Best DSLR For Video
DSLRs are known for being able to produce high quality stills, but the right models are also capable of recording excellent video footage.
The main reason to opt for a DSLR camera for video is that they will have a much better battery life than mirrorless cameras, and are generally more affordable.
Plus, if you have the budget, you can get an outstanding camera capable of shooting in glorious 4k resolution.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best DSLR camera for video
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for DSLR Camera for Video
- Best of the Best: Canon EOS 90D
- Runner Up: Nikon D7500
- Best Premium: Nikon D780
Best DSLR for Video Reviews
Canon EOS 90D (👑 Best of the Best)
In our view, the best DSLR camera for video is the Canon EOS 90D.
As a Canon camera, it should come as no surprise that the EOS 90D is a highly versatile model with plenty to offer in terms of still photography, but also has excellent video recording functionality. You might be wondering what distinguishes the EOS 90D from the previous iteration, the 80D, and the answer lies in its video recording capability. The 90D makes the big step up to 4k video recording, which is hugely important for capturing crisp footage. If you plan on making any amount of video and are concerned with the highest quality, then you ideally want to find a camera like this one that can record in 4k.
It isn’t just the ability to record in 4k that makes this camera great for video though. It records at 30fps, which offers a smooth recording experience suitable for just about everything. Alternatively, if you want to capture the fastest moving subjects, then you can record in full HD at 120fps. The video recording is uncropped, and a faster processing engine than previous editions of the camera make this one Canon’s best video recording DSLR. The last important thing to know about the video recording ability of this camera is the EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition System, that detects and tracks faces so if you plan on taking photos of people then you can expect great results.
This camera is incredibly well-rounded, and is as good at taking stills as it is recording video. Features like the cross-type autofocus system lend a great deal of stability to whatever you’re trying to capture, and it’s especially effective since it has an impressive 45 points to go on. There’s also the top 32.5 Megapixel CMOS APS-C image sensor, which makes for sublime shots in all kinds of light conditions. Coupled with the DIGIC 8 image processor and the ISO range of 100-25000 you can take your photography and videography to the next level with the EOS 90D. Plus if you’re just hoping to capture a moving subject as a still, there’s 10fps continuous shooting, so you can make a judgment call as to whether a video or still is the best call for any situation.
You’ll also have a significant battery life with the EOS 90D, which equates to around 1300 shots. This is crucial when it comes to taking video footage as the last thing you want to worry about is whether the battery will hold out long enough for you to capture a scene.
- 32.5 Megapixel CMOS APS-C Sensor
- 4k video at 30fps, full HD at 120fps
- DIGIC 8 Image Processor
- 10fps continuous shooting
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Features EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition System
- 45 point cross-body autofocus
WHY WE CHOSE IT AS OUR TOP PICK
1. This camera tops our list because it is both an excellent DSLR for stills, and for recording video. It has both an impressive image sensor of 32.5 Megapixels, and 4k video recording.
2. The 45 point cross-body autofocus system is very good at keeping the subject of your videos and stills clear, and it is complemented well by Canon’s EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition System which accurately tracks faces.
3. If 4k at 30fps isn’t smooth enough, full HD at 120fps certainly should be, so it’s nice to have both options so you can choose depending on what the situation demands.
Nikon D7500 (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for the best DSLR camera for video is the Nikon D7500, since no DSLR camera guide would be complete without a Canon and Nikon model competing for top spot!
Make no mistake about it, though, this Nikon camera isn’t here as a placeholder, the D7500 is an excellent DSLR that’s well worth considering. This camera is on the more affordable side, like the Canon EOS 90D, but it doesn’t skimp on features at all. While the 20.9 Megapixel image sensor isn’t quite as powerful as its Canon competitor, this camera shines when it comes to recording video.
The first feature worthy of mention is the autofocus system of this camera. If you were impressed by the sound of Canon’s 45 point autofocus, then you’ll be blown away by this camera’s 51 point autofocus system with 15 cross-body sensors. It may not sound like a big deal at first, but those 6 extra points can make a real difference in terms of the level of focus on the subjects in your video footage. An autofocus point is something that will help you align the focus of the camera to a specific part of the frame. This means that the more autofocus points that a camera has, the greater the possibility that you will be able to direct the focus with the necessary precision. So yes, a 51 point autofocus system really does make a big difference.
As for resolution options, the D7500 records at 4k UHD at 30fps, and full HD at 60fps. While not quite on par with the Canon EOS 90D, these options offer excellent variety in how you approach your video recording. There’s also 8fps continuous shooting with the Nikon D7500, which gives you the option to try your hand at burst shooting.
- 20.9 Megapixels
- 8fps continuous shooting
- 4k UHD at 30fps, full HD at 60fps
- 100-51,200 ISO
- 51 point autofocus with 15 cross-body sensors
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Nikon D780 (💎 Best Premium)
We believe that the best premium DSLR camera for video is the Nikon D780.
If you have a substantial budget, and you want an excellent DSLR camera that also does well with video recording, then this camera is your best bet. While it may not be the most beginner-friendly camera if you’re new to photography, there are plenty of features to play around with on this camera so it has the potential to be a very fun purchase. The D780 is essentially a mix between a DSLR and a mirrorless camera combining elements of the two types of camera, so you get the best of both worlds.
First and foremost, while some believe the camera is heavy, it’s hard to deny that it’s very satisfying to hold this camera. The chunky grip rests comfortably in your palm, which makes it easy to stabilise your shots and video footage. It also makes the camera incredibly durable, which could be essential depending how adventurous you tend to be with your video recording efforts. The body is also resistant to dust and water, so you’re unlikely to get caught out in inclement weather and have to repair your camera.
This camera has an outstanding image sensor which means you can get some incredible stills with it. While you might be looking for a camera that has excellent video recording, you’ll likely spend a lot of time taking stills with it too, so this is still hugely important. The D780 sports a 24.5 Megapixel image sensor, which is backed up by a powerful EXPEED 6 image processor. But perhaps impressive of all is the two autofocus systems that this camera is working with. When using the optical viewfinder you’ll have 51 autofocus points to play around with, but when you want something even clearer, there’s a hugely impressive 273 point phase detection autofocus system. The 180K Pixel Advanced Scene Recognition System helps too with stills and video as it recognizes important information in any scene.
Aside from the sophisticated autofocus systems this camera has, it can record video at a resolution of 4k UHD at 30fps, as well as Full HD at 120fps. While the 4k is impressive, you’d expect it with the price tag of this camera, but the addition of full HD at 120fps is a fun setting to play around with if you want to dabble in slow motion or with other effects.
- 24.5 Megapixels
- 4k UHD at 30fps, and Full HD at 120fps
- 180K Pixel Advanced Scene Recognition
- 2 autofocus systems: 51 autofocus points in optical viewfinder, and 273 point phase detection.
- EXPEED 6 Image Processor
- 7fps continuous shooting
Choosing the perfect DSLR camera for video is no easy feat.
Given that many top DSLR cameras will be able to shoot in 4k, this isn’t perhaps the greatest indicator of which is the best video recording camera, so you’ll have to rely on other features.
Here is a list of what we believe are the most important factors to consider if you want to get the best DSLR for video to suit your needs.
The video resolution a camera can record in tells you a lot about how high quality the footage you shoot will be.
With that said, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Just as the amount of Megapixels in the image sensor isn’t the only factor in image quality, the video resolution isn’t the only factor in video quality.
But it is still very important.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for top quality video from your DSLR camera, then the ability to record in 4k should be non-negotiable.
4k is the highest resolution and as such will produce the best quality footage, which will translate to any screen well.
However, the fps rate is also very important, as is file size.
Fps refers to the frames per second you can record in the video resolution. With 4k, the highest fps you’re likely to see with a DSLR camera is 30. So this is the gold standard to aim for.
When it comes to other video resolutions the camera offers, you want to look for an fps rate of more than 30, as this will allow you to shoot different styles of video.
For example, if you have the ability to record in Full HD at a rate of 60fps or higher, then you will be able to play around with slow motion effects as well as capture fast-moving subjects and action sports.
This secondary video resolution is arguably more important than the primary one, since as we’ve already alluded to, most decent DSLR cameras record in 4k at 30fps.
If you’re going to want to get experimental with the video you take, then try to find a camera that has 120fps or at least a wide variety of resolution options to choose between.
As for file size, it goes without saying that 4k files are going to be much larger than those you get from video taken in a lower resolution.
As a result, this is another important factor to consider. If you don’t have a lot of storage space for large video files, then you’ll want a camera that has other resolution options with high fps.
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Other than video resolution, it’s the features of a DSLR which will tell you all you need to know about how the camera fares with capturing video footage.
Perhaps the most important feature to consider when looking for a DSLR camera for video is the autofocus system.
How good the autofocus system is will determine how clearly the subject is tracked and kept in focus, so it really is imperative that you get the right level of autofocus for your needs.
To give you a lay of the land, you should ideally be looking at DSLRs with more than 40 autofocus points to give you the highest chance of recording with optimal clarity and focus.
The more autofocus points there are, the easier it is for the camera to keep things in focus.
This is what makes the Nikon D780 such an impressive DSLR for recording video, as it has an astonishing 273 point autofocus system.
A good autofocus system can to some extent make up for a lower resolution, that’s how important it can be.
Believe it or not, the size of a DSLR camera plays a significant role in its aptitude for recording video.
Not so much for the camera itself, but for the user.
If you are unable to hold the camera still, then you’re going to have a hard time capturing perfectly steady footage.
While this can of course be remedied with a tripod, you likely don’t want to have to rely on a tripod, since this can get in the way of spontaneous video recording sessions.
With this in mind, if you have smaller hands or don’t feel like you could handle a bigger bodied camera, then it’s best to opt for a lightweight model.
The Nikon D780 for example, although it feels very comfortable to hold, can be a little heavy which could impede your ability to keep it still for a period of time.
Again, this boils down to the photographer rather than the camera, as the size won’t limit the video recording capabilities, just the user’s ability to hold it still.
It also depends on the type of video recording you want to be doing too, so it’s worth having a clear idea in mind before you part with your hard-earned cash.
Reasons to Upgrade to A DSLR Camera
These days, with high-quality smartphones amd cameras available in the market that can shoot some really amazing videos and photos, many people have a question in mind about why they should consider buying a DSLR camera?
So, before you come to a conclusion regarding which one is better out of the two, it becomes important to understand the difference and advantages offered by a DSLR camera.
Outlined below are a few top reasons why you should upgrade to a DSLR camera:
1. Picture Quality
Before you come to a decision, compare the quality of videos created by a DSLR camera and normal camera. Today, there are numerous cameras in the market, each claiming to provide higher quality images and videos than the others.
But when you actually compare the videos of the two, you would realize that a DSLR camera is capable of capturing more color and clarity than the others. The clarity of the videos is way much better when clicked through a DSLR.
DSLR cameras are more versatile in nature when compared to others. This is because you can interchange lenses as per your requirements with a DSLR camera, whereas, on the other hand, the lenses are built-in in case of the smartphones and other cameras.
You can use different types of standard and long-range lenses with a DSLR camera, with which you can control the sharpness and clarity of the videos.
The high ISO mode available in DSLR cameras allows you to make even clearer and higher quality videos, even in dark or low light conditions.
3. Image Processors
A smartphone is used for multipurpose use, i.e. playing games, using various applications, taking selfies, clicking photos and shooting videos, etc. Here, there is no dedicated processor for the camera, as it has to support the entire functioning of the phone.
On the other hand, the DSLR cameras only function is to take photos and shoot videos, so there is a dedicated high-quality processor for the DSLR’s.
When compared to a smartphone processor, the DSLR processor delivers high-quality images.
4. A Wide Array Of ISO Range
DSLR cameras have a wide array of ISO range that allows you to adjust the ISO settings and helps you to shoot in different conditions with ease. Such kinds of ISO settings are not available in smartphones and other cameras, and therefore the image quality may differ.
One of the key aspects of photography that determines the quality of the images and videos is lighting. A normal camera is often equipped with an LED flash, whereas the DSLR camera boasts of a Xenon flash.
The Xenon flashlight covers more area when compared to the LED flash, as it is brighter and also helps you to click a clear image and make better videos even in dark conditions.
The memory of your smartphone can run out soon, as besides taking photos and videos, there are various other applications that are stored in it. On the other hand, SD cards are used by DSLR cameras for storage purposes.
As the DSLR camera is only used for one purpose that is photography, it is obvious that you’ll get ample of space to store your photos and videos.
This totally depends on the purpose for which you use your DSLR camera. The smartphone camera is apt for you if you are using it for selfie images or for various filters. If you are more of a social media person and love to share your photos and videos pretty often, then a smartphone camera is more convenient, as its always available and within reach.
But if you are passionate about photography and like to experiment, then the DSLR camera is apt for you. If you are a vlogger and make videos frequently for your YouTube channel, then a DSLR camera will help you to make better quality videos, so that you can make an impression on your viewers.
In short, you can say that smartphone photography is for hobbyist photographers, whereas the DSLR camera is for professional photography.
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Factors To Look For When Buying The Best DSLR Camera For Video
Before you invest your hard-earned money in a DSLR camera, it becomes important for you to consider some points that you must keep in mind while making a decision.
Instead of just randomly shortlisting the one, check out this guide thoroughly to avoid mistakes which can prove to be costly. Here are a few factors to look for to buy the best camera for video:
The first and the foremost step before you start your DSLR camera shopping endeavor is to finalize a budget. This is because there are lots of models and brands available in the market, which can easily confuse you. Your budget will allow you to determine and shortlist the models which you can get. The better the feature and functionality you want, the deeper the pockets you’ll require.
There are many DSLR cameras in the market whose standard lenses function pretty well for shooting decent quality videos. If you are fine with the standard lens and are only concerned with shooting the standard 1080p videos, then you can opt for a highly rated affordable lens.
If you are fuzzy about a specific lens and know exactly what you are looking for, then, of course, it will add to your budget. But if you are on a tight budget, then it is advisable for you to select a camera with a standard lens that can meet your purpose.
3. Size Of The Sensor
The size of the sensor really matters when it comes to selecting the best DSLR camera for video. The larger the senor of the camera is, the better the image quality will be. But this also adds to the cost and shoots up your budget.
Large sensors work well in bright, dim, and even in contrasty conditions, whereas the small sensors don’t function well in the darkest and the brightest areas, which therefore hampers the clarity of your videos. So, check the size of the camera’s sensor if you are not ready to make this compromise.
4. Megapixel Resolution
Most advertisements today draw the attention of the customers towards the number of megapixels supported by the camera. The one thing that you should be least worried about while buying a DSLR camera is the megapixel.
The DSLR cameras available in the market today are capable enough to give you enough picture clarity to print high-resolution photos. You can record fine quality videos even with a 5-megapixel to 6-megapixel DSLR camera.
5. Accessories Offered
Besides the video editing software that you will require to edit the videos, there are lots of other accessories that are important and that you will require on a regular basis. Accessories like tripods, bags, lenses, SD cards, straps, universal flash, etc. are pretty important.
So, before buying the best DSLR camera for videos, check whether you are getting some of these accessories with the camera or not, or you have to buy them at an additional cost.
Now that you know some of the factors that you must look for in DSLR cameras for videos, here is a list of top 15 best options available in the market these days.
Frequently Asked Questions About DSLR Cameras for Video
Which DSLR is best for video?
We believe the Canon EOS 90D is best for video, as it has a host of features to ensure steady, crisp footage in any situation.
This camera offers the user both 4k video at 30fps, and full HD at 120fps, so you can record fast-moving subjects or slower moving ones without sacrificing quality.
It also has great features such as 45 point cross-body autofocus, and Canon’s own EOS Intelligent Tracking and Recognition System, which keep the subject of the video crystal clear at all times.
Are DSLRs good for filmmaking?
The interchangeable lens camera is a great option for filmmaking if you don’t want to invest in a camcorder just for capturing quality video.
Both mirrorless and DSLRs are solid options, but there are a couple of reasons that make DSLR suited for filmmaking.
The main factors that make DSLRs good for filmmaking are its excellent battery life and reasonable price point, this means you don’t need to break the bank to shoot a high quality video.
What is the best camera for video and photography?
Many people these days prefer mirrorless cameras for video and photography, but DSLRs definitely still have their place.
DSLR cameras are often more reasonably priced, and feature longer battery life than mirrorless models, making them great for the amateur filmmaker.
We’d have to say that the Canon EOs 90D is your best bet if you’re looking for a DSLR capable of taking both amazing stills and crisp video.
Which DSLR is the best for beginners?
The Canon Rebel SL3 and the Canon EOS 800D both are extremely good options when it comes to buying an entry-level DSLR camera. Though both cameras boast of a 24-megapixel sensor, the autofocus point of EOS 800D is much better than Canon Rebel SL3. The autofocus point of 800D is 45 whereas the autofocus point of Canon Rebel SL3 is merely 9.
The battery life of SL3 is pretty impressive and better when compared to that of EOS 800D. With an SL3, you can click up to 1070 photos, whereas with EOS 800D you can click around 600 photos. There’s hardly any difference between the prices of both the cameras, but you can consider these two options as a good entry-level DSLR camera.
What’s the average life of a DSLR camera?
The average life of a DSLR camera totally depends on how you use the camera. However, on average, DSLR cameras have a lifespan between 3-5 years. But yours could last much longer than this if you take proper care of it.
Most cameras come with a cleaning and maintenance kit as well. Use these kits to keep your camera in good condition for longer.
Which brand is better, Canon or Nikon, for entry-level DSLR?
Whether Canon or Nikon is better has been an ongoing debate for years, and it depends on who you ask. Instead, let’s consider the major difference between these two notable brands in terms of autofocus. The EOS lenses of Canon will definitely autofocus, whereas in terms of Nikon, only the AF-S lenses will autofocus.
All the entry-level DSLR cameras manufactured by Nikon do not have an autofocus motor, because the company unanimously decided to remove it in order to keep the models cheaper, lightweight, and compact.
Are DSLR cameras good for video recording?
If you are in search of a camera that not only takes pictures but also record videos, then DSLR cameras can be a good option. The current DSLR models can shoot high-quality videos, and there are a number of DLSRs that can capture 4k Ultra High Definition videos as well.
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Free Quiz: Find Your Ideal Gear Setup in 1 Minute or Less 📷
A Final Word Fom Run Gun Shoot
Picking out the perfect DSLR for capturing video can be tricky, given that their primary purpose is helping you take high quality stills.
Yet there are some DSLRs that go out of their way to facilitate high quality video recording, and there are a number of factors to consider if this is what you’re looking for.
Digital Single-Lens Reflex, which is popularly known as DSLR, is different from other cameras, as the design it utilizes is altogether different when compared to other digital cameras available in the market.
The design of DSLR is such that it has a mirror inside the body that reflects light coming from the lens and diverts it to optical viewfinder with the help of a series of mirrors or with the help of a prism. This allows you to see what exactly you are shooting, and it is one of the best advantages when compared to the mirrorless and point and shoot camera.
The mirror flips up when you press the shutter, thus allowing the light coming out of the lens to take a shot ultimately reaching the imaging sensor where the image is produced.