Well, several of the DPs that are participating in this year's CineSummit event, including Nymphomaniac's Manuel Alberto Claro, Andrew Shulkind, Phil Briggs, and Matt Workman shared their answers in the video below:

Regardless of your level of professional experience or understanding of the technology, if you're going to make films, commercials, or YouTube videos, you're gonna need a camera. Period. And the questions you have to ask yourself are, "What are my needs," and, "How can I make up for the needs I can't afford to meet?" I'll just venture a guess here and say -- it has to be super affordable but powerful enough to give you not only beautiful images, but the latitude to work with them in post. (Of course, the less money you have to spend means forfeiting a few of the bells and whistles you might (think you) need.)

The DPs in the video mention several different cameras, like the Sony a7S, the C300, the RED EPIC, and Blackmagic's shooters as well. However, they talk less about specific cameras and more about important cinematographic concepts, like lighting and composition, as well technical aspects, like dynamic range and color space.

See, we have to remember that a camera alone doesn't make an image beautiful. A skilled cinematographer who knows how to shape light, how to compose their shot, and communicate the emotion of the scene to the audience is what makes an image beautiful. Like Phil Briggs says, a camera is just a tool to do that. Lighting is probably the biggest influence when it comes to a good or bad image.

So -- yeah -- the cameras named above are great for indie filmmakers who want to own their own gear and want to start making films right now (and whenever they want). They're pretty inexpensive and can get the job done both during production and in post. But as you're buying, unpacking, and playing with your shiny new camera, don't forget to bone up on your lighting and composition techniques, because it's there where the image is really made (or broken).

We have tons of tutorials and how-tos on both of those subjects. Peruse them at your leisure here and here. (Aaaand if you want to brush up on your aesthetic theory -- here.)