best camera for overhead video setup

Do you want to start creating your very own overhead photos or videos but are not sure which camera is the best for the job? To create appealing overhead videos that people will be instantly attracted to, a few factors need to be considered. One of the most important is of course the right camera.

Selecting a new camera for any purpose is not an easy task. But going through our guide might just help you make this difficult decision a little easier. Our team reviewed and selected five cameras that are currently the best on the market when it comes to creating stunning overhead videos that people will love.

If you are on a tight schedule there is a summary review in the yellow box below. Or if you want to read a full detailed review of our camera of choice for overhead video click here.

Our camera of choice: If we have to pick a camera that is the most suitable for overhead video, we would definitely choose Sony Alpha A7 III.
It has all the needed features that are required to produce quality videos. Another feature that really stands out for this camera is its autofocus feature. It vastly outperforms other cameras in the same price range.

Note: We are all about quality and high performance; however these things can sometimes be pricey. Therefore, we have prepared a special list of well performing budget cameras that will meet your needs. You can see our recommendations for best cameras under $500 here.

Before we go into more detail about what is an overhead video and how to make one there is a quick comparison table of all cameras we tested. Below you will find some comparison of basic camera characteristics to get a better feeling.

RECOMMENDED
Nikon D3500 Sony a7R III Mirrorless Camera Canon EOS 5DS R Canon EOS REBEL T7i Canon EOS Rebel T8i










Resolution 24.2 megapixels 42.2 megapixels 50.6 megapixels 24.1 megapixels 24.1 megapixels
Compatible Mountings Nikon 1, Nikon F Sony E Canon EF Canon EF-S Canon EF-S
Screen Size 3 inches 3 inches 3.2 inches 3 inches 3 inches
Viewfinder Type Optical Electronic Optical Optical Optical
Video Capture Resolution 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 2160p
Image Stabilization Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

What are overhead videos?

Overhead videos are the kind of videos where the camera is typically positioned above the table with a tripod or a different type of fixture facing downwards recording what is happening on the table. This is why we also call them top-down videos.

They are great to show the happening on the table from a first-person perspective. Let it be drawing, cooking, repairing electronic devices, or any other kind of tutorial or a how-to video, overhead perspective just gives the viewer an immersive feeling which makes them psychologically more attracted to the video. In other words, they get a feeling of what it would look like if they themselves would be doing what is happening in your video.

The basic equipment needed for creating overhead videos

A good camera

Well, first and most important is, of course, the camera which is the reason why you are reading this article. You could also use your smartphone to do the job but if you are looking for a more professional and high-quality result we recommend using a good digital camera.

A tripod stand

The second would be a suitable tripod that will hold your camera in the top-down position. Note that you could use also some other kind of holder or some other method to hold your camera in the right place. Below is a nice tutorial that will give you some ideas.

But if you want to be flexible and professional we definitely recommend investing in a tripod stand. You will be using this equipment all the time. And you certainly don’t want to hold your best camera with something that is not 100% secure when doing overhead video. A good pick would be Neewer Adjustable Tripod Stand with Sandbag.

tripod stand for best camera for overhead video

These tripod stands are usually very versatile and can hold your phone, camera, lights, and all kind of other stuff. They come with included counterweight bag so you can balance your setup perfectly.

Lighting

Additionally, you need to make sure that your desktop where you will be filming has enough light. If you have enough natural light that is great. But if you don’t you will need to set up additional lights like Neewer Photography Lighting Kit. This way you will also be able to shoot videos no matter the lighting conditions outside.

lighting kit for overhead video setup

Audio equipment

You will also need a good microphone. WIth this you have two options.

  1. You can record your sound together with your video simultaneously.
  2. Do a voice-over or record sound on a separate track before or after shooting the video (usually after)

For overhead videos and tutorials we recommend the second options. Why? Well, firstly because it is easier to focus just on what you are saying rather than focusing also on what you are doing in front of camera. Also, if you fail to make a good voice-over recording the first time, you can easily do it again without having to record the whole video again. Additionally, you can hire professional voice actors to read the script for you if you feel like that would elevate your video to a higher degree of quality. For doing voice over recordings, a good quality desktop microphone will do a fine job.

What are the best cameras for overhead video?

Phone

As mentioned before, you can use your smartphone to shoot overhead videos. Most modern high-end models will do a decent job. However, if you require better quality for more professional videos you should go with the camera.

DSLR and Mirrorless cameras for overhead videos

Digital cameras of the last few years have advanced a lot in the field of video recording. You can select between a variety of models of different brands that are capable of shooting 4K and perform well even in low light conditions. With minimal to no noise of course. Thanks to continuous autofocus they are also capable of tracking moving objects. There are so many choices so choosing the right one can be tricky.

From our experience, we can say that in general modern DSLR cameras will do an excellent job at recording overhead videos. New generation mirrorless cameras have also made huge improvements being right up their heels.

Many new cameras come with apps so you can control them remotely via smartphone. This feature is especially useful when you are doing overhead video. Think about it. If you were to touch your camera to trigger recording while it is sitting on the tripod it might start shaking a little so you would have to wait before start performing in front of the camera. By using a smartphone app you can easily avoid this.

Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500, a solid choice for taking overhead videos

Camera description

Nikon D3500 it’s a DSLR camera that features both excellent design and high-quality capabilities. It is very easy to use and you don’t have to be a professional to handle this camera. Just point and shoot. It is a camera for beginners and you don’t need any previous experiences in the field of photography.

Nikon D3500 uses a 24,2 megapixel CMOS sensor and its ISO range stretches from 100 to 25600. This will allow you to take low light photography. It also has great autofocus for some sharp photos and a continuous shooting speed of 5.0 FPS. The 11 point AF system works great for general photography and can handle moving objects as well.

Nikon D3500 features a compact and comfortable design. It feels sturdy and balanced in your hands. Furthermore, the controls on the camera are perfectly placed to make working with your camera a walk in a park.  It is a lightweight camera and can be easily transported. You can take it with you just about anywhere.

PROS
  • Small and lightweight package
  • Good high ISO performance
  • Great autofocus
  • Easy one hand usage
CONS
  • Build-in flash not great

Sony a7R III is our top pick camera for overhead video

Camera description

Sony a7R III is one of the models of Sony’s third generation of professional mirrorless cameras. While it’s not a DSLR camera it is still worth purchasing it.

Sony a7R III uses a full-frame 42.4-megapixel sensor and has a fast continuous shooting speed of 10 FPS. The camera is also equipped with a CMOS sensor which collects more light, enabling the camera to take photos in low light. It can operate from 0 to 40°C/32 to 104°F, which makes it suitable for indoor and outdoor photography.

Sony a7R III has an updated BIONZ X processing engine that boosts up the processing speed of an image. The camera has image stabilization and can take high-resolution photos. One of the best qualities of this model is its focus speed and exceptionally long battery life. Also, controls are conveniently placed which makes the camera fun and easy to use; at least for an experienced user. The camera also has a 3-inch touchscreen. You can focus your shot by simply pressing on the screen. All these features make this the perfect camera for overhead videos.

PROS
  • Great autofocus
  • Good battery life
  • Outstanding image quality, even for fast moving objects
  • Much improvements over predecessor
CONS
  • No major cons

Canon EOS 5DS

A great choice to take photos of your favourite pet

Camera description

Canon EOS 5DS R is a more professional digital camera and is recommended for more experienced users. It uses a 50.6 effective megapixels CMOS sensor to deliver high-resolution images. The camera offers great sharpness and fine detail. In addition Canon EOS 5DS R also has a low-pass filter, or LPF, which is useful for reducing color artifacts and detail at the pixel level. It allows you to capture more detail in the image and maximizes sharpness.

Canon EOS 5DS R will also allow you to do some simple cropped shooting and due to high resolution, the images will still remain sharp. This feature comes in handy when you are doing still photography. The continuous shooting speed for this camera is 5.0 FPS and comes with very fast and precise autofocus, which automatically detects and tracks subjects. It also comes with a built-in Wi-Fi, which allows you to connect and share your photos right on spot.

PROS
  • Small and lightweight package
  • Good high ISO performance
  • Great autofocus
  • Clear noise-free images even in low light conditions
CONS
  • Build-in flash not great

Canon EOS REBEL T7i

Another solid camera Canon EOS REBEL T7i for taking photos of your pet and especially dog photography

Camera description

Canon EOS REBEL T7i is a great choice if you are looking to do some overhead videos. It is very fun to operate with and it takes good quality pictures. Many features are fairly similar to previous Canon Rebel models, which is helpful for those of you who are familiar with this type of camera. However, there are some different features. Nevertheless, the camera is very easy to use. The placement of the controls makes it easy to learn and it’s perfect for beginners as well as experienced users. Feature assistant helps the user to understand features with simple and graphical descriptions and explanations.

Rebel T7i camera is fast and responsive. It uses a 24.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor. The camera has a continuous shooting speed of 6.0 frames per second, has an excellent grip, and a built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth that will make sharing your photos easy.

We highly recommend this camera for anyone who is looking for an upgrade from other DSLR cameras or for those of you who are new to the world of photography. This camera is definitely a solid choice for an overhead video camera.

PROS
  • Small and lightweight package
  • Easy one hand usage
  • Good high ISO performance
  • Great autofocus
CONS
  • Build-in flash not great

Canon EOS Rebel T8i EF-S

Canon EOS Rebel T8i a great all-round performer camera for dog photography

Camera description

Canon EOS Rebel T8i is an affordable choice when you compare it to other digital cameras in the same quality range. Rebel T8i is a great and extremely competent DSLR camera that is user friendly. The camera is easy to learn and use. It is smaller in size and light weighted digital camera that can be handled easily. The camera maintains smooth and accurate focus no matter what you are trying to take a picture of.  

From people, pets, objects, panorama all the way to moving vehicles. It produces high-quality images with its 24.1 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) Sensor. This particular model can handle lowlight photography with ease and is able to take pictures even in almost completely dark spaces. Unlike Rebel T7i, T8i moves from 6.0 to 7.0 FPS. It is also worth mentioning that Rebel T8i digital camera has a long battery life, making it one of the best choices to buy.

PROS
  • 4K 24P clean HDMI out
  • Good battery life
  • Smooth and accurate focus
CONS
  • Lack of exposure compensation button is a bit dissapointing

Conclusion

Main takeaways when selecting best camera for overhead video

All these cameras will do a great job when it comes to making overhead videos. There is no wrong decision. It mostly depends on your budget and your needs. Stay within the selection of our top 5 digital cameras for outstanding performance and amazing videos.

And remember to have fun when making new content. Wish you all the best.

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