Window Shopping! Features to Look for in DSLRs for Video Productions

Looking to start a freelance video career? Well, if you have all the talent, the guts, and the talks then you are encouraged to explore and grow on this field. You’re up for a great adventure. You will meet a lot of people as you go on. Some will help you to become a better version of yourself. Some will be your friend. However, a video freelancers’ best friend is not a question of who but rather what and which. So if you are thinking to start a career here, you should grab a partner now –your camera.

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Looking for a partner in this field is easy, but you must consider the nature of the career you want here. Camera lenses though were there to back you up in case you have to adjust based on your needs. But if you’re wondering what would be the ideal camera for someone who wants to start his freelance video career, here are some features to look for when choosing your DSLR cameras.

Max Video Resolution

Venturing on a freelance video career, the first thing you want to do is ensure the video quality of your videos. Resolution is a measure of how many pixels a video or a photo contains. Modern DSLRs now boasts a 4K video resolution though it may come pricey. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and Nikon D500 are some of these. The drawback here though is many screens are not able to make most of all the pixels. Having a 1080p resolution is more than enough already for a good quality of videos.

Camera with high video resolutions captures more data, which allows video editors to become more flexible in editing and produces clearer videos. Since there’s a lot more pixels, it enables editors to have more cropping options and edit to have different videos from the same clip.

Sensor Sizes

There are two kinds of DSLR cameras: full frame cameras and APS-C Crop Sensor Cameras. The main difference between the two is the size of the image sensor. It is the mirror inside our cameras that looks like a green rectangle. It works on as similar concept on how films are used on our old cameras which conveys information and results to the creation of images. Full Frame sensors is much bigger than APS-C, 35mm sensor which seems to be a digital version of the 35mm film frames. On the other hand, Crop frame sensors are smaller than the 35mm measurement hence, the term ‘crop frame’. It is approximately the size of Advanced Photo System Classic film, which is closer to 24mm.

Full frame cameras give shooters ability to shoot videos at low light due to the bigger sensor which captures more light. It also gives shallower depth of field and brighter viewfinders. The drawback though is that these kinds of cameras are heavier. The same could be said for the owners’ wallets.

Frame Rate

Frame rate is the key to being able to slow down the action on the video. It is measured by FPS (frame per second) wherein the higher the rate, the more ideal for slow motion edits. For videographers, cameras that have 60 FPS or above is great as it gives them more flexibility during the post-production.

Lens Availability

The availability of the lenses is a crucial part of choosing the right camera body. Lenses make you flexible and adapt to situations. However, camera buyers should keep in mind that cameras do not support all types of lenses. Nikon has Nikkor and Tamron lenses, while Canon uses Canon lenses. Some lenses are interchangeable though while some needs adapters which can have drawbacks on AF and aperture.

Another thing to consider here is the sensor sizes. Remember that not all lenses fit for full frame cameras or crop sensor cameras.

Autofocus Type

There are two types of autofocus points:  cross type and phase detection. Phase detection is the most common. All focus points detect contrasts in the frame. However, it only detects vertical changes in contrast. It is the main difference between the two as cross types detect both horizontal and vertical in contrast, which makes better autofocus capabilities.

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Battery Life

Video recording eats up camera batteries fast because of the LCD screens and continuous autofocus. Most DSLRs in the market have decent battery lives, ranging from 500 to 900 shots (although it is measured by the number of shots for photos, it still tells you how long a battery can last in a video shoot.)  But it is still better to prepare spare batteries for your shoots.

I/O Ports

These ports are not in there for no reason. These ports give flexibility of the camera to interface with other gadgets like computers and other external devices. These enable easier and safer file transfer without the hassle of removing the cards from the camera. It also lessens the risks of corrupting files.

Size and Weight

Size may not affect when you use tripods during shoots. However, having heavy and large cameras will take its toll when doing long handheld video shoots. Size and weight is also a factor when choosing stabilizers that will fit for your camera. While this should not be a big consideration as it does not really affect the video quality, it is still worth mentioning especially for newcomers who are trying to explore and expose themselves during shoots in their early video production careers.

Now, that you know the features to look for when shopping your partner cameras, you can now go and search for a camera that fits your taste. Always remember though, while most cameras in the market boast better features, they are just tools. At the end of the day, the biggest asset for a great video production career is the shooter’s skill set. Cameras are just mere cameras without the hands and the creativity to create powerful videos and images. Happy shopping!

Reynald is a thinker by day and a storyteller by night. His stories are told through his lenses and pens.


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