May 25, 2015 at 7:16AM, Edited May 25, 7:32AM


Budget camera + lens for use with Atomos Ninja 2?

I'm slowly getting to grips with the basics of filmmaking and video production. I recently finished my first test project, and doing so realized that I really need to upgrade my camcorder. I've got an old Sanyo VPC-HD2000 from 2009, which just doesn't cut it from an image quality perspective. Chroma keying a very basic green screen shot was a minor nightmare because of H.264 compression artifacts.

I use a Mac and FCPX, and the idea of recording ProRes intrigues me. I'm probably going to get the upcoming Bare Bones version of Atomos Ninja 2 (or maybe a Ninja Star or a BM Hyperdeck Shuttle, if the camera itself has zebra stripes and focus peaking), and now I'm looking for a camera and a versatile lens to go with it. (The Sanyo does not have clean HDMI for a Ninja, and in fact its HDMI output requires that it's standing in its charging/connectivity dock.)

To narrow it down:

- Total budget for camera and lens: $1000, but that's absolutely the maximum and I'd prefer to spend less. (I'm fine with buying used stuff.)

- We're probably looking at a basic zoom lens here. A decent quality kit lens would be fine. Versatility trumps fidelity. 18-55mm is probably fine, though if I can go longer within the price range, that's a plus.

- Absolutely crucial: the camera must have clean HDMI output for 1080p@29.97, and should ideally support 24fps as well. (I'll publish on the web and probably shoot at 29.97; not going for film look yet; 24fps is for flexibility down the road and not a requirement.) I have no idea if my price range allows for 4:2:2 8- or 10-bit clean HDMI output, but I'm sure I'll find out.

- Still photo performance is almost irrelevant.

Options I consider acceptable, as long as the conditions set above are met:

- DSLR body + lens < $1000
- Micro 4/3 body + lens < $1000
- Camcorder + lens < $1000
- Point-and-shoot with a decent non-interchangeable lens < $600 or so
- Camcorder with a decent non-interchangeable lens < $750 or so

My typical projects are indoor shoots in decent lighting, with occasional outdoor stuff. Low-light performance is not crucial.

I have no idea if these specifications will return zero, one, or two hundred options. I'll try and narrow it down even further if necessary, but we'll see how it goes.

Thanks in advance!


I highly recommend the black magic pocket, you can record prores 422 and raw in camera without the atoms recorder. The bmpcc will outperform any sub $1000 DSLR.
As far as lenses go, a fast micro four thirds will do, I stick to samyang prime lenses, so I don't have a great deal of experience with zooms.


May 25, 2015 at 12:45PM

DP, Director, Editor, VFX

Yeah, I've certainly considered the BMPCC, but at $995 without a lens, with sporadic availability second-hand in Europe (which is where I am, should have mentioned it), it's hard to get one with a lens for at or under $1k. It's true that you'd save the price of the Ninja 2, but then pay through the nose for fast SD cards, whereas SSD's for the Ninja are dirt cheap in terms of capacity for the money.

I'm keeping an eye on the (highly competitive) eBay UK/Germany auctions for the BPMCC, certainly, but other options would be very welcome.

JK Laiho

May 25, 2015 at 11:53PM

Your Comment