12 Best Nikon DSLRs for Video in 2017
Digital cameras have become the only way to go when taking videos. While there are dozens of dedicated video cameras on the market, DSLR’s offer one huge advantage over those models – they can take amazing photos and shoot video, so you’re getting the best of both worlds.
Nikon is a leader in the field and a fan favorite around the globe. The best Nikon DSLR for video depends on the type of action you plan to capture along with the resolution required.
In our guide, we provide you with a list of the top Nikon models, so whether you’re a beginner or a pro, use the tips from our experts to help lead you toward the right one.
Top 12 Nikon DSLRs for Video Comparison Table
|Design||Name||Video Resolution||Megapixels||Rating (1-5)|
|1. Nikon D5500 DX-format Digital SLR Dual Lens Kit||1920 x 1080||24.2MP||4.8|
|2. Nikon D5 20.8 MP FX-Format Digital SLR Camera Body||3840 x 2160||20.8MP||4.8|
|3. Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body||1920 x 1080||24.3MP||4.7|
|4. Nikon D7500 DX-format Digital SLR Body||3840 x 2160||20.9MP||4.7|
|5. Nikon D3400 24.2 MP DSLR Camera||1920 x 1080||24.2MP||4.6|
|6. Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR||3840 x 2160||20.9MP||4.6|
|7. Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera||1920 x 1080||24.2MP||4.6|
|8. Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera||1920 x 1080||24.2MP||4.6|
|9. Nikon D850 FX-format Digital SLR Camera||3840 x 2160||45.7MP||4.6|
|10. Nikon D610 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera||1920 x 1080||24.3MP||4.4|
|11. Nikon Df 16.2 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera||1920 x 1080||16.2MP||4.3|
|12. Nikon D5600 24.2 MP DSLR Camera||1920 x 1080||24.2MP||4.2|
What Type of Videos Do You Plan to Shoot?
Consumers looking for a great DSLR camera from Nikon don’t have to look too hard. The company’s lineup is outstanding, but choosing the right camera to suit your needs can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. If that’s an issue, the first thing you need to do is simply ask yourself what types of videos you plan on shooting and will you just shoot film or photos as well?
The best Nikon DSLR for video is going to take amazing photos, but you may not need the biggest sensor of a camera with loads of extras if video mainly what you’re after. Instead, you should focus on areas of interest like battery life, and the size of the sensor (not the megapixels) which affects how large your field of view is. The lens will play a part in things as well although you can buy a camera body and deck it out with your own gear.
While megapixels are still important, the resolution is what you’ll want to key in on with DSLR’s for video. Currently, 4K resolution or UHD is the highest “consumer” model cameras can go, and they are still a bit of a rarity. 4K cameras can shoot video at a maximum resolution of 3840 x 2160, which is a considerable step up from FHD.
Every camera on our list can handle Full HD video with ease, which has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and is considered standard quality. That’s what you’ll see in most of your YouTube videos along with anything broadcast on HD TVs. If the price is a concern, and resolution isn’t, FHD snappers are cheaper and can allow you to load up on gear. There are plenty of accessories for DSLR cameras that can increase its capabilities in the video department as well.
Other Things to Consider
One thing users will find out quickly is shooting video at a certain speed or frame rate can suck your camera’s battery dry in an instant. Autofocus, processing and other types of tech can cause a drain as well. If you are shooting short clips, it won’t be an issue, but for commercial purposes or professional videos, you may need an extra battery or two. Battery grips are also an option to consider, and popular among folks that use their DSLR for video instead of snapping pictures.
The display or viewfinder is of the utmost importance as well. Some cameras will have an optical and electronic viewfinder with the latter being more important for video. LCD displays give you a live view of what you’re shooting and can flip up or swivel out so that you can capture yourself in action. Slow-mo, frame rates, ISO range, and recording length are also things to keep in mind as well.
Top 5 Best Nikon DSLR for Video Reviews
The Nikon D5500 is a fantastic DSLR camera that’s simple enough for beginners to use but still packs enough punch for the pros. It will take stunning photos with its DX-format sensor and can shoot video at a full 60 frames per second in 1080. While that may not sound exciting, the built-in features are where the action is at with this model.
This camera can do a little bit of everything including snapping sharp photos with its 24.2MP sensor. The CMOS sensor has a 39-point autofocus system and an ISO range of 100 – 25,600 and is great at capturing fast moving objects at 1080p. The camera’s packed with features geared towards film as well with “in-camera” filters that let you adjust the look on the fly and things like time lapse and HDR. The latter has become increasingly popular and can make colors pop on an otherwise bland photo. The display on the D5500 is roomy at 3.2-inches and allows for quick editing of your videos on the fly.
This particular camera comes in several different packages, or you can choose to purchase the body without lenses. We went with the Dual Lens Kit which comes with an 18-55mm VR and 70-300mm lenses, but there are single lens and accessory bundles listed as well.
While our first pick is great for folks with a limited budget, the Nikon D5 is what we would refer to as a Pro series camera. It’s big, bad and expensive camera that will set you back as much as a used car, and while you may be surprised by a few specifications, the video it can shoot will put you in a state of shock and awe.
The D5 is one of the company’s flagship FX-format cameras with an insane ISO range of 100 – 102,400 out of the box. You can kick that up to Hi-5 3,280,000 if you so choose and it sports a whopping 153 focus points with 99 cross-type sensors.
Want to record UHD video? Not a problem as it can do 4K at 30, 25 or 24p or 1080 at 60 frames per second. Auto ISO mode will take care of any tricky lighting transitions you may face and can handle internal and external recording simultaneously. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the mic, which can do 20-step increments for perfect levels.
We just touched on a few of the tricks this camera can pull off, and its hands-down the best Nikon DSLR for video if you can afford it. While the battery life is strong, you will need to stock up on memory cards if you’re going to shoot UHD as that format eats up a considerable amount of space.
Our next full frame Nikon is the D750, another CMOS camera built for Full HD video. It’s no slouch when it comes to photos either with a 24.3MP sensor and the company’s fast EXPEED 4 processor. You could consider it a step up from the D5500, but that all depends on how you plan to use it.
The Nikon D750 has gained plenty of fans due to the fair price and ease of use. Beginners should be able to navigate through the features relatively easy, and veterans can make quick work of any subject right out of the box. The 24.3MP sensor can shoot up to 6.5 frames per second in camera mode or do Full HD video in a variety of speeds including 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60 which covers NTSC film and PAL in high definition.
While it’s a fairly large camera, its light and the LCD panel is solid at 3.2-inches and tilts but does not swivel around. All the usual features you expect from a Nikon are present as well with Wi-Fi, manual ISO control, and zebra stripes.
The D750 is another bundled camera that you can purchase with lenses or without if you’re looking to save a few bucks. There are three lens packages available along with an accessory bundle which includes a bag, tripod, and memory card.
FX-format cameras are definitely nice for video, but they aren’t for everyone. The Nikon D7500 uses the DX format and is also one of a handful of cameras that can handle 4K UHD video. It has a similar feature set to the D5500, but with a slightly smaller 20.9MP sensor.
Sensors aside, the main difference and standout feature of this camera is its ability to shoot UHD video. The recording time’s listed at 29 minutes, and it’s capable of doing time-lapse in 4K as well as 1080p. This one is also smartphone-friendly in the sense that it lets you record in the .mp4 format, the only way to go on Android and other mobile devices. Like its brethren, you can record on another device simultaneously or straight to an external device without dealing with the SD card. Other tech specs of interest include an ISO range of 100 – 51,200, and a 3.2” LCD display that tilts for easy access.
One thing we really like about the D7500 is the options. We chose the base model this time around in case you already have your lenses, but you can opt for a travel & landscape lens, compact zoom & telephoto lens or a portrait & prime lens just to name a few.
Rounding out our Top 5 is the Nikon D3400, one of the more affordable options from Nikon. While there is no such thing as and cheap Nikon DSLR, this one won’t break the bank and beginners will be thrilled with the number of goodies included.
The D3400 has the same size 24.2MP sensor found on the D5500, but it’s a hair smaller and lighter than that model. It has dual viewfinders as well although the color display is fixed and doesn’t swivel which is a bit of a downer. It can shoot in several different modes including 1080p FHD video at 60 frames per second down to 24 frames per second or do 720p at 60 or 50 fps. The ISO range is set at 100 – 25,600 although it can be adjusted through the usual means if you want to tinker.
The camera itself is well worth it if you want to shoot high-quality videos and don’t need 4K, but the real value lies in the accessories. This kit has a tripod, camera bag, external flash, two lenses, cleaning supplies, filters, an SD card, and a remote. You can also opt for a Red version of the D3400 if you want something other than the traditional Black.