Compact still cameras

Many compact still cameras can shoot HD video. The expensive Sony RX100 IV has a large 1 inch sensor for good low light performance, a tilting screen and very good image stabilisation. It can shoot high bit rate 4K (though only in 5 minute bursts) and ultra slow motion at up to 960fps. Its fast (f/1.8-2.8) lens goes from 24mm equivalent wide angle to 70mm medium telephoto.

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Less expensive cameras like the Panasonic ZS70  (TZ90 in Europe) have a wider zoom range but smaller sensors. They’re convenient for travel but video quality won’t be as good as DSLRs, mirrorless cameras or large sensor camcorders.

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  • Small and unobtrusive


  • Sound quality won’t be great, and you probably can’t connect an external microphone.
  • They’re a bit awkward to use for filmmaking.

Good for

  • Families
  • Photographers
  • Journalists and documentary makers who need a discreet camera


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Tom Barrance

Tom Barrance I teach all kinds of people to make films. I provide training for businesses, arts organisations, nonprofits and education. I’ve worked on film education projects with Apple Education, the British Film Institute, Film Education, Film: 21st Century Literacy and many more.

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