The Complete Guide to Choosing a Stop Motion Camera

A stop motion camera is a camera used to take the images that will create the stop motion video. Production of a stop motion video involves taking a still, moving the characters vary slightly into a new position, then taking another still.

A stop motion video set consists of the characters, the lights, and the camera. There are plenty of cameras to choose from, but where do you begin? Is there such a thing as the best stop motion camera?

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Do I need a video camera for stop motion video?

You might be forgiven for thinking that you need a video camera to make a stop motion video. It is a video, after all. But actually, the nature of stop motion video production is that you’re producing a lot of individual stills and stitching them together later in the process to make a video. So what you actually need is a stills camera, the kind you’d use for photography. Most professional productions use DSLR cameras to get the highest quality and customization of each individual frame.

Is there a best camera for stop motion?

The camera you choose for your stop motion video production depends on several things - mainly your budget, your time, and your expertise. There is no such thing as the ‘best’ camera for stop motion because every project is different and every person using it is different.

For example, high-end professional productions like the studios at Aardman and Laika, animators will use top of the range Canon stills cameras and shoot in RAW format to get the most detail out of every image. These are images designed to be blown up onto the big cinema screens so they need to be the best possible technology.

But there’s no reason a hobbyist stop motion video producer couldn’t use a DSLR as well. There are plenty of entry-level DSLRs available for a couple of hundred dollars that would do the job perfectly well, from both Nikon and Canon.

Is there a best camera for stop motion

If that is still out of your budget, then the camera on your phone can take great stills. The point is any camera that can take still photos can be used to make a stop motion video. In fact, it’s not the camera itself that is the barrier between you and a great stop motion video.

The secret to making a good stop motion video is the story and creativity. What story are you trying to tell? Who are the characters? What are they trying to do? What does the film look like, and how are you bringing it to life? These are all much more important questions to focus on than the kind of camera you are using. It doesn’t matter that you’re using the most premium state-of-the-art camera available on the market if the story is not engaging. Much more entertaining and interesting stories can be told using an old iPhone camera.

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