|Yay – the Canon 600D (T3i). It’s a really great camera (even if it is a tiny bit plasticy). This really is better than the 550D (T2i) if you want to make films due to several things: manual audio levels and a tilty-swively-flippy-screen. It also has built-in wireless flash triggering which is quite awesome. And I was lucky enough to get this in a bundle with a second battery and an RC-06 remote. Yum. And it came with an EF-S 18-55mm IS Kit lens, which is not too bad. I’ve heard that “people who have just bought either the 550D or 60D will be annoyed that they didn’t buy this one instead” – which I think is partially true as for only around £40 more than the 550D you really get some great features, and for around £230 less than the 60D it is much better value.|
|The Canon EOS 300 (not digital) is probably one of my best ever purchases. I bought a second-hand one from my local camera shop for £70 and I’ll never look back. Seven years ago, when this was new in the shops, it cost £500. Not a bad saving. I love this camera. I try to carry it with me at all times, as I do not like to set up photos – I wait for an opportunity. It’s also compatible with all Canon EF lenses, and also all non-Canon lenses for Canon, which is really great – especially if I get a Canon Digital EOS of some sort. It also comes with a 28-90mm kit lens.|
|This is the Canon FS200. It is a consumer camcorder, but for the price of only £120 I think it is excellent. The noise performance is not great, and there is very limited manual control, yet this is still a very good camera for the price. Unlike any of it’s replacements (FS300, and FS400) it has an audio input, invaluable since the internal mic is diabolical (one of my favorite words). All my films so far have been made with this camera, except “The Corpse and the Crucifix”, which was made with some kind of Sony Handicam. In the near future I intend to replace this camera (see below).|
|Wow. Just wow. I use this lens for pretty much everything, and I’d say it’s the lens that stays attached to my camera body the most. It’s a million times better than the Canon 50mm f1.8, it’s little brother; yet not 3x worse than the Canon 50mm f1.2 L which is 3x the price. It’s well built and an extremely good lens. It’s also got an ultrasonic motor which is cool, and extremely fast an quiet. For the price I would have expected to see a lens hood in there as well, but I think a lens hood for something like this is imperative – especially to protect the massive piece of glass on the front of this len|
|This is a great all-round lens that I use mainly for street photography. It goes from a fair wide to a slightly-less than standard. It’s great for shooting timelapses as well.There are just two problems that I’ve found with this lens – the weight and the chromatic aberration, neither of which are particularly serious. It weighs around 600g with a lens hood, which is slightly more than my camera body. You wouldn’t want to shoot handheld video with it all day.I bought this for £120 on eBay, and I don’t think I could have done better for that price.|
|This is a “consumer-grade” lens, but I think it’s great. One thing I don’t mention is that when shooting at a focal length of 70 – 90mm, I use this lens not my kit lens because I can stay at f/4 until around 134mm, as opposed to around 50mm on the kit lens. I reviewed it here. Really good for anyone starting with nature / wildlife photography, or just wanting to take photos of things a long way away. Note that it’s bigger brother has IS, which would be a great feature, but at that time I couldn’t afford it.|
|I’d played around with a Steadicam Merlin for a while, on private productions as well as my new short film -and liked it a lot. And then, when I saw one under £300 on eBay, I jumped at the prospect.I’ve always been fascinated by camera movement, and the effect it has on the tone and pace of a piece, and the some form of Steadicam-type device is the most flexible option out there. The Steadicam Merlin is by far the most accurate and well-built handheld stabiliser, and I can’t wait to see what I can do with it.It’s not the Merlin 2, but I couldn’t care less.And, if I ever have enough money, or need to rent one, there is also an arm and vest rig for the Merlin, which allows it to become a much better competitor to the $60,000 models out there for light cameras.|
|When I bought this tripod it was only £25, and it was a great deal. It features a fluid head which is really awesome for a tripod this price. Although it’s not terribly sturdy (I would recommend weighing it down with something) it’s load capacity is surprisingly good. It’s also got a good maximum height and minimum height. I’ve had several problems with the central column: firstly the plastic case underneath fell off and had to be glued back on, and secondly the crank was completely jamming the movement of the central column so I took it out with a screwdriver.|
|Really great for getting shots either where you’re not allowed to use a full-sized tripod or where a full-sized tripod would not be practical. But I would say not that much use without a ball head.Fairly strong, although if you’re using it with cameras weighing 3kgs+ or with front or back heavy cameras, I’d recommend using a Focus. Does what I need it to do perfectly.|
|A great (and cheaper) alternative to the Joby ball head when using the Gorillapod, but also strong enough to use on a proper tripod as a substitute for one of the heavier and more expensive Manfrotto ones.|
|This is a set of 15mm rods that I picked up on eBay for around $40 or so. Their main purpose is to provide an offset when using a weak-headed tripod, but they also serve as a great way of adding accessories (which is what 15mm rails are for). I mainly use it to support my matte box.It also helps to support longer lenses when used on a video rig, because a tripod collar cannot be used.|
|The RØDE VIDEOMIC is a great piece of kit. Although it’s not a professional-grade microphone (in reality far from it), if you’re just looking for something that will make on-camera audio bearable, then this is your man.I got it for around £70 on Amazon, when VAT was only at 15% in the UK, but since then the price has gone up significantly. If the VIDEOMIC PRO is anything near the price, I’d recommend going for that – it’s smaller and has better sound quality, but I didn’t want to spend the extra at the time.|
|The HTDZ HT-81 is (I’m not gonna lie to you) a really cheap microphone. For only £20.99 it’s a bargain, but in this case I think you get slightly more than what you pay for. I would expect a microphone like this to be anything from £50 – £80, considering how well it works.Obviously, this is not a professional microphone. But for people like me who are making films as a hobby, I highly recommend it.here are problems, such as when powered by an internal battery you get a slight hissing noise, which can be disposed of by a program like Adobe Audition, and once when trying to unplug the XLR cable I accidentally took the socket from the bottom of the microphone with it, meaning some heavy soldering and testing, I think this should be fine.I don’t use it very often, because a friend has a much better sound kit, and it’s too large to put on a DSLR.|
|I wrote a review here, and that’s pretty much all I have to say about this bag. Great for carrying all your gear around safely.|
|I use this when only carrying around a body and two lenses – usually the 600D, kit lens and the 50mm f/1.4. Unfortunately my 70-300mm won’t fit in here at all, but if I think I’m going to need a longer focal length I’ll either bring the kit lens that came with my EOS 300 which is 24-90mm and with a 1.6x crop it acts as a 39-144mm on the 600D; or just take the rucksack with everything in it. But it’s great for street photography because it’s light, not terribly conspicuous and is just big enough.|
|This is a camera bag that I’ve had for a very long time, and I’ve only just started using again. I don’t use it for cameras, however, as it was built for cameras and so does not fit DSLRs terribly well.However, I’ve found that if you get rid of the internal dividers, you can quite happily fit two of my LED parcans into it, which is the best way I’ve found of transporting them.|
|These aren’t exactly colour-balanced or anything, but they’ve occasionally come in useful when either lighting something like a stop-motion, or in very tight spaces where heat is an issue.I have two of these and they emit next to no heat, and a lot of light. Best of all, they’re only £30 so you can buy as many as you want.
They’ve got built-in controls, as well as remote control via DMX, which is the killer feature for me.
|This is more of a DJ lighting console than a lighting board designed for film or theatre work, but is can still controll 128 channels of DMX, and so if you ever need intelligent lights or lasers in your production, this can come in very useful.Also, if you ever find you have some DMX dimmers, this allows you to create and save complicated lighting states for anything that can be powered over the mains.|
|Although completely useless as a filter holder, which first and foremost matte boxes are meant to be, it’s quite useful as a sunshade, to prevent unwanted lens flare, if there ever is such a thing.
I bought it for only around £15, so it’s not too much of an investment.
Also – if you are ever going to shoot somewhere in a large public crowded area, having a whopping great matte box on the front of your camera can make people take you more seriously than if you’re just wandering around with a DSLR. Don’t underestimate how useful the respect of the public is.
|I have an 82mm Fader ND, because that’s the largest filter thread size of any of my lenses. All the rest are 58mm, and so I bought several step-down rings, one for each lens.
It allows my to control the amount of light entering my lens, and so allows me to keep the 1/48 shutter speed while using whatever aperture I feel like, sometimes all the way down to f1.4, without overexposing.