DSLR For Video: Factors to Consider Before Purchasing

dslr for videoDigital SLR cameras, or digital single-lens reflex cameras, use a reflex design system unseen in traditional cameras, using a combination of interchangeable lenses and mirrors to capture high-quality images. What sets DSLRs apart from other cameras as well is its wide range of available lenses, which photographers can switch out depending on their artistic needs.

Before 2008 though, DSLR cameras were unable to capture video, with the responsive and high-quality image capturing technology being reserved for the still photo only. With the introduction of the 12.3 megapixel Nikon D90, which came with an HD movie capturing mode never before seen in DSLR cameras, moving picture recording became a staple of the DSLR.

But what should a photographer look for when selecting a DSLR for video capture? Which DSLR cameras are best for videos? Find out in this handy guide. For more tips, check out this DSLR digital photography course for beginners.

Why DSLR For Video?

The first question you should ask yourself before investing in a pricey DSLR camera for video is if you even need one in the first place. Unless you’re a professional photographer who knows their cameras, reading up on things like lenses and reflex mechanisms can be confusing, not to mention all the extra money you’ll need to spend on the right lenses and equipment depending on which camera you end up going with.

Each camera has its own pros and cons – some have awesome, built-in vertical grips and offer full control, others are pretty much useless without a tripod. You need to be prepared to do a lot of research to find the right camera for you.

If you’re still stuck on this stage, you can read up on the pros and cons of mirrorless vs. DSLR cameras in this guide.

Things to Look For in a DSLR For Video

There are a lot of things you need to consider about each camera before deciding which one best suits your need. You can check out this guide for a more in-depth look into these technical considerations, or snag some free tips on making better videos here for a general overview.

If you’re intent on purchasing a DSLR video camera, though, some of the elements you’ll need to consider are  sensor size, which in itself brings numerous other deciding factors, field of view, depth of field, various lens options, light sensitivity, minor things like additional features, weight, and the actual size of the camera, and of course, the price.

For filming in particular, light sensitivity is important, but irregularities could also be edited out in post-production, or adjusted during filming itself. Learn more about film lighting with this course. Or, learn some post-production tips in this course on Adobe Illustrator for print, web, TV, and film, or this beginner’s After Effects training course.

  • Field of View

The three common sensor sizes in DSLR cameras  are APS-C, MFT, and full-frame. If you’re looking for wider shots, you’ll want to get a larger sensor. The smaller the sensor, the more limited the width of your shot will be. Consider where you’ll be filming most of your shots, or what kind of video you enjoy taking most. You’ll want to get the most out of your money, here, so choose wisely.

If you’re feeling lost already, don’t worry. Photography is harder than just pointing and shooting a camera and stuff and pressing the button. Check out this digital SLR cameras and photography video training course for dummies for a handy beginner’s guide to DSLR cameras, and don’t feel ashamed!

  • Lenses

While a small sensor limits the width of your shots, it is also beneficial in some ways by allowing a broader range of lens options. Another thing to consider. Figuring out which DSLR best suits you is often a compromise among various factors.

Planning on using this camera for photographs as well as moving pictures? Check out this beginner’s guide to DSLR photography for some tips! Or, check out this course on advanced DSLR training for professional photographers if you’re a bit past entry-level.

  • Price

The smaller the camera, or the smaller the lens, the less money you’ll have to dish out. You can also consider buying a used camera.

Best DSLR Cameras For Video

Below is a handy top three list featuring some of the best rated DSLR cameras, used by both professional photographers, filmmakers, and dedicated hobbyists to capture video. As stated before, buying a camera is a serious decision, as the price of these things can enter the thousand dollars range. If you’re not a serious, dedicated photographer or filmmaker, consider purchasing something a little less professional.

If you think you’re ready to make your first purchase, check out this guide on buying cameras with confidence first. It will give you some in-depth perspective into the different types of cameras, and hopefully make the decision that much easier for you.

1. Nikon D4

Despite being a hefty camera, the Nikon D4  is a 16-megapixel, full-frame sensor DSLR that shoots at 10 frames per second. Video output is 1080p, uncompressed.

  • Dimensions: 6.2 x 6.3 x  3.6 inches
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs
  • Megapixels: 16 MP
  • Video Resolution: 720p and 1080p
  • Sensor Size: Full-frame (36 x 24mm)
  • Viewfinder Type:  Optical

If you’ve decided on a Nikon, check out this post to find the best portrait lens for your Nikon camera! Or, check out this free beginner’s course on Nikon digital SLR  photography to get started.

2. Sony Alpha 77

It might lack a viewfinder, but the Sony Alpha 77 is excellent for fast-burst shooting, with 24 megapixel stills and  1080p60 video.

  • Dimensions: 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 inches
  • Weight: 1.66 lbs
  • Megapixels: 24 MP
  • Video Resolution: 1080i and 1080p
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
  • Viewfinder Type: EVF

3. Canon EOS  7D

It’s expensive, but the Canon EOS 7D outputs super high quality video, with a host of recording options.

  • Dimensions: 4.4 x 5.8 x  2.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs
  • Megapixels: 18 MP
  • Video Resolution: 720p and 1080p
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6mm)
  • Viewfinder Type: Optical

Looking to break into the world of filmmaking? Check out this course on making your first movie, or learn how to direct your first film here.

You might also want to consider this DSLR training course bundle, or this combination DSLR and Photoshop bundle for your ultimate photography needs.