To find an easy-to-use professional-level camera isn’t too difficult in today’s market. There might be lots to pick from but at least you have options. But if you’re on the beginner/enthusiast side, even getting closer to professional-level, and on a budget, it’s not always easy. Finding that sweet spot between inexpensive and well, good enough, can be daunting. Below are our picks for the best cheap 4k camera for filmmaking that will give you excellent stills and video.
Best cheap 4k camera
For a professional/enthusiast-level camera, the G9 is a much more affordable option whose features are narrowing that of its more pricey counterpart, the Lumix GH5. While it’s best as a still camera, it’s latest upgrades include improvements in its video capabilities, nearly matching the GH5’s. These upgrades include a 10-bit internal video capture and an improved autofocus. It also boasts the above the line 6.5-stop dual stabilization system.
Of the Lumix brand, the G9 is the highest-end, stills-dominant camera for precision performance and high-res photos as of yet.
The Lumix combines a super speedy autofocus, a 12fps continuous drive rate and a 20.3MP image sensor. At its lowest ISO at 200, this camera captures highly detailed images.
With its lack of an optical low-pass filter, the camera can cause some aliasing artifacts, but at the same time, that can also allow for extremely fine and detailed stills.
For those who wear glasses, the G9’s eyepiece creates a more comfortable fit and more light shield around your eye to reduce eye strain and easier viewing through the LVF.
Affordable 4k camera
You may not feel like a professional photographer when using a phone to take your pictures, but damn if this isn’t one of the best and cheapest quality video cameras around. The cons are obvious as it's a cell phone, but let’s use this time to see what you can do on the latest release, the 11 Pro.
The iPhone 11 Pro boasts an ultra wide lens, a built-in optical zoom that gives smooth zooming when transitioning between lenses, with no loss of image quality, a new night mode, and an extended dynamic range in video. It’s new A13 bionic chip processor is the fastest we’ve seen yet, making this the best camera phone to date.
Not to mention, the iPhone also comes with a million different movie making apps to bring your videos to the next level. Filmic Pro is but one.
Cheap 4k camera
Okay, so point-and-shoot cameras aren’t the first thing you think of for filmmaking. And it wouldn’t be my first choice in the grand scheme of things. But if you’re limited to less than a grand, similar to camera phones, these babies have come a long way and can get the job done for their price point.
By design, they don’t have interchangeable lenses, which of course won’t give you the most dynamic product. But, at $399, the Canon PowerShot SX740 HS is pretty, pretty, impressive.
A 4K time-lapse movie mode and a 4K frame cropping for grabbing still images from video clips makes this a travel vlogger's dream, (again, the travel vlogger that’s on a budget). The 40x optical zoom is an impressive feat for such a small camera and you can get incredible nature shots from far away.
Budget 4k camera
Sony is the leading manufacturer in the mirrorless space. Their Alpha a7 series bodies are some of the best to date, but I’d be remiss to not mention their more affordable, and incredibly well-engineered Alpha a6000 series.
The a6100 came out in 2019 and is a fantastic option for a “first purchase.” It has 4K resolution up to 30fps, a .02 autofocus speed, and 180-degree flip screen for high and low angle shots, making it easy for vlogging. The image quality for a camera coming in at about $600 is sharp and detailed. With an added bonus of 120 fps slow motion.
cheapest 4k camera for filmmaking
This article wasn’t necessarily in any ranked order but I would have to say this is my favorite on the list. For a price point of just $549, what you get with the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 is perfect for beginners and enthusiasts.
The Live View shooting with the easy-to-use LCD screen, makes it intuitive and enjoyable to use right out of the gate. This is one of the few DSLRs we’d recommend you compose shots with the screen. The APS-C sensor with 24.1 MP of res gives top-notch quality images with great autofocus.
It is one of the smallest Canon EOS DSLRs to date, and is a great option for someone grappling with the decision of choosing a cheapest 4k camera for filmmaking on the market.
With 4K recording up to 24fps, a 9-point autofocus system, and image stabilization for your videos, this price point is insane.
The Best Livestream Cameras
Most of these cameras worked well for vloggers. But if you’re a livestreamer, what are you using? The next post gets into the best livestream cameras, their prices, features, and compatibility.