What’s the Best Canon Camera for Video?

It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a video creator.  In the last few years, DSLRs have completely changed the entry-point for cinematic production levels, with affordable cameras from Nikon and Canon that can produce stunning results.  Mirrorless digital cameras from Sony, Panasonic, and Fujifilm have followed suite, packing more and more power into increasingly small form factors.  Blackmagic Design has singlehandedly brought affordable RAW recording to the masses, first with the Cinema Camera, then the Pocket, and now the 4K Production Camera.  On the higher-end side of things, cameras from RED and Arri have have cemented digital formats as the medium of choice for filmmakers.  It seems like an exciting new camera is announced every few months, each one offering new features, new advances, and new possibilities for creating compelling video.

This list is going to focus on interchangeable-lens Canon cameras – and primarily Canon DSLRs.  The simple reason for this is that I use Canon cameras and I know them best.  I have nothing against cameras from Nikon, or any other manufacturer, but – in my experience – most DSLR videographers use Canons (I don’t have numbers to back that up – it’s just my impression).  If you have recommendations for cameras that aren’t on this list, I would love to hear about them in the comments section.  In a future post, I’ll focus on some of the exciting non-DSLR options out there, such as the Panasonic GH3 and the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera.

There really is no absolute “best” video camera, from Canon or anyone else.  Each of these cameras offers something different and, depending on your needs, budget, and shooting style, any one of them could be the right camera for you.  If at all possible, you should always try a camera before you invest in it – at the very least, do lots of research and get lots of different opinions.  Also, while I’ve done my best to be current and accurate, the camera market is always changing and pricing, availability, and even features can alter quickly.  If you see anything amiss, please leave a comment and I’ll do my best to address it!

Canon EOS-M

Price: $260 (body only)

About the camera:  The EOS-M is sort of a strange little camera.  It has an interchangeable lens mount, but you’ll need an adapter if you want to use anything besides Canon’s limited selection of EF-M lenses.  The EOS-M was clearly released in response to similar mirrorless cameras from Sony and Fujifilm, but – probably because it’s Canon’s first mirrorless interchangeable lens camera – it feels rougher around the edges than the competition.  It has slow autofocus, middling battery life, and a fairly clunky menu system.  So why is the EOS-M a good buy?  Two reasons: price and customization.  At around $260 (or less for a used unit), the EOS-M is just about the cheapest way possible to get into video with an interchangeable lens system.  The sensor in the EOS-M is actually identical to those found in more expensive DSLRs like the T5i and 60D, so it can capture beautiful images despite its bargain basement sticker price.  And while the EOS-M might have some issues on its own, you can adapt it pretty easily into a very capable video camera with the right accessories.  A $60 third-party adapter (or the pricier Canon-made version) will let you use the entire (massive) line of Canon EF and EF-S compatible lenses, with full electronic controls for focus and aperture.  An external microphone like the RODE VideoMic Pro will give you good in-camera audio, or you could pick up a low-cost external recorder like the Zoom H1.  Finally, adding Magic Lantern custom firmware to the camera will give you professional-level controls and features like focus peaking, audio meters, and histograms.  If you’re willing to invest in the right accessories (and probably a handful of extra batteries), the EOS-M becomes an extremely powerful video camera and an absolute bargain compared to the competition.

Who should get one: The EOS-M is a good choice if you’re just getting started in video production and are on a tight budget – provided you’re willing to tinker with it a bit in order to get the most out of it.  If you’re primarily interested in video (not stills, the autofocus on the M is just too slow), have a tight budget, and are between the EOS-M and something from Canon’s Rebel line (such as the T2i, T3i, T4i, or T5i), I would suggest grabbing the EOS-M and putting the money you save towards a decent lens.  It’s also a great choice if you already have a Canon DSLR and are looking for an inexpensive second camera – since you probably have most of the necessary accessories already, all you’d need is the body and lens adapter to get rolling.

Canon Rebel T5i

Price: $600 (body only)

About the camera:  The Canon “Rebel” line has been a popular choice for filmmakers on a budget since the T2i was launched in 2010.  Canon has made small updates with each successive generation, without actually changing the camera’s sensor.  Because of this, the T2i is still actually a very popular camera for low-cost productions.  Moving up to a T3i gets you an articulating LCD screen (which can be a big help when shooting video) and the nearly-identical T4i and T5i add some nice features like a touch screen, a switch for quickly going to video mode, and the ability to automatically split large clips without a break in recording.  If you shop around, you can probably find a used T2i at a great price and new copies of the T3i and T4i are frequently discounted.  Each camera in the line is extremely capable (and virtually equal) in terms of video and they are all relatively easy to use.

Who should get one:  If you want to get into video using an actual DLSR (as opposed to something like the EOS-M), a Canon Rebel T2iT3iT4i, or T5i is probably the least-expensive way to do it.  Be aware that the Canon Rebel line is really geared towards amateurs and beginners – they perform well in terms of image quality, but where body style, interface, build quality, and battery capacity are concerned, they fall behind cameras like the full-frame 6D or new 70D.  These cameras will let you make manual adjustments to things like aperture, ISO, white balance, audio levels, etc., but they’re really designed to run on automatic.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing (especially for beginners), but if you’re an experienced shooter, you might want to look at a 60D or 70D instead.  For those just starting out, though, look around for good deals online, especially for “outdated” models like the T3i and T4i.

Canon 60D

Price: $700 (body only)

About the camera:  The 60D utilizes the same 18MP APS-C sensor as the T2iT3iT4i, and T5i – as does the EOS-M – which means that every camera listed so far can all capture video of the same quality, resolution, frame rate, etc. – and that video is quite good.   While the 60D lacks some of the features in later models like the T4i and T5i (no touchscreen, no automatic clip-splitting), it has superior build-quality and a body style that is better suited for quick manual adjustments.  The 60D also uses higher capacity LP-E6 batteries, which means that you can go longer between charges and possibly skip a battery grip (some accessories, like lights or monitors also use LP-E6 batteries, which is convenient).  The 60D looks, feels, and behaves more like a “professional” camera than the Rebels do.  I personally think that makes it a better buy than the Rebel line, but it will ultimately depend on your style of shooting and individual preference.  Since the 70D was announced, you can also get a great deal on it if you’re willing to hunt for the best price.

Who should get one:  There’s a reason that Canon stuck with the same 18MP APS-C sensor for so long – it performs well in a variety of conditions.  Coupled with some decent lenses (such as a Rokinon prime or the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8), these cameras really sing.  If you want something a bit more robust than the EOS-M, are serious about photography and video, and don’t want to spend more than $1000 on a camera body, a 60D is probably where you should be looking.  Just be aware that – like all the cameras on this list – you’ll need to invest in more than just the camera itself to really get going.  You’ll need good lenses, a quality audio setup, and possibly even a form-factor accessory like a rig or cage, in order to make the most of these cameras.  Also be aware that, because they use the same sensor, a high quality lens on an EOS-M or T2i will produce better looking video than a cheap lens on a more expensive camera like a 60D – take the time to really plan out your budget and where to allocate your resources.  I personally love the 60D and think it’s one of the best bargains in digital video available right now.

Canon 70D

Price: $1050 (body only)

About the camera:  After releasing what essentially amounts to the same camera in half-a-dozen or so bodies, Canon finally switched things up with the successor to the 60D, the appropriately-named 70D.  This is still as APS-C camera, which means that there is a crop-factor for the lenses when compared to full-frame DSLRs.  However, the quality of that sensor has finally been upgraded.  There is some increase in picture quality, but the real selling point of the 70D is that the new sensor allows it to smoothly autofocus during video recording – a feat that has never really been possible before in DSLR video.  The 70D basically takes all the best features of the previous generation of cameras – an articulating touchscreen, continuous recording, a professional-style body – adds a few new ones, and combines them all into a very compelling machine.  It doesn’t add every feature on the DSLR wish list (slow motion, a headphone jack, etc.), but it probably comes closer than anything else in its class.

Who should get one:  If you want to go the DSLR route, don’t mind a cropped sensor, and can afford to spend around $1000 on a camera body, this is the camera you should buy.  If you film in situations where autofocus will be helpful, the 70D may even be a better option for you than pricier full-frame cameras like the 6D.  Now, there are times when you definitely do not want to be using autofocus – if you’re doing something staged or cinematic, you probably want to focus by hand.  However, if you frequently film events, weddings, documentaries, or other situations where the subject is going to be moving in an unpredictable way, the 70D‘s smooth, relatively reliable autofocus could be a huge asset.  You can always switch it off when you don’t need it – but having the option to use it could conceivably save your shoot.

Canon 6D

Price: $1750 (body only)

About the camera:  The 6D is Canon’s least expensive full-frame camera, which means that it can capture nice, wide images without the crop factor of an APS-C sensor.  If you’re shaky on the difference between full-frame and cropped sensor cameras, there are plenty of in-depth articles out there, but it basically boils down to this: in the pre-digital days of analog photography, most cameras used 35mm film, which means that they captured images onto little rectangles of film that were all the same size.  However, digital cameras don’t use film – they use electronic sensors and if that electronic sensor is smaller than the size of analog film, the camera will capture less of the image and it will look more “zoomed in.”  Full-frame cameras use sensors that are the same size as analog film, which means they capture more of the image and have a wider field of view.  A larger sensor generally also means better image quality and low-light performance, but a full-frame camera is not automatically “better” than a cropped sensor one – they are simply different tools with different assets.  With all that said, there are definite advantages to going full-frame and the 6D is a very nice camera.  The build quality and body style are excellent and it captures gorgeous video.  In a head-to-head with more expensive full-frame cameras (like the 5D Mark III), it might fall slightly behind, but it will still come very close.  Specifically, when shooting video on the 6D, you’ll want to watch for distortion like moire and aliasing – this is the area where the 6D tends to lag behind pricier cameras.  Make no mistake, though, this is a great camera and a powerful creative tool in the right hands.

Who should get one:  If you’re just starting out in DSLR video, I’d probably recommend a less-expensive APS-C sensor camera, especially if it means putting some extra money toward good lenses.  However, if you are serious about video and can afford to go full-frame, you probably should.  The image quality and low-light performance are terrific and the wider focal length is well-suited for video.  For example, an 85mm lens is a great fit for a full-frame camera – perfect for interviews – but it can be uncomfortably tight on a cropped sensor.  The 6D really is surprisingly affordable for a full-frame camera and it’s discounted fairly regularly – if you shop around, you could easily outfit a 6D and a second camera for the price of a more expensive full-frame, like the 5D Mark III.

Canon 5D Mark III

Price: $3300 (body only)

About the camera:  The Mark III‘s predecessor, the 5D Mark II, was the camera that convinced many professionals that DSLRs were legitimate tools for serious filmmaking – it was capable of producing video of a quality that had simply not been seen before in that type of camera.  The 5D Mark III improves upon that foundation in every way and is considered by many to be the best DSLR for video work available today.  The images that come out of this camera are simply stunning, with excellent low-light performance and much less moire and aliasing distortion than the 6D.  While this is, unmistakably, a professional’s camera, it is still a surprisingly accessible camera –  it’s relatively intuitive to operate with easy-to-use controls.  This makes the 5D Mark III an extremely fun camera to go out and shoot with.  It also has some uncommon – but wonderful – features like dual media card slots (one SD and one CF) and a headphone jack for in-camera audio monitoring.

Who should get one:  You should buy a 5D Mark III if you can afford the best.  Keep in mind, though, that the 5D Mark III tends to hover at roughly twice the price of a 6D.  Is the 5D Mark III a better camera?  Absolutely.  Is it twice as good?  Absolutely not.  I know I’ve repeated this sentiment several times now, but if buying the 5D Mark III means skimping on something like lenses, don’t do it.  It would be an absolute shame to own a camera as nice as the Mark III without having quality glass for it.  That’s not to say that the 5D Mark III isn’t a good deal, because the quality and features it offers are excellent – but it is an expensive, professional-grade tool.  If you need (or just really, really want) top-of-the-line gear, this is the DSLR for you.

Canon C100

Price: $5200 (body only)

About the camera:  With so many people buying DSLRs and other still-photography cameras expressly for capturing video, a natural question arises:  What would it look like if you took the benefits of a DSLR – small form factor, relatively low cost, gorgeous image quality, and tons of available lenses – and put them into a camera made specifically for video?  The answer is Canon’s “C” line of cameras.  The C100, C300, and C500 are dedicated video cameras that use the same family of lenses as Canon DSLRs and pack a ton of power into small, versatile bodies.  Unfortunately, only the C100 sells for under $10,000 – the C300 uses the same image sensor in a better body (and with a better codec) for around $15,000 and the production-quality 4K C500 goes for around $25,000.  However, at just over $5,000, the C100 is still a very accessible camera for a small production outfit and a very solid buy.  The C100 has all the wonderful camcorder features that video professionals miss when they move to DSLRs – audio monitoring and a headphone jack, an electronic viewfinder, dual media card slots, built-in ND filters, built-in XLR inputs, and more.  It’s not a perfect camera, by an means – the codec isn’t fantastic and there have been some serious complaints about the viewfinder – but it does manage to combine the best qualities of a DSLR and a camcorder into one camera.

Who should get one:  For all their great qualities, DSLRs still have some serious downsides when it comes to video – even top-shelf DSLRs like the 5D Mark III.  If you’re a run-and-gun documentary filmmaker, having to juggle a separate device for audio is not ideal.  Or, if you record live events, the media capacity (or the recording limit) on most DSLRs could get in your way.  The point is, capturing video on a DSLR is just not always the best option for every situation.  If you want an interchangeable-lens camera that is still decidedly a video camera, something like the C100 is a great option.

• • •

So there you have it – if you’re in the market for an interchangeable-lens video camera (for under $10,000), the odds are good that one of these cameras would be a good fit for you.  Of course, there are lots of other options out there as well – inventive filmmaker Casey Neistat relies on inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras like the Canon SA120 for his production work.  There are also versatile fixed-lens camcorders like the Canon XA10 (or, moving up a price bracket, the XF100) that give the convenience of an all-in-one dedicated video camera.  The bottom line is, regardless of your budget, it is a great time to be making movies – now go out and get filming!

37 Responses to “What’s the Best Canon Camera for Video?”
  1. Anonymous says:

    You didn’t mention the 7d ???

    • Daniel says:

      You’re quite right, the 7D is a conspicuous absence on this list – it’s been a staple of the indie film community for some time. I left it off for a few reasons: first, I had already listed three cameras that use the identical APS-C sensor (the EOS-M, T5i, and 60D) and cost less. A lot of what makes the 7D great (but not everything) also applies to, say, the 60D – and, at the time I compiled this list, the 7D body was selling for close to $500 more.

      Second, I was anticipating (along with everyone else) the official announcement of the 7D Mark II and was curious to see how the two cameras would compare and what the impact on the price of the 7D would be. Now that the Mark II finally has been unveiled, we have a better picture of what that situation looks like and I may write up a post comparing the two in the near future.

      I will add that the 7D is a great choice if 1) you can find a good deal on a used body and 2) you are willing to install Magic Lantern firmware. The really unique feature of the 7D is that it shoots onto CF cards instead of SD cards and the faster media means that the camera can record RAW video when “hacked” using Magic Lantern. That makes the camera a great option for shooters with some advanced workflow knowledge and the ability to tinker with their gear, but a less accessible option for those just starting out.

      Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Clase says:

    Really intrigued by your expertise. Ive been shooting with a t2i for a few years now and believe Im ready to upgrade. Currently I shoot with the 18-55mm standard, the 50mm EF, and the 75-300 EF lenses. I wouldn’t consider myself a professional by any means, but videography is my passion and improving my performance for YouTube is desired. After reading your list, I would definitely be able to upgrade to the 60d or 70d, MAYBE the 6D (if I found a good deal on one). In your opinion, should dI do that? Or do you think I should invest in a better lens (or lenses) to work with my t2i?? All in all, I would like to only spend less than $1K on everything — but of course, everything is relative.

    I also found a Canon 5D Mark ii body for $1,400 that Im considering. Thoughts on any of this would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance! Keep up the solid blogging!

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Clase, thanks for the question! This really is the classic debate: new camera or new glass. A new camera is almost always a more “exciting” option, but it won’t necessarily give you better results. Solid lenses tend to be a good long-term investment, but it seems like you’ve already got pretty solid coverage, at least in terms of focal length.

      Of course, there’s no one thing you “should” do – you’ve got lots of great options and I think most of them will make you happy. A lot of it depends on what kind of shooting you do. It’s tempting to tell you to go full-frame (with the 6D or 5DM2), if you can afford it, since the sensors in those cameras will give you the most cinematically beautiful images. Those cameras would also eat up your entire budget and then some, though, and your current collection of lenses probably won’t show off their abilities to their fullest.

      I think that adding a good quality, versatile lens to your arsenal would be a good idea, regardless of whatever else you do. I’d suggest one of Tamron’s f/2.8 zooms. If you shop used, you should be able to find a 28-75mm or a 17-50mm with stabilization for under $350. I think that the extra aperture and overall quality will be well worth the investment.

      Another thing to consider is whether you would benefit from having two camera bodies. I shoot interview-style pretty regularly and find having two cameras really useful. Of the cameras you listed, I think the 70D would be the most sensible camera to upgrade to, switching your T2i to a b-cam. I love my 60D and think it’s still a great buy, but I also feel like that model is starting to show its age a little. A 70D will give you a new sensor, better controls, and some potentially useful autofocus capabilities.

      If you find yourself shooting exclusively with one camera, I’d still probably suggest the 70D with a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, but you could sell the T2i and the 18-55 standard to free up your budget a little.

      So that’s option one: spend most of your budget on a 70D, plus a fairly inexpensive lens upgrade.

      However, if you’ve been happy with your T2i, you could also flip that ratio and spend the bulk of your budget on a really solid piece of glass. For versatility, you can get Canon’s lovely and sharp 24-105 f/4L, which is an excellent “do-it-all” lens. You should be able to get it for under $700 used, or around $800 new if you can find it on sale. For pure image quality indulgence, you can get Sigma’s incredibly sexy 18-35 f/1.8 for around $800 – find some samples online, it really produces gorgeous images. With your remaining budget, you probably won’t have enough to upgrade your camera body, but you could add another cheap one, such as another T2i (or T3i or T4i) or an EOS-M. A second T#i might be a good bet for you, since it would allow you to use the same batteries between both cameras.

      That’s my suggestion for option two: spend most of your budget on a nice lens and grab a second body on the cheap.

      The best way to decide what to do is probably to head to a camera shop and get some of this gear in your hands. A good shop will always let you try out their cameras and lenses, so see how a 70D feels in your hands: do you like the bigger body, manual controls, and autofocus abilities? Or try out one of those higher-end lenses and see if you fall in love with the image they give you on your T2i.

      I think either of those options will make you a very happy shooter. However, let me throw one more thing out there, just for kicks. I’m currently shooting on two Canon APS-C bodies, but I’ve been really intrigued by what Panasonic and Sony have been doing lately. I’m also finding myself increasingly drawn to lightweight cameras with a lot of portability. I’d love to get a Panasonic GH4, but I can’t really justify buying a new body and new lenses at the moment. However, Panasonic is releasing the LX100 – a fixed-lens camera with a micro 4/3 sensor that shoots 4K video – at the beginning of November for $900. The lens (again, non-interchangeable) is a Leica 24-75mm (equivalent) with a pretty amazing variable aperture of f/1.7 to 2.8. Pulling 4K video out of that lens for under a grand is the real draw for me and it seems like a camera that would complement my existing setup pretty nicely. I plan on waiting until some models are out in the wild and more reviews show up to make my final decision, but that’s probably what my next major purchase is going to be.

      Anyway, sorry if that’s too many options! Finding the best choice for you really depends on what you shoot and how you shoot it. If you run-and-gun, the 70D might be perfect for you; if you want to create the next cinematic indie hit, good glass is probably a better bet; for something completely different (in 4K!), check out Panasonic’s upcoming high-end point-and-shoot.

      Let me know if you have any more questions – and keep me posted on what you decide to do!

      • Muthu says:

        I want comparetion result Canon 70d vs Balckmagic pocket cinema camera for video quality which is good for short and ducumentryu film. Pls reply.

        • Daniel says:

          Hi Muthu. Those really are two very different cameras, so a lot depends on your style of shooting. You mention short films and documentaries, but those projects are often filmed in completely different ways, so it’s hard to give an easy recommendation. I would say that the Blackmagic Pocket will generally produce video of a higher quality, but the 70D is a more versatile, usable camera in general.

          I’ve personally stayed away from the Blackmagic Pocket because – despite its tremendous value – it requires a lot of accessorizing to become a really good filmmaking tool. The battery life is bad, the audio is weak, the crop-factor is pretty significant, and you need high speed (and somewhat expensive) media. For me, those factors are just too limiting. That’s not to say I think the Pocket is a bad camera, because I absolutely don’t. If you’re filming in a controlled environment, can afford to add a handful of (pricey) accessories, and really want a cinematic image, it’s a great choice.

          The 70D, on the other hand, probably won’t produce images as lovely or filmic as the Pocket, but it has good battery life, a solid (if bulkier) form-factor and menu interface, decent autofocus, and a more accommodating APS-C sensor – in other words, it would be a much easier camera to just grab and start shooting with. If you throw a VideoMic Pro onto the hotshoe, you have a very capable run-and-gun setup.

          As always, when in doubt, you should try to actually get your hands on these cameras before you make a decision – rent one, borrow one, or even just check them out in a store. They’re both very exciting tools with their own strengths and weaknesses.

      • Clase says:

        Hey Daniel!

        I happened to stumble across this (it was saved in one of my old favorites folders!) and thought I would give you an update…. 3 years later! haha

        Definitely wanted to thank you for the advice! A few months after, I ended up purchasing the 60D and splurged a bit on Canon’s 24-105 f/4 lens (per your suggestion). I got a few other lighting accessories as well (which really aided in better quality). My all-in, if I am remembering correctly, was around $1600 or so. I ran with this setup for awhile and was completely satisfied!
        I’ve since upgraded to the Canon 80D and, for the most part, still use most of the lens previously mentioned. I use the 60D (along with an occasional GoPro Hero 4) as a second shooter (or loaners when friends need something fast). All-in-all, its been fun to grow in this hobby!!

        Quick side question for you — have you heard of any third-party software or applications to additionally aid in Canon’s performance? I have used “Magic Lantern” to (for lack of a better term) “upgrade” or “jailbreak” the software to allow for more functionality — and, honestly, I loved it for what it offered. I also just invested in a new ‘kickstarter’ project called “Arsenal” which seems to be geared more towards photography than videography, but promises real-time editing to hopefully scale down the process in post. Do you use anything “real time” or on-the-go that you have seen really up your game or make you more efficient?

        Thanks again for the help with everything!

  3. Sebastian says:

    hello, thanks so much for this article. it def cleared up some doubts i had.
    I am currently tying to decide between a t5i, the 60D or the 70D. I mostly will use it for vlogs and videos that will be uploaded on youtube. Therefore, most people have said that the t5i should be fine. However, i do want a great camera that once in a while, will allow me to do better projects.
    Could you please recommend me one? (some people have said that between the 60D and 70D there isn’t really a difference in video quality) oh and can i smoothly change the focus manually on a t5i that would look as nice as the 70D autofocus? sorry for so many questions, but def don’t wanna a bad/expensive decision lol

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Sebastian, thanks for the questions! I think all three cameras will give you great results for what you want to do. You can do manual focusing on all three of them – how smooth that will be depends on operator ability and, to a smaller extent, the lens and rig you use (if you use a follow focus, etc.). I’m not sure what your vlog setup is like, but it strikes me that autofocus might actually be quite useful for you if you need to record yourself. If you think that might be the case, the 70D will be your best bet – as far as I know, it has the best autofocus capabilities.

      In terms of video quality, all three will perform very well. The 70D does have a newer sensor than the 60D and T5i, but it’s not a night and day difference. Despite that, I’d say that if you can afford it, go with the 70D. It uses higher capacity batteries than the T5i (which is nice for video), and also has a more robust body with (in my opinion) easier access to manual controls. I also think that it has enough improvements over the 60D (touch screen, autofocus, recording time, minor body tweaks) to be worth the step up.

      As I’ve said before, though, if getting the 70D means skimping on a decent lens, you might want to hold off for a while or consider a cheaper option. I hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Sebastian says:

        it definitely helps, i’ve read this blog for like 4 times now haha. I currently use a nikon, but want to switch for a canon since they are known to be better for video recording. I have seen in many videos that people say that between the t3i and t5i there’s pretty much no difference. Do you think this is true? or should I definitely go for the t5i if i choose a rebel camera?
        The only reason I’m not positive about getting the 70D is because I feel I won’t even know how to use most of its features. However, I have been learning more and hope I can record great quality videos too.
        Having said that, the main use of this camera will definitely be recording myself for vlogs on youtube. My nikon has worked fine but now that I have a good amount of viewers, I believe its time for an update.
        Based on your comment I have a last question, which lens would you recommend me getting for this videos that I record? I’ve been using a 18-55 mm and its nothing extraordinary but definitely does the job. Therefore, I was thinking of getting the t5i with that one and maybe an extra one? and if i chose the 70D, which lens would make worth the investment of that camera for my vlogs?
        once again, thank you so much for your time, I really appreciate it!

  4. I loved all that stuff!!!
    You’e great!
    it helped me a lot!!!

  5. D Berry says:

    I’m a screenwriting major lookin to expand my skills as a videographer. I need to buy a camera and some nice glass. For under 4k. From reading your awesome article I’m thinking of going with the 70D or 6D or a body. As for a lens to choose, I have to do more research.

    So I guess my question is should I go with the 70D or the 6D OR should I go with a APS-C model with a very good lens? My business partner has a t5i because of the touchscreen capabilities, I’d like to have that same option as well. I have a t3 & t3i would those be of any use with a better lens?

    If you like here’s my email & cell for a quicker response: goerism400@gmail.com

    • Daniel says:

      Hey D Berry. If you already have a T3i, you should be able to get video of basically equal quality to the T5i – the major differences between the two cameras are things like the touchscreen, some minor body changes, and software updates that allow things like longer record time. (I don’t believe the T3 can record video.) Keep in mind that the 70D is an APS-C sensor camera – it’s just an updated sensor compared to, say, the 60D. The 6D is full frame.

      Lens-wise, depending on your style of filming, I’d recommend the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for a versatile choice. I’m also very fond of Sigma’s 17-70 f/2.8-4. The Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 is a beautiful lens at a great price, if you’re into primes, and the focal length is useful in lots of situations.

      Of all the bodies you mentioned, I think the 70D might be your best bet, unless the full frame look is important to you (in which case you should go with the 6D). In my opinion, that’s the camera that feels the most well-suited to video work. It has lots of great features, a good form factor, and you can generally get a good price on it if you shop around.

      Hope that helps!

  6. Brad says:


    I am tossed up as to whether I should buy the EOS-M or a T3i. I feel like both have their advantages, but I’m really stuck deciding which one is better. I primarily use my cameras for video. I shoot a ton of video and try to make it seem as professional as possible. Currently I am using my fiance’s T3i. I have been using it on a shoulder rig and also have attachments for lighting and an external mic. One of the downsides I see to the EOS-M is the stationary screen. The T3i has the great screen that swivels, making it easy to adjust on-the-go. I want to get the best video quality I can in this budget range, but I’m unsure. What is your take?

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Brad. I’ve used both the EOS-M and the T3i quite a bit. My gut reaction is to stick with the T3i for your needs. The image quality between the two models should be basically the same. The main benefit of the EOS-M will be its smaller size – however, the T3i is still a nicely compact camera. The T3i will give you longer battery life, the articulated screen you mentioned, and more physical controls for camera adjustments (which I prefer for video). You also mention that you use your camera -primarily- for video, which leads me to believe you will still use it for some still photography. The T3i is a MUCH better stills camera than the EOS-M, with better autofocus, solid ergonomics, and an optical viewfinder.

      I don’t want to sound like I’m down on the EOS-M, because it really is a fun, weird, kind-of-awesome little camera. Still, I’d start with the T3i – if you need a second camera body down the road, the EOS-M could be a great option.

  7. Zahra says:

    This article was really helpful for me as a beginner.
    Thank you so much

  8. Nellie SC says:

    Really great blog! Thank you for breaking things down so thoroughly.

    I’ve been shooting on a trusty little T2i and, honestly, would continue to do so, except that it cuts out every 12 minutes (I initially bought the camera for stills). As I more and more often shoot testimonials and long form interviews, this particular constraint is becoming a deal breaker.

    I’ve been waffling between the 70D and the 6D as a replacement, as I’m serious about videography and want to get something that will serve me well for the long haul. After research and reading this blog, my current leaning is to stay with the crop sensor and get the 70D and use my T2i as a second camera for now. Then save for the full frame that I really want: the 5D.

    What do you think of this plan?

    I also need to buy some new glass: I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of a 50mm 1.4, but I’m really feeling the need for some more options. I’m tempted to get the Sigma 18-35, but I don’t think I can ignore the lack of IS, because, at this stage, I really need a lens that will give me great handheld footage.

    Should I go the primes route? I really love the image quality. Canon seems to have really nice 28 and 35mm prime lenses with IS.

    Or should I invest in an all purpose zoom? Like the Canon 24-105? Or another lens? I’ve heard a few good things about the 18-135, but I’m not sure it has a constant aperture.

    I’ve never bought third party lenses, but I’m open.

    Basically, any suggestions you could give me would be very appreciated! Thank you so much!

  9. Matthieu says:

    Hi Daniel,

    So after reading your article, I definitely want to have a full frame and was going to buy the 6D. Question: is something new be released by Canon this year, and shall I wait for it ? Are there other alternatives to the 6D? Thanks again for your blog.

  10. Nina says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you so much for your helpful article.
    I am a film student and I’m looking to buy a camera. I have mainly filmed with DSLRs from school, mainly the 5D, but it is definitely out of my budget range. I am really hesitant because I hear so many different things from everyone.
    On the one hand, I really want a DSLR because most of my friends have DSLRs, and therefore when we shoot, it is easier to have the same look, for a stage scene from different angles for example. I really like the 70D that I have used a few times.
    However, I also travel a lot and really like to capture high quality video, and for this reason a mirrorless camera would be much easier to carry around. I have heard great things about the Sony a6000 also.
    AFter your review, I am considering buying both Canon EOS M (for travel) and a Rebel (Or save a bit more and go with 70D) for more serious shoots.
    Sorry for the long post, please let me know what you think !

  11. Nina says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for the helpful article,
    I am a film student and considering to buy a camera. I have mainly shot with DSLRs from school, usually the 5D which is way out of my budget.
    On the one hand, I plan to use the camera for short films, and I would like a DSLR for the great quality, but also because most likely I will use DSLRs on the shoot and it is easier to adjust the look (for a scene shot with different angles for example). I think my budget would only let me afford a 70D. I would rent the lenses most likely. Would that be an issue if the other camera is a 5D for example? Or can I still just correct everything in post prod?
    The other thing is, I really love to travel, an would like to be able to record high quality videos of my travel. For this reason, I would like a mirrorless, that is smaller, I have heard great things about the Sony a6000.
    I now consider buying the Canon EOS M (since it is so cheap) along with for ex a Rebel, or maybe save a bit more and get a 70D ( or get a used one).
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated,
    Thank you

  12. Kit Johnson says:

    Thank you for this post! I have a question. I’m shooting interviews with my 500D. I use my nifty fifty or 70-200 f/4. The only thing I’m not happy about is noise in shadow areas. It is really distracting–the image seems to dance around, even when it’s a stationary shot of a wall.

    I will invest in a noise reduction plugin for Premier Pro (many people recommend Neat Image). However I keep going back to the idea of a new camera. The top of my list is the 70D, then 6D, then 5D. Nice to see all these covered in your post.

    I’m not too bothered about going full frame, but I will if it will improve video quality. So my question is, will I notice a big improvement in less shadow noise by upgrading to a 70D? Would the jump to a full frame camera decrease shadow noise even more? If a 5D mk 3 would really be the king of video, I will get it, but it will take me some time to save that money!

    Maybe I should just work at better lighting – getting perfect exposure with my many years old, first ever DSLR camera, 500D. And getting better at interview technique. And colour correction. And audio. And everything else that I can improve without spending a dime!


    PS I am using an iPhone 5 as a second angle camera for these interviews. Irritatingly the video quality seems better (at least smoother) than the 500D!

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Kit, thanks for the question. Noise in an image is most often related to ISO – the higher the camera’s ISO is set, the noisier the image becomes. As a general rule, you should try to keep the ISO as low as possible when filming – probably around 400 if possible. Of course, that’s not always an option. Larger sensors (like those found in the 6D and 5D Mark III) are more sensitive to light, which means that noise is reduced. Newer cameras with smaller sensors (like the 70D) are generally better at processing images, so you could see a reduction in noise there as well, although I’d want to see a specific side-by-side test before making any definite claims in that department.

      While upgrading to a new camera is always tempting (and, in your case, moving your 500D to b-cam might worth considering), picking up a nice light kit might be a better option. I recently ordered a set of Genaray LED panels for the studio where I work and I’ve been very impressed with their output and flexibility. I believe we got three of them with stands for around $1000 – probably less than you’d spend on a camera and something that you could potentially use much longer. After all, exciting new cameras are coming out all the time, but the “upgrade cycle” for lights (and audio gear) is a lot slower.

      On the camera front, let me throw out a couple of left-field options. If you’re considering spending money on a 5D Mark III, you should definitely check out Sony’s A7S – it’s the absolute, undisputed king of low-light performance. It’s a different lens ecosystem, but Sony’s mount actually plays pretty well with Canon glass, from what I hear. The body sells for around $2500, so not far off from what you’d spend on a 5D.

      Another option would actually be to pick up a camera that can shoot in 4K and downscale to 1080HD. The benefit of shooting in 4K is that downscaling crushes down the noise and graininess and makes it much less noticeable. Panasonic’s GH4 (around $1500 for the body) is a favorite in this category. There’s also the Panasonic LX100, which has an integrated zoom lens (about $750) and the newly announced G7, which will release next month. The G7 shoots 4K and comes with a kit lens for around $800, which is pretty amazing. I’m also very taken with the Samsung NX1, which shoots 4K and uses a new high-efficiency codec for video capture. The new codec – H.265 – complicates the post-production process (it still doesn’t have much support, so you need to transcode the footage before editing), but it produces really lovely video.

      So there are a whole handful of options. I’d say the most practical thing to do would be to get some lights, though. Bad lighting will make footage from any camera look bad. Good luck!

      • Kit Johnson says:

        Hi Daniel,

        Many thanks for this really in-depth reply. You certainly covered all bases there.

        Since posting my comment I got Magic Lantern onto my 500D. It enables me to do much more in terms of controlling exposure in movie mode. I think opening up the aperture to f/4 and choosing a suitable frame rate (like 24fps) and shutter speed (1/48 seconds) will allow me to get a low enough ISO. I’m new to video so this all needs to be tested : )

        You’re totally on the nail when it comes to lighting. I can get professional-quality stills from my 500D with three speedlights and some light modifiers. Since I already own several soft boxes and stands, I think I will look at getting some fluorescent lights that I could put into them. However first off I’m going to try harder with ambient: have the subject a few feet from a very large window, possibly with a diffusion panel in-between, and then a reflector for fill. I have all of this stuff for stills, so look forward to seeing how it performs with video. I’ve actually been very unprofessional about my lighting with videos – just let ambient decide what was going to happen – and I wonder why I had noise?

        Lastly, since I’m mainly a stills photographer I’m going to go ahead and get another Canon DSLR. In the end, after pixel peeking at comparison images, I’m going for the 70D. It seems like a great all-round camera for me.

        I want to thank you again for your great advice.

  13. Andrew MacDonald says:

    Hi Daniel,
    Thank you for some truly helpful insight.
    I’ve studied film theory and narrative for a while now without any means of fruition up until recently. I was accepted into a 2 week cinematography program with Canon at CSUMB, which gave me brief access to the oh so sexy C300, and oh so so so so so sexy c500 cinema specific cameras. I worked with a $70,000 rig! How do you digress with optimism from that pedestal of film production?! So, it stands to reason that my interest has been sparked by the best. That being said, I’m a poor college student. I want make art film shorts. I’m torn between the T-3i and the world, the right of filmic passage, called super 8. Is the cost of film, HD scanning, and general post production more or less costly with regards to a T3i and a good EF 50mm? What can the T3i do that a good super 8 set-up cant?
    P.S. 50mm macro is generally regarded as a standard setup, yes?
    Also, do you know if canon’s cinema specific lenses are interchangeable with the T3i?
    I know this is a lot to tackle. My apologies eeek

  14. Janine says:

    Hi there! Thank you so much for the article, as it was very informative. I’m looking to upgrade from a T3i and I mostly vlog on Youtube (makeup) and didn’t realize the T3i doesn’t have continuous auto-focus capabilities. I was looking into the T5i but I’m also planning to invest in a 24-105mm L lens for filming (currently have stock 18-55mm and 50mm f/1.8). Since my primary goal in a new camera is continuous auto-focus, while the camera is rolling, do you think I should just get a T5i or would it not hurt to get the 60D or 70D? Thank you!

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Janine! If autofocus is important to you, I’d go with the 70D. You might want to also look at the new T6s, which I’ve heard also has good autofocus and has a nice, pro-style body. Don’t go with the 60D for autofocus — it’s not available during video recording on that model.

  15. Silvan97 says:

    Thanks for the info it was really helpful. I need something that does great photo and video work and you’ve pretty much helped with that. I was just curious if you had any suggestions on what the difference in video length. Which camera offers the highest video length if that makes sense. I saw some that offered 12 minutes or 30 minutes. Is that a standard thing?

    • Daniel says:

      Hey Silvan97, thanks for the question. I believe that Canon Rebels from the T4i onward as well as the newer mid-range models (70D, 7D Mark II, etc.) will automatically split clips in order to allow for longer record times. Previous models were limited to around 12 minutes because of file size limits in the way the memory card is formatted. Unfortunately, the 30 minute limit is still pretty much the norm. This actually has to do with the way the cameras are classified (as either stills cameras or video cameras) and taxed, although I’m not familiar with all the details there.

      This time limit means that DSLRs are not fantastic event cameras — if you want to just set up a camera and let it record for an hour or two, you might want to look at other options. The Panasonic GH4, a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera with 4K capabilities, is one exception — it offers unlimited recording time.

  16. Kyler says:

    Hello I am looking for a camera to buy for my filming and not sure which one to get. I film hunting trips in montana where it is cold, poor conditions, and I am moving around a lot. My two biggest concerns are 1) the cameras needs to have a long range zoom on it because the animals are usually between 200-500 yards away. And 2) it is usually windy and the grass is rustling and stuff so it has to have good audio and good audio adjustments. Please reply with a suggestion. Thanks!

  17. Milo says:

    I’m working on a music project that will have me posting original music recordings (pop-style, not jazz or classical) to YouTube twice a month. The inclusion of video is to widen my audience for discovery. To do so, I’ll be recording video in my home.

    I’ve got a bud that does it already. He was borrowing a Canon 5D with an upgraded but non-L lens, and the videos looked pretty good, especially after he started filming at 24fps instead of 30fps and when he started using some visual treatment in editing. But he can’t borrow it anymore, so he recently bought a Rebel, presumably with a kit lens, and his quality has noticeably suffered.

    I’ve got an old Canon 30D (before video). Both of my lenses are fixed: the Canon 50mm 1.4 USM and the Canon 100mm Macro USM, neither L-series. I’ve also got a Canon Vixia HF R400 camcorder, a Logitech c525 webcam, and the well-regarded (for a smartphone) camera on my Samsung s6 Edge. I’m listing all my options since I don’t know much.

    My needs are a little unique: just filming myself, indoors. No cameraman. Tripod friendly arrangement. Fixed scenes with fixed lighting, fixed camera positions, and fixed focal distance. Audio quality is irrelevant, since I’ll be using my music recording equipment. I even have a mild preference that whatever I use can run off of AC power so I don’t have to manage a bunch of batteries.

    I’m looking into lighting too, considering a 3-point system with affordable umbrellas or light boxes or LED kits with diffusers if I can find them cheap enough, or possibly just DIY a 3-point lighting system based on guides on the internet.

    Knowing that I won’t have a cameraman, everything will be fixed, and that good lighting is the goal, which of my three current cameras (cheap camcorder, webcam, and high-end smartphone) is likely to provide the best video? If I do go the DSLR route, will there be a substantial improvement or a small one? If I do go the DSLR route, will one of my current lenses suffice or will I need to budget for a nice upgrade to make a real difference?

    Thanks, Daniel!

  18. jay says:

    hi sir Daniel :) love your review this is very very helpfull I never had a canon unit before. i am currently building up a wedding video production. but i am still in the middle recently i purchased a 6d and i want to buy 2 more cameras will a 6d and two 70D enough? or two 6d and one 70d much better? or should i just go all 6D? and the 6d screen is not tilting i wonder if this would become a problem in real world use what do you think? Big thanks sir daniel :D

    • Daniel says:

      Hi Jay, thanks for the question. I think that two 70Ds and one 6D would be a great combination for weddings. The 6D will give you that beautiful full-frame look when you need it, but the newer features of the 70D (auto-focus, an articulated screen, etc.) will be great for just running around and capturing the event. I actually think that the cropped sensor of the 70D could be an advantage for event video work, since the smaller sensor will give you a bit more zoom (it’s not always easy to get close to the action). The tilting screen isn’t an absolute necessity, but it is very nice to have. As always, make sure you have good lenses and a solid audio setup first — those will make the biggest difference of all.

      • jay says:

        Thank you very much sir Daniel! you cemented my decision on this :) will be getting good lenses and a good mic. have a great day sir you helped another soul :D

Leave A Comment