Best Cameras for Filming the Hunt
I get asked all the time which are the best cameras for me to buy if I want to film my hunts. Your first question to yourself should be “what is the end goal?” Do I plan on filming it for my own use, or to post on social media, do I want to step it up and do a youtube channel, start a TV show, or submit a film to one of the film festivals?
***A little disclaimer before I give you my top 4 cameras in each of the 4 levels videography. A really shitty camera in the hands of a good operator can still produce great work. I am a mediocre at best operator and I have produced some pretty good work on just my IPhone like this Coues deer hunt I filmed last year solely on my phone.
Entry level: Save your money if you have a smart phone that was built in 2016 or later you have everything you need to do great work at an entry level videographer. My choice is the IPhone 6s or 7 it has 4k resolution, slow Motion, and excellent auto focus and low light capabilities. and with some of the apps and accessories available you can get pretty sophisticated
Next Level: The Canon GH 20 and 30 have become a go to for the aspiring film guys packed with many pro-features these cameras can do it all. Matter of fact I used this cameras slightly bigger brother XA-20 which is essentially the same camera for 3 years as my main camera and I filmed my Ibex hunt with that camera because of its run n gun and reliable capabilities. My only caution to this camera is it has been out for 5 years and technology has flown passed it. Although, its still tough to beat for the price.
The VIXIA HF G20 features a Genuine Canon 10x HD Video Lens which offers a 35mm equivalent of 30.4–304mm. It delivers unsurpassed image quality, the versatility of a wide angle of view and smooth and professional-looking background images thanks to a sophisticated 8-blade iris. The professional touch of a dedicated manual focus ring allows accurate and precise control. Combined with Canon’s Exclusive HD CMOS Pro Image Sensor, it captures video with stunning resolution, superb low-light performance, and a wide dynamic range.
You will also find that exceptionally lifelike tone and detail are captured thanks to 24Mbps Recording. The VIXIA HF G20 not only captures images in Full HD, but records and outputs at 1920 x 1080 as well, so you get Full HD from lens to screen.
And with Tele Macro, the VIXIA HF G20 automatically zooms the lens to the telephoto end and sets the minimum object distance to approximately 1.3 feet (from 3.3 feet) giving you the opportunity to shoot spectacular close-ups with the dramatic look of shallow depth-of-field. Tele Macro is one of 38 scenes available in Smart Auto Mode
ProSumer: This is the realm of camera where you can start spending some big bucks but you can also produce movie quality film with the right operator. There are many DSLRs and camcorders such as The Canon 5D mark 3 and the Canon XF200 camcorder that are pretty darn good. The 5D has been the industry standard for this level of camera for years and has produced many great films in all genera. Another awesome camera capable of excellent video and packed with pro features is the Sony A7r ii with the right lenses you have all you need to produce amazing film however these are not without their costs and some lens costs upwards of $3500 so for the aspiring film makers I chose the Sony RX10 mark 3 because its the best of all worlds and allows you to get some of the pro features and control you have with its big brother A7 and still a carl ziess T* lens with super wide focal range. All without breaking the bank. I currently use this camera and it is very versatile easy to use and has good battery life. You cant beat that for $1500
High zoom 24-600mm (25x) F2.4-4.0 ZEISS Vario-Sonnar T* lens, 20.1 MP 1″ Exmor RS stacked back illuminated CMOS sensor w/ DRAM, 4K movie recording w/ direct pixel readout and no pixel binning
- Super slow-motion movie HFR (High frame rate) up to 960 fps (40x), Fast Intelligent AF achieves autofocus as quick as 0.09-sec., Fast response up to 14fps and 1/32000 sec. Anti-Distortion Shutter
- Enhanced operability w/ independent focus, zoom and aperture rings, Professional dust/moisture resistant magnesium-alloy body, Bright XGA OLED Tru-Finder viewfinder and Sharp 3″ multi-angle LCD
- Simple connectivity to smartphones via Wi-Fi and NFC w/ camera apps
Professional: Really I’m down playing this category because you can spend $100k easy on a professional 6k camera and its very easy to spend $20-30k on your normal documentary style cameras the type they use on discovery channel like Canon EOS C500 iii which is an excellent camera an I have used one to produce a few commercials like my Chevy commercial but this is not a camera designed for run and gun of hunting its better for set up shots and use in a controlled environment like doing commercial work. If you don’t plan on taking your film to the big screen most people will no be able to tell the difference on the computer or your home TV. My choice in Panasonic DVX 200 its kinda of like my Sony RX10 in the sense that it has all the features of a much more expensive camera without the high price tag . We filmed this Tenzing commercial with this camera… Compare it to the Chevy Silverado commercial and tell me if you can see the difference. The DVX200 Outfitted with a Leica 13x fixed lens it has a nice focal range with good depth of field and excellent color. You can run constant slow motion 120ps in full 1080. Although you may have to save your pennies to pick one up but for less than $5000 it wont require that you mortgage your children like some of these other rigs.
AG-DVX200: The Versatile 4K/HD is Camcorder That Gets the Job Done
The AG-DVX200PJ is the first in a new generation of large-sensor, multi-format professional camcorders capable of capturing 4K/UHD, HD and SD, including cinematic DCI 4K 4096×2160. Designed as a large-format camera system, the DVX200 provides that all-important aesthetic of shallow depth of field/selective focus, but with an integrated 13X zoom for easy control over image framing as well as the ability to track your subject even in fast action. This large-format 4/3-inch camcorder offers exceptional image quality in all modes, as well as unique workflow options — including a dual codec workflow renowned in the VariCam® 35 production camera. Whether for cinematic or television production, sports, news acquisition or event acquisition, the DVX200PJ is a workhorse, offering the perfect blend of image quality, convenience and versatility to get your job done.
Well I hope this gives you a place to start your research into filming your hunts take the time to learn all you can about the operation and different features of cameras by looking on youtube for tutorials this will help you gauge what you need to get the look you are after. Listen to my podcast with Trevon Stolzfus of Outback Outdoors acclaimed TV show and Aaron Hitchins of Rock House one of the premiere boutique production houses to get some more insight