The DSLR has become such a darling to videographers and filmmakers in the past decade that manufacturers have been paying more attention to their video recording capabilities, so you can rest assured that most standard issue DSLR cameras that you can find off the rack today would net you some pretty decent footage. The technology changes so rapidly that new gear are announced and then discounted sooner than ever, so the latest kit may be worth waiting awhile to get, just as older kit may not be completely obsolete.
When choosing a camera body, try keeping the following 3 considerations in mind:
Choose a camera or brand that has plenty of compatible lenses and accessories for any sort of situation or setting you might potentially find yourself shooting in. Preferably something common enough so you could even borrow some of these from your friends or colleagues. For example, you can’t go wrong with a Canon or Nikon just by its sheer popularity, although for video purposes the Sony A7 series and the Panasonic GH4 are hot favourites as well. And then there are also the next tier of cameras such as Black Magic and Red that offer a whole different level of performance for serious professionals, but that’s a story for another time.
While most cameras’ standard video functions would suffice for most normal shoots, some are equipped with certain video functions that can really help make life a lot easier during your shoots, push the boundaries of what you’re able to capture to allow your imagination to roam, and add longevity to your camera body’s lifespan before its inevitable replacement. Look out for cameras that at least grant you manual control over your aperture, shutter speed and ISO in video mode, with a fair amount of customizability to make your gear more intuitive to your operating style. Some additional things that are nice to have, but not a necessity from the getgo, are functions like Focus Peaking, Zebra, 4K video capabilities (if that’s your kind of thing), and multiple memory card slots.
This is pretty self-explanatory. As much as building your gear up is an investment, and a worthy one at that, you wouldn’t want to break the bank before you even get started. As mentioned in the introduction, the competitive market between manufacturing giants are pushing out new tech faster than you can get too comfortable with your spanking new DSLR, so don’t get too precious about which camera you’re getting.