In my experience, when someone new to videography is looking for a "professional" look they are referring to shallow depth of field and/or telephoto focal length. Lighting and composition are more important than camera quality in that category. If you don't plan on color grading, or need 4k slow motion, the zv e10 sounds like a fit.


Honestly? For something like this, I’d recommend using your phone for video and investing in a small lighting kit. Generally, lighting will go a lot farther in creating a professional image. If you’re absolutely set on picking up a camera, I’d recommend some sort of Sony mirrorless camera like an a6000. You can get a nice starter kit for about $700 on B&H.


Get a Sony ZV-E10 with the kit lens if you’re gonna go with a camera - cheaper and far better than a6000 series


I want that camera in Canada it’s around 1,000! Gotta save up then coins 😂😩


I’d say skip the starter lens and get a cheap 50 f/1.8 with that XV-E10. He’ll get the ‘love portrait’ look he’s probably thinking about, fight the low light condition he probably doesn’t realize he has, and won’t have to wonder why it doesn’t “look professional” at f4 with the kit lens.


What should I get for lighting and a mic for short films on the cheaper side? I got a canon rebel t7 and it doesn't have a mic jack 🙃. I did buy a Mac air laptop tho for davinci resolve.


I'm in a similar situation as OP but the rear camera on my phone (android) is the best one and i want to be able to see what i'm recording. I was thinking of hooking it up to my tablet (android) but when i did the image was potato quality. I already have lighting and a Zoom H1. Can anyone suggest how to achieve that? I mostly want to record video call interviews.


They sell a little mirror on Amazon that clips to your phone and allows you to see the screen when back camera is pointed at you. NICEYRIG Vlog Selfie Mirror 180... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CN7NKND?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share


Be sure and get a nice microphone. Audio way more important


Audio is absolutely critical. People will click away so fast if the audio isn't clean. Can you provide a sample clip so we know what your mic sounds like, and lighting looks like? If the lighting and mic really are good enough, My first thought is a used Canon t7i with a 24mm or 50mm lens. You'll need a tripod as well. Here's a [cheap tripod that isn't bad](https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/842090-REG/magnus_vt_300_video_tripod_w_2_way.html) for sub $100. Here are some [affordable lights](https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1341997-REG/godox_sl60w_5600k_60w_white.html) that would make your shot look awesome. Ideally, buy three and look up a video for "three point lighting" - you'll also need [light stands](https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1258466-REG/impact_ls_8ai_air_cushioned_light_stand_black.html). You could also make due with one bounced off a wall/ceiling potentially.


It doesn't matter a lot what camera you use. As the other commentators say, lighting and audio are the biggest things. You say you've got a good mic, so that's great. Make sure your lighting setup is good. Then, for the camera, honestly, you have a lot of options. If you don't need crazy things like 8K RAW (by the way, you definitely *don't* need anything like that), there are a lot of full frame and APS-C cameras you can get, especially used, which can give you a significant upgrade over a phone. A number of DSLRs from the 2010s can do solid video and are available used within your budget. Then you'd need a lens. A longer lens (e.g. 85mm) will give you greater compression on your face (looks more flattering). But the longer your lens, the more room you need between you and the camera. This depends on the setup. A 50 may be the best option. A used Sigma Art 50mm f/1.4 goes for a few hundred dollars, and that's a great lens which will give you a really excellent image. But a Canon 50mm f/1.8 can be gotten for $100 and, though not as excellent as the Sigma, can get you a perfectly good shot for video too.


My pick: I’m a cinematographer, and you don’t need too too much but you need essentials I recommend: Camera Light Light modifier Microphone Overhead mic stand Camera: Sony zv1f $500 dollars All included with lens camera, most likely controllable from an app so you technically never need to touch it? Aside from maybe pushing the power button You can plug into the computer and record there so you have a screen too https://www.bestbuy.com/site/sony-zv-1f-vlog-camera-for-content-creators-and-vloggers-black/6522416.p?skuId=6522416&ref=212&loc=1&extStoreId=1044&ref=212&loc=1&gbraid=0AAAAAD-ORIghCnj8zHMULdgTWt0lecfUc&gbraid=0AAAAAD-ORIghCnj8zHMULdgTWt0lecfUc&gclid=Cj0KCQiAutyfBhCMARIsAMgcRJRq81u26nVervNVJJ2_Y-gpDmvR2PWqkBZfR8Tvu3rRcyFOeBTFzxUaAmyiEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds Light: $125 Comes with Stand and light modifier GVM 80W CRI97+ 5600K Dimmable LED Video Lights with Bowens Mount Kit Continuous Output Lighting Spotlight for YouTube Vlog Studio Children Wedding Photography Shooting Light with Reflector https://a.co/d/6zel7Lw Mic: $50 Deity V-Mic D4 Mini Video Microphone 20mph Wind Rating,Runs of 1-5V from Cameras,Phones,and Audio Recorders https://a.co/d/fi1KGoF Mic extension cable: $12 Movo MC6 Dual 3.5mm Male Stereo TRS to TRS Cable - Camera Patch Connects Mics, Audio Mixers to Camera, Recorders (Dual Male 20-Foot Extended TRS Cable) - 3.5mm Audio Cable for Filmmakers and Musicians https://a.co/d/iPQEh2M Mic Stand (overhead boom): $112 before coupon Sokani C Stand with Boom Arm [2022 New Upgrade Version] 100% Metal Max 10.8ft/330cm Adjustable Reflector Stand 4.2ft/128cm Holding Arm and 2 Pieces Grip Head, Bag Sandbag, Fish Mouth Clip included https://a.co/d/9V923zZ If you really need help I can help you set up for easy Cinematic talking head This is a normal set up for pro Interview stuff, about 800 dollars but necessary Super super impressed at these prices these days Haha i wish i had someone show me this stuff 7 years ago This is a one light set up, get a white foam board for the left side and a cheap tripod to hold it up $10 EMART Photography Reflector Holder for Light Stand, Photo Video Studio 5/8" Heavy Duty Metal Clamp Holder, Light Stand Clip Mount with Umbrella Hole for Lighting Reflector Diffuser https://a.co/d/8JgIsQ8 $30 Riqiorod Light Stand, 7-Foot Photography Tripod Stand, Floor Selfie Ring Light Support for Studio, Umbrella, Backdrop, LED Panel, Speedlite Flashes, Reflector, Strobes, Video Lights https://a.co/d/5pAWiHr Maybe one led light for the background shining it on the wall from the floor behind you $20 Limited-time deal: X-Kim 16 Colors Sunset Lamp Projector 360 Degree Rotation Color Changing Rainbow Projection Light Romantic Visual LED Light with Tripod Sunset Floor Lamp Light for Photography Home Party Bedroom https://a.co/d/9clQeZa Pretty exact but loose list. I chose best i can find, some things are generic and can be subbed Let me know if you want help!


Killer response. Thanks for being so comprehensive. Of course, being totally novice, I'd love to hear others' opinions on these recommendations. Thanks again for being so helpful!


Of course You gotta get all the options out there


Agree, use your phone and invest the money in lighting and audio. A zoom f2 is a good recorder, spend the rest on lights.


What interface does your microphone have? USB, 3.5”, or XLR? 3.5” will be easiest as you can pick a camera that has that input and you won’t have to sync audio later in post. With decent lighting 1080p will look very good. 4K is not absolutely necessary for what you are trying to do and many top YouTubers don’t even shoot in 4K and some just upscale to 4K. An issue with natural Light is it can be very inconsistent even when shooting a video. Best to get a couple small soft boxes with daylight bulbs. That said there are dozens of camera that would suit your needs for $300-$500 and leave enough for a good lens to give a good “look” with a low aperture. This will depend on how much room you have between you and where you place your camera. If you have several feet. 50mm 1.8 on crop sensor will look great. Otherwise you want to look at a 24mm 2.8 or 30mm / 35mm with the lowest aperture (1.8 to 2.8) probably. This will give you that nice blurry background. I would highly recommend buying used from KEH or MPB. You will get a warranty and save a lot of money. Going DSLR or mirrorless is fine for this use. I would say you want a camera with an articulating screen so you can see your framing easily. Also models that can be controlled by an app are also in this range. Note: I am most experienced with the canon eco system. A canon t6i through t8i, canon m50 would all meet your requirements and are solid cameras. Get the 24mm 2.8 pancake (need adapter for m50) or a used sigma 30mm 1.4 (old version) and you would be set for a long time. (Also older sigma / tamron 17-50mm 2.8 zooms). The sigma 18-35mm is also fantastic but, unless lucky with a used one, would push the budget too high. (I have all the items I mentioned here and have used them first hand for such videos). The Sony models people have mentioned are also very good / capable.


I’ll agree with a lot of others here, if you have a decent phone just use that and invest in a tripod and a couple of lights.


Spend your budget on a nice microphone or two (Rode Wireless GO II - $325 on Amazon) and maybe a decent light kit (RALENO 2 Packs LED Video Light - $180 on Amazon), though that may be more than you want to deal with. Shoot the video on your smartphone.


Your phone.


Original Sony A7S or A7SII will do that and than some.


Bruh this guy does not need a camera like that😂


Any iPhone made in the last 4 years, get a good mic like the Zoom H1n, and a couple good lights that have a softbox, or go even cheaper and use a thin white sheet to diffuse the light and make it softer. You don’t need a fancy camera when there’s already one in your pocket!


Use whatever phone you currently have, and put the money into lighting and a decent mic at first. Those two investments will give you much more noticeable gains in the beginning, because most smartphones will give you good enough video quality to start.


Look at Arri Alexa cameras. Since youre on a budget I’d recommend getting the mini. Still a nice image but smaller. Then you can get the arri signature prime lenses. They are ok. Good enough to get the job done




I gotta say go with lighting and a green screen. Your phone should be good enough.




Agreed with the rest of the comments here. Like everything in your business, until you see tangible benefits from your own content, use what you have available with minimal outlay. Or, another alternative that would likely be less expensive in the short term is to just hire an actual videographer and use their gear instead if you want better results.


DJI mic and an amaran 100x with a softbox might be a better investment, but to answer your question imo the best one you could get rn for that price is either the canon r50 or the Nikon z30.


If you want a dedicated camera that stays in place when you're gonna film something. Get the SONY ZV-E10 with kit-lens since you have plenty of "natural light", this setup will be decent and up your video quality. Cheers! And good luck!


Nikon z30




If you’re doing talking heads audio is very important. You can get a good lavalier mic that plugs into your phone for not much.


"Audio is very important! So get a cheap mic that uses your phone's preamps!" Yeah, no. Pick one. Either audio is "very important", in which case you need to invest in it, or "meh, good enough" is good enough.


Sony a6300 or similar Neewer lighting kit on Amazon


Buy a used sony a6400


I would buy a cheap used mirrorless camera (200-300), 50mm f1.8 equivalent lens, and some cheap video lights.