Top Video Cameras of 2024: Must-Have Picks for Filmmakers and Videographers

Whether you're directing a big movie or shooting for YouTube, the best video camera will instantly boost your production values. We've evaluated all the best alternatives and included a list of our favorites in the expert guide below to make it easier for you to find.
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Top Video Cameras of 2024: Must-Have Picks for Filmmakers and Videographers - W3Tekno

Our extensive reviews lead us to believe that the Panasonic S5 II is now the best camcorder for the majority of users. Improving on one of our previous favorites, this camera gave us great 6K video results throughout testing. With its small size, phase detection autofocus and other features, we believe it offers exceptional value for videographers.

For independent creators, we also wholeheartedly endorse the Sony ZV-E1. With its AI-assisted framing capabilities, it's one of the best you can get when working independently. Alternatively, if you want stabilized shots that fit in your pocket, consider the small DJI Pocket 3, which has a handy gimbal and a nice rotating screen.

Whatever your level of experience as a cinematographer or filmmaker, there's a camcorder here to suit your demands and budget. To make sure it performs well in the real world, every product shipped has been thoroughly tested to our objective standards.

You can find complete reviews of each of the best camcorder options on our list below. We've evaluated each one thoroughly, so you can rest assured that our recommendations are reliable.

Sony A7S III - The best premium video camera

Sony A7S III

The best premium video camera
Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Lens: Sony E
  • Viewfinder: 9.44MP EVF
  • Monitor: 1.44m-dot articulating screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K at 120fps
  • User level: Intermediate / expert
  • Reasons To Buy
  • No overheating problems
  • Fully articulated touchscreen
  • Superb low-light performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No 6K or 8K
  • Low resolution for stills
  • The video star of Sony's A-series lineup, the A7S III shoots best-in-class 4K footage in a variety of lighting conditions thanks to its full-frame back-illuminated sensor. In our evaluation, we found that its 15-stop dynamic range, expandable ISO from 40 to 409,600, and effective in-body image stabilization technology allowed it to shoot great movies in environments that would disappoint most of its competitors. While 6K and 8K recording isn't possible due to the sensor's relatively low resolution of 12.1MP, 4K capture at up to 120 frames per second is possible for smooth slow-motion playback thanks to the robust Bionz XR processor.

    We were also pleased with the robustness of the feature set: full-size HDMI output, industry-leading autofocus, compatibility for many image profiles (including the much-loved S-Log) and the ability to record more than half an hour of video without overheating are all indicators of a serious camcorder. We believe the A7S III offers significant usability improvements over its predecessors. The touchscreen now has full articulation and flip functionality, with a larger battery that allows you to record more than 75 minutes of 4K video on a single charge. The user interface has been modernized and made much more user-friendly.

    Nikon Z9 - The best camera for 8K video

    Nikon Z9

    The best camera for 8K video
    Specifications
  • Sensor size: CMOS
  • Resolution: 45.7MP
  • Viewfinder: 3,690K dots
  • Monitor: 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, 1,040K dots
  • Autofocus: 493-point AF
  • Maximum continuous shooting rate: 20fps (RAW), 30fps (JPEG)
  • Movies: 8K at 60p
  • User level: Expert
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Rock solid build quality
  • Class-leading video skills
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Bulkier and heavier than rivals
  • Some features need firmware update
  • The first professional camera to launch without a mechanical shutter, Nikon's full-frame flagship is a historic model. While the Z9's rigid, heavy DSLR design feels reassuringly familiar, our tests revealed it to be a truly contemporary device. Filmmakers can benefit from the Z9's wide range of features, as it's one of the only cameras capable of shooting 8K/30p. In addition to 4K slow motion at 120 frames per second, it offers crisp 4K oversampled footage, long recording times of 125 minutes and reliable Eye AF tracking. We found that the 45.7 MP stacked CMOS sensor produces images of exceptional quality and has significant cropping possibilities thanks to excellent image stabilization.

    And things only get better from here: later this year, a software update will enable several recording features, including the ability to record 8K/60p video internally, a first for any mirrorless camera. The Z9's capabilities may be excessive for some, but given its fast performance, two-way tilting touchscreen and upcoming video improvements, we believe it is a very good and reasonably priced tool for professional filmmakers. However, if you don't need the Z9's long video recording times and long battery life, the Nikon Z8 offers the same video quality in a smaller body at a much lower cost.

    Panasonic GH5 Mark II - The best budget-friendly video camera

    Panasonic GH5 Mark II

    The best budget-friendly video camera
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Size: Micro Four Thirds
  • Resolution: 20.3MP
  • Lens: Micro Four-Thirds
  • Viewfinder: 3.68m dots
  • Monitor: 1.84m-dot articulated screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 12fps
  • Movies: 4K at 60fps
  • User level: Beginner/intermediate
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Strong all-round video quality
  • Compact, lightweight and sturdy
  • Built-in wireless live streaming
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Small sensor size
  • DFD AF isn’t the most reliable
  • While the original Panasonic GH5 was perhaps the first mirrorless camera to perform well in both stills and 4K video, its successor will face much tougher competition. The Mark II stands out from the competition thanks to its integrated wifi live streaming capabilities, although this is not a significant improvement. At the time of writing, you won't find these features on any other mirrorless camera. Its low-light capabilities are limited by its relatively small sensor, but our tests also showed it to be a strong video camera.

    In our review we discovered that the overall video capabilities are still strong: In addition to numerous frame rate options and anamorphic video resolution, 10-bit 4:2:2 footage can be recorded internally or externally. Panasonic's flat V-Log profile also provides 12 stops of dynamic range for post-production manipulation. We believe the GH5 Mark II is even more amazing because it packs all this into a small, lightweight, waterproof body with functional IBIS. If you don't have the money (or perhaps the need) for the GH6, give it some thought.

    Fujifilm X-H2S - The best hybrid camera for video and stills

    Fujifilm X-H2S

    The best hybrid camera for video and stills
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Size: APS-C
  • Resolution: 26MP
  • Lens: X-mount
  • Viewfinder: 5.76m-dot EVF
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1.62m-dot articulating screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 40fps (electronic), 15fps (mechanical)
  • Movies: 6.2K at 30fps
  • User level: Intermediate / expert
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Video powerhouse
  • Seriously fast stacked sensor
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Not many video-centric lenses
  • Pricier than many full-frame cameras
  • One of the most powerful hybrid cameras available is the Fujifilm X-H2S. It's expensive for an APS-C camera and doesn't have the same nostalgic appeal as more contemporary Fuji products. However, it also delivers professional-caliber video performance without adding weight to the entire frame. Fuji's X-Processor 5 gets a significant performance boost when paired with the stacked CMOS sensor, enabling internal recording of 6.2K/30p video at 4:2:2 10-bit color depth. Play with endless menus to reveal a multitude of profiles for color grading in post-production. All three Apple ProRes codecs can be unlocked using the CFexpress card.

    We were able to shoot 4K for almost two hours without any recording restrictions before the battery died. We were disappointed with the 1.29x cut in 4K/120p video, but otherwise the video quality is clear and sharp. Autofocus isn't the best in class, but subject tracking is excellent. Well-known additional features like the articulating touchscreen and in-body image stabilization only serve to enhance the package. The Fujifilm X-H2S is arguably overkill for filmmakers, but incredibly competent. However, if you're looking for an exceptional camcorder with outstanding photographic capabilities, no other APS-C camera can match its skill set.

    Panasonic Lumix S5 II - The best value video camera for most people

    Panasonic Lumix S5 II

    The best value video camera for most people
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor: Full-frame
  • Resolution: 24MP
  • Lens: Leica L mount
  • Viewfinder: 3.69m-dot OLED EVF
  • Monitor: 3.0-inch, 1.84m-dot vari-angle touchscreen
  • Movies: 6K at 30p
  • User level: Enthusiast
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Versatile uncropped video
  • Effective stabilization and phase detection AF
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No tally light
  • 1.5x crop on 4K slow-mo
  • The Panasonic Lumix S5 II has been cementing its position as one of our favorite camcorders with a series of upgrades, and this update has arrived just in time. Despite its small size, we found it to be reassuringly robust and comfortable to use throughout our evaluation, with plenty of dedicated dials and buttons. In terms of video, the S5 II shines; during testing we discovered that 6K/30p footage is of superb quality, with deep colors and wide dynamic range. It's convenient because 10-bit recording works with almost all frame rates and resolutions. In addition, the sensor's full 3:2 aspect ratio allows the S5 II to capture uncropped images, which is a welcome adaptability when it comes to cropping social media content.

    Panasonic's S5 II mirrorless camera features phase detection autofocus for the first time and performs flawlessly. While the 1.5x crop in 4K/60p video is limiting, the excellent image stabilization for handheld shooting makes it a great option for on-the-run videographers. While features like infinite recording times make the Lumix S5 IIX even more attractive to serious filmmakers, the S5 II is still an excellent tool for high-quality video.

    Canon EOS R5 - The best video camera for shooting stills as well

    Canon EOS R5

    The best video camera for shooting stills as well
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Size: Full Frame
  • Resolution: 45MP
  • Lens: RF mount
  • Viewfinder: 5.76m dots
  • Monitor: 2.1m-dot articulating screen
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 20fps
  • Movies: 8K at 30fps
  • User level: Intermediate / Expert
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Fantastic AF
  • Effective IBIS
  • Stellar stills performance
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Expensive
  • Recording limits due to overheating
  • Canon's prosumer mirrorless camera is really powerful. With its 45MP full-frame sensor, incredibly fast AF, powerful IBIS, long battery life and 20 frames per second continuous shooting, we believe the EOS R5 is the best camera Canon has ever made. For video, it's a little harder to provide an unqualified endorsement. For starters, while the R5 has a few high-end video modes (8K ALL-I or RAW, 4K at 120 frames per second, 10-bit 4K HEVC), these require an expensive CFexpress card. We also found that the more intensive video modes cause the camera to overheat, which limits the amount of time you can record and requires a long cool-down period before you can start recording again.

    If you can stay within these parameters, the R5's video quality is excellent: it's razor sharp and offers tons of color grading options. If price bothers you, you might want to look at the Canon EOS R6, a sister camera with a 20.6 MP sensor that can only record 4K. It's also much cheaper.

    Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K - The best dedicated video tool for filmmaking

    Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K

    The best dedicated video tool for filmmaking
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor size: Full-frame
  • Resolution: 24.4MP
  • Lens: Leica L mount
  • Viewfinder: None
  • Monitor: 5in tilting touchscreen
  • Movies: 6K/36p
  • User level: Expert
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Superb 6K quality
  • Relatively small and affordable
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No tracking AF
  • No in-body image stabilization
  • The Blackmagic Cinema Camera 6K requires a high level of video expertise and lacks many features that most users would desire. However, this barrier to entry is offset by an incredible range of features; throughout our testing, we found it produced excellent 6K resolution raw video quality. The Cinema Camera 6K's large sensor and dual native ISOs help it capture sharp images in low light, while Blackmagic's in-house 12-bit codec allows for many post-production adjustments.

    When using L-mount lenses and ND filters, the camera becomes bulky very quickly. It's also not cheap and lacks features that make it easier to use, such as in-body image stabilization and tracking autofocus. Still, given its pro-grade video capabilities, it doesn't cost much more. It needs color grading to use it to its full potential, but professional filmmakers will value the versatility. Cinema Camera 6K is a strong candidate if you want to get a great 6K image from a handheld camera and have the necessary editing skills.

    Sony ZV-E10 - The best compact vlogging camera

    Sony ZV-E10

    The best compact vlogging camera
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor Size: APS-C
  • Resolution: 24.2MP
  • Lens: Sony E
  • Viewfinder: N/A
  • Monitor: 3-inch fully articulating touchscreen, 921K dots
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 11fps
  • Movies: 4K at 30fps
  • User level: Beginner / enthusiast
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Fully articulating screen
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No 4K/60p video mode
  • Rolling shutter when panning
  • Want a powerful pocket-sized video tool? The Sony ZV-E10 is an excellent, if not perfect, handheld camcorder. Despite its small size and light weight, the ZV-E10 features a 24MP APS-C sensor that captures crisp 4K video at up to 30 frames per second and Full HD slow motion at up to 120 frames per second. A Multi-Interface hot shoe mount allows you to easily accessorize your system, and microphone and headphone ports provide much-needed audio versatility.

    We thought the fully articulating touchscreen also made framing easier and the UVC/UAC computer interface made live streaming easier. The biggest drawback, aside from the lack of a 4K/60p preset, is the rolling shutter when panning. Fast panning is rendered useless by this jelly effect, discouraging those who record on the run. If you can put up with it, Sony's ZV-E10 is a reasonably priced, video-focused hybrid.

    Sony ZV-E1 - The best video camera for vlogging

    Sony ZV-E1

    The best video camera for vlogging
    Specifications
  • Type: Mirrorless
  • Sensor size: Full-frame
  • Resolution: 12.1MP
  • Lens: Sony E mount
  • Viewfinder: None
  • Monitor: 3in vari-angle touchscreen, 1,036K dots
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed: 10fps
  • Movies: 4K/120p (limited to 4K/60p until firmware update)
  • User level: Intermediate
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Same sensor as the Sony A7S III
  • Makes high-quality vlogging easy
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • Single SD card slot
  • Overkill for beginners
  • If you love vlogging, the ZV-E1 is a great choice as it combines small size with industry-leading video quality. It's the lightest Sony camera with in-body image stabilization, making it easy to shoot standalone vlogs. However, we were a little disappointed with the vari-angle screen during testing, as it was hard to see out of it. It's also unfortunate that the ZV-E1 lacks cooling vents and has only one card slot.

    However, the ZV-E1 is clearly the superior video option. Its superior 12.1 MP sensor allowed us to achieve clear 4K/60p video in all lighting conditions throughout our tests. We also found that the S-Cinetone color profile looked perfect straight out of the camera without any post-production, and the image stabilization performed very well, making it easy to shoot handheld. Intelligent Auto Framing tracks subjects well enough to suggest a manual operator is in charge, while AI helps keep photos consistently in focus. This is especially useful for vloggers shooting alone.

    DJI Osmo Pocket 3 - The best stabilized pocket camera

    DJI Osmo Pocket 3

    The best stabilized pocket camera
    Specifications
  • Type: Gimbal
  • Sensor size: 1-inch
  • Resolution: 8.3MP
  • Lens: 20mm, f/2
  • Viewfinder: None
  • Monitor: 2in touchscreen, 175K dots
  • Movies: 4K/120p
  • User level: Beginner
  • Reasons To Buy
  • Bigger, better touchscreen
  • 1-inch sensor is better in low light
  • Reasons To Avoid
  • No built-in storage
  • Can get hot when filming
  • One of our favorite devices for solo videographers was the Pocket 2. With the DJI Osmo Pocket 3, the shooting experience has been further enhanced. It's heavier than its predecessor due to the larger 1-inch sensor and battery, but we believe it feels more solid in the hand. In tests, the former generally delivered excellent color and dynamic range, as well as superior performance in low light. The latter shows the Pocket 3 has a maximum 4K video recording time of two hours.

    Its body is small enough to fit in a pocket, but the gimbal stabilizing lens is still part of its overall design. We really liked the new 2-inch OLED screen during testing, and while it's still quite small, it feels like a much better and more accessible device than the Pocket 2. We believe these features, along with the Pocket 3's portrait mode, faster slow-motion frame rates and live streaming support, make it a great option for content creators shooting on their own.

    How To Choose The Best Video Camera For You

    As you can see from the list above, the best camcorders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From full-frame flagships to small vlogging cameras and smaller mirrorless devices for shooting on the go, this guide has them all. Which one is best for you depends mostly on what you want to shoot, where you want to shoot it, and how much it will cost.

    It's tempting to focus on flagship cameras, which often have the best resolutions and frame rates, as well as a wide choice of color profiles and video modes. But these models often come with a high price tag. Professional-grade options can be heavy and bulky (like the Nikon Z9) or require a certain level of expertise (like the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro). In the latter case, they are only valuable for experienced amateur filmmakers or professionals with the resources to fully utilize their skills.

    Fortunately, acquiring a flexible video camera doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars. Compared to its full-frame competitors, alternatives with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensors are often more compact and less expensive. Although cameras like the Panasonic GH6 have a more accessible size factor and can record exceptional quality at resolutions of 4K and higher, they may not perform as well in low light. The greatest also provide a wide range of video settings, which increases your editing options.

    One last thing to consider is articulating touchscreens, which make it easy to frame your video from various angles. If audio is a key component of your project, consider a camcorder with headphone and microphone inputs. If you want to shoot handheld, the smoothing capabilities of in-body image stabilization are a critical consideration; however, if you're producing long clips, recording time constraints will be important.

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