Find the best video quality for under $200 – fun EOSHD Challenge

Entrant’s forum thread for the EOSHD $200 Challenge is here

Today marks the start of a cinematography competition on EOSHD. This is a fun shooting challenge combined with a treasure hunt for underrated camera gems. The aim is simple enough… To find the most cinematic camera under $200 and to make it look as good as possible.

Can you do it?!

The competition

You must find a camera body for $200 or under! The cheaper and more bargainlicious the better. Research cameras, choose a promising looking one and find a bargain, either on eBay or elsewhere on the internet, or at your local photography store.

  • When you find a bargain, keep the receipt for proof and keep the choice secret until the last stage of the competition
  • If you wish to use a camera you already own, I’ll allow this as long as it’s now worth less than $200 on eBay in fully working order.

That’s pretty much it for rules.

The next step is to make a stunning piece of cinematography that defies the capabilities and age of the camera you chose to use and love.

The video will be judged by me as a judge and by the EOSHD Forum community in a public vote.

The winner of the judge’s award gets a prize from me, and to really spice things up, the winner of the forum vote gets the camera of the last place man!! So, no cheating and using a RED Epic!!! Unless you want to lose it. Although it is very unlikely for an entry to finish dead last there’s a moral obligation here to thousands of camera nerds! Of course you can just enter for the judge’s prize, if you’re chicken. Keep your eye on the voting topic on the EOSHD Forum at the close of the competition when voting begins… and once voting ends, I’ll announce a winner of the judge’s prize as well.

How to enter:

From today (July 3rd) simply get searching for a bargain camera for $200 and under, the more bang for buck the better. Get shooting with it, come up with something which in a blind test you would not BELIEVE came from such a cheap camera body. Keep an eye on the schedule below.

Please keep the shoot to just cinematography, so no paid actors and story lines. This is a camera test competition and about your eye as a cinematographer only, shooting normal subjects, making real life settings look like cinema – rather than any added talents you have as a filmmaker overall, or ability organising an elaborate pro shoot. So please no expensive lights, let’s keep things Dogme 95 style, real life subjects and natural light.

No Magic Lantern RAW is allowed in the competition. Too easy to cheat with!! Must be a stock, unmodified video mode for under $200.

Competition dates and how it works

After you’ve found a promising bargain it’s time to wrangle it out in the real world and shoot. Then, on the EOSHD Forum, entrants will post their videos in a “blind test” for people to see without knowing which camera was used yet.

Your videos (preferably 1, maximum 2) will rack up votes on EOSHD in a public poll, then only after the poll closes the cameras you used will be declared. Then each entrant will reveal what camera they used, along with a photo of it and proof of purchase showing the price of $200 or under. We can have a big discussion (or argument?!) about what we all used including lenses.

The budget cap for the camera body is $200 in the US and £200 in the UK / €200 euros in Europe. (Currencies in other countries, just convert to dollars).


  • 3rd July, from today: competition opens.
  • 3rd-24th July: three weeks to find the cheap camera and shoot your video, and entrants submit their videos on the EOSHD Forum thread to the competition.
  • 24th July: Public voting begins in the poll to choose the favourite video (and the unlucky last place!)
  • 28th July: Voting closes and the result is officially announced, then we all reveal which cheap cameras we used.
  • 30th July: My EOSHD judge/jury prize awarded to favourite video of all entries.

So there are two winners: one of the public vote and one of the judge’s prize.

I am taking part in the competition as well – but only the public vote, obviously!

Next, another twist. You have relative free will when it comes to lenses but the use of more modern lenses or something that costs $700 is against the spirit of the competition and get you marked down for it. I’ll be most impressed with those who bolt an interesting and unique old lens to the camera, especially if it’s another undiscovered gem or bargain. It could be considered a good deal if you bought it for a knock down price compared to what it’s worth, even if you paid $300, if it’s worth $600 I’ll be impressed…  but get creative and no boring expensive choices like a modern 24-70mm F2.8 please! Finding a balance between something which looks unique as well as cinematic, and something which isn’t $500 is the key with the lenses side… But the competition is predominantly about the cheap camera and your skills as a shooter. Cameras with fixed lenses are allowed, as long as bought for a total at $200 or under.

Summary of rules:

  1. $200 or less camera body with proof of purchase (alternatively one you already have that you know is now worth $200 or less)
  2. Real-life subjects, natural light, only cinematography with no fancy stories… This isn’t a story telling competition!
  3. Make the camera look as cinematic as possible
  4. Please try to be original with choice of camera
  5. Colour grading is ok and allowed. I have no rules limiting grading or editing, or the sound track
  6. However, Magic Lantern RAW is not allowed due to being too good! (must be a unmodified camera stock video mode)
  7. No expensive lenses or extra kit (such as elaborate lights, rigs, actors, stories, sets or props)
  8. Video must be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo by 24th July 2019
  9. Video must be posted on the EOSHD Forum competition thread here
  10. Camera must not be revealed until after the public voting closes on 28th July (exact time TBC)
  11. Judge’s decision is final, and please keep an eye on the relevant EOSHD Forum posts!
  12. Last placed entrant in the public vote will be asked to hand their camera body to the winner of the public vote!