Filming hunts is more popular than it has ever been. With technology getting better and cheaper by the day, it makes it easier and easier to get out there and capture your hunt to relive forever. I get questions all the time as to which camera is best for filming a hunt. I wish there was just one perfect answer for that, but there isn’t. Before we can tackle that question, you need to answer a couple other questions for yourself first.
What is Your Goal?
What I mean is, what are you filming this for? Is it just for home videos, is this for a Youtube channel or social media? Are you starting a TV show? Or are you trying to learn and eventually make money filming hunts? Are you self filming or filming someone else? Sure, these seem basic, but they are some questions you need to answer before you pull your wallet out.
What is Your Budget?
Knowing and sticking to a budget can drastically help eliminate some options and narrow down the search for your next camera. When determining a budget remember the camera isn’t the only piece of gear you are going to need to do a great job filming. In terms of whitetail hunting, you are going to need a camera arm, mics, second angle camera, fluid head, tripod, batteries, and maybe even a drone. The equipment list that will accompany your camera can stretch as far as your budget will take it. Know ahead of time what your budget looks like.
Are You Wanting to Buy a New or Used Camera?
Before you scoff at the idea of buying a used camera, you need to realize there are some really good deals for the cameraman willing to go with pre-owned gear. I buy used gear all the time. Almost all the cameras now have very few moving parts and they shoot on solid state media. This means wear and tear is normally next to nothing. Also, used cameras normally come from a studio setting where they are in a controlled environment all the time. When buying used, you need to see how many hours the camera has and then how it looks cosmetically. If the hours are fairly low (less than 500) and the outside body of the camera looks in good shape, go for it. I couldn’t tell you the last camera item I bought new. Buying used gear is going to save you some serious money.
HandyCam vs. DSLR vs. Cinema Camera
The HandyCam is going to be the cheapest and easiest to use and learn, but isn’t going to have the professional functions, buttons, or look that you will see in most shows or content. A DSLR is the best option for price and professional quality, but it is going to be harder to learn right off the bat. But if you learn how to use a DSLR, you can run anything. Also, with a DSLR, you can normally have a camera that takes awesome pictures as well as video.
Lastly the cinema camera is going to be a big, full frame camera with removable lenses. These are the most expensive and the hardest to run, but give the best overall quality.
Now that you have answered those questions, I will go over some of the cameras that are out today that may fit your bill.
In the HandyCam world you need to look into either a Canon XA11 or XA15. Or if you like Sony better, you could go with a Sony PXW X70. If you don’t mind going older and used look into a Canon XA30 or XA20, or G30.
DSLR cameras are where things get a little crazy. There are tons of options at all different price points, but if you are looking at a DSLR then that means you are wanting to get serious about what you are trying to do. The Sony line is the best for beginners. They are feature rich and are readily available new or used. Sony A7Sii or A7Rii or A7Riii ($2598) are going to be the big dogs in that fight. On the Canon side (I am a canon guy myself) buy a Canon 6D ($1299) or 5D Mark IV ($2799). You cant go wrong with either of these cameras. If you are looking to buy a DSLR, normally you’ll see them sold as body only. You’ll have to buy the lens separate. The most versatile lenses are the 24-105mm, the 24-70mm and the 70-200mm lenses, but that is another gear article all together.
As for cinema cameras, there’s basically 2 standard cameras that I recommend. The Sony FS7 ($6998) and the Sony FS5 ($4248). I have owned both and you will love either one. It really just depends on which features you need. Once you have the camera, don’t forget that good audio and good support is as important as the camera. Don’t skimp on these things. They are worth the investment.
So which camera do you think best meets your needs as a hunter? Comment below and let us know what you have, what works best for you, and what your dream camera would be.
Also, if you want to learn more on cameras, or have questions about equipment, reach out to me or listen to the Redneck Tech Podcast in iTunes Podcasts.