- Is it designed for crop sensor or full frame cameras? Is it compatible with your camera type?
- What type of video do you intend to shoot? Shorter focal lengths - like 35mm - are better-suited for travel videos while longer focal lengths - like 135mm - are best for wildlife videos.
- What is the widest aperture of the lens? If you intend to shoot in low-light situations, getting a lens with a large aperture is best.
- How much does the lens weigh? What is its form factor? Big, bulky lenses aren't ideal for things like travel videos.
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
So, you're ready to make the leap from photography to videography...
The question is, what gear do you need to get started?
Thankfully, many DSLR and mirrorless cameras have excellent video capabilities, so a new camera might not be on your list of things to purchase.
But what about other important items for video work?
Here's a few suggestions for building a functional videography kit.
Editor's Tip: Though music isn't technically gear, it's something you definitely need to make the best videos. Adding sound effects and songs to your videos enables you to create a much richer viewing experience that reaches out and grabs people. For the best deals on audio for your videos, check out Epidemic Sound. With a huge library, they have everything you might need to take your videos to the next level with awesome audio.
Don't Neglect Your Video Editor
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Before I dive into things like cameras and lenses for video, I wanted to address the video editor you use to make your creations.
You obviously want something powerful that offers you a lot of features for making professional-looking videos.
But you likely don't want to spend an arm and a leg that some video editors cost either.
I know plenty of photographers that rely on free software for their videos, but let's be honest - free software generally lacks the tools you need to make truly epic videos.
You don't have to spend a ton of money for a professional video editor though.
I started using Kizoa a few months ago, and I'm never turning back.
It's the ideal combination of power, performance, functionality, and ease of use.
Kizoa is loaded with tons of pre-made templates (including for holidays!), so you can get a head start on making your videos straight away.
What's more, you can add music, transitions, texts, and other effects to give your videos a polished look.
From an ease of use standpoint, Kizoa has a free iOS app, so I can create and edit videos right then and there after I record the footage.
On top of that, Kizoa has made it easy to share the videos I create - I can email them, burn them to a DVD, or upload them to social media in a matter of moments.
Kizoa truly is the best of both worlds - it's powerful and affordable, with premium plans starting at just $30.00 per month.
If you're ready to take your videography to the next level, give Kizoa a try!
What Camera is Best for Video?
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Maybe you already have a camera that shoots video.
But if you don't, or if you want to upgrade, what camera is best for video?
The answer, of course, depends on who you ask.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Sony cameras for video work - like the Sony a7 III, which has 4K shooting capabilities at both 24fps and 30fps.
This camera is small, lightweight, easy to maneuver, and has improved battery life over previous Sony models.
What's more, there's a wide range of lenses you can use with this camera to get different types of shots and effects for your videos.
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The key here isn't brand - I like Sony, but if you like Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, or some other brand, that's okay! Just be sure you have a camera with interchangeable lenses, and preferably, 4K video capabilities.
I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shoutout to my new favorite camera for video, the Insta360 One X.
I've only had it for a week, but I can already tell you that I have had more fun shooting video with this thing than I have with any other camera in a long time.
Obviously, the video you get from a 360-degree camera is much different than what you get from a traditional camera, and that's part of the appeal of this tiny, handheld rig.
You can hold it in your hand, put it on a tripod or grip, strap it to your dog...you name it. The possibilities for angles of view and different vantage points are endless!
This camera weighs just .25 pounds and is super easy to operate via the companion smartphone app, so there's really no excuse for not always having it with you. Better still, you can do all kinds of killer things with it like HDR, time-lapse, and Bullet Time sequences (like from The Matrix) that results in mind-bending footage.
Helping matters is the Insta360 One X's FlowState image stabilization system.
It's a six-axis (yes, six!) gyroscopic system that does an incredible job of minimizing movement for ultra-smooth video.
Add to that a bevy of accessories you can buy for it, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and built-in shooting modes, and you have the makings of a fun and functional camera.
Seriously, give the Insta360 One X a try - you might find like I did that it becomes your favorite new toy!
A Field Monitor is a Must
If you want to step up your videography game, stop relying on your camera's puny LCD and invest in a high-quality field monitor like the Ikan Saga S7H-V2.
Using a field monitor like this 7-inch rig gives you a big, bright view of what you're shooting so you can perfect the composition, framing, and focus of your video sequences.
This particular model has HDMI and 3G-SDI inputs and outputs and Ultra HD video as well as DCI 4K video.
Don't let its large screen size fool you into thinking that this monitor is cumbersome, either.
It's slim and lightweight at just half a pound.
It has a gorgeous high-resolution (1920x1200), color-accurate screen with 1200 NITS of brightness, so it's a perfect companion for outdoor video work.
With software features like 3D LUT support, a histogram, audio meters, DSLR scaling, and more, you have the makings of a must-have item for your videography gear bag!
Top Video Lenses
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Again, the question of what lens is best for video depends on a lot of different factors.
If you're already invested in the Canon ecosystem, then buying a Canon-fit lens is obviously advisable.
What's more, if you already have a 24mm lens, there's no sense in buying a 28mm lens, as the difference in focal length isn't worth the added expense.
When it comes to zooms or primes, both have their merits for video.
A good video kit would include both, actually, perhaps a 24-70mm zoom and a 50mm prime.
What's important to keep in mind is that lenses are the most important gear investment for videography (and for photography, for that matter).
Unlike your camera, which you'll eventually have to replace, you might have your lenses for decades. So, while good lenses (like the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8) can be spendy, they will more than pay for themselves over the long-haul.
Things to Consider When Buying a Video Lens
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
Editor's Tip: Not sure what lens to get to make awesome videos? Consult the experts and get the right lens for you.
Video Work Requires a Legit Memory Card
Image Credit: djedzura via iStock
Given the amount of storage required to save all that 4K video footage you'll be taking, you can't pull any punches with your memory cards.
Like with lenses, it's important to invest in quality here. Resist the urge to save a few bucks on off-brand cards and go for the well-established brands like Lexar or SanDisk.
Additionally, it's important to take factors like storage space, read/write speed, and the class of the memory card into account.
If you're not sure what any of that means, give this detailed discussion of memory cards a quick read before dropping money on a card. Doing your due diligence will help save you heartache down the road by avoiding sub-par memory cards.
Buying new gear is a very personal experience. That is, what you need for your video work might not be what I need for mine.
Having said that, there's common items every videographer needs - an interchangeable lens camera, a good set of lenses, and high-quality memory cards among them.
For more insights into the best gear for videographers, have a look at the video above by Matti Haapoja.
He's an experienced videographer that gives some great general tips on filling out your videography kit.