Video professionals are in need of a professional camera to capture and showcase their creativity. A casual video camera would most likely miss out on those finer details that make your work stand out. Selecting the best in technology can turn out to be a long process, with a plethora of options available across the price spectrum. We have done the hard work and put together this guide to ease your search for the best professional video camera.
Professional videography is a combination of latest technology and imagination. While human imagination cannot be bought off the shelf, technology certainly can and this section will give you a basic checklist of what to look out for while buying your camcorder.
- Purpose. Do you want to cover elaborate wedding functions (high optical zoom recommended) or fast moving objects (higher frame rate is a must)? Are you looking for a camera that sticks to the basics and works well in ideal environment or are you looking for a quality DV camcorder from one of the bigger brands to get that extra bump in performance and cover more ground?
- Sensor Size. When it comes to cameras, sensor is where the action is. We are often drawn towards bigger LCD displays but it is better to have a smaller display if you have a large sensor, as that means more coverage and better shots.
- Zoom. It goes without saying that any professional video camera will have a decent zoom. Important as it is, it should not be the primary selection criterion. It is OK to have an 18X zoom lens as against a 20X one, if the former has a better sensor, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), low light capabilities, etc.
Top 5 Best Professional Video Cameras
1. Panasonic AG-AF100 Professional HD Camcorder
Panasonic pleasantly surprises you with the AG-AF100, as it has everything you need to produce quality videos. It does not have the bells and whistles of some of the high end cameras that retail upwards of $10,000 but it gives you the perfect balance between compactness, large sensor and the ability to capture stunning visuals, making it the best professional video camera.
It comes with all the features that a professional videographer would expect from his camera – interchangeable lens, variable frame rates, manual audio/video controls, XLR inputs, HDMI/HD-SDI outputs and a large sensor. Panasonic has magically managed to pack all this (and much more) into a compact form, raising the bar of affordable cinema making equipment by several notches.
AG-AF100 is world’s first professional video camera with Micro Four Thirds standards, the name derived from 4/3” image sensor, approx. 13 times larger than regular ones. At a fairly reasonable price, this one firmly establishes itself as the king of low to mid-range professional video cameras.
- Very easy to use
- Superior image quality
- Crisp and balanced images
- Comfortably lightweight
- Has too many functions
- Requires image tweaking
2. Canon XA35 Professional Camcorder
Canon has consistently been churning out one amazing camera after other and XA35 significantly enhances that reputation. If you are looking for an affordable professional grade video camera from an established player, you need not look beyond this one.
XA35 has the trusted HD CMOS Pro sensor optimized for low light performance that works wonderfully well. 20X optical zoom enables you to capture finer details from a distance with crystal edge sharpness. There are a host of other utility features such as full manual controls, 3.5” OLED touchscreen display, in built Wi-Fi technology for seamless file transfer, two XLR audio inputs with manual gain control, simultaneous dual recording (HD and web version), HD/SD-SDI Output, dynamic image stabilization, scene modes, Bluetooth connectivity (optional) – the list goes on!
To summarize, your search for a technology loaded, high performing, affordable professional video camera from a trusted manufacturer ends right here!
- Comes with remote control
- Adjustable zoom speeds
- Improved recording in low light
- Lightweight body
- Several low-quality filters
- Soft corners at 20x
3. Canon XF300 High Definition Professional Camcorder
The XF300 has stood the test of times and is still the preferred choice of professional videographers. In a highly innovative ecosystem where technology changes every few months, it has stood firm and continues to be used extensively by filmmakers, documentary producers, security agencies and event videographers.
It sets your creativity free by offering a host of manual controls (bit rates, resolution, and frame rates) so that you are on top of your game irrespective of what you are covering. It stores your recordings in Compact Flash (CF) cards to always give you that extra bit of storage on location. It takes recording to the next level by offering relay recording, hot swapping, file copy and back up – all without requiring a computer.
If you are looking to shoot for long durations and often run out of space, this one is the perfect solution – every bit worth the extra cost.
We hope you have narrowed down your search from tens of cameras to a selected few and would be able to choose the best professional video camera to suit your requirement and budget. Happy filming!
- Adequate low light performance
- Impressive image clarity
- Professional-quality features
- Convenient built-in functionality
- Inconsistent diopter adjustments
- No 4K compatibility
4. Canon XA30 Professional Camcorder
The Canon XA30 Professional Camcorder is designed to offer compact, refined performance for professional-grade videos. You’ll find it’s ideal for recording indie films as well as weddings and other occasions requiring high-quality imagery. There are plenty of functional features built into this unit that make it one of the better options to consider.
The optical zoom lens in this camera is a fantastic addition, offering up to 20x HD optical zoom with an improved HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor. You’ll love how easy it is to capture images in low light, even without requiring extra lighting equipment. Additionally, it boasts a highlight priority mode and wide DR gamma, allowing for impressive color capturing.
You’ll find that all of your videos have remarkable color reproduction paired with realism that you would expect from the naked eye. Your overall image quality will be significantly improved with the eight-blade circular aperture design, which reduces starbursts. Out-of-focus pieces in your frame will be naturally smoothed, offering a high-quality, appealing aesthetic.
Users can alternate between different focus controls as well as sensitivity modes. This feature is bound to be one of your most-used functions if you’re capturing fast action events. Also, the reduced noise rating is impeccable for reducing grains and ensuring you have a lessened signal-to-noise ratio.
Another feature that contributes to the Canon XA30 Professional Camcorder’s versatility is its recording process. You’ll be able to record both web-version and HD videos simultaneously, ideal for post-capture options. When you use the DIGIC DV 4 Image Processor and dual SD cards, you can capture them in MP4 and AVCHD formats.
- Convenient dual-format recording
- Supports external zoom controls
- Wireless transferring capability
- Captures high-quality video
- Lower-quality zoom motor
- More noise with night shooting
5. Panasonic HC-X1000 4K-60p/50p Camcorder
When it comes to a camera kit, the Panasonic HC-X1000 4K-60p/50p Camcorder is a fantastic solution. Not only does it come with a slew of accessories, including a small light, an SD card, and a telescopic lens, the camera is impressive. Let’s explore all of the best features that this Panasonic camcorder has to offer.
The most outstanding feature of the Panasonic HC-X1000 4K-60p/50p Camcorder is that it captures content in 4K. At 4K, you’ll have smoothed 60p/50p motion, ideal for faster movements like sporting events. You’ll also find that the camera features high bitrate recording to work with both full HD and 4K resolutions.
The built-in 20x Leica lens is another high-quality, sophisticated feature that this camera brings to the table. You’ll love how confidently you can record night scenes with little noise and higher-quality edges. Also, during the day, the lens works remarkably well, capturing lifelike images with improved color reproduction.
As mentioned, the camera also comes with an extensive kit, equipped with everything you need. A few examples of the included items are a deluxe padded backpack, a polaroid screen protector, and an LED light and flash kit. When it comes to capturing important moments on the fly, you’ll have plenty of professional-grade equipment to help.
- High-quality 4K videos
- Fully functional accessory bundle
- Realistic outdoor videos
- Impressive audio quality
- Lacks a 3.5mm plug
- The lens could yellow over time
Read also: Best Professional Cameras for Beginners
1. What Are Professional Video Cameras Used For?
The beauty of professional video cameras is that you can use them for several purposes. They’re iconic for capturing essential family moments in crystal-clear quality to review years from now. You’ll also find they’re often used in television and movie production, especially with indie directors.
2. How To Use Professional Video Cameras?
Learning how to use a professional video camera can be a lengthy process, especially if your model has several features. Ideally, you’ll want to look at the user manual for your specific model as well as YouTube videos to teach you its specifics. By adjusting the focus, ISO, and filter settings, you can quickly capture professional-quality videos in no time.
3. How Much Are Professional Video Cameras?
Professional video cameras vary in price depending on their features and shooting capabilities. You’ll find the more expensive models allow for 4K shooting, impeccable image quality, and high-quality colors. Alternatively, you can find mid-priced models exceptional for UHD recording, especially as an amateur videographer.