In 2023, what is the best cinema camera? Is it the ARRI Alexa 35? Or is it the new iPhone 15 Pro Max? Before you start laughing about the iPhone, what I really mean is that the best tool for the job is the one that fits your budget, workflow, and visual aesthetic.
If you need to shoot on a potato to get the look you want, that's the best cinema camera for you at the moment.
For this "Deals of the Week," we found a few cameras on sale that piqued our interest due to their affordability and the ecosystem they bring to the table.
Say what you will about Sony's color science or its assurance that creatives can depend on autofocus instead of a focus puller, the FX series of cameras has been a killer addition to the marketplace, no matter your budget.
The FX3 was recently used to shoot The Creator, directed by Gareth Edwards, and it provided a workflow that few other cameras can bring to the table.
The Sony FX30 is a Super35 version of the FX3. While it doesn't come with all the features of its sibling, it packs a mean punch for a price that feels like a pittance.
The FX30's advanced imaging system is on par with other options in Sony's Cinema Line—capturing detailed 10-bit UHD 4K imagery at up to 120 fps—giving it specs fitting a true cinema camera. The newly developed 26MP APS-C Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ XR processor are able to create high-quality 4K images with the Super35 (16:9) area with 14+ stops of dynamic range.Yaroslav Altunin
BMPCC 6K G2
Blackmagic Design has the budget market locked down. Sure, Sony is slowly inching into that territory with the FX30 that we mentioned above, but the BMD Pocket line will always bring more variety to the budget space, at least for now.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is a solid toolkit that has most of the features of the Pro version but sacrifices a few things (like the internal NDs) to reduce the cost. With internal RAW and the body/ports of the 6K Pro, the G2 is a solid tool for budget filmmakers.
The BMPCC 6K G2 is a cine-style camera that features the same 6K S35 sensor, recording features, dynamic range, interface ports, and controls as the 6K Pro, but pares a few features to create a more affordable form. Features include a 5" tilting touchscreen LCD, Pro EVF, and battery grip options, dual mini-XLR audio inputs, an NP-F570 L-series battery slot, and the updated Gen 5 color science.Yaroslav Altunin
Canon EOS C70
Ever since the release of EOS 5D, Canon has been trying to recapture the same magic. The EOS C70 was one of the cameras that got really close, with its mirrorless RF mount and Super35 dual gain sensor that pumped out 16+ stops of dynamic range. While it was made for the cinema world, it did find a solid home in the documentary community thanks to its size and generous ports.
Incorporating key Cinema EOS video tools in a mirrorless-style body, the Canon EOS C70 Cinema Camera features a Super35 DGO (Dual Gain Output) sensor for capturing nuanced images with up to 16+ stops of high dynamic range. Video resolutions include DCI 4K capture at rates ranging from 23.98 to 60 fps, plus high-speed options up to 120 fps in UHD 4K and 180 fps in cropped 2K.Yaroslav Altunin
The biggest (by size) camera in Sony's FX line, the FX9 is as close as you'll get to a studio cinema camera without venturing into Venice territory. While the release of the Sony BURANO makes the future of the FX9 unclear, it's still an incredible tool with a feature set that would be perfect for film, documentaries, live events, or even corporate. It's the most expensive kit on this list, but it still falls under our (arbitrary) 10K price threshold.
The PXW-FX9 features a full-frame, oversampled 6K Exmor R CMOS sensor that allows you to capture 4K images with cinematic depth of field. Perfect for documentaries, events, reality TV, education, or corporate productions, the FX9 features a 15-stop dynamic range, dynamic HDR, hybrid log gamma mode (HLG), and records 10-bit 4:2:2.Yaroslav Altunin