Independent filmmaking has taken the cinema world by storm and the camera can make or break the production so choosing from the 5 best cameras for independent filmmaking is essential. There are a number of great ones available now, at prices well within the range of most indie filmmakers. The best choices involve digital video cameras that have 3 ccd's, which are receptors for the basic colors red, green, and blue. The camera should also have manual controls in addition to the automatic ones.
- Canon XL series. Canon burst onto the high end digital video scene with its XL1 which shoots in broadcast quality. Many of these are now available cheap because the latest version, the XL2 has been released. In between the two came the XL1S, which is also available at bargain prices. The XL2 has some nice extra features, but many indie filmmakers are still choosing the XL1S due to the price. One great feature of the Canon XL series is the ability to interchange lenses, a feature missing on most digital video recorders. The XLs also have an external microphone connector
- Panasonic PVGS400 MiniDV. This camera is probably the minimum an independent filmmaker should consider using. The picture is near broadcast quality and there are extra lenses available for telephoto or wide angle work. This camera also features an external microphone connector.
- Canon XH A1S There is no doubt HD is the wave of the future, and a top 5 list of cameras for independent filmmakers wouldn't be complete without including the Canon XH A1S. This camea has a great lens, is affordably priced, and has a 24F mode which approximates the 24 fps used by most film cameras.
- The JVC GY-HM100U is another one of the top 5 cameras for independent filmmaking, and has a neat feature in that it records directly to the video format used by Apple's Final Cut Pro HD editing software. Rather than using tape, the JVC records directly to SDHC cards.
- Sony HDR-FX1 Sony isn't to be left out of any list of the top 5 cameras for independent filmmaking and its HDR-FX1 has great image quality. The camera records onto HDV tapes and has a native 16:9 widescreen ratio. The camera is very lightweight but does not have the XLR audio jacks so top quality audio recording will require separate equipment. The camera doesn't have 24fps (frames per second) ability either.
The independent filmmaker has a number of great choices in cameras today, making the job easier than ever before.