best dslr camera for video and photography

Below is our list of 10 of the best dslr camera for video and photography and are worth taking a look at. Remember to keep our above checklist in mind when determining which best professional dslr camera model is best for you.

best dslr camera for video and photography

Nikon D3300

One of the best DSLR video cameras for the money

This is one of the most popular DSLR video cameras out there for quite a few reasons. For one, it isn’t too expensive and won’t break your budget. As compared to some DSLR cameras out there, this is considered in the lower to middle price-point. Next, it’s rated very highly among users when it comes to the overall quality and build of the camera. In terms of highlights of this DSLR, the photos are 24.2 megapixels and the video is of course 1080p Full HD. You can choose either 60/50/30/25 or 24p. The video quality is super clear in detail since the image sensor they use does not have an optical low-pass filter.

If you plan on using this as a photo camera as well, you can also use your smart phone with the camera with its WU-1a wireless adapter (if you’ll be using it for photos as well, they automatically send to your smart device). In terms of build, its pretty compact and lightweight so you’ll be able to travel with it pretty easily (we recommend getting a case for it if you intend on doing so). It also comes with a lens kit so you won’t have to worry about that side of the equation either. If you wanted an immediate answer on the best DLSR video camera and something that didn’t break your wallet, definitely take a look at the Nikon D3300 (it also made an appearance in our best DSLR camera under $500).

CNET’s Nikon D3300 review rated it pretty highly and it was in Tech Radar’s best DSLR camera post. This one is in most DSLR camera reviews for a reason.

Canon EOS Rebel T5

Another one of the best DSLR video cameras

Up next is another one of the best DSLR video cameras for the money. This one is also extremely popular among the video camera world (the entire Rebel line of course). It is a bit cheaper than the previously listed DSLR so if you wanted to save some money this may be a better option for you (they’re even cheaper refurbished if you’re up for it). This one gives us 1080p HD recording with their DIGIC 4 Image Processor. The unit has a built-in 3.0″ LCD screen for Live View while you record to get a better feel of what you’re filming. It also has some solid recording quality even in dim light due to their 63-zone, dual-layer metering system that helps expand the ISO range. It has this additive feature called “Scene Intelligent Auto” which auto-detects settings based on the environment if you don’t feel like customizing them.

The overall construction of the Canon EOS Rebel T5 video camera is pretty rugged and lightweight, so you’re not getting a dinky toy here. If you take proper care of it, this will last you quite a while, deeming to be a wise investment if you wanted a more budget-friendly model to grab. It also comes with its own lens kit so you can use it right out of the box.

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Another one of the best video DSLR cameras

This is a huge jump in price when it comes to the best DSLR camera for filming videos, but hear us out first. If you have the money, this camera’s highlights definitely justify the price tag — a full-frame CMOS sensor (22.3 megapixels), an extremely high quality image processor (DIGIC 5+) to help your videos stand out when it comes to the clarity of them, full HD 1080p video recording at 30 fps, as well as a nice 3.2″ 1.04 m-Dot LCD monitor (ClearView II). It has excellent low-light sensitivity so if you foresee yourself filming in some dark environments in the future, it will be a plus to grab this one. The HDR and “Multiple Exposure” modes when it comes to photography give you some creativity room when it comes to post-production if that seems attractive to you.

This one is for those who know what they’re doing, want to learn a complex camera, or merely want the best of the best when it comes to price point. If you weren’t feeling the others listed in here and want a beast of a DSLR video camera that will last you quite a long time if you take care of it and will elevate the quality of your videos vs. competitors in a noticeable manner, check out the Canon EOS 5D Mark III.

Nikon D3200

Another great DSLR video camera by Nikon

Here’s another Nikon model and this one is just a step below the previously listed Nikon video camera. It has some quality specifications for a pretty affordable price (usually under $500 as well depending on where you look). You have 24.2 megapixels (DX-format CMOS sensor), VR image stabilization lens (18-55mm) so you don’t have to shop for one separately, and the recommended full HD 1080p cinematic video quality. The 1080p comes in at either 30, 25, or 24 p so if you were looking for 60 fps, it isn’t available here. This quality is still considered among the norm of video cameras (as we said, 4K has a long way to go if it’s going to become the typical setting). If you’re planning on using this DSLR camera for photos as well, you have a nifty 4 fps continuous shooting function which is always fun to mess around with — you can also include this in some videos to switch it up if you prefer.

We recommend the Nikon D3200 if you wanted a cheaper DSLR video camera than most out there. It’s one of our favorite best budget-friendly Nikon DSLR cameras — not to mention it already comes with a lens in the box so you don’t have to worry about that part.

Canon EOS 6D

A beautiful DSLR camera for shooting videos

This is yet another Canon EOS model that’s one of the best for shooting and filming videos. The 6D comes in at a pretty high price as compared to some other popular models, but the specifications are up there when it comes to numbers and additional features. You’re equipped with 20.2 megapixels (but the sensor is full-frame CMOS, a wide ISO range from 100 to 25600 and very effective low light adaptability). Like the 5D Mark III, it has a higher quality image processor than the lower-priced DSLR cameras in this article (DIGIC 5+) so that’s where the price starts to jump (but you’re paying for higher quality, so it’s up to you). It has a built-in Wi-Fi transmitter to help you with the transfer process and in terms of video quality, you’re not only getting up to 1920 x 1080 at 30 fps, but the compression options it gives you sets it above those who have the same resolution (it’s not always about 1080p but how they compress the clips as well).

We recommend grabbing the Canon EOS 6D for video if the 5D Mark III was a bit too much of money yet you were still looking for a more expensive, quality-focused camera to make your photographs and videos stand out from the average. It also made it into PC Mag’s best DSLR camera of 2016 article.

Nikon D5300

Nikon's other best dslr camera for shooting video clips

a 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor like the other D-series model we listed, full 1080p HD movies with something called “full-time autofocus” (basically keeps it clear to get rid of those occasional zooming blurs we get when shooting videos), and a 6 fps continuous shooting up to 100 shots function. You’re also getting some different customization settings to tweak around the look and feel of your videos.

The overall build of this will last you quite a while if you take proper care of the camera. It has a 100% frame coverage so you can see exactly what you capture, and the LCD is only 3″ but decent quality to help guide your shots. Take a look at this other option for the best DSLR camera for filming HD videos. You have some options for lens kits and packages to help with flexibility. The Nikon D5300 pretty darn affordable, too.

Sony A77 II

Sony's best dslr camera for video filming

Here’s one of the best DSLR cameras that doesn’t happen to be a Canon or Nikon. Sony brings us a beastly DSLR here, giving us 24.3 megapixels, an APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor and 1080p or even 4K video quality options. They have something called “4D FOCUS” which is basically their new technology to help with autofocus to get rid of those disruptions we sometimes get. They also state their AF system has the highest number of phase-detection points (it has 79 with 15 cross-points) which helps you get some great tracking during their 12fps continuous shooting function. You can also use their built-in Wi-FI and NFC for easy sharing.

We’d say grab the Sony A77 II if you weren’t into what everybody else wants in terms of brand and are a Sony fan, let alone want a higher-end DSLR that will help you create those breathtaking videos when it comes to look and feel (check out the video demo). In the package, it comes with an accessory shoe cap, battery charger,body cap, eyepiece cup, micro USB cable, rechargeable battery and shoulder strap. The body weighs only 23 ounces. DP Review’s Sony SLT-A77 II review has some more in-depth info on the camera since there are way too many highlights to put in here.

Canon EOS 80D

Another EOS model for filming video

Canon’s EOS (electro-optical system) DSLR cameras are way too popular to not have at least a few in here. This particular video camera is a competitor to the previous Sony model since they’re both high up there in terms of price and overall video quality. The 80D provides a nifty 45-point all cross-type AF system for some precise autofocus while you film, 24.2 megapixels (an APS-C CMOS Sensor like the Sony), and of course Full HD 60p movies (save them as mp4 for some great quality and easy editing).

Since we’re getting into the advanced DSLR video cameras here, what’s going to start setting them apart from each other is how many points it has (and how good of quality they are) when it comes trying to bring the picture into focus. It has a wide-area to give you better coverage and works well in dim light. The advanced features and specs continue into their not only points but “autofocus zones” (this one was 9). Check out the Canon EOS 80D if you are serious about your video filming and photography.

Nikon D7000

One of the best DSLR cameras for video if you want a Nikon

This one is another solid Nikon budget-friendly camera that’s usually priced under $500 retail. If the previous models were a bit too expensive and you aren’t concerned about their fancy autofocus and sensor technology, this could be the right DSLR video camera if you didn’t like the first D3300 model mentioned. You’re getting 1080p HD video, a 16.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, and 6 fps continuous shooting for up to 100 shots if you want it for taking pictures as well. Like the other Nikon cameras, it has 100% frame coverage, decent light adaptability, and EXPEED 2 image processing. For audio, it isn’t too groundbreaking and has a built-in monaural microphone, but you’re also getting an external mic jack if you have an additional microphone to attach for real-time audio recording. The Nikon D7000 is just another great DSLR for shooting videos that doesn’t break your wallet.

Nikon D810

Last but definitely not least, this is a monster DSLR video camera

This is not listed last for any reason besides the price point. It’s a full-frame DSLR camera (which means the sensor is as big as the frame, a lot larger than others). It’s recommend for more advanced-level and professional photographers and videographers. You have a whopping 36.3 megapixels without an optical low pass filter (which is only pretty important for those who will be using this for photography aside from their videos). For filming, you have 1080p at 60 fps but also keep in mind that they’re uncompressed — giving you raw video data to allow for better editing and more creativity when it comes to getting that perfect picture.

Another benefit of this is the broadcast-caliber audio control that’s built into the camera, so if you were concerned with audio, this will be a better solution than others. The image processing is “EXPEED 4” (very detailed with ISO from 64 to a whopping 12,800). Swoop up the Nikon D810 if you want a beast in your repertoire.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’


Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

Leave a Comment