When you shoot music videos, the way your camera looks is important. For many, this is an obvious statement that doesn’t need to be said. Sometimes several factors collide and make it necessary to use a different camera than what you might want for your project. Today I would like to take a look at some of these factors and offer my advice on what you should consider when choosing a camera for your music video.
Top 8 Best Cameras for Music Videos (4 DSLR & 4 Camcorders)
Table of Contents
DSLR Cameras for Music Videos
The Canon Rebel line of cameras has been the go-to choice for professionals and amateurs alike thanks to their affordability, ease of use, and great picture quality. This is all possible thanks to the 5D Mark II which took the industry by storm in 2008 setting an astounding benchmark that seemed impossible to beat. Eight years later the 5D Mark III still holds its own even against cameras that are newer or more advanced.
The T3i is Canon’s entry-level digital SLR (single-lens reflex), but don’t let this scare you off since it offers many features normally found on more expensive cameras such as full 1080p HD and a 3.0-inch flip-out LCD monitor. It also features an 18-megapixel sensor and shoots at 3 frames per second (fps) with continuous focus, making it possible to capture the action even when the artist is moving around.
Canon 5D Mark III
The Canon 5D Mark III is one of three DSLRs offered by Canon that can shoot video in cinematic 24 fps (frames per second). This camera was designed for video with high-resolution picture quality and great low-light performance which makes this perfect for shooting music videos or any other video that requires a great-looking, cinematic look.
A new addition to this camera is the ability to shoot video in full-frame format creating an even more film-like feel. For those who want a Canon DSLR but don’t need 1080p or weather sealing, there are two less expensive models available starting at $2699 for the 5DM2 and going up from there depending on which of the three cameras you choose.
If I had known about Nikon’s D5000 series of digital SLRs when I first started shooting music videos, then I might have been using them instead of my current Canon T3i since they offer many features that rival higher-end cameras at a fraction of the price. The main difference is that they were originally designed for photography and not filmmaking.
Some of the features that make this camera a great buy include full HD (1080p) video recording, built-in effects like high-dynamic-range (HDR) and time-lapse videos, and an articulated monitor screen with live view. All of this is possible thanks to the 24.2-megapixel sensor it features which allows you to capture intimate moments in amazing detail even in low light situations.
Canon 7D Mark II
The Canon 7D Mark II is one of two cameras in the lineup that feature dual pixel CMOS technology for smooth autofocus during video shooting. This DSLR also shoots up to 60 fps which makes it ideal for slow-motion shots. The magnesium alloy used to build the camera is dust-proof and weather-resistant which makes it great for any kind of shooting.
Another great feature is the ability to change lenses using EF mount lenses, but you will need an adapter to use one with this camera. This DSLR comes with a price tag of $1799 which puts it mid-way between the T3i and 5D Mark III in pricing.
Camcorder Cameras for Music Videos
Sony PMW-200 XDCAM Camcorder
The Sony PMW line of camcorders is some of the best available on the market today because they were built specifically for video production making them relatively affordable even for amateurs. The PMW-200 shoots full 1080p HD video at up to 50 fps which makes it one of the best choices for videos that require a cinematic look. This camcorder records onto solid-state media cards, but also features dual SD card slots which can help you save storage space by recording onto each simultaneously and then swapping out the data when either card becomes full.
To keep everything under control there is an ergonomically designed handle built-in giving shooters better grip and easier handling, plus three assignable control keys are included as well as two XLR jacks for connecting professional microphones.
Sony PXW-X180 XDCAM Camcorder
Another great camcorder from Sony’s line of PMW cameras is the PXW-X180 which is a mid-level model designed for those who want a great quality video without the cost of a full-sized PMW. There are lots of features that make this an attractive choice including a large, integrated 12x optical zoom lens which is almost unheard of in camcorders its size.
Another feature that sets this camera above others in its class is the three CCD sensors which allow for improved low light performance as well as high-speed recording to help reduce motion blur even when you’re shooting at 60 fps. This camera also offers format flexibility by featuring both HD and SD modes so you can use it for multiple applications.
Canon XA10 Professional Camcorder
The Canon XA10 was designed with the intention of providing broadcast professionals with a mid-range camcorder that is compact, lightweight, and easy to use. This model features a 1/3″ CMOS image sensor with 10m pixels which helps this 20x zoom camera produce high-quality video recording in both full HD (1080p) and standard (720p) resolutions.
There are dual XLR inputs for pro-quality audio control plus an additional two mic level controls to help you adjust audio levels quickly without ever leaving your seat. There are also picture assist tools like 3 different zebra patterns to make sure any shot you take is within the optimal exposure range.
Sony PMW-EX1 Professional Camcorder
Last but not least is the Sony PMW-EX1 which was introduced back in 2008 to give shooters a lightweight, yet high-quality alternative to the larger, more expensive cameras available at the time. The EX series has been used for many major motion pictures including Harry Potter and Avatar and there are currently three models in the lineup to cover all price points: EX1, EX3, and RX100.
This camera features an Exmor CMOS image sensor which helps it produce excellent low light performance along with standard 1080/60i recording and 60p output through HDMI. The 1/2″ chip also allows this camera to exhibit reduced pixelation when you shoot subjects that move quickly or those that are positioned at a close distance to the lens.
After reading through this information, hopefully, you have a better idea of which camera is best for your needs. Whether it’s a full-sized or smaller model, all of the cameras listed above are among the very best in their class, so when shopping for one keep in mind all of the different features and specifications they offer. If you still can’t decide whether DSLR or camcorder will be right for your music videos, go ahead and take some time to read the Best Camera for Music Videos – DSLRs article.