Camera types: What Kind Should You Use?

Something important for you to know before you even begin producing your film is what type of camera best suits your project.

This can be a difficult decision to make and you must be sure that you’re educated on the different types of cameras so you can best portray your film.

Now, I know the first thought that’s probably on your mind: What if the camera I have now isn’t the best type for my project and where will I get the funds to get another camera?

That’s a very valid concern, and if that’s a concern of yours, make sure you check out all of our funding opportunities for your opportunity to win up to $10,000 and other prizes as well to put toward your production.

What Types of Cameras Are There?

cameras set up on set the film fund

To make this process easier on you, we’ll start by going over the different types of cameras. 

While there are many types, it’s important to remember that each different type has both its pros and its cons.

Traditional Film Cameras

Traditional film cameras work more slowly than a digital camera does and also is not as time nor cost effective, but these types of cameras leave you with a vintage, nostalgic appearance in your shot.

It is difficult to control exposure though, and as we mentioned before, it can become costly to use a traditional film camera.

Medium Format Cameras

This type of camera is not as widely used, but it produces images with very high resolution, meaning that the quality of the image is extremely high. Where this type of camera has its faults, though, is in its cost and size. It is extremely costly to use this type of camera and it is very large.

DSLR Cameras

DSLR camera the film fund

DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras are currently the types of cameras that are most popular amongst filmmakers. 

This type of camera will likely work for any project you’re working on and it will deliver a high resolution picture and give you a high quality image. 

You are also able to completely customize the settings on this type of camera, meaning that you can completely cater it to your needs for your film. The only cons are that these types of cameras can rack up expenses. They can also be bulky.

Mirrorless Cameras

The mirrorless cameras deeply contrast the DSLR camera. For one, a mirrorless camera is much lighter than a DSLR camera, has easier controls, and you will be left with a great quality video.

This type of camera is quiet and lightweight and also lower in cost. There is no flicking mirror within this type of camera, meaning that the shake of the camera is minimal and your resulting video will be much steadier and more reliable.

Keep in mind, though, that it takes more effort from the camera operator to achieve focus in the frame and there are less lenses to use with this camera and also a shorter battery life.

Compact Cameras

person holding compact camera the film fund

Compact cameras are both affordable and lightweight. They are also easy to operate. Their cons though are stark. 

With a compact camera, you are unable to customize settings, less light comes into the camera, the zoom capabilities are limited, it takes an increased amount of time to focus, and they can be noisy.

They are popular and useful though considering how easy they are to use and how affordable they are.

Action Cameras

This type of camera, also called an adventure camera, is especially useful when filming outside. Many times, people will use these types of cameras when shooting sports games as they are durable in outdoor weather.

An example of an action camera is a GoPro.

They are especially useful since they are compact and durable, but they have a fixed focus and little ability to customize, which could pose problems for you during shooting.

360 Cameras

360 camera the film fund

This type of camera is also weather resistant and can be used in conjunction with drones or cars.

They are extremely useful for trying to capture 360 action footage.

They are very lightweight and durable, though they tend to exhibit low resolution and are limited to digital viewing.

Other Things to Consider 

Depth of Field

When you’re filming, it is important to consider what you want your depth of field to look like. That is, how much of your frame you want to be in focus. 

If you have a wide depth of field, it means most, if not all, of your shot will be in focus. In contrast, if you have a shallow depth of field, then only part(s) of your shot will remain in focus.

Different cameras have different capabilities when it comes to this, so you’ll want to make sure the vision you have in your head aligns with the capabilities of the camera you are using.

Memory Cards

Make sure you do your research on what types of memory cards you’re using. Chances are, the less expensive one is, the less likely it is to be reliable. Additionally, some may not last as long as others, especially if they’re being sold at a reduced price, so make sure you’re doing your research on what types of memory cards will best suit your needs.

Slow Motion Capabilities

If you’re interested in utilizing slow motion capabilities, you will want to make sure you’re considering cameras that have higher frame rates.


Hopefully this gave you some guidance in terms of what cameras are best suited for your project, and if you’re still worried about costs, check out one of our previous posts about the pros and cons of buying and renting film equipment and our contests as well to help fund your independent film!

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