Reader Question: A Great Video DSLR for A College Student

One of The Phoblographer’s longtime readers recently reached out to us asking for help/advice for her son—who is a college student. His problem in a nut-shell: he needs a great video-capable DSLR camera.

July 2nd

Hi Chris,
I hope you are having a great week. I just read your post on shooting
fireworks. Great info and images.

I spoke to my Son today, he just finished shooting a teaser trailer (Horror Genre)
One of the things he was talking about is how he doesn’t have full control of
the settings for his video camera and he wanted to know if I knew about the
video on dslr’s. I told him that they are being used more and more for by film
makers, they shot the season finale of House with a dslr.

I did read that you get full control of the settings when you use a dslr’s video
mode. So, I told him I knew just the person to ask, so here is my question.

I remember that you had reviewed the video on the higher end dslr’s on your
site. Have you been able to review the video on the mid range dslr’s
(Canon 40D, 50D, Nikon D90 etc.) and if so which did you think had the best

I will also send him the code that you sent me so that if he buys the camera
from B&H you will get the commission on it. I haven’t forgotten about that.

I really appreciate your time. Have a Great and Safe 4th of July.
And don’t forget to post some of your fireworks shots if you take

Thank you,

Thanks for the email Theresa, I really appreciate it. Here was my response:

Hi Theresa,

Your son has a couple of options. The new Canon Rebel T2i is probably his best, but he won’t be able to control sound on camera. He’ll have to do it through an external device and he’ll need memory cards.

Also, if he wants full manual control, then he’s going to need to get a 5D Mk II. The 40D and 50D do not shoot video. The D90’s isn’t so great, no is the D300s’. The D3s is the only Nikon with wonderful video output.

As for memory cards, he should probably get two of these:

Canon 50mm F1.8 The 1.8 is the cheapest and gives great results when stopped down. T

85mm F1.8– The greatest bang for your buck portrait lens ever made. On your XTi it will be approximately 135mm, so it will cover telephoto needs.

35mm F2– These two wide angle lenses are very nice and provide some of the best views at this focal length for video. Once again, great for establishing shots.

I also recommend checking out our list of great Videography items for your DSLR.

And as for memory cards, a SanDisk 16GB like this one is what I’ve seen lots of shooters using.

Hope this helps.

Have a great weekend Theresa. I’m going to turn this into a posting.


What else would you recommend to her son?

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.