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

Samsung nx11

The Samsung NX11 is the company's second generation compact system camera and it's far more adept at video shooting than the original NX10 was.

This improvement is partly down to the Samsung NX11's Depth of Field Preview button that doubles up to allow quick toggling between continuous autofocus on or off (though AF-S isn't an option) when recording video.

Manual focus is also available and includes an MF Assist that magnifies part of the image on the rear screen to aid fine-tuning focus during capture - the downside to this, however, is that the zoom-in area is always centrally-aligned even if that's not where your subject is.


The NX11's video autofocus speed is good, certainly among the faster contrast-detection types available in a CSC and it outshines any DSLR's live view (and therefore video AF) system by comparison. Focusing is slower than during stills capture, but the camera 'thinks' that extra bit harder and it's rare that there's any over- or under-focusing in normal conditions, instead transitions between subjects are smooth.

However it's not possible to adjust the size of the autofocus area and this can be limiting for fine focus where smaller subjects are concerned.

In the menus it's possible to select either 'A' (Aperture Priority to select the lens's aperture to control depth of field) or 'P' (Programme to let the camera choose the settings - though exposure compensation can be adjusted). It's disappointing that exposure compensation adjustment can only take place prior to capture beginning, plus the exposure lock (AEL) isn't available during capture, both of which would have been of significant use. This, plus the lack of ISO control (Auto ISO is the only option) mean the NX11 doesn't offer true manual movie control.

For a bit of fun it is possible to employ the Picture Wizard mode, which handles colour presets such as Vivid and Black & White. The NX11's 720p 30 frames per second (30fps) 'High Quality (HQ)' setting produced files between 75-80MB per minute (more compressed 'Norm' files are also available at the same 30fps frame rate), meaning a full 25mins of capture is possible in any one sitting.


Using the well-regarded H.264 compression codec, MP4 files come direct from the NX11, but these are over-compressed as there should have been plenty more scope for greater data transmission and larger files from such a system camera.

Picture quality is reasonable, but not great, and low-light conditions amplify this shortcoming with a 'graininess' that's visible through the frame. The biggest issue, however, is that the auto-exposure can 'jump' between exposure levels and this can show abruptly in playback where the image will suddenly show brighter or darker - the metering isn't very subtle or elegant at switching between values.

Audio can only be recorded direct from the camera's built-in microphone and is rendered as single channel mono using AAC (Advanced Audio Codec). The quality's akin to a mid-level bitrate MP3 file, though the restrictions of mono and any close-to-camera sounds such as the lens autofocusing can easily be picked up during recording.

Samsung NX11 video specs

Approx street price: £480 with 18-55mm kit lens
Sensor: APS-C sized sensor (1.5x magnification)
Resolution: 720p capture (1280x720px) maximum resolution
Frame rate: 30fps
Compression: H.264 video and AAC (mono) audio compression
File format: MP4 file format
Exposure mode: Programme & Aperture Priority modes
Connectivity: HDMI-C and mini-USB AV out ports