12 Best DSLRs for Video in 2017

Before the rise of DSLR cameras, folks had to make due with Instant Cameras or 35mm marvels from Olympus and others. It is safe to say digital cameras change the game, and while smartphone cameras have dampened their popularity, it’s still the best way to go for a quality snapshot. They are also fantastic at taking videos if you pick the right model.

The best DSLR for video depends on what you want to shoot. Consumers that just want super slick videos at Christmas time can opt for a device at a lower price point while professionals will want something with a bit more pop. Before we tell you what to look for, let’s take a quick look at our top picks.

Top 12 DSLR Cameras for Video Comparison Table

DesignNameVideo ResolutionImage SensorRating (1-5)
  1. Pentax K-1 Full Frame DSLR Camera 1920 x 1080 36.4 MP 4.8
  2. Nikon D7500 20.9MP DSLR Camera 3840 x 2160 20.9 MP 4.7
  3. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit 1920 x 1080 18 MP 4.7
  4. Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera 1920 x 1080 24.3 MP 4.6
  5. Canon EOS REBEL T7i Video Creator Kit 1920 x 1080 24.2 MP 4.6
6. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR 3840 x 2160 20.9 MP 4.6
7. Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 1920 x 1080 24.2 MP 4.6
8. Pentax K-70 Weather-Sealed DSLR Camera 1920 x 1080 24.2 MP 4.5
  9. Leica V-Lux (Typ 114) 20 Megapixel Digital Camera 3840 x 2160 20 MP 4.5
  10. Sony a99II 42.4MP Digital SLR Camera 3840 x 2160 42.4 MP 4.5
  11. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame Digital SLR Camera 3840 x 2160 30.4 MP 4.4
  12. Canon EOS 5DS R Digital SLR 1920 x 1080 50.6 MP 4.4

What Type of Kit Do You Need?

DSLR cameras come in two varieties and can be quite confusing to consumers new to the camera world. The first option is just a camera “body” which is what it sounds like. You buy the camera which comes with a cap to keep the optics clean, but you won’t get a lens. It is the only way to go if you already have the gear you want to use, you simply need to make sure you can find an adapter if they are from different brands. In some cases, you will also be able to use most lenses from other brands with the proper adapter.

If you want to be ready to shoot out of the box and are sans your equipment, you will want to buy a full kit. Many of our picks for the best DSLR for video usage come with multiple lenses or give you the chance to choose the one you want. The Image Sensor is set and listed in our chart above, but the lenses can vary wildly from telephoto beasts to lenses geared towards action shots.

Resolution

While the image sensor takes care of your snapshots, the video is a different story, and those megapixels don’t mean squat. Most modern DSLR cameras can produce a recording resolution of 720p, 1080p, or 4K although we opted to only use the last two options as we want the best –not mediocre.

  • 1080 –This is by far the most common standard you’ll find on DSLR cameras and is the roughly the equivalent of what you’ll see on HD television sets or smartphones with FHD displays. The resolution sits at 1920 x 1080 and provides a nice balance of picture clarity and recording time.
  • 4K – If you truly want the best, you will want a camera that can handle 4K video. It’s become common in the smartphone world, but not on DSLR cameras as there are a few drawbacks despite the stellar picture. 4K recording can cause some cameras to heat up, which in turn results in shorter recording times and battery life overall.

Battery Life & Storage Capacity

The swankiest DSLR camera in the world won’t do you a bit of good if the battery goes dead a few minutes into your recording. While the resolution of the video you’re taking plays a large part in that, the size of the battery does as well. The battery size varies across the board, so always factor that in along with charging times. You can always buy extra batteries, but you may not be able to buy larger capacity batteries for your DSLR.

We don’t have an average number for the amount of photos, or video DSLR cameras can take as that depends on your memory card. Pay close attention to the type of cards your camera takes as well; that can directly affect the type of card you can use which plays into the storage factor. When it comes to speed, Class 10, USH-1 and U3 cards are the fastest on the market and capacities can range anywhere between 16GB all the way up to 512GB.

Top 5 Best DSLR for Video Reviews

1. Pentax K-1 Full Frame DSLR Camera

When it comes to classic camera styles, the Pentax K series takes the cake. This lineup has been in production since 1975, and the famous K1000 is still being used by professionals around the globe today. The Pentax K-1 is the company’s first full frame DSLR, and one well worth a look if you appreciate the quality the brand brings to the table.

History aside, the Pentax K-1 is a beast with a 36.4 MP filter-less CMOS sensor. It features 33 points of auto focus along with features like shake reduction for steady shots and a nice roomy display on the back that tilts for ease of use.  While photos are the main draw for this camera, its prowess in the video department is top notch as well. The K-1 is an FHD video camera with a manual video mode that records your memories in 1920 x 1080, that’s par for the course at this range, but the live view feature is a focus you are going to appreciate. It’s not what we would refer to as a Pro-class video model, but not many DSLR’s are – they are made for photos after all.

The Pentax K-1 is an amazing camera that will make your snapshots look professional and allows you to do simple or complex videos with ease. This camera is best suited for consumers that need a camera first, and a recorder second although we don’t feel like anyone will be disappointed by what this one can do in the AV department. The K-1 is available with a 28 – 105mm HD Lens kit bundle or you can pick up the body if you do not need the extras.

2. Nikon D7500 DSLR Camera with VR Lens

Before the rise of the digital camera, Nikon was a fan favorite for decades. There’s a good reason for that, they make quality cameras, and their DSLR lineup is arguably second to none. Our top option from the company is the Nikon D7500, which certainly qualifies as one of the best DSLR for video shooting.

Before we get to the video, we’re going to take a quick look at what lies beneath the hood of this one – it is a camera after all. The Nikon D7500 can handle 51-points of autofocus thanks to 15 cross sensors and group AF. This allows for continuous photos at 8 frames per second via the 20.9MP image sensor. On the back of the camera, you’ll find a large 3.2” LCD display that tilts for convenience and is of the touchscreen variety. When it comes to video, you will be thrilled to know this is one of a handful of models that can do 4K and do it very well.

The Nikon D7500 is available in several different configurations depending on what you need. We opted for the 18-300mm VR lens it, but you can also choose from a landscape & travel package, zoom & telephoto or only buy the camera body and add the lenses of your choosing.

3. Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit

When we said Nikon was “arguably” the top DSLR manufacturer around, that’s due to Canon. It can come down to a matter of taste and what you’re comfortable with in some cases, but the Canon ESO Rebel T6 can’t live up to the D7500 when it comes to sheer power but can take amazing videos despite one minor drawback.

The Canon T6 is another camera kit with a variety of options and something to offer for almost everyone. It has a 18MP APS-C sensor with 9-point autofocus capabilities and one center cross-type. Again, it’s not as beefy as the Nikon, but only on the camera side of things. The T6 cannot do UHD video but will do 1,920 x 1,080 which is more than sufficient for many consumers given the drawbacks of 4K on many DSLR cameras. As a bonus, it’s compatible with “all” the lenses from Canon’s EF and EF-S product line.

Whether you want to take a quick video Christmas morning when the kids tear into their gifts or need professional shots at a wedding, the EOS Rebel T6 is a great all-around camera. It’s not what we would suggest as the best DSLR for filmmaking, but we feel you will be thrilled by what it can do. Like most of our picks, you can choose the package you want with the EOS Rebel T6.

4. Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera

Sony isn’t the first name to ring a bell when it comes to DSLR cameras. That’s slowly changing however as the company has put out some stellar cameras in the past few years including the Sony A77II. This digital camera in on the upper end of the pricing spectrum, but there is an excellent reason for that.

The best DSLR camera for video doesn’t have to have fantastic optics, but it does need to allow users to shoot solid videos. The Sony A77II gives you the best of both worlds with a 24.3MP optical sensor that gets a boost from a nimble Bionz X processor. You can share your snapshots wirelessly through Wi-Fi, which is becoming common, but you’ll also get NFC on this model. This camera has a 79-point phase detection AF system that can snap shots at 12 frames a second in full res and can easily dole out movies in FHD. You can even choose between 60p, 60i or even 24p.

There is a lot to love with this camera including the 3” LCD display on the back side that has a three-way tilt system. It’s not waterproof, but it can handle a light dusting considering the body is sealed and water-resistant to a degree. The Base model will get you started if you already have some gear or you can opt for a full kit as Sony has seven different combinations to choose from.

5. Canon EOS Rebel T7i Video Creator Kit

Canon has produced more REBEL’s than you can shake a stick at, and they really do have a camera for everyone regardless of your skill level or budget. That includes consumers that take more videos than photos. If you fall into that category, prepare to be impressed by the Canon EOS REBEL T7i Video Creator Kit.

As the name implies, this is a full kit complete with the camera and a couple of nifty extras. One would be an external microphone that sits on the camera and looks to be the Rode VMGO Video Mic with mounting bracket. You’ll also get a 32GB SanDisk SD card, so you’ll be ready to roll out of the box with this one. It’s another FHD model, so while you can’t do 4K, you will still be able to take outstanding videos. The snapper is nothing to scoff at either considering it’s a 24.2 MP CMOS sensor with a 45-point all cross-type Auto Focus system.

The Video Creator kit comes with an 18 – 55mm lens and is your best option if you need an external mic as Rode makes great ones. If you already have equipment of your own, you may want to consider the body or the 18 – 135mm lens bundle.