Whether you’re creating content for YouTube or directing a full-length feature film, the best video cameras have the power to elevate your production values. Designed to shoot crisp footage in a variety of conditions, the top options offer an enhanced recording experience for every videographer.
We’ve tested all of the top video cameras to see how each performs in the real world against our expert criteria. Our current favorite is the Panasonic Lumix GH6. It’s bigger and more expensive than other Lumix G models, but it offers fantastic performance at a lower price than many full-frame rivals. It’s usefully compact, yet has the ability to capture 5.7K/60p video with unlimited recording times.
If you’re looking for a smaller camera to shoot run and gun video on the go, we recommend the excellent Sony ZV-E10, which pairs portable proportions with a generous feature set at an accessible price. Plus it’s one of the best vlogging cameras you can buy right now. Our comprehensive list also covers pro-grade options such as the Nikon Z9, a full-frame flagship capable of shooting raw 8K/60p video internally.
So whether you’re a novice filmmaker or a seasoned cinematographer, you’ll find something below to suit your needs and budget. With the help of our buying tips and direct deal links, you’re just a few words away from finding your ideal video camera.
The best video camera 2023
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Panasonic’s GH6 puts the Micro Four Thirds format back on top for filmmakers and amateur videographers. With a massive array of color profiles, resolutions, frame rates and 10-bit video modes, we found an incredible level of creative potential on offer from the GH6 in testing, especially as there are no recording limits – even when recording in 5.7K at 60fps.
Full-frame sensors might perform better in low light, but the more compact Micro Four Thirds setup allows the Panasonic GH6 to be smaller, lighter and more affordable than its bigger siblings. The smaller sensor can also be stabilized more effectively. We loved the thoughtful design, superb handling and rugged magnesium alloy frame – all of which help the GH6 shape up as a compelling option for videographers.
It is pricier than other Lumix G models, most notably the GH5 II. It also lags behind rivals on autofocus performance; if you need the fastest, most accurate AF system, another brand might suit you better. But if video is your bread and butter, the Panasonic GH6 is a beast of a machine in impressively portable packaging.
The original Panasonic GH5 was possibly the first mirrorless camera that did both 4K video and stills photography well, but its successor arrives at a time when plenty of rival models share that trait. While it doesn’t offer much of an upgrade, the Mark II stands out by virtue of its built-in wireless live streaming capabilities. At the time of writing, you won’t find these on any other mirrorless camera.
Its overall video skills remain strong as well: 10-bit 4:2:2 footage can be recorded internally or externally, there’s a wide variety of frame rate options and various anamorphic video resolutions, plus Panasonic’s flat V-Log profile gives you 12 stops of dynamic range to play with in post-production.
That the GH5 Mark II includes all this in a compact, lightweight and weatherproof body with effective IBIS makes it all the more impressive. Its sensor may be small (which does limit its low-light capabilities), but our tests revealed it to be a mighty video camera. Consider it if you don’t have the budget (or perhaps the need) for the GH6.
The video star of Sony’s A-series line, the A7S III uses a back-illuminated full-frame sensor to deliver best-in-class 4K video in a range of lighting situations. With 15 stops of dynamic range and an expandable ISO of 40 to 409,600, not to mention an effective in-body image stabilization system, we discovered in our review that it’s able to capture beautiful videos in conditions that would thwart most of its competitors.
The sensor’s relatively low resolution of 12.1MP does rule out 6K and 8K recording, but the powerful Bionz XR processor allows 4K footage to be recorded at up to 120fps for smooth slow-motion playback. We were also impressed by the strength of its feature set: a full-size HDMI output, class-leading autofocus, support for several picture profiles (including the popular S-Log) and the ability to record clips longer than 30 minutes with no overheating issues were all signs of a serious video camera.
In terms of usability, we think that the A7S III boasts many improvements over its predecessors. The touchscreen is now fully articulating and able to flip, while boosted battery lets you capture over 75 minutes of 4K footage on a single charge. The simplified UI is much more intuitive, too.
The Fujifilm X-H2S is one of the most powerful hybrid cameras you can buy. It’s expensive for an APS-C camera and lacks the retro charm of recent Fuji models. But it also delivers pro-quality video performance without the full-frame bulk. Pairing a stacked CMOS sensor with Fuji’s X-Processor 5 gives it a huge spec sheet boost: you can record 6.2K/30p video internally with 4:2:2 10-bit color depth. Grapple with the endless menus and you’ll find countless profiles for color grading in post, while using a CFexpress card also unlocks three Apple ProRes codecs.
With no recording limits, we were able to shoot in 4K for more than two hours before the battery gave out. While we were disappointed by the 1.29x crop on 4K/120p footage, video quality otherwise proved clean and crisp. And though autofocus isn’t class-leading, subject-tracking is nevertheless impressive. Other familiar features only sweeten the deal, including in-body image stabilization and an articulating touchscreen. For filmmakers, the Fujifilm X-H2S is fantastically capable but objectively overkill. But if you want an outstanding video camera that also has superlative stills abilities, no other APS-C camera can match its skill set.
A timely update to one of our favorite video cameras, the Panasonic Lumix S5 II cements that status with a fleet of improvements. Relatively small like its predecessor, we found it reassuringly solid yet comfortable to use during our review. Despite its compact design, it suffers no shortage of dedicated dials and buttons; all that’s missing is a tally light.
Though marketed as a hybrid, video is where the S5 II excels: in testing, we found the quality of its 6K/30p footage excellent, with rich colors and wide dynamic range. Usefully, 10-bit recording is available across almost all resolutions and frame rates. The S5 II can also record uncropped footage using the sensor’s full 3:2 aspect ratio, which offers welcome versatility when cropping content for social.
The S5 II is Panasonic’s first mirrorless model with phase detection AF for video, and it works dreamily. Paired with image stabilization that’s superbly effective for handheld work, it’s a great choice for run-and-gun videographers, even if the 1.5x crop on 4K/60p video can be limiting. Serious filmmakers will find the Lumix S5 IIX even more compelling, but features like unlimited recording times mean the S5 II is a fantastic tool for high-quality video.
As the base option in Sony’s Cinema Line, the FX30 offers a more affordable route into professional videography. Though it trades the full-frame sensor of the FX3 for an APS-C alternative, we found in our review that the FX30 doesn’t sacrifice on overall quality. Cropped down from 6K, the resulting 4K footage is sharp and punchy, with useful color grading flexibility coming courtesy of 10-bit Log options and Sony cine profiles.
We found its design very much geared towards videography. Robust and neatly packaged, there’s no mode dial or viewfinder. Instead, operations are handled primarily via the vari-angle touchscreen. There’s also an optional hotshoe handle for enhanced audio connectivity and a more ergonomic grip.
While it might be framed as an entry-level model, we found that the FX30 is still every bit a premium recording tool. Its autofocus system is superb, while 5-axis optical image stabilization proved effective at smoothing handheld videos. Tally lamps and a vari-angle display are also useful practical additions. If you’re not prepared to invest twice as much for the FX3, the FX30 represents excellent value.
The smallest, cheapest camera to be approved by Netflix for its original productions, the S1H is a hugely powerful full-frame model designed for demanding creators. While it can’t match the Sony A7S III for frame rate, it can record at 6K resolution at 24fps (as well as 4K at up to 60fps), giving it the edge when it comes to sheer detail.
In Panasonic’s V-Log or V-Gamut picture profiles, the S1H delivers 14 stops of dynamic range, while its All-I mode results in a staggering 400Mbps bitrate. Our tests showed that the Dual Native ISO and large sensor size makes low-light shooting a breeze – although the Sony A7S III maintains an edge here. There’s superb in-body image stabilization to help out when shooting handheld, but do be aware that the S1H is larger and heavier than many of its contemporaries, so long handheld sessions aren’t advised.
Autofocus is a mixed bag: in good lighting the Depth From Defocus (DFD) system works well, but in dimmer conditions it feels a little slow. Still, if you can live with its minor quirks, the S1H is capable of producing stunningly sharp and detail-rich footage.
Nikon’s new full-frame flagship is a landmark model: it’s the first pro camera to ship with no mechanical shutter. And while its bulky, rugged DSLR styling felt comfortably familiar, our testing confirmed that the Z9 is a truly modern machine.
One of a select few cameras that can record 8K/30p footage, the Z9 also offers filmmakers a candy store of capabilities. Besides 4K slow-mo at 120fps, it serves up sharp oversampled 4K video, together with lengthy 125-minute recording times and reliable Eye AF tracking. We found that image quality from the 45.7MP stacked CMOS sensor was superlative, with huge cropping potential, aided by superb image stabilization.
And it’s only going to get better: a firmware upgrade is set to unlock a host of recording skills later this year, including the option to shoot raw 8K/60p video internally – a first for any mirrorless camera. Its abilities might be overkill for many, but with rapid performance, a two-way tilting touchscreen and video enhancements already inbound, the Z9 is a seriously impressive, competitively priced tool for professional videographers.
It may not actually fit in your pocket, but Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro does put real filmmaking power in a small, lightweight and relatively affordable package.
We found in our review that you shouldn’t expect the luxurious quality-of-life features you’d get with a mirrorless model from one of the big names: there’s no IBIS here, the autofocus moves like treacle (forget about tracking AF) and stills capabilities are essentially non-existent. The viewfinder is an optional add-on. That’s because everything’s been stripped back in favor of pro-quality performance, and because the camera is aimed at people who make films and have the necessary gear or knowhow to capture steady shots and pull focus properly.
Image quality is stupendous, we discovered, (12-bit raw or ProRes footage can be recorded), the popular Canon EF lens mount is supported and there are three built-in ND filters to aid filming in tricky lighting conditions, while the mini-XLR inputs mean high-quality audio recording is simple.
Canon’s prosumer mirrorless camera is hugely powerful. With a 45MP full-frame sensor, supremely sticky autofocus, solid IBIS, great battery life and the ability to shoot continuously at 20fps, we think the EOS R5 is the best camera stills Canon has ever made.
For video shooters, an out-and-out recommendation is a little trickier. For starters, while the R5 offers a lot of higher-end video modes (8K ALL-I or RAW, 4K at 120fps, 10-bit 4K HEVC), they require an expensive CFexpress card. We also found that the more intensive video modes also cause the camera to overheat, not only limiting recording time but requiring a long cool-down before you can record again.
If you can work within these limits, you’ll find the R5’s video quality to be excellent: pin-sharp with bags of flexibility when it comes to colour grading. If the price puts you off, consider sister camera the Canon EOS R6, which has a 20.6MP sensor and is limited to 4K video, but costs considerably less.
This is the second edition of Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless model, and the company has both worked out some of the original’s kinks and made modest improvements in key areas. We found that the result is a versatile camera that does well with both stills and video, although users should note that video performance here is pretty much identical to the original Z6 (which you should be able to pick up for a lot less).
The Z6 II’s handling and build quality are superb, making it a joy to use, although videographers may well bemoan the fact that the screen just tilts rather than being fully articulated. The camera body is quite lightweight for its specs, but rugged and weatherproofed, making it a good choice for anyone planning long shoots out and about.
Following a firmware update, 4K video can be recorded at up to 60fps, while Full HD can be recorded at up to 120fps for slow-motion playback. 10-bit HLG footage can be recorded too, but only externally – so bear that in mind if you want to record in the best quality.
A rare pairing of speed and resolution, Sony’s flagship camera comes with a price to match its ambition. It wants to be the best consumer camera in the world, quite frankly – and it might well be, but you’ll need to part with what might be several months’ salary to own one.
Able to record 8K video at 30fps, 4K at 120fps and Full HD at 240fps, with a huge host of other options like 10-bit color depth, S-Log and S-Cinetone available, this is a videographer’s dream. It can even output 16-bit raw footage to an external recorder, should 10-bit be insufficient for your requirements. Annoyingly, the screen merely tilts rather than faces all directions, while the menu system feels confusingly labyrinthine.
With an imperious autofocus system, effective IBIS and the sharpest OLED viewfinder on the market, the A1 is also a world-class stills camera able to shoot continuously at 30fps. If you’re just shooting video, we think the Sony A7S III is a much cheaper and almost-as-effective alternative.
Don’t let the plasticky utilitarian design or lack of ‘mod cons’ like in-body image stabilization, a viewfinder or tracking autofocus fool you: the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K is a pro-level piece of filmmaking gear with an affordable price tag.
With a wide range of connectivity (including full-size HDMI, mini-XLR and a DC power connector), a huge (and sadly non-articulated or tilting) 16:9 touchscreen and the ability to shoot ProRes or raw footage in a variety of resolutions and frame rates, this has almost everything a serious videographer needs. Just add a lens (it uses the same MFT mount as Panasonic and Olympus cameras) and some fast storage and you’re good to go.
It’s not perfect – we found the stills performance to be quite rudimentary and the battery life is nothing to get excited about – but the image quality alone makes Blackmagic’s entry-level option a better video performer than most high-end mirrorless models.
Want a capable video tool that fits in your pocket? Sony’s ZV-E10 isn’t perfect, but it’s an impressive portable package for videographers. Despite its compact, lightweight build, the ZV-E10 packs a 24MP APS-C sensor that can shoot sharp 4K footage (albeit limited to 30fps) and Full HD slow-mo at up to 120fps. Mic-in and headphone ports give welcome audio flexibility, while the Multi-Interface hot shoe mount means you can readily accessorize your setup.
We felt that the fully articulating touchscreen also makes framing a cinch, and UVC/UAC computer connectivity unlocks easy live-streaming. Besides the lack of a 4K/60p setting, its major limitation is rolling shutter when panning. This jelly effect puts paid to quick pans, which will discourage run-and-gun recorders. If you can live with this, Sony’s ZV-E10 remains an affordable video-focused hybrid.
DJI’s compact, versatile drone is a fantastic flying camera, capable of capturing excellent quality video thanks to its 1in 20MP sensor and gimbal. Resolution goes up to 5.7K at 30fps, but 4K videos can be recorded at a smoother 60fps and Full HD footage at an even silkier 120fps. We found that videos look striking straight out of the camera, but can be recorded in 10-bit and/or the D-Cinelike color profile if you want maximum editing scope in post-production.
The fixed f/2.8 aperture might cause some issues in bright conditions, but these can be mitigated with ND filters, while the copious safety features, long battery life and powerful wind resistance make the drone a pleasure to fly.
How to choose the best video camera for you
As you’ll find in our list above, the best video cameras come in a range of shapes and sizes. Our guide covers everything from full-frame flagships to compact vlogging cameras, as well as smaller mirrorless models for shooting on the move. Which is right for you will depend primarily on what and where you plan to film, as well as your production budget.
It can be tempting to focus on flagship cameras, which usually offer the highest resolutions and frame rates, plus comprehensive options when it comes to color profiles and video modes. However, you’ll often pay a significant premium for these models. Some pro-grade options are also bulky and heavy, like the Nikon Z9, while others – such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro – assume a certain level of expertise, which means they’re only worthwhile for seasoned amateur filmmakers or pros with the means and skills to make the most of their capabilities.
Luckily, you don’t need to spend thousands to secure a versatile video camera. Alternatives with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds sensors are generally smaller and more affordable than their full-frame rivals. They might perform less well in low light, but cameras such as the Panasonic GH6 can still capture outstanding detail at resolutions of 4K and above, with the benefit of a more convenient form factor. The best also feature a full complement of video modes, giving you added editing flexibility.
Other aspects to consider include articulating touchscreens, which make it easier to frame your footage from different angles. If audio is particularly important to your project, consider a video camera with microphone and headphone ports. Recording time limits will be crucial if you’re producing lengthy clips, while the smoothing abilities of in-body image stabilization are a key consideration if you’re planning to shoot handheld.
What’s the best video camera for those on a budget?
While the very best, cutting-edge video cameras will inevitably cost a lot of money, you don’t need to blow thousands on something to shoot excellent footage. There are plenty of affordable camera models available which allow you to record sharp, stable video in a range of scenarios.
If you’re looking for an accessible camera that can capture steady shots on the go, something like the DJI Pocket 2 could be just what you need. Small enough to slip in your pocket, its three-axis gimbal can capture shake-free 4K shots while you walk. Its sensor size isn’t the biggest, but you get a lot for your money – including subject tracking with the motorized head. For solo vloggers on a budget, it’s well worth considering.
Alternatively, a rugged action cam like the GoPro Hero 11 Black puts a lot of video performance in a small, sturdy and relatively affordable package. While it can’t capture the same cinematic depth of field effects you’d get from a more expensive model, it can record rock-steady results in sharp, bright 5.3K. It can also go anywhere, connect readily to your smartphone for live streaming and produce creative results thanks to its range of preset shooting modes.
Looking for a little more manual control? Sony’s ZV-E10 combines a compact form factor with plenty of video versatility, at a very fair price. 4K frame rates are limited to 30fps and there is an issue with rolling shutter when panning. But it also features a fully-articulating touchscreen, ports for external audio gear and the option to swap lenses to suit the scenario.
If your budget can stretch a little further, the Panasonic GH5 Mark II offers outstanding value. It builds on what was already one of the best mirrorless cameras for shooting 4K content, offering a wide variety of 4K frame rates, resolutions and color profiles in a compact, lightweight body. What really gives it an edge is the inclusion of built-in wireless live streaming skills. It can send footage in real-time to the likes of YouTube, without any additional kit, which makes it a brilliantly accessible option for streamers.