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7 Surprisingly Affordable Cameras Worth A Look

7 Surprisingly Affordable Cameras Worth A Look

Are you serious about creating cinematic visuals? This list of affordable, high-quality cameras is for you!

Just as computers for video editing and VFX production have advanced considerably in a very short amount of time, there’s also been a generational leap recently in terms of camera hardware, bringing some truly exciting innovations to the hands of filmmakers everywhere. 

And the best part of all? Cameras with incredible features are more affordable than ever.

While some have been released in 2020, and others just a short time ago or on the horizon, here are seven exciting (and modestly-priced) cameras worth paying attention to!

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K | $1,995

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Source: B&H

The thought that you could have cinematic 6K footage with a camera just shy of $2,000 is astounding. Plus, you have the option to capture BRAW files for pristine color grading in Davinci Resolve.

The BMPCC 6K's Super 35 Sensor is capable of achieving gorgeous high-dynamic range, and its dual native ISO up to 25,600 gives it a major edge in low-light performance. The video below beautifully illustrates the detailed shadows, and highlights, and color depth that can be achieved at such a reasonable price.
The other major selling point of this camera is the latest Blackmagic UI that is about as simplified as anyone could ever hope for. The layout is clean and intuitive, allowing you quick access to any setting without having to dive deep into menus. 

This makes it an excellent choice for filmmakers on the go, along with newcomers to the world of cinema cameras.

Blackmagc Ursa Mini Pro 12K | $9,995

Blackmagic Design Ursa Mini Pro 12K
Source: B&H

Blackmagic Design has blown the industry away with each new major camera release, but perhaps their most jaw-dropping moment yet was this year's reveal of their latest cinema camera that boasts a whopping 12K resolution. Not 8K, not 10K...12K!

And at just below $10,000, it makes it a strong contender as the most affordable future-proof cinema camera currently on the market.
The icing on the cake with the Ursa 12K is in its magical lightweight codec design that makes working with 12K footage a surprisingly fluid process without the need for a monstrous PC.

Obviously, even the need for 8K delivery is a long ways off, but the point of having a massive resolution like 12K is virtually limitless reframing and varying focal lengths in post-production when delivering in 1080p or 4K, along with a whole new realm of discovery for VFX and industry innovation.

Sony a7S III | $3,498

Sony A7 III
Source: B&H

Sony fans have been anticipating the release of the a7S II's successor for a very long time, and the a7S III did not disappoint! While it may not have a 6K resolution, it takes everything that made the a7S II such a fan-favorite, and made it even better.

Even further improved best-in-class low-light performance (with 2000-4000 ISO said to resemble 200-400 ISO on other cameras), buttery smooth 4K at 120fps, and now even faster autofocusing to ensure your productions look their sharpest.
The popular color science that makes Sony's cameras so iconic has taken a huge leap forward, bringing more vibrant colors than ever before.

The evolution of a tried and true favorite, the A7S III is a solid shooter that will have your run-and-gun productions looking like a high-end commercial or documentary.

RED Komodo | $6,000-$7,000 (Estimated)

RED Komodo
Source: Newsshooter

The RED Komodo is something of a white whale. It's out there, in the wild, being produced on a large scale and used by filmmakers everywhere, but it's not officially been made available without placing a special order.  

Perhaps the most notable features are that it's capable of shooting in 6K, while at the same time also being the cheapest camera RED has ever produced.
As with the other cameras in their lineup, you'll need to kit it out beyond the initial price tag to get the most from it, but the relatively low cost of entry compared to its predecessors makes the RED Komodo an excellent avenue for anyone looking to get into the RED ecosystem on a tighter budget.

If you’re considering picking up a new cinema camera, the RED Komodo is a solid mid-range option, and it’s sure to have a large community when it officially launches later this year.

Jarred Land, the president of RED, regularly shares updates and stunning Komodo footage from around the world on his Instagram, so be sure to check it out for the latest updates on the RED Komodo and order availability. 

Canon EOS R5 | $3,899.00

Source: B&H

Once the king of DSLR videography, Canon has seemingly faded into the background over the last several years when it comes to innovative camera releases. Now, the fierce competition in the high-quality mirrorless camera category has led to their latest effort to reclaim their throne: the R5.

The most innovative feature available in the EOS R5 is 8K footage in a sub-$4,000 camera body. 
The stellar in-body image stabilization makes it a great choice for shooting in almost any situation, and the dual-pixel autofocus ensures crisp compositions while you’re on the go.

While not as fully-featured, the EOS R6 is a slightly cheaper option, and you can see a comparison between the two here.

Panasonic Lumix DC-S5 | $1,997.99

Panasonic Lumix DC-S5
Source: B&H

Panasonic’s Lumix excellent micro four-thirds camera line-up has continued to drive innovation and competition in the mirrorless sector, but with the S5, they’ve brought their excellent hardware and firmware performance to a full-frame sensor in an affordable package. 
The S5 is one of the most affordable contenders in our list, and it’s also a very well-rounded option. It features great dynamic range, particularly when it comes to highlights, of course 4K/60fps 10-bit recording, and compatibility with Panasonic’s great Varicam Lut Library.

It should also be noted that the S5 isn’t necessarily a successor to the GH5, but a hybrid between some of the pricier cameras’ features and a more modest price tag.  

DJI Osmo Pocket | $299.99

DJI Osmo Pocket
Source: B&H

The DJI Osmo Pocket has been around since the end of 2018, but since then, software and firmware updates have only made this camera better. The Osmo Pocket is a great choice for anyone who wants to capture engaging b-roll at an affordable price, and it’s also the best option for beginners who want to be able to shoot stable 4K without spending thousands of dollars.

Using the same industry-leading gimbal technology found on their drones, DJI built a handheld camera capable of capturing smooth 4K video up to 60fps, as well as 1080p up to 120fps.
The D-Cinelike color profile allows for more cinematic color grading options in post, and features like timelapse and POV mode create amazing video. You can even create various points of interest during the timelapse mode, so the camera incrementally adjusts throughout the extended timelapse recording.

One great accessory is the extension rod, which enables jib-like shots. It also has a rod mount for monitoring the Osmo Pocket from your phone while you shoot, as well as a convenient joystick pad and buttons on the handle.

Whichever camera you choose, be sure to pay attention to the various media recording options. Besides the Osmo Pocket, most of these cameras are capable of shooting on multiple media types, like CFast 2.0 cards, UHS-II SD cards, and external SSDs.  

Each camera’s respective product page breaks down everything you need to know about which media to shoot on, but if you’re planning to use a more locked-down cinematic approach with a lot of continuous shooting in high resolutions and at higher frame rates, an external SSD like Samsung’s T5 or T7 is a great choice. 

You can get terabytes of storage for a reasonable price, with the added bonus of being able to simply edit off of the SSD once you’re done shooting! If you opt for SD cards, be sure they are in fact UHS-II (if the camera requires it) to make sure the throughput is high enough for your camera’s data rate.

Planning on picking up one of these awesome cameras? Let us know in the comments below!

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