Best cameras to make movies: Panasonic LUMIX GH5 II Review

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 review

Digital Camera World Verdict

Appearances can be deceptive. The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 might look like an upscaled mirrorless camera, but it’s a completely different beast altogether. It’s only the price that puts in the same ballpark. This is an out-and-out cinema camera that raises the bar for filmmaking features but demands know-how and effort in return.


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    Huge 5-inch touchscreen

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    Excellent big-button interface

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    ProRes and Blackmagic RAW codecs

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    Choice of storage media, from SD to SSD

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    Excellent connectivity

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The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K G2 is a new variant in the company’s Pocket Cinema camera. These are serious cinema cameras designed to look and handle like regular handheld cameras and at a price which frequently undercuts them.

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The range started off with the MFT format Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, still on sale today, then moved on to the larger Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K, with a Canon EF lens mount and Super35 sensor (both very widely used in the cinema industry), a 6K Pro version and now this Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 6K G2 model, which replaces the original 6k and add some but not all of the features in the Pro version – but without an increase in price.

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 (Black) at Amazon for $1,595

The chief differences between the G2 and the Pro seem to be that the Pro version has built in ND filters and a brighter display – both of which played a part during our testing.


Sensor: 23.10mm x 12.99mm (Super 35)
Lens Mount: Canon EF
Dynamic Range: 13 Stops.
Dual Native ISO: 400 and 3200
Shooting Resolutions: 6144 x 3456 (6K) up to 50 fps, 6144 x 2560 (6K 2.4:1) up to 60 fps, 5744 x 3024 (5.7K 17:9) up to 60 fps, 4096 x 2160 (4K DCI) up to 60 fps, 3840 x 2160 (Ultra HD) up to 60 fps, 3728 x 3104 (3.7K 6:5 anamorphic) up to 60 fps, 2868 x 1512 (2.8K 17:9) up to 120 fps, 1920 x 1080 (HD) up to 120 fps
Built in ND Filters: None
Focus: Single-shot AF using compatible lenses.
Screen: 5-inch tilting touchscreen, 1920 x 1080.
Storage: 1 x CFast card slot, 1 x SD UHS‑II card slot, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 expansion port for external media for Blackmagic RAW and ProRes Recording
Formats: Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1, 12:1, Q0, Q1, Q3 and Q5 at 6144 x 3456, 6144 x 2560, 5744 x 3024, 4096 x 2160, 3728 x 3104 and 2868 x 1512 with film, extended video, video dynamic range or custom 3D LUT embedded in metadata. ProRes at 4096 x 2160, 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 with film, extended video or video dynamic range or custom 3D LUT
Software: DaVinci Resolve Studio for Mac and Windows including activation key

Key features

The BMPCC 6K G2 takes Canon EF mount lenses – the second most popular mount for cinema cameras. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Inside is a Super35 sensor (not full frame) with dual native ISO settings of 400 and 3200 and a max ISO of 25600. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The 6K G2’s array of ports shows just how serious it is, including two mini-XLR mic ports, full size HDMI, USB 3.1 for external SSDs and a 12V power supply port. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

On the back is a huge 5-inch tilting touchscreen display. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Storage is taken care of by one SD slot, one CFast slot (shame it’s not CFexpress) and the option to plug in an external SSD. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

There are a few key features of this camera worth a closer look. First, it has a Super35 format sensor rather than full frame, and its use of Canon EF lenses might look a little backward in the mirrorless age, but in cinema the Canon EF format is second only in popularity to the PL mount.

And if you’re coming to the camera from a mirrorless or DSLR model, you’re going to have to sacrifice a few home comforts. There’s no continuous AF, so although the 6K G2 can focus for you ahead of recording, you’ll have to do your own manual pull-focusing after that – maybe set up a rig with a follow focus unit.

There are three storage options for recording video. One is a built-in UHS II card slot, which will be fine for the more modest codec and video settings, and there’s also a CFast card slot for higher bitrates – though CFast does seem to be a format on the wane. The third option is one you don’t get on mirrorless cameras, which is the option to record straight to an SSD via the cameras USB 3.1 port. (A fourth option would be to connect an external recorder/monitor.)

One more thing to note is that although you can set the 6K G2 for ready-to-share video recording, it’s really set up for a grading workflow, and since it’s got Blackmagic’s own RAW format, you’ll probably want to use it – or the set of four Apple ProRes options. If you already have a finished grade to work with, you can install it to the camera as a LUT.

Build and handling

There’s no getting around it, this is a big camera. Not only is it heavy to hand hold, it also lacks stabilization, so it’s going to be better on a tripod, gimbal or rig. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The rear screen is fine indoors, but outdoors it’s too dim and prone to glare, and the shooting info can be almost impossible to see. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

You can add an optional EVF unit, and you might be glad of it. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

Blackmagic’s interface is brilliant, dramatically simplifying format, quality, resolution and frame rate settings. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The controls are functional rather than refined – the ISO, shutter angle and WB buttons could do with being larger. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

A further six buttons on the back offer quick access to key shooting controls. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)

This is a big camera. It gets even bigger when you put a lens on the front because the body has to accommodate the extra flange depth of the EF mount lenses, even if it doesn’t have a mirror. Officially, it only supports EF lenses, but we’ve heard from users who use EF-S lenses too. One of ours (a Canon EF-S 18-55mm kits lens) didn’t seem to want to fit but another, a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 APS-C lens, went on fine.

You could use this camera handheld, or attempt to, but in the absence of any in-camera stabilization you would need a lot of skill, or a lot of luck, to get usable footage. 

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema cameras do now store gyro movement information thanks to a software update, and this can be used in DaVinci Resolve 18 to stabilize your footage. However, you won’t be able to see how well this has worked until you. get down to editing, but by then it’s too late. It’s not the same as being to check in-camera if the stabilization has been effective.

Despite looking like a handheld camera, this is one that’s going to be most at home on a tripod, on a meaty gimbal or on a rig with other accessories like mics, storage and a monitor.

The buttons work well enough, though the ISO, shutter angle and WB buttons could do with being bigger. The interface is a joy to use, however, and puts the poky little menus on mirrorless and DSLR cameras to shame. With big buttons and simple swipes to go through settings screens, it’s easy to use.

But while this screen is fine for indoor use, it’s hard work outside. We did some shooting in bright sunlight and found it almost impossible to see the settings and could only just make out broad shapes for composition. We tried turning the screen brightness up to maximum, but it didn’t help much. If you get this camera for outdoor use, you might want to budget for the optional screw-on EVF or an external monitor bright enough for daylight.

If you want sensible shutter angles and iris settings outside, you’ll also need a variable ND filter for your lens – the main reason for choosing the 6K Pro model over this one.


We don’t have too much to say about the image quality because we had to raid the cupboards for a couple of EF lenses to use it with, and they weren’t the best examples of modern optical science.

Neither did we test every permutation of codec, frame rate and quality settings, as that would be a lifetime’s work on its own. We have already reviewed the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and Pocket Cinema camera 6K Pro models and assessed the image quality there.

What we have done is put together a short set of clips captured in the time we spend with this camera. These have not been graded and were shot with the closest suitable setting for straight-from-camera use. It’s clear, though, that even though Blackmagic claims a modest 13 stops of dynamic range, our footage has a lot of shadow and highlight detail.

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is only as good as you are. If you’re good and you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty exceptional, but if you’re not, it’s not going to help you.


(Image credit: Rod Lawton)

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2 is extraordinary value for money. There are plenty of mirrorless cameras that cost more than this and do a lot less from a filmmaker’s point of view.  

But it’s not really an appropriate comparison. With no in-camera stabilization, no continuous AF and support only for Canon EF lenses, this is not a mirrorless alternative. This is a big, ponderous camera that’s going to be at its best in planned productions and on shoots where you’ve got time to get everything right. And while it can be used as-is, straight from the box, it really needs to be rigged up with extra gear – especially a better screen – to deliver its best work.

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K G2: Price Comparison

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Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW’s Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at

Sony FX6 review | Digital Camera World

Digital Camera World Verdict

Sony’s recent A7S III mirrorless camera has sent video shooters into a frenzy with its stunning 4K image quality, especially at high ISOs, incredible video AF, fast frame rates and very high-spec internal 10-bit codecs. Now Sony has put the same sensor and all that clever tech into a compact cinema camera, the FX6, and actually improved on it in many ways. It has even better performance in low light, shoots at DCI 17:9 C4K instead of just 4K, and of course has XLR audio, built-in ND filters and all the usual handling benefits of a dedicated video camera. And at this price, it’s by far the best value full-frame cinema camera you can buy.


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    Most affordable full-frame cinema camera ever

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    Advanced Alpha hybrid AF

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    10-bit 4:2:2 4K/120p and 240fps HD!

  • No internal Raw recording or EVF

  • No built-in image stabilisation

  • CFexpress Type A cards expensive and uncommon

Why you can trust Digital Camera World
Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The Sony FX6 answers a real need for filmmakers that Sony’s mirrorless Alpha cameras do not. For shooting video, there is nothing that comes close to using a real cinema camera that has professional controls and ergonomics, multi-channel XLR audio, built-in ND filters, no overheating issues and a very long battery life. These cameras are purpose made for the job, but have lacked the full-frame sensor and advanced AF features that mirrorless camera users are used to. Until now.

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Just over a year ago, Sony and Canon finally fitted full-frame sensors and the latest advanced AF systems into the more affordable end of their cinema camera ranges, but the price was still steep. The 4K Sony FX9 costs around $11,000/£11,000 and the 5.9K Canon C500 Mark II $16,000/£17,000.

  • Sony FX6 (Black) at Amazon for $5,998

Now Sony has really put the cat among the pigeons with the FX6 that is smaller and lighter than the FX9, is more advanced in many ways, and costs around $6,000/£6,000. Using the full-frame 4K sensor and hybrid AF from the A7S III mirrorless camera along with its codecs, it also inherits the well-loved S-Cinetone colours of Sony’s Venice motion picture camera and a dual native ISO sensor for stunning performance at high ISO settings.

It’s a camera that can be used for everything from real feature films and drama to run-and-gun documentary shooting, events and even news gathering. All for the price of a professional DSLR.

• Note that the FX6 is supplied body only. All lenses, mics and accessories are the author’s own!


Sensor: 10.2 megapixels BSI-CMOS, full frame
Video formats: 4096×2160 C4K, 3840×2160 4K, 1920×1080 FHD, MXF
Codecs: C4K XAVC-I 10-bit 4:2:2 up to 60p 600Mbps; 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 up to 120p 600Mbps; 4K XAVC-L, 8-bit 4:2:0 150Mbps up to 120p, FHD XAVC-I 10-bit 4:2:2 up to 60p 223mbps, XAVC-L 10-bit 4:2:0 up to 240p 50mbps, MPEG 8-bit 4:2:2 50Mbps 60p, 16-bit Raw via external recorder 
Gamma curves: S-Cinetone, Std, HLG, S-Log3
ISO: Base ISO 800/12,800
ISO range: 800-102,400 (expandable 160-409,600)
Dynamic Range: 15+ stops 
Autofocus: Fast Hybrid AF with real-time Eye AF, touch AF. 627 on-sensor phase detection points. one shot, continuous, face priority, eye tracking
Lens Mount: Sony FE
Controls: Peaking, waveform, zebras, focus assist
Shutter speed: 1sec – 1/8000sec
Filters: Stepless variable ND 1.4 – 1/128
Memory card: 2x CFexpress Type A or SD/SDHC/SDXC card slots 
LCD: Fully articulating 3.5in LCD, 2.76 million dots
Audio: 2x XLR inputs on handle
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, BNC 12G-SDI, HDMI-A, UBS-C
Size: 114x116x153mm
Weight: 890g (body only)

Key features

(Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

The FX6 doesn’t use the same sensor as the FX9, which is actually 6K but downsampled to 4K. Instead, it inherits the same BSI-CMOS sensor from the Sony A7S III mirrorless camera and also the majority of its video spec and on-sensor phase detection autofocus.

So like the A7S III, the FX6 records in 4K at 60fps full frame with no crop, which is stored internally to SD or the same new CFexpress Type A cards as first used in the A7S III. While the mirrorless camera records only in 4K at 16:9, the FX6 can go to DCI 4K at 17:9 XAVC-I 10-bit 4:2:2 at up to 60p, recording at 600Mbps. But at this super-wide setting, the view actually becomes shallower (in height) to give the DCI-4K aspect ratio. 

The Sony FX6 is designed a video camera, not a mirrorless camera that can shoot video. (Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

The Sony FX6 stores video on twin SD/CFexpress Type A cards, though this smaller CFexpress format is still hard to find and expensive. (Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

Like its mirrorless sibling, the FX6 records in up to 10-bit 4:2:2 All-Intra with no recording time limit. And the all the advanced hybrid AF functions still work. Both cameras can shoot 120fps in 4K internally too, and 240fps in HD for up to 10x super slow-motion. There is a slight 1.1x crop at frame rates over 60fps. 

As well as these headline options, there are lots of other settings to choose from in HD and 4K options, in 10-bit and 8-bit, 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 versions, All-Intra and Log-GOP compression. On the FX6 in 4K at up to 60p, it records from the whole width of the sensor. 

Being able to shoot in 4:2:2 10-bit makes a real difference for videographers who want to shoot in Log settings to extend the dynamic range of the 10.2-megapixel BSI sensor.

The Sony FX6 has no EVF, only a 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD. It has a dual-ISO sensor with native values of ISO 800 and ISO 12,800 and an ISO range of 800-102,400, expandable to 160-409,600. (Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

The camera has two different base ISO settings. When using S-Log 3 for maximum dynamic range of up to a claimed 15 stops, the first is at 800, and the second High Sensitivity mode ISO is 12,800. So when light levels drop and the ISO has to go up, the higher setting takes over and does a fantastic job of eliminating noise.

Where the A7S III and FX6 are very different is in codecs. The FX6 uses the MXF wrapper like most cinema cameras, and there is no H.265-based codec like the A7S III. The FX6 has standard colours as well as the S-Cinetone colour technology from the Venice and FX9. This gives filmic colours right out of camera, with great skin tones. 

There are built-in LUTs or you can add your own, and they even work in fast frame rate settings up to 120fps. 

And if you want to get the ultimate quality from the FX6, it can output raw video files to an Atomos recorder, which converts it to 12-bit ProRes Raw files. 

Build and handling

(Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

The camera body is actually very compact and light, until you start to bolt on all the components that you need. There is an adjustable handle grip which screws into the body and houses the two XLR inputs and the MI shoe. There are lots of user-customisable buttons, but sadly no viewfinder at all. Instead, there is just the monitor screen.

This touchscreen is good and has buttons to turn on and off the peaking, zebras or move AF point. All of these buttons can be customised.

The touchscreen itself can be used to change settings, or you can use the multi-function knob at the front or the small joystick near your thumb. One nice touch is the menu button which has a short push for most-used function, then a long push to reveal the full menu. 

There are lots of customisable options, and the FX6 has all the professional controls that real filmmakers can’t live without. There are waveforms and vectorscopes, focus peaking and adjustable zebras, plus all proper audio controls. There are nine user-settable buttons for most-used settings, too. The menu is complicated, but OK when you get used to it. 

The Sony A6 body is relatively compact, but by the time it’s kitted out with filming accessories it’s more weight – especially with Sony’s substantial full frame G Master lenses. (Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

A huge benefit of the FX6 is the Electronic ND filter which allows you to switch between stepped ND filters or variable ND. You can also use Auto ND, so you can keep your shutter speed and aperture constant and the camera alters the ND amount to get the exposure right. 

Having built-in ND filters mean there is no room for IBIS, so the only in-camera image stabilisation comes from the use of stabilised E-mount lenses. But like others in the cinema camera range, the FX6 records gyro metadata for every shot, then Sony’s Catalyst software can stabilise it. 

The camera has Wi-Fi built in and can be controlled remotely with a smartphone using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile where you can alter camera settings and view what’s being filmed. 


This is one of the best low-light video cameras you can buy, thanks to its full-frame sensor’s large photosites and dual native ISO settings. As the sensor is relatively low-resolution, the signal is processed very quickly by the new Bionz XR processors so rolling shutter issues are very well controlled, too.

You can watch a sample movie shot with the Sony FX9 below:

But it’s not all about low light performance, as in all conditions the camera produces footage that is very natural and bright without being too oversaturated. Using the S-Cinetone setting gives a more filmic look that’s useable right out of camera. Or youu can switch to S-Log to maximise dynamic range, and those 10-bit 4:2:2 files are packed with colour information so you can push and pull the footage around in post to grade it exactly how you want it. In this way, it’s a camera that can produce everything from subtle, natural colours to stylish, graded looks, as well as bright and punchy looks that work well on certain subjects. It gives you all these options. 

And the 120 and 240fps footage is addictive. There is some slight drop in image quality but it’s hardly noticeable unless you’re a pixel-peeper. 

But perhaps the biggest bonus for filmmakers is the useable autofocus, once you learn how to master the system. The face and eye detection is very good, in particular. There is Face Detection, with a Face Only mode which only changes focus when it detects a face, and Face Priority focuses all the time but gives priority to any face. Up to eight faces can be detected, and you can choose one to track with the touch screen. 

You can alter the AF transition speed and AF subject shift sensitivity, which refers to how long it locks onto a subject before finding something else to focus on. Then the focus area can be altered, from a wide area to a tighter zone, and to spot for the most precision. You move these areas around using a toggle switch or touch-to-focus on the touchscreen which also lets you do smooth focus pulls.

Many stills shooters have had tech like this for years, but it is relatively new to video . Many advanced mirrorless cameras have a much more limited range of AF settings for shooting video but, like the A7S III, the FX6 has the lot. The AF locks onto the subjects quickly and stays with it like no other system in any other cinema camera. 


(Image credit: Adam Duckworth)

You don’t get something for nothing in this world, so the Sony FX6 is not just a cheaper FX9 with all the same spec. For professional cinematographers, the more expensive FX9 has the appeal of a 6K sensor that’s oversampled to get the recording down to 4K. The FX9 can also be set to a 5K crop at a maximum of 60p, and a Super35mm crop at 4K. The FX9 has full interlaced recording and output at up to 50/ 60i while there is no interlaced internal recording on the FX6. The FX9 has more connections, more gamma choices, live streaming capability and so is more suited for big productions.

But still… if you can get by without the FX9’s additional features, the FX6 is just a stunning cinema camera, not just for its own exceptional feature set and performance, but for its ground-breaking price point too.

Read more:

• Best cinema cameras
• Best cameras for filmmaking
• Best cameras for vlogging
• Best Sony lenses

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Adam Duckworth is an award-winning professional photographer and videographer based in the UK. He has worked for many top magazines, newspapers and corporate clients for more than 25 years. He was named SWPP UK Commercial Photographer of the Year, and is an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography. He has also worked for international publications like Motor Cycle News, Racer X, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, ZOO, Golf World, Today’s Golfer, and Mountain Bike Action, among others.

Choosing a camera for shooting a movie

Now you have a great dream – to shoot a movie or a high-quality video. Since I believe that you, our readers, are goal-oriented guys, the dream will definitely develop into a clear goal. And many questions will arise: where to start, what to shoot for, how to write a script? You will definitely learn about all this on the pages of Say-Hi magazine, and today we will come to the technical side of this wonderful process – the necessary equipment. Namely, a video camera.

Part I Beginning

I can’t deny the possibility of a question: why buy a separate camcorder when you can shoot with a professional camera or smartphone? Here the words “the main thing is not the technique, but the very idea of ​​the author, its embodiment” are recalled. But we, sane people, understand that if the goal is to shoot a high-quality video, then everything must be high-quality – from the script and the acting, to the picture itself.

First of all, answer the following questions for yourself:

1) Will it be a video, a short film or a feature film?

2) Where will you shoot: mostly indoors or outdoors?

3) Will we mainly shoot static scenes – compositions of nature, streams, leaves, birds on trees? Or dynamic – walking, running, shooting cars, noisy streets, exclusively action?

After you have decided on the idea, you should pay attention to the main characteristics of the video cameras.

Part II. Study

The main features are: resolution standard, optics and zoom, recording media, image sensor type, image stabilizer type.


The desired good picture quality on playback devices will depend on the resolution of the camcorder.

SD (Standard Definition) – I must say right away that when choosing a camera with this standard, you should not count on the clarity of the picture. Such a resolution will be acceptable for watching videos on conventional TVs and computers, while on HD screens the picture will be extremely blurry. Such cameras shoot at a resolution of 720×576 pixels, which corresponds to the quality of DVD-video.

HD (High Definition) – footage will be in higher resolution. Such cameras have a relatively normal price and shoot with a resolution of 1280×720 and even 1920×1080 pixels.

Full HD – Full HD resolution supported by AVCHD (Advanced High Definition Video Codec) cameras. Video in this format immediately has a frame size of 1920×1080, while other HD cameras first record video in 1440×1080 format, and then the image is enlarged to Full HD when playing the file. AVCHD camera content is best viewed on a Full HD screen.

Optics and Zoom

Optics is one of the most important features of a camcorder. An image enters through the lens, and the quality of the image depends on the quality of the optics. It is difficult to assess the quality of optics by formal features. Even the presence of the name of a well-known brand (Carl Zeiss, Leica and others) will not help here. You can evaluate the image quality after a trial shooting.

One optical parameter that can still be assessed is the maximum viewing angle, that is, the minimum focal length. The human visual angle is approximately 36°, which corresponds to a focal length of 6.9mm. Video cameras with a lens focal length of less than 6.9 mm will visually move the image away, more than 6.9 mm will zoom in accordingly.

Magnification is also important if you are going to shoot subjects that are far away from you.

Zoom is optical and digital . With optical zoom, the image that is projected onto the matrix changes, and with digital zoom, the image itself remains unchanged, and the increase occurs through the program.

I’ll try to explain a little more. With optical zoom, the focal length changes – the lenses move away and approach the lens. It’s like in childhood, when you move the lens away from the object or bring it closer, and you see either an enlarged image, or a reduced one. Digital zoom, on the other hand, leaves the previous image on the matrix and only selects a part of it, stretching it to full screen.

I think it’s clear which magnification is better.

Recording media

Digital cameras store video on DVD, HDD, Flash memory cards and analog cassettes MiniDV .

Cameras using DVD media are inexpensive and allow you to view footage immediately on your computer or laptop. But now such video cameras are considered somewhat archaic. Plus, they are inconvenient during transportation, as they can easily be scratched or damaged, which in turn damages the material.

MiniDV media are mini video cassettes that also record digital video. Their main disadvantages are large dimensions, poor sound quality and relative fragility. But despite this, they are very fond of operators and they are still used in professional shooting

I consider HDD and Flash drives to be the best solution for shooting. They allow you to shoot everything in the same high quality, easy to use and transport.

Sensor type and size

Photosensitive matrix – an analog or digital-to-analog microcircuit that converts the light signal that enters the lens into an electrical one.

There are two types of sensors: CCD and CMOS.

The first type allows you to get high image quality, less noise, but it has a large pixel size and consumes a lot of power. In addition, such matrices are very expensive.

The second type consumes less power, is less expensive, does not have the effect of “smearing”, but these types of matrices increase the degree of noise.

Image stabilizer type

An image stabilizer is needed to reduce camera shake when shooting without a tripod. This is of great importance for amateur photography and is important to us. There are two types – optical and electronic . In electronic – stabilization occurs due to image processing algorithms in the video processor. It is very difficult to achieve high-quality stabilization here.

The meaning of optical stabilization is that the lens in the lens is not fixed rigidly and can move along the x and y axes. This stabilization system captures camera shake by electronic systems and forms a corrective effect on the lens of the lens.

The optics are installed in medium and high class cameras, its efficiency is much higher. One of the best stabilizers in amateur camcorders is O.I.S. Panasonic company.

If you decide to shoot with a camcorder with an electronic stabilizer, it’s better not to give up on a tripod and take into account its help.

Part III. More specifics

Static scenes

If you decide to shoot static scenes, then you can use a full frame camera, such as the Canon 5D Mark II. Also remember to get yourself a decent video tripod, an extra battery pack, a good on-camera microphone, and some fast 32GB memory cards.

With this device, you can get professional quality pictures with a static camera placement or slow panning. Such cameras often shoot TV commercials and serious music videos.

Due to the large size of the sensor and high-quality built-in processing, excellent color reproduction and low noise level even at ISO 2000 are obtained, it also allows you to make good bokeh – a strong blur of the background or shifting focus from one object to another with a clear blur of the rest. But such equipment is not suitable for dynamic scenes, since the 5D Mark II does not have dynamic autofocus in video mode, you need to buy a rather expensive external drive for autofocus, or turn the focus ring manually, which is fraught with errors. But with a tripod, everything will work out fine. For nature photography, this option is excellent.

Dynamics in the frame

If you have undertaken to shoot a short film or feature film with equal dynamics and static, then you need a universal self-sufficient camera.

For example, consider the Panasonic AG-AC160. It has a normal dynamic focus, in daylight it turns out a gorgeous picture, but spectacular bokeh (blurring the background) cannot be done. But it is recommended to purchase a shoulder holder for this camera, since you can’t do without shaking with your hands, a video tripod and a second battery.

Also consider that a full-fledged high-quality film, if it is not a one-man show, is very difficult to shoot with one camera. The movie is filmed with several cameras, plus you also need a normal microphone on the boom to record the sound of dialogues immediately, or as a guide for dubbing in the studio. Therefore, it is better to buy three Panasonic X900 cameras for simultaneous shooting from different positions, which will ensure comfortable work with different shots and make your life easier. The Panasonic X900 gives a worse picture than the Panasonic AG-AC160, but in the conditions of a limited budget, the interestingness of the film, the possible embodiment of the author’s idea, should be put in the first place.

I suggest watching a video that explains the basics of shooting indoors.

In a word – action!

If you’re going to shoot a video about extreme sports like diving, skiing, snowboarding, and your scenes will consist of solid motion – it makes sense to think about compact action camcorders like GoPro. Such cameras have a wide field of view, sharper images, high-quality audio systems (for example, wind noise reduction).

GoPro 4 Black Edition shoots video in impressive resolutions of 4K (at 30fps), 2.7K (at 50fps) and 1080p (at 120fps).

You can also buy various fasteners and a waterproof case for such cameras. All this will help to create the perfect action video that will captivate many.


Fundamentals of filmmaking: preparatory period


What kind of cameras were filmed and filmed with?


“Any camera in the hands of an amateur is an amateur; any camera in the hands of a professional is a professional.” This common phrase, popular among film workers, is largely true, because a movie is shot by a person, not a camera.

After the artistic decision of the film, its style is chosen, the director of photography selects the necessary technological solution for the realization of the director’s creative tasks. An interesting, high-quality film image, in addition to the filming process itself, is based on three main parameters: the choice of camera, the choice of optics and work with the image at the stage of color correction and post-production. All these components are closely related to each other and inextricably affect how the film ends up. Today we will talk about choosing a camera for creating a movie.

35 mm film cameras

Originally films were shot on film, and 35 mm cameras were the standard for professionals, while amateurs shot on 8 and 16 mm. Today, most films are shot on digital cameras, the film has greatly lost ground, but still remains an unsurpassed standard of quality. That is why the originals of many films are still stored on film, because this technology has been proven by more than a century of history, while digital media is not even 20 years old. In addition, many famous directors still shoot on film and resolutely refuse to switch to new formats – among them Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, JJ Abrams and others. It’s all about the unique softness of color in the transfer of shades, midtones, plasticity of the image, the maximum breadth of white and black. Modern film production technology involves scanning the resulting film negative and further processing and editing of the film using a computer using Digital Intermediate technology. Therefore, it is not uncommon for films shot with digital cameras to have sequences shot on film to give the scene more expressiveness. About half of the films nominated for the Oscars are still filmed analog.

The main manufacturers of film cameras are Panavision and Arriflex. Panavision devices are distributed mainly in the USA and are rented out exclusively. In Russian cinema there are several films shot with these cameras, including The Barber of Siberia by Nikita Mikhalkov. Arriflex is from Germany and their products are widely available for rent and sale in many countries around the world.

In addition to the traditional format, there is also a technology for shooting on twice the size of film – the 70 mm system. The most notable camera in this area is the Super Panavision 70. The huge size of the original image gives the resulting picture an unrivaled volume and plasticity. The anamorphic analogue of this camera – Ultra Panavision 70 – is also well known and was recently used in the filming of the western “The Hateful Eight” by Quentin Tarantino.

The cinema camera market also offers solutions with three times the frame size – IMAX cameras. For the first time, viewers saw films made using this technology back in 1970 in Japan and Canada. Unfortunately, the size of the film stock used limited the length of the IMAX film, so this format was more commonly used for documentaries and shorts. Over time, technological advances made it possible to shoot in IMAX and full-fledged feature films, the first film in the new format was “Apollo 13”, and one of the first blockbusters partially filmed in IMAX technology was “The Dark Knight” by Christopher Nolan. Also, a lot of similar material was included in the film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” The upcoming Avengers: Infinity War will be the first feature film shot entirely on IMAX.

Digital Cinema Cameras

Since the mid-1980s, digital technology has gradually penetrated the cinema. The first films, during the creation of which the film was digitally processed: Star Wars, Tron, Terminator 2.

In the 90s cinema was swept by a wave of minimalism, which came from the Danish “Dogma”. The fashion for a “dirty”, imperfect image has come. A vivid example is the films of directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg “Triumph” and “Idiots”, filmed on Sony amateur cameras.

In the 2000s, most Hollywood movie studios switched to digital cameras. In fact, this is a high-definition camcorder designed for shooting movies using filmless digital technology. These solutions are based on photosensitive matrices (an analog or digital-to-analog microcircuit that converts the light signal that enters the lens into an electrical one, according to the definition of Wikipedia) of two types: CCD (CCD) and CMOS (CMOS). The first type allows you to get high image quality, less noise, but it has a large pixel size and consumes a lot of energy. In addition, such matrices are very expensive. The second type consumes less energy, is less expensive, such sensors do not have the “smearing” effect (from the English smearing – smearing), which CCD matrices have and appears in the frame as vertical “pillars of light” from point bright objects (the sun, bright light bulbs). Despite the advantages, this technology also has its drawbacks: in particular, the small size of the photosensitive element leads to an increase in noise in the picture.

There are a number of distinguishing features that filmmaking technology has that traditional camcorders do not. The first ones use standard film optics, give an image that repeats in character (depth of field, angle of view) the image obtained on film. One of the most important features of film cameras is the ability to select a gamma correction value that is comparable to the characteristic curve of film. In addition, they are functionally built in such a way that the technology for operating and controlling the camera does not differ from a traditional film camera.

These cameras do not use interlacing and the standard frame rate is chosen equal to the filming rate of 24 frames per second. Therefore, the temporal discreteness of the image corresponds to the film one, which gives the picture a cinematic character. Another fundamental difference between a digital film camera and video cameras is that the minimum color depth should not be less than 10 bits. This brings the quality of the resulting image closer to cinematic, expanding the dynamic range. All digital cinema cameras have the ability to capture video data in an uncompressed RAW format such as ArriRAW or Redcode RAW.

Design differences

Most existing digital cinema cameras use film lenses designed to work with film. Therefore, the physical size of the matrices is chosen to be the same as the frame sizes of existing film formats. With rare exceptions, a digital film camera has no moving mechanisms, making it silent, unlike a traditional film camera. This eliminates the need for special soundproofing for simultaneous filming. The image obtained from the matrix is ​​recorded on an external recorder or removable high-capacity solid-state memory. Sound from external microphones or a mixer is recorded on the same media as the image. To do this, several audio inputs of professional standards are provided. Sighting and focusing are performed using an electronic viewfinder. The camera must be equipped with the function of recording the time code along with the image for subsequent synchronization with the sound if it is recorded by an external recorder, or with the image of other cameras in multi-camera shooting.

Resolution and format of digital cameras

The Super-35 sensor is the most widely used in digital cameras. In terms of physical dimensions, it corresponds to a Super-35 production-format film frame and surpasses a conventional-format frame. Most cinema cameras with this sensor are designed to use both spherical lenses and anamorphic optics for shooting widescreen films and subsequent digital deanamorphization. There are digital cinema cameras with one Super-16 sensor, as well as with three high-resolution ⅔-inch matrices (3CCD). The main type of lens attachment used in single-sensor digital cinema cameras is PL, which corresponds to the standard Arri film mount. Resolution in digital cinema has its own designation. To date, there are two main standards for digital cinema resolution: 2K and 4K. The first corresponds to the number of pixels 2048 × 1080, the second – depending on the aspect ratio of the frame – up to 4096×2304. Thus, the Arriflex D-21 digital cinema camera has a Super-35 sensor with a maximum resolution of 2880 × 2160 pixels. However, there are digital cameras with a resolution of 8K and higher, such as the Sony F65 CineAlta with a widescreen sensor of 8768×2324 pixels. Digital technology makes it possible to obtain high-quality 3D images (stereo cinema), and cinema cameras are equipped with special attachments for shooting a stereo pair (or combinations of two identical cameras are created). The resulting stereo movie can also be shown in regular 2D, so many movies are shot in 3D straight away to be shown in a variety of ways.

Above 4K resolution is redundant as most existing digital cinemas are equipped with 2K resolution projectors, even cinemas with 4K equipment are still very few. The over-resolution of film cameras is used to expand the processing capabilities and create special effects or high-definition films intended for demonstration in special cinemas using the IMAX Digital Theater System. The main drawback of digital cinema cameras compared to film cameras is the smaller dynamic range. Also, digital cinema is still inferior in its resolution to the IMAX format, the theoretical resolution of which reaches 70 megapixels.

Digital film camera image sizes:

Resolution/format Width, pixels Height, pixels Frame aspect ratio
6.5K 6560 3100 2.11:1
4.5K 4480 1920 2.33:1
4K 4096 2304 1.85:1
4K / widescreen 4096 2048 2:1
4K / 16:9 3840 2160 1.78:1
4K / anamorph 2816 2304 2.44:1
3K / 16:9 3072 1728 1.78:1
3K / widescreen 3072 1536 2:1
3K / anamorph 2112 1778 2.44:1
2K / 16:9 2048 1152 1.78:1
2K / widescreen 2048 1024 2:1
2K / anamorph 1408 1152 2. 44:1


The world’s first digital cinema camera is the Sony HDW-F900 Cine Alta three-sensor, a collaboration between Panavision, Sony and Lucas Film. The camera gave an image of 1920×1080 pixels, which also had to be cropped to 1920×817 for wide screens. The first big pictures entirely shot using new technologies were Star Wars. Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Vidocq. In Russia, Alexander Sokurov, using a Sony camera, shoots an hour and a half film “Russian Ark” in one shot, which would be impossible with film technology.

In the mid-2000s in the US, Jim Janard, who had previously founded Oakley, created Red Cinema. His first camera was Red One. At that time it was a revolutionary decision, as it was possible to achieve 4K quality, good study in the shadows and rapid (slow motion).

Around the same time, the Arriflex D20 came on the market with a single sensor, reflex shutter and optical viewfinder. Arri now launches a product line called Alexa, becoming the most common platform for this type of photography today. Not so long ago, the Alexa 65 model with a 6.5K sensor was released, offered only for rent (as well as Panavision products). Filmed by cameraman Emanuel Lubezki in natural light only, without electric lighting, The Revenant demonstrated the impressive capabilities of the new sensor. In many ways, it was thanks to these new camera capabilities that we managed to shoot a large number of scenes in regime time. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences praised the quality of the film’s visuals, awarding Lubezki a third consecutive Oscar for cinematography.

The main manufacturers of digital cinema cameras in the international market today are Arriflex, Panavision, Sony, Silicon Imaging, Vision Research (Phantom cameras designed for high slow motion), Red. Cameras from all manufacturers have a modular design and are compatible with most cinematographic optics systems and equipment. In 2011, Canon also launched the production of budget digital cinema cameras (Canon C300, Canon C500) with a “Super-35” sensor and a line of specially designed cinematographic lenses. In Russia, digital film cameras are manufactured by Kinor.

The most famous digital cinema cameras from various manufacturers:


Manufacturer and model Type Sensor format and type Resolution Received image Shooting frequency, fps Lens mount Viewfinder type Color depth, data format Weight, kg Dimensions, mm Year of manufacture
Panavision/Sony Genesis/F35 camera with external recorder 16:9 Super 35 Single CCD ≈4600×2500, 12.4MP 1080p 1920×1080, 16:9 1-50 Panaflex / Arri PL electronic 10bit RGB444 >8 2005
Arri Alexa SxS 9 Removable Storage Camera0234

16:9 Super 35 single CMOS 3392×2200 2880×1620, 1920×1080 (HD 16:9) 0. 75-60; 0.75-30 in ArriRAW Arri PL electronic (optical sight when the camera is not working) 12bit RGB444, 10bit YCbCr422 6.3 330×160×160 2010
P+S Technik PS-Cam X35 camera with built-in buffer and external recorder 16:9, one CMOS 1920×1080 1920×1080 (HD 16:9) 1-450 interchangeable mounting system: B4 2/3, C, Arri PL, Canon EF and FD, Nikon F, Leica R and M, Panavision electronic 10bit, 12bit RAW 7.5 340×160×180 2011
P+S Technik/Silicon Imaging SI-2K chamber head 16:9 single CMOS ⅔″ 2048×1152, 2.4 MP 2K 2048×1152, 1920×1080 25-150 interchangeable mounting system: B4 2/3, C, Arri PL, Canon EF and FD, Nikon F, Leica R and M, Panavision electronic and optical 10 bit log RAW, 12 bit lin RAW 7. 25 (0.6 head) 290×210×160 (head – 105×70×45) 2007
Red One camera with external recorder 16:9 Super 35 single CMOS 4900×2580, 12.6 MP 2540p (4K) 4520×2540 16:9 <1-120 Arri PL, Canon Nikon, B4 2/3 electronic and optical 10bit RGB444, 12bit RAW >4.5 300×130×160 2007
Sony F23 camera with external recorder 16:9 3CCD ⅔″ 3×2.2=6.6 MP 1080p 1920×1080 16:9 1-60 B4 2/3 electronic <30p: 10bit RGB444, >30p: 10bit YUV422 >5 2007
Thomson Viper camera with external recorder 16:9 3CCD ⅔″ 3×9.2=27.6 MP 1080p 1920×1080 16:9 1080p: 24, 25, 30; 720p: 50, 60 B4 2/3 electronic black and white 10bit RGB444, 10bit YUV422 >4. 2 210×130×240 2003
Canon C300PL camera with CF storage Super 35, one CMOS 3840×2160 8.3 MP 1080p 1920×1080 16:9 1-60 Arri PL electronic 8 bit MPEG 422 1.5 133×179×177 (head) 2011
Kinor DC4K camera with external recorder 22 mm single CMOS 4608×1920 8.8 MP 2.35:1 1-150 Arri PL electronic 10bit RAW 2.4 210×132×124 2010
Blackmagic Production Camera 4K 2.5″ Removable Storage Camera “Super-35” 4000×2160 4K 4000×2160, ProRes 3840×2160 and 1920×1080 23.98; 24; 25; 29.97 and 30 Canon EF built-in LCD touch screen 12bit RAW 1. 7 2013

Digital Single Lens Cameras

Improvements in high-definition camcorders have brought television picture quality closer to cinematic quality. Therefore, today it is often impossible to draw a clear line between digital cinema cameras and video cameras, in some cases used for digital film production. A variety of optical DOF adapters has appeared, allowing the use of 35 mm cinematographic optics with video cameras. In this case, a small matrix captures the full frame formed by the lens on the intermediate optical surface of the adapter. The resulting image is no different from that taken with the same lens directly onto a large matrix.

With the advent of digital single-lens reflex cameras equipped with video recording, many film producers with small budgets have been able to shoot original footage with such cameras. The most famous of these, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, is equipped with a so-called “full-frame” 24x36mm sensor, vastly larger than Super 35 film and most digital cameras. Therefore, the quality of the video received by such a camera is practically not inferior to the quality of professional cinema cameras, with the exception of the impossibility of recording an uncompressed image and insufficient color depth. In addition, the cost of a camera or its rental is several times lower than the cost of renting a professional digital film camera. For the 5D Mark II (and other Canon cameras) there is Magic Lantern firmware written by enthusiasts. It allows you to record uncompressed material from the camera, which greatly expands the possibilities in post-production. True, developers everywhere warn that this is done at your own peril and risk, since the camera was not originally intended for this.

This trend was further developed with the advent of a new class of equipment: mirrorless cameras with video recording function. Many low-budget movies are already made with still cameras. Even high-budget cinematographers in some cases resort to the use of such technology: it is known that up to 40% of the source materials of Steven Spielberg’s film The Adventures of Tintin: The Mystery of the Unicorn were shot with digital cameras. A vivid Russian example is the film by Yuri Bykov “Major”: the budget is $ 2 million, filmed on a SLR. What does this tell us? The fact that there are no problems with DSLR cameras and cannot be. They quite adequately solve the set artistic tasks, are easy to handle and in the subsequent post-production.

It is also worth noting the Sony A7S camera, also a very worthy device for its tasks, and even 4K is present in it regularly. The disadvantages of this model include short battery life and the need to install additional adapters if you do not want to shoot with Sony lenses.

Unexpected success in digital cinematography has led to a new class of cameras specifically designed for professional digital cinematography. Canon Corporation has launched a new line of Canon Cinema EOS cameras, the name of which speaks for itself. In 2012, one of the cameras in the line was the Canon EOS-1D C, specifically designed for filming in 4K resolution. The high quality of the resulting video allows you to use its individual frames as full-fledged photos. In turn, some photographers have begun to use digital cinema cameras with 4K resolution and higher for high-speed photography of complex scenes.

Another budget solution for digital cinema is BlackMagic products. Their cameras produce 16-bit RAW material with excellent dynamic range, and even in 2.5K and 4K, which gives more options at the color grading stage. The camera has not yet received wide distribution due to inconvenient ergonomics and the instability of the process of recording to hard drives.

Also very small action cameras have found their place in film production. GoPro products are best known. Such cameras have a wide viewing angle, greater image sharpness, high-quality audio systems (for example, wind noise suppression). The GoPro 4 Black Edition shoots video in stunning 4K@30fps, 2.7K@50fps and 1080p@120fps. In very fast-paced chase scenes such as Mad Max and Hardcore, there is a lot of footage shot with these inexpensive and compact solutions. With a quick change of scenes, the viewer does not have time to feel the difference between the picture from the camera for $ 2,000 and for $ 200,000.

Application features

Every professional cinema brand has its strengths and weaknesses.

Arri, for example, produces products with excellent ergonomics and intuitive menus, as it has been making movie cameras for many years and knows where and how the necessary components of the device should be located. The cameras are well balanced for handheld shooting, which is important for today’s high demands of filmmaking. The Alexa Mini comes in a more compact design, making it easier to mount on stabilizing devices. In addition, there are built-in neutral density filters that allow you to quickly select the desired exposure parameters. The camera can be remotely controlled from a phone. The disadvantages include the high price, recording in the ProRes codec (a separate device is needed to record in RAW) and the inability to use certain necessary functions (for example, rapid) that other models have.

Red digital camera manufacturer allows you to write RAW material directly into the camera, has a faster speed than Alexa. With the Epic model, the HDRx function has been added, which allows you to take not one, but two exposures during the shooting of each frame. The exposure fork is quite significant, which makes it possible to obtain an image with a dynamic range of up to 18 exposure steps during further processing of the footage. The company’s products are small in size and weight, have a modular design, are cheaper to rent compared to the German competitor. A model with the aptly named Monstro has been released to date with the largest sensor – 8K. The disadvantages of many include not the simplest menu and quite often updated firmware. Also, the camera is more capricious to overheating, cooling, you need to constantly monitor the temperature of the matrix so that artifacts do not come out.

Canon’s Cine series cameras captivate with low rental prices, compactness, ProRes and RAW recording without additional devices, and the ability to install Canon photo lenses without additional adapters.

Camera Sony PXW-FS7 has a high ISO (2000), good balance and very convenient weight distribution, ergonomics, has a lot of programmable buttons. It is easy to work with it alone, so this camera can be used in documentary films. Previous models like the FS100 and FS700 seemed to be good cameras, but they had a lot of problems: the body is plastic, it does not protect against moisture, weak mounts. The FS7 has a stronger mount, you hold the camera in your hands and you feel that they have worked on it, added new formats. The menu, however, is not easy for beginners, it is better to have a settings specialist.


None of the cameras has, unfortunately, a unique decisive advantage. The shortcomings of each model of each brand can be compensated for by something else, so the operator decides for himself what it is easier for him to put up with, and without which the process will stop. If the budget allows, it is easier to choose top solutions from well-known brands, so you are guaranteed to get the expected result. If you need to save money, you can turn your attention to cheaper cameras for rent. With the right allocation of resources and setting goals, you can achieve great heights in the technical quality of the footage.