Welcome to our gear guide. This is by no means a complete list of video equipment, but rather a collection of gear that we have either used or recommended. If you are interested in purchasing any of the gear listed, click on the affiliated links from B&H and help support our site.
The first camera to give the RED One a run for it’s money. The F3K sports a Super 35mm sensor and PL lens mount. This camera is designed for professionals who want a familiar workflow while still getting the look of film.
If the price of the F3K scared you off but you still want a large sensor camera with interchangeable lenses, consider the FS100. This camera still has the same sensor as the F3K but is limited to an AVCHD recording codec of 24Mbps. That said, reports have shown that the AVCHD codec holds up very well and can fit the needs of most shooters.
Panasonic released their AF100 before Sony’s FS100 and the cameras each have their own advantages and disadvantages. This camera has a micro 4/3″ sensor which is slightly smaller than the F3K or FS100 but still provides much more control over your depth of field than a traditional video camera.
Interchangeable lens cameras are great for cinematic work, but the event and documentary shooters still need a traditional video camera. The XF100 offers a ton of pro features in a small body and small price tag. With the ability to record at 50Mbps 4:2:2, you will be ready for broadcast television in most areas.
Designed for professional shooters who need to stay discrete or be super portable, the XA10 crams a ton of pro features in a consumer sized body. One of its more notable features is its detachable handle with XLR mic inputs.
|Canon VIXIA HF S200
Canon consumer cameras have a reputation of producing beautiful imagery in an inexpensive package. The HF S200 omits the built in hard drive of it’s big brother, the HF S21, but also shaves off a few hundred dollars from its price tag. It still provides two SDHC card slots for long record times.
|Canon 5D MkII
The 5D MkII is the flagship of the HDSLR Revolution. This was Canon’s first camera to bring a full assortment of video functions to the DSLR. Still the favorite among many shooters for its full frame sensor, the 5D MkII has a unique look that no other camera can create.
After the success of the 5D MkII, Canon released a new camera series with slightly smaller sensor but still the high quality build of a pro Canon DSLR. The 7D is a great alternative to the 5D MkII and also has a few additional features like HD HDMI out while recording and 720p 60fps video mode.
Don’t plan on shooting in extreme climates? The 60D gives up the build quality of the pro models in exchange for a much lower price tag. What it gains is an articulating screen and a smaller form factor.
The T3i strips away most of the prosumer features of the 60D to bring you Canon’s lowest priced HDSLR. If you’re on a budget but need beautiful imagery, this is the camera for you. The T3i becomes Canon’s second DSLR to sport an articulating screen and packs it all into their smallest form factor.
|Lens Buying Guide
Once you have the camera that will fit your needs, you need to find lenses that will do the same. We’ve put together a lens buying guide for HDSLRs but it will also fit with large sensor cameras like the F3K, FS100 and AF100.
The H4n is a great portable recorder that allows for high quality audio and both XLR and 1/4″ inputs. If you’re recording on a camera without XLR inputs, this device is a must own. It also has a built in mic for maximum portability.
The H1 is a worthy alternative to the H4n. It doesn’t have the XLR inputs of its big brother, instead only having the option for one 1/8″ input. However it still sports a great quality stereo mic and is the perfect companion to any videographer.
The Rode Videomic has long been the best shotgun mic for cameras with no XLR inputs. This mic would simply attach to the shoe mount and plug into the 1/8″ mic input of your camera. The original Videomic is still a great, inexpensive option, but Rode kicked it up a few notches with their Pro model by providing better quality audio in a smaller package.
Top quality shotgun microphones were always in the multiple thousands of dollars. That is, Rode released the NTG-3. This mic rivals mics that cost thousands more. If you need a great shotgun mic, look no further.
Before there was the NTG-3, there was the NTG-2. Still considered one of the best shotgun mics for under $500, the NTG-2 is a perfect starter shotgun for any videographer.
|Sennheiser EW112p G3
Sennheiser makes great microphones, and the EW112p G3 lavaliere kit is no exception. You will find this mic in the bag of most video and news professionals due to its great sound and rock solid performance.
Samson has a knack for packing good quality sound into inexpensive microphones. The UM1 is a great option if on a budget.
A good handheld mic is important if you are shooting “man on the street” style interviews. It most likely won’t be your everyday mic so you probably don’t want to dump a ton of money on one, but you still want great quality. This Shure mic uses a cardioid pickup pattern to reduce background noise all for under $100.
O’Connor makes great camera gear for professional shooters. If you are looking for one of the best heads on the market, look no further than the 1030HD. If you can afford the price tag, this will be the last head that you will ever purchase. With a load capacity of 39 lbs. this should handle most any camera that you throw at it.
Manfrotto makes many different types of tripods from small models for stills all the way up to pro video. The 504HD comes in at a great position for price and performance. It is great for DSLR video rigs due to its built in counter balance system. It also offers lots of drag control for both pan and tilt. And with its Bridging Technology design, you can easily tilt down to 90 degrees.
|Davis & Sanford Provista Tripod and FM18 Head
The FM18 is a very inexpensive option as a starter or backup tripod. The fluid drag is not adjustable, but it has a great default resistance. Supports up to 18 lbs. which works with most small camera rigs. Plus, B&H throws in a free D&S dolly.