I started looking into DSLRs for video like 6 years ago, and ever since then, I’ve been trying to find the perfect one. Right now I have six cameras that I use for video, and I’ve come to realize that not all cameras are created equal. There are some big differences in DSLRs for video, and it’s important to take them into consideration before using or purchasing them.
Differences in DSLRs for Video
First let me say that I haven’t used every single DSLR out there, so I can only talk about the products that I’ve messed around with. Those products would be the Sony A58, Nikon D600, Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 60d, Canon 70d, and Canon 6d. Yes, I have that many cameras, and that’s partially why I am writing this blog. I’m looking into selling off some of the bodies and then buying a set of the same body. That way, everything will be the same, and I won’t have to deal with 6 different bodies.
Autofocus for DSLR Videos
The scariest thing for me and probably the reason most photographers don’t get into videography is focus. Photographers are use to have autofocus at their disposal. In most cases autofocus doesn’t really work for video. The main reason I bought the Sony A58 was because it had much better autofocus than all the other DSLRs at the time. It was smooth and could follow a subject. The next jump up and my next purchase was the Canon 70d. Again, it had the same autofocus abilities as the A58 but was better in other aspects. All of the other cameras either don’t have autofocus or it just isn’t worth it.
Image Quality and ISO performance.
Eventually I stopped using autofocus and learned to manually focus. The main reason I switched was for image quality and ISO performance. Yes, those two cameras could focus for me, but if we weren’t in perfect conditions, the quality of the video was horrible. My top three performers in this area are the Nikon D600, the Canon 6d, and the Mark II. Even between those three there is a pretty big difference, and that’s why I’m wanting to get more copies of the same camera.
There are a few other options to consider. One thing I care about is the recording time. Some cameras shut off automatically after 20 or 30 minutes. Some of the cameras I own have the Magic Lantern hack on it that automatically restarts it for me. For ceremony videos this is big. I can’t always run around and check to make sure things are still running. Another option I’ve found helpful is a tilt screen. I sometimes shoot videos from weird angles, so have a tilt screen allows me to see what I’m doing. Besides that, there are other things that don’t really matter to me like audio levels and focus peak.
I think I’ll always be on the look out for the next, best DSLR, but I’ll still be looking at the same things when I go to purchase them. I wish I had known about the Differences in DSLRs for Video before I purchased a few of these cameras. In the future, I’ll make better decisions.