NOTE TO READERS: I’m planning to go through each piece in this kit more in depth in coming videos and livestreams. Be sure to sign up to be notified with all the geeky details 🙂 .
The Sony A7iii was the camera that started it off, and 2018 will definitely go down as the year of the rise of the Mirrorless camera. With new full-frame models promised by Nikon, Canon, Panasonic and others, it’s a great time to be a visual artist!
But the flurry of new mirrorless camera announcements can definitely cause you to pause before selecting the “best” camera for you.
Spoiler: likely all of these cameras will be pretty great, and all will have their fans and detractors. But being a photo and video professional for over 15 years has taught me to purchase when you need it, and max out it’s use before the Next Big Thing comes around.
So, this isn’t an excuse to go on a shopping spree, unless, of course, you’re either got work, a burning passion, a project, or extra cash lying around 🙂 .
Without further adieu, here’s my recommended gear list for video makers!
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Recommended Camera: the Sony A7iii
The Sony A7iii definitely stole the spotlight as the first full-frame mirrorless camera that was (dare I say) affordable, and capable. Boasting the same auto focus engine as the flagship Sony A9 and without crippling limitations to slow mo (yay for 120p!) or annoying 4K cropping (cough) Canon (cough), it’s not hard to see why it was backordered seemingly forever. Now that I’ve got my hands on it, I can attest to the amazingness of the stabilization, low light shooting and handling. It’s not perfect (I don’t like the ergonomics for shooting stills, viewfinder and LCD resolution isn’t great etc) but it does so much so well that the Sony A7iii is the obvious choice for many shooters wanting to get into the game of full-frame 4K mirrorless video shooting.
As a long-time Nikon shooter, I still admit I love my trusty stable of Nikon D750’s for shooting stills. I may be biased, but the Nikon just feels better in-hand, and the shutter and af more sure for stills (though sucky for video!). If you’re primarily a still shooter, then the Nikon D750 is an absolute bargain that has video features and low light capabilities that can somehow compete with the best of the new cameras launched.
It’s expensive, heavy, has a huge 82mm front filter diameter, and looks a bit daunting on the thin body of the A7iii. But there’s no denying Sony 24-70mm G-Master is a gorgeous lens. I prefer shooting all-primes with shooting stills, but love the versatility of “one zoom to rule them all” this lens affords for the video shooter. The bokeh is spectacularly round, with smooth (but a bit stiff to start) zoom that I’ve found works great for shooting run-and-gun video.
Sony isn’t known for making inexpensive glass. So when I saw the price and quality of images the Sony 85mm f1.8 prime lens creates, it was an easy decision. Sharp and relatively inexpensive, I love the 85mm perspective for portraits and so much more.
Though I haven’t gotten my hands on this just-released lens, it’s definitely a 2 thumbs up! Mirrorless cameras haven’t always delivered on the “smaller size” of lenses (evidenced by the G-master zoom above), but the Sony 24mm f1.4 lens is tiny for it’s large aperture and has been called an incredible lens by the nicest, smartest and biggest optic nerd I know (I’m looking at you Rishi 😉 ).
For stills I prefer a 35mm lens (fingers crossed Sony has one up its sleeve!), but for video I love the 24mm more. 24mm is perfect for capturing wider perspectives without warping out the viewer, and can be easily punched in to shoot approximately a 36mm field of view when needed.
Recommended Accessories for the Sony A7iii
There was a lot of love for the larger battery of the Sony A7iii, but as a shooting pro, you can never have enough juice 🙂 . I know there are knock offs, but I’ve found the original Sony branded batteries to give the best operation in cold weather without prematurely losing charge over months/years. Pick up an extra battery or two and you’ll be golden.
Not sexy, but nice to have a dual battery charger you can use with any USB charger or battery.
For my studio shoots, I prefer to get AC power supplies for my cameras. Strangely, though the A7iii can be charged via USB, it won’t power the camera without a battery inserted. Just in case, I purchased this Sony A7iii AC power supply and it works great! TIP: I’ve tried other AC power adapters (with rounded corners) that work, but buzz quite loudly and worry me. Also, the battery dummy terminal of this unit (at least the one I got!) fits my Tether Tools Case Relay for a go-anywhere USB battery powered option.
When I first held the DJI Ronin S at NAB earlier this year I knew it would take over the handheld gimbal market. It’s heavy, but smoother than my (admittedly older) Zhiyun Crane, and the fit and finish exudes confidence.
It’s not perfect though: I found my existing Manfrotto plates don’t fit, and DJI’s doesn’t fit well in many of my Manfrotto tripod heads. And the weight – it’s heavy. Not for all-day shooting for sure, but the combo of the Sony A7iii and this gimbal makes for some incredibly smooth footage.
When you need to lock down a shot, nothing beats a reliable tripod. I’ve got heavier ones, but for field use, this one is light enough to carry with me, and smooth enough unless you’re shooting with long glass.
Phew! That was a mouthful 🙂 . So what do you think? Am I totally off my rocker? Are you waiting for the Canon/Nikon/Panasonic release?
You’re probably right. But if you’re in the market for a great video kit today, this is an amazing assortment of gear that will get you amazing results.
THANK YOU! + NotSo Fine Print
I hope you’ve found a few tools here that will help make your life easier and more fulfilled.
Most links and images above will take you to your local Amazon website. But if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can scroll to the bottom of this page or click here for the amazon.com links. You can also use these links to shop at Adorama, B&H Photo and Ebay. As affiliates we get a small percentage of qualifying purchases but rest assured you won’t pay a cent more than buying it elsewhere. Thank you!
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Thanks for reading and happy shopping!