific camera (HVR-V1U) and see what people who use it recommend. Here’s a link to get you started:

  23. Please help me… Can I use a CANON HV30 or HV20 for making a short film effectively??
    please respond

    • @Jayadev – Short answer: yes. People have made great shorts with these cameras, and also much worse cameras. Good luck!

  24. Denny Chuckles

    July 26, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    Awesome stuff, J. May I ask a question? You state in your criteria that shooting is best with 1080p. However, the RED One doesn’t fit your criteria. Do the other attributes make up for the lack of 1080p? I’m just having a little trouble understanding the contradiction (for lack of a better term). Could you explain that a bit more? Thanks!

    • @Denny,

      For the RED One you have the option of capturing better than 1920 x 1080 resolution – namely 2k and 4k. A feature film at 4k is one big data file. A lot of people downconvert to 1080 to fit on a tape like an HDCam-SR when creating the final master for t.v. broadcast and DVD/Blu-Ray authoring. If you shot 4k and hope to project theatrically, you should still make a 4k master of some kind, even if it is just several terabytes of dpx files. Hope that answers your question.

  25. I just wanted to say thanks for the info. I am an audio pro out of Berklee and I wanted to dabble in some indie/doc film production. My wife is a photog with a couple of DSLRs, both with HD. Your article was insightful and helpful. I think I still need to make a decision about a production app, Media Composer or Final Cut. Many of my colleagues have to use both. I use Pro Tools for all audio work, though I own other audio apps, too. Any immediate concerns or recommendations you can make regarding accessories, production software, or technique for the first go around? Maybe suggestion for further reading? Thanks again, I became a fan on FB of your site. Best of luck with your projects.

    • @Jae,

      I am not recommending Final Cut Pro X at this time – it does not yet have the audio functionality that fimmakers need. If you can get ahold of a copy of the old Final Cut Studio or any of the last couple versions of Media Composer, you should be fine – you can send OMFs/AAFs that work great in ProTools. The next version of Avid will supposedly be even more integrated with ProTools, since Avid bought DigiDesign, the company that made the software, a few years back.

      As far as other recommendations, click around the site. Or, if you prefer to have everything organized, there are plenty of good books on film production. Check out the book reviews here on the site or on Amazon. Best of luck, John

  26. Hi John,

    I’m big fan of you… am planning to open a movie company in Ethiopia. I have good sponsor willing to cover my camera cost, planning to by red one or red epic. What is the best component to have a good quality sound, since am all the way in Ethiopia it’s easy to maintain if some thing wrong with the camera. Pls advice me what else I should by for my company.


    • @Tess,

      I am planning to write a post on sound soon. Without knowing the specifics of what you need, I can only make general recommendations. First thing you’ll want to get is a boom mic and some way to record it. The cinema standard mic is the Sennheiser ME66 with K6 module. For recording I like the Sound Devices 744T. Next, you’ll want to get some wireless lav mics like Tram TR50s – cheap and good – plus Lectrosonics receivers. If you can’t afford all that, consider getting a lesser camera than the RED and spending on good sound equipment. The sound stuff doesn’t change as fast and is, in many ways, more important.

      Good luck – John.

      UPDATE: Here’s the article on sound equipment…

  27. Hey J. I’m just entering the world of filmmaking and for a brief time was sold on either a HV30 or 40. But shortly after I started having second thoughts about the whole miniDV tapes. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about it being a “dying technology”, and that places to buy these tapes will become more and more scarce as time goes on. That kinda sounds scary. Should I get a camera with a hard drive or not worry about the tapes? This will be my first camera and I will probably spend numerous hours just shooting anything to practice, and don’t want to spend a ton of money on tapes because of learning footage. Thank you so much!

    • @WooDy,

      Yes, it seems to be the consensus that miniDV is on the way out. There are plenty of good options of hard-drive recording prosumer cameras. That said, you might be able to get a used kit of the HV30 or HV40 and get a lot of mileage out of it. Tapes do have advantages as cheap and long-lasting storage. I have not researched the lower-end cameras in a while — sorry I can’t be of more help.


  28. Hi this is Aswath from India.

    I have started a small ad-making company here.. I want to buy a video camera for my company… it must be very low price with good quality… HD quality… better it have p2 cards or lens changing option? Can you please tell me which one is better.

    • @Aswath,

      The ability to change lenses, IMHO. Unless you already have a bunch of P2 cards and P2-associated equipment already, and can save some money with the HVX200 or other P2 camera.

  29. Hi John,

    I am a complete begginer when it comes to technical camera know-how. I saw that “The Camera Assistant’s Manual” was one of the suggested readings on this site. I believe there is a 5th edition out now. Would this be the book for someone like me who has no idea about what all the different features on a camera do for your film? Everything from the different lenses and how to work them to color and lighting, especially on a DSLR. I have played around with point-and-shoot cameras, but wanted to step up to DSLR and learn how to use all the features. Could you please suggest some readings, if you feel “The Camera Assistant’s Manual” will not provide this for me? Thank you very much.

    • @V. Datt,

      I believe Focal Press just put out a book on DSLR Cinematography. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like more what you’re looking for.

  30. Thank you for your time, Mr. Ott! I really appreciate all your knowledge.

    What about Sony NEX-FS 100U 35 Sensor Camcorder (body only on B&H $4999, with lens 18-200mm Zoom $5599)? Do you recommend to buy a lens with it?

    And any equivalent cameras in Panasonic — I heard Panasonic is durable.

    Or if I can spend less to achieve the same result, for which I can save money for something else?

    I graduated from a film school in LA a couple of years ago, thinking of doing a short cinematic style film and will schedule to shoot by the end of this year.

    Seeking your professional opinion. Great thanks! -jen

    • @Jen,

      Check out this interview with Mark Stolaroff:

      Hopefully that will help answer your questions. Ultimately, I would say spend no more than 10% of your budget on the camera and lenses. I don’t have any facts to back that number up — I’m guesstimating. But a big part of what makes something cinematic is lighting and camera movement. A good d.p. will help with that, and help you get the most out of whatever camera you can afford.

  31. hello

    i have come to a point were i need a better cam.. i have a mono røde mic and a good quality tripod..

    things i would like:
    low light ability without grains..
    ability to control focus abit
    still a resolution to get 720p on youtube..

    i make mostly car videos street racing and stuff..

    i have been looking on the HV20 canon:
    cool things:
    mic minijack
    headphone jack (sweet then i can hear if its any good)
    24p cinema.. would like that sweet look..
    ability to change lences..

    firewire transfer
    is it a 720 cam?

    is there a replacement for this.. newer model with some of the same cool things?

  32. Thanks for the comprehensive list.
    Might want to update it a bit and add the Arri Alexa, Sony F35 and now the Sony F65.

    Also spotted a little mistake the GH1 was released a full calendar year later than the Canon 5D Mkii. And all tho it looks like a DSLR it technically uses an Electronic View Finder (EVF). These EVF cameras are also known as “Mirrorless” meaning the lens sits right next to the sensor. So the image you see on the EVF come right out of the sensor. DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex) use a collection of mirrors inside the body to project the image onto the view finder.

    The main advantage of this Mirrorless system is that it allows the manufacturer to build a much much smaller and lighter camera body. Another side benefit is that this is the most adaptable camera system in the world. You can put anything from cinema lenses, down to pretty much any brand of camera lens out there. But you have to deal with the Crop Factor of the sensor.

    Speaking of crop factors…..
    The single most differentiating feature between the 5d, 7d and the Panasonic GH series is the sensor crop factor. 5d mkii as a full frame camera and thus has no crop factor. So a 50mm f1.4 lens behaves as such. The 7D has a 1.6x crop factor. So that same lens would in turn behave like a 80mm; and while it retains the f1.4 sensitivity/f stop the DOF is also multiplied by 1.6 so your DOF would behave like an f2.0. On the GH series the sensor is a even smaller and the multiplier is 2x. SO again the same math. The advantages of one over the other are based on personal preferences and needs. Plus you can now hack all these cameras and get more out of them.

    Basic sensor notions: The bigger the sensor the better performance you’ll have at Higher ISO’s, the bigger and heavier the system will be (body and lens), and the more rolling shutter you’ll have.

    Hope this help!

  33. I am doing an oral history project. We shot the first set with the Canon 60D. I now want to get an HD Video camera. Budget is a big consideration. Between $3-5,000, what would you recommend? It will be used mostly with tripod, but occasionally hand-held. This camera will be used for some time as this is a Museum project.

    • @Richard,

      If you are already accustomed to using Canon cameras, I recommend taking a look at the T2i, the 7D and the 5DmkII.


  34. This a very informative site. Thanks to J. Ott.
    I’m from Nepal and I want to make films and right now I don’t have any camera except a bridge camera which isn’t an option to make the kind of film I want in any situation. I’ve been using it for still photography. I’m very much interested in DSLRs as I love still photography too and I’ve seen some videos shot by DSLRs on vimeo. Could anyone tell me which DSLR should I buy? I’m thinking of Canon EOS 5D II, 7D and 60D and I’m in a dilemma. Which one do you guys think is better for me? I read somewhere that ‘Black Swan’ had some scenes shot with DSLRs and now I’m being impatient to get one for myself. I want to make some short films and if possible a feature length film too. Is it possible to make a feature length movie or at least short movies with a DSLR and send it to a film festival like Cannes or Sundance Film Festival or something like that? Your answers would be much appreciated. I’m a newbie and I love movies. I’m more into indie, art movies. Thanks to everyone in advance.

  35. I would recommend the Sony NEX fs-100. I had a few days to toy around with it, and I must say for the price @ $6000(with lens and view finder) the image is staggering. If you need proof on what it can do video is starting to surface on the possibilities of shooting with this camera.

    Best of luck in whatever you choose,
    Eric Paul Scarabin

  36. And what accessories do you need to turn it into a rig?

  37. i am a new in the movie industry, i want to learn making simple movie, mtv & other short episodes, as a beginner, what should camera i buy to make a very simple movie episode for my project? budget is too cheap, around $500-700? is this possible?

    • @Minchie,

      Rather than try to make your own movie on that kind of budget, perhaps consider joining a crew or volunteering on a larger independent movie. This will give a better picture of how filmmaking is done in the industry and will hopefully help you connect with other filmmakers.

  38. Hello, I want to film family and friends. Perhaps do a documentary. Please recommend a digital camera for less than $200. Thank you.

  39. Hi,
    I want to know which camera is required and recommended to shoot a good quality TV show?Can you give me two-three options.This is for a pilot episode shoot and the budget is pretty tight.This is for a community television channel.

    • @Harshada,

      Any camera will work for a community TV show. The quality expectations are basically zero. The camera is not everything – make sure budget goes into lighting, sets, costumes etc. as well.

  40. I need to know if our film can be considerably good with sony HDR-XR160E together with a mixer Edirol V-440.

    • @Nelson,

      I am not familiar with that camera and that recorder — try comparing their quality to the other ones I list on this site.

  41. Very very very useful article..My movie was stopped by financier and am looking to finish up own..But am not having so much money so i decided to go for digital movie.. So we can go with DSLR rather than HD camcorder am right? Any DSLR that shoots 1080p at 23.98fps is compact for making theatrical feature film… Or it has some other technical points…??Plz guide me… Thanks Mr.Ott

  42. Best HD camera I found is SONY NEX -10VG Great pic quality on cinema screen

  43. Hi i am shooting a Feature Film for television. The budget is low. Is the CANON Mark 2 recommendable over the 7D and 550D.

    • @Similo,

      Yes. The 5DmkII is more light-sensitive, which will mean you can save money on your lighting kit. Good luck! -j

  44. Thanks John, this is a great article — I am going with the T3i, and I was wondering what accessories you would recommend to turn it into a rig. Specifically, did you buy an additional lens for the camera and what mic set up are you using? Any other “must have” accessories to get it up to speed for doing predominately interview shots? Thanks again for the great advice!

  45. @Ezra,

    For interviews, all you should need are a good tripod and a good lav or boom mic that you can plug straight into the minijack. You should check out for my thoughts on the Rode mics which are designed to sit on the top of the DSLRs — these work fine for on-the-fly interviews, in my experience. If you still have room in your budget for lenses, a nice portrait lens or one that allows for smooth zoom motion is good.

    The only thing I’ll say is that the Canon DSLRs have a major limitation when it comes to interviews. The clip lengths are limited to around 12 minutes and they can over-heat if left running continuously over and over.

  46. these are well written and informative articles, great job.

    im looking at getting the t2i ( its available here in australia for $550 before you get into lenses : 0 )

    can you give me some suggestions as to what lenses i should get??

    i will be shooting some short films for entry into festivals etc and some stuff for episodes for the web. alot of the short film stuff will be indoors and low light, im very interested in shooting alot of stuff in near black and then bright artificial light situations so i could likely need to buy a couple of different lenses right? if im spending 550 on the camera i can probably spare anywhere from 500 to maybe 800 for the lenses. the web content stuff will just be comedic shorts so a high quality will not be super important, obviously i want my short films to be as best as i can afford.

    • @phil22,

      Lenses that shoot in low light for $500-$800? Maybe the Canon 5Omm 1.8 or 1.4, but otherwise you’ll have to rent.

  47. Hi John,

    I am interested in interviewing and recording my Grandfather who is 90 who fought in WW2. He has told me some very interesting stories over the years and I feel it is time to document some of these and archive them for future reference. I have a Nikon D80 ( which does not have video ) with a few really good lenses which have me sort of stuck with buying a new Nikon that will allow me to attach these lenses. Any Nikon suggestions or am I better off buying a HD Video camera?

  48. @Cameron,

    You can get a Nikon lens adapter for most cameras, so don’t let that be a consideration. For interviews, the most important part is the audio. Most of it will be covered later with (WWII) b-roll. Make sure you are using good microphones!

    A reason not to use DSLRs for interviews (Nikon or Canon) is the time limit on clips. You might want to rent a true video camera for a day that has tapes that can go an hour, so there is less chance your grandfather will be interrupted mid-story.

  49. Hello there :) I am a young filmmaker and want to go on to filming as a career, or film on the side and have a career in some type of media. I was wondering what the cheapest, best camera to buy would be? i want to make quality films in my spare time for either youtube or just for memories and getting more practice for the real world, and i dont know exactly what to choose? thank you :) This site is awesome!

    • @Isaiah,

      The cheapest camera is one your friends or family members already own and you can borrow for free! Any camera that has manual control of focus, shutter and f-stop will go a long way to helping you learn about shooting. Experiment with different types of camera movement and with different lighting. Shoot in all kinds of situations: night interior, night exterior, day interior, day exterior are the broad divisions, but also challenge yourself with different weather conditions. If you are young, you have a great opportunity to get the 10,000 hours of experience it takes to master something way before other people. That will put you well on your way to a career as a cinematographer. Happy shooting! –JO

  50. Thanks John…for the informative articles…
    I’ m an Architect from India working in kingdom of Bahrain, I would like to step head to film making, am working with 3ds max, Maya, z brush etc. I done lot of architectural visualizations by rendering 1280×720 and editing with after effects, now I would like to make some short films and if possible a feature length film too. create a movie with the solid base of max & Maya (modeling, characterizing and animating) for the external shots and matte painting I don’t have any camera which camera I can by for the this kind of movie making and which is the best format and ratio for the film, Your answers would be much appreciated. I’m a newbie and I love movies. I’m more into animation movies. Thanks to everyone in advance.

    • @shad,

      See my specs list at the top of the article. 1920 x 1080 pixels (a 16 x 9 widescreen ratio), 23.976 progressive frame rate minimum. Good luck!


  51. Thanks John, — I am going with the Canon EOS 7D , and I was wondering what accessories you would recommend to turn it into a rig. Specifically, did you buy an additional lens for the camera (what about 18-85) need any other accessories?
    Thanks again for the great advice!

  52. Thanks john I am going with the Canon EOS 7D , and I was wondering what accessories you would recommend to turn it into a rig. Specifically, did you buy an additional lens for the camera (what about 18-85) need any other accessories?
    Thanks again for the great advice!

  53. I am going with the Canon EOS 7D , and I was wondering what accessories you would recommend to turn it into a rig. Specifically, did you buy an additional lens for the camera (what about 18-85) need any other accessories?
    Thanks again for the great advice!

  54. I got a EOS Rebel t3i (600D here, In australia) last week, and I must say I am extremely happy with it. Using a PVC pipe shoulder rig, a 50mm f/1.4 Canon lens, I can produce some really amazing pictures! I would reccomend the camera to anyone who would like to create very professional films on a lower budget :)

  55. I have the panasonic hdc-hs900, what kind of lens adapter should I buy, and was there a better camera I could have got for 1000$ I will be using this to make indie films

  56. For anyone starting out. There are stores that rent equipment to experiment with,different lens’s, cameras , lighting etc., Before jumping in and spending 5 or 50M, experiment with different rigs as were gone over. Also check out the different Photographers and there Blogs for helpful advice.Make sure you get the insurance in case of accidents. Rock On

  57. Daljit Khankhana

    March 15, 2012 at 4:16 AM

    Hi, I ‘m going to shoot my feature film, having short budget, what do you suggest me, cannon 5D or 7D, can we develop further into a feature film.

  58. intresting to see all this cameras
    I like canon HV30
    do they also used this camera?

  59. why you do not talk about nikon?

  60. Good informative articles and comments.

    I am a videographer with many years’ experience using SD Sony camcorders, and have done still photography shooting with an Olympus e500. After I used the e500 DSLR (no video), and got used to working with some of the manual adjustments and the interchangeable lenses, and returned to video recording, I missed not being able to change lenses on the fixed lens camcorders, and not being allowed to change f-stop or exposure because camcorders control these settings automatically.

    I shot a friends’ wedding ceremony on digital video and managed to edit down over 4 hours’ worth to 90 minutes. I couldn’t fix the disappointing night time low light shooting performance of the consumer camera in post-production. I set the camera for 16:9 widescreen format, but the SD resolution of the sensor and the poor low light performance was grainy in a video kind of way. The flat video look due to no cinematographic Depth Of Field, made it difficult to edit the video so the newly weds would be the focus of the event.

    I have done research on the Panasonic AG-AF100 HD camera, including watching test clips, and even though its sensor is 40% smaller than the Canon EOS 300 (24.6mm x 13.8mm), the AF100 offers stunning low light images at one-quarter of the price.

    The 35mm film effective frame dimensions are 22mm x 12.3mm, the AG-AF100 4/3 sensor dimensions are 19mm x 10.7mm, making it 25% smaller compared to cinematographic film. This video camera’s sensor is larger than the sensor used in traditional HD cameras.

    A feature length film has been shot using the AF100:
    The Raid Redemption’s official US trailer, a feature film

    The Raid Redemption production video blog

    Music Video Kid Jones

    Slow Motion test

    Low light performance test set on 3200 ISO

  61. Dear J. Ott
    I have a canon T3i/600D camera. I want to make short films (or feature film) for international film festival. Please I request you to let me know what frame rate I should use for film and is it perfect this camera for film making? I have lenses of 50 mm f1.4, 18-55 mm and 55-250. what more lenses I need for sooting…

  62. I’m looking to shoot a short film with lots of color manipulation. I have my sites set on a 5D Mark Ii, but was wondering if there are places where I can buy/rent more than just generic photography filters for these lenses. Perhaps even customized filters?

    I’m not crazy about color correction in post and I don’t know of any examples of seeing people experiment with color in camera with a dslr. Thoughts?

    • @Alex,

      Go for it. Your local photography store should have plenty of color filters available for rental that work with DSLR lenses. Also, Tiffen makes a digital filter kit that matches the look of their real filters.

  63. Thanks for the Tiffen recommendation! This looks up my alley. I’ll take a look into the shops around here.

    Much appreciated!

  64. I’m looking for a good quality HD shooting camera but I have a very limited price range. like $200-$400 range. I feel like there is nothing I can get for that much. I certainly don’t have $1700 to spend, I feel like I’m too limited to get good film

    • @James,

      Try teaming up with other filmmakers in your area and pooling resources, or better yet, befriending someone who already has the equipment you need. Cheap is fine so long as you can find equipment that will let you grow as a filmmaker. If your story is good enough, people will overlook technical flaws. (But it better be REALLY GOOD!)

  65. hi…i was wondering if there are any new camera’s coming out or already out there that have the same quality as the 5d, but with a video camera body, for the same price? also i still having a hard time converting…i still use film (super 8 and 16mm) but am hesitant to switch cause i feel like it’s not quite there yet, do you know of any new models coming out with that will be even closer to film?

  66. Hi John,

    can you update your compareson and add the new blackmagic, d650, and the gh3?

  67. hey john, i want to shoot a film in africa, ghana…i have a considerable good amount of money for great cameras..and i also want a hd resolution, like box office films, please tell me the best cameras to get the the things i need to get to make the film

  68. “At least 1920×1080 resolution, 23.98p frames per second (1080p). I now consider this the minimum for a feature film that will be taken seriously by festivals, distributors and the majority of movie audiences.”

    I don’t mean to discourage anyone, but before you invest money and time making an independent feature film, you need to be aware that no matter how awesome it turns out, your chances of finding a distributor for it are virtually non-existent. Whether it’s shot in SD, 1080p, 4K HD, 16 mm, 35 mm, or an old Hi-8 camcorder makes no difference.

    Festivals don’t care what format you chose to shoot your film. They care about the quality and originality of your script, the way you directed it, and your actors’ performances. “Dancer in the Dark” was shot with a couple Sony PD-150’s and looked professional enough to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes and make over $40M at the box office worldwide. Bear in mind though that winning festivals is extremely hard and yet will rarely have any effect on finding a distributor, at least in the US. Kusturika’s $20M masterpiece “Underground”, also a winner of the Palme d’Or, could not find a distributor in the US. Neither could Haneke’s film (I even forgot the title), another winner a couple years ago.

    So unless you’re backed by a major studio, have a budget of at least $2M AND at least one B-List (or preferably above) actor starring in your film, do not count on making any money from it, so don’t spend a fortune making it, because unfortunately, these are, at least in the US, the real minimum requirements for a film to be taken seriously by a distributor.

  69. Alex: Beasts of the Southern Wild and Searching for Sugar Man obviously prove you wrong.

  70. Alex: Valid points but I think we’re going to slap the “Captain Obvious” name on you based on your comments. I believe that the camera reviews were written with the assumption that the individuals making their films were knowledgeable filmmakers. Focus less on slamming someone else’s article and more on something positive. As a filmmaker, interested in either renting a professional camera or purchasing a mid-range camera, I found the article helpful.

Comments are closed.

© 2019 Making the Movie

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑