I started sharing content creation tips on Tuesdays on my Instagram account, and created this blog post to elaborate on a recent question: What camera gear do I recommend?
I’m sharing what gear I use and why along with a couple of recommendations on gear.
First and foremost, buying a fancy camera doesn’t guarantee your’e going to have amazing photos. If I buy the same paint brush that Picasso used, you can bet my paintings won’t be anywhere near as legendary!
Having the right tools is just a piece of the puzzle. You need to know how to use them. So it's best to buy a few things and learn how to use them well before purchasing more gear.
The camera I use regularly is the Canon 80D. I wanted a DSLR camera that was great for photography but also professional video. This camera takes beautiful photos and has amazing features for video such as advanced autofocus with face tracking.
Beyond the imaging specs, other features I love include the flip-out, touchscreen viewfinder. It makes it easy to shoot things like tabletops or even film/photograph yourself. Plus, you can touch the screen to focus on your subject. It’s super user-friendly! Next, the Wifi lets you wirelessly send photos/videos straight to a computer or phone.
Finally, another huge reason I chose the Canon 80D is because it lets me use Canon lenses -- including a special lens and adaptor for video. I’ll tell you about that next!
My Go-To Lens for Video & Photos
This versatile lens works great in so many situations. I use it for photographing people, landscapes -- just about anything -- and I also use it for video! It is compatible with Canon’s Power Zoom Adapter which basically turns your DSLR into a video camera. You can do gorgeous zooming shots with this combo lens and adapter.
Additional Lenses in my Kit
To start, you'll want a great all-around lens like the one I mentioned above. Once you get used to your new camera, I'd suggest adding a few additional lenses to your kit.
Affordable Portrait Lens
I love this lens because it is affordable, small, and gives you that coveted blurred background. This is a very popular lens because the value is tough to beat.
Wide angle lens
Another great lens is this wide angle lens. I love it for landscape photography. For example, check out this photo I took with it in China. A wide angle lens is also a must if you plan on vlogging with a DSLR. That's because if you are holding the camera selfie-style, this wide angle lens will still capture your surroundings.
Portrait and Travel Creator Lens Kit
I have both the 50mm and wide angle lens. If you want both of them, you can buy them in a two-lens kit to save money!
Telephoto Zoom Lens
I don't use my telephoto zoom lens too often, but it's been awesome to have when I need to capture something from a distance. For example, I took it on safari in South Africa and captured the Blue Angels flying during the Chicago Air and Water Show. As you can see, you can still get that beautiful blurred background with this lens.
If you are shooting video, clean audio is a necessity! I'm sharing some shotgun mics and lavalier microphones that are great to use.
This directional microphone by RODE attaches to the top of the camera and captures high-quality audio. I've used it in professional videos I've shot for corporate clients and it works well. There is also an entry-level version of the Rode VideoMic. Rode is a trusted brand for audio gear.
Zoom H1 Handy Recorder
This portable digital recorder is a great backup microphone. It's always best to get a backup audio source. You can plug a clip-on lavalier microphone into it if you want to attach it onto your subject or even lay it near your subject to capture their sound. For about $100, this is a great value buy! You can tell it's a popular choice by the 1,400 Amazon reviews.
Wireless Lavalier Set
Sennheiser is a great brand for audio equipment. This wireless lavalier set is a bit more expensive but having it will give you more flexibility and excellent sound.
Tripods & Monopod
If you are shooting video, a stabilizer or tripod is a must! A dead give away of amateur video is shaky shots. I ordered these titanium tripod legs along with this fluid video head by Manfrotto to create an excellent tripod for video. Manfrotto is a trusted brand, by the way.
This mini travel tripod is fantastic! I took it with me to Tahoe and it's so lightweight and small it fits into my tote bag! It's smaller so it doesn't work for all shoots, but I use it whenever I can. SO much easier than lugging around my big boy!
I also got this Manfrotto monopod, which allows me to be more mobile during video shoots and it's great for capturing broll.
My Recommendation if You're a Beginner
A great entry level DSLR is the Canon Rebel Series. It's under $1,000 and is a great value. You can capture excellent images and swap out the lens. Once you master it, you may decide to sell it back and upgrade to a new camera, but this one will be effective for a lot of people's needs.
The Gear I'm Eyeing Next
I love my Canon 80D, but there are two main reason I am eyeing the Sony a7III. It's mirrorless camera which means it's slightly lighter and smaller than a DSLR. This matters to me for shooting video, because it's maneuver on a stabilizer for those smooth, sexy shots! Secondly, it's a full-frame camera. The Canon 80D has a cropped sensor, which means I need to be farther away from my subject for portraits (especially when using my 50mm). If you are mainly shooting video, The Sony A7 III is worth a look!
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