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7 Filmmaking Cameras You Can Get for Under $1,000

7 Filmmaking Cameras You Can Get for Under $1,000

Looking for that perfect cinematic camera but trying to stay within a budget? Check out these seven cameras that won’t break the bank.

It’s a conundrum that many people run into when deciding to buy their first camera: you want a camera that will last a while and capture great video, but you don’t have $3,000 to spend. Whether you’re a starving artist trying to expand your horizons or just looking to take up a new hobby, don’t worry: there’s a camera there for you.

My first camera was a Canon 60D, which I purchased for around $800. I learned the basics of cinematography on that camera and eventually used it for paying gigs until I upgraded. With the recent renaissance of affordable DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, you can afford a great camera, even if all you have is a piggy bank stuffed with tips from delivering Chinese food. That last part may only apply to me, but here are seven cameras that will get you started in the wonderful world of filmmaking.


1. Canon RP – $999 (Body Only) 

Product photo of the Canon 6D Mark II against a white background

The Canon RP is the mirrorless equivalent of the 6D Mark II in the lineup of products offered by Canon. The RP is a great stepping stone for anyone coming from a cropped sensor who wants a full-frame camera without the size and the prices usually associated with the format. With its smaller size at only 133 x 85 x 70 mm, the weight of 485g, and its price in the market, it makes the RP a solid choice for anyone’s first time into the full-frame sensor world.

  • 26.2MP full-frame CMOS Sensor
  • 4K at 25p, FHD at 25p/50p, HD at 25/50p 
  • Weight 485g (with Memory Card and Battery)
  • 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen

2. Sony Alpha ZV-E10 – $699

Product photo of the Sony Alpha ZV-E10 against a white background

Sony has aimed this camera toward vlogging, but that doesn’t mean it should be written off this list. It’s a powerhouse for such a small camera; it can do 4k at 30p and 1080 at 120p for slow-motion capture, it has Sony’s high-quality AF tracking with face and eye detection, excellent battery life for its size, and has a built-in directional microphone. If you are a filmmaker who mainly shoots static shots, then the ZV-E10 would be a perfect addition to your kit.

  • 24.2 Megapixels
  • APS-C Sensor
  • Up to 4K 30p / 1080 120p video
  • 3″ Side Flip-out LCD touchscreen
  • 425 Auto Focus Points

3. Panasonic Lumix G9 – $999 (Body Only)

Product photo of the Panasonic Lumix G9 against a white background

If you love to do some photography on the side of your filmmaking venture, then the G9 is a solid hybrid camera. This hybrid camera captures impressive photos and shines in the video department. With its 20MP sensor, it can capture 4K 60P video 4:2:2 10bit, has IBIS, and also bolsters twin SD card slots (and it’s cheaper than the GH5). The only downside is that it is a micro four-thirds sensor compared to some of the other offerings on the list, full-frame (Canon RP) for around the same price.

  • 20.3MP Live MOS sensor with no AA filter 
  • 3″ articulating touchscreen 
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • Dual UHS-II card slots 
  • AF joystick
  • Body designed to be dust/weather-sealed

4. Fujifilm X-S10 (Body only) – $999

Product photo of the Fujifilm X-S10 against a white background

The X-S10 is a sizeable camera; for anyone who has big hands like me, this will feel incredible to hold and use. It’s the lightest X series camera with built-in stabilization currently available from Fuji. It offers 5-axis IBIS, multiple in-camera film look profiles, and Fuji’s well-known fast and reliable autofocus. If you will use heavy lenses or need to have something with a bigger grip, then the X-S10 is a solid choice.

  • 26MP X-Trans BSI-CMOS sensor
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization
  • 3″ fully articulating touchscreen
  • 4k up to 29.97p / 1080p at 240fps
  • Supports flat F-Log recording

5. Sony A6400 $899 (Body only) – $999 (with 18-50mm Lens Kit)

Product photo of the Sony A6400 against a white background

Released in 2019, the A6400 isn’t the newest in the Alpha series, but for under $1000, it has been a solid go-to camera by novice filmmakers for its sheer performance for its size. It may be on the lower end compared to its bigger brothers (like the A7 series), but the A6400 can hold its own. One of the best aspects of this camera is its 24.2 MP sensor and its incredible low-light capability. If you are an on-the-go shooter without access to lighting equipment, I recommend this camera. 

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • 4k at 30p video
  • ISO range – 100 to 32,000
  • Built-in Bluetooth, Wifi, NFC
  • S-Log3 Gamma and Display Assist Function


6. Fujifilm XT-30ii – $899 (Body only)

Product photo of the Fujifilm XT-30ii against a white background

The X-T30ii is the updated model of the X-T30, which was released back in 2019. With each refresh of Fuji’s lineup, they continue to offer some features and benefits from their flagship cameras, such as the X-T4. With a retro-inspired ascetic, compact size, solid camera controls, dials, and excellent image clarity and quality. The only downside for me is no in-body stabilization which is a shame, but it doesn’t stop being a top performer for its price.

  • 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4 
  • 3″ tilting touchscreen display
  • Joystick for AF point selection
  • ISO Range – 160 to 12,800 (exp. 80-51,200) 
  • 4:2:0 8-bit internal recording or 4:2:2 10-bit HDMI output
  • Video – 4K DCI/UHD at 30p, 25p, 24p 
  • 4K at 25p, FHD at 25p/50p, HD at 25/50p 
  • Weight 485g (with Memory Card and Battery)
  • 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen

7. Nikon Z50 – $859 (Body Only) / $999.95 With 16-50mm Kit

Product photo of the Nikon Z50 against a black background

The Z50 is a great all-around camera offering 4k up to 30fps & 1080 at 120fps in this solid one-handed camera. It’s also Nikon’s first entry into the interchangeable mirrorless lens cameras; a super slim 16-50mm pancake lens is super sharp and uses a mechanical zoom rather than an electronic-powered zoom system. If you already have a range of Nikon Lenses or are used to the Nikon system, then the Z50 is a great choice for newcomers and filmmakers needing something small and lightweight as a second camera.

  • 20.9 Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
  • 3.2″ Tilt-down LCD Touchscreen
  • Weight 395g
  • 209 Focus Points
  • Compatible with F-Mount Lenses with FTZ Mount Adapter

Bonus Entry – iPhone 13 Pro $999 (for 128GB Model)

With technology in Mirrorless and Full-frame cameras getting better and better every year with updated models and new features, so do our phones. The iPhone 13 Pro is something I can strongly recommend if you want the best in the mobile world to produce video content on the go. 

Product photo of five iPhone 13 models in blue, gray, gold, white, and green against a white background

The Pro offers three cameras on the back of the phone; the Primary is 12mp at 26mm focal length @ f1.5, the Ultra-wide is 13mm focal length at @f1.8, and the telephoto is 77mm f2.8. Being able to shoot 4k 60fps with HDR on this device is incredible. With Apple’s new cinematic mode giving your footage that smooth and deep depth of field effect while consistently stabilizing the following focus, it’s genuinely unique what our phone can produce.

  • Best mobile camera for producing video right now.
  • Super smooth and lightning performance
  • Three well-crafted lenses offer a wide selection of focal lengths.
  • Superb battery Life
  • High refresh rate display at 120hz

Cover image via Rommel Canlas.

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