Digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have cornered the market as the go-to gear for commercial grade photography. But they also make amazing, affordable video cameras.

If you’re looking for a camera to shoot both product photography and video marketing vids — or if you just want something versatile to take on your next trip — DSLRs are the ticket. We’re sharing an introduction to DSLR cameras below, including how to use them for video.

Camera basics

Mechanically speaking, DSLR cameras use a mirror to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder, and behind that mirror is a sensor. This sensor creates the light and interprets it as an electronic signal that ultimately shows up on your camera’s screen. It’s more complicated than that, but the important part is wrapping your mind around how and why DSLRs are useful to have in your gear rotation.

The larger the sensor, the better your camera performs in low light, and the larger your field of view will be. But it should be noted that larger sensors — or full-frame cameras — are more expensive.

Choosing your camera

When it comes to deciding which camera is best for you, keep in mind that technology is always advancing. Cameras are constantly released with updates, so just pick what you like shooting with most.

Beyond that, all cameras have pros and cons. To find the right DSLR for you, first, set your budget. Then, take some time to research and compare features between the ones you’re considering.

Want a starting point? Here are some digital cameras our production team love using.

Why DSLRs are great for video

1. They shoot HD

Pretty much every DSLR camera that shoots video can shoot in 1080p (and a lot boast 4K resolution), which is very high-quality HD.

2. They look like film

These cameras are experts at imitating the look of film. So you can control how sharp or as gritty as you want your video to feel.

3. They take still images, too

Remember, DSLRs are primarily still image cameras, meaning you can easily go back and forth between video and photo mode.

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