As a filmmaker or videographer, you’ve no doubt wondered on more than one occasion what is the best DSLR for video.
As we discuss in this article, it’s not a straightforward question. And the answer depends largely on your experience and the use-case you have in mind for a DSLR camera.
If you’re a filmmaker interested in shooting high-quality videos, be it for music videos, short films, or full-features. The optimal first choice for a camera would be a DSLR. There’s a world of quality options for you to choose from.
However, with so many choices available to you it can be a daunting task to settle on a camera to purchase. There’s always the fear of missing out on something better.
Well, the truth is that there’s no such thing as a one size fits all camera that you need to find. Instead, the best camera will depend on what you need to accomplish.
That’s why today we’ve compiled a buying guide for the best DSLRs to record video. We’ve taken several criteria in mind with our choices including budget and features.
After we list what we think are the best DSLRs on the market, we’ll discuss what you need to consider before getting your hands on one.
Best DSLR For Video – Our List
Let’s cut to the chase, and take a look at our top picks for the best DSLRs on the market that will help you record high-quality videos.
The 5D Mark IV is an amazing DSLR for just about everyone.
However, for filmmakers, we recommend you go with the log version to reap the full benefits of what the camera has to offer for videography.
Canon Log gets the very most out of the sensor. This leads to better detail and sharpers image quality.
The shadows also benefit from this as they look more detailed. You’ll also have a wider dynamic range.
This is essential for post-processing and makes for easier color saturation and tone manipulation.
The Mark IV is a great DSLR for video. The Movie Servo Autofocus combined with Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus makes for the smoothest and fastest tracking and focus consistency that’s easily achievable by a tap on the touchscreen LCD.
You have USB-C connectivity for faster file transfer. Additional headphone/microphone jacks, Allow for better audio recording.
Since this is a Canon body you’ll have a wide lens and accessory support. Overall, this is perhaps Canon’s top DSLR.
Stepping away from Canon and Nikon for a bit, let’s take a look at what Sony is bringing to the table when it comes to video DSLRs.
After testing the Sony A77 II, what they’re apparently bringing is a beast of a DSLR here. Let’s take a look at what this body has to offer.
For starters, it’s equipped with a 24.3MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor. The camera can shoot in both 1080p full-HD and 4K video quality.
There’s also what’s called 4D FOCUS. This is a tailor-made Autofocus system that helps eliminate any disruptions that could occur during shooting.
The Sony A77 also has built-in Wi-FI and NFC for quick and simple file sharing.
The Sony A77 II comes with a number of nice-to-have accessories like a shoe cap, battery charger, body cap, eyepiece cup, micro USB cable, rechargeable battery, and shoulder strap.
Overall, if you want a great video DSLR and don’t care about having the most popular brands, the Sony A77 II will do nicely.
Many rank the Canon EOS 80D as their favorite DSLR for a good reason. It’s a top-quality camera that never fails to deliver. The camera delivers great quality video with impeccable detail and vibrant colors.
The camera is equipped to handle all Canon EF lenses. Therefore, you’ll have a sea of lens options that will make it easy to shoot from any angle.
In terms of pricing, the 80D is a steal. It proves that getting professional-grade footage doesn’t require spending thousands. All you need is to mount some quality lenses on this camera and you’re set.
A key feature of the camera is Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS Auto-Focus. This feature gives you the ability to select a subject on the LCD screen.
The camera will then track it by itself. This nifty feature comes in handy in action shooting.
Thanks to the built-in you can also use the 80D to do some handheld shooting and awaken the Paul Greengrass inside you.
As Canon’s rival, Nikon has to push the envelope with each iteration of their cameras to keep itself in the same league.
The D6 is a perfect example of DSLR is a great example of this.
Although it only makes slight improvements to the D5, you can really see that there’s hardly any farther you can push a DSLR.
The D6 is equipped with a 20.8Mp sensor. While pushing the pixel count would’ve been the easy thing to do, Nikon elected to stick to this sensor and we’re glad.
The benefits are apparent as it gives you ample detail in each frame while maintaining manageable file sizes.
Furthermore, it’s easier to keep noise under control with a lower pixel count.
If you’re a 4K enthusiast, you’re in luck. The Nikon D6 is capable of shooting 4K video at 4K at 30fps. It manages Full-HD better, however, at 60fps.
All you have to do to verify the D6’s quality video is to check any reel footage from the camera online and the results will blow your mind.
Back to the competition, we have one of the most beloved DSLR by both novice and professional videographers for a number of reasons.
First of all, it’s an affordable camera that won’t break the bank.
Compared to most DSLR cameras on the market, this falls in the lower to middle price-point.
Second, the overall video quality and the build quality of the camera are top-notch. The video is set at 1080p Full HD.
You can alternate 60/50/30/25 or 24p. Regardless of which setting you’ll have great detail and sharpness thanks to the absence of an optical low-pass filter.
In terms of design and build, the D3300 is compact and lightweight compared to what we usually expect from DSLRs.
This makes it easy to carry around and travel with. You can always purchase it with a lens kit, so you’ll be set to shoot from the go.
Overall, for a great video camera that balances features with price, the D3300 is a great choice.
For our last pick, we’re taking a look at another Nikon DSLR. That is not to say that it’s just ‘another’ DSLR from Nikon.
On the contrary, it’s an impressive camera that you can tell the company used all its learning experiences to create.
We’re talking about the D7500, a camera that deliberately improves on everything that came before it and offers the latest in camera technology.
Out of the bat, the D7500 impresses with its detailed 4K video recording. This model is equipped with the Multi-CAM 3500 II AF system.
Without getting into too much technical jargon, rest assured that the autofocus performance on this body is seldom matched by other DSLRs.
The camera creates a 1.5-fold crop in the FOV. This comes in handy when shooting wildlife or sports.
However, it could get in the way if you want to shoot in a wide-angle. The D7500 marries both the features of amateur and semi-professional cameras.
It allows manual controls over its flash capabilities. Overall, a quality DSLR for all 4K enthusiasts.
Best DSLR For Video – Buyer’s Guide
If you’re looking for a DSLR or mirrorless camera to use for video, here are a few models that rise above the rest. But first, let’s start with what features to look for.
AF stands for autofocus and this system is instrumental to the quality of your footage. Videographers looking for a professional camera will always eye the AF tracking system.
This is because it impacts how well the camera keeps track of the subject and maintains its focus without blurring out to refocus again.
Always be on the lookout for a camera with a fast and reliable AF system. It really does break or make the experience.
You’ll have to move the camera for dynamic shots. While recording, sudden movement and shakiness can take you out of the moment.
That’s why you’ll want your camera to have image stabilization software. What it does is use an algorithm to compensate for the movement and stabilize each axis to keep the footage smooth.
If you find a camera that you really like but doesn’t support image stabilization, we recommend you invest in a Gimbal.
Trust us, it’s worth the investment to keep that footage smooth and professional.
Size & Weight
Long gone are the days of huge cameras that needed an assistant to carry around. There are numerous, portable video cameras with an ergonomic design that enable you to carry them anywhere with you by just packing them in a small pack.
Durability is a must for your camera. Especially if you do a lot of shooting outdoors.
Who wants to spend their hard-earned cash on a camera that has the durability of an egg?
Video cameras specify if they are rugged or weather-sealed so make sure to read up on that.
It’s become a joke that we’re forever charging our smartphones at the charging plug, but the joke becomes less funny when you’re dealing with a camera.
Videography is time-consuming and requires extensive shooting time.
There’s nothing worse than having to recharge and delaying the shooting schedule.
Therefore, we recommend getting a camera with hot-swappable batteries to avoid this.
DSLRs offer two types of sensors, Full-frame and cropped frame (APS-C).
Full-frame allows for a wider image and overall bigger image due to its size.
So for people who like to take photos and crop them later for a satisfactory result, this sensor type is the best.
This is because the image quality is largely preserved.
Keep in mind that, though, that they boost the camera’s price and size.
APS-C is the most popular and less wallet punishing sensor. You can easily find cameras fitted with this sensor.
It’s great for shooting action like sports events or wildlife photography. The image quality tends to be sharp and dense which makes it perfect for printing.
one of the main points of making the transition to DSLRs is the ability to use and change lenses.
If you know anything about cinematography, you’ll know that the choice of lens heavily affects how your film looks like.
With that in mind, you’ll need to make sure that whatever camera you’re buying has wide first and third-party lens support.
Usually, the big manufacturers like Nikon and Canon will have the most support.
The Best DSLR For Video – Wrapping Up
This concludes our comprehensive buying guide on the best DSLR for video. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need the most expensive camera to get the best quality video.
Instead, camera manufacturers are targeting the novice market with affordable cameras.
Some even go for older models that offer great value. Just be sure to read about the things you must consider before buying a DSLR.
You really can’t go too wrong with any of the picks we listed either. Just make sure that the camera you pick is the best fit for you.
We hope this article on the best DSLR for video has been helpful in letting you make an informed buying choice.
As you can see, so much of your decision comes down to your experience level in filmmaking and exactly what use-case you have in mind for a DSLR camera.
After all, if you’re a hobbyist looking to shoot some awesome vacation footage, you will have very different requirements than if you’re a seasoned video company owner looking to upgrade your DSLR.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab yourself a DSLR and start on your next filmmaking project right now!