Are you shooting corporate videos for your office? Starting a DIY YouTube channel? Looking to start shooting stock footage? Maybe you are a photographer who is looking to start shooting video as well, and you have no idea how to choose a video camera?

There are so many video camera options available – it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the choices. Instead of picking a specific camera or brand, it’s best to first decide what type of camera you need. Here is a handy guide for choosing the best video camera for your needs.

  • Cell Phones: You may be gawking, but today’s cell phone cameras are no joke. Many manufacturers like Apple and Samsung offer 4K video in the palm of your hand. With built-in image stabilization, users can easily capture decent footage. You can also edit video on your phone and immediately upload your videos online. While the footage quality is often sufficient, it can be difficult to capture quality audio, especially if your subject is too far away from the built-in microphone. Size limitations are another major problem. If you don’t plan on shooting much and are only interested in making quick short videos, this may be your best one for filming.
  • Camcorders: Camcorders are the standard video camera for amateur users. Most camcorders shoot 1080p resolution, but there are some that shoot 4K. All camcorders have built-in microphones that capture ‘decent’ audio, but pale in comparison to the quality of an external mic. These are great for online videos or quick corporate projects.
  • DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras: DSLRs double as both still and footage cameras, so they are especially advantageous to photographers looking to shoot video. Not only can you get fantastic HD or 4K quality video, you can also use interchangeable lenses to get more out of your camera. You will need a separate audio recorder and microphone to capture decent audio. These cameras are for users that are (or want to become) more advanced. These are great for music videos, web series, independent films, and small commercial work.
  • Cinema Cameras: If you are looking at making high-end commercial videos or feature films, a cinema camera is going to be your best option. It’s also best to have an entire camera crew dedicated. While the price of just a camera body may look appealing, don’t let these prices fool you. These ones are EXPENSIVE!