A List of The Top 5 Best Cinema Cameras: For Big and Small Productions.
Let’s talk about the best cinema cameras on the market today. I won’t be talking about ARRI or RED cameras, because these are seriously high-end tools outside of most people’s scope. Although, I should mention that most of the Academy Award-nominated films in the past couple of years have been shot using a RED or ARRI Camera. So, if that’s where you’re heading, get a RED Helium or an ARRI Alexa for your production to be sure and snag a cinematography award.
That’s not to say that the cameras mentioned below won’t win you an Oscar. You might well be the next Scorsese or Spielberg! There’s no camera that can stop you from getting the recognition you deserve. However, the reason these are the best cinema cameras on the market is because they have the desired handling, connections and lens mounts.
These cameras come in manageable sizes and accessible prices, which make them ideal for professional productions and commercial use. That’s why they are the best. You can use these for big and small productions without losing quality or overwhelming your budget.
The Top 5 Best Cinema Cameras
The SONY FS7 – (SONY PXW-FS7)
According to its maker the SONY FS7 is the most sold Super35 camera in history. The Sony PXW-FS7 – XDCAM is the best camera on the market for your money. Not only is it loaded with tons of high-end features, great ergonomics and internal 4K, but this is a camera that is very easy to fall in love with. The FS7 CMOS sensor delivers an image with 14 stops dynamic range in S-Log3. It’s almost as good as the cinematographers’ favorite, ARRI ALEXA. The footage out of this camera has tons of latitude, and you can take the image any way you want.
Beyond lenses and batteries, this camera is fully functional the moment it’s taken out of the box with an image that is reflective of much higher-end cameras. So you wouldn’t be needing all the rigging and customizing that you need with other cinema cameras at this price point. I’ve worked with the Sony FS7 on several occasions shooting Cable TV shows and I must admit that the results are spectacular and the build is simple and efficient.
Canon EOS C300 Mark III
This is the first camera to feature Canon’s Dual Gain Output technology, which, in essence, is native dual ISO. This helps you achieve a clean low picture quality and 16 stops of dynamic range. It can perform slow motion recording at up to 120 fps in 4K at Super 35 or even as much as 180fps in 2K at super16. The Canon EOS C300 Mark III has 4K cinema RAW internal recording at 10 or 12 bit. Its modular design extends all the way to the lens mount, which can be changed between EF, PL or EF Cinema lock without servicing the camera.
A new modular design helps you to optimize and customize the EOS C300 Mark III to specific shooting needs. Accessories and expansion units can be easily attached to give you different levels of functionality. This camera works great when it’s fully decked out with a large zoom lens and audio accessories, as well as when it’s stripped down and flying on a drone. Its flexibility is a good reason to put the Canon EOS C300 Mark III as one of the top 5 cinema cameras this year.
The Top 5 Best Cinema Cameras
Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro G2
We love the Black Magic Ursa Mini here at AMC. We even have a full Ursa Mini Live Streaming System available for your next production. Take a look! However, Black Magic’s cinema cameras are not only our favorite, but they’re a favorite throughout the industry. The Ursa Mini Pro is a prime example of why Black Magic holds the key to the filmmakers’ heart. The Ursa Mini, despite being half the price of the above Canon, delivers the same amount of stops of dynamic range as well as up to 4.6K resolution and up to 150 fps in slow motion.
The Ursa Mini can record directly to an SSD. It features 2 SDXC slots and 2 C-Fast cards as well. Not to mention that you get DaVinci Resolve free when you buy one of these bad boys. DaVinci Resolve is Black Magic’s professional editing suite, which is loaded with audio and graphic software to elevate your footage beyond its famously good color correction and editing. I recently shot a feature with the Ursa Mini that has been received with praise in more than 12 festivals around the country, so who knows, maybe the next Oscar-winning camera is this one.
The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro
We like Black Magic cameras so much that we had to include another on this list of the Top 5 Best Cinema Cameras. The Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro is an astounding piece of equipment that delivers exquisite picture quality and can fit in your carry-on. It’s perfect for shooting remotely, or discreetly while still capturing cinema quality footage. Check out our in-depth review of the BMPCC 6K pro here.
Panasonic Lumix GH5 II
Like other crossover mirrorless cinema cameras, the GH5 is more for shooting independent films on a lower budget than Oscar-nominated Hollywood productions. However, this camera delivers excellent quality video and its size and price are ideal for documentary filmmakers on the go. Its still image and video specs aren’t boundary breaking, like the cameras above but they are impressively combined in a single camera. This camera is ideal for still photographers taking the big leap into shooting motion. This camera combines still image quality, video quality, stabilization, burst mode and wireless streaming capability, making it a lot of worth for your buck. All of this makes it one of the best cinema cameras on the market.
Top 5 Best Cinema Cameras
I hope that this article gave you some perspective in terms of what makes cinema cameras the best for your production. At the American Movie Company, we have a variety of camera options and professional DP’s to accompany them, should you be looking for a great deal. We have experienced DPs in shooting with the ARRI and RED cameras, and a whole team that often works with our Black Magic Ursa Mini Camera and our Sony Camera rental packages. To reiterate, what I’m saying is that we have options for you, whether you are working on a big budget production or an independent project. We’re here to help.