To paraphrase Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential French filmmakers, "If photography is truth, then cinema is truth 24 times per second".
Wondering why 24? 24 frames per second(fps) is the standard frame rate used to shoot movies and TV shows. But in his statement, Mr. Godard did not account for an ultra-HD truth or even truth in slow-mo. Because then, cinema would have been the truth approximately 120 times per second.
Essentially, different camera specifications are needed to shoot different kinds of footage, and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to cinema cameras. Your perfect camera will depend on your expertise as a filmmaker, budget, and the type of films you want to make. Keeping in mind all these nitty-gritty, we have curated a list of the five finest cinema cameras that even commercial film production companies use.
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K
Want to shoot videos that look like Hollywood films but do not have the budget to buy a costly camera? Then this is your ideal gear! The superior specifications available at a relatively lower cost make this camera an indie filmmaker's dream.
Excellent image quality owing to its Super 35 image sensor, which has a dual native ISO of 400 and 3200
Compatible with a wide range of Canon EF-mount lenses
Offers some of the best resolution and frame rate options as it can record up to 6k or 4k at 50 or 60 fps.
Equipped with in-built ND filters
Poor battery life
Lacks continuous autofocus, image stabilization, or any auto-exposure
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
The biggest challenge with this camera is that it requires you to manually adjust focus, and that takes a practiced hand. So it’s best suited for pro-filmmakers who want to shoot cinematic films within a tight budget.
Nikon Z6 II
The Nikon Z6 II is the second edition of Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera, the Z6. It is a versatile camera that can be used for photography and videography.
Comfortable grip and multiple control points
Pleasing aesthetics and well-implemented ergonomics
Wide-area AF mode and face detection feature
Superior image quality and well-rounded video feature
Equipped with the latest EN-EL15c battery. USB-charging is available, and it also has an external battery charger
Auto shutter mode that protects from shutter shock
The user interface needs to be properly integrated with the AF features
Some of the menu sections can be tiring and do not have efficient navigation cues
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
The Nikon Z6 II is a well-rounded camera that can be used by seasoned filmmakers. It is also a suitable choice for beginners. You can use it to shoot high-quality videos. But the camera is also great in capturing stills and can be used for wildlife, landscape, and wedding photography.
Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R5 hails as one of the best cameras for filmmaking. The camera has some very competitive specifications, but the autofocus is one of its key highlights. It is lightweight and is ideal if you don't want to operate a bulky camera but need superior cinematic quality in your footage.
Can record 8K 12-bit RAW video
Its Full Frame 45 MP sensor has proven to be a dream-come-true for filmmakers and photographers
Can capture 8K DCI RAW video internally using the entire width of its full-frame sensor
Highly reliable and responsive autofocus
Cinematic video quality and flexible color grading options
Overheating issues when using high-end modes can limit the recording time
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
This is the perfect camera for still shooters who also want to shoot high-quality videos. The camera's heating issues can inhibit a high-volume filmmaker.
Sony A7S Mark III
Sony A7S Mark III is undeniably one of the most advanced cinema cameras out there! It is popular among filmmakers and hybrid shooters who like to work with both stills and videos. Despite being full-frame, it is compact and offers a comfortable grip.
Full-frame sensor makes it one of the best cameras for shooting in 4k
Has impressive battery life and comes without issues like overheating
Comes with a superior quality autofocus system and low light performance
Also creates smooth handheld videos owing to its powerful IBIS
Not the best option for shooting stills.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
The Sony A7S Mark III is an ideal cinema camera for travel or commercial filmmakers who do not like carrying a piece of heavy equipment. It is also ideal for filmmakers who like to shoot in 4k. The camera is reasonably priced, making it a good starting point for fresh filmmakers.
Panasonic Lumix S1H
Panasonic described their Lumix S1H as a flagship model for filmmakers. And the camera does come with features that make it a filmmaking beast. This is a full-frame mirrorless camera that offers videographers some impressive specifications.
Fully rotatable LCD screen that is readable in both high and low angles
An active cooling system that allows the camera to record for unlimited time
Can record 6k with 10-bit full-frame capture
Dual Native ISO (extended) ranges from 100 to 204800
Large and heavy
Not the best in class battery life
This is a highly optimized camera for cinematic filmmaking. It is laden with superior video capabilities. If you are a filmmaker who wants to shoot high-end professional films, then this can be the one for you.
So these are some of the top cinema cameras that even the best film production houses in India swear by. Pick the one that checks out all your requirements and begin shooting!
Bio: I am constantly seeking stories, be it through books, movies, or traveling. Writing is therapy for me. A good cup of chai gets my ideas flowing.