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Step 1: Research




DSLR stands for digital single lens reflex. DSLR cameras use a mirror to reflect the image from the lens to the viewfinder, behind the mirror is a sensor. The sensor is what takes that light and interprets it as a electronic signal that shows up on your camera's screen. It's more complicated than that, but I don't want to hurt your brain before we even get this lesson started!

The larger the sensor, the better your camera will be in low light, and the larger your field of view will be. Large sensor, or full-frame cameras, are more expensive than cameras with cropped sensors.

Every DSLR camera has pros and cons. To find the right camera for you, you’ll need to research all the features that come with the camera and look around online or on Vimeo for example footage. Vimeo has entire Groups dedicated to many different types of cameras like the 5D Mark II, EOS 7D, Nikon D90 and a catch-all DSLR Cinema Group.

Advantages of shooting video with a DSLR camera.
  • High Quality -- Nearly every DSLR camera that shoots video can shoot in 1080p, which is very high quality HD.
  • Film Look -- DSLR cameras can imitate the look of film very well. This means your videos will look like what you see when you go to the movies!
  • Also a Stills Camera -- Remember, your DSLR is primarily a stills camera, which means you can easy go back and forth between video and photo mode.

When it comes to deciding which camera is the best for you, keep in mind that technology is always advancing, so new cameras will have new features all the time, therefore there will never be a “perfect” camera. In the end, what you can afford is the most important factor.
For extra credit...
Phil reviews lots of DSLR cameras on his personal site. See what he has to say about a camera you're interested in at philipbloom.net/reviews.
Okay, now that we've reviewed the basics of DSLR cameras, check out the other lessons and tutorials in our DSLR category.


  • Introduction to DSLR Cameras

    New to shooting with a DSLR? Maybe you're thinking about getting one? We'll teach…

  • Setting up your DSLR

    This lesson covers a few simple changes you can make to your camera settings in order to get…

  • DSLR Lenses

    If you're new to shooting with a DSLR, here are some things you'll need to know about…

  • DSLR Accessories

    Accessories are important as you start shooting. Learn about what you definitely need and things…

  • Shooting video with a DSLR

    Keys to understanding your camera settings and how to start shooting great video with your DSLR.

  • Recording sound for DSLRs

    Recording high quality sound for your DSLR can be tricky business. Here are a few ways to help…

  • Timelapse with a DSLR

    Learn how to make a basic timelapse video with your DSLR.

  • Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR

    Shooting at night with your DSLR? This lesson will give you the tips for making your low light…

Ready for a challenge? So do you feel confident enough to go out and shoot something? Philip has a great starting challenge for you called "An Object." Find an object and film it so that it's interesting! Use all the techniques you learned, keeping in mind your white balance, ISO settings, and frame rate. Keep your video under two minutes and really push your boundaries with framing and DOF. Watch Phil's example video here.

Accept this challenge
Category:
DSLR
, Shooting
Difficulty:
Beginner

Introduction to DSLR Cameras

New to shooting with a DSLR? Maybe you're thinking about getting one? We'll teach you the differences between DSLR cameras and help you decide which one's best for you!

New to Video School? Read our Frequently Asked Questions.

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Vimeo Video School tutorials come from the members of Vimeo who like to share their knowledge and passion with everyone else. Have a great tutorial you want to share with us? Submit it.