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I’ve recorded many music videos during my 20 year photography/videography career, and I’ve tested more than 30 different cameras during the process. According to my tests, i can comfortably say that the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV was the best performer.
If you’re a person whose job is to shoot music videos, you’re likely familiar with the importance of having a good camera, since the video output depends solely on the camera’s capability – the better the camera, the better the result is going to be, right?
Well, in this article, I will offer you the best cameras for shooting music videos (in my opinion), and keep in mind that each of them has a different price tag, so that most of you would have a chance to afford them.
Now, let’s get started in order to find out what have I prepared for you!
The 3 Best Cameras For Music Videos
3. Sony A6500
The Sony A6500 is all about compactness, quality, and price! This unit measures just 2.6 x 4.7 x 2.1″ (HWD), weighs around a pound without a lens, and boasts an attractive, black-painted body that is made of a magnesium-alloy which ensures a higher level of rigidity and employs a weather-sealing as an added protection, so that you would be able to shoot your videos in virtually every terrain!
Also, this unit has a deep, textured grip which will not allow you to have an excellent hold of the camera, but it will also contribute a lot regarding the comfort you’ll feel, hence, your shooting experience will be smooth and you will not feel strained after hours of shooting. Creating videos is not the simplest thing in the world, and having a camera that feels comfortable to shoot with means a lot.
When it comes to the control layout, the Sony A6500 is incredibly easy to operate with, because Sony has organized all of the buttons really well! Namely, on the top plate, there’s a hot shoe at the center, while on the right, you can find a Mode dial, Control dial and two programmable, C1 and C2 buttons along with a shutter release button that sits on the top of the grip, where your finger will naturally rest.
On the rear, nearly all of the buttons are spread across the top and right-handed side of the body, and they are organized in a somewhat compressed fashion, which is understandable though due to the compactness of the camera. Either way, I don’t think that you’ll face problems.
On the top-left corner, there’s a large, OLED electronic viewfinder that has a magnification rate of 0.70x, up to 2,359,2596 number of dots and a coverage of 100% which makes this camera be one of the best cameras with such a powerful viewfinder!
Below the viewfinder, there’s a 3″, 921k-dot touchscreen that is mounted on a hinge, allowing you to tilt it up and down which is awesome, due to the fact that you’d be able to shoot from different angles and be more creative, however, keep in mind that you can’t adjust it forwards for taking selfies. I’d also like to add that the screen is extremely sharp and bright enough to offer you an excellent view throughout your shooting sessions, but if we take this aside, my only remark regarding it is regarding its touch quality. It is somewhat laggy at times.
Moving on, the Sony A6500 has multiple connection options that make everything easy once you opt to transfer your content. A single USB port, micro HDMI port, 3.5mm microphone input, and a memory card slot comprise the physical ones, whereas, the built-in connectivity options consist of a Wi-Fi and NFC, which is something that I absolutely favor!
Now, let’s talk about the performance.
The Sony A6500 is equipped with a 24.2MP APS-C Exmor sensor, has an impressively good autofocus system with 425-phase detection AF points, 5-axis in-body image stabilization, continuous shooting speed of 11 fps, an ISO range of 100-25,600 which can be expanded up to 51,200, and a BIONZ X image processor that ensures superb results in both cases, whether you record videos or capture photos!
Although I will be focused more on the video performance of this camera, let me bring a few information about its ability to shoot photos.
The result of JPGs images are quite good, in fact, at ISO 100 and 1600 images are extremely sharp and filled with vibrant colors, whereas, the noise is non-existent! At ISO 3200, you may likely notice a bit of noise, but still, the camera handles the noise pretty good up to ISO 12,800, however, at the highest settings, noise gets prominent and all you can do is to avoid them as much as possible.
In terms of the videos, this model is capable to shoot 4K videos at 30/24 fps rate, 1080p videos at 60p/60i/50p/50i/24fps, and honestly, I absolutely like the video footage because it is nearly flawless!
However, keep in mind that if you intend to record 4K videos at 30fps, you may notice that the frame is a bit cropped around the edges, and you may not have the ideal field of view of the wide-angle lenses. This doesn’t happen at 24fps though.
Unfortunately, if you’re moving fast left or right, or if you opt to capture a fast-moving subject while taking advantage of the camera’s 4K capability, keep in mind that you will likely experience the so-called jelly-like motion effect.
Either way, the overall footage quality is excellent, and the A6500 can boost your creativity on an even higher level, by letting you to push the frame rates up to 120 fps and start recording slow-motion videos as well!
Overall, the Sony A6500 is worthy of considering, because it is exceptionally compact, packs numerous features and without a doubt, these things make it be highly suitable for recording music videos!
Sony A6500 Samples
2. Nikon D500
The Nikon D500 is a modern, professional-grade DX-Format DSLR camera that is quite chunky, measuring 4.5 x 5.8 x 3.2″ (HWD), with an approximate weight of 1.9 pounds without a lens, may not be the most compact and lightweight camera, however, considering the fact that its body is entirely made of magnesium alloy, and it is furtherly protected by a weather-sealing, this should be considered as nothing else, but normal!
Personally, I like the look of the design, particularly because of its black-finished body which is accompanied by a bold, red accent that stretches below the grip, which adds a lot to the modern and serious look of the camera.
Moreover, the D500 is easy to handle although its weight isn’t the lightest in the world, and what’s even better, the D500’s control layout is strategically organized so that you can easily use each button and tailor the picture exactly as you’d like.
To be more precise, the camera’s grip employs a textured coating which will ensure that the D500 will sit steadily in your hands and that you can comfortably shoot with it regardless of the amount of time you’ll be actually doing that!
On the other side, the button layout is spread across the entire body, but let this not scare you, because buttons are organized in such fashion that you’d never face difficulties!
On the front, there’s a PV button, a customizable Fn1 control, along with a flash sync socket and a proprietary 10-pin connector, whereas, on the top, the left side you can find a dedicated control cluster that holds 4 buttons, including the White Balance, Exposure Mode, Metering mode and a button that adjusts the image format/quality. The top-right side is comprised of a shutter release button with an On/Off switch which is surrounded by three buttons, such as a Start/Stop video recording, ISO, and an Exposure Value EV, while above all of them, sits an information LCD screen that will keep you notified regarding the modes you’re using.
If you flip the camera over, the rear part has multiple controls spread on the left and right-handed side of the body, while on the top and center, there’s the viewfinder and the LCD screen.
For your information, the viewfinder has an optical pentaprism design, covers up to 100% of the field, and if you prefer a casual photoshoot, feel free to completely rely on it because your view will never be distracted by anything once you look through it!
When it comes to the screen, the D500 has a large, 3.2″, 2,359k-dot touchscreen and honestly, I absolutely like it due to the fact that it outputs crystal-clear visuals and although it does not have true vari-angle design, since it can tilt up and down, by default means that you won’t feel restricted in terms of shooting!
Speaking of the connection ports, the D500 combines a mini HDMI port that will help you tremendously by offering you an uncompress 8-bit 4:2:2 video, single remote port, micro USB 3.0 port, headphone and microphone jacks, dual memory card slots that support QPD media and SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and as I’ve mentioned earlier, a PC sync socket that comes handy for studio lighting.
Otherwise, the D500 has built-in support for Bluetooth/NFC/Wi-Fi which is awesome, because the way you will transfer your videos to compatible devices will be butter smooth!
Performance-wise, the Nikon D500 runs on a powerful, EXPEED 5 image processor, has a 20.9MP DX-Format CMOS sensor, Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system with 99 cross-type points, native ISO range of 100-51,200 but what’s cool is that there are up to 5 expansion settings that may let you reach up to ISO 1,640,000, and let’s not forget its burst shooting speed of 10 fps! Honestly, Nikon did an amazing job here!
Given the strong components and the camera’s strong capabilities, the D500 is just excellent for videos! In fact, considering its ability to record 4K UHD videos at 24/25/30 fps for up to ~30 minutes, and the fact that this camera lets you create 4K UHD time-lapse movies in-camera along with the included electronic vibration reduction which plays a huge role especially once you’re shooting videos while having this camera in your hands, it is no doubt that the D500 is often a choice for hundreds of professionals!
Aside from shooting 4K videos, you can achieve excellent results with 1080p videos as well, because they can be shot at 24/25/30/50/60 fps with an H.264 compression and save them in the internal memory card, or taste the benefits of having an uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 footage via HDMI!
Finally, I’d also like to mention that the both, the 1080p and the 4K footage is excellent, especially the 4K that will take your breath away, because each frame has 8 megapixels on one side, while on the other, the included APS-C sensor will be there for you to provide you a great control over the field in which you’re shooting!
To conclude, the D500 deserves your attention, because it is exceptionally versatile, it is build like a tank and if you ever decide to purchase it, you will never be disappointed because this unit performs nearly equally good for shooting music videos and for capturing professional photos!
Nikon D500 Video Sample
1. Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV belongs to the category of the “most recognizable and heavily praised” cameras in the modern era, and the reason behind this is that it is meant to satisfy the needs of both, enthusiasts and professionals who are keen on investing in a reliable camera that simply shines with a luxurious look and numerous features that make this unit an exceptionally good, versatile option that can boost your user experience to a whole new level!
Speaking of the design, the EOS 5D Mark IV features a moderately-sized body that measures 4.6 x 5.9 x 3.9 ” (HWD) weighs 1.8 pounds and it is made of a combination of magnesium alloy and polycarbonate material, which is then strengthened by a dust and moisture-sealing same as the models I’ve made an overview recently. Hence, this camera is more than a suitable candidate to be used in a variety of different weather conditions and environments!
Aside from being a solid camera, the EOS 5D Mark IV feels more than convenient to shoot with, thanks to its integrated, enlarged vertical shooting grip that allows the users to have a natural hold of the camera, which is essential regardless if you record videos or shoot photos!
Moreover, the top plate is nicely designed. The left part holds a single Mode dial with an On/Off switch, there’s a hot shoe sitting in the top-center, and an Information LCD screen that is surrounded by 4 dedicated, WB/Drive*AF/ISO and Light Bulb button that activates the backlight of the screen once pressed. Above them, there’s a dedicated, customizable M-Fn button and a shutter release button that sits on the usual position – at the grip.
If you view from the rear, you’ll have an opportunity to see that, on the left side, stretching from top to bottom, there’s an array of buttons including a Menu and Info button, whereas, on the right, there are multiple buttons of which the most notable is the circular button that holds “SET” in the middle of which you can take advantage and switch between menus.
On the top-rear, there’s an optical viewfinder that packs a magnification ratio of 0.71x, and covers up to 100% of the field with the intention to maximize the clarity of the view you’ll have in case you wish to record photos.
In the center, below the viewfinder sits a large, 3.2″ 1.62m-dot touchscreen which outputs sharp and clear visuals so that you will always enjoy an excellent view while you’re recording with this camera. Unfortunately, I’d have liked the screen more if it had some kind of articulating/tilting capabilities, because since it is fixed, although you may have a convenient experience, still, the lack of flexibility may not offer you to feel the full potential of the camera.
Moving on, the connection options included by this camera are indeed numerous, and they are composed of a remote control port, HDMI-mini, micro USB 3.0 port, microphone and headphone jacks, a memory card slot that supports one CompactFlash and one Secure Digital card,as well as a PC sync, but Nikon didn’t stop here and they have utilized a built-in support for Wi-Fi and GPS, so, for now, I’m very pleased by this camera.
When it comes to the performance, the EOS 5D Mark IV employs a 30.4MP full-frame CMOS sensor, native ISO range of 100-32,000 which is expandable up to 50-102,400, burst shooting speed of 7 fps, an impressive, 61-point AF system with 41 cross-points, and a DIGIC 6+ image processor that will guarantee you a versatile performance and superb results whether you intend to record music videos or simply give your best in terms of shooting!
Since I will be focused more on the aspect of video, I’d just like to inform you that the camera controls the noise pretty well up to 12,800 because images are very usable, however, starting from ISO 25,600 and above, noise starts to increases in conjunction with the level of the ISO range, hence, I wouldn’t recommend you reach the furthest ISO sensitivity range.
Let’s take this aside, and talk about the video performance.
The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is capable enough to output stunning video output and let you record 4K videos whether at 24 or 30 fps, 1080p videos at 60 fps, and there’s also a dedicated 120fps mode if you ever opt to record 720p footage!
For your information, the 4K footage is available in a 1:9:1 aspect ratio, hence, this means that the 4K video which is compressed in a Motion JPG packs 8.9MP at every frame!
Also, keep in mind that the built-in microphone is prone to pick up background noise, and in order to fight against such things, I’d advise you to take advantage of an external microphone.
There’s yet another thing which must be said, and that’s regarding the rolling shutter effect which may be present at 4K, but it isn’t that aggressively pronounce. You can also reduce its presence by capturing 1080p videos at higher frame rates and you’ll be good to go!
After all, you’re already familiar with the potential of this camera, and you may be aware that the EOS 5D Mark IV can undoubtedly be considered as a superb candidate for shooting music videos, hence, in case of an eventual purchase, I’m more than sure that you will love this camera. That’s why, the EOS 5D Mark IV should be set on your priority list and be considered as a must have product especially if you’re keen on investing in a reliable, versatile camera that’s build like a tank!
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV Sample
What’s your opinion? Which one is the best? Feel free to choose whichever you find the most compatible with your tastes, because although they are different from each other, they have multiple things in common, such as the fact that they are perfect for shooting videos, look good and feel comfortable to shoot with!
You should decide if you want a camcorder or a mirrorless camera. Both work great and can get the job done, and in the end it all falls under personal preference. If you eventually decide to go with a camcorder, make sure you take a look at our list of the best low light camcorders.
Regardless of your choice and regardless if you’re an enthusiast who wants to pursue a career in the music business or a professional who makes a living by creating music videos, all of the cameras I’ve mentioned in this videos are known for their qualities on the market!