This guide to the best video cameras for hunting will help you self-film your next outdoor adventures.
The primary cameras used for hunting photography and video shooting tend to be a combination of:
a) a mirrorless camera with a long-range zoom and
b) an action camera (often mounted to a rifle or hat for POV footage).
Some hunters also make use of a trail camera to capture timelapse footage or a live stream of game and wildlife.
Thermal imaging cameras are sometimes useful for hunting nocturnal animals or for tracking game in dense foliage where visibility is limited
Using your smartphone to film hunts is also possible, depending on available light and proximity to animals.
Some hunters prefer to use traditional camcorders for video, but this makes it harder for solo filming and very few models are water-sealed.
To ensure we cater to every hunter’s needs, this guide includes a selection of various types of hunting video cameras.
Table of Contents
What is the Best Video Camera for Hunting in 2023?
Panasonic LUMIX GH5M2 (Best Video Camera for Hunting: Mirrorless)
- Excellent video quality
- In-body image stabilization
- Great selection of autofocus lenses
- Dust and splash protection
- Various AF detection modes
- No Raw video recording
The Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II is widely regarded as one of the best in its class, a lightweight mirrorless camera with outstanding handling.
Producing gorgeous 4K video quality and delivering exceptional low-light performance, its responsive and ergonomic design makes it ideal for hunting.
Built with a magnesium alloy full die-cast front, it’s both splash and dust-resistant, making it optimal for hunting in adverse weather conditions.
Additionally, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II is freezeproof down to -10 °C (14°F), so it can be used for winter hunts in exceptionally cold temperatures.
As well as delivering full HD recording, this camera records with full in-body image stabilization, lending it to use with powerful optical zoom lenses.
Autofocus is fast and responsive, with face, eye, body, and animal AF detection lending it to long-range hunting of various types of animals.
In addition to all the features outlined above, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II comes with dual SD card slots for shooting ample footage on lengthy hunts.
Whether you’re a pro hunter or an amateur enthusiast, the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II is the best hunting camera in its price range for your next expedition.
Panasonic LUMIX G85 (Best Video Camera for Hunting on a Budget)
- Vibrant 4K video capabilities
- Impressive AF performance
- Fully weather-proofed
- Effective IBIS
- Affordable price
- Complicated interface
- Poor battery life
As with the Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mark II, the Panasonic LUMIX G85 is a camera aimed firmly at outdoors photographers and videographers.
With its robust and hard-wearing body combined with a lightweight and compact design, it’s a camera that hunters can carry without feeling encumbered.
While cheaper than the GH5 Mark II, it carries the same dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof construction that makes the former so appealing for hunters.
Likewise, the optical image stabilizer makes the G85 great for reducing camera shake when tracking mobile animals in the wild.
With a video resolution of up to 4K, footage quality is crisp and vibrant, with impressive colour separation and overall fidelity.
Strong autofocus performance delivers reliable subject tracking, while the magnesium front panel further minimizes shakes and vibrations.
Along with its ergonomic design for ease of use, the G85 also features a clear EVF as well as a responsive touchscreen for rapid operation.
Purchase the Panasonic LUMIX G85 via Amazon, and you’ll get two versatile kit lenses to play with, making it a great starter camera for hunting enthusiasts.
Canon EOS R6 (Best Hunting Video Camera: Full-Frame Mirrorless)
- Superb 20.1MP sensor
- Smart and accurate autofocus
- Crystal clear EVF
- Dual SD card slots
- Full-frame IBIS
- Limitations on video recording
- Battery life could be improved
The release of the Canon EOS R6 caused something of a stir among wildlife and sports photographers who wanted an alternative to the EOS 6D.
It’s easy to see why since the EOS R6 delivers exceptional autofocus performance combined with effective in-body image stabilization.
The autofocus, in particular, is world-class, quickly honing in on subjects with incredible accuracy so you won’t miss capturing the action.
Combined with its rapid burst speed capabilities, the Canon EOS R6 feels tailor-made for wildlife photographers and hunters alike,
These features are complemented by a great dynamic range and an overall sharp and colourful image quality that makes the most of the 20.1MP sensor.
The Canon EOS R6 doesn’t quite perform as well on the video front, but it nevertheless sports 4K video up to 60 frames per second.
While videographers may want to look elsewhere, hunting photographers will be suitably impressed with the performance and results on offer.
TACTACAM 6.0 (Best Tactical Action Video Camera for Hunting)
- 4K video footage
- Impressive image stabilization
- Exceptionally lightweight
- Versatile mounting options
- Waterproof to 30 feet
- Mount configuration could be improved
While the cameras covered in this article so far have been designed for general use, the Tactacam 6.0 is geared specifically toward hunters.
This compact action camera can be easily mounted on rifles and crossbows, with a low weight to minimize any distractions while aiming.
While the Tactacam lacks the wide-angle lens of a GoPro, it comes with an impressive 8x optical zoom for honing in on a given target.
It’s also a fully waterproofed camera capable of withstanding up to 30 feet of submersion, lending it to underwater fish hunting expeditions.
Despite its lightweight and compact nature, the video produced by the Tactacam 6.0 is a crisp 4K resolution that pops with details.
Functionality is also impressive, with a responsive touchscreen for controls to quickly adjust settings and start recording a hunt.
There are several recording modes to choose from, as well as options to connect via Wi-Fi and wireless remote to send footage to other devices.
Hunters looking for a dedicated camera to mount for dynamic point-of-view footage easily will find the Tactacam 6.0 a capable addition to their kit.
GoPro Hero 11 Black (Best All-Around Action Camera for Hunting)
- Crisp and vibrant video footage
- Waterproof to 33 feet
- Voice command support
- Great selection of shooting modes
- Poor battery life for long recording
- No zoom
While the Tactacam 6.0 offers dedicated features designed first and foremost for hunting, the GoPro Hero 11 represents an all-purpose action camera.
As such, it comes with the traditional wider field of view typically associated with GoPro cameras and lacks the zoom found with the Tactacam.
Provided you’re happy with this viewing angle, there’s plenty to appreciate about the GoPro Hero 11, with many applications for hunting expeditions.
It’s a great action camera for shooting footage of the overall scenery and placing your hunting in its proper context when combined with zoomed-in footage.
The GoPro Hero 11 also comes with a taller sensor, delivering more cropping options when reviewing and processing video footage after a hunt.
Video quality is high resolution, while for images, it’s capable of Raw images when shooting in burst mode, with the results generally an improvement over the Tactacam.
It also features a raft of fun and easy-to-use shooting modes for hunters who want to explore more creative options in their videography.
The go-to brand for outdoor enthusiasts, the GoPro Hero 11 packs plenty of camera features into its small body, giving hunters scope for great B-roll footage.
Despite the release of the GoPro Hero12, the 11 is still more than enough for most for filming hunts.
Panasonic HC-VX1 (Best Camcorder for Filming Hunting Videos)
- Zoom range up to 600mm
- Nice 4K video footage
- Above average low light performance
- 26MP stills
- Affordable price
- 4K cropping
- Rolling shutter effect
Returning again to another great video camera from Panasonic with the HC-VX1 camcorder, an affordable model for entry-level videographers.
Capable of recording video in 4K video resolution, the Panasonic HC-VX1 comes with excellent image stabilization to keep your quarry in the frame.
Combined with its long zoom capabilities, it’s an incredibly versatile camcorder that will suit most hunting styles without breaking the bank.
The zoom lens has a range of between 25mm going up to 600mm, giving excellent scope for picking out subjects well in the distance.
It also boasts strong low-light performance with good control of noise and grain, even when recording at dawn or dusk.
Designed with a flip-out screen and easily accessible controls, the Panasonic HC-VX1 doesn’t require lots of prior videography experience to master.
If you’re looking for an additional camcorder for multi-camera capture, the Panasonic HC-VX1 fits the bill on a moderate budget.
Panasonic HC-V180K (Best Budget Camcorder to Film Hunts)
- Powerful zoom
- Decent 1080p video quality
- Pros here
- Pros here
- Great budget option
- Average low-light performance
- Lacking Wi-Fi
Another compelling choice for hunters looking to record their expeditions on a budget is another camcorder from Panasonic.
The Panasonic HC-V180K brings a similar aesthetic and design as the HC-VX1, with a flip-out screen and traditional camcorder control system.
It’s an affordable alternative that nevertheless still retains the impressive zoom, capable of up to 50x magnification, albeit digitally rather than optically.
While its low light performance doesn’t compare to high-end mirrorless cameras, daytime hunting footage can be captured with decent clarity and fidelity.
Video recording caps out at 1080p, but at this resolution, it’s capable of delivering satisfying results comparable to other cameras in its price range.
Professional hunters may want to look elsewhere, but for casual hunters looking to record weekend excursions for posterity, the Panasonic HC-V180K is well worth considering.
How Do You Hunt with a Camera?
When first setting out to hunt with a camera, it’s important to take stock of the type of hunting you’ll be engaging in.
For example, when archery hunting, you can get away with using cameras that have shorter zooms since you’ll be closer to the action.
On the other hand, rifle-based hunting may require a more powerful zoom depending on the type of scope you’re shooting with.
At the same time, rifle hunters who are planning on getting in closer and shooting through thick brush may be able to get away with less zoom.
Many of the best hunting video cameras deliver a strong optical zoom to help hone in on a kill before taking a shot.
For those keen on capturing distant wildlife without disturbing them, consider integrating spotting scopes into your gear.
These portable telescopes offer higher magnification than standard lenses, allowing for detailed shots from afar. Paired with a sturdy spotting scope tripod, they ensure clear, stable images, especially vital when zooming in on your subject.
With that said, you don’t always need to invest in a dedicated, high-end camera, and you can accomplish a great deal using a phone scope.
These scopes can be easily attached to your smartphone and capture the kill shot in decent video quality while keeping your hunting gear to a minimum.
Phone scopes are lightweight, versatile, and much more affordable than dedicated video cameras, giving awesome perspective at a distance.
If you do opt for a dedicated camera for filming hunts, make sure you use the best lenses and opt for a fully weather-proofed camera.
To help you get started, here’s a complete breakdown of what to consider before investing in a camera for self-filming hunts.
What to Consider Before Buying a Camera for Self-Filming Hunts
Not just any camera will do when it comes to filming hunts.
Here are some crucial factors to consider before investing in a camera for this purpose:
- Durability in Extreme Conditions: Hunting often exposes you to unpredictable weather conditions. Ensure the camera is both waterproof and dustproof.
- Cold Resistance: If you’re hunting in colder climates, look for a camera that can operate efficiently in low temperatures without the battery draining quickly.
2. Size and Weight
- Portability: A bulky camera can be cumbersome during hunts. Opt for compact and lightweight models that won’t hinder your movement.
- Balance: While size matters, don’t compromise on essential features. Find a balance between portability and functionality.
3. Mounting Capabilities
- Versatility: Ensure the camera comes with mounting options or is compatible with third-party mounts.
- Stability: A good mount should keep the camera stable, especially during moments of rapid movement or when trekking through rugged terrains.
4. Zoom Capabilities
- Optical vs. Digital Zoom: Always prioritize optical zoom over digital, as it offers clearer close-ups without compromising on image quality.
- Range: Consider how close you’ll need to zoom in to capture distant game or specific moments.
5. Point of View (POV)
- Wide-Angle Lens: A wide-angle lens captures more of the surroundings, providing context to your shots.
- Adjustable POV: Some cameras offer adjustable fields of view, allowing you to switch between wide, linear, and narrow, depending on the situation.
6. Video Quality
- Resolution: 4K resolution is becoming the standard, but 1080p can still offer excellent quality for most needs.
- Frame Rate: A higher frame rate, like 60fps, ensures smoother video, especially during rapid movements.
- Low-Light Performance: Hunting during dawn or dusk requires a camera with good low-light capabilities.
- Intuitive Controls: When you’re in the midst of a hunt, you don’t want to fumble with complicated settings. Look for cameras with user-friendly interfaces.
- Quick Access: Features like one-touch recording can be invaluable in the field.
- Battery Life: Consider how long the camera can record on a single charge, and if it supports quick charging or has replaceable batteries.
8. Additional Features
- Audio Quality: Good video should be complemented by clear audio. Consider cameras with wind-noise reduction or the ability to attach external microphones.
- Image Stabilization: This feature reduces the shakiness in videos, especially important when you’re on the move.
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity can be beneficial for transferring files or remote camera control.
FAQs on Hunting Cameras
Is a GoPro good for hunting?
While even the best GoPro cameras lack the zoom function necessary to make them a primary hunting camera, they do have their place.
The ability to mount them on headgear means they’re great for capturing point-of-view footage while filming hunts.
Combined with their wide angle of view, GoPros offers another shooting style to capture the action of your hunting adventures.
What kind of camera do professional hunters use?
The best cameras used for filming hunts by professionals include the Sony FX6, a great mirrorless with lots of camera features.
Delivering excellent video quality, its high frame rate and ability to capture slow-motion footage make it an optimized camera for filming hunts.
Other video cameras used by professional hunters include the Canon G Series cameras and Sony AX series, ideal for low light conditions while hunting.
What’s better for hunting: a Tactacam or GoPro?
Both Tactacam and GoPro video cameras allow hunters to mount the video camera on weapons, with pros and cons from each manufacturer.
Tactacam is widely regarded as one of the best video cameras for hunting since they were specifically developed for firearm and hunting purposes.
With that said, it’s possible to record outstanding hunt footage with a GoPro, with models offering a budget video camera for amateur hunters.
What is the best Sony video camera for hunting?
There are several outstanding Sony models that work incredibly well as a hunting video camera, in addition to the aforementioned Sony FX6 and AX series.
The Sony NX80 has been adopted by the Hunting Public crew, a solid action camera capable of recording slow-motion along with a 12x optical zoom.
Other cameras from Sony used by hunters include the Sony FDRAX53/B 4K and the Sony HDRCX405 camcorder, among the best cameras for hunters on a budget.