Choosing The Best DSLR Camera For Video
October 11, 2013
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Selecting the best DSLR camera for video really depends on your particular needs. Knowing these will help you rule out cameras that have features you won't use and shouldn't pay for.
Features to Consider
First things first. What features might you need in a DSLR—digital single-lens reflex—camera for video? A fast-recording HD camera? Large sensor size? Large field of view? High-quality recordings? Maybe a camera for vlogging, general use or commercial work? You'll need to consider all of these features, and more, to determine which is the right camera for you.
If you just want a camera for vlogging and simple videos, then you'll probably want one with a smaller sensor and a decent-sized FOV, or field of view, which refers to the background in your shots. If you are doing commercial work, you'll want a larger sensor size because you'll be able to capture more of the background. Basically, the larger the sensor, the larger your FOV.
The three major sensors are full-frame, APS-C and Micro Four Thirds (MFT). The rule of thumb is that the smaller the sensor, the closer the image appears. MFT is the smallest sensor at 4/3. Full-frame is the largest, as its name implies, because it captures a wide angle. APS-C is somewhere in between, but still smaller than what you'd find on a 35 mm camera. If you're a beginner videographer, APS-C is best for a variety of video purposes and will let you capture a decent-sized section of the background. However, if you're sure that you'll be doing commercial video work, you'll want a larger sensor to capture a full frame.
Next, consider the size of the field of view and its focus. Sometimes you'll want to capture a wide-view background in focus, but at other times you'll only want the subject to be in focus with the background a bit blurry. The only way to capture a full background with everything in focus is with a full-frame camera. If you don't need to capture a full background or have all of it in focus, then an APS-C sensor is fine.
DSLR cameras are expensive because you must purchase the body of the camera and the lenses separately—at a price of at least $400 each. Full-frame cameras are the most expensive by far, and smaller sensor cameras are the cheapest. If you want a professional camera but it's out of your price range, consider buying a used camera with the features you need.
Generally, the smaller your sensor, the more available lens options, which is great if you have an MFT. You can choose from a zoom, macro, prime and other special purpose lenses.
You should also consider other features. For example, some cameras can record at 60p (the fastest recording time at 60 images a second), but not all DSLR cameras can record in HD at 60p and the recording time on some is short—20 to 30 minutes. And not all DSLR cameras have an articulating or flip out LCD screen, so buy a newer model if you need this feature.
As you can see, choosing the best DSLR camera for video can be complicated, so do your research. We suggest that beginners consider the Canon Rebel series, which offers several cameras at a reasonable price. Many vloggers use them, and they're a good transition camera from the point-and-shoot. However, if you're "Team Nikon," the D5000 series is a good comparable choice that gets the job done just as well.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons