Over the years we have received emails from many folks asking which video cameras we would recommend for their personal use. This has ranged from an entry level type of video camera to film family events to full blown high end cameras. So we decided to compile a list of Panteao Recommended Gear for different categories, ranging from still photography to videography, editing, lighting, and sound.

To get things kicked off, here is a breakdown of what we recommend for video cameras, from the low end of the price spectrum to the high end. Please note that what we are recommending are the only brands out there that are good or will serve your needs. These are cameras we are familiar with, have used in the field, and can recommend to others. So here we go with our top seven…

Panteao Recommended Camera #7:
The Nikon Coolpix S9500 Digital Camera
Don’t let the size fool you. This small pocket sized camera can pull double duty taking great stills as well as shoot good 1080p HD video. If you are at one of your kid’s school events and you want to get some still shots but also want so short videos to send to family members or post online, this will work for you. We use one of these cameras when we are filming on location for behind the scenes stuff or to take a photo of a specific scene setup for our editors. It fits easily in your pocket and it can always be with you.

Panteao Recommended Camera #6:
The Canon EOS-5D Mark III Digital SLR Camera
The Mark III and the Mark II before it have been the go to cameras for professionals everywhere. You can take excellent still shots and shoot great video. This platform gives you the option of different lenses and with the right rig, you can stabilize the camera and shoot great video. Many camera operators out there shooting documentaries or low budget projects rely on DSLR cameras. They are compact, can be outfitted with many accessories, and the 35MM sensor gives you great quality video. On our shoots, we use a Mark II for still shots or for video footage when we can’t get one of our larger cameras into that darn tight spot.

Panteao Recommended Camera #5:
Sony HXR-NX30U
Stepping away from dual purpose still photo/video cameras, you have the Sony HXR-NX30U. This small camera allows you to shoot in full HD. It has built in memory and gives you the option of using inexpensive SD cards. This camera is ideal for tight locations, if you are traveling and didn’t want to bring a large camera, or if you got “volunteered” to film your friend’s birthday party. The shotgun mic will give you good audio and if you decide to step up to a wireless lav, no problem.

Panteao Recommended Camera #4:
Sony PMW100
If you want to step up your game and go to a camera that will offer you higher quality video and audio, there is the Sony PMW100. With a 1/3-inch CMOS Sensor, you will have a better image with less noise. Stepping up from SD memory cards, this camera uses professional grade SxS memory cards. They offer much faster transfer rates and higher memory capacity. They aren’t cheap but they are definitely the way to go. If you are one of those that likes to get better instead of good, this is a camera for you.

Panteao Recommended Camera #3:
Sony PXW-Z100
Like the chassis of the PMW100 but want to step your game up? The PXW-Z100 is your camera. Now instead of just 1920×1080 HD you can shoot in 4K (4096×2160) resolution. What does that mean? Much better image! Now you are talking motion picture level resolution and if you look around, many television manufacturers are already offering reasonably priced televisions in 4K.  Yes, this camera is $2K more than the PMW100, but believe me when I say 4K video is the next step in home video recording and even sooner, will be the standard for streaming Pay Per View videos.

Panteao Recommended Camera #2:
Sony NEX-FS700RH
Stepping up from the PXW-Z100, there is the FS700. This is one of our favorite cameras. You get the same Super 35mm Sensor that comes with its big brother, the F5. The FS700 shoots full 1080p video with bursts of up to 240 fps in full HD resolution! Want to step up to 2K or full 4K? With the Sony HXR-IFR5 Interface Unit and AXS-R5 Recorder, you can record continuous 2K RAW at up to 240fps and 4K RAW at up to 60fps. Now you are filming in cinema levels. This is honestly one of the most versatile cameras Sony has ever put out. We have used this camera on numerous shoots and love the features and video quality. Yes, it’s more money than all the previously mentioned cameras. A lot more. But in this case, you get what you pay for.

Panteao Recommended Camera #1:
Sony PMW-F5
Let me start this with the F5 is not for everyone. In fact, only a few out there will benefit from it. But when it comes to outstanding video, this is the camera. The Super 35mm Sensor provides you the best possible image. Coupled with the 4K resolution and you have a true motion picture level camera. This camera also gives the user the option of recording to both SxS cards or the larger AXSM memory cards. You can also record in 60 fps or 120 fps 2K RAW. We have used both the F5 and F55 cameras and I can tell you, they are unmatched for quality of video and features. If price is no object and you want the best in a reasonable size, look no further.

Image courtesy Panteao Productions

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