When looking for the best cameras for stop motion, the most important considerations include manual controls, remote shutter release, and shutter count. Below, I have handpicked the top five products that meet these criteria. Read on below to know why they are essential.
I have always been intrigued with stop motion videos. It refers to a cinematography technique that requires you to shoot one frame at a time and move the subject in between every shot. Once you combine all those images, they give an impression that the object is moving on its own.
Upon further research, I found out that there is no specific camera for the purpose of stop motion video. You can use any type or model as long as it has certain features. The most crucial consideration is complete control over the camera settings, making it easier to shoot stop motion videos.
With so many cameras on the market, though, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one.
But fret not!
I researched countless articles and product reviews to determine the best cameras for slow motion. Hopefully, this list can help you narrow down your choices.
We will also further discuss the factors you need to consider when buying a stop motion camera.
So without further ado, let us dive right into the top picks!
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5 Best Cameras for Stop Motion
1. Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 – Best Stop Motion Camera for Hobbyists
You do not have to own a professional camera to create stop motion videos. Having a webcam like the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 can also help you achieve high-quality results.
Its selling points are perhaps the full HD 1080p video resolution and built-in dual stereo mics. These make the C920 an excellent webcam for video conferences, business meetings, and other purposes.
But this webcam also enables you to capture a series of photos to combine them later on to create a stop motion video.
It features a 78-degree viewing angle, which helps you compose your shots with ease. There is also an included universal clip that can fit laptops, monitors, LCD, and even tripods. It is now easier than ever to point the camera to the subject and shoot photos as needed.
What’s more, the Logitech C920 has autofocus functionality and automatic light correction. It helps you achieve a properly exposed scene for quality stop motion video.
On top of these features, it is compatible with multiple operating systems, including Mac OS 10.10 or later, Windows 7, and Windows 8 or later.
Despite this promise, several customer reviews mentioned that this webcam does not work on Windows 10 computers. It also does not have a manual focus function. Thus, the camera tends to hunt focus, especially in low-light situations.
For these reasons, we only recommend the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 for beginners or hobbyists. It is a reasonably good camera for stop motion, but it lacks advanced settings that hinder you from having total control over the camera.
- Cheap compared to professional cameras
- Tripod-ready universal clip
- Easy to compose shots
- Automatic low light correction
- It supports several operating systems
- Not compatible with Windows 10
- No manual focus and advanced settings
- It lacks optical zoom
- It requires a USB port and internet connection to use it
2. OKIOLABS OKIOCAM S USB 2-in-1 Webcam and Document Camera – Best Budget Camera for Stop Motion
The OKIOLABS OKIOCAM S is another stop motion camera that best suits amateurs or even kids.
It acts as both a webcam and document camera. The front-facing webcam is ideal for conference calls or general snapshots, while the document camera is suitable for photographing images in great detail. Thus, it enables you to create stop motion videos in two different ways.
It also features a multi-jointed arm and a rotatable camera head. This highly adjustable design enables you to capture photos and videos from all angles without buying a separate tripod.
This 2-in-1 camera even connects to popular video conferencing or recording tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and FaceTime. There is no need to install a driver on your computer. You can simply plug and play the camera to achieve your desired results.
Moreover, it only weighs 9.5 ounces (269g) and folds to 1.6 inches (4cm) tall. It is compact and light enough to bring with you on the go.
Finally, there is a single button that adjusts focus, exposure, and white balance automatically. This setting makes it easier for beginners to create quality stop motion videos.
However, some customer reviews stated that the buttons do not seem to do much. A few users also said that it was pretty tricky to extend the arm due to the lack of instructions.
Many even commented that the photos and videos show up reversed. There is an easy fix to this, though. You can either press the selfie button or rotate the camera manually to fix the mirrored image.
And for its price, the OKIOLABS OKIOCAM S is hard to beat. It is one of the best cameras for stop motion video.
- Budget-friendly price
- 2-in-1 webcam and document camera
- Adjustable arm and 360-degree rotatable arm
- One button auto-adjust
- Compact and lightweight
- Lack of instruction manuals
- Buttons only work in Chrome App
- It has relatively lower pixel count compared to DSLR cameras
- Some users said that the photos and videos show up reverse
3. Nikon D3500 – Best Value Camera for Stop Motion
If you have more budget to spare, consider getting an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3500.
This digital camera offers more control over the camera compared to the previous webcam models. You can choose from auto, aperture priority, shutter priority, and full manual mode to capture a series of photos and achieve stop motion animation videos.
And unlike a webcam, a DSLR gives you endless possibilities. It is compatible with several lenses, which makes it easier to get various looks or perspectives.
Plus, this 24.2-megapixel DSLR uses an image sensor approximately 15 times larger than those in typical smartphones. The result is sharp and high resolution images, ideal for stop motion photography.
There is even a fast and accurate autofocusing feature. It helps keep your subjects in focus as you capture shot after shot.
And speaking of shots, this stop motion photography camera offers continuous shooting speed up to 5 fps. This isn’t the best high speed continuous shooting performance on the market, but it delivers quality stop frame animation.
Furthermore, it works with Nikon’s SnapBridge app. Simply pair your phone or tablet with the camera to share your stop motion projects instantly.
Most customer reviews for this camera were positive. However, a few users said the placement of the camera settings is not ideal. There is also no Wi-Fi and external mic support, which is a significant downside for its price.
Nevertheless, we still think the Nikon D3500 offers the most value for your money. It packs several features that are useful for the stop motion animator.
- 24.2 megapixels sensor results in sharp picture quality
- Various exposure modes for complete control over the camera
- Interchangeable lenses
- Fast and accurate AF to keep subjects in focus
- SnapBridge app for instant sharing of files
- Lightweight and compact body
- Camera settings are not user-friendly
- Lack of Wi-Fi and external mic support
- 11 autofocus points may not be enough for some
4. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – Best Professional Camera for Stop Motion
Do you want to achieve the highest quality images possible for your stop motion video? Consider investing in the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.
It features a 30.4-megapixel full-frame sensor that delivers clear and sharp images in nearly any situation. Together with the expandable ISO range of 50-102400, it can shoot photos in low-light conditions with ease.
There are also multiple photo capture options, including Canon Log. This setting allows you to shoot photos with a wide dynamic range to help retain color and detail.
This full-frame DSLR camera even offers continuous shooting of up to 7 fps for freezing fast-moving subjects with accuracy.
Besides photos, this Canon EOS DSLR camera is also impressive in filmmaking. It can record 4K footage at either 24 or 30 fps. Meanwhile, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF ensures responsive and smooth AF during video capture.
Furthermore, there is built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. This function allows remote shooting, image review, and file transfer via compatible mobile devices for ease of use.
As for its downsides, it is tough to point out such flaws. On top of our minds, we can say that it is bulky and heavy, not to mention expensive, but you get what you pay for.
To sum up, the Canon 5D Mark IV enables complete control over the settings to deliver high-quality photos and videos. It is among the best DSLR cameras for stop motion.
- Full-frame sensor for versatile shooting
- Wide dynamic range to deliver beautifully detailed images
- Ability to shoot 4K and HD slow-motion videos up to 120 fps
- Responsive and smooth autofocus with 61 AF points
- Continuous shooting up to 7 fps
- Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
- Bulky and heavy
- Lack of tilt screen
5. Sony Alpha a6000 – Best Mirrorless Camera for Stop Motion
If you prefer a mirrorless camera to meet your stop motion needs, the Sony Alpha a6000 is worth checking out. It is an older model, but it still delivers impressive results, especially for its price point.
This mirrorless camera uses a 24.2-megapixel back-illuminated sensor for capturing photos in high resolution. The higher sensitivity sensor and ISO range of 100-25600, which is expandable up to 51200, help you shoot in low-light conditions with ease.
The main highlight is the hybrid AF with 179 phase-detection and 25 contrast-detect autofocus points. It can ensure sharp and in-focus images, even when the subject is moving fast. Meanwhile, the continuous shooting mode of up to 11 fps ensures that you never miss the moment.
What’s more, this still camera gives you complete control over the settings, similar to DSLRs. There are two dials on top and a rear-mounted control wheel to adjust capturing shooting modes and settings. Plus, the OLED electronic viewfinder enables you to review the scene in front of you in rich detail.
There are a few downsides to this mirrorless camera, though.
Several users noted that it has a poor battery life and image quality is not the best in low light. The camera also lacks a touch screen display.
But as you can see, the pros far outweigh the cons.
For this reason, we think the Sony Alpha a6000 is one of the best cameras for stop motion. We highly recommend it to professional photographers
- Advanced image processor for higher-resolution photos and videos
- Hybrid AF to deliver sharp and in focus images
- Up to 11 fps continuous shooting speed
- Easy and intuitive controls
- Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for instant file sharing
- Small and lightweight body
- Short battery life
- No touchscreen display
- Some users said that image quality is not the best in low light situations
Things to Look for the Best Camera for Stop Motion
Below are the essential factors to consider when buying a camera for stop motion.
In order to create high-quality stop motion videos, it is vital that you have control over most camera settings. These include aperture, shutter speed, exposure values, ISO, and focus.
A camera with manual controls enables you to capture photos in the same lighting or focus plane. Thus, it helps avoid continuity problems when you combine the images in a video.
Our top recommendations for the best stop motion cameras include DSLRs and mirrorless models. These allow manual control over basic camera settings so that you can achieve consistent and higher-quality results. That said, webcams with auto features will still enable you to create stop-motion videos but with a limit.
Remote Shutter Release
When creating a stop-motion video, the camera must stay in the same position throughout the entire process to avoid continuity issues. Although having a tripod is usually enough, it does not always guarantee a shake-free movement since you still need to press the shutter button manually.
Thus, you may want to consider a camera with a remote shutter release. This option enables you to release the shutter remotely, which eliminates the slightest vibration.
Stop motion cinematography requires you to shoot thousands of images if you want to achieve longer videos. The number of shots you take can prove problematic, as most shutters can only last for so long.
For instance, most mechanical shutters only last for ten or a hundred thousand actuations–or clicks–before they start to fail.
So if you want to maximize your investment, you can choose a mirrorless camera with an electronic shutter instead. This shutter type wears out slower than mechanical shutters found in DSLRs and most cameras.
Resolution is not a factor you need to worry about when buying a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Almost all models can capture images at a higher resolution.
The same could not be said to webcams, though. You want to buy a model with at least a minimum resolution of 640×480. Avoid getting specs lower than this as it is too small, and it will compromise your final stop motion movie.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to take stop motion pictures and videos?
Creating stop motion footage is relatively simple.
One of the first things to consider is the setup of the scene. You must ensure your camera stays at a fixed position throughout the entire process. You also need to have consistent lighting and exposure settings, hence the importance of having manual control over the camera. If not, you risk creating an inconsistent jump in your animation.
Once you are confident that everything is locked in place, you can start taking a picture. After that, make a small change into the frame by moving the subject or adding elements. Then take a picture again. Repeat the steps as necessary until you are done.
After shooting the photos, you can now put them together on editing software to create a stop motion video.
Can you use a GoPro for stop motion video?
Although GoPros are marketed as action cameras, they are still capable of creating exciting stop motion videos.
There are two ways you can do this with a GoPro.
First, you can take a series of photos manually using the phone app or remote control. After every shot, you move the subject then retake a photo. Once done, you can combine all the pictures on editing software to achieve stop-motion footage.
The second way is to use the time-lapse option, in which the GoPro will automatically capture photos and combine them into a video. Just make sure to change the interval, so you have enough time to move the subject in the frame.
Can you use a camera phone for stop motion video?
It is possible to create a stop motion video using your phone by following the basic shooting principles mentioned above.
These include having consistent lighting and mounting your camera–in this case, your phone–on a tripod to ensure a fixed position.
You can also consider downloading some apps dedicated to creating stop motion. These will make the process easier.
How many pictures does it take to make a 1-minute stop motion?
It depends on your targeted frame rate. You can choose a playback of 24 fps for cinematic effect or 30 fps in social media. However, stop motion animation usually works in the 12 to 15 fps range, in which the frames are doubled later on editing software.
Remember that the higher the frames per second you use, the smoother the movement will appear. Lower frame rates result in a jerky and unrealistic motion.
To determine how many pictures you will need for minute-long footage, we did the math for you below.
- 60 (seconds) x 12 (frames) = 720 pictures
- 60 (seconds) x 15 (frames) = 900 pictures
- 60 (seconds) x 24 (frames) = 1440 pictures
- 60 (seconds) x 30 (frames) = 1800 pictures
As you can see, it takes a lot of photos to create a minute worth of footage. But unless you are a professional, there is probably no need to produce a long stop motion video.
As previously mentioned, there are no specific cameras for stop motion. You can use any camera as long as they give you control over the settings.
In this list, we included beginner-friendly options like the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 and professional models such as the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. Picking between the two will entirely come down to your preferences, needs, and budget. But regardless of your choice, both cameras will help you create exciting stop motion videos.