If you ask a professional about which is the best camera for video you'll probably get a different answer every time. It all comes down to what you want to use it for. The best camera for streaming won't be the camera for shooting a cinematic film so we've split this guide into different sections to make it easy to navigate.
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More video camera guides
Best action cams
Best 360 cameras
Best cameras for YouTube
Best cameras for vlogging
Best slow motion camera
Best 4K cameras for filmmaking
Best cinema cameras
We suggest you think about what type of video you want to create, how portable your kit needs to be and how much you want to spend. It's also a really good idea to get clued up on all the video jargon so you know exactly what it all means when you're shopping.
We will walk you through all the options available to you covering smartphones, action cameras, DSLRs, mirrorless systems and purpose-built video cameras. They all shoot video in completely different ways and some are much better all-rounders than others so if you want to take pictures too it's worth keeping that in mind.
You can either read through our guide to find the category that seems to suit you best, or if you know that already you can jump straight to that section to find out more.
Getting started in video can be pretty daunting, simply because of all the new techniques and technical terms that come with it. Already knowing a bit about stills photography will help but truthfully, video is a whole different field. While you could go out and take one picture to capture a day, you'd have to take several videos over the course of the day to create something meaningful.
Once you've decided which camera to get, you'll need to learn the best camera settings for video. You'll also need to start thinking about things like composition in filmmaking and the art of color grading if you want your footage to have a cinematic feel.
Video doesn't have to be difficult so don't be put off by all the accessories, technical terms or complex-sounding techniques. Remember, your first project doesn't have to be a masterpiece, the more you do, the more you'll learn. It's one of those things where until you do it, you really won't improve. Start with basic skills and techniques and build on them as you grow as a videographer.
So let’s take a look at all the different types of video you might want to get involved in, the equipment you might need and where to go next.
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Best camera for video in 2022
Gone are the days where you have you invest in a dedicated camera if you want to shoot video. While some professionals may sniff at the idea of using a smartphone for video, some of the best camera phones shoot in 4K, have effecting image stabilization and have editing software you can download from an app store. If you mostly shoot video for social media, a camera phone makes recording, uploading and sharing content very efficient. There are so many smartphones with excellent video capabilities but we've just picked one of our favorites.
Though its camera improvements may be fairly modest when compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, the iPhone 13 Pro still sports some worthwhile upgrades. There's a useful new macro mode, along with an improvement to low light shooting with the ultra-wide camera. New picture styles are worth experimenting with, while the Cinematic video mode is a clever feature and nice to have if you're a budding movie-maker.
As for camera hardware, Apple has gone for a triple-lens set up on the iPhone 13 Pro, giving us a standard, ultra-wide and telephoto lens. We have the same focal lengths for the 26mm (equivalent) standard lens, and 13mm (0.5x) ultra-wide optic, but the telephoto lens has been extended to a 3x (78mm) offering, compared with the iPhone 12 Pro’s 2x lens.
The iPhone 12 Pro is still an excellent phone for video if you want to save yourself a bit of money as prices have recently dropped.
Action cams (action cameras) are the simplest way to get into video. There’s almost nothing to know. Apart from a handful of basic settings for the video resolution and frame rate, you just press a button to record and press again to stop. What action cams lack in finesse they make up for in immediacy, impact and their bulletproof go-anywhere attitude. The video quality is often better than you’d expect, too. We’ve got a dedicated buying guide to the best action cams, but here’s one of our favorites.
• Read more: Best action cameras
Welcome to the newest and best GoPro around. Though launched without much fanfare and looking identical to the Hero9 Black in almost every way, the Hero10 Black is nevertheless a significant upgrade. That’s all down to its use of the all-new GP2 processor, which powers a speedy user interface, doubles the frame rates and fuels the best image stabilization tech yet.
The highlight is 5.3K video with 60 frames per second, but don’t underestimate the usefulness of GoPro’s new HyperSmooth 4.0 video stabilization – in all modes – alongside 23MP photos and best-ever low-light performance. Add a nifty cable for super-quick camera-to-app content transfer and auto-upload of videos and photos to the cloud while it recharges and the Hero10 Black was worth the wait. If you're after
• Read full GoPro Hero10 review
Imagine an action cam attached to a flying machine you can control from the ground and where, with most models, you can actually look through the camera’s ‘eyes’ as you’re flying it using an app on your smartphone. And with the latest automated flight controls, you can be up and flying in an afternoon even if you’re a complete novice. For this reason, we think the DJI Mini 2 is the best camera drone to get started with, but it's by no means the only choice.
• Read more: Best camera drones
When DJI bought out the DJI Mavic Mini in 2016 it opened up the drone market to camera enthusiasts who didn't want the hassle of getting a pilot license. While the Mavic Mini took away the weight issue, it was missing a few key features that made it geared more towards video than photography such as raw shooting. The latest DJI Mini 2 combines the compact size of the Mavic Mini with improved video and shooting modes. Mounted on a 3-axis gimbal that absorbs all the twists and turns in flight, the video is incredibly smooth and professional-looking. It also now has the ability to shoot raw stills which makes recovering highlights and shadows in post much easier. The device is operated via a controller you sync up with your phone so that you can view the camera image. The DJI Fly App is easy to use and includes excellent safety features such as return to home.
This is another variation on the action cam design that takes video into whole new areas. 360 cameras are essentially two 180-degree cameras fixed back to back that film simultaneously – and the camera merges both sets of images in real-time to produce seamless 36-degree ‘spherical’ footage. It’s amazing and disorientating at the same time. It doesn’t matter where you point the camera (!) because it captures everything around you. Viewers can look around the full 360 scene in 360 viewers (YouTube can do this), or you can edit the video to produce a regular ‘flat’ movie where you can pan the camera and control where it’s pointing as you edit the movie. Our favorite right now for new users is the Insta360 One X2, which can fit in a shirt pocket, but there are lots of alternatives too.
• Read more: Best 360 cameras
A seriously impressive action camera that uses its 360º lenses not only for virtual reality, but for a plethora of creative editing modes for widescreen videos, the One X2 consistently produces exquisite videos and photos. It takes time and patience to master, and its processing-intensive app demands the latest phones, but for filmmakers wanting to try something different the One X2 cannot be ignored.
Read more: Insta360 One X2 review
This is a relatively new way to shoot and share video, but it's really catching on. 'Streaming', whether it's to Facebook or YouTube or some other video sharing platform, is sharing video live, as you shoot it, whether that's out in the field or in front of your computer hooked up to a camera. Things are changing quickly, as camera makers realize the popularity of streaming and add streaming features or updates to their cameras. Streaming from a phone is the simplest solution, but if you want a proper camera, we've a suggestion below – but it's only one of many.
• Read more: Best cameras for streaming
One of the biggest bugbears vloggers and video makers have with Canon is the crop factor when shooting 4K on many of its cameras, but the G7 X Mark III bucks the trend – thank goodness. This high-end compact packs a similar body and an identical lens to the G7 X Mark II, but includes a new sensor and no 4K crop.
It was also the first camera of its kind with a microphone input – vital if you want clean audio, not to mention the ability to livestream straight to YouTube. This means that even if you’ve got an expensive cinema camera, if you also have a G7 X Mark III you can create a fuss-free live setup without any expensive capture cards and a PC.
With its flip-out screen, the G7 X III also gives vloggers a clear view of themselves when they shoot, and thanks to its 20.1MP 1-inch stacked CMOS sensor and Digic 8 processor it’s also able to capture great stills, so your custom thumbnails can pop nicely.
See also: Best cameras for streaming
Vlogging is definitely the New Big Thing in video, and it’s now wildly popular amongst a new generation of photographers and videographers – the current buzzword is ‘independent content creators’, and the most talented and successful of these have become household names amongst their fans. If you're just starting out, we think the Fujifilm X-S10 has the perfect set of features, including in-body stabilization for jittery first-timers! There are lots more besides, though including the tiny and rather good Panasonic Lumix G100.
• Read more: Best cameras for vlogging
We had the cheaper X-T200 in our list of the best vlogging cameras for some time, but we've decided to swap it out for the newer X-S10 (not least because the X-T200 seems to be having some supply issues right now). The Fujifilm X-S10 doesn't have the external exposure controls of the higher-level X-series cameras, but it's clear this is no 'amateur' camera. as its build quality and handling stand out straight away. The swap to a conventional mode dial might disappoint Fujifilm fans, but the excellent finish, build quality and handling and the inclusion of IBIS (in-body stabilisation) gives this camera a very broad appeal, especially in this price sector, to produce perhaps the best combination of performance, quality and value in the APS-C mirrorless camera market right now. It even has a vari-angle rear screen and this, combined with the X-S10's in-body-stabilisation and 4K video, makes it a great vlogging camera.
Read more: Fujifilm X-S10 review
Vlogging is a perfectly respectable occupation, but if you produce work for clients and customers you may need to step up a gear with your equipment. These days, every camera worth its salt comes with 4K video, and even if you or your clients don’t need 4K video right now, you’ll almost certainly need it very soon. Shooting 4K also gives you a bit more editing/cropping leeway later on, as well as future-proofing your footage (until 8K becomes the Next Big Thing, but that’s going to take a while!).
• Read more: Best 4K cameras for filmmaking
The world's attention seems focused on full frame cameras right now, but the X-T4 is a much cheaper proposition while also boasting very advanced 4K video capabilities. These include the capacity to shoot 4K video at up to 60p, for a smooth 2x slow motion effect. Not only that, it can also capture the slightly wider Cinema 4K format at the same speeds. There's more. Most 4K cameras capture 8-bit video internally to memory cards, but the X-T4 can capture higher-quality 10-bit video internally and, if you connect an external recorder, it can save video at a higher 4:2:2 colour sampling quality. The big step forward with the X-T4, however, is the new in-body stabilisation, which can reduce or eliminate the need for a gimbal, especially when used alongside the digital image stabilisation system. For all-round size, performance, power and price, the X-T4 is hard to beat.
Read more: Fujifilm X-T4 review
Once upon a time, camcorders were the go-to piece of kit if you wanted to shoot video. With a long zoom lens, a hand-strap for ease of shooting and a pop-out screen, they were perfect for recording video and don't worry, they haven't gone anywhere. While you can still buy amateur-orientated camcorders as you'd remember from the videotape days, there are also a lot of pro camcorders on the market that even have interchangeable lenses. The traditional camcorder shape is still regarded by many pro videographers to be better for shoulder-mounted use and general handling.
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The FDR-AX43 may be compact but it doesn’t skimp on features. Fronted by a Carl Zeiss Vario Sonnar T lens, the AX43's niceties include a 10x optical zoom, 4K shooting (with super-down-sampling for 1080p displays), a low noise Exmor R CMOS sensor, and dual-video recording in XAVC S or AVCHD, plus easy to share MP4. For those who want convincing surround sound when playing back their footage into a home cinema or soundbar, there’s also a multichannel 5.1 microphone. Expect limitations in low light, but if you’re looking for an easy-to-manage but capable 4K shooter, then this model is a fantastic choice, and that balance between functionality, portability and price is why it our favorite 4K camcorder.
Now we’re into the big league. If you need a cinema camera you’re probably working on feature films and TV shows with a proper crew and actors, and you probably don’t need us to tell you which camera to buy. But for those who are interested in what’s available and what’s involved, we have a guide to the best cinema cameras right now, and even if these are outside your scope at the moment, if your video career takes off you might be using one of these sooner than you think. Just as a taster, here’s one of the best options on the market right now.
With an ideal array of ports, features and modes to help you capture excellent footage, the C300 MK II is a good few steps up from a DSLR or mirrorless camera that happens to shoot video. It’s able to handle low light video like a champ (up to roughly ISO 32000 before grain is noticeable), and unlike most consumer Canon cameras you won’t be grumping about its 4K capabilities – the C300 MK II captures UHD content at up to 410Mbps/10-bit. Dynamic range is excellent at 15 stops, as too is its continuous autofocus – one thing the C300 MK II does share with its sub-£2000/$2000 siblings. In a break from tradition, it takes either EF or PL lenses, and the lens fitting can be swapped out at an approved service centre.
Laptops for video editing
This is nothing to do with choosing a camera, specifically, but video editing places pretty heavy demands on any computer. We've picked one of our favorite video editing laptops below, but there are many more, including Apple's stunningly efficient M1 MacBook Pro.
• Read more: Best laptops for video editing
If you’ve got a lot of cash to invest, the Acer ConceptD line is a series of laptops and desktops that have been fine-tuned for designers and editors. Specifically, the ConceptD 7-series laptop has gaming laptop power without any of the gaudy casing or attention-grabbing RGB lighting. It’s also quiet, staying cool without loud fans whirring/roaring away.
Ideal for color grading, the Acer ConceptD 7’s 4K UHD display covers 100% of the Adobe RGB gamut, and its color fidelity is Pantone validated, with a color accuracy of Delta E <2. With the latest hexa-core i7 internals from Intel, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card and up to 32GB RAM, whether you’re processing out Full HD or 4K footage, Acer’s Concept D should make short work of it.
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