Video-makers are always striving to tell better stories. Scroll through the comments of any Staff Pick, and you’ll see the same question over and over again: “What camera did you use?” Everyone wants to know — aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals alike — so they can get the scoop on how people in our community are finding success.
But there are so many cameras to choose from. To help you sort through the crowded e-commerce space of mid-range, professional grade cameras, we compiled a list of the best digital cameras out there, as tested by our in-house team.
See what cameras made the cut, and get details about why we love them, below.
Panasonic LUMIX GH4 — $700
“If you’re an on-the-go videographer looking for something rugged and versatile, it’s the Panasonic LUMIX GH4 every time. This is an affordable, reliable camera; I recommend it for travel, music videos, or experimental film. It has a compact, water- and shock-resistant body, WiFi capability, and shoots 4K, above average color profiles and slow-mo (96fps in 1080) without the need for post conversion. And I haven’t even talked about its amazing image stabilization, or its ability to shoot true blue anamorphic footage just like J.J. Abrams, blue streaks and all.” – Anthony Arfi, Video Editor
Sony RX100 IV — $900
“I always pack my pro equipment when I’m traveling, and it always ends up sitting my suitcase unused because the RX100 IV does everything I need it to and more. Durability and reliability are super important to me; I’ve shot incredible footage on this camera that has been licensed for television ads and beyond. It’s so tiny that it fits in my pocket, and even though I’ve gotten it soaking wet and dropped it countless times, the thing keeps working flawlessly. Also, one battery lasts me an entire day, which is unheard of.” – Mark Cersosimo, Community Video Producer
Sony A7mark2 — $1400
“I shoot mostly outdoor/action sports in the mountains and by the ocean, so having a small camera body that packs light is helpful, especially for long-distance trips. If I had the cash, I’d probably upgrade to the mark3, but the mark2 does the trick for now; I like that it’s small and shoots 4K with a pretty flat color profile. Sony lenses have come a long way and work so well with the camera. Their fast and accurate autofocus has changed the way that I shoot run-and-gun video. And it takes great photos, too!” – Ian Durkin, Senior Curator
Sony Z90 — $2400
“Gearheads will scoff at this recommendation, but my choice for best digital camera is a camcorder. I know what you’re thinking when I say camcorder, but the Sony Z90 isn’t the DV tape, firewire-block-of-plastic from yesteryear. With its 12x optical zoom Zeiss lens, 2.2 lb. weight, adjustable autofocus, and external microphone support, the Sony Z90 provides a 4K image that’s bound to impress. In fact, I’ve had multiple people reach out after seeing finished video shot on this camera to ask me how I got the footage to look so good. I highly recommend the Z90 for situations where you can’t bring a lot of extra equipment and need a camera that’s going to get you reliably in-focus, ultra-HD video and crisp audio.” – Ian Blau, Video Producer
Canon 1DX — $5299
“After many trials and tribulations on my journey to find the perfect camera body, I now shoot on the Canon 1DX mark ii. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it. This is the most fun I’ve ever had shooting with a DSLR. It captures great footage in low light, the autofocus always works with little-to-no hunting, and the 120 fps at 1920 gives you the nicest slow motion. As a filmmaker, the quality of my B-roll has improved dramatically since using the Canon 1DX. I am confident when shooting in virtually any type of lighting, and the colors and playback are stunning. I’ve always been loyal to Canon, and since using the 1DX, and I can’t imagine switching.” – Brendan Granados, Branded Apps
Sony A7Sii — $2400
“Several years ago, I asked my gear-obsessed friend for a recommendation: I needed a camera that was lightweight but powerful, great in low light, and somewhat affordable. Did this mythical camera even exist? I’m happy to report that it does; even now, years later, I still rave about the Sony A7Sii to anyone who will listen. I use it to shoot fun side-projects, like travel videos and live music performances; I’ve also used it for freelance work in the past. It’s a good one.” – Ashley Maas, Marketing Video Producer
Sony FS7 — $7500
“Here at Vimeo, I shoot with the Sony FS7. I’m still learning about everything this camera has to offer, but it’s a beast and it never disappoints — especially when paired with great lenses like the Zeiss primes (25mm, 50mm, 100mm). This camera is pricey, but if you’re out there shooting content worthy of film fests and awards, it’s worth the investment.” – Ashley Maas, Marketing Video Producer