Vector illustration of a broadcast studio camera

The Best Studio Cameras (2024)

This is a complete list of studio cameras and system cameras I use and trust for television shows, live streaming, corporate events, houses of worship, concerts, sports, education, government, Esports, podcasts, studio recording, broadcasts, and more.

Blackmagic Studio Camera 6K Pro

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The best overall studio camera for most users.

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Image Quality: 8/10 Dynamic Range: 7/10 Low Light Quality: 6/10 Live Features: 7/10 Overall Value: 8/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

There is no denying that Blackmagic Design has made major strides with their cameras in the last decade.

While the first few generations of Studio Cameras suffered from issues I considered to be deal breakers, those issues have now been resolved.

Drawing from the wildly popular Pocket Cinema Cameras, they repackaged the sensors and processing into a form factor better suited for live production.

As a result, we get the Studio Camera 6K Pro that includes an impressive list of goodies:

  • Super 35 sensor
  • Active EF lens mount
  • 12G-SDI output and program return
  • Record to external USB-C drives
  • Record in 6144 x 3456 (6K) up to 50 fps
  • Record in formats up to 6144 x 2560 at 60 fps
  • Live stream via RTMP directly from the camera
  • Built-in ND filters can be set locally or remotely
  • Bright 2000 nits 7" touchscreen monitor
  • Multiple and redundant power options
  • 5-pin XLR port for professional talkback headsets
  • Camera power, camera video, program return, tally, talkback, and camera control all available via a single Ethernet cable with the Blackmagic Studio Converter
  • Support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand with compatible lenses

And that short list only scrapes the surface of what this camera offers, not to mention the excellent image quality and performance for the price.

The built-in live streaming feature will also be a great solution to get single camera setups online easily and efficiently.

If you're looking for a camera system that offers a remarkable bang for the buck and overall value, look no further!


Pros

  • Value
  • Integration with Blackmagic's ecosystem
  • Wide selection of EF lenses for all budgets

Cons

  • ProRes recording formats have been removed, leaving only Blackmagic RAW
  • Limited features outside Blackmagic's ecosystem
  • Parfocal servo zoom lenses are expensive

EF Servo Zoom Lenses

There are quite a few great EF lenses with parfocal servo zoom, but they can get expensive quickly.

In my opinion, here is the best overall budget package for achieving true parfocal servo zoom on sensors larger than 1":


Blackmagic Studio Camera 6K Pro Framing Distances
Full Shot 1.89mm per foot (6.19mm per meter)
100mm @ 53' (100mm @ 16.15m)
Medium Shot 4.35mm per foot (14.29mm per meter)
100mm @ 23' (100mm @ 7m)

Blackmagic Studio Camera 6K Pro Specifications
Sensor Super 35
Lens Mount Active EF
Recording Formats Blackmagic RAW
6144 x 3456 up to 60 fps
3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 60 fps
Recording Media 2 x USB-C 3.1 ports for recording to external drives
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI output
1 x 12G-SDI input
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 60 fps
Audio I/O 1 x Integrated stereo microphone
2 x XLR audio mic/line inputs
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo input (can also be used for timecode input)
1 x 5-pin XLR for talkback headset
1 x 3.5mm TRRS stereo headphone output (supports mic input for talkback)
Other I/O 2 x USB-C ports (support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand, software updates via Port A)
1 x RJ45 10Gb/s Ethernet port (streaming, control, and remote media management)
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x 12V DC 4-pin XLR input for external power supply or battery use
1 x 12V DC locking 5.5mm barrel connector
1 x RJ45 Ethernet port for power from Type 4 PoE power supplies

Sony HXC‑FZ90

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The best entry-level professional camera system.

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Image Quality: 8/10 Dynamic Range: 7/10 Low Light Quality: 6/10 Live Features: 10/10 Overall Value: 8/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Sony has always been a top brand for professional broadcast gear, so it's no surprise to see one of their cameras near the top.

If you want a more robust solution than Blackmagic Design but are still on a limited budget, then the HXC-FZ90 should be one of your first looks.

It offers a true 4K 2/3" sensor, support for both SDR and HDR workflows, full 12G-SDI support, as well as a slew of different power, control, fiber, and networking options.

It is, plain and simply, everything a complete broadcast camera system should be without rivaling the cost of a Bugatti.

Sony also decided to make 4K UHD capability an optional paid license. While many "glass half empty" skeptics will cry price-gouging, us "glass half full" optimists see it as a way to keep cost as low as possible for users and situations that don't call for the higher resolution.

Either way, it's a phenomenal camera system that will meet the needs of many.

Granted, once you start working at this level of gear I recommend going through an integrator or full-service dealer. Camera systems like this require more than what short lists like this can cover.


Pros

  • Native SMPTE fiber output
  • 4K UHD paid upgrade keeps initial costs low for HD users
  • Wide range of supported Sony accessories and control options

Cons

  • 2/3" sensors are seeing a downtrend
  • 4K UHD output requires budgeting for the additional license purchase

Sony HXC-FZ90 Framing Distances
Full Shot 0.85mm per foot (2.77mm per meter)
100mm @ 118' (100mm @ 36m)
Medium Shot 2.05mm per foot (6.67mm per meter)
100mm @ 49' (100mm @ 15m)

Sony HXC‑FZ90 Specifications
Sensor 2/3"-type 4K CMOS
Lens Mount B4
Recording Formats N/A
Recording Media N/A
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI input/output
1 x 3G-SDI output
1 x 3G-SDI prompter output
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 59.94 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 59.94 fps
1280 x 720 up to 59.94 fps
Audio I/O 2 x XLR audio mic/line inputs
1 x 5-pin XLR for intercom headset
1 x 3.5mm TRRS stereo headphone output
Other I/O 1 x Optical Fiber output (CCFN cable or LC single mode cable)
1 x 8-pin remote input
1 x 12-pin lens power/control output
1 x 20-pin viewfinder output
1 x USB 2.0 port
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x 12V DC 4-pin XLR input (10.5 V to 17 V)
1 x 12V DC 4-pin XLR output (10.5 V to 17 V)

Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Plus G2

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The best budget studio camera.

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Image Quality: 7/10 Dynamic Range: 6/10 Low Light Quality: 5/10 Live Features: 6/10 Overall Value: 9/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Just like my top pick, the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Plus G2 draws from the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K and repackages the sensor and processing into a more live-friendly unit.

While it has a smaller sensor and loses a few features compared to the top pick, it is still no slouch...

  • Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • Active MFT lens mount
  • Dual gain ISO
  • Excellent Blackmagic generation 5 color science
  • 12G-SDI output and program return 😮
  • Record to external USB-C drives
  • Record in formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 fps
  • Support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand with compatible lenses

So if you're on a tight budget but want the most capability and image quality your money can buy, this is a natural fit.

Just be aware that servo zoom lenses are a tricky situation (see the Micro Four Thirds Servo Zoom Lenses section below).


Pros

  • Price
  • Image quality
  • Integration with Blackmagic's ecosystem

Cons

  • Only three MFT lenses currently support power servo zoom
  • Parfocal servo zoom is often a deal breaker

Alternatives

If you find yourself needing a bit more capability than this camera but can't quite swing the cost of the top pick, the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pro G2 is a great compromise.

If you still need to shave a few dollars off the cost, the Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K G2 can meet many of the same needs. Just be aware it comes with no monitor/display and the SDI ports are HD‑BNC connectors.


Micro Four Thirds Servo Zoom Lenses

These are the only three MFT lenses currently being manufactured and that have built-in servo zoom:

The Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 EZ is another option. It's the lens most often used by Blackmagic Design for trade show demos and marketing photos. However, it has been discontinued for quite some time and has become increasingly difficult to find used in good shape.

There are currently no MFT lenses being manufactured that are both parfocal and have built-in servo zoom. At least not that I'm aware of, and I've constantly been looking for the last 5+ years. If you are aware of any, please let me know.

Getting true parfocal servo zoom requires using a B4, EF, or PL mount lens with a compatible MFT lens mount adapter.

One example I recommend (and one supported by Blackmagic Design):

The only other possibility requires using a manual cinema zoom lens and a third party FIZ system.

One example I recommend:


Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Plus G2 Framing Distances
Full Shot 1.43mm per foot (4.69mm per meter)
100mm @ 70' (100mm @ 21.34m)
Medium Shot 3.33mm per foot (10.94mm per meter)
100mm @ 30' (100mm @ 9.14m)

Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Plus G2 Specifications
Sensor Micro Four Thirds
Lens Mount Active MFT
Recording Formats Blackmagic RAW
3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
Recording Media 2 x USB-C 3.1 ports for recording to external drives
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI output
1 x 12G-SDI input
1 x HDMI output (Type A - Full Size)
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 60 fps
Audio I/O 1 x Integrated stereo microphone
1 x 3.5mm TRS stereo input (can also be used for timecode input)
1 x 3.5mm TRRS stereo headphone output (supports mic input for talkback)
Other I/O 2 x USB-C ports (support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand, software updates via Port A)
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x 12V DC locking 5.5mm barrel connector

Sony HDC‑F5500

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The best camera system money can buy.

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Image Quality: 9/10 Dynamic Range: 8/10 Low Light Quality: 7/10 Live Features: 10/10 Overall Value: 6/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

With the shift towards larger sensors and more cinematic depth of field in live broadcasts over the last few years, it was only a matter of time for a major manufacturer to take the best of their broadcast camera systems and throw in a larger sensor.

I'm not talking about converting a cinema camera with a Frankenstein box of interfaces and cables. I'm talking a bespoke broadcast-first form factor and features.

Sony was one of the first to answer the call, and delivered in a major way with the HDC-4800. But that was only the beginning...

Enter the HDC-F5500 - their next generation, fully loaded broadcast camera system with a Super 35 sensor, PL lens mount, and a bevy of interface and control options.

It's a beast.

Let's be real, though...

A vast majority of us are not going to be writing a blank check for a camera system like this that can easily surpass the six-figure price point.

But if you want to know about the toys being used by the big boys, this is one of them.


Pros

  • Image quality
  • Build quality
  • Strong Sony ecosystem and support
  • Ready for ST 2110 with optional interface units

Cons

  • No internal recording
  • Price point is out of reach for most
  • PL-mount broadcast lens options are fairly limited

Sony HDC‑F5500 Framing Distances
Full Shot 1.89mm per foot (6.19mm per meter)
100mm @ 53' (100mm @ 16.15m)
Medium Shot 4.35mm per foot (14.29mm per meter)
100mm @ 23' (100mm @ 7m)

Panasonic AK‑PLV100

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The best ST 2110 camera system money can buy.

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Image Quality: 9/10 Dynamic Range: 8/10 Low Light Quality: 7/10 Live Features: 10/10 Overall Value: 8/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Panasonic also answered the call for a larger sensor broadcast camera system with the AK-PLV100, but with a slightly different approach.

And I appreciate a few notable things about this system...

First, the lower entry-level price point compared to the F5500. This will meet a lot of needs and budgets in the more mid-level budget tier.

Second, the native ST 2110 support. While still in "coming soon" status, it will give the camera body direct ST 2110 output without the need for additional hardware or CCU support once enabled. This will be a big deal as the market shifts to IP-first infrastructure and capability more and more.

And third, it feels a bit more familiar to cinema body users. The 5.7K sensor (which seems to be the same one used in the EVA-1) tends to approach the imaging more from the cinema side rather than video/broadcast side.

If you plan to move towards ST 2110 in the near future and want a camera system that will support you well for the next decade, this is a solid choice.


Pros

  • Reasonable price point and value
  • Same great cinematic image quality as EVA-1 and Varicam
  • Native in-body ST 2110 output (coming soon)

Cons

  • ST 2110 not available yet
  • PL-mount broadcast lens options are fairly limited

Panasonic AK‑PLV100 Framing Distances
Full Shot 1.89mm per foot (6.19mm per meter)
100mm @ 53' (100mm @ 16.15m)
Medium Shot 4.35mm per foot (14.29mm per meter)
100mm @ 23' (100mm @ 7m)

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2

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Another great entry-level studio camera system.

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Image Quality: 8/10 Dynamic Range: 7/10 Low Light Quality: 6/10 Live Features: 8/10 Overall Value: 8/10

Scores are calculated equally across all camera categories. Learn how I choose scores

Take my top pick, give it an URSA Mini Pro body, an assortment of swappable lens mounts, internal ProRes recording, multiple memory card slots, and you get the Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2.

What results is a more versatile and capable camera body that can live comfortably on a tripod or on an operator's shoulder, in a studio or in the field, and on a television broadcast or on a movie set.

Highlights include:

  • Super 35 sensor
  • Four different lens mount options
  • 12G-SDI output and program return
  • Record to ProRes, Blackmagic RAW, H.265, or H.264
  • Record to CFast 2.0 slots, SD UHS-II slots, and/or external USB-C drives
  • Multiple power and battery options
  • Support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand with compatible lenses

If your needs and expectations say Sony FZ90 but your budget disagrees, the URSA Broadcast G2 might just be the perfect fit.


Pros

  • Supports B4, EF, F, and PL lens mounts
  • Record to CFast 2.0, SD cards, or USB-C external drives
  • Wide range of recording formats including ProRes, H.265, and Blackmagic RAW

Cons

  • Starting to feel a bit dated
  • No support for 5-pin talkback headsets
  • Optical B4 lens mount loses a full stop of light and easily reveals lens weaknesses

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 Framing Distances
Full Shot 1.89mm per foot (6.19mm per meter)
100mm @ 53' (100mm @ 16.15m)
Medium Shot 4.35mm per foot (14.29mm per meter)
100mm @ 23' (100mm @ 7m)

Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 Specifications
Sensor Super 35
Lens Mount B4 (installed)
Active EF Mount (included)
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro PL Mount (optional)
Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro F Mount (optional)
Recording Formats ProRes
3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 120 fps
H.265
3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
H.264
1920 x 1080 up to 60 fps
Blackmagic RAW
6144 x 3456 up to 50 fps
6144 x 2560 up to 60 fps
5376 x 3024 up to 60 fps
3728 x 3104 (anamorphic) up to 60 fps
3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 150 fps
Recording Media 2 x CFast 2.0 memory card slots
2 x SD card memory card slots (UHS-II)
1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port for recording to external drives
Video I/O 1 x 12G-SDI output
1 x 12G-SDI input
1 x 3G-SDI monitor output
Video Output Formats 3840 x 2160 up to 60 fps
1920 x 1080 up to 60 fps
Audio I/O 1 x Integrated stereo microphone
2 x XLR audio mic/line/AES inputs
1 x 3.5mm TRRS stereo headphone output (supports mic input for talkback)
Other I/O 1 x BNC input for reference and timecode
1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port (support for Blackmagic Zoom Demand and Blackmagic Focus Demand, software updates)
1 x 2.5mm LANC port
Wireless N/A
Power 1 x 12V DC 4-pin XLR input for external power supply or battery use
1 x 12-pin Molex connector under rear battery plate
1 x 12V 4-pin XLR regulated output on side of camera
1 x 12V D-Tap regulated output on V-lock battery plate
Rear camera mount compatible with industry standard V-mount or gold mount battery plates

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 24 years ago as a freelance live and ENG camera operator for broadcast television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. Since then, I have spent countless hours with hundreds of different cameras throughout 25 different countries. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right cameras and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel


How I Choose Scores

Every camera on this site gets scored for performance and overall value. Scores for each camera are calculated in the context of all other cameras and camera categories.

As a result, you may see lower or higher average scores for some characteristics in certain categories. For example, camcorders will typically receive lower than average scoring for image quality, dynamic range, and low-light performance and higher than average scoring for live features, while mirrorless cameras typically receive the opposite.

Image Quality

Image quality takes into account many factors including image noise, sharpness, color science, color accuracy, dynamic range, the ability to adjust the image to a specific style, etc.

Considerations include:

  • Accuracy of skin tones
  • Accuracy of saturated colors
  • Amount of details visible in highlights and shadows
  • Amount of noise in the final image
  • Amount of ghosting, chromatic aberration, and distortion in the image
  • How much work is required to achieve a pleasing final image
  • How much light is required to achieve the cleanest image

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range refers to how much detail is retained in highlights and shadows. The higher the dynamic range, the more detail that remains in bright highlights and dark shadows.

Dynamic range can also affect color saturation. A low dynamic range can cause unwanted clipping and/or smearing of saturated colors, as well as inaccurate shifting of colors in some situations.

For context, the ARRI ALEXA 35 currently sets the standard for a perfect 10/10 dynamic range. So if you wonder why these scores may seem low, it's because the bar has been set very high.

Low-Light Performance

This one is fairly self-explanatory.

But, first of all, I want to be clear that I always recommend providing adequate quality light if at all possible.

However, it does help knowing just how clean of an image to expect with less-than-ideal lighting, and is often a good indication of how clean the image is in general.

You will notice that camcorders and PTZs generally score much lower for this characteristic while mirrorless, cinema, and studio cameras score much higher. This is simply due to the nature of how camcorders and PTZs are made, with smaller sensors and built-in lenses that have variable apertures (an aperture that closes as the lens is zoomed in).

Live Features

Live features include remote control of camera and lens settings, built-in on-air tally indicators, built-in intercom for communication with director and crew, ability to add external viewfinders and monitors, remote power, and the ability to do everything through as few cables as possible.

Studio cameras and camcorders usually score higher while mirrorless cameras and cinema cameras might score lower.

Overall Value

This is the most subjective score, and is my overall opinion of the camera.

You may see lower scores here from cameras in both price extremes, with higher scores coming from cameras that tend to provide more performance and features for reasonable prices.

"Bang for the buck" is the key phrase here.

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