Breaking into the world of videography oftentime is a lot to take in. From learning about video gears and equipment, to learning filming principles and techniques, it simply is a lot of information. That’s why simple guides like this best video camera for beginners goes a long way in easing the starting process.
A lot of new videographers get easily carried with pricing when deliberating on a camera to get. What other factors should you consider before choosing a video camera as a beginner? We answer this question and more in this buying guide, plus we’ve also compiled a list of the best cameras for beginner videographers to help newbies get the strong start they need.
A Quick Preview
Our review of the best video camera for beginners in 2022
Best overall - Editor’s choice - Panasonic LUMIX GH5
At the top of our list of best video cameras for beginners is the Panasonic Lumix GH5. The Lumix GH5 is a mirrorless Micro Four Thirds camera; which means it’s a small camera. Be that as it may, this camera packs its weight when it comes to video specs. With its 20.3MP Digital Live MOS sensor, this camera can record 4K resolution footage at 24fps, with 4:2:2, 10-bit image clarity. So, that means you get more color detail in each frame, which means you get more freedom when running your video editing. As a beginner, it’s best to get started with industry standards, so that you learn faster.
MFT cameras with interchangeable lenses have a wide range of lenses to pick from, which is a big plus for beginner videographers who want to explore the different fields in videography. What makes the filming experience with this Lumix camera even more convincing is the quality of image processing. You get clear HDR video output, which allows 6K photos to be extracted from the video frames.
When recording in an active environment, like in a mall, on the street, or while on a trip, shakes and jitters are a real concern. But with the 5-axis in-body stabilization on the Lumix GH5, the footage comes out smoother. On the accessibility front, this camera is WiFi and Bluetooth enabled, it records on two SD card slots, and there’s the option to livestream using the HDMI port.
Best budget video camera for beginners - Canon EOS M50 Mark II
Up next, we’ve got the Canon EOS M50 Mark II. The EOS M50 II offers great value for money as it’s relatively cheaper than other cameras within the same quality range. It is a great option for beginners who want to learn videography fast because it’s quite easy to operate and master. With a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 8 image processor, this camera produces sharp and clear videos up to 4K resolution at 24fps. While also going up to 120fps at 720p HD filming for 2x slow-motion playback.
One of the major highlights of this camera is its ISO which ranges 100 – 25600. So, this makes the Canon M50 II one of the best low-light video cameras for newbie photographers. Another notable feature of this camera is its autofocus mechanism; it boasts a fast and pretty accurate eye-detection AF experience. It helps beginners get better at keeping their subjects in focus when filming.
The controls on the M50 Mark II are quite easy to master. It comes with the flexibility of quick buttons. But major settings can be accessed using the vari-angle LCD touchscreen, which doubles as a display tab when self-recording. This camera also has a functional WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, plus an HDMI outlet.
Best mirrorless camera for beginner videographers - Nikon Z 50
The Nikon Z50 is a mirrorless APS-C camera great for beginners looking to get grounded in videography. This camera boasts one of the fastest and most quality image processing on this list thanks to the EXPEED 6 Image Processor, which powers its 20.9MP sensor. So, this camera is able to produce high-quality 4K footage delivered in MPEG-4 format. This helps newbies get acquainted with the frame quality produced on higher end video cameras from the get go.
The Z50 uses a wide-z mount which is compatible with all Nikkor Z lenses. It’s also known for its stellar performance in low-light environments. With the vibration reduction image stabilization, the video output on this camera looks clean and pro grade. Also impressive is the high frame rate of 120fps attainable at full HD; fantastic for making clear slow motion clips.
As with any good camera, the Nikon Z50 also comes with an autofocus system dubbed eye-catching AF. The autofocus works well, but isn’t as fast as some other cameras in this same range. Regardless, this camera is a great choice for travel vlogging. It comes in a sturdy magnesium alloy construction and is impressively lightweight. It also comes with easy connectivity options; HDMI, Bluetooth, WiFi, and a 3.5mm jack for external mic.
Best compact video camera for beginners - Sony ZV-1
For beginner YouTubers, content creators, and vloggers, a compact camera like the Sony ZV-1 is the ideal device for creating amazing video content. The ZV-1 uses a 20.1 MP back-illuminated 1-inch Exmor RS CMOS sensor, powered by a Bionz X image processor. It’s reasonably fast for video recording and also captures clean photos. The real strength of the camera shines in the ease of running livestreams and making self-recorded videos. Creators can easily flip-out the LCD screen and get a live preview of what they are filming.
As a camera with a fixed lens, the Sony ZV-1 doesn’t have much to lose out on. It comes preinstalled with a Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T 24 – 70mm, f1.8 – 2.8 lens. That’s some impressive range, to go from wide angle to telephoto. And to make the experience more efficient, the camera has a fast hybrid AF mechanism to back up the zoom capacity.
Also a major plus with the Sony ZV-1 is the sound quality of its videos. The microphone on this camera captures sound clearly and even filters out noise, and that’s also because it comes with a windscreen. Other features of the compact camera include a bokeh button, massively lightweight, and functional WiFi, Bluetooth, and HDMI connection for better livestream.
Best camcorder for beginner videographers - Canon VIXIA HF G50 Camcorder
Beginner filmmakers who need to focus more on capturing moments as in short films, documentaries, or sports videography, would fancy using a cine camera or a camcorder more. The only issue is that most of these video camera types are quite expensive. However, the Canon Vixia HF G50 is a great option for beginners.
The Canon Vixia HF G50 runs a large format 1/2.3” sensor which is quite small, meaning the crop factor is also quite large. So, this camcorder in turn is preinstalled with a lens with a wide spread; equivalent of 30.6 – 612mm on a standard camera. That’s a major plus with this camera, it can go up to 20x zoom, which is pretty impressive. The video quality also is not bad, as you can get 4K footage at 24fps, and the image is delivered in MPEG-4 format which is also high quality.
With the 5-axis optical image stabilization on this camcorder, filmmakers can record stable handheld video to some extent. The tiltable electronic viewfinder and the flipping 3-inch LCD screen on the side also make the on-the-go filming experience more seamless. The camcorder records on dual SD card slots, but can also record live using the HDMI port.
How to choose a video camera for beginners
For new videographers just getting into a new field, it’s a mix of thrill and uncertainty. However, one of the things you shouldn’t be uncertain about is your choice video camera. This is why we didn’t stop at naming our top product choices, we are taking this a step further to show you how to choose the best video camera for beginners.
Here are the features to consider in picking a beginner video camera:
Video camera type
There are different types of digital cameras that can be used in videography. Choosing the most suitable camera type often boils down to the intended use and also the budget you’re willing to spend.
So, let’s take a quick run through the different camera types and how beginners can choose the best option for video purposes;
DSLRs are pretty common in the camera world and there are a lot of options to go through. They are pretty versatile as well. So, there’s always going to be a DSLR camera for any type of video making. Older DSLR models with high specs are usually much cheaper, so they can be a great choice for beginners looking to grow into becoming a professional videographer.
More and more professional videographers are embracing the use of mirrorless cameras for their filming, and for good reason. This is because mirrorless cameras tend to be more silent when recording and often produce more steady footage. But as mirrorless video cameras can cost quite a fortune, it’s often best for starters to go for the cheaper, mid-range spec options, and later upgrade as they get better.
Compacts or point and shoot cameras are the real deal for video makers who want to record stunning videos without worrying much about camera components and settings. This often passes for YouTubers, content creators, travel vloggers, and so on. If you’re tired of recording with your phone, you might want to consider a compact camera. They are relatively cheaper than other camera types, and are usually easy to operate.
Camcorders are great for budding filmmakers because they are designed for making long videos and capturing shots from different angles to properly tell a story. Camcorders differ in the quality of video they produce. Be that as it may, there are options with good specs and for a decent price.
For videographers who cover more of action sports or outdoor experience in rough terrains, action cameras are the most suitable. They are small, come with high video capabilities, and come at relatively affordable cost; well suitable for beginners.
Cine cams, fully called cinema cameras, are digital cameras specifically designed for filming movies. They come with high video specs and have modes for different filming scenarios. The only hiccup is that they usually cost quite a fortune. But if you can get a pocket cine camera as a beginner filmmaker, it can set you apart from the start of your filming career.
In 2022, 4K or Ultra HD video resolution has become the standard, and videographers are better with cameras that can shoot 4K. With Ultra HD videos, there’s more allowance for correction during video editing, which is something beginners need to master the art of editing to produce quality videos.
The frame rate is the speed at which a camera records a video (1). Frame rate is important because it also informs how much editing can be done, especially for effects like slow motion. For starters, a camera with a frame rate of 60fps at Full HD should suffice.
The video output of a camera isn’t often paid attention to by beginners. However, it gives a lot of information on the quality of video produced on each camera. A camera that produces 10-bit videos contains way more colors than the 8-bit. Same also applies to cameras that record HDR+ or HDR, compared to a camera that doesn’t.
While cameras with the highest video output grades cost way more than beginners need, it’s important to also look out for cameras that check some of the boxes to pick the best option.
Also read: Cheapest Full-frame Cameras for Video
F. A. Q
For beginner videographers, both DSLRs and mirrorless video cameras would work perfectly. It often takes about the same amount of time to master the controls and settings on both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
Compact cameras are designed for ease of use and are most suitable for beginner YouTubers. And as a side note, new YouTubers can as well get started with just their smartphone camera.
It’s 2022 and there are lots of cameras that would pass for the best video camera for beginners. It all boils down to what type of videos you intend to use the camera for, and how much you’re willing to spend. However, like we’ve discussed, it’s also best to pay attention to the camera specifications like resolution, frame rate, and the video output.
For us, the Panasonic GH5 stands out the most for beginner videographers. It’s a mirrorless MFT camera with interchangeable lenses. It records 4K at 24fps, and delivers high-quality 10-bit videos. It’s not too expensive, and it has great handling as well; a good choice for newbie video makers.
Which video camera did you start your videography journey with? Share your experience in the comments to help new beginners make the best choice.
- Kurniawan, M., Hara, H. (n.d). The importance of frame rate in moviemaking. Adobe Creative Cloud, Video and motion. Retrieved from https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/video/discover/frame-rate.html