The Best 5 Video Cameras For Your Church In 2017

If you’re looking to buy a camera it can be intimidating. What if you buy the wrong one? I present to you the best 5 video cameras for your church.

February 7th, 2017

The video camera market is out of control. New cameras with new features are released every month. And if you’re looking to buy a camera it can be intimidating. It’s a big investment, and what if you buy the wrong one? How do you know your church is making the right decision?

Well I am here to dispel any fears or hesitations you may have. I present to you the best 5 video cameras for your church in 2017!

How It’s Going To Work

Here’s how this list of comparisons will work: Cameras will be compared based on strengths, weaknesses, and price. I’ll also add a couple of my own personal notes along the way.

NOTE: These camera recommendations are made with the following applications in mind: storytelling, video announcements, baptism videos, testimonies, sermon trailers, skits, narrative, welcome videos etc. If you are hoping to record your services or live stream your services, check out this resource instead.

NOTE II: This list is not in any order. Each of the five cameras serves different purposes and comes in at a different price point.

1. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

Let’s begin this list with the most affordable camera, the Panasonic G7. This is the perfect entry camera for churches diving into shooting their own videos for the first time.


  1. 4K Video: This camera gives you the ability to shoot 4K right out of the box. 4K isn’t needed yet for delivery, but shooting in 4K allows you to punch in and out while editing and still keep your video in full 1080p HD.
  2. Affordable: The cheapest camera on this list.  You can get a Panasonic G7 for about $599 and that includes a lens (Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to shop used – you can always get a better deal this way).


  1. Colors: I’m personally not a huge fan of the color science in Panasonic cameras.
  2. Shallow Depth-of-Field: If you want to blur out the background of your videos, the Panasonic G7 will require additional lenses. The sensor of the camera is very small and that smaller the sensor, the harder it is to achieve a blurred out shallow depth-of-field. That’s not to say it cannot be done, it just can’t be done to the same extent as with other cameras and will require additional lenses.

Price: $599 (B&H)

2. Sony a6500

Sony a6500
Sony a6500

The Sony a6500 is the successor to the very popular Sony a6300. It’s a tremendous all-around camera with great specs at an affordable price point.


  1. 4K Video: Like the Panasonic G7, the Sony a6500 shoots 4K video, but instead of a 2x crop, the a6500 has a 1.5x crop.
  2. Autofocus: Perhaps the best feature of the Sony a6500, the a6500 boasts one of the best autofocus systems in the world. If autofocus is high on your list of priorities, this camera is a winner.
  3. 120fps: The a6500 can shoot at 120 frames per second in full 1080p HD. This enables you to capture super-slow motion.
  4. Built-In 5-Axis Stabilization: The a6500 has built-in 5-axis stabilization that works with any lens. Meaning, you can shoot handheld with this video and get away with it. This is a big improvement on the a6500’s predecessor the a6300 that had massive problems with rolling shutter.


  1. Price: The price of the a6500 is nearly double that of the Panasonic G7. This may be worth it if you really want super-slow motion and/or blazing fast autofocus capabilities, but for most, the price jump may not be worth it.
  2. No Lens: The Sony a6500 does not come with a kit lens like the Panasonic G7 does. Kit lenses aren’t great lenses by any means, but this an extra expense to consider when thinking about buying the a6500.
  3. E-mount: You’ll need an adapter if you want to use lenses besides Sony glass.

Price: $1399 (B&H)

3. Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5

The Panasonic GH5 is the best overall camera for churches – and it’s not particularly close. If you need an affordable camera that can do it all, this is the one for you.


  1. 10-Bit Codec: The Panasonic GH5 does something that no consumer camera that I know of has ever done before, it records 10-bit footage internally. The bit rate of your video footage is one of the most important contributors to overall quality. The higher the bit rate, the more information is captured. The more information that is captured, the better the video quality.
  2. 4K 60fps: Yes, the Panasonic GH5 captures 4K video. But not only does it capture 4K video at 24fps (regular motion), it also captures 4K video at 60fps (slow motion) all while still in 10-bit! This is a major breakthrough in consumer cameras. Props to Panasonic.
  3. New Sensor: The GH5 sensor is an improvement on the GH4 sensor. The sensor in the GH5 no longer requires crop mode to shoot in 4K. So instead of a 2.3x crop on the GH4, the GH5 will come with a standard micro-four thirds crop of 2x.
  4. 180fps: The GH5 can capture footage up to 180fps in 1080p HD. This is the highest frame rate available in any of the cameras on this list. The higher the frame rate, the slower the slow-motion.


  1. Sensor: The Panasonic GH5 is the best all-around camera on this list and it’s my first recommendation for churches. It’s a beast. It has very few weaknesses. The only weakness to be considered is the 2x crop of the micro-four thirds sensor. Similar to the Panasonic G7, this smaller sensor makes it more difficult to capture shallow depth-of-field. But this is a small gripe next to an amazing, and in many ways, groundbreaking camera.

Price: $1999 (B&H)

4. Sony Alpha a7S II

Sony A7Sii
Sony Alpha a7S II

Much like Panasonic, Sony is producing some of the most exciting cameras in the world right now.

The a7S II is capable of shooting 120fps slow motion and internal 4K. It’s has a full frame sensor which means you’ll be able to capture an ultra shallow depth of field with the right lenses. And that’s just the beginning of the spec list.


    1. 1080/120fps: Beautiful slow motion (though not quite as slow as the GH5).
    2. Full-frame: The a7S II sensor is full frame which means there is no crop factor (if you don’t know what crop factor is click here). This means wider angle shots and shallower depths-of-field are possible with this camera.
    3. Low-Light Capacity: The a7S II, unlike every other camera on this list, can essentially see in the dark. It has some of most insane low-light capabilities of any camera in existence. If low-light is a priority to you, this camera is a winner.


    1. Price: The a7S II comes in at around $2998. A huge investment for many churches. Not the best bang for your buck either.
    2. E-mount: You’ll need an adapter if you want to use lenses besides Sony glass.

Price: $2998 (B&H)

5. Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K

Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K
Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K

Our list continues with my favourite current video camera – the Blackmagic Ursa Mini. This camera is a pure cinema camera. While the previous four cameras on this list were built not only with video in mind but also photography, the Blackmagic Ursa Mini was built entirely for cinema.

Most importantly, this camera will outperform every other camera on this list when it comes to image quality and spec list. If you care most about the beauty of the image coming out of the camera – this is the camera for you.


  1. Image Quality: 4.6K sensor with 15 stops of dynamic range (unheard of at this price point).
  2. Colors: Apple ProRes 444 codec for ultimate flexibility in post-production.
  3. Audio: Dual built-in XLR inputs for professional level sound quality directly into the camera.
  4. Compact Handheld Design: Let’s be clear: this camera is not compact compared to the other cameras on this list. But compared to other cameras with similar specs to the Ursa Mini this is a very reasonable form factor.


  1. Cost: When you look at the price of this cameras, you’ll know this is meant for serious cinematographers. Especially considering that when you buy needed accessories you’ll likely push your budget close to $10K.
  2. Batteries: The Ursa Mini requires power from V-mount batteries. These are expensive and heavy.
  3. CFast Cards: Unlike the other cameras on this list that record footage to SD cards, the Ursa Mini stores footage on CFast cards. These cards are expensive.
  4. File Size: When you’re recording footage of this quality, the file sizes are gigantic. If you want to work with video of this magnitude, you’ll need a powerful computer and plenty of free space.

Price: $4995 (B&H)


The needs of your church are different from mine. So instead of making a definitive statement about the one camera you should buy, I present five options.

Each camera has strengths and weaknesses that your church should carefully consider before purchasing.

But instead of having to choose from hundreds of different cameras, I’ve narrowed it down to five. If you’re looking for the most affordable option, you’ll want to pick up a Panasonic G7. If you’re wanting the best image quality possible, saving up for the Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K is your best bet. And if you’re looking for the best all-around camera for your church, I’d have to recommend the Panasonic GH5.

If you’re interested in what I use, when I first began shooting video I shot for two years on a Canon T3i (cousin of the Canon EOS Rebel SL1 with nearly identical video specs). I then upgraded to a Panasonic GH4 and shot with that for another two years. At the beginning of 2016 I picked up a Sony A7Sii. Currently, I shoot with a pair of Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K cameras.

Now it’s your turn to make the decision!

What camera do you think would best fit your church? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Thanks for the heads up, Mike!

  • Jason

    Recommendations on f stop?

    • In general or for that specific lens?

      • Jason

        For that 35-100 lens. This one is pretty affordable ($400). Panasonic LUMIX G VARIO 35-100mm / F4.0-5.6 ASPH The f 2.8 is about 3x more expensive.

        • It’s cheaper because it won’t let in nearly as much light. Most churches suffer from very little light and that would be a big problem with that lens. If your auditorium is sufficiently bright, you could work with it.

          • Jason

            Hey Brady.. I appreciate your help! Another question… We bought that GH3 and I am running a feed from my soundboard to my camera. They feed is very clean going into a computer, but when i send it to my camera, i get a loud buzz in the audio even though the mic volume is turned all the way down. Any ideas on how I can fix this? Is it a TRS or TRRS issue with my cable? thanks again!

  • Would Brady change that suggestion for the number 1 recommended camera to the sony a7rii now that it does more than the panasonic?

    • The Sony camera is definitely superior, but it’s also twice as expensive.

  • You should probably take a look at the sony a6300. it’s lovely.

    • Another great Sony camera! Basically the A7Sii (camera #3 on this list) but significantly cheaper.

      • Yes, and cheaper than the gh4 with better specs (120fps).

    • treyvancamp

      I actually just purchased this camera based off reading these comments and doing my own research. Have you ran into the pesky issue of the camera overheating? Really bummed about it.

      • I haven’t used the a6300 firsthand, but I have heard about this. Sony just announced the newest iteration, the a6500 which is supposedly going to solve this. Sorry to hear about that. I’ve had cameras that overheat before too – not fun.

      • Yeah i’ve run into that, but only after shooting 4k for over 30mins. If you drop to 1080p it will reduce the overheating, as well as pulling the screen out from the body of the camera.

        • treyvancamp

          Thanks for the tip! I shall remember that!! I am taking a trip to Israel in a month and wanted to take it with me. I’ll be sure to shoot 1080p

  • Andy Bartlomain

    Great list, Brady! A few years ago, our church actually started with someone donating $20k for video equipment (definitely a Hallelujah! moment, right?). So, we bought 2 used Canon T2i, a BMPCC and a BMCC, and a few different lenses and accessories. This was about half of that budget. Most of the other half was for a Sony PMW200. This really is a great camera that we use just for our sermon capture. I’ve found that the other cameras were better suited for creative use and the Sony was better for broadcast use. The biggest challenges being shallow DOF and slow fps.

    Recently I purchased a GH4 for my own personal business, based on your recommendation, and absolutely LOVE it! You’re right, it really is the best all-around camera for the price. It will take great photos, on a mirrorless system, which is nice. The hdmi out will give you 10bit, 4:2:2, 4K resolution. Not sure if it’ll do internal recording at 4:2:2, but for those considering doing any type of green screen work, maybe for video announcements, you want this! Also, I don’t think people really recognize the power in 4K capturing. It’s not just about extremely sharp images, but when you sit down to do an interview with someone who is sharing their story, shooting in 4K gives you a couple different camera shots when scaled back to 1080. There have been many times where we had use multiple camera to capture an interview, but the 4K will now make it so much easier.

    One of the things I was must excited to try with the GH4 was the slow mo. I recently had a reason to. 🙂 Here’s a golf outing promo I did for my church.

    Again, can’t recommend the GH4 enough.

    • So glad to hear the GH4 is working for you, Andy! One of my favorite cameras over the years.

      P.S. Great video.

  • Luke Woodward

    Great post, Brady! In addition to being the “video guy” at my church, I also have my own video production business where I usually shoot weddings and small commercial gigs for local non-profits. This list help give me a few key insights into my next investment. Love this community!

  • Jason Hartman

    Great list Brady I would need to throw in the c100v1 in there. The sensor in that little guy is better then most. At the 2500 price point you get a great filming camera right out of the box. Thanks for all you do!

    • Interesting, Jason. I’m actually boxing up my C100 Mark II right to sell it!

  • dsomdah .

    I’m debating between Canon 70D or the Panasonic GH4. I’m only leaning toward Canon because of the variety of lenses and the lower prices on Amazon. The prices of some of the lenses I’ve seen for the GH4 are kind of expensive unless I can find a great all round lens.

    • Don’t sleep on the Sony A6300 for that price. Check out that camera too. Probably the best out of those three.

      • dsomdah .

        It’s not an option because I need a rotating screen since it’s only me.

      • dsomdah .

        The more I research this camera the more I think I can make it work. Thanks for the recommendation.

        • Great to hear! Yeah, the lack of swivel screen is disappointing. But definitely can be worked around, and no camera is perfect.

  • Jacob Martin

    Love your work Brady. We currently use 70d and 80d. We have enjoyed the easy auto focus. Given the current market would suggest continuing with them or upgrading to two GH4’s or another option for two cameras.

    Our video dept uses them for filming commercials, video anncts, info, etc.

    Mainly used for YouTube, Vimeo, FB. Would we benefit from a full frame or would 4K on a crop sensor be sufficient?

    • Autofocus on the Canon 70D and 80D is tight. I would go for a pair of Sony A6300s. A little less expensive than the GH4 and a little bit better also. Get them with some native Sony lenses and you’ll have autofocus even better than the Canons. Only downside is that there is no swivel screen if you’re wanting to use it solo.

      • Jacob Martin

        Where would rate the 6300 in comparison to your article of top 5 cameras for 2016 for churches to use? And from your reply I am assuming you enjoy the Sony glass?

        • That’s tough. Because every church wants different things. I haven’t used the Sony A6300 yet so I can’t recommend it firsthand, and the GH4 has been around significantly longer and is well-regarded. With that said, if you can get over the lack of articulating screen, the A6300 specs for video outperform the GH4.

          • Jacob Martin

            Thanks Brady. We will be looking into it today.

  • Sam

    Thanks for the tips Brady….what about the sound? Do you use an external mic of some sort? Or record audio separately?

    • Definitely record separately, Sam. We use the Tascam DR60D and like it a lot. If you’re looking for something more high quality, we love the Sound Devices 702 which is our primary recorder for video.

  • Jacob Martin

    Hey Brady. What are your thoughts on the H6 zoom. For

  • Jacob Martin

    Hey Brady, do you have any resources or tips on post workflow with (FCP X or Premiere CC). Basically bringing out the highest quality image videos for youtube, vimeo, fb,etc?

    • I like to use the Vimeo1080HD export preset in Premiere.

      • Jacob Martin


  • Shawn Prokes

    I used three Sony A7Sii cameras in Nevada for an all-church study. I used a couple in Kenya. Amazing camera (slo mo is sweet and 4K image quality is great). My complains:
    1. Battery life is 45 minutes in 4K
    2. Overheats way too easy (even after the firmware update that’s supposed to fix it)
    3. Ergonomics stink (stinks to hand hold). If you shoot with a gimbal, stablizer, tripod, etc. no big deal.
    4. SLog 3 in 8 bit (which is what the camera shoots) is crap. Bit 8 is too hard to grade without posterized gradients. However, if you shoot Sony cine 4 its great.
    5. Bad (and I mean bad) rolling shutter. Don’t whip pan!

    I would buy one again, but if you are in a hot location with a lot of direct sun all the time (AZ, NV, etc.) you could never use the thing outside. However, if that’s not an issue I would get one. I love it. Here’s some footage

  • I’ve had the SL1 since right after it came out. I definitely have enjoyed it. The thing does reasonably well, especially with the 18-135 STM lens. I use a Sigma art series lens for anything in low light and it looks great. Unless you are really good at paying attention you won’t have any complaints.

    However, I am now in need of something a little sharper. I’m thinking of trying something that won’t have a rolling shutter issue…

  • superguyent

    Hey Brady we are looking into getting the Blackmagic Cinema Camera 4k EF. I was looking at getting the Canon EF 70- 200mm f/2.8 EF lens or Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 EF lens. I would like the ability to zoom as we have a deep stage and these cameras will not be mobile. The price point is right on these lenses but if you have other suggestions i would love to hear them.

  • Jonathan Travis Brown

    Hi Brady – we currently have a BlackMagic Studio camera setup for our Sunday morning production crew. Interested in the Ursa Mini because of its recent update that allows it to integrate into a production setup easily, but also has more value as a film camera for using on set or on location. Wondering why you went with the 4.6k over the 4k. Any benefits aside from the higher resolution? Would there be a downside to getting the PL mount version (for production setup) and adapting to EF for shooting b-roll and film projects?

    • Hey Jonathan, the difference between the 4K and 4.6K URSA Minis isn’t resolution. It’s actually an entirely different sensor in the 4.6K. So yes, you get a bit extra resolution, but more importantly you get 15 stops of dynamic range and the new color science of Blackmagic’s first sensor that they’ve built from scratch for their lineup of cameras.

  • Dan Davis

    Just curious Brady, you reference prices to B&H which is a USA store. Do you actually purchase your equipment there? Is there a retailer you recommend for Canada?

    • Hey Dan, we purchase the majority of our gear from B&H. I’d say about 90% of it. The conversion hurts, but they have insanely fast shipping through Purolator (usually 1-3 days), they take care of all the customs, and they have an awesome return policy. We’ve ordered from Vistek in the past (Canadian retailer), but if you spend over $1K with them they won’t accept returns, which is insanity. Just yesterday I bought another URSA Mini 4.6K and I bought it from B&H. Should arrive this week.

  • Greyson Wagner

    Hey, Brady!

    Great list! I’ve been looking at possibly getting a BMPCC but the lack of slow motion capabilities leaves much to be desired.

    I’ve been leaning now towards the Sony a6500 when it is released but am having trouble deciding what lenses to go with? In the past having a really good zoom lens for events and service worship shots was great (tried my friends Canon 70-200 IS lens for a conference and it was amazing!) And then a fixed lens at 1.8 or so is awesome as well. Been using a Canon t4i for years and am sick of it. Any recommendations for lens on the a6500?

    • Sony a6500 is a great choice. I’ll probably update this list with that camera once it’s officially released and I get my hands on one to make sure the a6300 problems have been fixed.

      As for lenses, I would get a native Sony lens so you can take advantage of the a6500 autofocus.

    • Chris Garcia

      @greysonwagner:disqus I have been shooting with the new Sony alpha line for a few years now and I love them all! Just my 2 cents; I shoot with vintage lenses for video and native lenses for photo (autofocus is imperative for fast paced shooting!). The vintage lenses I use are primarily Minolta and Nikkor. For the price, they are incredible glass with beautiful bokeh and crisp colors (Nikkor is better). And the adapters are so cheap, it’s easy to get started. I just picked up a very clean MD 50mm 1.7 at a garage sale for $2, and I plan on shooting some big videos with it! Just thought I’d present the option. @bradyshearer:disqus Excellent post! Thanks for the great/thorough comparisons! (I love that Ursa!! <3)

  • Nathan Naoumi

    Hey Brady,

    I know in the article it states that these are recommendations for more smaller recordings like baptisms, storytelling, etc… We’re looking for a camera that can record a sermon and possibly even worship but not live stream it. More like upload it to vimeo after it has been recorded. Would any of these cameras from the list above be beneficial for that?


  • Micah

    Hey Brady!

    Thanks for the site! I’ve recently come on board a church as Student Pastor but my age means most digital/media responsibilities are also mine (which I love doing). Our church already owns a Sony HandyCam which I was somewhat disappointed in for the first testimony video I’ve done here.

    My question is, would it be better to use the HandyCam and supplement it with the $1500 Video Recommendations or go the $135 route with the optional lighting suggestions? Thanks so much.

    • Micah, lighting is always a great investment. Cameras come and go. So I would prioritize my purchasing decisions like this…

      1. Audio
      2. Lighting
      3. Stabilization
      4. Camera

      • Micah

        Perfect! Thank you

      • Always nice when I see someone who knows to put audio first!

  • Thaddaeus Lamb

    Hey Brady.

    I have a $2000 budget and need to acquire a camera that is used for not only field projects but also our livestreaming inside the church. Any recommendations? Also not a professional so don’t know what kind of lenses to get and microphones. Probably doing mostly testimonial or talking head videos.

  • Shaun Brackett

    I have been a HUGE Canon fan over the years…but now I can’t wait for the GH5 to come out. Seeing that the weakness is depth-of-field…what would be the solution? Is there a certain lens that would be best to purchase with the camera? Would it be best to get a lens adapter and use a Canon lens? Also I noticed that the GH5 has 2 slots memory cards so that you can virtually shoot until the battery is dead. What’s the downside of using this camera to film a full sermon?

    • Shaun, not a huge downside to shooting the sermon with this camera. But it wouldn’t have a digital zoom, you’d need to operate a zoom lens manually for that in most cases. As for shallow depth-of-field, not impossible at all, just more difficult than a full-frame sensor camera. Just get a lens that can open super wide (think f1.8 or better) and you’ll be good to go.

      • Shaun Brackett

        Perfect! Thanks! More points for this camera! Thanks Brady! 🙂

  • erikcantu

    I am shocked that the JVC GY-HM170UA is not on this list. It is a very inexpensive camera with 4K, 10bit HD and cheap media. I read the criteria for this list, but that still doesn’t need to be all interchangable lens cameras. A camcorder style camera with a fixed good zoom lens (that is also parfocal!) and great audio inputs would serve the needs of a lot more churches and their myriad of user skills than an interchangeable lens camera. The DSLR’s and mirrorless as great and should be on the list, but the whole list? And the URSA Mini, if you need this list to tell you to buy the URSA Mini, you aren’t ready for the URSA Mini. I shoot nearly everything in on Blackmagic cameras in RAW-it’s fantastic but not a beginner camera or casual camera.

    TL;DR: This list didn’t include any camera from the camera type that would be the best all around camera for churches.

    • Hey Erik, thanks for the addition. Like I mention at the top of this article, if you’re looking to do live event capture or streaming, these probably aren’t the best cameras for you. But I would disagree with saying that the JVC GY-HM170UA is a great all-around camera for churches.

      Sure it captures 4K and 10-bit, but the sensor, lack of lens choice, and dynamic range of that camera make capturing cinematic footage virtually impossible. For storytelling, announcements, sermon bumpers, testimonies, baptisms, welcome videos, and the like, that camera would never be a buy for me.

  • Fernando Rosado

    There’s no other aspect that says shallow depth of field besides the 24 fps as the shallow depth of field, which is what I always go after. I can compromise any other aspect of the aesthetics of film except my shallow depth of field and the 24 fps. I don’t really care about 4K as on a survey I did I found out that most people have a 1080×1920 (about and although I’m clear there is a shift in aspect ratios most people still don’t have 4K tv’s. Some don’t even have 1080. But on the other hand everyone loves the filmic look. What do you think it’s my best option to produce my shallow depth of field @ 24fps under $1,000 budget? (what’s the best lens as well to get shallow depth of field and exposure f.stop)? Thank you and congratulations, I love the article!!!!

    • Fernando, I’d go with the Panasonic G7 and a something like their 20mm f1.7 lens. Under $1000. Will give you 24fps, shallow depth of field, AND 4K to boot. And again, shooting in 4K isn’t yet important because you’ll want to deliver in 4K. It’s about being able to get sharper videos through downscaling, as well as being able to punch in and out on a 1080p timeline – essentially performing as if you had two different cameras.

  • Erik Lindeen

    Brady- we are a new church plant. We want to get a camera that will work for recording the sermon in a dark gym and also will work to do faith stories/testimony videos. I would love to be able to blur the background. Which one would you recommend for us?

    • Erik, if you’re not looking to live stream, the GH5 is going to be your best bet. No recording limits so you can record the whole sermon and still have the capacity to shoot great looking cinematic videos also.

      • Erik Lindeen

        Awesome- thanks!

        • Erik Lindeen

          Do I need to order a special lense for the GH5? Or does what comes with the camera for $1999 come with what we need?

          • GH5 for $1999 is body only. You’ll need a lens on top of that.

  • Timothy Williams

    I like the list but am wondering how Sony E mount is a negative? It has a very short register distance so, with the purchase of a few cheap adapters, you can use almost any lens with it.

    • Only a weakness because Sony doesn’t have very many lenses available at this point. Though they do continue to expand. Also with adapters you’re going to lose the ability to tap into Sony’s autofocus system, which for me is the big selling point of their a6500 camera.

  • Erik Lindeen

    One more question. My buddies at another church have been using a Canon XA30 Professional Camcorder and they love it. Would you still take the GH5 over the Canon XA30?

    • Two different cameras for two different purposes. With the XA30, you’re going to have more live streaming/recording capabilities, but you’ll lose the cinematic look to your videos.

  • Moises Freja

    Hi Brady, these are great cameras for post production work. Thank you. I was wondering what are your 2017 camera recommendations for streaming live church services?

    • Phenoum

      Was exactly my question. The previous linked resource is now two years old.

      We are going from a static DSLR (Canon w/ MagicLantern [to remove all osd] -> Blackmagic Capture -> iMac + Producer) to a two-camera solution with Studio. Planning to get a 4K Camera and adjust most shots with the digital “crop” which will maintain 1080/720 quality without having to touch the camera (and also be “future-proof”).

      Very curious about a 2017 update to the livestream camera recommendations!!

      • Craig Cooley

        Lots of interesting choices for streaming cameras out there. I would also recommend checking out vMix live production software. I have been using for a couple of months now at our church and the software has been great. Simultaneously streaming to FB live and YouTube Live.

    • Sounds like it’s about time we put together another resource on this! I’m not the expert in that field so I’ll round up someone who is and we’ll get on that.

      • Brandon Ward

        i would definitely like to check that out

      • Jonathan Barnes

        Have you completed the article yet on live streaming video cameras? If yes, where could I find it?

  • Matthew Robinson

    Thanks for this! What lens would you recommend to be able to blur out the background better using the Panasonic G7?

    • Check out the Panasonic 20mm f1.7. Anything with an aperture at or below f1.8 is worth checking out.

  • Mike Rubin

    I am our churches children’s ministry director. I would love a good camera (all-around) that we can use to capture highlights from Sunday mornings and other cool events. We are on a fairly tight budget. Thanks!

    • Mike, the Panasonic GH5 is going to be the best all-around camera for your church. If you’re looking for something cheaper (or available sooner – the GH5 isn’t available until March), the Panasonic G7 would be the way to go.

      • Mike Rubin

        Thank you!

        • TR

          There is a newer version of the G7 called the G80 or G85 (G85 in the USA) depending on where you live. It is $900 without a lens. It has built in IBIS (Image stabilization) which can be great for video work. Even with adapted lenses. Or with Panasonic lenses you can get dual IBIS as Panasonic also has stabilization in most, but not all, of their lenses. I personally have a G7 but don’t use it at Church and it is pretty great. Haven’t had the chance to use it as much as I would like but at the time got it with close to $200 back to spend at B&H so made the camera at the time for me basically $400 because I was able to use that money at B&H for other stuff I needed. I have heard some people have been able to pick up a G7 on sale for $499 with kit lens so if it is the camera you want keep an eye on the price or rebates and cash back etc. I also got a 3 year extended warranty with mine as well.

  • Jake Guptill

    We’re using a Sony PXW-X70 at my church for recording sermons and feeding our live stream. It’s got Pro audio for taking a mix direct from our audio console and a 1-inch sensor. The picture looks great. It’s 4K ready (with purchase of upgrade license), but we shoot 1080p for sermons (livestream goes out at 720 thru a Vidiu). The camera was about $2k… about $2500 with all the accessories (tripod, extra battery, etc). We’ve been VERY pleased with it.

  • RIcky Harrell

    Hey Brady, we bought the G7 late 2016 and it’s been amazing….I NEED HELP with what lenses to purchase…I have a Leica DG Summilux which is awesome and has great shallow depth of field but it doesn’t zoom…..I need a great lense with zoom with equal or greater quality than the leica…I use this for recording announcement videos and taking pictures during services and events. Thanks!

    • Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 OR Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 are my go-to zoom lenses for Panasonic cameras!

      • RIcky Harrell

        Thanks Brady, would you advise against buying international versions? They are 300-400 $$ cheaper.

  • David Crist

    Hey Brady, Thanks for the article! I am interested in the G7 mainly because it is in budget and shoots in 4K. Currently I am using a Iphone 7 Plus for our video announcements which has been working great with a three light set up on the green screen. (I know still on a green screen…Waiting for our new building to be built before moving to a real live background) Anyway.. does the G7 work well for video announcements?

    • Absolutely, David! A great choice for video announcements for sure.

      • David Crist

        Clicked on the link and the price is now $800 for the camera. Guess it went up. Any ideas of where to find a better deal? thx

  • Emanuel Neto

    Hi everyone, here in Brussels we bought a GH4r and a GH5 for sermons, video announcements and photos! It works great. We are also doing live stream on facebook. We have a great image in low light.

  • Robert Z. Perry

    Hi, Brady. Great site!
    How do you feel about a GH5 with a ENG B4 lens (parfocal) for live and a fast prime to switch to for post-type work. Wouldn’t that be the sweetspot for both lists under 3k?

  • Avery Rothleutner

    It looks like it’s somewhat easy to find the Sony on Ebay for a great deal, but I’m wondering if they can stream live? Either through USB and CamTwist, or even just an HDMI output?

  • This is amazing! I think the Panasonic G7 isn’t bad considering its price.

  • Ty DaCosta

    These are very high-quality cameras, but many DSLRs have a 10-12 minute shutoff, so if the sermon goes longer than that, these options are practically worthless, as they would cut out parts of the sermon….. Are there any that can record indefinitely, or that you can override the automatic shutoff? Very nice options, but they would simply not work for long clips.

    • Hey Ty, none of these cameras are DSLRs (4/5 are micro-four thirds cameras). A couple of these cameras have 30 minute time limits, while the others have no limits. As for recording your pastor’s sermon, as I explain in the opening paragraph, these cameras aren’t meant for live streaming, they’re narrative cameras.

      • Ty DaCosta

        Thank you, I thought the Panasonic one was a DSLR, and just lumped them all together as such. Thanks for clarifying! Also, we currently use a handycam currently to record the full sermon (not livestream), and I add it to our church’s website within a few days, so a camera that can record for 45 minutes to an hour straight is what I’m looking for. Again, thank you!

  • Kris Baehr

    Hi Brady, thanks for all of this great info! I have some specific requirements in mind for a camera at our church. I need to broadcast a signal from our sanctuary to our worship overflow area downstairs. I’m using HDMI now and it’s working but I’m having difficulty finding cameras that meet these requirements, most of them don’t even list specs as what the HDMI out signal will look like. Requirements: 1) It must not go into Standby mode for at least an hour, 2) HDMI out must not have any artifacts, screen indicators, etc, just the clean signal. 3) AC adapter, not batteries which need to be replaced/charged every week. We want to leave it plugged in. 4) Decent Zoom. My Canon T5’s kit lens is slightly too far away when zoomed in all the way. The T5 does a pretty good job but no a/c adapter and standby after 30 minutes. Also, the HDMI out signal is is scaled down a little into a dark grey box. I would greatly appreciate an advice or recommendations you have. thanks again for all of your great resources!

  • Stefan

    Hey Brady,
    Do you know witch cameras you mentioned are time recording limited? And if they all work on live streaming? I need for my Church a cheap camera with no recording limit (or one who can autostart recording) and live-streaming capabilities.

    • Hi Stefan,
      Based on the location of the camera your options change. The closer you place the camera to the action the less you need to spend. Cameras like Axis M1025 have built in mics, and great video quality. ($250). Other IP cams like Sibel 20x zoom can be placed further away with option to input audio from your soundboard or add a mic to it. It goes around $600. They have a cool app where you can simply move your finger on it, or pinch the screen for pan/tilt/zoom. once you connect these cams to the internet then, services like provide live streaming from IP cams with the benefit of scheduling your live stream. We have setup a $150 Hikvision camera in a small church, scheduled their live Sunday service for one year. I can send you their link. Hope this helps.

  • Hi guys, There are a few cameras out there that have great video and audio quality with the capability of streaming live. If one camera that can zoom 20x or 30x zoom, Full HD, good audio, remotely controlled by a cool app on your phone, then you have these two. The first one is Axis V5915, which has two options 720p or 1080 with a price of $1900 and $2300. The second one is 3MP Sibell IP IR 20X PTZ less than $600. Both of these combined with a platform similar to, you can live stream up to 4k quality and to multiple places live Facebook live, youtube live, etc…

  • Don Gulley

    Hi Brady, What are you thoughts on the Sony a9 vs. the Sony a7sii. Would you suggest going one way or the other…plus i saw that the iii is coming out soon.