Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A DSLR In Video Production

advantages and disadvantages of using a DSLR in video productionAs we all know video production work involves using a video camera but this can be excluded with the advent of the DSLR (digital-single-lens-reflex) or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens. Lately more and more video producers and filmmakers are using DSLR or Mirrorless Lens to achieve the desired results. It comes with its own advantages and disadvantages of using a DSLR in video production.

Ever since DSLR’s arrived back in the year 2008 with shooting HD video the world of independent filmmakers flipped upside down. DSLR came with the abilities to shoot in low light, really shallow depth of field and not to mention at a cheaper price as well. Being easy to operate and affordable people started acquiring it to shoot stunning cinematic videos.

Though the primary function of DSLR is to take still photographs and technically is not a video camera. Since it is not made for shooting video’s it comes with its own drawback, but once you are able to understand the positives of using it for video you will love it.

Now we shall discuss the challenges faced and the advantages a DSLR or interchangeable lens cameras can bring to your video productions is immense.

Advantages of Using DSLR

Better Image Quality

The Camcorders have been known to come with small light sensors used to process the images you shoot into Digital Information. Compared to this the DSL cameras come with chips that can shoot video at frame sizes similar to 35mm film. All this enables a DSLR to give very sharp and crisp crystal clear images with more details.

Bigger Sensors

DSLR come with a larger sensor giving it the more control over depth of field. Depth of Field means the range in an image from near to far that is in focus. A perfect example of Depth of Field is when a person or an object in the foreground is very sharp and in focus with the background completely blurry.

It is a most commonly used effect in cinema and advertising and comes handy when you wish to make a specific subject or object stand out. Apart from this, the camera works efficiently under low light conditions because of its larger sensor.

Using the right lenses you can get the desired performance when shooting events at night or naturalistic pieces with the use of very little artificial light as possible.

Interchangeable Lenses

When it comes to DSLR or Mirrorless cameras use standard photography lenses and they come with multiple options to suit different conditions.

We can use a standard zoom lens while working outdoors during the day whereas later change to a fixed width lens which is better suited in low light for any night time shooting. Though you will not get a similar choice when it comes to choosing between lenses for dedicated broadcast video cameras, as they not easy to swap and are a costly affair.

Handy Design

Having talked about the technical advantages the DSLR also have physical advantages. Generally, the camera itself is light and portable than any standard broadcast shoulder mounted camera. This makes it more flexible depending on where and how you shoot. Having being built primarily to shoot still images and not record video, it comes with a handicap where it wasn’t designed with efficiency of a video camera in mind. In recent years though we can use Stabilisers making it much more comfortable to shoot with.


Shooting with a DSLR at events or streets you can carry out your work without people knowing you are shooting a video. People have known video cameras and camcorders to be huge and bulky. Whereas the size and shape of DSLR which was in fact built for still photography small and people stay relaxed unaware of the video shooting going around. Physiologically making it stealthy, allowing cameramen to work in a more relaxed atmosphere and taking more natural footage.

Limitations of DSLR Camera for Video

Having talked about the advantages of using DSLR for video shooting, it has its share of disadvantages as well. Built for still photography it lacks many inbuilt features like ND (neutral density) filters, zebras and as well as any decent audio functionality.

With technology evolving more and more companies are offering software and products to combat these shortcomings. One can add an ND filter which can be externally screwed onto the camera and works like a broadcast camera and an updated firmware can add zebra functionality to the camera. Whereas the audio issue can be resolved by plugging a microphone directly into the camera and use an external recorder. At times the camera struggles to capture fast moving objects and there are imaging issues particularly with rolling shutter and moiré/aliasing.

As more and more people are getting involved with DSLR or Mirrorless cameras, you can easily find fixes for most of your worries while shooting video in today’s market. DSLR today come in many brands, specifications and price range you can choose depending on the personal requirements.


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