Choosing the right camera is the single most crucial decision for any filmmaker. And considering the financial investment that accompanies, it’s not a decision to take lightly—the camera you purchase ultimately dictates the content you can create. Over the years, mirrorless cameras have become more mainstream, continually pushing the boundaries in video creation.
And today’s market has plenty of enticing options, many of which are capable and rank quite closely together. In fact, most recent camera’s support 4K video with relatively high bitrates, efficient compression, flat picture profiles, and other video-centric necessities. And often only minute differences separate two video cameras, so it can quickly become overwhelming. And you’ll soon become more confused as you closely examine cameras, particularly when looking at specifications.
With that, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten best mirrorless cameras for video in today’s market.
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10 – Sony a6600
Sony’s a6600 is the APS-C flagship and their best option to date. Released in the fall of 2019, it houses a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, the Bionz X image processor, and 4K 30p and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 3″ flipping touchscreen, image stabilization, weather sealing, log profiles, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses Sony’s latest 425 point Hybrid AF system with 84% frame coverage. And this system also employs their Real-Time AF, which uses machine learning for better subject tracking and continuous AF performance. It’s also one of the few cameras in Sony’s lineup to offer unlimited video recording. And coupled with its new Z-type battery, it supplies the longest battery life of any current APS-C mirrorless camera to date.
Overall, Sony’s a6600 combines nine years of refinement that proves Sony is the leader in software innovation. And it’s their best all-in-one mirrorless camera and an excellent choice for videographers looking for a compact, yet capable solution.
9 – Sony a7III
Sony’s a7 Mark III was easily one of the most anticipated mirrorless cameras to date. Released in the spring of 2018, it houses a 24.2-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, the Bionz X image processor, and 4K 30p and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 3-inch tilting touchscreen, dual card slots, image stabilization, log profiles, weather sealing, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses Sony’s 693 point phase-detect AF system with 93% frame coverage, a system taken from the flagship a9. And it provides outstanding continuous AF performance and full-time eye detection. It was also the first Sony camera to debut the updated Z-type battery, which also offers the longest lifespan in the full-frame segment.
Overall, Sony’s A7 Mark III offers performance that rivals several flagships of years prior. But, at a price that remains attractive to even budding filmmakers looking for their first full-frame camera.
8 – Sony A7R IV
Sony’s A7R Mark IV is their fourth high-resolution mirrorless camera. Released in the fall of 2019, it houses a 60.2-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, the Bionz X processor, and 4K 30p and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 3-inch tilting touchscreen, image stabilization, log profiles, weather sealing, dual card slots, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses Sony’s 567-point phase-detect AF system with real-time tracking. It also uses the new Z-Type battery, which delivers the best performance of the A7R range. But, where this camera shines is in detail, the result of its 60MP sensor. And the footage supplied offers unrivaled detail in this segment, particularly in the Super 35 mode.
Overall, Sony’s A7R IV, while oriented as a stills camera, offers filmmakers enormous detail. And it’s an excellent choice for those looking for a high-resolution hybrid option.
7 – Nikon Z6
Nikon’s Z6 is their entry-level full-frame mirrorless camera. Released in the fall of 2018, it houses a 24.5-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, the EXPEED 6 image processor, and 4K 30p and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, a status display, image stabilization, weather sealing, log profiles, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It uses Nikon’s 273-point phase-detection AF system with 90% frame coverage. And the latest firmware updates bring along continuous eye and animal detection AF, resulting in Nikon’s best performance yet. Nikon’s also equipped this camera with a built-in time-code for easy synchronization, and a 10-bit HDMI output plus N-log view assist for easy spot-checking.
Overall, Nikon’s Z6 is an excellent choice, particularly for videographers who enjoy DSLR styling and ergonomics. With this release, Nikon pleasantly surprised the market with a powerful contender. And it’s a compelling all-rounder with strong video capabilities.
6 – Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Blackmagic’s Pocket 4K melds traditional camcorder capabilities with DSLR styling. Released in the fall of 2018, it uses a 21.2-megapixel MTF sensor and shoots 4K DCI 60p and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 5-inch touchscreen, a full-sized HDMI, a mini XLR input, dual card slots, and headphone and microphone inputs.
Blackmagic has specifically designed this camera for video. And it provides several notable additions rivals at this price lack. Firstly, you can apply 3D LUT’s for monitoring and record them into the file. Secondly, this camera shoots RAW video, with an impressive 13 stops of dynamic range and their fourth-generation color science from high-end URSA Mini Pro. These combine to deliver stunning and faithful skin tones. This camera also shoots in the wider DCI 17:9 aspect ratio, plus it can even record externally via USB-C to SSD drives. And it even has a built-in timecode generator and the optional ATEM Mini to create multi-camera live streaming productions.
Overall, Blackmagic’s Pocket 4K obtains several high-end features from their flagship cinema line, which costs tens of thousands of dollars. And it’s an excellent option for videographers and filmmakers at this price point.
5 – Canon EOS R6
Canon’s EOS R6 is their most recent addition to the RF lineup. Released in the fall of 2020, it houses a 20.1MP CMOS sensor, the DIGIC X image processor, 4K 60p, and 1080p 120p video. It also has a 3.0-inch vari-angle touchscreen, image stabilization, weather sealing, log profiles, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It obtains several highlight features from Canon’s flagship 1DX Mark III, most notably their latest DIGIC X processor. This gives the camera the power needed to support Dual Pixel CMOS AF II, with deep learning technology and 100% frame coverage. This system brings along Face, Head, Eye, and animal-detect AF, which provides the best autofocusing of any Canon camera to date. It’s also one of few cameras to offer 4K 60p recording, and even fewer with H.265 compression and 10-bit HDR. Yet, it even uses Canon’s newest NH-type battery with the best longevity in the entire RF lineup.
Overall, Canon’s EOS R6 is a substantial improvement over the original EOS R. With its side-hinged screen, 10-bit 4K 60p video, IBIS, and updated autofocus, it’s arguably the best camera they’ve ever released.
4 – Fujifilm X-T4
The Fujifilm X-T4 is the latest high-end APS-C hybrid. Released in the spring of 2020, it houses a 26-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, 4K DCI 60p, and 1080p 240p video. It also has a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, dual card slots, image stabilization, log profiles, microphone input, and headphone output via an adapter.
The X-T4 marks the first camera in the line to debut with in-body stabilization, fundamentally changing its use. It also obtains the Boost IS mode, which maximizes the stabilization, creating a locked-off tripod effect. And this mode virtually removes the need to carry a tripod whatsoever. Fuji’s also equipped the camera with the new W-series battery, which delivers nearly double the lifespan. The camera even offers 10-bit oversampled video via HDMI. But, with 12 historic film simulations, filmmakers plenty of added flair at their disposal. Particularly so if you prefer shooting footage that requires little color grading and post-processing.
Overall, Fujifilm’s X-T4 is an excellent option for hybrid shooters with extensive specifications and the quality to match. To date, it’s their most comprehensive camera for video and one that matches several Panasonic flagships.
3 – Panasonic S1H
Panasonic’s S1H was a revolution amongst the Cine industry and dawned a new era. Released in the fall of 2019, it houses a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, 6K 24p, DCI 4K 60p, and 1080p 180p video. It also has a 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, a status LCD, dual card slots, a full-sized HDMI, a tally lamp, image stabilization, weather sealing, log profiles, and headphone and microphone inputs.
Of this list, it’s the only camera with dedicated fans, which systematically cools the camera during prolonged sessions. This effectively lets you record indefinitely without overheating. And it’s the only camera that offers 6K video. Combined, it provides 52 total options, making it the most extensive selection of crop, resolution, and codecs to date. It’s also one of few cameras that offers vector-scopes, in addition to waveforms for more advanced monitoring.
Overall, Panasonic’s S1H has little competition with other mirrorless cameras. Instead, it’s a direct competition with cinema cameras that’s tens of thousands of dollars its price. It revolutionized the cinema industry at launch, and it stands as an excellent option for filmmakers today.
2 – Sony A7S III
Sony’s A7S Mark III is their latest release and the long-awaited replacement to the famous A7S II. Released in the fall of 2020, it houses 12.1-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, the Bionz XR image processor, and 4K 120p and 1080p 240p video. It also has a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen, a full-sized HDMI, dual card slots, image stabilization, log profiles, weather sealing, and headphone and microphone inputs.
It obtains Sony’s latest Fast Hybrid AF system from the flagship FX9 with 759 phase-detect AF points and 93% frame coverage. This system also brings along real-time tracking for both humans and animals, resulting in the best AF performance of the A7S series. Sony’s also added superior AF customization options for greater flexibility over the AF transition speed. An like other S-series cameras, it offers class-leading low light performance, easily capturing usable footage up to ISO 51,200. Yet, it’s now the only Sony camera to shoot 16-bit RAW 60p video. And one of few cameras with H.265 compression, the XAVC HS format, and 10-bit unlimited internal recording. It also obtains the new Z-type battery, which offers the longest recording time of all Alpha cameras.
Overall, Sony’s A7S III redefines the A7S lineup altogether. Not only does it continue as the current low light king, but it also delivers the real-world performance pros demands. And it’s a strong alternative to their flagship FX9 cinema camera.
1 – Panasonic GH5S
Panasonic’s GH5S makes video the top priority. Released in the spring of 2018, it houses a 10.2-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the Venus Engine processor, DCI 4K 60p, and 1080p 240p video. It also has a 3.2-inch vari-angle touchscreen, dual card slots, a full-sized HDMI, timecode, log profiles, weather sealing, and headphone and microphone inputs.
Like the S1H, you can apply LUTs to better monitor footage in both playback and the final render. It even has advanced waveforms and vectorscopes to check brightness, color, and luminance. Plus, in the spirit of Panasonic’s recent releases, it offers unlimited 10-bit 4:2:2 internal recording and the anamorphic format. And it’s also one of few cameras to offer dual native ISOs, a feature taken from their cinema lineup. This allows the camera to provide cleaner footage at higher sensitivities.
As it stands, Panasonic’s GH5S is a substantial improvement over the original model. While it lacks image stabilization, it’s capabilities at this price point remain unmatched. As a video-centric camera, it’s quite powerful indeed, and it delivers exceptional value for money.