The 10 Best Digital Video Cameras for Filmmaking in 2021
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We rated our top ten picks for the best digital video cameras for filmmaking here in 2021! Let's look at the results.

Despite a pandemic slowing industries around the world, the digital camera game is rugged and fierce than ever. Over the past year we've seen major technological breakthroughs, as well as numerous major updates and all-new cameras.

But which one is right for you? This question will relate to several questions related to your preferred manufacturer, your capabilities, and your price. We got you covered, however, when we break down the top ten cameras for filmmaking in 2021. Let's dive in!

1. Fujifilm X-T4

Announced only a year ago, Fujifilm's coveted sequel to its Fujifilm X-T3 did not disappoint. With its 26.1 megapixel sensor, 4K video with up to 60 frames per second and a beautiful F-Log recording, the X-T4 has retained all the elements that made the X-T3 something special. However, the X-T4 also offers additions and improvements for body image stabilization (IBIS), high frame rate recording (HFR), a fold-out LCD touchscreen, better audio quality, and twice the battery life.

We put the Fujifilm X-T4 first on our list because of its robust features and extremely competitive price point, which is currently at $ 1,699 (or $ 2,099 with an 18-55mm kit lens) . This is a nice mirrorless camera option for those starting out with digital filmmaking or videography.

Full specifications::

  • 26.1 MP APS-C X-Trans BSI CMOS 4 sensor
  • X processor 4 image processor
  • 5-axis image stabilization in the body
  • DCI / UHD 4K at 60 fps, Full HD at 240 fps
  • 425-point hybrid AF system
  • 3.69 m point 0.75x OLED EVF
  • 3.0 "1.62 m point touch screen with variable angle
  • Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Film simulation modes

Price: $ 1,699

2. Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K

With the industry moving so fast since it was announced and released, the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K could be old news at this point (I mean, where is our BMPCC8K, right?). But nothing can be further from the truth. As we detailed in our in-depth review, the BMPCC6K is a movie giant packed in a handheld package that is still insanely cheap for what you get.

With 6K video recording at up to 50 frames per second, a Super 35 HDR sensor, and a more compatible EF mount, the BMPCC6K is the perfect upgrade for its 4K counterpart and should be a staple of the digital video community for a few years his coming – which says something about how fast the industry is advancing.

Full specifications::

  • Active Canon EF / EF-S mount
  • Super 35 HDR sensor
  • Record 6K 6144 x 3456 at up to 50 frames per second
  • Dual native 400 & 3200 ISO up to 25,600
  • 5 "1920 x 1080 touchscreen display
  • Record HD windows at up to 120 frames per second
  • CFast 2.0 and SD / UHS-II card slots
  • External recording via USB type C.
  • 13-step dynamic range, 3D LUT support
  • Includes the DaVinci Resolve Studio license

Price: USD 1,995

If you're interested in the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K, here are some additional items that cover everything from lenses to presets to dealing with the cold.

3. Nikon Z6 II

At a price similar to the Fujifilm X-T4 and BMPCC6K, we have the only Nikon offering on our list with the Nikon Z6 II. The Z6 II is a new version of the Z6 and another high-quality, high-performance camera that offers many of the same specifications (such as 4K with up to 30 frames per second and 10-bit HDMI output) but has its own Nikon flair .

If you are a fan of Nikon cameras or lenses, this is the camera for you. And I encourage anyone looking at cameras at this $ 3,000 threshold (which has been claimed to be the current threshold for non-theatrical cameras on the market) to check them out as well. You may fall in love with the support provided by N-Log and HLG (HDR), as well as the well-designed aesthetics and ergonomics.

Full specifications::

  • BSI CMOS sensor in FX format with 24.5 MP
  • Dual EXPEED 6 image processors
  • UHD 4K with up to 30 fps
  • N-Log & 10-bit HDMI output
  • 273-point phase-detection AF system
  • Electronic 3.6 m point OLED viewfinder
  • 3.2 "2.1 m point tiltable touchscreen LCD
  • 5-axis vibration reduction in the body
  • Two memory card slots

Price: $ 1,996

4. Sony a7S III

As one of the biggest camera announcements in 2020, the long-awaited sequel to Sony's popular a7S II has exceeded expectations in every way. The Sony a7S III fits in perfectly with the brand's offerings for digital mirrorless cameras and cinema cameras, at a great price ($ 3,500) and with tremendous recording capabilities from 4K to 120 frames per second.

Of course, if you also take a look at the Sony a7R IV, you won't be wrong, which also caused quite a stir with its recent release. We'll be recommending the a7S III here to so many in the digital photo and video community only because of the camera's popularity and familiarity.

Full specifications::

  • 12MP full screen Exmor R BSI CMOS sensor
  • UHD 4K up to 120p video, 10-bit 4: 2: 2 internal
  • 16-bit RAW output, HLG & S-Log3 gammas
  • 759 point fast hybrid AF
  • 9.44 m point QXGA OLED EVF
  • 3.0 "1.44 m point touch screen with variable angle
  • 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization
  • Two CFexpress type A / SD card slots

Price: $ 3,499

5. Panasonic Lumix S1H

From the $ 2,000 range, let's take a look at the fantastic cameras Panasonic is offering with its Lumix S1H. As you can read in our first article, the S1H is definitely a camera designed for the modern video professional. With the ability to record 6K videos at up to 24 frames per second (along with a respectable 4: 2: 2 10-bit DCI 4K), the S1H is not to be confused with the more purpose-built Lumix S1.

Overall, for fans of other Panasonic cameras – like the hugely popular Lumix GH4 and GH5 – the S1H is one of the best options outside of the cinema-only cameras we offer, although the S1H is priced higher than the BMPCC6K I'll get on our list later.

Full specifications::

  • 24.2 MP full screen CMOS sensor
  • 6K up to 24fps video
  • 4: 2: 2 10-bit DCI 4K / UHD 4K
  • V-Log, dual native ISO
  • OLED LVF with 5.76 m point and 0.78 times magnification
  • 3.2 "2.33 m-point tilt / clearance angle touch LCD
  • Contrast detection DFD AF system with 225 areas
  • 5-axis image stabilization with sensor shift

Price: $ 3,999

6. Canon EOS R5

Okay, the Canon EOS R5 almost single-handedly ushered in a new era of 8K when it came out in March 2020. It's a bold camera that pushes everything we thought was possible Something so small and affordable with 8K RAW shooting capabilities up to 30 fps (and 4K at up to 120 fps).

However, as expectations have fallen back to earth, we had to ask ourselves, "Is the Canon R5 really a good camera for filmmakers?" The answer is, it just depends on what you're looking for. The R5 certainly offers considerable performance in terms of pixel count, and Canon is no problem when it comes to color science and video-focused features, but it may not be for everyone either.

Full specifications::

  • 45MP full screen CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC X image processor
  • 8K RAW up to 30fps
  • 4K with up to 120 fps (internal 10-bit video)
  • 5-axis image stabilization with sensor shift
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF II with 1053 points
  • 3.2 inch variable angle touch screen LCD
  • Topic tracking with deep learning
  • CFexpress & SD UHS-II memory card slots

Price: $ 3,899

7. Sony Alpha 1

In recent news, and perhaps in response to Canon's EOS R5, Sony has also announced its own mirrorless 8K offering for the Sony Alpha 1 (stylized as Sony a1). Although this camera isn't technically out yet, it is expected to go on sale in March 2021. We will therefore add it to our list as it will definitely be one of the hottest options out there in the years to come.

But what distinguishes this Sony a1? It is, in fact, similar to the Canon R5 with 8K video up to 30 frames per second and 4K with up to 120 frames per second. For one, the a1 promises to actually record its 8K video at 8.6K and overscan to 8K, along with the usual run of Sony Color Science and S-Cinetone recording. However, the biggest initial downside seems to be the price. If you're a fan, pre-order until you get the release and first hands-on reviews before making your investment.

Full specifications::

  • 50MP full screen Exmor RS BSI CMOS sensor
  • 8K video at up to 30 frames per second
  • 4K video up to 120p in 10-bit
  • 4.3K 16-bit RAW video output, S-Cinetone
  • 759-point high-speed hybrid AF, real-time eye AF
  • 5-axis SteadyShot image stabilization
  • 5 GHz MIMO Wi-Fi
  • Two CFexpress type A / SD card slots

Price: 6,499 USD

8. Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K

With the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K we can now venture into the wild world of 12K videos. Originally announced in July 2020, the URSA Mini Pro 12K was a bit of a surprise. Blackmagic already had a great documentary workhorse movie camera with the URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2. The industry loves to keep track of that pixel count, however, and the URSA Mini Pro 12K doesn't disappoint. (The only question remains: when and why do you actually need 12K?)

Even so, this camera is a cinematic beast with its 12K Super 35 HDR CMOS sensor that records 12K to 60 fps, DCI 8K to 120 fps and can push 14 levels of dynamic range to make even the brightest or darkest of situations look. That space for high-end cinema cameras (perfect for documents and features) is suddenly crowded, even at a price range of $ 10,000.

Full specifications::

  • 12K Super35 HDR CMOS sensor
  • 12K 17: 9 to 60 fps
  • 12K 2.4: 1 to 75 fps
  • DCI 8K up to 120 fps
  • 4K Super16 with up to 220 fps
  • Dynamic range of 14 levels
  • User-replaceable PL lens mount
  • 80MP / frame Blackmagic RAW
  • Dual CFast or SD card recording

Price: $ 9,999

9. Canon C300 Mark III

The Canon C300 Mark II has long been considered the "gold standard" for high quality documentaries. However, with the introduction of the C300 Mark III, Canon appears to have outdone itself with an even more powerful, versatile, and reliable option for one of its flagship cinema cameras.

With its Super 35 mm DGO sensor, the C300 Mark III can transmit 4K videos at up to 120 frames per second and at the same time offers a dynamic range of 16 levels and 4K DCI / UHD with up to 120 frames per second. The real core of what the C300 Mark III has to offer, however, lies in the multitude of accessories, add-ons, and the general versatility of the camera for long periods of time and in a variety of situations. It's perfect for documentaries as well as corporate videos or short films.

Full specifications::

  • Super 35mm DGO sensor (Dual Gain Output)
  • 4K up to 120 fps
  • 2K crop up to 180 fps HDR
  • Cinema RAW Light and XF-AVC H.264 Codec
  • EF lens mount, DIG! C DV7 image processor
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF and Face Detection
  • LM-V2 4.3 inch LCD touch screen monitor
  • 12G-SDI and 4-channel audio recording
  • 2 x CFexpress slots, Canon Log2 and 3

Price: $ 10,999


Finally, we round off our list with the large format ARRI ALEXA Mini LF, which represents the highest class of professional digital filmmaking. The ARRI brand has long been synonymous with high-end video production for everything from big budget television spots to indie and blockbuster features. However, as we saw in the initial announcement, the ALEXA Mini LF is unique in its design that neatly fits its large format sensor into its ALEXA Mini housing.

The overall result is a “large format, small camera” construction – a perfect camera for anyone who wants to achieve this UHD on the Netflix level, while native 4K in ARRIRAW is transmitted at up to 60 fps. For many, however, this camera is a rental property as it can still retail at around $ 60,000 or more depending on the equipment you need to manipulate it. As for high-end cinema cameras in 2021, this may be the ultimate option for your feature breakout.

Full specifications::

  • Large format sensor 4448 x 3096
  • Native 4K recording in ARRIRAW & ProRes
  • Large format optimized LPL lens mount
  • Open Gate, 16: 9 & 2.39: 1 anamorphic mode
  • Native 800 ASA, 14+ stops the dynamic range
  • Array of ARRIRAW & ProRes recording modes
  • PL to LPL adapter included

Price: rental

Cover photo by gnepphoto.

For more reviews, guides, and insights into the camera, see the articles below.


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