Recommended Gear

Disclaimer:

This list comes from personal experience, hearsay, research and/or educated guesses. You are responsible for the purchases you make, and this list is only for reference, to be used as a starting point. 

Not all information is complete, correct or up to date. I do my best to give honest opinions based on my experience.

Links maybe to affiliates where I earn a commission for any purchases (you don’t get charged extra).

This page is huge! Get what you want quickly:

My Gear

Cameras

If you’re a newcomer the best advice I can give you is in these two videos. Watch them first:

Still interesting in buying? Then here we go.

For the First-time Student and Beginner

  • Extremely Limited Budget: Canon EOS T7i/800D Body (AmazonB&H) with the Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 Lens (AmazonB&H)
  • Moderate Budget, need good quality: Panasonic GH5 (AmazonB&H).

Low-end “Zero Budget” Production Work

Corporate Videos and Documentaries

Feature Films

How do you decide whether to pick an Arri Alexa or a Red camera? Here’s a guide I made for you:

Short Films

  • Low Budget – Panasonic GH5  (Amazon, B&H)
  • Cinema-quality – Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 (Amazon, B&H) or the Canon C200 (Amazon, B&H) if you want great autofocus.

Check out my short film, Fight Night, made on the Panasonic GH5:

High-speed Filmmaking in 4K

Check out my short film below shot at 100 fps on a Red Dragon.

Action Camera

Drones with Cameras

  • Basic professional grade: DJI Mavic 2 Pro (Amazon, B&H)
  • High-end cinema work: None, it is advisable to use a professional camera and a drone built for it. Hire a professional.

Internet Video and VLogs

  • Low budget: Sony DSC-RX100 IV (Amazon, B&H)
  • Probably the best bang for your buck: Sony a6400 (Amazon, B&H)
  • Professional quality – Sony a6600 (Amazon, B&H)

Lenses

It’s impossible to recommend lenses, because there’s no such thing as the best lens. Lenses are like paintbrushes and color – you choose the one that you like.

  • For great autofocus performance, use the lenses from the manufacturer itself. There isn’t a case where a third-party lens focuses faster and more accurately than a manufacturer’s lenses.
  • For Sony cameras with adapters, I prefer Nikon D lenses (AmazonB&H)
  • For low budget pseudo-cine lenses, the Rokinon DS (AmazonB&H) line should be fine.
  • For cine lenses that are tough and professional enough for regular shoots, I prefer Zeiss CP.3 (non-XD) (AmazonB&H) and Zeiss CZ.2 zooms (AmazonB&H)
  • For high-end cine lenses within budget, I think both Arri Ultra Primes and Cooke S4s are hard to beat.
  • For the best, I don’t think there’s anything better than Arri Master Primes.
  • For full frame cinema lenses, check out my comparison and specific recommendations for the Alexa LF and Red Monstro.
  • For cine zooms, the best is Angenieux Optimo, and the most popular lens, especially for commercials, is the 24-290mm T2.8 Optimo.

Audio Gear

Long Shotgun Microphones

Further Reference: Five budget boom microphones that won’t let you down.

Compact Shotgun Microphones

Lavalier Microphones

I prefer wired over wireless. Always reliable and legal.

Production Mixer/Recorders

Headphones

Post Software

  • Free: Audacity
  • General all-purpose – Adobe Audition CC or Fairlight in Resolve.
  • Industry standard – Avid Pro Tools

Studio Mixer

Studio Reference Monitors

Sound Cards and Interfaces: M-Audio

Lighting Equipment

Here are my preferences:

Tungsten/Halogen

  • Single: Arrilite 750 Plus with a Chimera softbox and grid (Amazon, B&H)
  • Kit: Arri Softbank II Fresnel Kit (Amazon, B&H)
  • For extreme spot lights and precision: ETC Source 4 750W Spotlight (Amazon, B&H)
  • Low budget lighting that gets the job done: Lowel DV Creator Kit (Amazon, B&H)

LED

  • Low Budget Panel – Yongnuo YN900 (Amazon)
  • Low Budget Fresnel – NanGuang CN-60F
  • Medium budget but high quality panel – Aputure Tri-8c (Amazon, B&H)
  • Spotlight – Dedolight DLED 4.1 (Amazon, B&H)
  • Top of the line LED fresnel – Arri L7-C LE2 fresnel (Amazon, B&H)
  • Top of the line LED panel – Arri Skypanel (B&H)
  • Small high-quality on-camera light: Cineo Matchbox (Amazon, B&H)

Fluorescent: Kino Flo Diva (Amazon, B&H) – Important: I no longer recommend fluorescent fixtures.

HMI

Calibration Systems

Atomos Shogun

External Recorders

  • Most versatile recorder: Atomos Shogun 7 (Amazon, B&H)
  • Cheap and does the job: Atomos Ninja V (Amazon, B&H)

Production Monitors

Electronic Viewfinders

  • Best value for money: Zacuto Gratical (Amazon, B&H)

Support and Camera Movement

Tripods and Heads

Dollies and Sliders