Which DSLR video camera is the best? Which one should I buy for filming high quality videos? These are some questions we’ve been seeing as we continue our video camera research. When it comes to shooting videos, the norm of needing a solid DSLR camera has become pretty solidified. We used to see a large number of “camcorders” and other easily-recognized models dominate the market back in the early 2000’s, but those aren’t really even being made anymore! You could always go the professional-grade route, but sometimes those aren’t as sleek, budget-friendly or merely what people want. DSLR cameras are extremely popular for a reason, so let’s take a look at which models made the cut for video filming.
So what’s the big deal about DSLR cameras?
DSLR cameras (that “stands for digital single-lens reflex”) are the most popular types of cameras (for both photography as well as filming video) and will continue to be for quite a long time. There was a reason our video camera buying guide has quite a few DSLRs. For a quick review of how they work, these particular cameras use a special reflex design that sets them apart from your every day digital camera. The design allows for light to travel through a lens and also a mirror to combine as the mechanism that sends the image/video to their built-in image sensor. This allows for higher quality and more efficient technology built into the camera.
Although we’ve been seeing the rise in mirrorless cameras for video (still worth looking at if you have a high budget, although the differences between DSLR vs. mirrorless will take some understanding), DSLR cameras are considered by many one of the best choices not only for photography but filming videos as well (aside from perhaps action cameras as those continue to grow, too; however, they’re pretty specific in regards to use and who they attract). We think you’ve made a great decision to invest in one, and it’s going to last you many years.
How to choose the best DSLR video camera
- Your budget – Most DSLR video cameras worth looking at that we included in here do not fall below at least $300, while others that will give you top-notch quality and overall additive features will go above $1,000. How much cash you have on hand to invest into your DSLR camera will really steer you in the direction.
- Lenses – Many of these DSLR video cameras come with a standard lens that will do quite fine for filming videos. Unless you’re going for a specific look and know what you’re looking for, using what comes in the box will work great. If you are indeed buying a “Body Only” package, you will want to purchase a lens to have it work properly. For those who aren’t concerned with the techy, fancy lens looks and want something to merely shoot their 1080p videos with, grab a highly rated budget-friendly lens that’s no more than a hundred bucks or two. Otherwise, we recommend reading our shopping for a DSLR lens article if you want something spiffy (that will also add to your budget of course).
- Extra features? First of all, we made sure that each of the recommended models at least included 1080p HD shooting (30 fps if you can). Other than that, what extra features you want in your DSLR video camera really depend on your taste, such as filters, continuous shooting modes (for photography), and more.
- Video quality – As stated previously, the standard nowadays come in at 1080p or they’re not worth getting. If you can grab a DSLR camera that provides up to 30 fps as well, you’re in for the long run. However, if you want to take it a step above and be a bit more advanced, you can start looking into the compression types, digic processors and overall quality the particular model gives. We tried to shed some light on this topic where it applies, otherwise we made sure each recommendation at least gave us the 1080p standard HD video clips. As seen in our best 4K video camera guide, it still has a while to go before it’s affordable, supported by devices and more popularly included in cameras (especially DSLRs).
- Additional accessories – Aside from needing some solid video editing software to finalize your videos, popular accessories include tripods, (as stated above) lenses, straps, bags, and more. Do you need other gear alongside your DSLR video camera? Some eCommerce stores sell camera packages that include these and may be appealing to you.
- Nikon vs. Canon? As you’ll notice, there are basically only Nikon and Canon DSLR video cameras that dominate the market. This debate of Canon vs. Nikon is relatively popular among video camera enthusiasts, but our recommendation is to keep in mind that a brand is a brand, and to go for a model that you feel fits your needs as opposed to based off of a name on the camera. The article linked for the debate also sheds some light on the differences if you need more help in this category.