When searching for the best DSLR camera for filmmaking, there are many factors to consider. If you are on a particularly strict budget, there are still solid options out there. However, if budget isn’t a concern, you will have access to some of the more high-end options. Other factors that come into play when deciding on the right camera for you include overall quality, durability, and the best DSLR video it can produce.

What Is a DSLR Camera?

DSLR means a digital single-lens reflex camera. Inside the body is a mirror that reflects the light coming from the lens into the optical viewfinder through a prism or additional mirrors. This is how you see the subject your shooting. When you press the shutter, that mirror flips out of the way, the shutter open and the light from the lens takes a straight shot to the image sensor where photos are made.

A mirrorless design, on the other hand, has light pass through the lens and projects it directly onto the image sensor. This allows the photographer/filmmaker to see precisely what the camera is seeing through electronic signals sent to the back LCD screen.

What Is the Best DSLR Camera for Filmmaking?

The advantage of DSLR cameras compared to point-and-shoot digital cameras is you can see in real-time the subject you want to capture using the viewfinder. There are no lags because DSLR doesn’t depend solely on separate a separate LCD screen. One minor disadvantage is you can’t preview your shots through the viewfinder.

Another advantage is the superior battery life that can give at least 600 shots for beginner models and over 1,000 shots for advanced models.

Sensors

Both DSLR and mirrorless models offer different sensor sizes and there three main types:

  • Full frame DSLR sensors – the biggest sensor you’ll see in a DSLR or mirrorless. It’s capable of letting in the lightest and low light conditions and offers the most extensive field of view and the most significant depth of field. These sensors are commonly used in the higher-end DSLRs and mirrorless models because they are expensive to produce. Due to the increased size of the sensor, DSLR and mirrorless models will have bigger camera bodies.
  • APS-C sensors – The most common in DSLRs and found in only some mirrorless models due to affordable production. The smaller APS-C CMOS sensor will let in less light and will display a narrower field of view (usually around 1.5x crop factor) and depth of field.
  • Micro four-thirds sensors – the smallest sensor size offered and exclusive to mirrorless cameras. It is the smallest of the three sensors by a significant margin meaning it will get the least amount of light. The user will get the smallest field of view and the least depth of field. These sensors are the cheapest to produce, so you’ll often find them on entry or lower end models despite them still packing competitive features.

Interchangeable Lenses

Another significant advantage of a DSLR over a point-and-shoot is the ability to use different lenses. DSLR lenses can include wide-angle lenses, super-telephotos, and large-aperture portrait lenses. Each camera manufacturer has its propriety lens and mounting systems.

Find out which is the best DSLR camera for filmmaking with our Top 10 list below, sorted by price.

1. Nikon D3200

Nikon D3200, best DSLR camera for filmmaking

Although a bit long in the tooth, the Nikon D3200 is one of the best budget DSLRs out there for both photo and video recording. The clarity easily matches most intermediate models. This is perfect for any user on a shoestring budget who wants access to quality equipment that allows for the capture of various types of footage.

  • Sensor: 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS
  • Image Processor: EXPEED 3
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps
  • Autofocus: 11-Point Multi-CAM 1000
  • ISO: Auto, 100-6400; Extended, 100-12800
  • Continuous Shooting: 4 fps

 

2. Nikon D3300

best dslr camera for filmmaking

Another budget option for newbie filmmakers, the Nikon D3300, has been praised for its quality and build. The video quality is crystal clear, capturing even the tiniest details, thanks to the lack of an optical low-pass filter. This camera is perfect for the on-the-go user since it’s lightweight and compact. Wi-Fi capability with a wireless adapter is a definite plus as well.

  • Sensor: 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS
  • Image Processor: EXPEED 4
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 60 fps
  • Autofocus: Multi-CAM 1000 11-Point
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800; Extended, 100-25600
  • Continuous Shooting: 5 fps

 

3. Canon EOS Rebel T5i

best dslr camera for filmmaking

The Canon EOS Rebel T5i has the ability to make even the greenest of users look like a pro. Easily capture the most minuscule details in nearly any subject. The camera’s speedy DIGIC 5 processor and enhanced shutter mechanism work together to provide videographers and film buffs with an amazing amount of versatility — perfect for shooting any kind of action footage.

  • Sensor: 18MP APS-C CMOS
  • Image Processor: DIGIC 5
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps
  • Autofocus: 9-Point Cross-Type
  • ISO: Auto, 100-12800; Extended, 100-25600
  • Continuous Shooting: 5 fps

 

4. Nikon D7000

Nikon D7000 DSLR, best dslr camera for filmmaking

For another best DSLR camera for filmmaking, look no further than the budget Nikon D7000. This camera has quite a bit to offer, including an external microphone jack — perfect for capturing the best audio possible. If you aren’t looking for top-notch autofocus or other high-end features, the D7000 is a great option for all-around excellent quality footage and topnotch DSLR video.

• Sensor: 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS
• Image Processor: EXPEED 2
• Video: Full HD 1080p at 24 fps
• Autofocus: 39-Point Multi-CAM 4800DX
• ISO: Auto, 100-6400; Extended, 100-25600
• Continuous Shooting: 6 fps

 

5. Canon EOS 80D

Canon EOS 80D DSLR for filmmaking

For a more advanced option, consider the Canon EOS 80D. The highlight here is the camera’s superior autofocus performance while filming. This stellar performance is provided by the camera’s 45-point all cross-type autofocus system. Coverage spans over a wide area and does quite well even when shooting in dim lighting conditions providing the best video quality and realistic photos within its price range.

  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS
  • Image Processor: DIGIC 6
  • Video: Full HD 1080p at 60 fps
  • Autofocus: 45-Point All Cross-Type
  • ISO: Auto, 100-16000; Extended, 100-25600
  • Continuous Shooting: 7 fps.

6. Canon EOS 6D

Canon EOS 6D DSLR

The Canon EOS 6D is another Canon model that continues to impress. Its built-in Wi-Fi assists in the transfer process. This camera is a significant upgrade in terms of some budget models. If you have the budget for it and want to stand out against otherwise average footage, snap up this best budget DSLR camera for filmmaking.

• Sensor: 20.2MP Full-Frame CMOS
• Image Processor: DIGIC 5+
• Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps
• Autofocus: 11 Point with Center Cross-Type Point
• ISO: Auto, 100-25600; Extended, 50-102400
• Continuous Shooting: 4.5 fps

 

7. Sony A77 II

Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera - best dslr camera for filmmaking

One of the best DSLRs cameras out there is the Sony A77 II. This camera’s autofocus performance is especially outstanding, providing 79 points with 15 cross-points. Easily track your subjects while capturing footage that maintains superior quality shots with a high-end feel. The A77 II’s built-in connectivity for both Wi-Fi and NFC is a nice touch as well.

• Sensor: 24.3MP APS-C Exmor CMOS
• Image Processor: BIONZ X
• Video: Full HD 1080p at 60 fps
• Autofocus: 79-Point Phase-Detection
• ISO: Auto, 100-25600; Extended, 50-25600
• Continuous Shooting: 12 fps

 

8. Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP

The Canon EOS 5D Mark III comes with a large price tag but for those with the budget, it’s worth it. With this camera’s sensor and image processor, incredible clarity in both image and DSLR video are the main all-around features. Low-light sensitivity is superior, allowing you to shoot in any condition.

• Sensor: 22.3MP Full-Frame CMOS
• Image Processor: DIGIC 5+
• Video: Full HD 1080p at 30 fps
• Autofocus: 61-Point High Density Reticular
• ISO: Auto, 100-25600; Extended, 50-102400
• Continuous Shooting: 6 fps

 

9. Canon 5D Mark IV

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Full Frame - best dslr camera for filmmaking

The Canon 5D Mark IV is groundbreaking with its inclusion of 4K video capability. Autofocus performance is stellar as well, seamlessly working in combination with the rear touchscreen to lock onto a subject or rack focus between multiple subjects. Image and video quality are spectacular as is the camera’s low-light shot capabilities.

• Sensor: 30.4MP Full-Frame CMOS
• Image Processor: DIGIC 6+
• Video: DCI 4K at 30 fps
• Autofocus: 61-Point High-Density Reticular
• ISO: Auto, 100-32000; Extended, 50-102400
• Continuous Shooting: 7 fps

 

10. Canon 1DX Mark II

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II DSLR Camera

Lastly, quite possibly the best DSLR camera for filmmaking is the Canon 1DX Mark II. Its durable body can withstand any weather condition. The camera’s large size allows it to achieve DCI 4K at an impressive rate of 60 fps without overheating. Autofocus performs incredibly well and works with the sensor to yield immaculate results, thus making this the best Canon camera for filmmaking.

• Sensor: 20.2MP Full-Frame CMOS
• Image Processor: Dual DIGIC 6+
• Video: DCI 4K at 60 fps
• Autofocus: 61-Point High-Density Reticular II
• ISO: Auto, 100-51200; Extended, 50-409600
• Continuous Shooting: 14 fps

 

Final Thoughts on the Best DSLR Cameras for Filmmaking

Any of these cameras can be considered the best DSLR camera for filmmaking in their own right, each yielding excellent results. Despite a possible learning curve for some of the high-end models, these cameras are suitable for users of all levels. If you are serious about diving into the world of filmmaking, all the options presented above are sure to satisfy. Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts on which camera you think is the best DSLR camera for filmmaking.