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The 3 Best DSLRs in 2014 For Professional Level Video Production

UPDATE: I’ve just announced a new Cinematography Guide For Capturing Cinematic Images On Your DSLR. Click here to check it out!

Over the past few months there have been so many fantastic DSLR releases that I felt it was about time to write a follow up to my Top 5 DSLRs For Video article. This time around though, I decided to narrow it down even further, and give my picks for the top 3 instead of the top 5, since I really wanted to zero in on the cream of the crop here.

You can capture pretty amazing video with a lot of DSLRs now. Cameras like the Lumix G6, Sony A99, Sony A7R, 7D, Nikon D5300 and many more cameras are extremely capable of fantastic quality and used professionally all the time… Are they the best of the best? Not in my opinion (for video that is), but that doesn’t mean that they can’t produce images that look better than cameras 10 times their price, under the right circumstances and with the right DP behind the lens. So, although I’ve narrowed it down to my top 3 here, I do want to point out that I did so not because other cameras aren’t capable of producing great results, but rather because these few really stand out for one reason or another.

A few thoughts before we get to the list…

What’s surprised me more than the actual innovations in the camera world this year, is how interested so many shooters still are in the DSLR format – even with cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera/Pocket Camera stealing a lot of DSLR thunder in recent years. When the BMCC was released back in 2012, many of us thought that it signalled the beginning of the end for the DSLR video revolution. This felt especially true as more and more shooters adopted the C300 and so many camera manufacturers jumped on board with large sensor interchangeable lens camcorders. But with all that said, two years later the DSLR revolution is still here in full force, and in fact, it might just be stronger than ever. Sure, there are still issues with shooting on DSLRs, and no matter how great they become the form factor and ergonomics will never be the same as a traditional camcorder, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t the best tool for many jobs. Personally speaking, I now own many cameras including the BMCC and C100, but there are many situations where shooting on a DSLR just makes more sense. So while 2012 and 2013 led many of us to believe that video based DSLR shooting was becoming a thing of the past, 2014 is acting like a renaissance year for the DSLR format, and we have the cameras to prove it.

Much like my previous article, I am basing my judgement on the top 3 DSLRs on how they function as all round video tools, and not simply placing them on the list based on image quality alone. For instance, if a DSLR has excellent resolution, but poor ergonomics and audio control, it’s not going to make the cut. After all, many shooters are using their DSLRs as a primary video camera, and if you only have one main camera it better do a lot more than just provide you with a high resolution image. To put things in perspective, my favorite camera (image-wise) is my Blackmagic Cinema Camera, but it is also by far the one that I use least out of any that I own. It just isn’t practical for most situations, as I don’t like having to rig it up every time I go out to shoot something. Yes, I love the images it produces and I deal with the workarounds when it really matters because the quality is that good… But if I only owned one camera, that wouldn’t be the one. The cameras on this list take into account many variables including: overall image quality, resolution, dynamic range, frame rates, audio capability, form factor, sensor quality/size, ease of use, and additional video features.

Without further ado, here is my top 5 list for 2014.

Lumix GH4 – $1697 at B & H

GH4_slant_YAGH_zps2fe945db

This is probably my favorite camera right now, hands down. Recently I did a video review on this new 4K shooting DSLR from Panasonic and I will re-iterate here that this camera is nothing short of amazing. The Lumix GH lineup has matured beautifully over the years from the groundbreaking, but severely limited GH1, to the hackable and fantastic GH2, to the more physically refined GH3, and finally this year, the GH4 – capable of so much, in such a small package. Take a look at some specs:

  • 16.05 MP Digital Live MOS Sensor
  • DCI 4K 4096×2160 at 24p
  • UHD 4K 3840×2160 at 30p/24p
  • Full HD up to 60p
  • 96fps Overcrank Mode
  • 3.0″ 1,036k-Dot OLED Monitor
  • 2,359K-Dot OLED Live View Finder
  • Support for 59.94p, 23.98p, 50p, & 24p
  • 4:2:2 8-Bit or 10-Bit HDMI Output
  • High-Speed 49-Point Autofocus
  • Magnesium Alloy, Weather-Sealed Body

Major highlights of this camera include the fact that it can record 4K internally, and shoots up to 96fps at 1080p. For me though, what I really love about this camera are all of the ‘smaller’ video features which can be just as important (if not more important) than 4K and high frame rates. For instance, the focus peaking and zebras alone on this camera make it such a viable production tool, as do many other video features including timecode support, color bars, and much more. I also have a preference for mirrorless cameras when shooting video as they have the ability to utilize practically any lens out there today with the use of cheap adapters, so this camera is truly one of the most universally adaptable 4K cameras that you can buy.

The images that this camera produces are absolutely stunning. I would argue that of all the cameras on this list, the GH4 will produce the best image, which is extremely impressive considering it also offers a more extensive feature set than the others. There have been some tests done with the GH4 and RED MX camera, and the GH4 is actually significantly sharper and more detailed than the RED footage. As I stated in my video review as well, the image from the GH4 reminds me a lot of the RED MX in terms of overall resolution, quality and dynamic range (which is pretty good, maybe 11.5 – 12 stops). The only downside about this camera for many shooters coming from a 5D or other full frame camera is the fact that the crop factor of the MFT format can take some getting used to. It is a 2x crop in 1080 mode, but as soon as you switch over to 4K mode you actually get a 2.3 x crop, which will be nearly identical to the Blackmagic Cinema Camera. That said, I don’t find the crop to be a major issue at all since there is an abundance of fast, wide glass available for the MFT format, and there is always the option of picking up a MetaBones Speed Booster. Keep in mind though, that you will want fast glass with this camera as it isn’t the best in low-light situations. It’s useable, and better than the GH2/GH3, but the worst of the three cameras on this list in that regard.

Pros: 4K internally, 96fps at 1080p, plenty of video features, small form factor, relatively low cost.

Cons: Crop sensor (which increases to a slightly larger crop at 4K), less accessories available for it than many competitors since the MFT format hasn’t been adopted to the same extent as Canon/Nikon, not great in low light.

Why It Made The List: It’s the most affordable 4K DSLR on the market today and was clearly designed with the video shooter in mind, boasting numerous video features that aren’t found on other DSLRs.

Sony A7S – Pre-order at B & H

Sony-A7S-Camera

When Sony released their A7 and A7R last year, many of us were really eager to get our hands on those cameras (particularly the A7R) and try them out for video. After all, both cameras offered a full-frame sensor in a tiny, mirrorless body, which in many ways created a best of both worlds situation for video. Although I don’t always feel the full frame look is necessary, there are times when it is the best format to shoot with – especially when you can get a full frame look in a body that is so compact. Unfortunately though, the A7 and A7R didn’t deliver great results as far as their video capability. The actual quality wasn’t terrible, but also wasn’t great considering the fact that the cameras suffered from a lot of moire/aliasing and recorded to a highly compressed AVCHD codec. Thankfully though, the A7S was announced only months later and makes up for many of the shortcomings of it’s predecessors (and then some) by offering the following features:

  • 12.2MP Full-Frame Exmor CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ X Image Processor
  • Gapless On-Chip Lens Design
  • 3.0″ 921.6k-Dot Tilting LCD Monitor
  • XGA 2.36M-Dot OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Full HD Recording in XAVC S
  • 4:2:2 UHD 4K Output via HDMI
  • Full Pixel Read-Out, S-Log2 Gamma
  • Expandable Sensitivity: ISO 50-409600
  • Fast Intelligent 25-Point AF System

The two things that initially caught my attention with this camera were the 4K capability and the fact that it has a 12MP sensor. The camera only records 4K externally to a separate device (right now the best option is the upcoming Shogun from Atomos, which was designed for this camera), but it also records a very clean 1080p image internally. The reason the 12MP sensor is such a plus, is that it will undoubtably be more suitable for video than many higher megapixel sensors on other competing full frame DSLRs that need to use line skipping and other methods to pull an HD image from a large sensor. A 12MP full frame sensor is an absolute beast when it comes to 4K video, not only because of the fact that it avoids line skipping, but more importantly because of the size of the actual pixels, which are much larger and therefore will provide much better low light sensitivity.

This camera is not available to purchase yet, but I did have a chance to play around with one extensively at NAB, and was really impressed by the camera itself, the form factor, and of course the image quality. I was also pretty blown away to realize that this camera can shoot at up to 409,600 ISO which is the highest of any DSLR/DSLM on the market today. The biggest downside with this camera right now is the fact that it can’t record 4K internally. The whole point of having a mirrorless camera in my opinion is to keep things small, and when you need to attach a monitor that is twice the size of the camera just to get a 4K video file, it sort of defeats the purpose of having a small camera in the first place. That said however, the on board 1080p is sure to produce some excellent results, and at this point in time 4K is really still more of a luxury than a necessity.

Pros: Full frame, 4K capable, low megapixel count, excellent low light ability, small form factor.

Cons: 4K is only available with an external recorder, 12MP sensor makes it less ideal for stills (if you need it to double as a stills cam), rolling shutter will likely be as bad as the A7/A7R.

Why It Made The List: This is truly a progressive camera that packs a huge amount of power into a small body. Mirrorless full frame video in a camera this small with the ability to output 4K via HDMI is hard to argue with.

Hacked 5D MKIII – $3,399 at B & H

canon 5d mark iii

All these years later and the 5D is still one the most (if not, the most) used DSLR for video on the market, which in itself scores points for the camera in making it one of the most viable tools for DSLR video production today. As I mentioned at the top of this article, there are so many variables to consider when creating a list like this, and while the 5D might not have the best overall image quality in video mode, it makes up for that in so many other ways. The fact that it is so widely used and adopted is a huge advantage for shooters looking to invest in this camera. The amount of accessories, rigs, and other gear that is available for the 5D (at low cost) is more than just about any other camera on the market, simply because of the quantity of 5Ds that are being used across the globe. It’s also great for shooters to be able to use a camera that producers and production companies are familiar with, as I can tell you from personal experience to this day 90% of the time I am on a professional set and a DSLR is requested for the production, they ask for a 5D. With all that said, this camera would not have made the cut this year if it wasn’t able to shoot RAW by using the Magic Lantern firmware. That ability (coupled with everything else I mentioned) is the reason this camera made the list. After all, here are it’s specs (including capabilities with the ML hack):

  • 22.3MP Full-Frame CMOS Sensor
  • 3.2″ Clear View High Resolution LCD
  • DIGIC 5+ Image Processor
  • 61-Point High Density AF
  • Full HD 1080/30p and 720/60p Formats
  • Built-In HDR and Multiple Exposure Modes
  • Extended ISO Range (50-102400)
  • Up to 6.0 FPS Continuous Mode
  • Dual CF and SD Memory Card Slots
  • Durable Magnesium-Alloy Construction
  • Ability to shoot RAW
  • Focus Peaking
  • Zebras
  • Additional Manual Audio Control
  • Built In Intervalometer

This camera really is a workhorse. Sure, you could buy a camera for a fraction of the cost of a 5D (a lumix G6 for instance) that will give you sharper, higher quality video right out of the box with additional features, but the 5D has so much going for it, especially with the ML firmware installed. Using Magic Lantern makes the 5D one of the only DSLRs that is as feature rich as the Lumix GH4, with built in peaking, zebras, and much more, not to mention the camera can shoot RAW! I posted an article a while back titled the 5D RAW Hack & Why I Don’t Care, and the essence of the article was that there are so many other RAW capable, affordable cameras out there today that were designed to actually shoot RAW, that I don’t always see the benefit in using RAW on a 5D, especially when it was first released and I was concerned about stability issues. That said, just because I don’t use it on professional shoots, doesn’t mean that others don’t want to, and the fact that you at least have the option on this camera is great (whether it’s practical or not is a different story given the workarounds in post).

There are of course some negatives to the camera as well. The fact that there is no 1080/60p mode is a huge downside for me, considering the 720/60p mode is really soft. The price tag is also fairly high, compared to the other two cameras on this list, since you are essentially paying for one of the best stills cameras in the world today, and you may or may not even need to use it for still photography.

Pros: Full frame, RAW capable, industry standard brand/model, incredible still photos.

Cons: Shooting RAW means hacking the camera, using expensive cards, and lots of workarounds in post to edit the footage. No 1080/60p mode, and 720/60p is very soft. More expensive than other cameras with better IQ.

Why It Made The List: The camera is still the number one most requested DSLR to have on set, which makes it an extremely valuable tool regardless of shortcomings in it’s image quality. RAW capability though Magic Lantern makes this camera one of the most affordable RAW cameras in the world, and will be ideal for specific types of shooting environments.

Which Camera Is Best For You?

First off, as I mentioned at the top of this article, there are loads of DSLRs on the market right now that are capable of producing incredible results, and that are not on this list. Don’t feel like you need to go out and buy a new camera if you already have a great camera body that is working for you and making you money. That said though, if you are ready for a new camera and want to get a tool with longevity that will hopefully not be outdated by this time next year, the 3 on this list are your best best.

The GH4 is the best tool for you if you already come from a Micro Four Thirds background (and have lots of MFT ready glass) or you need to record 4K internally. I see the GH4 as the ultimate documentary/video journalism camera as the stealth form factor will allow you to shoot with it in just about any situation without drawing attention to yourself, all the while capturing beautiful 4K video. It is also great for narrative films on a budget that want a great all round production camera that is not only 4K capable, but can also record at up to 96fps for slow motion sequences.

The A7S falls largely into the same category as the GH4 in my opinion, since the body and size of the cameras are similar. Again, this would be a great tool for documentary work as it can be really stealth given the size of the body, and in some situations (namely, extreme low light) this camera will allow you to capture images that no other camera on this list (or off this list for that matter) will be able to. Deciding between this camera and the GH4, really comes down to three factors – Whether you already have full frame lenses that can work with this camera, if you prefer the full frame look, and whether or not you need to record 4K internally.

The 5D MKIII is a tried and true camera that is a guaranteed workhorse and a fantastic all-rounder. If you have no interest in shooting 4K in the near future, and want to have a camera that producers are familiar with, this camera is the one for you. At least for the time being, the 5D will be the most requested camera on set, and is trusted across the board by DPs, producers, and other creative professionals – not because it is the best, but because it is the camera that they have used and can trust. The 5D is a very different animal than the other two cameras on this list, and in order to make it truly function as a great video camera you really do need to hack it with Magic Lantern. That said, it is truly a well rounded product and is especially good if you also plan on also shooting stills with it.

As the year progresses I will be sure to update or add to this list if any new releases shake things up in the camera world. As of now, we have seen the vast majority of new DSLRs for 2014 already released at NAB, but there are certainly some cameras that have been rumoured (such as the 7D MKII) which may give us even more to talk about.

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About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

57 Comments

  • Andrew Lazarev
    March 27, 2021 at 3:56 pm

    In 2017 the best and not expensive DSLR for video was Canon EOS 80D.

    Reply
  • Pooja
    December 11, 2015 at 5:14 am

    Hey Noam

    Is there a camera that is good for both stills and video?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      December 21, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Many! The Sony A7R II is one great option at the moment.

      Reply
  • Yelena Smykowski
    October 1, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    The 3 Best DSLRs in 2014 For Professional Level Video Production | Noam Kroll

    […]Small magazines and websites started using digital images more and more until today, while large glossy magazines still require transparencies be submitted for publication we now have medium format cameras that can supply the image resolution nece…

    Reply
  • Joshua G
    July 18, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks, Noam.
    I’ve read with interest your article. I noted you didn’t mention color rendition on any of the cameras, which makes me wonder. Looking (on the net) at footage by various DSLRs and DSLMs, I found huge differences concerning color rendition, especially skin tones. Would you care to comment about the colors of the 3 cameras reviewed here?
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 21, 2015 at 6:44 pm

      Hey Josh! Great question… I would say in terms of color I would rank them: 1. Canon 5D 2. Lumix GH4 3. Sony A7S

      The Canon is my least favorite in many ways, but it has the best color. The A7S I think has the worst color, but is great in so many other ways… The GH4 is somewhere in the middle. Again, just my opinion but hopefully that clears things up for you.

      Reply
  • Josh N
    May 18, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Great stuff, thanks Noam.

    I’ll definitely wait around to check the G7 out.

    Could you recommend any other small (compact / micro 4:3 etc) to check out for budding videographers?

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 20, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Have you checked out the Lumix GF7? Haven’t used it myself but I’ve heard good things!

      Reply
  • Josh N
    May 17, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Hi there

    Great article.

    What are your thoughts on new mirrorless cameras such as Panasonic LX100, Samsung NX500 or Sony A6000. Can these compete with BMPCC, GH4 or A7S or are they in a completely different league?

    Seen and heard great things about LX100 & looking for that cinematic crisp look the above cameras capture so well, but scared the LX100 and co are far too consumer friendly to get the desired results…

    Looking for a camera that is ‘pocket size’ (I know LX100 doesn’t necessarily fit in your pocket) but GH4 is a little too big for me to carry around on a day to day basis

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 18, 2015 at 12:09 am

      Hey Josh! Cameras like the ones you mentioned are great budget-conscious alternatives but they definitely won’t always perform as well as the cameras on this list. I am actually going to update this article next week and one of the cameras I am going to include is the Lumix G7 which will be announced tomorrow and is an amazing alternative. Definitely check that one out… It will probably be about half the price of a GH4 and should have very similar image quality.

      Reply
  • Kevin
    April 4, 2015 at 5:21 am

    Hey Noam,
    Thank you for this article. Sadly your choices are pricey.
    In the past years I was more into taking photos, but I want to give filming/ editing a try.
    I am using a Canon EOS 500D right now, but i want to upgrade it soon anyway.
    A mirrorless camera would be cool, But since I have some lenses for Canon (Sigma 10mm, 2.8 Fisheye + Canon 50mm, 1.4) and i could some Canon lenses from my dad (like 70-200mm, 2.8) I am not sure if a DSLR is better, Because Then I dont have to buy new lenses or a mount.
    What would you recommend?
    Mirrorless or a DSLR? And which model then?
    regards

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      April 6, 2015 at 5:32 am

      You’re right… These are on the pricier side, but in my opinion well worth the money. For your needs, you may not need a top of the line camera right now however. Depending on how you feel about using lens adapters, you might want to either stick with Canon (and upgrade to a 70D or something along those lines), or go mirrorless and adapt your lenses. If you choose the latter (which I recommend), you could always consider a GH3 which can be bought for pretty cheap right now! Maybe $600 or so… Then either a dumb adapter or speed booster for your lenses and you’re all set.

      Reply
  • sunil
    March 20, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Hi Noam,
    Thank you, you are so helpful. I will certainly buy a GH4 and a suitable adopter. I live in New Zealand and it’s difficult to find adopters in this market . I will try Mike Tapa UK for this. I am planning to go to SriLanka for a month in April and have to buy this before so that I will make use so it in SL jungle. Thanks again. Cheers.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 22, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Anytime! Have you tried ordering off of Amazon or B & H? That might be fastest if they will ship to NZ.

      Reply
  • sunil gunaratne
    March 20, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Hi Noam,
    I am a bird photographer and have produced a book named “Portraits-Birds of Srilanka”Now I have turned to a wildlife documentry maker with a Sony ex 3 camera (full HD) with all my Nikon glasses with an adopter. I now Want to use a DSLR as well as it makes me much easier to handle it in the jungle with my long Nikon lens 200-400 mm zoom. (I read all your questions and answers) and your recommendations for GH4, please advise me if GH4 with an adopter (to use nikon lenses) will help me in this situation. I have never used a DSLR for video work. Please kindly help me out with your expert knowledge. Thanks

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      March 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Congrats on producing your book! Sounds like a great project. In terms of the GH4, you absolutely can use an adapter for Nikon lenses, and I personally think it would be a far better option than the EX3. Firstly, you can shoot 4K on the GH4 (and use it’s 4K photo mode which is perfect for nature photographers), but also it has many other features such as wi-fi control that you might find helpful. To answer your question though, I do think that the small form factor of the GH4 will make your shooting a whole lot easier, especially when compared to the large EX3.

      Reply
  • Plisko
    February 19, 2015 at 12:09 am

    I’m really liking the GH4. Something that shocked me, however, is that the pro video interface unit pictured with it in this article costs more than the camera. $1997 at B&H. Ouch. That’s the cost of a really nice laptop.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 19, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      I agree, that is a tough pill to swallow. Personally I don’t see the point of the interface unless you are using the GH4 day in and day out. Other peripherals are less costly and just as capable and can later be used with future cameras as well…

      Reply
  • Dood
    February 8, 2015 at 12:24 am

    Canon are really falling behind. Disappointing for someone like myself, who has invested in a lot of Canon glass.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      February 19, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      They are… But I am hoping this year at NAB they surprise us for the first time in a while!

      Reply
  • Val
    January 18, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Hi Noam! Your information is very helpful. I’ve decided to invest in a dslr for sports video and sports photography. I need the video clarity for the distance, really good action shots (it would be great if I could cut from the video) and the ability to use a filter for uv. I record track events usually in bright sunlight and record football at dusk/night with a Panasonic HD camcorder. I love how I can pull out good shots from the video, but they aren’t as sharp and need a lot of time consuming work to look decent when the shot is at a distance. What do you recommend for the body and lens based on my needs? I have heard really good things about the 70D and GH4. I was also told I could not go wrong with a used Canon EF 70-200 F2 8 V2 IS if I decided on the 70D. I’m not aware of a good telephoto for the GH4…yet. The races/plays to record are less than 2 minutes over a span of a few hours. However the distance can between 20 and 100 yards. Recommendations, even if it’s not what I have listed will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 19, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I would have to agree that the 70-200 would be an excellent choice for the 70D. The benefit of the GH4 is that you can shoot in 4K, which will allow you to pull still photos directly from the video if you choose to shoot that way. Lumix makes a 35 – 100mm lens that works beautifully on the GH4 and with the crop factor, it is the same focal length as the Canon 70-200. I would base your decision between those two cameras on how much low light you need to shoot as the GH4 isn’t great in very low light conditions, although it would be perfectly useable with enough light that you can shoot at ISO 800.

      Reply
      • Val
        January 21, 2015 at 2:39 am

        Thank you!

        Reply
  • Handy
    January 3, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Noam, just finished my film degree, I want to buy a dslr, which one is the best dslr for shooting music videos and short films. Between d7100/d5300/70d , am more after video quality. Please help)

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 11, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Hard to pick one! I would probably go with the 70D, but that’s only because I’ve used it more than the other two and know what it’s capable of. But I still think the A7S or GH4 are the DSLRs to beat right now…

      Reply
  • Ross
    January 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Hi Noam! Thank you for writing this article! I’m getting really confused with the best course of action to take and your opinion would help me so much!
    An estate agent friend has asked me to make walking videos of the interior of houses to give buyers a better insight of a property instead of still images. After much research i am completely torn and non the wiser between using my buying a new DSLR such as a the GH4 or a camcorder such as the Canon LEGRIA. I want to take high quality video as i walk through houses, good anti shake is a must and the ability to upload to my pc, edit and then post online in a quality that does not slow down websites. The more research i do, the more questions i keep finding!

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 11, 2015 at 9:29 pm

      Hi Ross – I totally understand the difficulty in choosing a camera, especially when doing the type of work that you described here. I would say that no matter what system you go with, make sure you invest in really good lenses (or at least one really good lens) that is fast and has some type of stabilization built in. Shooting interiors without proper lighting setups can be challenging, so the fast lenses will help you a lot, and if you aren’t using a stabilizer (such as a Movi or Steadicam), at least having a stabilized lens will help with handheld work.

      Reply
  • Matt
    December 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Just a note: The first two cameras on your list are not DSLRs (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) but Mirrorless cameras that happen to have the form factor of a DSLR.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      January 11, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      You’re correct, Matt. I tend to lump them all in together since they are nearly identical with the exception of the mirror of course. As far as video goes at least, most DPs are indifferent to mirrorless systems vs. traditional DSLRs (at least from my experience), whereas in photography there is a lot more to consider.

      Reply
  • Nuno
    November 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm

    Hi
    Great post. Very helpfull
    I need a help. I have canon70d with Samyang 35 mm, 14mm and canon 50mm ef 1.4. My question is. The gh4 is better then 70d and the lenses work with it
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Nuno! I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other, but just different. The GH4 will be higher resolution and can do 4K, so that’s important. But if you need the extra shallow depth of field and lower light capability of the 70D, then you might want to stick with your current set up. All depends on your needs!

      Reply
  • kerry kirkley
    October 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Noam,

    I am in real estate and need a new camera that is both a decent still and and excellent video camera that I can produce video tours of homes. I don’t really need a pro line unit but would like a higher quality than my iphone 6. I did hear about a Panasonic that was heralded as a very good video camera in a very reasonable price range. Don’t have the model..can you recommend??
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      November 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

      Hi Kerry – you may have heard about the Lumix G6 which is an amazing camera for the money!

      Reply
  • shahid
    October 7, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Hey, first time I have read your blog and I found it very helpful. Thank you. I am hopingto start shooting weddingsand was thinkingof the Dslr Canon 700d. Simply on a few test video tutorials I haveseenand mainly the price. Would you recommend this as my budget is not too big. Many thanks

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      October 7, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Hi There, thanks for checking out the site. I think the Lumix G6 is a great starter camera because the image quality is amazing and the price point is quite low. Canon 70d is great as well, just a bit more pricey.

      Reply
  • ericka
    September 25, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Hi Noam,

    What would be a decent DSLR camera with video for film student that won’t break the bank. 🙂

    Reply
  • Ro
    August 10, 2014 at 12:50 am

    G’day Noam 🙂

    Great info & read – well done.

    Quick question if I may?

    I am looking for some advice for lenses for my lumix G6 for video. Im looking at:
    – olympus 17mm f1.8 prime &
    – panasonic lumix 14-140 f/3.5-5.6 zoom
    Both seem great quality. As much as I love prime lenses – for filming myt nature doco’s – Im well served with a zoom so it seems?
    Both these lenses arent cheap…..so I am considering using older lenses with an adapter.

    eg. 2nd hand Canon EF 28-135 instead of the panasonic lumix…..but I would loose auto focus wouldnt I?

    Any thoughts would be greatly apreciated

    Ro 🙂

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      August 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks Ro!

      Currently, the Canon lens won’t be able to be adapted easily to the camera, so I would recumbent considering one of your other choices. The lumix 20mm F1.7 is a really amazing lens, and if you are considering going manual I would highly suggest a Nikkor manual lens with Nikon – MFT adapter.

      Reply
  • Jubilla
    July 14, 2014 at 3:16 am

    Hello Noam, Thanks a lot for the article really helped out.

    If you could help me out with my issue id be really thankful, i do a lot of freelance dance videos and music videos and slow motion is a very important thing for me, and im wondering which would be the best camera for me on the long run.

    Im completely divided between my nikon d5300 and the 5D Mark III, i see a lot of advantages of the 5D over the D5300 but what im overall most worried about is the final image quality and which of the two is best for grading.

    I currently own a Nikon d5300 and it shoots 1080p video at 60p which is excellent for me, but im not sure if id be better off with a 5D mark III, since it can produce a better image overall but what bothers me is that it can only do 60p at 720p.

    So im wondering if its a good idea to sell my nikon d5300 and invest in a 5D Mark III or if I should just stick to my d5300 and invest in other material such as lights and lenses.

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      July 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Jubilla, Thanks for visiting. Have you considered looking at the GH4? It can shoot at up to 96fps and is a really excellent camera in many ways. If it’s between the D5300 and MK III I think you would be better off investing in really fast lenses and lighting as you mentioned. The 5D is an amazing tool as well, but the 720/60p mode is really soft…

      Reply
  • Jordan
    June 26, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Noam,
    Really useful article, thanks. I’m a real beginner with film, but I want a camera that will give me great stills and good video for an affordable price, as well as giving me the option to expand in the future if I decide to go further with film. From the looks of your article, it sounds like the 5D ticks all those boxes except it’s a bit on the pricey side for me. I am looking at some earlier models and was wondering if you think that they still deliver professional-quality film footage even if not quite up to the standard of the latest version? I don’t need anything too exceptional at this stage, but I’m still aiming for high quality. Could you recommend any other cameras that fit the bill?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 30, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Jordan,

      A 5D MKII would be a good choice (used) although the lenses could get a bit expensive since they will need to be full frame. How about a used 7D or 6D?

      Reply
  • James Mallory
    June 11, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Thank you for the helpful article. Which camera would you recommend for shooting training videos where an instructor would be referencing still photos on a lcd screen in the background?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 12, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks James – If you need to see the instructor and screen in focus at the same time, you might want to go with a slightly smaller sensor camera (MFT size or below) as opposed to full frame or APS-C, so that you can maintain a deeper DOF. A GH3/GH4 for instance might work well, or you could even consider a camcorder style option as well. Alternatively you could leave the camera focused on the instructor and edit it the still photos in post.

      Reply
  • Max Mitchell
    May 30, 2014 at 3:15 am

    Hi Noam: Thanks for these articles. They are much appreciated. I’m upgrading from a JVC HD100 (camcorder form) to a DSLR. It’s amazing that what cost over $7,000 over 8 years ago can be had in much better quality these days for $2,000. After much research and thinking myself around in circles I keep coming back to the GH4. My main reason is to futureproof the purchase so that in 5 years when 4K is more common, I won’t have to buy another camera. I’m a beginner in terms of my photography skills but I don’t mind the steep learning curve if it gets me to the best place. What’s confusing me about the GH4 purchase is which lens to buy with it for video. It will be another year before I can afford a second lens so I need one lens to work for me for a year. While I have made a few features, I will shoot mostly scripted short videos, short narrative stuff and short dox with this. Is there a $350 lens that will do instead of a $1,000 lens? I’ve been looking at the G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH for $350 and the Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH for $625.
    Max

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      June 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Hi Max, thanks for the kind words. In regards to lenses, the 20mm pancake is a fantastic choice and I would highly recommend it. You can also consider looking into manual Nikon (Nikkor) lenses which will be affordable and very good quality. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    May 27, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Indeed, it does 🙂
    Thanks as usual.
    Now, to save money!

    Reply
  • Flaaandeeers
    May 22, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Mmmmm….
    Thinking of saving some money and selling my BMPCC and accesories to get a GH4 since I’m not making more than 2 short narrative films a year and the specs of the GH4 look more suitable for casual filmmaking.
    But I really like the image that I get from the BMPCC despite its cons.
    A real dilemma…
    What do you think Noam?

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 27, 2014 at 3:01 am

      Not a bad choice at all in my opinion… I really do like the BMPCC, but I find that I like the idea of the camera and what it represents more than I actually enjoy using it (the battery issue being the biggest drawback for me). The GH4 is certainly still capable of a cinematic image and will be far more practical if you aren’t planning on shooting loads of narrative material. Plus it never hurts to rent a camera to try it out for the two narrative projects per year that you have. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • Jeff
    May 21, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Hello Noam, I just came upon your website and I’m loving it!

    So I’m at the time when I want to move up in my camera quality from a GH2 to either the GH4 or the 5D Mark III. I’m going to be shooting music videos and narrative films, and the inner conflict I’m having is whether the sensor size on the GH4 is going to be an issue for me even with the metabones speedbooster, and whether the 5D Mark III quality out of the box without the hack is good for a narrative film. I’m a little hesitant to hack such an expensive camera so maybe I need to give in on that, but I really want the best film quality camera for around the price of a 5D Mark III or less. I was also hearing a lot about the larger sensor cameras overheating when shooting narratives. Is that something I should worry about? If there is a camera you recommend more than these I’m all ears.

    Reply
  • Matt
    May 16, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Noam, first of all, love your blog man. Really appreciate all the insight and tips you share here.

    How are you setting up your GH4 for the best dynamic range?

    I am really impressed by the GH4, the settings and features are amazing. I just love the image coming out of the black magic cinema camera a lot more, because you can shoot raw or ProRes. I sent back the BMCC because I wanted something better for run and gun, but I sure do miss the BMCC now.

    If we could shoot raw with the GH4, it would be the perfect camera…Well, almost…

    Reply
    • Noam Kroll
      May 16, 2014 at 1:30 am

      Thanks for the feedback Matt – glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      I completely know where you’re coming from, being torn between the two cameras. They do have a lot in common but are really two completely different tools when it comes down to it. For the best possible DR, I normally shoot on the Cinema – D mode, which is the flattest picture profile, and dial back the contrast to – 5. This already does a lot, but if I’m in a situation where I need to pull things back even further, I will use the on board curves adjustment to lift the shadows or bring down the highlights. Still not going to be a BMCC in terms of DR, but it helps a lot!

      Reply
      • Matt
        May 16, 2014 at 2:08 am

        Thanks for the quick response Noam,
        I tried -5 on the contrast too on Cinema D too. Set Luminance level to 0-255, and went with Highlights – 5 and Shadows at + 2 and I got some weird stuff happening in the highlights and more visible noise. I also tried – 2, + 2 for Highlights and Shadows and highlights looked fine, but shadows still have too much noise.

        Anyway, your work on “Brother Sister” was amazing. Love the shooting style, story, and the picture from the BMCC was sick! Any plans to do another short film soon with your GH4? If so, can’t wait to see it.

        Reply
        • Noam Kroll
          May 16, 2014 at 7:21 am

          Not a problem at all –

          I do try to avoid messing with the highlights and shadows unless totally necessary because it does seem to cause some strange issues… Haven’t played with it enough to give specific advice one way or the other, but I definitely prefer not to have to make any adjustments there ideally!

          Thanks for the feedback on my film – really glad to hear you liked it. I am in fact planning a short with my GH4 as well as possibly using it on an upcoming feature documentary. Be sure to check back soon for more updates.

          Reply
    • Vasiliy
      September 18, 2015 at 7:23 pm

      gh4 is rly poor in dynamic range. just get away from specs and look at vast examples on youtube. it’s like gopro in terms of dr. junk.

      Reply
      • Noam Kroll
        October 2, 2015 at 12:23 am

        That’s definitely one of the big drawbacks, although hopefully V-Log helps with the DR at least to some extent.

        Reply
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