Best DSLRs for video: 15 cameras from £400 to £2,400

Pentax k 5

Pentax's K-5 is the company's most able video-shooting DSLR, capable of capturing Full HD 1080p clips at 25fps in the Motion JEPG (AVI) format.

Although the K-5's body is rugged and weather-sealed, which makes it hard wearing and ideal for use in sandy or rainy conditions, there aren't too many movie-based perks for the videographer.

Auto focus

The main thing lacking from the K-5 is that there's no autofocus available during video capture - instead it's only possible to predetermine the focal point and then commence recording after.

When attaining focus prior to capture, the K-5's focus system, as per its live view operation, is very quick and will zoom in to the image (to actual size to ensure accurate focus is made).

Manual focus is also available, but this isn't always practical as assessing focal distance isn't easy to judge using a DSLR. It's made more tricky by the K-5's lack of a manual focus assist (to show the image zoomed in to actual size on screen for more accurate focusing).



The K-5 makes up for its AF shortfall elsewhere by the provision of Aperture Priority exposure control (though the aperture can only be set prior to recording) and the inclusion of a 3.5mm mic jack to connect an external microphone.

Exposure compensation and exposure lock are available during capture for more critical exposure decisions, as in Aperture Priority mode the camera auto-adjusts the exposure level.

Other fun options include 'Cross Processing' and Digital Filter modes that can also be applied to videos to add an 'arty' edge (but once they're applied there's no way of removing the final effect).


The K-5's final movie quality is very good, though there are some signs of grain in shadow areas. The rendered AVI files are also huge, with a minute of footage eating up some 430MB of space (though this is why the quality is high). A three-tiered compression option accessible via the main menu means file size can be reduced by compromising further on quality should you need the extra space. Sound-wise it's mono recording only, which is of adequate quality, though not a match for straightforward stereo sound.

Pentax K-5 Key video specs

Approx price: £930 with 18-55mm kit lens
Sensor: APS-C sized (1.5x magnification)
LCD screen: 3-inch, 921k-dot
Maximum resolution: 1080p capture (1920x1080px)
Frame rate: 25fps
Compression: Motion JPEG and mono sound
File format: AVI file format
Exposure modes: Programme and Aperture Priority shooting options
Focus modes: Fixed pre-focus only and Manual (MF) focus options
Connectivity: HDMI-C and mini-USB AV out ports, 3.5mm jack for external microphones