Best Cameras for Filming Hunts

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.

best cameras for filming hunts

The Canon XA30 is a popular camera that is small, portable and produces great quality footage.

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.

fourth-arrow-arm-in-blind

Knowing your budget for camera gear will help narrow down your search.

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.

cameraman-with-camera

Used camera equipment is a great way to save money. Just be sure it hasn’t been used and abused in the field.

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.

Canon-Xa15

The Canon XA-15 sells for $1799.

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.

best cameras for filming hunts - DSLR-camera

DSLR cameras offer excellent quality in both video and photo formats.

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.

sony-camera

When you’re ready to go big, you can step up to the fine cinema cameras from Sony.

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.

Caleb Copeland

Caleb Copeland

Video Producer at Copeland Creative
Caleb Copeland has been an outdoor video producer and content creator for the last 8 years. He's worked with shows such as The Crush with Lee and Tiffany, Jeff Foxworthy’s Inside and Out, The Habit, and Nock On TV. He owns and operates Copeland Creative where he produces outdoor content for the hunting industry. He is married with 3 kids and lives in his hometown of Dahlonega, Georgia.
Caleb Copeland

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Comments

  1. John Torchick says:

    Need to take some videos with my Canon Power Shot SX530 HS. We have a backyard full of birds, rabbits and squirrels who hold daily meetings under the bird feeder. It is funny to watch them climb up the pole, hang upside down and drop grain. Had one drop on another squirrel who didn’t like it and chased him up a tree.

    Reply
  2. What do you use for a remote to run the Canon 6D?

    Reply
    • Dwayne Jones says:

      Canon has a wireless remote that should work with the 6D. It is the BR-E1. It has a range of 16ft.

      Reply
  3. Dwayne Jones says:

    I have the Canon XA11 and it is a very good camera for filming hunts. The XLR mic connections allows for adding an XLR mic and getting some killer audio. The Zoom is amazing and the touch screen menu operation is very nice. Paired with my Fourth Arrow Camera Arm and Varizoom Lanc it is a great self-filming setup.

    Reply

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