Second best DSLR for video shooting
How do I choose the best DSLR for video?
Finding out what is the best DSLR for video can be hard, right? Maybe you’ve visited a dozen of others sites before landing on this page, which makes total sense. It’s important to do some research and weigh all the pros and cons before making your decision. I remember going through review after review before buying my first DSLR camera and I went through it again when I decided to do an upgrade.
One thing I noticed was that most camera reviews out there primarily focus on photography and less on filmmaking. Which is not a bad thing, but there’s often information missing for those who want to use their camera mainly for video purposes. When you’re looking for the best DSLR for video, there are just different factors that you need to consider.
The first step is to decide how much you can – and want- to spend on your camera gear. It’s important to be aware that buying a camera body is only a part of the initial investment. You’ll probably want one or more lenses to start out with, a decent tripod for stability and maybe a ND filter for daylight shooting. And of course, a camera bag would come in handy to carry all that stuff around. When you are on a budget, it might be a good idea to settle with an entry-level camera, like Canon’s T5i, and invest a little more in a decent lens, since the camera lens affects the image quality most.
What is important to you?
It’s easy for me to tell you the things you need to consider when looking for a camera for DSLR filmmaking but you also have to think about the stuff that you want and the features that are important to you. It’s up to you to decide what the best DSLR for video is.
Some will love the crispy and sharp footage that the Panasonic GH4 produces, while others prefer the soft, more cinematic look of the 5D Mark III. Do you need a flawless autofocus? Do you need a headphone output? How important is a vari-angle LCD screen for your purposes?
It also matters how and where you’ll use the camera. If you’d love to use your camera mainly while travelling and hiking you should definitely think about things like sizes and weights. A camera bag filled with a 5D and L-lenses becomes heavy fast. The Panasonic GH4, which weighs less and has lighter lenses, might then be a better option.
Every filmmaker has their own preferences when it comes to camera features. There is not one best DSLR for video shooting. There are many great cameras out there and you have to find out what the best DSLR would be for you.
Your goals and ambitions
Are you planning to use your DSLR for shooting one or two home videos a year or are you seriously considering a filmmaking career?
If you belong to the first group, an entry-level camera with a kitlens and maybe a fast primelens will be perfect for you.
However, if you are really want to become a decent filmmaker, it might be a good idea to invest a little more in a high-end camera like the Canon 5D or Panasonic GH4. This will prevent you from finding yourself buying less expensive gear that doesn’t fit your needs completely, which will probably cost you even more money in the long run.
Also, do you want to use your camera primarily for video purposes or mainly for photography, or a combination of both? For instance, the Panasonic GH4 is rated as a great camera for filmmaking but it doesn’t do as well on photography as the Canon 5D Mark III does. If you plan to do a lot of photography as well, the Canon 5D might then be the better option for you.
If you are considering an upgrade, it might be wise to take your current gear into account with the decision making.
For instance, we concluded that the Panasonic GH4 is the best DSLR for video at this moment (although it’s not a true DSLR). Many people agree with that and are switching from Canon to Panasonic completely. Sure, if you are a Canon user you can definitely do the same but then you have to go through the whole process of selling your current gear. Selling your gear is not always easy and you’ll definitely not receive the same amount of money as you’ve paid for it. Basically, you’ll have to sell most of your beloved gear for second-hand prices and buy comparable gear for new prices. In that way, an upgrade from a Canon T5i to a Canon 5D Mark III might be a better choice for you than completely switch brands.
Why should I consider DSLR filmmaking?
There are a four main reasons why many people choose to shoot videos with a DSLR camera.
Whether you use an entry-level DSLR or one of the best DSLR for video, it is very likely that people will compliment you on the quality of your footage. Chances are that friends and family will be surprised when they find out that you shoot your beautiful videos with a camera that most people are able to afford. The quality of the footage keeps getting better and better and the arrival of cameras that can shoot in 4K marks the start of a new era in DSLR filmmaking. Nowadays, DSLR cameras are even used in major productions like House M.D. and The Avengers. If it´s good enough for Hollywood, it´s probably good enough for you.
2. Depth of field
One of the main signatures of DSLR filmmaking is the shallow depth of field that is often being used. This means that just a little part of the shot is in focus and that the rest of the shot is blurry, which gives a cinematic feel to your footage. Many people find this bokeh very appealing and a big advantage is that it helps to separate the subject from the background. A shallow depth of field is achieved through a combination of the right camera sensor and more important, the right lens.
3. Choice of lenses
The fact that you can change lenses with DSLR cameras is a big advantage. In that way, you are able to choose the best lens for every situation. As said in the previous sections, lenses can be used to achieve a shallow depth of field, which is often associated with professional filmmaking. For instance, lenses like the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II and Nikon 50mm f/1.8D will give you an amazing depth of field for a price only just over $100. Lenses can also be used to give you the opportunity to zoom in on your subjects. The possibility to change lenses opens up a whole world of creativity.
Prices for DSLR cameras range from $599 for an entry-level camera to $3399 for one of the best DSLR for video. Although buying a camera is a rather big investment, buying one might give you a piece of equipment that is very capable of competing with more professional cameras like the Canon C100 or maybe even a RED camera. We will not argue that these cameras are pretty much the same, but we are convinced that, when using decent additional gear and shooting with the right exposure, the difference in quality is many times smaller than the difference in price.