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The Best DSLR Cameras for Capturing HD Video

The sensors in DSLR cameras are evolving incredibly quickly and each DSLR that emerges on the market often has better image-creating capabilities than the last. The good news is that this is often true regardless of the cost of the DSLR. For example, Nikon recently introduced the D7000 with a newly developed 16 MP CMOS sensor for about 1,200 dollars – a considerably more advanced sensor than Nikon's flagship pro DSLR, the D3, selling for over 6,000 dollars.(See D7000.)

 

This often means that the latest video-capable DSLR (VDSLR) cameras are the best in the market, regardless of price. Note that this also means manufacturers are constantly leap-frogging each other; Panasonic's VDSLR may be better than Nikon's today, but Nikon will likely come out with a better VDSLR in the future.

Canon and Nikon are often seen as the professional DSLR manufacturers of choice. Nikon is known for its superior glass, Canon for its technology; though both are excellent in both categories. Nikon introduced the world's first video-capable DSLR, the D90, modest as its features were. Nikon's latest and greatest introduction is the D7000 which is capable of full HD and can be had for about 1,200 dollars. Canon was already a camcorder manufacturer and didn't hesitate to jump in the VDSLR market at full force. The Canon 60D is the newest and one of the best VDSLR cameras on the market, with an articulating LCD screen, advanced CMOS sensor and affordable price -- the 60D can be purchased for under 900 dollars. (See Canon 60D here.)

As of February 2011, Panasonic possesses one of the best video-capable DSLR on the market, the GH2. (Note that the GH2 is not technically a DSLR, as the viewfinder isn't fed by a mirror that flips up when you take a picture – a trivial detail when on the subject of video, as it possesses all the important aspects of DSLR cameras: it's compact and has a large sensor.) The GH2 offers clean, uncompressed HDMI output (important when feeding an external HD monitor), an LCD screen that can flip out and articulate and touch screen autofocus. That's right, all you need to do to focus on a different subject's face is touch her face on the screen. The GH2 costs around 1,000 dollars. (See GH2 here.)

The Sony Alpha DSLR was a little slow in producing video-capable DSLR cameras, but the Sony α55 emerged in late 2010 as a viable option for its ability to continuously autofocus. The camera's Translucent Mirror Technology works to provide continuous and quick focus while recording in full HD, a feature unmatched by its competition. The α55 is available for 800 dollars. Also, in March 2011, Sony will unveil a high-resolution WVGA monitor that can attach to the camera's accessory shoe to make focus and lighting adjustments much easier; the cost of this monitor has not been revealed.

Overall, the latest DSLRs offered by technology giants Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Sony provide the best cameras for capturing HD video, even though these cameras can be acquired for fraction of the price of other vidoe-capable DSLRs offered by the same brands. It's a great time for aspiring cinematographers and photographers looking to get in on the VDSLR action.

Kyle Fiechter
DSLR Video and Photography Writer

InventorSpot.com