Top 10: Best Video Camera for Sports Action

As we’re entering 2021, digital video cameras are literally in everyone’s pocket. With more than three billion smartphones worldwide, everybody and their grandmother is potentially a videomaker. Multiple feature films have been shot entirely on mobile phones – and commercially released, even with excellent reviews to follow.

The opportunity to become a content creator has never been more accessible, and projections indicate that even Youtube is still in its relative infancy. Naturally, the users’ technical demands and budgets vary, and the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming, to put it mildly.

Let’s dive deep into the digital ocean of the best video cameras for shooting sports. In this article, we’ll explore the various camera types. We shall also uncover lesser-known truths and discover some astonishing video camera facts. Furthermore, you’ll find our top DSLR/mirrorless picks for the best video camera for sports action.

Best Video Camera for Sports Action

Sony A6600
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1. Sony a6600

Highlights of the SONY A6600 DIGITAL CAMERA

  • No recording time limit
  • 5-Axis stabilization
  • S-Log 2
  • Has 4K
  • 4D focus
  • Slow-motion
  • Battery life rated to 720

FEATURES

Several key features have made the Sony Alpha 6600 one of the most revered tools for filmmakers and videographers. The camera has no limit on recording time, and it features S-Log2/S-Log3 gamma curves for cinematic color grading. Furthermore, the a6600 offers one of the best and quickest AF systems in the industry. There is also a Time Code feature and User Bit, which should make editing a breeze – even if combining footage from multiple cameras.

DESIGN

The Sony a6600 digital camera has a reasonably compact, sturdy yet light magnesium body with dust and weather sealing. The unit also has a crisp, bright XGA Tru-Finder OLED EVF with a 120 fps mode for smooth subject tracking. The 3.0″ touchscreen has an equally high resolution of 921.6k-dot, while its unique RGBW pixel structure offers superb brightness on sunny days. The slender body accepts charging via USB, for example, from a portable battery pack. Otherwise, the battery should last up to an hour of filming or 720 shots. Although better than the predecessors, the camera’s handling could be a buzzkill for some users.

PERFORMANCE

The a6600 camera from Sony is clearly designed with versatility and speed in mind. The autofocus is blazing fast, just like the device’s overall handling, thanks to the near-darn perfect 4D AF technology and the newer BIONZ X processor. The camera is no slouch at stills, either. The 5-axis SteadyShot INSIDE image stabilization not only provides five stops of light but also compensates for several types of camera shake – enabling excellent performance, even with adapted glass. The 24.2MP CMOS sensor delivers plenty of detail for video and photo capture alike.

VERDICT

All in all, the Sony Alpha 6600 is a robust and speedy performer and an excellent choice for anyone who wants serious video capabilities in a compact, resilient package. Its autofocus ability is even adequate for capturing the most intense live moments at your favorite NBA team’s game. We love the fact that, as with all of Sony’s mirrorless cameras, this recent member of the Alpha family can be charged via an external source, substantially prolonging continuous shooting time.

We Like

  • Stabilization
  • Battery life
  • Autofocus
  • Advanced video features
  • Standard 3.5mm mic input
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

We Don’t Like

  • Single card slot
  • Rolling shutter
  • 4K could be better
  • Handling is not great

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Sony A7 iii
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2. Sony a7 III

Highlights of the SONY A7 III DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA

  • Battery life (CIPA rated to 710)
  • Dual SD Card slots
  • Oversampled 4K
  • USB 3.1 Type C
  • AF joystick
  • IBIS

FEATURES

For those who dare not take on a professional video gig without the insurance that comes with dual card slots, the Sony a7 III got you covered. The device also has a DSLR-like battery life, ranked to 710 shots, with users reporting up to 2000 photo captures or 2.5-3 hours of video shooting. The 2.36M-dot Electronic OLED viewfinder provides a detailed and reliable view, while the 4K video is downsampled from 6K, resulting in even denser detail. The AF joystick ensures that the Sony a7 III never misses a beat – an instrumental combination, together with the deadly fast autofocus that has 693 phase-detection points.

DESIGN

Even though this third version of Sony a7 is the base model, the body is made of that same good old magnesium alloy and provides increased depth and grip. The AF joystick can be challenging to see clearly in the dark, but the camera’s overall layout and aesthetics are on-par with the far more expensive options. That’s because much of the design comes straight from the flagship models like A7R III/IV, providing an excellent feel and great value at a considerably smaller cost.

PERFORMANCE

If you rely heavily on using the touchscreen, you might want to look elsewhere. The Sony a7 III camera’s screen is literally lagging behind the curve. It’s significantly slower than the competition. The touchscreen is also dimmer than the a7 II. The camera’s EVF is not entirely up to par with the more advanced models, either.

Those drawbacks aside, this third iteration of Sony’s a7 is perfectly capable and quick on its feet. It outputs high-quality 4K footage with Cine and S-log support that should satisfy any LUTaholic. The autofocus confidently handles anything you throw at it, including events like baseball games, NFL matches, and even motorsports.

VERDICT

The Sony Alpha 7 Mark iii represents a capable primary weapon in the hands of any professional videographer and stills shooter. While Sony’s menu system might not be the most user-friendly on the planet, the sheer reliability, performance, and features of the a7R III have made it popular amongst professionals shooting anything from weddings to baseball games.

We Like

  • Design and build quality
  • Joystick for selecting AF points
  • Excellent stabilization
  • 4D autofocus
  • 4K detail

We Don’t Like

  • LCD screen less bright than a7 II
  • Touchscreen relatively slow
  • AF joystick can be hard to see

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Sony Alpha 7R IV
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3. Sony A7R IV

Highlights of the SONY A7R IV MIRRORLESS CAMERA

  • 61MP Resolution
  • Full frame sensor
  • Highly customizable
  • Dual card slots
  • 4K UHD

FEATURES

This most recent iteration of Sony’s flagship camera, A7R IV, won’t disappoint if you’re looking for seriously impressive specs and features. The full-frame Exmor R sensor delivers a mind-boggling 61MP of Resolution, capturing unbelievable amounts of detail. The camera also features dual card slots for total peace of mind, and it shoots 4K UHD footage at 30/24P. There is, however, no 50 or 60P mode in 4K, and the tilting touchscreen has the typical size of 3″. The EVF is superbly clear, with its 5.76M dots – even to the point that it looks somewhat digitally oversharpened. If the maximum possible detail is what you need, the camera can produce up to 240MP stills with its High-Resolution mode.

DESIGN

The Sony Alpha a7R IV has a similar magnesium alloy chassis as the rest of the family, but with upgraded weather sealing and an enlarged grip. The same goes for the AF-ON button, which has also enjoyed a size boost. The Sony A7R IV body weighs in at 655 g or just around 23 oz – great with smaller, lighter lenses. When mounting something more substantial such as a G Master or a Sigma Art, the combination quickly becomes front heavy and awkward to handle.

PERFORMANCE

The autofocus on the A7R IV is even better than previously, with Real-Time AF. Overall speed is as good as it gets, and even at the full 61MP, it will do 10fps – taking up to 68 raw files in one single burst. Dynamic range is surprisingly good, as Sony has done some subtle tweaking under the hood. The result is a camera that produces more delicate highlight graduation than you might expect – along with the excellent color rendition we’ve become accustomed to by now.

VERDICT

The Sony flagship A7R IV is no doubt a potent tool in a surprisingly compact package. However, if you like your cameras intuitive and straightforward, you might want to reconsider your options. Although incredibly capable and customizable, the a7R IV is not a camera you ‘just’ pick up and shoot at first sight. That said, if you enjoy going full-on OCD and customizing every little bit, along with the unmatched performance, it just might be for you.

We Like

  • Probably the best AF yet seen
  • Record-breaking resolution
  • Better dynamic range
  • Highly customizable
  • 5-axis stabilization

We Don’t Like

  • Handling not great
  • No 50 or 60p in 4K
  • Touchscreen a bit small for video

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LUMIX G9
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4. Panasonic Lumix DC-G9

Highlights of the PANASONIC LUMIX G9 CAMERA

  • Top plate LCD
  • 4K UHD at 60p
  • Dual UHS-II card slots
  • In-camera focus stacking
  • Strong in both photo and video
  • Weather-sealed magnesium body

FEATURES

Although the G9 from Panasonic is mainly designed to win over the hearts and minds of still-shooters, the camera is quite able in the video department, too. It beautifully captures 4K UHD at 60p, and the high-speed mode enables 180 fps footage in 1080 – perfect for those hectic moments at the football stadium.

The pro-grade bitrates from the GH series didn’t make the jump to G9. However, the camera is easier to handle and significantly better for stills than the GH5. All while still shooting excellent quality video with zero lag. The G9 also features dual card slots that support the new V-rated SD cards. The updated viewfinder provides a 120fps picture with near-zero latency and 0.83x magnification.

DESIGN

Most of all, the G9 chassis resembles a slightly shrunk, high-quality DSLR camera. The magnesium alloy body has improved grip and handling over its GH5 sibling, and the top plate now features an LCD for easier legibility and navigation.

The Lumix G9 mirrorless camera weighs about 23 ounces or 658 grams, including the battery – which is CIPA rated to nearly 400 shots. With the new power saving mode, that number can be doubled – and then doubled yet again with the DMW-BGG9 battery grip. Power supply and charging are entirely possible via the USB port, making battery power a non-issue altogether.

PERFORMANCE

The Panasonic Lumix G9 is a beast in the stills section while inheriting much of that infamous GH video power. 4:2:0 8-bit recording is frankly more than adequate for most applications. Thanks to the upgraded speed, the AF acquisition is down to 0.04 seconds – the world’s fastest at the time, according to Panasonic.

VERDICT

The Lumix DC-G9 strikes an outstanding balance between stills and video performance. Not to mention the lower price point and better speed and handling than the GH5. Although not quite as potent for professional filmmakers as the GH5, the G9 is just in the sweet spot for users who need a competent stills camera and a professional video capturing tool in one device.

We Like

  • GH pedigree
  • Cine-D profiles
  • Upgraded viewfinder
  • Fast autofocus for stills
  • DSLR-like photo capabilities
  • 3.5mm mic in & headphones out

We Don’t Like

  • Lack of HDR 10-bit
  • Doesn’t support XLR adaptor
  • Internal 4K/60P limited to 10 minutes

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Fujifilm X-T4, in our opinion, the best video camera for sports
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5. Fujifilm X-T4

Highlights of the FUJI X-T4 CAMERA

  • 4K/60p video
  • Bigger battery
  • Dual card slots
  • Up to 240fps in 1080
  • Articulated touchscreen
  • IBIS gives up to 6.5 stops of light

FEATURES

The crown jewel of the X-T4 might be the new In Body Image Stabilization, which provides no less than 6.5 stops of light in both video and photo modes. The camera can also shoot 4K DCI/UHD at up to 60p and even slow motion in lower resolutions. Hybrid shooting has finally become as easy as pie – with quick and easy mode changing that remembers the respective settings for photo and video. No more having to readjust shutter speed or aperture every time you’re changing mode.

DESIGN

From an aesthetics point of view, we find that Fujifilm is way ahead of the pack – and that goes for handling and ease of use, too. The X-T4 continues in that same track, having all the essential dials on the top plate – meaning that you can focus on the scene, not having to menu dive every other minute. This fourth and newest iteration of the X-T series comes in silver or black and features a bigger battery with extra long life.

PERFORMANCE

The Fujifilm X-T4 has speedy and precise autofocus, using the same processor as the sister model X-T3. However, the AF subject tracking can be iffy in video mode. Face/eye tracking is less reliable than your typical Sony Alpha. Those shortcomings aside, the Fuji X-T4 delivers gorgeous, high-quality images and video footage, and the new IBIS system ensures smoothness and good detail with low noise, even in dim lighting.

VERDICT

Although not necessarily the hardcore filmmaker’s tool of choice, the Fuji X-T4 is a truly user-friendly, fun, and capable camera – both for stills and video capture. Although it might not qualify as a sports specialist, the XT4 can run off a power bank and even maximize the recording time limit with an added VG-XT4 vertical battery grip. Many users also have an understandable soft spot for the JPEGs that come out of Fuji products, not to mention the unique film simulations.

Taking all of this into consideration is what makes the X-T4, for us, the best video camera for sports.

We Like

  • Analog-style Fuji feel & handling
  • New, quieter mechanical shutter
  • Eterna bleach bypass simulation
  • 10-bit internal Log capture
  • Long battery life

We Don’t Like

  • No AF object tracking in video
  • AF system subject dependant
  • 4K recording time limit

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Canon EOS R
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6. Canon EOS R

Highlights of the CANON EOS R MIRRORLESS CAMERA

  • 10-bit 4:2:2 video (8-bit 4:2:0 internal)
  • Articulated touchscreen
  • 30MP full-frame sensor
  • USB charging possible
  • OLED EVF with 3.69M dots

FEATURES

The sensor inside the EOS R comes straight from Canon’s flagship DSLR, 5D Mark IV. Thus, it has the infamously effective and reliable dual pixel AF, 30MP resolution, and good light-gathering abilities. When recording to external devices via HDMI, the EOS R can record 10-bit video in 4:2:2 sampling. Internal recording is limited to 8-bit at 4:2:0. We are digging the fact that the camera can run and charge off an external power source via USB.

DESIGN

The EOS R is Canon’s smallest full-frame body to date. It’s made from magnesium and is entirely dust and weather-sealed. The R is also the first camera to have the new, shorter RF mount. Although lighter and slimmer, the chassis gives plenty of grip, and the handling is comfy and highly customizable.

PERFORMANCE

In essence, the Canon EOS R mirrorless camera is like having a 5D M IV in a smaller, lighter, and more inexpensive package. The dual pixel AF combined with the DIGIC 8 processor delivers speedy focus acquisition. However, there is no IBIS nor zebras for aiding with manual focus and stability. As long as you’re shooting in abundant light and with an automatic lens, you should be perfectly fine, though.

VERDICT

While it’s refreshing to see a reasonably compact full-frame body from Canon, the EOS R’s handling might not be optimal for every user. The R’s photographic powers are entirely on par with the 5D Mark IV, but the video capabilities are somewhat lagging behind the competition in 2021.

However, suppose you’re willing to kit out your rig. In that case, you can get pretty powerful video-capturing abilities with the EOS R. And, If you’re upgrading from an older Canon body, you’re probably in for a treat anyway – including in the video department.

We Like

  • Has about twice the buffer of 5D M IV
  • 10-bit video finally possible (HDMI)
  • Articulated screen
  • Excellent battery life
  • Smallest Canon FF chassis to date
  • Built-in C-log for gradable footage

We Don’t Like

  • Internal recording limited to 8-bit
  • No dual card slot
  • Video not best in class
  • Lack of dedicated ISO dial

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Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
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7. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Highlights of the EOS 5D MARK IV DSLR CAMERA

  • Hard to beat ergonomics
  • Dual card slots
  • Full frame sensor
  • Highly customizable autofocus
  • Battery life up to 900 shots (CIPA rated)

FEATURES

The EOS 5D IV from Canon should need no further introduction. It’s still to this day the weapon of choice for many professional photographers, be it press, wedding, sports, or even landscape. This fourth rendition carries the 5D heritage, plus improved weather sealing and beefed up video capabilities – although dated, by 2021 standards. The camera has a 30.5MP full-frame CMOS sensor, which makes it usable in practically any lighting conditions.

DESIGN

The magnesium alloy body of the 5D Mark IV weighs a respectable 31 ounces or 890 grams and is neither pocketable nor particularly travel friendly. It is, however, a reliable, robust, and comfortable tool for the working professional. The ergonomics are hard to beat, while the top-facing LCD provides all the essentials at a glance. The programmable Q button lets you access and customize the most used functions in a split second.

PERFORMANCE

Thanks to the Digic 6+ processor and the dual pixel autofocus, the 5D IV is lightning quick in both startup, operation, and focus-grabbing. The full-frame sensor ensures excellent light-gathering ability, and the camera performs well even at high ISO values, producing very low noise and providing great flexibility in post.

As for video capture, there is 4K DCI at 30p, but the footage is cropped, essentially giving you a narrower FOV. That said, the AF works great, and it’s certainly possible to get good quality sports footage with the 5D IV, although it’s not designed as a dedicated video machine.

VERDICT

If you are familiar – and perhaps already invested with the Canon system, the 5D M IV is a solid choice, in particular for professional photography applications. From a filmmaking standpoint, there are certainly better, cheaper, and lighter options out there, although the 5D Mark IV can easily do the odd 4K sports clip in a pinch – if you can live with the cropped field of view.

We Like

  • Flicker detection
  • Great AF, also for video
  • Battle proven choice of many pros
  • Excellent stills image quality
  • Strong in low light

We Don’t Like

  • No native Log gamma (can be added)
  • 1.64x crop factor in 4K
  • Fixed touchscreen
  • Only an optical viewfinder
  • Rolling shutter is pretty bad

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GoPro HERO 9 Black
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8. GoPro Hero 9

Highlights of the GOPRO HERO 9 ACTION CAMERA

  • 5K is now an option
  • Buttery smooth footage
  • Replaceable lens cover
  • 5MP resolution

FEATURES

The ninth and newest iteration of GoPro Hero has several cool new tricks up its sleeve. It can now capture the perfect sunset with the new Scheduled Captures feature, all while you’re catching your beauty sleep.

Additionally, the Hero 9 can now shoot 5K at 30p. If you want to edit the footage on a mobile device, you’ll have to use 4K at 60 fps until the mobile manufacturers catch up. However, the most radical feature upgrade is the new sensor that nearly doubles the resolution up to 23.5MP. That allows for tight cropping and even grabbing JPEGs straight out of the 4K footage – never to miss a unique shot again.

DESIGN

GoPro has addressed a critical issue with the Hero 9; the lens cover is now replaceable, which it wasn’t on the 8. Additionally, users can now swap to the Max Lens, which is effectively a circular fisheye. Battery life has been improved by about 20 minutes, which is not insignificant.

PERFORMANCE

The new version of HyperSmooth provides genuinely, oh well, hyper smooth footage, even during the most intense, violent shakes and bumps on your way downhill – or wherever you go to get your adrenaline administered.

Coupled with the upgraded sensor and longer battery life, the Hero 9 allows for more and better captures of your action moments for a longer time.

VERDICT

While not necessarily the ‘end all be all’ tool in a filmmaker’s kit, the Hero 9 successfully takes what the 8 did, fixes some significant flaws, and does it even better. It’s perfect for capturing anything action sports-related, outdoorsy, or both. Additionally, the Hero 9 can provide great B-roll footage and even perfectly viable stills – in raw or JPEG.

We Like

  • Buttery smooth
  • New larger sensor
  • Still highly moddable
  • Option to swap the lens

We Don’t Like

  • Nothing, really

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DJI Pocket 2
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9. DJI Pocket 2

Highlights of the DJI POCKET 2 DIGITAL VIDEO CAMERA

  • Best stabilization in class
  • 4K/60p video
  • 64MP sensor
  • Perfect for vloggers
  • Pro mode (flat profile)

FEATURES

The new Pocket 2 camera from DJI offers the most robust overall package for vloggers and Youtubers at the moment of writing. The device is equipped with a 64MP 1/1.7″ sensor, supports live streaming to your favorite platforms, and even has a special pro mode that outputs a flat picture profile that any LUT nut would surely appreciate. The device has a market-leading stabilizing feature that practically works like a gimbal.

DESIGN

The Pocket 2 is unmistakably designed for handheld shooting. While the tiny preview screen can be fiddly, it does come in handy. The overall layout is intuitive and practical, and the size is extremely portable and travel-friendly. The DJI Pocket 2 comes either as just the base model or as a Creator Combo, which includes a wireless mic, windshield, tripod, wide-angle lens, and everything else you need for a complete vlogging & live streaming setup.

PERFORMANCE

While the light performance and video quality might not be better than a compact camera or even a newer camera-centric smartphone, the Pocket 2 provides a straightforward, fun, and effective way of shooting stable, high-quality footage. The device has excellent autofocus and a maximum aperture of f/1.8. Still, it produces noise in low light and tends not to handle highlights too well – issues that can be effectively tackled in a studio environment.

VERDICT

If you’re a vlogger on the go – or even stationary, the DJI Pocket 2 could be highly relevant and useful to you. The camera is quick & easy to pick up and use, delivers crisp and stable footage, and is loads of fun! The optional Creator Combo offers a complete streaming studio for ambitious and technically inclined creatives, still in a tiny package, ready to come along whenever and wherever you go.

You can even check out our how to live stream with the DJI Pocket 2 guide.

We Like

  • Offers a complete vlogging/streaming bundle
  • Excellent image quality in good light
  • Use your phone as a monitor
  • Extremely stable footage
  • Slow-mo at 240 fps
  • Fun to use!

We Don’t Like

  • Not inexpensive
  • Gets hot shooting 4K
  • Tends to blow out highlights
  • Noise performance not too great

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Nikon Z 50
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10. Nikon Z 50

Highlights of the NIKON Z 50 MIRRORLESS CAMERA

  • Tilting touchscreen
  • Easy Wi-Fi transfer
  • 11 fps shooting
  • USB-charging
  • 4K/30p video

FEATURES

The Z 50 from Nikon was released in November 2019, specifically to attract users who don’t see themselves as photographers. The camera features decent video capabilities, excellent stills quality, and effortlessly changes between modes. The CMOS sensor provides a respectable 21MP of effective resolution and captures 4K footage at 30p.

DESIGN

The chassis of the Nikon Z 50 is a magnesium alloy, downsized DSLR-like shape, providing good grip and superb usability. The controls are all well laid out and easy to reach. The rear-facing touchscreen can tilt up and down for those challenging high and low angles, and there is even a built-in flash for emergency use. The camera also has a hot shoe and a mic input, although no headphone jack.

PERFORMANCE

Startup and navigation are swift, and the Z 50 is capable of great dynamic range. Image quality is outstanding, including video capture at up to 30p in 4K. That said, the autofocus can be somewhat inconsistent, and battery life is rated to just around 320 shots. However, by now, most mirrorless users have learned to switch off their camera when not in use, and the Z 50 can be charged via USB if need be.

VERDICT

If you can tolerate a limited selection of Z mount lenses and adapted glass, less than perfect AF performance, and iffy battery life, the Z 50 is a pretty capable and neat mid-range camera. In particular, for the casual everyday shooter. Scenes that require challenging, continuous subject tracking are sort of ‘out of the picture’ for now and could be a deal-breaker to some. At least until perhaps getting addressed in a future software update.

We Like

  • Lightweight & easy to operate
  • Great dynamic range
  • 2.35M-dot EVF
  • Good image quality
  • Highly customizable

We Don’t Like

  • AF can be sluggish
  • Battery life so-so
  • No IBIS
  • Limited choice of glass
  • Not great for team sports

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FAQ

What are the different types of digital video cameras?

Mobile phone: A leap in time – and quality

Everybody nowadays has a video camera that would blow any decade-old camcorder out of the water. Smartphone technology has caught up at an insane pace, although camcorders are still a thing to some extent.

Have you ever dreamt of making a feature film? Well, there has never been a better time.

Believe it or not, numerous films have been shot entirely on smartphones. Although, some accessories might have been used on occasion. Think mods like tripods, lighting, microphones, and special cases to enable aftermarket lenses.

Titles shot entirely on phones:

  • I Play With the Phrase Each Other (2013)
  • Tangerine (2015)
  • Detour (2017)
  • Unsane (2018)
  • High Flying Bird (2019)

Of course, there are many more mobile-made flicks out there. The above list demonstrates that equipment is not a barrier to the creative process.

The camera operator is the only real barrier.

Cinema cameras

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some real heavyweights. That’s when size or price is not an issue. Instead, optimum performance, reliability, and durability are critical.

The german Arri Group is famous for its Alexa cameras, as well as genuinely remarkable cinema lenses. Countless blockbusters and series were shot on Arri Alexa gear. That includes Joker (2019), Godzilla (2014), and of course, Game of Thrones, just to name a few.

It is not unusual that this kind of equipment costs tens of thousands of dollars – per lens, not even including the camera itself! That’s why it’s common practice to access it on a rental basis instead of outright ownership. In turn, the footage is 100% raw/uncompressed, has insanely high resolution and color depth, and contains zero noise.

The lenses have no focus breathing and make perfectly spherical bokeh bubbles even in the frame’s edges. They generally produce optically perfect results – from exposure to color reproduction and lack of aberration. These lenses can easily weigh more than 3 kilos. That’s more than 100 ounces.

Meanwhile, manufacturers like RED and Blackmagic have also gotten a strong foothold in the cinema camera niche – enabling astonishing video capture at a fraction of the cost of a new Alexa system.

Broadcast and studio cameras

The bulky video cameras you’ll find at the sidelines of any bigger sports game or in a news studio. Such cameras are not necessarily as costly as an Arri system, but it’s not that far off. Canon, Sony, and Panasonic, all manufacture widely popular video cameras for those use cases.

These devices, just like cinema cameras, typically also have dedicated XLR inputs, excellent monitors, and impressive video specs. Whatsmore, they can live stream for hours on end, run off of mains power or even have the battery hot-swapped while shooting. All while sitting comfortably on a tripod or a specialized carrying harness.

The big in-between range

In the present time, mirrorless and DSLR cameras represent the optimum combination of quality video and versatility per dollar spent. The manufacturers have a strong legacy in the world of high-end video cameras for professional application.

Design elements, features, and specs are gradually trickling down to consumer-oriented products, enabling creators to capture remarkably high-quality footage that they can color grade and edit in post-production. For most viewers, the final results are often nearly indistinguishable from the much larger and pricier video equipment.

Camcorders

Although the camcorder has lost much terrain to the smartphone, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras, it is still around in 2021. The usual suspects, Sony, Canon, and Panasonic, all make capable camcorders that will continuously shoot in high bitrate 4K or better. The ergonomics and video first design approach make a big difference in use. Some camcorders are entirely worthy of professional application, too.

Action cameras

Sometimes, less is more. It’s impractical to drag a camera crew along for a snowboarding session or along a twisty, technical MTB trail in the woods. The tiny but capable, often element-proof action cameras enable users to document their adventures – even when all alone in the wilderness.

GoPro is widely recognized as the most popular action camera brand as of the time of writing. Other famous makers include DJI, Olfi, and Insta360. Some Chinese manufacturers are attempting to knock-off the reputable brands, although quality, performance, and reliability are dubious.

Apart from mounting a tiny action cam directly on your helmet, handlebars, or motor vehicle, it’s entirely possible to let a drone track you through the landscape. In other words, it allows for previously impossible to attain footage – unless with proper air support. Combine a few of those little cams, throw in a high-energy tune in your favorite genre, and you’ve created a fun and engaging action video of your adrenaline-inducing escapades!

Which is better for video – camcorder, DSLR/mirrorless, or mobile phone camera?

The best video camera is the one you have.

Besides that, it depends on the purpose and final delivery medium of the footage.

There will always be a balance of performance, size, and cost. It is possible to shoot and release a successful motion picture just using an iPhone. In the end, it’s about the storytelling, not about the equipment.

On the flipside, gear is fun, and sometimes excellent video quality is an absolute must to convey the story effectively. Just have a look at Samsara (2011) by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson.

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong. It’s totally up to you. That’s the beautiful and liberating part about being a content creator!

However, suppose you’re like us and enjoy the odd photo session – while also valuing good quality video material for your projects. In that case, a compact, mirrorless, or even DSLR could easily be the best middle way. With some luck, it’s even possible to hunt down a relatively cheap, older Alexa model, too.

Are there any 8K cameras yet?

Yes but… As standards gradually increase, 4K is becoming commonplace – while 8K is the next holy grail. If you fancy some light reading, here’s the 8k standard.

Some manufacturers are way ahead of the curve. RED has several models that can shoot full-frame 8K, while Canon’s R5 dabbles in 8K territory with its 45MP CMOS sensor.

Another manufacturer that you’ve probably never heard of is the Japanese company Ikegami. It has launched its SHK-810 in collaboration with Japan Broadcasting Corporation. The SHK-810 is a complete broadcasting camera system capable of capturing 8K footage.

Honestly, we don’t anticipate 8K to become the standard in the near term. Most monitors can’t even reproduce that kind of resolution yet. Unless necessary, you’re better off shooting sports video in 4K for now.