Best DSLRs for Filmmaking
After reviewing the best tripods for DSLR video shooting, we are now going to review the best DSLR for video shooting!
When in the right hands a DSLR is an extremely versatile tool. Not only does it capture breathtaking stills but it can now shoot full-HD videos as well. In doing so it takes advantage of the large sensor and plethora of lenses that are available for this camera format.
As a matter of fact, the quality of the video is the primary reason a lot of consumers prefer to buy a DSLR even though they are not interested in serious photography. They simply love the fact that their camera can shoot
They simply love the fact that their camera can shoot high-quality crisp videos of their travels or social get-togethers, and in varying frame rates.
A DSLR gives the average consumer the power to make professional quality video footages at a much lesser price and with little or no training.
However, not all DSLRs are equally good when it comes to shooting videos. There are some which have certain inherent advantages in the form of specific technology/features that assist in this task.
In this article, we shall be looking at the best DSLR for video shooting, at least at the top five.
1. Canon 5D Mark III
The granddaddy of full HD video shooting was the EOS 5D Mark III. When it was launched back in 2009 it outsmarted the rival Nikon’s D90 which was the first ever DSLR to have HD video capability. It was unthinkable back in those days. These days, however, a DSLR that does not shoot full HD doesn't even get a second look.
The 5D Mark III is the latest reiteration of the 5D series and one that ups the tempo when it comes to video shooting. The 5D Mark III employs a mechanism that allows longer video recording in a single go. It does this by automatically using a 4 GB partition that allows it record a clip up to 29 mins and 59 seconds long. It can shoot at varying frame rates (30p, 24p and 25p). At 720p, it can shoot up to 60 fps.
The presence of the DIGIC 5+ image processor is a great addition as it helps in faster performance. To assist in better exposure control during video shooting the 5D Mark III allows manual exposure adjustments as well as audio level adjustment while recording.
The large 3.2” LCD ClearView LCD Monitor with a 1040K dots resolution is a visual treat to work with when doing video work. It also has an option to record stereo sound via an external mic using a dedicated port.
The Canon 5D Mark III Sample Video | Best DSLRs for Video Shooting
Canon 5D mark III with Magic Lantern RAW module – short test
2. Canon EOS 7D Mark II
This is an upgrade to the extremely popular Canon EOS 7D. The Mark II is an absolute delight for video enthusiasts. Mind it this is not a full frame camera, but even then the features packed into the body of this camera make it a formidable tool. The camera sports a Dual DIGIC 6 image processor, 65 all cross type AF points and combines that with Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. This technology works with the new movie servo AF system. The 7D Mark II shoots full HD videos at up to 60 fps for extremely slow motion effects.
Auto-focusing is a major issue when shooting in live view something that you would do when shooting videos with a DSLR. Contrast detect auto-focusing is notorious for their slowness. For this reason, Canon developed the onboard dual-pixel AF system. This system works in a similar concept like a rangefinder giving better auto-focusing performance even in live-view mode. The systems works very well even when tracking moving subjects.
The 7D Mark II is capable of recording in both MP4 and MOV compression formats as well as record uncompressed footages to an external recorder via an HDMI cable.
Watch the sample video of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II by clicking here.
3. Nikon D810
Designed as the replacement for both the high-resolution full-frame D800 and the D800 E, the Nikon D810 is a 36.3 megapixel DSLR full-frame camera capable of shooting high-resolution stills at 5 fps (full-frame) as well as full HD videos in variable frame rates.
For this camera, Nikon has completely done away with the anti-aliasing filter which should in theory produce results that are extremely sharp. The D810 has retained the peak sharpness of the D800 E and bettered it.
Videographers would be happy that the new D810 can shoot in variable frame rates. The older D800 shot only in 30p full HD. The new camera takes it a step further with 60p. But that’s not all you can simultaneously record videos on a memory card as well as on a secondary external recorder via HDMI cable.
Additionally, shooting in live view mode is going to be a breeze too. There’s also a built-in stereo mic which is a new addition compared to the older cameras it replaces. The new camera has a higher resolution LCD (1229k dots as against 921k dots). For videographers who need to do extensive post-processing, there is now a default flat picture type that retains most of the dynamic range in the footage.
Nikon has provided the D810 with the new Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor that comes with a total of 51 AF points including 15 cross-type sensors. It also has a new AF system that groups five AF sensor points together and uses them as a single AF point for better tracking of moving subjects, especially in low light conditions.
Nikon D810 Sample Video | A Great DSLR for Video
4. Nikon D7200
The Nikon D7200 is the latest and greatest iteration of the original D7000 that saw the first upgrade with the earlier D7100. The D7200 is essentially a DX format DSLR and that means it loses out on the benefits that a larger full-frame sensor has to provide. A larger sensor allows the convenience of producing shallow DoF (Depth of Field). Nevertheless, the D7200 has a number of features of its own that should interest a budding videographer.
Two features in professional video cameras that beat DSLRs when it comes to professional video capabilities is the lack of focus peaking and zebra highlight warning. Professionals pay a high premium for both these features and a few more. The Nikon D7200 comes with a critical advantage with the presence of these two missing features.
If you are into major post processing you will love the ability to record the videos shot in an uncompressed format to an external recorder via a HDMI cable while monitoring the shoot at the same time. Full manual controls over shutter speed and ISO are available when shooting videos. There is also a very convenient flat profile that allows for easier control of the color grading and sharpness in post. A bunch of other in camera profiles for Picture Controls are also provided.
5. Canon Rebel T5i / EOS 700D
The EOS 700D also known as the Rebel T5i is an entry level crop format DSLR with an effective 18-megapixel resolution.
It has a bunch of feature upgrades over the 650D / T4 that surprisingly did not last a long time on the shelf or on the e-commerce websites. Since we are concerned only with the movie capabilities in this article, the Rebel T5 is a fine performer in that respect.
It shoots full HD in 30/24/25 fps while recording stereo sound via the built-in mic. The Rebel T5i comes with Canon’s movie servo continuous AF technology.
Additionally, you also have full manual control over the shoot. You can adjust shutter speed, aperture, and ISO by simply switching to the manual mode from the main mode dial.
More DSLRs for video shooting…
There are some more great DSLR cameras for film shooting, which we have not been covered in this review.
Some more of the “Best DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras for Shooting Video” as per other reviews these are these five options:
1. The best camera for the all-rounder: Canon EOS 70D ($999) > Updated Model: The Canon EOS 80D
2. The full frame low light champion: Sony Alpha a7S ($2,198)
3. A great camera to shoot 4k videos: Panasonic Lumix GH4 ($1,498)
4. The pocket filmmakers camera for the mainstream: Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera ($995)
5. And for the Pro the documentary champ and super cinema camera: Canon C100 M II ($5,500) > well, this one indeed is the best DSLR for video shooting!
We hope you could find the best DSLR camera for your next video shooting project.
Leave your comments below – we would love to hear from you and your experience with shooting videos with a DSLR camera!
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Wanderlust at heart and a shutterbug who loves to document his travels via his lenses; his two passions compliment each other perfectly.
He has been writing for over 6 years now, which unsurprisingly, revolve mostly around his two favorite pursuits.