5 Key Considerations When Buying a Filmmaking Camera

Sky-high costs of filmmaking cameras might be overwhelming, especially to newbie cinematographers, luckily, good stories don’t have to get filmed with a team of hundreds, a budget in the billions, and the most costly camera.

According to Mark Murphy Director, an award-winning producer, writer, and director, sound, costume, acting, and lighting are equally vital to make your filmmaking successful. However, without a good camera, you cannot capture a great film, so here are key considerations to look at when buying your first filmmaking camera:

Light Seals

The only lighting you require when making a film is the one that comes through the lenses. Light leaks usually destroy the images, so ensure you keep watch of this.

Remember also to look for the edge of the door of the new camera, it must have flocking, which creates a seal immediately after you close the door.

If the flocking is destroyed, it’s worth mentioning that it can greatly affect all your shots. If you could, fix it before you begin shooting.


Among the most quoted video specifications, you see for cameras is the output resolution, this can be 1080p, 4K, or 8K on modern cameras.

Shooting a 4K video will give you flexibility when it comes to the editing process. It is the same case with an 8K capture. Such cameras can afford you creative flexibility in terms of stabilizing or cropping your footage.


Filmmaking cameras from the 70s depended on batteries for shutters to operation. If you want to buy a used film camera, which needs a battery, ensure there is one in the camera to help you test it out.

Most cameras that need batteries also have magnets and electronic components, which may go bad and need servicing to fix. However, you might be able to fix mechanical problems without a technician’s help.


Since filming is a perfect equalizer between various cameras, the rubber usually meets with the lens. Just like with digital, poor quality lenses lead to low-quality videos and pictures.

Generally, zoom lenses leave a lot to be desired as far as performance and sharpness is concerned, you will not go wrong with 50mm big-aperture lenses, such as 50mm f/2 or 50mm f/1.8 on a film SLR.


International Standards Organization (ISO) scale rates the sensitivity of lighting of cameras. The most vital thing is native ISO – the one at which cameras are optimized to give clean images with more details.

On several film cameras, setting ISO scales other than native ones minimizes the quality of images considerably. If the ISO is higher, you will need less lighting to expose images properly, 800 is common nowadays, but most film cameras may have more than this.

Closing Remarks

Choosing new cameras used to be simple, with the limited selections, people’s decisions used to revolve around the cost. Today, there are thousands of models you can choose from, plus, to make things more confusing and worse, modern smartphones take great pictures. This is why it’s best to consider these factors before you choose your filmmaking camera.


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