When I was first starting out I always struggled knowing on what kit to buy and knowing which is the best lens for what I’m trying to achieve. Living in Jersey it’s difficult to rent out before you buy to see how you like a certain piece of equipment. Back then I remember coming across a website where you could see what different photographers had in their camera bags. It was a really helpful thing to look through to see how many lenses a photographer might have and what other smaller bits you might need.
Therefore I’ve decided to put together a blog post on what I have in my line-up of gear. Hopefully, it’ll help some of you out there, wondering what to buy next. I’ll also include amazon affiliate links so you can directly check everything out and this will help me out too if you do decide to buy.
First off, I get asked all the time what is the best camera to buy? My answer is it depends on what you are hoping to achieve with it. What purpose are you buying it for? Is it for photography or for filmmaking? Personally, I’m a fan of the Sony A-Series, there’s something for everyone within this range so definitely take a look at these but please do your own research to decide which will deliver the results you are after. In my camera bag, I have the Sony AS7ii – I bought this in 2019 and it’s still a winner for me. It’s got a wide dynamic range and is great in low light. The AS7ii records in beautiful 4K which is perfect for my clients to have the option and features built-in stabilisation. There are also more advanced features such as S-Gamut3.Cine/S-Log3 and 120fps supporting a professional workflow.
Now, every filmmaker or photographer must have a backup / second camera to shoot with. Especially when filming weddings and events. It’s important to be able to switch between focal lengths as quick as a flash (mind the pun). For me, I wanted something which was much quicker than the Sony A7Sii to flick between frame rates. When shooting weddings I want to be able to shoot the bride coming down the aisle in slow motion then quickly back to capture something else. Another plus point for me is weight, I travel about a lot filming so it’s a must that my cameras are small and lightweight. So I went for the Panasonic GH5, again purchased in 2019.
Let’s talk lenses. One of my absolute favourites is my Voigtlander 50mm f1.1 lens. This is beautiful in low light and I love using this lens for interviews with its super shallow depth of field.
Next in my bag is my Sigma 85mm lens with an f stop at 1.4. This lens is beautiful and is great when you need to film something from a little distance. A must-have in your camera bag.
Now let’s talk about my Zeiss lens. I think it’s good to have a zoom lens for filming performances, dances, live streams. It gives you a big of variation. However I will be honest, this is my least used lens after purchasing the Sigma lens. This one is a 24-70. It’s good to have something wider than my 50mm and the autofocus is fast on this lens!
Now onto sound equipment; one of the most important pieces of equipment, I think, is having a good lapel mic. If your sound recording isn’t crystal sharp then the audience will not forgive it. For me I went with a brand I found on a kickstart campaign and I’m so glad I did. The company is called instamic and they’re brilliant. I, unfortunately, don’t have a link for these with them being a Kickstarter find.
The next piece I recommend is a RODE directional microphone. These are great, stick them on a boom pole for great overhead audio or record SFX they’re multi-purpose. If you’re on a budget then the older RODE models are just as good.
I decided to go for lighting which was as light and mobile as possible. When every day is different and you don’t know where you’ll be filming for me this just made sense. I wanted something I could quickly set up for interviews or scenes. I have a couple of these Neewer LED lights and they’ve been fantastic. Because they’re LED I don’t have to worry about them getting too hot when filming around people/children. If the job is a lower budget production with a scaled-down crew I don’t have to worry about set up, and can easily change the colour temperature on the back or the strength.
Neewer Advanced 2.4G 660 LED Video Light, Dimmable Bi-Color LED Panel with LCD Screen and 2.4G Wireless Remote for Portrait Product Photography, Studio Video Shooting with Metal U Bracket and Barndoor
Sometimes a production does call for the real deal though when it comes to a lighting setup so I also have red heads and more notably my trusty Dedolights. Sorry, no link for these. For some reason, I can’t find them on amazon. But check out B+H for equipment.
I hope this article has been helpful in giving you a bit of an idea of what I have in my camera bag. If you would like me to do another blog post going into more detail on any of the following:
- Smaller items including memory cards, smaller rode mics
- Bigger items including tripods, dolly, stabilisers
- Back-up devices
- or; what I use for my editing suite
- what I use for my studio setup
Then please let me know in the comments on this post and I will put a ‘part 2’ together.