If you’re starting out in DSLR video the options can be overwhelming, and if your on a budget you may not know which features are worth having or not. Canon is one of the most popular brands in DSLR filmmaking for their video features. Now, I’m not saying that the other brands don’t have anything to offer because they do (some of the Sony autofocus systems for video are outstanding compared to Canon’s), but when you buy into DSLR your investing into a system and brand for many years.
Canon currently offers the T2i, T3i, 60D, & 7D for full HD video on APS-C sized sensors. The APS-C sized sensors are best on a budget and currently range from $ 600-1,600. Two of these cameras, however, offer a great feature: the swivel screen. The 60D was the first to offer the swivel screen and the T3i followed. If you don’t care about the swivel screen, although it does come in handy, trust me, I would recommend buying the T2i because the price difference between that and the 7D is very large.
Why Not the 7D?
All of these cameras offer the same exact sensor. Same megapixels same great low light performance etc. So the video that is created on the T2i will be the same as the video on the 7D (provided the same lenses are used, same ISO, shutter speed etc). The 7D, however, does have a dual chip processor so it can shoot stil images faster. If you are a photographer this means a lot, but if your a videographer that doesn’t mean quite as much. The only other differences between the 7D and the others for video are a few buttons here and there. For example, on the 7D you can switch into video on any mode instead of having to switch to it on the dial. Also, the 7D is fully weather proofed and made of stronger materials.
60D Vs. T3i
So now to the point. You want a swivel screen, you want canon. There’s the 60D and T3i with about a $200 difference. It is hard to see the difference on the surface and whether the 60D is worth the $200. The two biggest things that the 60D has to offer is Kelvin white balance and more buttons. Kelvin white balance is the option to dial in a specific color temperature for color balance. This is more useful than one might think. With this mode it is very easy to change on the fly and get the exact color you want. On the T3i you can manual white balance, but even when using a white balance card you may not get the result you want. More buttons is also a big deal from the T3i to the 60D. I’ve used both and on the 60D you can control all of the camera controls: ISO, Shutter Speed, Aperture, all without looking at the camera or going through menus. Using the T3i it was much more difficult to cycle through all of these options quickly because the lack of the dial on back and buttons on the top of the camera. Also, you can use interval ISO settings on the 60D and you cannot on the T3i, but that is not a huge deal for me.
So, unless you are REALLY strapped for cash I would recommend spending the extra on the 60D.