Best Laptops for Pro Cinematographers & Filmmakers 2023

Updated on January 8, 2023
best laptop for cinematographers

Apart from shooting breathtaking videos for films, cinematographers also have to spend even more time in editing their videos. They need powerful laptops to get their job done.

We have picked the best laptops for cinematographers so that get can put heavy video editing software and do the editing smoothy. With 4k video editing, only a powerful laptop can hold tight and run smoothly when operated hours on a stretch.

A high-speed powerful laptop would need a fast processor, a solid graphics card along with lots of memory and storage. You may find that gamers also use quite similar laptops as it also has similar configurations. These beasts would be able to control the tools people in the cinematography field use and encode videos way sooner than a standard laptop.

With better performance comes steep prices as you would have expected. If average laptops have failed you, you have no option than to turn to the best laptops the computer manufacturers have produced.

We will list down the best laptops for a low budget range to a high budget range. Here they are:

The Contenders For Pro Cinematographers & Filmmakers in 2023

1. 16-inch Macbook Pro (2019)

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The Macbook Pro is leading the market with unbeatable features like the display and processor. Those who can’t compromise quality should go for this.

  • Awesome 16-inch screen
  • Better Keyboard

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Key features & details

The 16-inch MacBook Pro now comes with an option to choose from six or eight-core Intel Core i9 processors. And this processor can run at up to 4.8GHz Turbo, which is powerful enough to handle even 4k videos.

Another advantage of using a MacBook is being able to use Apple’s Final Cut Pro as it only works on Apple devices. And this most powerful laptop from Apple will be able to run it better than any other laptop from Apple.

Apple provides you with the option to upgrade the graphics to AMD Vega 20 from the Radeon Pro 560x in the base model. You can also increase the storage to 4TB and 32GB of memory.

Cinematographers would especially love the TrueTone retina display. The display will definitely enhance the experience of the visual work the cinematographers do. There are only four Thunderbolt 3 ports, so you might need to invest more in a port hub.

2. HP Envy 13 (2019)

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The HP Envy 13 will not break your bank and give a decent performance but don’t expect it to be as good as the Macbook Pro. This HP laptop comes at a low price point which will cater to a large number of people.

  • Lightweight
  • Powerful
  • Lacks six-core processors
  • Display doesn’t support 4k

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Key features & details

This laptop from HP is on our list for the best laptop for cinematographers because of the features it provides at an amazing price. The HP Envy packs the 8th generation of the Intel Core process with an option to choose from the i5 or i7 processor.

The laptop is lightweight and has a full HD display; cinematographers working in 4k might be disappointed with the display. But the Envy 13 has enough RAM with the base model having 8GB expandable up to 16GB.

It has also an SSD drive which can be extended up to 512GB. The top version of the HP Envy 13 has Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 which will help in editing videos smoothly. The lack of a six-core processor in this laptop will not be able to handle heavy 4K files.

3. Dell Inspiron 14 5000

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Those looking for a mid range laptop can bet for the Dell Inspiron 14 5000. The core i7 processor will give you decent power to support your video editing work.

  • Well-priced
  • IPS display
  • Lacks good graphics
  • Not suitable for 4k editing

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Key features & details

The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 would fall in the mid-range and would be good for those cinematographers who would not shell as much money as the Macbook Pro and can compromise a bit on the performance and functionalities.

Like the HP Envy 13, this 14-inch FHD laptop is also not suitable for editing 4k videos. But, with 8GB RAM, an option to upgrade to the i7 processor, the Dell Inspiron 14 5000 can do a good job in editing HD videos.

The entry-level of configurations would suit those cinematographers who primarily work with HD videos and are either in the early stages of their careers having a low budget.

Verdict: Those looking for a mid range laptop can bet for the Dell Inspiron 14 5000. The core i7 processor will give you decent power to support your video editing work.

4. Acer Predator Helios 500

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The HD graphics card along with other powerful features makes it a strong competitor of the Apple’s MacBook series.

  • Powerful Graphics Card
  • Enough power in the processor
  • Bulky design
  • Expensive configurations

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Key features & details

One of the best video-editing laptops is also a good gaming laptop. It has some mind-blowing features like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5. The 17-inch Predator Helio 500 comes with 512GB SSD or you can choose the 2TB HDD.

People like cinematographers who work with multimedia would love this laptop as it also has the option to choose Intel Core i9. Customers can also choose the AMD Ryzen processor which can be a better bet for video editing.

The Acer laptop is a bit bulky and this high-end configuration can be a little pricey.

5. Microsoft Surface Book 2

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Microsoft has moved ahead from many of its competitors by releasing an upgraded version of the surface laptops. It’s design, clean interface and powerful features at a reasonable price is hard to beat.

  • Screen can be separated
  • Stunning display
  • The fulcrum hinge can come in your way

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Key features & details

The Microsoft Surface Book is way better than the first one. The surface book is a 2-in-1 laptop which also can be turned into a tablet by detaching the screen from the laptop. The 15-inch pixel-sense screen is big enough for all the cinematography work that you can do on a laptop.

The Surface Book comes with a stylus that would make your video editing work even finer and give you more control. The specs of this laptop are just impressive given the price. The display is a stunning 3240*2160 which beats almost every laptop on the market. 4k viewing experience will just blow your mind.

The graphics card can be selected between the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and the Intel UHD Graphics 620. The Surface Book comes with 16GB RAM and there is an option for you to choose from 256GB to 1TB of SSD storage.


As tech companies like Intel are making newer versions of processors, consumers are benefitting from it immensely. And, processors like i7 or above should be the minimum a cinematographer should aim for.

Graphics play a key role in video editing. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX or GTX series and the Intel HD graphics are the ones which can give smoother display of videos while editing.

The whole point of buying a laptop is that you can carry it around and do your work, so don’t forget to check the battery backup. The surface laptop from Microsoft has a strong performing battery.

So, if you are a cinematographer who mainly works with HD videos or less, and you have a low budget, you can go for the HP Envy 13. If you have to go for the best laptop, you can choose Apple Macbook Pro if you are a Mac fan and the Acer Predator Helios 500 if you think windows would better suit you. The Surface Pro would be the best bet for mid-range laptops.

Experts suggest having fast SSD storage and more than 16GB of RAM to get the work going smoothly. And if you plan to use a windows based laptop, use the 64-bit version. Also, if you can afford, use a crisp monitor which has well color renditions since providing the proper color tones the film requires is part of your job.

Article by:
Kenny Trinh
While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur. His writing has been featured in national publications such as Forbes, RD, Yahoo Finance, HackerNoon among others.

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