Whether you are an independent filmmaker or just someone who likes capturing special memories through videos, you definitely are always looking out for the best gadget to use. Gone are the days when DSLRs are only used for still photos, as they are also now of bigger importance when it comes to shooting films and videos. So, if you are asking which would be the best DSLR for video, you probably already know by now that it is not at all an easy question to ask. These days are indeed the era of high technology in terms of gadgets and electronic accessories. There can be a lot of options and you can easily find yourself torn not just between two choices, but definitely more. No matter how you intend to use your DSLR camera, video recording is indeed an excellent feature that you have to consider.
With the many brands and models coming out in the market, it can be a really daunting task to choose the right one, more so if you are a beginner who barely knows the ins and outs of photography. While few cameras can be quite affordable, several ones can surely cause a dent in your pocket and it would be a shame to waste a purchase just because you were not able to pick the right DSLR camera that you need.
Factors to Consider
Before we begin listing out the best DSLR cameras when it comes to shooting videos, let us first have a look at some factors that you should consider. Knowing these fundamentals will greatly help in narrowing down your choices, allowing you to come up with fewer options in the long run.
As with any purchase you have to make, it is always wise to first stop and ask yourself – how do I plan to use the camera that I am going to buy? You also have to remember that even when you have the best DSLR for video, it can be worthless if you cannot use it the way you imagined to. Do you plan to film a lot of narratives or are you looking to capture more live actions? Your options will surely change as well if you only intend to use your camera to film footages of random people and events, but of higher quality than the usual. Others would also purchase a DSLR with video modes because they plan on pursuing videography and probably wanting to initially start filming birthday parties and other social events.
So, as you can see, the kind or model of camera to purchase mainly depends on this factor. Of course, if it only for fancy reasons and you just want higher quality videos for you and your family to enjoy, you could always start with an entry level DSLR camera that is also economical on the budget. But, if you are planning to use the camera as a mean to explore more and cultivate your potential, you might need to look over various models and brands to find the right one for you.
The higher the resolution is, the better quality of videos and images that you can have, and this is a general rule of the thumb when it comes to picking the best DSLR camera. Most Nikon models offer 1920×1080 while some may only come with 1280×720 resolution.
In the US, the standard is 24 frames per second while it is 25 FPS in Europe respectively. To put it simply, a higher frame rate also means that motions will appear sharper too during playback. But then again, you also have to keep in mind that sharper motions do not always means they look more natural. This is because the human eye sees moving things in a somewhat blurry way. That said, 24 FPS is ideally the closest standard when it comes how the eyes perceive moving things.
The shutter speed is critical in a way that it helps you capture natural-looking motions. The only important thing that you need to know about this one is that the shutter speed needs to be double the frame rate. So if you are shooting or recording at 24 FPS then your shutter speed should be 1/50th – rounding it up from 1/48th. However, this does not mean that you can no longer shoot videos at different speed. Just remember that when you change your shutter speed, the look or quality of your video will eventually change, too.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you go for a higher shutter speed, you will also notice lesser motion blur on moving objects, thus making your video look choppy. It is easier to watch videos if there is good enough motion blur, and the moving objects will also appear smoother and more natural looking.
When it comes to shooting videos, manual focus makes the biggest difference. Autofocus is very normal when taking still photos but with videos, manual focus is your best friend. If you plan to shoot a lot of videos using your camera, it would help a lot to familiarize yourself with the manual focus feature. One step to make this happen is by picking lens that can be easily focused. That being said, macro lenses are considered a good option when it comes to manual focus, as these lenses were originally designed for such purpose. Nikon has been producing various lenses doe manual focus so it should not be very hard for you to come up with several options to choose from.
Shooting a good quality video is one thing, but having good sound or audio for it is another story. Make sure to pay attention to what kind of microphone goes with the DSLR camera you’re vying for. For short films that require good audio, you will definitely need a the best DSLR for video that also offers the best audio quality.
Best DSLR Cameras for Shooting Videos
Canon EOS 70D
Introduced back in July 2013, the Canon EOS 70D is the best camera for you if you intend to use it for rugged applications, live actions and enhanced audio. With the EF lens mount you are never out of options when it comes to lens that can go with it as you go about shooting your videos. Another essential feature that makes this camera stand out from the others is its trick auto focus, which is also called the Dual Pixel CMOS Auto Focus. This feature makes it possible for you to use the touch screen when marking a subject, and the camera will then track it as it moves. Another advantage of the Canon EOS 70D that you cannot just ignore includes the wi-fi feature which is obviously perfect for people on the go as you can transfer photos to your smartphone or other devices whenever and wherever you want to, as long as there is internet connection. Then there is also the camera’s long battery life and the standard slot for SD card which is very handy in terms of storage. While an internal microphone is already present, you can also choose to enhance the audio quality of your videos with the help of an external microphone input terminal that is also built in.
Sony Alpha A7s
This powerhouse performer from Sony really took the consumers by storm when it was released last year, and it has every right to do so. This package offers nothing but good cinematic performance that is very hard to take for granted. In fact, you can consider the Sony Alpha A7s as one of the best cameras for low light shooting. Reviews have it that this camera is just about perfect when shooting in the dark, and that is actually one feature that most users look for when finding the best DSLR for video.
Another advantage of this camera is that you can actually get full frame images and shots despite its compact-looking body. This simply means that its sensor can capture images identically to that size of the traditional 35mm cameras, as it boasts of 12.2MP full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor. Other features on the Alpha A7s include the BIONZ X Image Processor, fast and intelligent 25-point AF system, ISO 50-409600 sensitivity that is also expandable, full HD recording in XAVC S, Lens design that is gapless and and on-chip, 3.0 921.6k LCD monitor that tilts and 4:2:2 UHD 4k output via HDMI.
Canon 5D Mark III
The 5D Mark III is considered to be the best DSLR for video that is widely used in film making. This is the reason why it is still very popular even after several years have passed since its release. In fact, when you talk about DSLRs that are used for film making, the 5D Mark III is commonly used as a reference. With 22.3 MP sensor and full HD resolution at 1080p at 3ofps, there is obviously no way that you can say no to this DSLR. There are also other movie functions that are featured in this camera, including the manual exposure control and the enhanced or improved range of high bit-rate video compression modes. The sharper and larger rear LCD is also one of the first things that you will likely notice upon first glance on this DSLR.
You can also choose from various frame rates depending on your preference, as it can go from 24fps to 60fps at the highest. The SMPTE timecode support also makes it possible to have more flexibility when editing your videos. As you go about recording, you can easily check or adjust the audio simply by using the Quick Control feature on the screen. A headphone socket is also present to enable easy monitoring of sound levels while you are shooting and even after, too.
The Nikon D800E boasts larger pixel count, with a sensor that is brand new, thus contributing to producing good quality videos. The D7100 is considerably a really versatile camera with settings that you can easily tweak as you shoot your videos. Another advantage of this DSLR is its ability to capture full HD footages at different frames per second, ranging from the standard 24fps up to the highest speed frames such as 50 and 60fps.
While all the above-mentioned cameras are unquestionably of great quality and features, most of them can surely cause a dent in your pocket especially if you are just starting out with your film making hobby. If you are on a tight budget but still looking to create videos that look good, especially during family events and gatherings, then the Nikon D3300 might just be the best DSLR for video for someone like you. With its incredibly decent performance, you will be surprised how affordable it can actually be, especially when you compare it with other DSLR cameras intended for the same purpose. It features a flip out screen that allows you to go on and explore different shooting angles. You only need to know how to pair it with some pretty fast and good aperture prime lens and you should be off to a good start. This camera is definitely perfect when you are on a low budget but still wanting to explore and start out as a video enthusiast.
There are actually a lot of good DSLR cameras that are best used for shooting videos but this list should be able to give you at least an idea as to how to choose the right one for you. Most of the latest DSLRs are actually built and designed to shoot adept videos but it will still boil down to one simple thing – what kind of quality do you expect to get? When you already know what you want, then it will be easier for you to pick from this list and you should be able to finally purchase the best DSLR for video. As with almost any purchase, it is always expected to pay a hefty amount of money if you are after the best quality and features. On the other hand, if you only plan to use the camera for personal recordings and family memories, you might as well be better off with entry level cameras that can also offer good quality footages, but at a more reasonable price.
If you are gearing towards the movie industry and wanting to be a video professional, then the Canon 5D MarkIII might be the perfect option. It is sturdy, of great quality and it can absolutely help you in exploring and learning more about video shooting. For entry level photographers who wish to upgrade, you can consider getting the Canon EOS 70D or the Alpha A7s for an improved performance, without having to spend too much.