Cameras for Travel Filmmakers

The first thing you need to understand is that it’s not just the camera, it’s the lens. Don’t spend your whole budget on a camera body if you don’t have quality glass.

You’ll also want to budget for accessories, which I’ll share a few.

For my entry-level filmmakers with a little bit of a budget, let’s say under $4,000, here’s how I would personally spend it.

This is for filmmaking, not photography. I’ll touch on photography below.


Sony FX30 – $1,800


Sony 24-105 – $1,200


DJI Lav Mic – $330

There are a number of little things like a tripod, extra batteries, camera bag, lights, ND Filters etc… I just wanted to hit the main items here. I can make a film with just these things.

Let’s talk about Cameras

There are so many ways to get started, and I would always recommend a beginner try a used camera. You can get a better model that is a year or two old and works fine.

I shoot on Sony, so that is where I’m going to recommend gear since I have working experience. If you would rather start new, then I’d start with something in the Alpha series like the A6400

As of writing this post, I’m shooting on a Sony A1 and an FX30.

Some of our client projects include a Sony FX6 or Canon C300. I’m just focussing on my run and gun travel stuff for now. Cinema cameras are for another day.

Here are some cameras I’ve used, owned, or recommend.

If you need photos and video equally.

Sony A1 – $6,500

This is Sony’s flagship, and at times is overkill. However, now that I’ve had it, I feel spoiled and don’t want anything else for the combination of film and photography.

Sony A7IV – $2,500

Way cheaper than the A1, but still a decent investment. It’s a solid camera with versatility if you are more of a photographer/videographer hybrid.

You can look at the Sony A7siii for video focus or A7Rv for photography, but if you are aware of those, then you probably don’t need this article.

Sony A6400 – $1,300

The entry-level camera. I used this camera for shorts, and the sensor is pretty solid at 25mp. Great camera quality in such a small body.

If you are focused on filmmaking

Sony FX3 – $4,000

If you have a little bit more of a budget, this camera will get you through just about any project as a filmmaker.

Sony FX30 – $1,800

If I had to pick a cinema camera to start my filmmaking career, this would be it. It’s a fantastic vlogging camera as well with its flip screen. I currently own this camera and use it as a B-Camera for my interviews as it doesn’t overheat like my A1 can at times.

Vlogging honorable mention

RX100VII – $1,300

This price tag is deceiving. At first, you think it’s the cheapest on the list, but it’s actually really expensive for what it is. You do not have a lens mount, so you won’t get the cinema quality. What you will get is an amazing quality camera in your pocket.

I vlogged an entire year with this camera, and the quality was amazing. The reason I like it is because I could just keep it in my pocket and was able to capture more of the story. Now that iPhones have improved, I don’t carry it, but it is a great option for the casual vlogger.


This isn’t a list for those on a budget, this is more of what I’d personally keep in my bag.

If I was budgeting, I’d find an affordable 50mm and run with that. You can also look at Tamron or Sigma lenses, but I don’t personally own one.

Sony 24-70 2.8 – $2,300

If I had to pick one lens (not for wildlife)

Sony 50 mm 1.2 – $1,900

I shoot almost all my shorts on this lens.

Sony 16-35mm – $2,000

Great for vlogging, landscapes, and real estate. Here’s a cheaper option.

Sony 24-105 – $1,200

Best starter lens in my opinion. Can shoot wide and get decent tight shots at 100mm.

Honorable Mention Items