Best DSLR Camera Setups For Video Bloggers and Youtubers

Recording and publishing cinema quality videos is a dream for every Blogger or YouTuber. Having those crisp images, right focus on objects, is what every Youtuber or Video blogger thinks while editing his videos. While Cinema is shot in a controlled environment with multiple Cinematic Camera’s, lights, reflectors etc. Video Bloggers relatively work with limited resources and deal with uncontrolled environments. So even Getting close to the Cinematic quality had been impossible.

Though it had been impossible getting close to Cinematic quality till a few years back, the recent advances in digital photography and cameras can you take a lot much closer.Over the last few years, the market has seen major advances when it comes to video. Now there are several (relatively) low-cost cameras that can shoot high-resolution formats such as 4K, record well in low light with minimal noise, and, even, track a moving subject thanks to auto-focus (a feature previously only available on camcorders, and not DSLR cameras).

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But, with so many video-enabled DSLR cameras available in today making the right choice can be tricky. And the research exhaustive. If you’re like me you tend to over-research; Google-ing until the wee hours of the morning, wondering, and wondering over and over again, which camera to buy.

With this post, I’m trying to bring that exhaustive research to some good use.

 Canon EOS 70D

Price : $1299

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The Canon EOS 70D is my # choice for the excellent quality, the EF Lens options and a superb Autofocus. Whether you are creating  Youtube videos, Podcast or even a short film, the EOS 70D is a perfect choice to get movie quality videos.  The 70D is rugged and a quality workhorse. With the number of EF lens options, the 70D becomes the perfect for a variety of niches from wide angle Travel enthusiasts to the most vivid color seeker Food Bloggers. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get film-like footage, the EOS does this easily. Just put a quality lens like the Sigma 18-35mm ART lens, and prepare to be blown away by the results. With the Dual Pixel CMOS Autofocus, the EOS 70D gives you an astonishing AF even with moving objects. Just tap the object to focus on the camera touchscreen and you’re done. From there the 70D will automatically track it wherever it moves. It works extremely well. To get best results, you should use one of Canon’s new “STM” lenses

Canon EOS 70D-closeup

With new features and technologies in the EOS 70D, it offers 3 ways of capturing still images and videos through the Intelligent Viewfinder, Vari-angle Touch Panel Clear View LCD II screen and wireless remote shooting using smart devices via the EOS 70D’s built-in Wifi capabilities.

The EOS 70D features the new Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a phase-difference Auto Focus technology on the image sensor plane, which employs a CMOS sensor on which all of the effective pixels are able to perform both imaging and phase-difference AF to achieve dramatically improved AF performance during Live View shooting and when shooting movies. The new EOS 70D has 19 AF points that are all cross type which enables accurate focusing even when the subject is moving unpredictably. For even greater precise and rapid autofocus, the EOS 70D  has a f/2.8 dual cross-type central AF point that harness the advantages that f/2.8 lens is able to provide.

Canon EOS 70D-Loaded

Changing the game for both still photographers and videographers, the Canon EOS 70D brings new power to the DSLR Field. Revolutionary new Dual Pixel CMOS AF allows for unprecedented smooth and precise AF performance during Live View and Video recording. Using the touch sensitive Vari-Angle LCD allows shooters to just point at their subjects for crystal clear images and video. The powerful Digic 5+ processor grants users great creative freedom with built in HDR shooting and Creative Filters to enhance their images.

The power of recording at HDR with Dual Pixel AF and a starting price of $1K  the Canon EOS 70D is the best Camera to get your Videos alive.

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 Canon EOS M

Price – $299

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If you’re a starter on a budget the ECanon EOS M is a top pick. The 18MP Mirrorless camera is discontinued but you can get one at Amazon at $299. The great part about the EOS M is, you get the same video sensor in a T3i for a fraction of the cost. If you’re just getting started and have a small budget, this camera is a killer option.It’s small, light and very affordable. This camera is made to accept a variant of Canon EF (electronic focus) mount lenses. There are a few lenses made specifically for this camera, called EF-M (“M” for mirrorless) lenses, but not much yet as it is a brand new mount. Canon makes an adapter however that will allow it work with the vast array of EF and EF-S lenses on the market from Canon as well as third parties. But even cooler is the fact that mirrorless cameras like this can adapt just about any type of old manual lens with cheap mechanical adapters. Traditional Canon DSLRs were not as flexible in this regard. So if you are into hunting down vintage manual focus, manual aperture lenses at flea markets and such, this camera will take just about anything and still work seamlessly with your modern electronic lenses when you need them.

Canon’s replacement to the EOS M – the EOS M3 – priced at $599 with an 18-55mm lens is also a great option if you can stretch you budget a bit. The 24 MP mirrorless camera can record at Full H D quality and has a hybrid CMOS AF with DGIC 5 image processor. The EOS M3 can capture 1920×1080 Full HD video at frame rates of both 24p and 30p, and can record in MP4 format for easy sharing online.

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Panasonic Lumix GH4 Mirrorless DSLR Camera

Price – $1299

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If you’re looking for an all in one camera, the option to shoot 4K, slow motion and tons of other features, this is a fantastic option. This is a complete 4K camera and can record 4K videos internally. No need for external storage and rigs. Like the A7S the GH4 is mirrorless. Because no mirror is used, the overall camera is compact compared to the Canon EOS 70D. Lenses for mirrorless cameras such as the GH4 and A7S also tend to be quite small by comparison. So if portability matters to you that’s something to keep in mind.

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera is a true hybrid camera designed for both professional photo and video use. Comparing price to value – this the best 4K Camera to opt for. While you may not be in need of 4k videos for now, but 4K is the future and will be a standard not far from now. It features a 16.05-megapixel Digital Live MOS sensor and a 4-CPU Venus Engine, capable of capturing high-resolution JPEG and RAW stills, as well as Ultra HD 4K 3840×2160 30p/24p and cinematic DCI 4K 4096×2160 video at 24p. Like its predecessor, the GH4 features a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, while offering increased resolution on both the OLED monitor and electronic viewfinder. It also features built-in Wi-Fi with NFC technology, in-camera creative controls, and a high-speed 49-point autofocus in both photo and video mode.

One of the most prominent features of Panasonic LUMIX GH4 is unlimited2 4K video recording in both Cinema 4K: 4096×2160 / 24 fps, and QFHD 4K: 3840×2160 / up to 30 fps in MOV/MP43. Print ready high resolution 8.8 megapixel still frames can be recorded during video capture, making future proofed Hybrid Photography a reality for any photographer.

The GH4 delivers video quality surpassing many professional video cameras. Video can be recorded in a variety of formats, from efficient AVCHD and AVCHD Progressive to 200 Mbps All-Intra, and 100 Mbps IPB MOV and MP4 formats. And because the GH4 is a global camera, the system frequency can be switched between 59.94 Hz (23.98 Hz) and 50 Hz, yielding a variety of recording options including 23.98p, 25p, 29.97p, 50p, and 59.94p. The system can also be switched to 24 Hz to capture true 24p in HD and 4K resolutions. This camera, plus a speed booster and some fast glass can give you amazing results.

The Panasonic GH4 and the Sony Alpha A7s were released at relatively the same time and many enthusiasts have reviewed them to be the best. So if you want a true 4K experience go for the Panasonic GH4 – if you are more into low light the Sony Alpha A7s is for you.

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 Black Magic Pocket Cinema

Price – $995

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The Black Magic Pocket Cinema is the best camera for YouTubers, Bloggers or anyone who creates short internet videos. The video quality is magnificent and can match the best of Hollywood Cameras. The camera pack lots of power in an innocent body that looks more like a Point and shoot camera. But don’t be fooled by the looks, the Black Magic Pocket Cinema can deliver some really excellent cinema quality videos that can rival some of its most expensive peers. The only cons this camera has – a low battery life, short recording times and a below average audio. The BMPCC will record until the card is full or battery is dead. If you’ve selected the BMPCC as your Video shooting mate, just make sure you get a card off BMD’s approved list. There are a lot of cards that would seem to be compatible, but you will get a lot of dropped frames

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera lets you use an extensive range of lenses. With full electronic control of an MFT lens, you can simply point and set iris all on command. The Micro Four Thirds lens mount also gives you the flexibility to adapt to PL or other lens mounts as required. Moreover, the Super 16 size sensor is compatible with a wide range of adapters for film quality Super 16 lenses.

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The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera delivers a film-like look with a super wide dynamic range of 13 stops. This means you retain all sensor data for DaVinci Resolve color grading. Plus, you get two dynamic range settings, film Log or video REC709, so you can choose the right dynamic range for your project. Using DaVinci Resolve Lite, which can be downloaded free from Blackmagic Design’s website, you can color correct files natively or transcode them into a different file format to suit your post production workflow.

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 Sony Alpha 7S

Price – $2199

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A highly specified camera that offers full-frame 4K video shooting capabilities and high-sensitivity shooting at ISO 409,600, the Sony A7S is a tempting prospect for digital film-makers as well as photographers who need a camera that can essentially see in the dark. The A7S  is king of low light shooting and you would be stunned to the light it adds to absolute darkness.The ‘s’ in A7s stands for ‘sensitivity’, and for good reason: it offers a native ISO performance that’s 4 stops better than the A7R. The Sony A7s lacks the ultra-high resolution of the A7R and the hybrid phase detection/contrast detection autofocus system of the A7, but it introduces a newly developed sensor that offers a similar sensitivity range to the Nikon D4s. This essentially means the sensor captures images in identical size to a traditional 35mm camera. So, a 50mm lens captures images at 50mm. Contrast that to a “crop sensor” such as the aforementioned 70D (APS-C) that will capture an image zoomed in or “cropped” — in the case of the 70D the image is magnified by about 1.6, hence using a 50mm lens results in

The ‘s’ in A7s stands for ‘sensitivity’, and for good reason: it offers a native ISO performance that’s 4 stops better than the A7R. The Sony A7s lacks the ultra-high resolution of the A7R and the hybrid phase detection/contrast detection autofocus system of the A7, but it introduces a newly developed sensor that offers a similar sensitivity range to the Nikon D4s.

Sony-A7S_movie_image

Another great aspect is – this is a full frame camera. What this essentially means – the sensor captures images in identical size to a traditional 35mm camera. So, a 50mm lens captures images at 50mm. Contrast that to a “crop sensor” such as the aforementioned 70D (APS-C) that will capture an image zoomed in or “cropped” — in the case of the 70D the image is magnified by about 1.6, hence using a 50mm lens results in an image equivalent to 80mm.

The Sony A7 and A7R both offer Full HD video (AVHCD progressive, 1920x1080p @60p), but the A7s also brings 8-bit 4:2:2 4K video capture, stealing a march on other DSLR and Compact System Camera manufacturers, aside from Panasonic – a company which, like Sony, has an enviable heritage in the professional camcorder business.

Aimed squarely at commercial videographers, the A7s is capable of ‘Clean HDMI’ output at 4K (3840×2160) resolution, meaning that uncompressed footage can be recorded to a 4K-compatible recorder attached to the camera, or displayed on a compatible monitor or TV. In fact, 4K has to be recorded to an external device – only HD footage can be saved internally. You can use an Atmos Ninja and  Atmos Odyssey external SSD recorder and start shooting at 4K video.

So if you’re looking for a Full frame 4K Camera and shoot a lot in low light the Sony A7s is the right choice to make.

Note: If you’re into recording lot of Action works or sports videos – the A7s won’t be a good choice. The Sony A7s has a Rolling Shutter or Jello effect – if you do fast pans the resulting images will get warped and distorted, prompting many to refer to the footage as Jello. 

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 Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Price – $2499

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The Canon EOS 5D mark III is the only comparable Full frame camera to the Sony Alpha A7s  in this price range. Special optical technologies like 61-Point High-Density Reticular AF and extended ISO range of 100-25600 make this it ideal for shooting in the studio, out in the field and great for still photography. Professional-level high definition video capabilities include a host of industry-standard recording protocols and enhanced performance that make it possible to capture beautiful cinematic movies in EOS HD quality.

The 61-Point High-Density Reticular AF is the most sophisticated AF system EVER put in any Canon body. It is superior to that in the 1DV and all bodies before it.  AF gets the job done with zero drama. NO focus jitter, NO frontfocus, NO backfocus, nothing but near-instant, dead accurate focusing with all of my lenses. Even with my Sigma 85/1.4 (which gives my 5DII bodies absolute fits) is 100% accurate with no jitter on the 5DIII. Center AF point and all peripheral AF points are all usable with fast primes.

So if you’re looking for Full frame camera – you can opt according to your usage. If you’re more into low light shooting The Sony Alpha A7s is a great choice – if you’re more into action works go the Canon 5D iii.

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 Canon C 100 Mark II

Price – $4499

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This is not a DSLR, but an entry-level professional cinema camera. So if you’re in professional video productiona and are looking for something very professional then the Canon C100 Mark II is the right match. The Canon EOS C100 Mark II Cinema EOS Camera with Dual Pixel CMOS AF is Canon’s updated version of the C100 designed for event videographers, documentarians, and independent filmmakers. It incorporates the continuous autofocus function compatible with all Canon autofocus lenses, using Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology. This new feature provides faster and more accurate autofocusing to assist users when operating with small crews.

The Mark II also adds a variety of upgraded features including face detection AF, MP4 recording, additional frame rates when recording in AVCHD and slow & fast motion options when recording in MP4. The Mark II also has an additional microphone on the camera body for recording sound when the top handle is removed.

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The EOS C100 Mark II uses the same Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor as its big brother the C300 which is a big bang for the bucks, but uses a Digic DV 4 processor. With an EF lens mount, the camera is compatible with the full range of Canon EF, EF-S, and EF Cinema lenses. This is particularly useful for DSLR shooters who have already invested in Canon lenses. With an extended ISO range from 320 to 102,400, the EOS C100 Mark II is even more sensitive to light than its predecessor. This lets you shoot usable footage during low-light and night shoots, even when using available or ambient lighting as your main light source.

The EOS C100 Mark II is a professional Videographers workhorse. The Battery goes forever, the quality is truly cinematic and gives stunning quality even in low light scenarios. The C100 is Canon’s entry level offering in the Cinematic Camera space and it’s step-ups like the C300 are used by television studios and news channels.

My choice for Buying the EOS C100 would be B&H Photo Video as they have some really cool deals and offer Canon Financial 24 Month 0% & 36 Month 1.99% Interest Lease Business ProgramIf you’re planning to buy the EOS C100. If you’re looking at Amazon, be cautious as most deals will offer you an international product with no valid warranty for the US.

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 Lenses

Note: Full frame. EF is the designator for full frame lenses. Crop frame, or APS, lenses from Canon will be designated EFS or perhaps EF-S, depending on the vendor. Note that EF lenses can be used on a crop sensor camera but EFS lenses can’t be used on a full frame camera.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS STM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Price: $299

For photographers and videographers looking to add versatility and range to their lens collection, the canon-efs-55-250-lensnew EF-S 55–250mm f/4–5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens is a dream come true. Compact and lightweight with Optical Image Stabilizer for up to 3.5* equivalent stops of shake correction, it extends the camera’s reach significantly, capturing sharp images of far away objects, even when handheld. It features Canon’s amazing STM stepping motor and a newly designed high-speed CPU, rear focus mechanism and improved AF algorithm for high-speed performance, supporting Canon’s Movie Servo AF for smooth, quiet and continuous focus adjustments. The EF-S 55–250mm f/4–5.6 IS STM lens features one UD lens element that reduces chromatic aberration, helping to achieve excellent image quality with high resolution and contrast. The front element does not rotate, ensuring easy compatibility with accessories like polarizing filters, and full-time manual focus is available even while in AF mode. Enhanced coatings on the lens elements deliver excellent color balance and minimize ghosting and flare, and a 7-blade circular aperture delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. The EF-S 55–250mm f/4–5.6 IS STM lens has a compact design thanks to a new six-group zoom system that provides a maximum magnification of 0.29x at the telephoto end and a minimum focusing distance of 2.79 ft./0.85m throughout the zoom range.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

The micro USM motor found in the EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM employs ultra-sonic frequency vibrations to drive auto focus with unrivalled speed and near-silent operation. Good holding torque stops the lens with precision and accuracy, the instant it arrives at the correct focus point and without overshoot. A high-speed CPU and optimised AF algorithm result in a significant increase of AF speed compared to that of its predecessor. The EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM employs an electro-magnetic diaphragm (EMD) with a circular aperture. This helps create an attractive, even defocused background when isolating a subject at large apertures.

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

The sharpness is on a whole different level than anything I’ve ever used, the in focus area’s practically pop off of the photo. The color rendition is really good as well. Chromatic aberrations are almost non-existent compared to other lenses in this category. Sigma said they wanted to challenge the Zeiss Otus and it looks like they have!sigma_art_50mm_video-blogging

The staple Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM has been redesigned and re-engineered to set a new standard for the Art line. With a large 1.4 aperture, the Sigma 50mm 1.4 prime lens is a pro level performer for shooting everything including portrait photography, landscape photography, studio photography and street photography. A Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) ensures quiet, smooth and accurate auto-focusing and paired with Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and Super Multi-Layer coating, the 50mm 1.4 is a high-performance lens for the modern DSLR sensors.

 Extras and Addons

Atomos Ninja Assassin 7.1″ 4K & HD HDMI ProRes/DNx Monitor Recorder – Bundle

Price: $1295 atmos-ninja-assassin-Bundle

Atomos Ninja Assassin 7.1″ 4K & HD HDMI ProRes/DNx Monitor Recorder – Bundle comes with SanDisk Ultra II 240GB Solid State Drive, an ATOMOS-POWER STATION w/ 2X 5200MAH BATTERIES.

The Atomos Ninja Assassin 4K HDMI Recorder and 7″ Monitor combines a color-calibrated 1920 x 1200 resolution display with 4K video recording and edit-ready codecs. This freaking awesome bundle turns your camera into a video camera. The extra batteries and SSD literally makes this piece a steal.

ProAm USA 7″ HDMI RGB LCD Monitor Kit Displays up to 1080p (HD1)pro-am-usa-monitor-hdmi

Price: $299

The ProAm 7 inch HDMI LCD monitor allows you to step back from your camera and capture well focused and framed subject without the requirement of looking through the small or sometimes non-existent viewfinders in typical DSLR and HD DV video cameras.

This product also includes a swivel mount which lets the ProAm 7 inch LCD monitor to mount to and act as a DSLR monitor, DV video camera monitor or monitor for camera crane or jib. A 2200mAh built-in battery makes sure you have this practical LCD monitor running for at least 5 hours during your video shoot. With the ProAm 7″ HDMI LCD Monitor you are always assured of a clearer image of the subject with the picture information always on display at one side of the frame without obstructing the view.

The large, bright and vibrant 7 inch LCD monitor of the P7HD1 is a class above the rest and provides extremely detailed images in high resolution. This highly portable video monitor can be connected through HDMI in, RCA AV In (BNC), RGB in (BNC) to several compatible cameras including the Canon 5D Mark II, 7D, Canon XL1, Canon XL2, Nikon D3 and more.

Rode VideoMic Pro Compact VMP Shotgun Microphone

Price: $195

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The Rode VideoMic Pro compact design is ideal for use with HDSLR cameras, camcorders and audio recorders. Noise transference has been significantly reduced using both a revised, more elegant shock mounting system and a lightweight premium cable.

The microphone has a broadcast-quality condenser capsule with a supercardioid pickup pattern to capture audio from the front, while minimizing pickup from the sides and rear. An integrated shockmount and foam windscreen minimize handling and wind noise to keep your recordings crystal clear.

Tools For Studio Quality Audio and Professional Video Editing Tools

The right Camera can give you Cinema quality Video but it has to be matched with same quality levels of Audio and Editing. I’ve already covered some microphones, recorders and editing tools the following list of posts. Hope it gets useful for you to make the right choice of gear.

Here are the links:

Studio Quality Sound From Your Home – Best Microphones For Blogging and PodCasting

Top Audio Video Editing Tools for Blogger and Internet Video Enthusiasts.

Best Audio Recorders For Audio and Video Content

Before Choosing Your Camera

There are a lot of other DSLR video camera features and its good to cover them so you know what to look for in your camera. Here are a few that you should consider when buying your camera:

  • 4K – Have big resolution plans? 4K is a pretty great options to have.
  • Lens Compatibility – A very obvious and important aspect. A wrong decision can cost a lot.
  • Flip out screen – Without a flip out screen, you will need a monitor for getting low shots.
  • Clean HDMI out – Do you plan on recording to an external capture device like an Atomos?
  • Slow Motion – Not all DSLRs have slow motion options in full 1080p so keep that in mind.
  • Focus Assist – Helps you focus using a feature on your camera.
  • Record length – Many video DSLRs have a limit to how much they can record at one time.
  • Camera Image Stabilization – Currently Sony has the only camera with camera IS built in. This allows you to use a non-stabilized lens and still have image stabilization.
  • Weather proofing – If you plan on filming in icy/wet/windy environments you will need a camera with weatherproofing.
  • ISO Ranges – This is a big one… Another factor to keep in mind when picking a DSLR for video use is ISO range. Some of the cheaper cameras have a limited range. For example here are the ISO settings for the Canon Rebel T5i: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 etc. And here are the Canon 60D range: 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600.

 Where To Buy

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I mostly buy my gear from Amazon as I’m located in India. But if you’re in US be cautious  while buying on Amazon as some products are international versions and ship without a valid US warranty. So of you’re in the US better go for B&H as they have some of the best deals and ships with US warranties. If you plan to Buy from Amazon, do discuss the product warranty issue with the Vendor. With Amazon, you can get your Camera delivered in two days if you’re on Prime. I really like to get the Gear as soon as possible – can hardly wait for the delivery.  I am an affiliate for both B&H and Amazon because I think they are the best. If you purchase gear through the links in this article you will be kicking me a commission at no extra cost to you. So if you like the content you see on my site I’d greatly appreciate your help in funding future articles and videos.

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