Below is my gear listed in the order I would recommend purchasing them, with my most used work-horses at the top and working down. Of course different shoots require different gear, so depending on what you’re shooting, the list will re-prioritize. But know everything below has been tried and is recommended wholeheartedly.
I’m always testing and tweaking my gear and setups and will continue to do the same with this list. So if you’ve found yourself on this page before, it might be worth a look to see what’s changed since the last time.
But without further adieu, below is a list of my favourite and recommended filmmaking gear.
MY “NO EXCUSES” FILMMAKER’S CAMERA: THE SONY A7SIII
Sporting the same sensor as Sony’s FX6 cinema camera, the Sony A7SIII is a beast of a cinema camera in a familiar camera body. I’ve often wondered if I should have purchased the FX3 which is almost identical, but was recently called upon to shoot some impromptu portraits and was thankful I had the viewfinder to shoot through. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but when shooting stills it’s more natural to have the viewfinder at my eye.
They say the best b-cam is another a-cam. I love this camera so much that I own two.
MY DESERT ISLAND LENS: THE TAMRON 35-150 F2-2.8 DI III
This was the only lens I brought to a recent documentary shoot in Indonesia. It did not disappoint, and I *love* this focal range which covers so much of what I love to shoot. Mirrorless cameras promised us innovative never-before-seen lens designs, and this delivers in a way no other lens does. If I only had one lens to shoot a fast-paced event or documentary with, this would be it.
A GREAT STABILIZED ALL-ROUNDER: THE SONY 24-105mm f4
With a smaller maximum aperture and more “normal” a zoom range, it’s not as sexy as the Tamron above, but its optical stabilization, light weight and size make it a great option when I need to shoot a bit wider, or need to capture smoother images hand-held.
MY TABLETOP & STREET SHOOTING LENS: Sony 35mm f1.8
This lens is so compact and lightweight it goes everywhere with me. It’s my first choice if I’m just shooting for me since it doesn’t weigh me down yet delivers incredible image quality. Sure I own and love the Sony 35mm f1.4 GM, but the f1.8 is the one I grab if I’m headed out the door. Equally capable of shooting food, street and documentary.
MY FAVOURITE DOCUMENTARY FILM LENS: Sony 50MM f1.2
Expensive, heavy and limited as a 50mm prime is. Yet this is my favourite prime lens to shoot hand-held with. The super-shallow depth of field is intoxicating, and it handles just beautifully. I’m always happy when I decide to shoot with this lens – it never disappoints.
MY DRONE: DJI MINI 3 PRO
It’s simply amazing what DJI has been able to cram into a sub-250-gram drone. I’ve owned every DJI Mini drone since v1, and the 3 Pro is the biggest leap into the big leagues and thankfully lives up to its name.
MY FAVOURITE PORTRAIT LENS: THE SONY 85MM F1.4 GM
There is no other lens I reach for when asked to capture a flattering portrait. The 85mm focal length has long been my favourite for studio and on-location portraits. Neither too wide nor too narrow a field of view, this lens gives me the right working distance that helps my clients be at ease while also helping me capture them looking their best.
THE SHARPEST LENS I OWN: Sony 90MM f2.8 MACRO
This is often the first lens I’ll grab when shooting products in my studio. It’s just so sharp and definite, it’s a look I can’t seem to achieve with anything else.
ON-CAM SHOTGUN MIC: RODE Videomic NTG
Good on-camera sound for the price, and oh so convenient with the auto-off and safety-track recording. It doesn’t compare to my Sennheiser MKH416, but then what does?
AN INCREDIBLE 5″ MONITOR + WIRELESS TRANSMITTER OR RECEIVER: THE VAXIS ATOM A5
I’ve tried various other wireless transmitters from smaller and bigger companies and am so glad the Vaxis Atom A5 just works. it’s reliable, sips batteries (even though it’s a wireless transmitter!) and its all-metal build inspires confidence. Hand a second monitor to your producer, director or client and wait for the wows. Up your production value and buy 2 (or 3) right now.