When looking for the best camera for stop motion photography, you may not find camera manufactured solely for the purpose of shooting stop motion video.
However, there are certain features to look for in a camera which makes shooting stop motion very easy. It really doesn’t matter that you use a webcam or a DSLR to shoot your stop motion, but what matters the most is that you have full control over the camera.
However there are some preferences when it comes to stop motion. A still camera is better than a video camera. A great example of that is that Aardman went from video camera to still camera and the results are there for all of us to see.
Best cameras for stop motion: 10 choices
1. Logitech HD Pro C920
Compatible with multiple operating systems, it is one of the best USB webcams available. It features a maximum resolution of 1080p/30fps – 720p/30fps.
- Full HD 1080p video calling (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels) with the latest version of Skype for Windows; Webcam with 5 foot cable
- 720p HD video calling (up to 1280 x 720 pixels) with supported clients; Full HD video recording (up to 1920 x 1080 pixels).Max Resolution: 1080p/30fps 720p/30fps
- Video compression, Built in dual stereo mics with automatic noise reduction; Automatic low light correction, Tripod ready universal clip fits laptops, LCD or monitors
- Compatible with: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 or later; Works in USB Video Device Class (UVC) mode: Mac OS 10.10 or later (HD 720p on FaceTime for Mac or other supported video calling clients; Full HD 1080p video recording with QuickTime Player) Chrome OS,Android v 5.0 or above (with supported video calling clients),USB port,Internet connection
2. Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000
It offers a 2MP camera with a maximum shooting rate of 30fps at 800×600 resolution and 15fps at HD920 x 720p. It is also compatible with all operating systems except Mac OS.
- The Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 now includes Logitech Vid video calling software. If your webcam does not include Vid, you can download it for free at Logitech.com.
- Ultra-smooth AutoFocus with Carl Zeiss lens system for sharper, fluid video
- HD video recording and 2-megapixel sensor capture detailed 16 x 9 widescreen videos and up to 2-megapixel photos
- RightLight2 Technology adjusts brightness for perfect images, even in dim light
- Premium built-in microphone with RightSound Technology for crystal-clear conversations
3. Logitech C270 Widescreen HD
It comes with a 3mp camera that can shoot HD videos. It supports all operating systems.
- HD 720p video calling and HD video recording, 2.4 GigaHertz Intel Core2 Duo, 2 GB RAM,200 MB hard drive space
- Video capture: Up to 1280 x 720 pixels, Logitech Fluid Crystal
- Crisp 3 MP photos Technology,Hi Speed USB 2.0
- Compatible with: Windows 10 or later, Windows 8, Windows 7, Works in USB Video Device Class (UVC) mode with supported video calling clients: macOS 10.10 or later, Chrome OS,Android v 5.0 or above
- built in microphone filters out background noise. System Requirements: Windows 7 Windows 8 or Windows 10 or later|macOS 10.10 or laterChrome OSAndroid v 5.0 or above|USB portInternet accessVisit your preferred video calling solution provider's website for exact information on system and performance requirements.|Visit your preferred video calling solution provider's website for exact information on system and performance requirements.|Works with Skype Google Hangouts FaceTime for Mac.FoV: 60°
4. Logitech C922x Pro Stream Webcam
Products offered by Logitech are top of the chart. Amongst them this is the best and latest version allowing you to shoot video at 1080p resolution with 30pfs or 720p/60pfs. It comes with manual autofocus for close up photos.
The most unique feature of this webcam is that, it comes with software that allows you to replace or remove the background. It is good for shooting in low light and has nice A/V quality. The configuration is a bit hard.
- Web Camera specifically designed and optimized for Professional quality video streaming on social gaming and entertainment sites like Twitch and YouTube
- Stream and record vibrant, true to life HD 1080P video at 30Fps/ 720P at 60FPS. Compatibility Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, macOS X 10.9 or higher, XBox One, Chrome OS, Android v5.0 or above, USB port. FoV: 78 degree
- Background replacement technology (powered by personify) allows you to integrate your live image and any background Scene, right onto your stream (only works with Windows 7 and above)
- Full HD glass lens and premium autofocus deliver razor sharp, clear video in consistent high Definition while 2 Built in mics capture your voice in rich Stereo Audio
- Record clear videos even in dim or poorly backlit settings with automatic light Correction. Cable length: 5 feet
5. Logitech Brio 4K Pro Webcam
It is one of the first 4K webcams introduced by Logitech. It is also the first to use HDR for color accuracy. It comes with 90 degree lens for shooting wide angle shots. It has great mic sound.
- SPECTACULAR VIDEO QUALITY: A premium glass lens, 4K image sensor, high dynamic range (HDR), and autofocus deliver beautiful, true to life video
- LOOK GREAT IN ANY LIGHT: RightLight 3 automatically adjusts exposure and contrast to compensate for glare and backlighting. Supports multiple connection types, including USB 2.0 Type A and USB 3.0 Type A and C connections
- 4K Streaming and recording Windows: works with camera for Windows 10, XSplit, OBS. Mac: works with SwiftCapture . WINDOWS HELLO CERTIFIED: Powered by both optical and infrared sensors, BRIO delivers fast and secure facial recognition for Windows Hello . No need to type a password for Windows 10: simply look into BRIO’s lens to login
- HD 5X ZOOM: Digitally zoom, pan, and choose from three field of view options while maintaining HD resolution
- ENTERPRISE READY: Certified for Skype for Business and Cisco, and compatible with popular video meeting apps including Zoom, WebEx, BlueJeans, Facebook Messenger, and more
For professional level stop animation, DSLR are the favorites. Mainly for 3 reasons
- Interchangeable lens
- Manual controls
- Picture quality
Best DSLRs for stop motion
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
This camera offers a 4k video configuration. It boasts excellent battery life and manual controls. It gives you high quality 30.4MP still images. This is probably the best DSLR camera for stop motion. It has a touch screen LCD monitor. The camera’s built is pretty sturdy and it weighs around 800 grams. It also comes with a 3.2 inch touch screen. But it’s really expensive.
- 30.4 MegaPixel full frame CMOS sensor for versatile shooting
- Up to 7.0 frames per second continuous shooting speed
- 61 point AF system with 41 cross points for expanded vertical coverage
- ISO range 100 32000 with 50 102400 expansion
- 4K video recording at 30p or 24p and in camera still frame grab of 8.8 MegaPixel images
2. Nikon D810 N
This camera speaks value for money. It boasts 36.3 megapixels, with a 3.2 inch display and a shooting speed of 5fps. It is best known for its image quality, which is unmatched by any other camera in this price range. The sensor and processing engine of the camera is quite remarkable. The autofocus is simply superb.
- 36.3 MP FX format CMOS sensor without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF)
- 30 Percent faster EXPEED 4 image processing engine. Shutter Speed: 1/8000 to 30 sec
- 51point AF system and 3D Color Matrix metering III with a 91,000 pixel RGB sensor
- ISO 6412,800 expandable to 51,200
- Featuring a new RAW Small Size option, which produces 16MP images with much smaller file sizes
3. Nikon D500
With a staggering continuous shooting speed of 10fps and 20.9mp, this is one of the best cameras for dynamic photography. It can capture details at extraordinary high quality. It comes with a 3.2 inch touchscreen. It also gives good lighting and sensitivity.
- 20.9MP DX Format CMOS Sensor.Viewfinder:Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
- EXPEED 5 Image Processor;Monitor Size: 3.2 inches diagonal
- 3.2 inches 2,539k Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
- Multi CAM 20K 153 Point AF System
4. Nikon D3300
It offers a 24.2 megapixels with a 3 inch screen. But considering the features it has to offers the cost is pretty impressive as it is not expensive at all.
- 24.2 MP CMOS DX format sensor
- 5 frames per second continuous shooting
- 11 AF points with 3D tracking
- ISO 100 12800 (expandable to 25600)
- 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps) HD video (MPEG 4/H.264/MOV).The D3300's 11 point Autofocus System locks onto your subjects as soon as they enter the frame and stays with them until you catch the shot you want.
5. Canon EOS Rebel T7i
Currently it is one of the most affordable DSLR cameras available, best suited for beginners. It offers 24.2 mp, with a 3 inch touchscreen and a 6fps shooting speed. It doesn’t have that many advanced features as the expensive models but is very easy to work with. It shoots at 6fps. It has high quality lens allowing shooting high quality images. It is also very light weight.
- 242 Megapixel CMOS (APS C) sensor
- Built in Wi Fi, NFC and Bluetooth Lens used: EF S 18 55 millimeter f/4 56 IS STM (at focal length of 55 millimeter)
- High Speed continuous shooting at up to 60 fps Weight Approx 1877 ounce / 532 grams (including battery pack and SD memory card) Approx 1711 ounce / 485 gram (body only)
- Metering Range: EV 1 20 (room temperature, ISO 100, evaluative metering)
Can you do stop motion with Go Pro?
Gopro is best suited for capturing motion so it doesn’t give you that quality and control. And there are no mentions of it being used for stop motion in the community as well. But you can always give it a try if you really want to know if GoPro is suitable for shooting stop motion.
Stop motion camera buying guide
A camera that gives you manual focus is most vital for stop motion. The next thing to look for in a stop motion camera is the resolution. It should be able to shoot a basic TV resolution of 640x480p(at the very minimum) Manual exposure is also one feature not to miss when looking for a stop motion camera.
Also remember that a camera with electronic shutter is more durable in stop motion than the one with mechanical shutter, because even professional grade DSLRs have a shutter activation life span of around 100 – 200000.
In other words some 2 hours of 24fps footage. After that the mechanical shutter starts posing difficulties. To avoid this, it is better to opt for a camera with electronic shutter.
Make sure that you buy a remote control for the shutter release as touching the camera again and again may cause quite a problem.
Mirrorless cameras are also good which usually come with an electronic shutter. Old analog cameras or camcorders can also be used. But almost all professionals use DSLRs the most.
What about smartphones?
These days people are even using their smartphone’s and iPhones as a stop motion camera. There are apps that can turn the smartphone into remote camera for stop motion. And then with decent editing software you can create a pretty decent stop motion animation.
Webcams are the cheapest and easiest way to shoot stop motion videos. They are best because they have no glitches with stop motion software. It is advisable for beginner’s as well non professionals to use webcams, as it is easy to stop a webcam during a shoot than a digital camera.
The only drawback is that it doesn’t have great lenses and no option of attaching better lens to it. Also, they are not useful while shooting 3d animation.
How do I take stop motion pictures and video?
Stop motion photography is an animation technique existing since before 100 years. It is done by capturing sequences of frames through countless of hours. It is then played back to make it look like it’s moving. It can also be called as stop-frame animation. It is a very tough task but having the right tools by your side lifts up that heavy toll from you.
The process is very simple to understand. You first place an image or an object which is the subject of the stop motion, then capture it with a camera, then move that image a little and capture it again. Typically stop motion uses figurines made out of clay and other materials.
You then have to repeat this same process again and again to give it a sense of movement. Typically, 12 frames equals to a second in stop motion animation. It can go higher than that too. It all depends on how big you want your stop motion to be. It would be great to do the calculating before the shoot as to know how many frames you have to shoot and hence prepare for it. All the images are then edited into a continuous video with stop motion software and exported as a movie.
There is much similarity between stop-motion and time lapse. In stop motion you are moving the subject while in time-lapse you are shooting a subject moving by it-self and then animate it.
For shooting stop motion you will need a camera, a small setup for shooting in and software to edit the Images. You must ensure to setup your camera sturdily so that the frames don’t shake while shooting.
A much better way to avoid doing that would be to use a wireless shutter release so that you don’t move the angle or disturb the camera again and again while shooting the images. Making a stop motion requires extreme patience.
Best stop motion software
Without stop motion software it would be literally impossible to create a stop motion animation video. Stop motion software assists you in making a stop motion animation, by allowing you to import your images to the software and then editing those images by using different tools. Below is a list of some of the best stop motion software used in creating stop motion videos.
1. Dragon Frame
This softwar captures the images directly to a computer and plays their animation back instantly. This software has impressive features like timeline and live view magnification support. The drawing tools are vector based giving it more control over the animation. It also lets you reshoot some sequences and restore deleted frames by simply dragging and dropping images.
The advance camera scanning tool allows you to capture accurate movements, compose and illuminate the perfect shot. It also lets you insert audio. It has a color detection tool which helps you compare tone ranges between shots and also adjust them. This software was used to create movies like Shaun the Sheep, the Little Prince and Frankenweenie 2012.
2. Stop Motion Pro Eclipse
It is one of the best stop motion software out there. It is easy to connect and can play up to 30 frames per second. It is packed with many advanced tools making it suitable for long term animation projects. Some of the highlights of this software is that it allows you to record audio and contains a lip-sync tool. You can also paste an image into this software. The user interface supports 5 languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Chinese.
3. Ikit Movie
This software is best suited for Lego and clay-mation. It offers a green screen feature allowing you to edit the background with utter ease. Unlike any other software, it grants you access to thousands of sound effects and music tracks. It is good for beginners as well as professionals. It also features the overlay tool which lets you add effects to your animation. It is compatible with Windows.
4. Qstop motion
This software is ideal for beginners. The features are rather basic. The interface is multilingual. It is compatible for windows as well as linux.
5. IStop Motion
One of the impressive features of this software is the onion skinning, which allows you to foresee what your animation would look like just after capturing an image. It also boasts of many other wonderful features like time-lapse, screen capture and sound waveform. It is compatible with Mac OS. It also supports DSLR cameras.
6. Stop Motion Studio
The software is easy to install and use. The basic features provided by this application are good for beginners. It also lets you create animation on your PC and share it on social media platform quite easily.
7. Animator HD
This is an advanced stop animation software considered to be one of the best softwares. It is compatible only with the windows OS. It supports DSLR cameras as well as 3D stereo shooting. The RAM player tool helps you to control and edit each individual frame. After editing your animation you can send it to After Effects for further editing.
This software is compatible with all platforms. One of its features allows you to capture image from various devices. It also features onion skinning.
This software is best suited for educational purposes and is good for helping kids start animation. There is a guideline to help you learn animation step by step. It provides a vast library of sound, music and other effects.