At the heart of every videography kit is the camera. Here are some common features that videographers look for.
- Full Manual Control (aperture, shutter, ISO, focus, white balance)
- Interchangeable Lenses
- 1080p24 for that “Film Look”
Here are three currently in production and relatively inexpensive camera choices that have those features.
|Camera||Canon EOS Rebel T3i/600D
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-G6KK
14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Lens
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
|Price||~$500 USD||~$530 USD||~$300 USD|
|Lens Mount||EF-S and EF||Micro Four Thirds||E|
|Focal Reducer Compatible||No||Yes||Yes|
|Lossless Crop Zoom||3x||None||None|
by Trammell Hudson
|Recording Limit||12 Minutes||Continuous until card is full||29 Minutes|
|Memory Card||SD, SDHC, SDXC||SD, SDHC, SDXC||SD, SDHC, SDXC
Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo
|Verdict||The T3i is one of the most popular options out there which means there are tons of accessories, tutorials, and community support specifically for it. The 3x lossless crop zoom comes in handy. Magic Lantern unlocks many video features like auto movie restart and bitrate control.||If you value recording length above all else, then the G6 is a great option for you. 1080p60 is rare in an interchangeable lens camera at this price point. Being mirrorless lets you use a variety of lenses from different mounts via inexpensive adapters. Being mirrorless also lets you use a focal reducer which makes budget lenses have similar low light performance to premium lenses.||The Sony A3000 is one of the least expensive options out there which makes it a great learning camera to experiment with the basics of exposure and different lenses. The mirrorless advantages mentioned earlier apply here also.|
Good audio separates the professionals from the amateurs. A common workflow for videographers is to capture audio from an external audio recorder with a video mic or lav mic. Then in post, sync the audio from the external recorder with the internal camera audio either manually or automatically with something like PluralEyes.
|Zoom H1 Audio Recorder||Rode VideoMic||Azden EX-503 Lav Mic|
|~$95 USD||~$150 USD||~$20 USD|
|1 AA Battery||1 9V Battery||Phantom Power|
|Tripod to Shoe Mount Adapter|
Capturing light is the essence of videography. You can achieve nice three point lighting with just the sun and a reflector.
|Neewer 110cm 5 in 1 Collapsible Reflector||Neewer CN-160 LED Video Light||Cowboystudio Umbrella Continuous Triple Lighting Kit|
|~$20 USD||~$30 USD||~$60 USD|
|6 AA Batteries|
For the love of all that is good in this world, whenever possible, please use a tripod unless your scene calls for handheld or shaky movement.
|Ravelli AVTP Fluid Head Tripod||Vello Triple Shoe Mount V Bracket for Lights, Mics, and Audio Recorders||Gaffer Tape|
|~$120 USD||~$30 USD||~$20 USD|
Nowadays, ~$1000 USD can get you a decent entry level videography kit.
If that’s out of your budget, consider buying used, refurbished, and/or discontinued cameras from sites like Amazon, B&H, KEH, Canon, LensRentals.com, BorrowLenses.com, and craigslist. An EOS M, T2i, or GH2 may be older, but they still offer full manual control, interchangeable lenses, and 1080p24 for a great price.
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