My No-Excuses Cinema Camera: the Sony FX3
If you can see it, this camera can shoot it. It’s not perfect (flickering cars and LED lights are the bane of my existence!), but it does so much so well for a reasonable price, it’s no wonder it’s been used in Hollywood blockbusters.
My favourite Do-Everything Documentary Lens: Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III VXD G2
Small, lightweight and relatively fast, this is my go-to lens for 95% of my documentary run & gun shooting. Good enough to pull manual focus, and with a range that is perfect for wide, medium and tight-ish shots, this is my workhorse of a lens. Sure, when I have time to setup interviews I’ll go for my faster primes, but if I had to choose just one lens, this would be the one.
And if you’re listening Tamron: please remake this and your amazing 35-150 f2-2.8 lens in cinema housings!! I’d be first in line to purchase and they would have people lining up out the door.
A Tiny but Mighty On-Camera Mic: The Sony ECM-M1
Tiny size, switchable patterns, backup channels and simple plug-&-play audio? Yes please!! Unassuming, lightweight and ultra-portable, this mic sounds good enough for most situations and is always with me.
My Monitor of choice: the Portkeys LH7H Touchscreen Monitor
I own too many other monitors, but this is the one I find most useful. Big enough for my aging eyes to manual focus, colour accurate and usable outdoors, this monitor punches way above its price point. It sips batteries and is lightweight as a bonus. I wish the non-glare sticker was easier to apply, and that the fan noise was a bit quieter, but this is still my go-to on-camera monitor even though I have other more expensive 5″ and 7″ alternatives.
Bonus Battery: Neewer NP-F970 Battery with USB-C PD
The last thing you want to worry about is your battery running out in middle of your shoot. Pickup 4 of these batteries to power the above monitor. Then plug a USB-C cable from the battery to your FX3 and you’ll be set for the longest days of shooting. Cheaper than buying multiple authentic Sony NP-FX100 batteries, this battery can be charged via USB-C PD and can also be used to charge my Smartphone and other gear. Highly recommended!
NOTE: There are higher capacity batteries, but I believe airlines may not allow anything with more than 10000mAh, so I recommend this smaller one. Bonus is it’s also lighter, so for me at least, lighter is better.
As a self-professed gear hound, this just scratches the surface of the gear I want to share. But this is the basic kit that comes to 100% of my shoots has proven to be reliable and useful enough for me to recommend to anyone wanting to create cinematic commercial and documentary films.