Best Film Cameras for Beginners: 4 Top Film Cameras For Starting Out

Best Film Cameras for Beginners: 4 Top Film Cameras For Starting Out

Choosing the right camera for your own film or video project is not an easy task. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best film cameras for beginners.

Yes, this article will be aimed at those just starting out. We’ll cover some cameras that you’ve heard of, and probably some that you haven’t.

The various camera types have different advantages and disadvantages in terms of quality, functionality, and operation. Unfortunately, the choice of the camera is, too often, reduced to the cost issue.

Although this is certainly an important point, there are other criteria that should be considered when choosing the camera right camera for you.

That’s why we will focus on choosing the right camera for a variety of projects and discuss the pros and cons of different camera types along the way.

Choosing the best film cameras for beginners

If you want to make your own film, or shoot any kind of video project, sooner or later you have to choose a suitable camera. The choice of the camera is certainly not an easy decision because there’s just so much choice out there.

Don’t be won over too easily by the latest fancy advertising you see on social media for a new camera. Some of the ones we’ve included here are models that have been out a few years.

But, by being out for a while, they’ve had time to grow, improve and receive all important feedback from actual camera users out in the trenches.

The Best Film Cameras For Beginners

Let’s begin our list of favorite film cameras for beginners with a awesome DSLR camera!

The Nikon D3400 complete with an AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm 3.5-5.6G VR is one of the most affordable DSLRs on the market. The camera has a simplified, but very convenient control.

In the Nikon D3400 there is not only an auto mode but also a training mode Guide, which will help you master the basic techniques of shooting.

As with professional Nikon cameras, the D3400 has an AUTO ISO function with the option of setting the maximum shutter speed. This gives you a handy “learning mode” that will hold your hand a little as you progress.

As well as that, there are a lot of other pleasant little things in the camera that will be useful for a beginner in the future.

For the image quality, the camera comes with a  CMOS-matrix APS-C standard sensor with a resolution of 24.2 megapixels. There is no low-pass filter, so you can get sharper images, and sharpness does not happen superfluously.

Similar matrices are used in much more expensive Nikon cameras, so as your shooting skills progress, even with this simple camera you can get professional-quality images and videos.

The Canon Legria HF-G25 is designed to meet the needs of video enthusiasts, this is a camera that many people consider the best entry-level Canon camcorder. It’s characterized by it’s 30.4 mm wide-angle lens with 10x optical zoom and able to record movies with Full HD resolution.

Great care was taken by Canon in the realization of the lens, allowing you to get flawless shooting in all light conditions, including very poor conditions. While the 8-blade diagram ensures soft effects and focusing.

Thanks to the 8.8 cm touchscreen LCD display, you can always keep the camera under control while the Intelligent IS (image stabilization) technology allows the camcorder to automatically choose four modes so as to ensure smooth recording, free from annoying jolts and shake.

Other features include the high sensitivity zoom microphone so that the sound recording is at the same level as the video. This camera also comes with Face Detection technology that automatically optimizes the settings for an always perfect exposure. The storage space is guaranteed by 32 GB of integrated memory, possibly incremented with SD cards.

If your needs in terms of video recording are not limited to hobbyist filming, but you need a product of a higher level, the Panasonic model has all the credentials to be one of the best camcorders sold online.

This is primarily due to the ability to record movies with a resolution of 60 frames per second and the presence of numerous professional features:

  • Leica Dicomar lens,
  • triple ring for infinite manual adjustments,
  • two slots to expand storage memory via SD cards,
  • ND filter,
  • two XLR microphone inputs, and
  • 20x optical zoom with five-axis image stabilizer.

The presence of wireless Wi-Fi and NFC connections allow you to control in real time how much the camera is recording, even remotely. For example, using a tablet or a smartphone on which the dedicated application has been installed.

In short, this model of Panasonic meets the needs of those looking for a bit more advanced camera than the other previously mentioned models. And it does so flawlessly, but at a price that, of course, stands at quite a different level compared to those other cameras we mentioned already.

This is an excellent camera that has slightly more advanced features than others mentioned here. However, this is still considered an entry-level camera and it’s not too advanced that beginners won’t be able to master it fairly quickly.

We couldn’t really make this list without putting a JVC camcorder on it. JVC make great beginner cameras, which deep feature senses and intuitive setups. Introducing the JVC GC-PX100…

The JVC GC-PX100 will allow you to film in Full HD at 50 fps but also, using a button above the lens, select one of five shooting speeds, ranging from 100 to 500 fps. This helps you to obtain high-speed images, to be used for creating special effects.

With another button, you can capture a burst of nine still images while you are filming, as well as activate various shooting modes dedicated to time-lapse.

Yes, these are fairly advanced features found on a camera that’s very much priced for an entry level budget.

Thanks to an app for Android or Apple iOS and the presence of Wi-Fi, you can use the camera in combination with a tablet or a smartphone. This allows you to take advantage of a large number of multimedia features.

The large aperture f1.2 lens and the back-illuminated CMOS sensor complete the overview on a truly valuable product. Yes, a little more budget is required, but this is a winner of a camera!

A semi-professional device that stands on the medium-high price range. It can satisfy a large number of users: those who are just starting out filming and keen to learn, as well as those who are a more advanced.

The most important criteria

Let’s discuss the most important criteria when it comes to purchasing a camera as a beginner.

The costs

One of the most important criteria when choosing the camera is the cost. Because while you can get a DSLR for just a few hundred dollars, some professional film cameras can often cost significantly more than an average car.

But does more spending mean more quality? Unfortunately, this question can’t be answered easily, because of course it always depends on what you want to do with the camera. And there are so many variables.

That’s why you should always be clear about what you want to do exactly before you spend a potentially unnecessary amount of money.

The functional scope

Another important criterion is the range of functions. Because it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have if you can’t implement what you have planned.

For example, most camcorders lack the so-called “film look” (small depth of focus through interchangeable low-aperture lenses), and hardly any DSLR cameras have features such as zebra or peaking as standard.

So you should always inform yourself about all functions and possibilities of the camera so that you don’t get disappointed later if a certain function is missing.

The operating options

Just as important as the range of functions are the different operating options of a camera. These can be very different depending on the camera type.

This has the disadvantage that not every camera is equally easy or difficult to use. So you should always pay attention to how you can operate the camera and how the operation can be varied.

Finally, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re affected by necessary additional equipment (eg shoulder rig) in the operation. It is better, therefore, to inform yourself in advance. This way you can prevent unpleasant surprises when using the camera.

The handling

Another important criterion when choosing the camera is the handling. This includes not only the size and weight of the camera but also the ability to customize the handling. Unfortunately, this is not possible with every type of camera.

So there are, for example, significantly less handling options with cheaper cameras, compared with their more professional (and more expensive) camera counterparts that can be customized.

Even between the different camera types of the same manufacturer, there can be significant handling differences. Therefore, it is always advisable to take a closer look at the handling options when choosing a camera.

Additional equipment?

Anyone who has ever bought a camera knows this: you might need additional equipment for certain projects. THis goes even more so if you tend to work on specialist projects.

For example, if you want to shoot narrative film with a DSLR. In addition to other lenses you often need the rig, follow focus, adapter, screen, matte box, etc.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a filmmaker has spent more on equipment (especially lenses) than on the camera body itself. Therefore, the question of the required additional equipment when choosing a camera should always be considered.

Do you have to commit yourself to a camera?

Choosing a camera does not necessarily mean choosing a camera type. Quite the contrary: In most films, several camera types are used, depending on the situation and the desired effect.

Meanwhile, even in Hollywood productions, among other things, DSLR cameras are used for stunts, so you do not have to expose the more expensive cameras to a risk and thus reduces the risk of unnecessary costs.

Another example is slow-motion shots, which are usually shot specialist cameras. These camera can record several thousand frames per second and has been specially developed for this purpose.

So it is quite common to use different camera types for different uses?

Yes. Especially in more big budget productions. However, one should not forget that different camera types can also have a different look.

There may be visible image differences in the later film, even with a lot of time and effort spent in post-production. This usually does not look great and can pull the viewer out of the immersion of the film.

For this reason, one should first think carefully about the look of the finished film, to avoid issues in post-production. Trying to “match” a tonne of different types of footage can be really tricky. As I’m sure you’re aware if you’ve ever had to do it!

If you want to use different types of cameras, it is always advisable to compare the different images produced in advance to see how they can be matched to each other in the edit.

The pros and cons of different camera types

The following is a small overview of the main advantages and disadvantages of professional cameras vs. entry-level cameras.

The listed advantages and disadvantages generally apply to professional cameras and may differ depending on the model.

Advantages of professional cameras

  • better image quality due to a larger sensor.
  • has all the important functions.
  • better handling options.
  • larger range of settings and other options.

Disadvantages of professional cameras

  • very costly.
  • often confusing operation (especially for beginners).
  • often expensive additional equipment.
  • usually, prior knowledge is needed.

How to use a video camera

As this article is primarily aimed at beginners, we’ll take a look at some tips on using your new video camera.

Take advantage of quality cards

The possibility of expanding the memory and the hours of filming allows the user better storage. Our advice is to bet on cards of good quality, with a capacity to function as an additional backup or spare memory to draw on.

Whether you use SD cards or CF cards, make sure you go for quality manufacturers like SanDisk and Lexar.

And use multiple cards. Don’t put ‘all your eggs in one basket,’ as they say! With the use of multiple cards, you reduce the risk of you losing all your footage from a day’s filming.

Keep the lens optics clean

Always clean your lenses using an appropriate system.

And be sure to keep the lens closed with the enclosed covers, protecting the lens from dust or dirt that may stain or scratch the glass.

Take advantage of the white balance mode

The choice of a good color palette is also linked to the white balance settings you go with. You can take advantage of the automatic adjustment mode on the camera but for a setting, as it should we recommend you to proceed in manual mode, using a blank sheet as a starting point for precise settings.

Use autofocus

The camera’s ability to focus on a scene and maintain it is handy when you’re a beginner.

Understand what your camera can do, using autofocus for shooting with wide scenes and movement, preferring the manual option in the case of a filming situation with little movement.

Give yourself time to get used to the camera

Especially in the early days, it will not be so intuitive to shoot with your camera. We suggest you do a rehearsal and small shots, at first. In this way, you will increase your confidence with the instrument, feeling it more and more confident in what it can do.

Buy a quality case / bag

Although well built and with all possible protections, the camera is still a delicate tool, equipped with internal mechanics that can be damaged if knocked around too much.

The purchase of a semi-rigid cover that protects from shocks and possible falls is the minimum equipment that every user should consider for protection.

A case (or bag) will make travelling with your camera much easier and more efficient. Many makes and models are on the market.

Read the user manual carefully

It is good to dedicate some time to the careful and precise reading of the instruction manual. Inside, you will find notable features and information on maintenance and correct use of the settings, as well as a guide to the various functions of the camera.

The Best Film Cameras For Beginners – In Summary

As you can see, we’ve covered a range of cameras here that are great for beginners. Hopefully this article has given you some ideas about a first camera purchase and some of the things that need to be considered.

Obviously, things like the price point and the kind of projects that you need the camera for are massively important. But don’t forget things like weight, durability and how easy it is to travel with. After all, if you’re a working filmmaker or videographer, you’re most likely going to be travelling quite a bit.

We hope this article on the best film cameras for beginners has been helpful to you. Did we miss out your favorite camera? Let know know right now in the comments below here.

You Should Try:

Published at Mon, 15 Oct 2018 12:59:28 +0000

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *