by Tom Barrance | Updated March 2022
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Cinema cameras are large sensor cameras with many of the advantages of both pro camcorders and system still cameras. The big sensors and interchangeable lenses make for really good image quality. Most of them also have pro sound features, handle better than DSLRs, and record in formats that stand up better to being manipulated ‘in post’ (at the editing stage) than basic DSLR footage. And they don’t suffer the ‘moiré’ effect which results from shooting video with a sensor designed for high resolution still photography.
Most cinema cameras are very expensive, but here are two affordable options.
The Canon C100 (now discontinued) was popular with professionals, and an obvious next step for Canon DSLR users, though it only records 1080p HD. You can pick them up used at a bargain price. I’d recommend getting the Mark II version which has a better viewfinder and autofocus.
Find the C100 on eBay
The BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera 4K can record high quality 4K RAW and ProRes files at up to 60fps and has an MFT lens mount. At $1295/£1200 it’s very good value.
The new 6K version has a bigger ‘Super 35’ sensor (like the Canon C series) and a more useful Canon EF lens mount, but it’s almost twice the price.
- Excellent image quality
- Lots of creative control
- Good in low light
- Most are big
Serious filmmakers, news and documentary filmmakers who can afford them.