DSLRs aren’t just for still pictures anymore. With large sections of movies like Act of Valor being filmed with the Canon 5D MKII and films like Black Swan featuring footage from the Canon 7D, the place of DLSRs in filmmaking is no longer in doubt.
A lot of budding filmmakers have more ambition than budget and fortunately there are some lower priced DSLRs that have great video features that won’t break the bank. At these prices you can expect some features to be missing and, for most of them, that weakness is audio. Almost all these cameras will need some kind of external audio recording device, which you’d want for filmmaking anyway.
Another weakness are the lenses. These cameras come with a 18-55mm kit lens which is a good range for beginning filmmakers. These are decent lenses but they won’t win any awards.
So before you go out and drop $2,000 on a Canon 5D body and another wad of cash on a lens, take a look at these cameras with hidden video value.
The Canon T4i delivers exceptional functionality for new filmmakers – by Canon
The T4i packs an 18-megapixel APS-C sensor and backs it up with Canon’s new DIGIC V image processor. While the T4i lacks the full size sensor frame of a 5D MKII or the rugged weatherization of 7D, it’s a fine camera that produces full 1080p video at 24 fps and comes in under our $1,000 mark with an 18-55mm kit lens.
Nikon was late to the video party, but finally caught up to Canon by offering 24 fps – by Nikon
The Nex-5N is one of Sony’s line of mirrorless cameras that pack a large 16.1-megapixel APS-C chip and full 1080p video at 24 fps. Besides the video features the Nex-5N has superior speed when it comes to shooting static images, thanks largely to the mirrorless design.
The Nex-5N has one weakness in that it doesn’t have a built-in optical viewfinder. The Nex-5N has a external viewfinder that fits on the hotshoe.