What You Should Buy After You’ve Purchased a Camera

Have you finally made the jump to purchasing the camera you’ve been eyeing for some time? Here’s the gear that you should get next.

Top image via The Film Look.

Now, obviously once you’ve purchased a camera, you already know the vital things you need like batteries, a lens, and a memory card. However, once you’ve gotten the basic body build and recording capability you need, the next step can be tricky. First things first: you should consider the type of shooting you’ll be doing with the camera. Don’t think about your skill set or budget just yet. Let’s look at a few pieces of gear to consider.

Nifty Fifty

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — 50mm Lens

A tried-and-true staple of low-budget filmmaking is the 50mm lens. There’s something comforting and practical about being able to throw a cheap, light, and visually friendly lens on in no time. The benefit of shooting with a cheap f/1.8 50mm is the shallow depth of field you can get. This is will give you that warm, cinematic look that is so popular — as well as allowing you to shoot in less exposed environments.

Tripod

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — Tripod

The next most logical step for production is a durable tripod that fits the parameters of your camera. If you own a small DSLR or mirrorless camera, it makes sense to buy a tripod that’s sized accordingly. As the Film Look states, consider splurging a little bit and purchasing some hefty tripod legs, then you can always upgrade the head on your tripod as you upgrade camera size.

Slider

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — Slider

Once you’ve mastered the art of panning and tilting with your tripod, the next step will be actual dynamic camera movement. Purchasing a slider is something of a contentious point for filmmakers. Either you want to take the full DIY approach and build one yourself, or you could save some time and frustration and go for the name brand that you know and love. Either way, if you’re looking to improve the look and feel of your work, having a slider on deck will guarantee some solid B-roll and micro-tracking shots that will boost the overall value of your production.

Microphone

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — Microphone

Anybody who has ever worked with any camera knows the in-camera microphone is complete garbage. But that’s okay because finding cheap, good-quality audio recording solutions is easier than ever. RODE currently runs the show with their on-camera Video Mic Pro, which attaches directly to the camera. This spares you from relying on a boom or finding another crew member. However, to capture even better audio, if your subject is stationary, you can attach your microphone to a stand (that could be part of your microphone purchase). Like the tripod and lens, just consider the type of video work you’ll be doing.

Lighting

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — Lighting

Lighting can be a difficult area to break into right away. Learning the various color temperatures and types of light and their particular settings can take some time and experience. But, for starting out, it can’t hurt to snag a few cheap LED lights and stands. The Film Look recommends also purchasing a cheap reflector if you’ll be consistently shooting interviews or in static locations.

Buy Used

What You Should Buy After You've Purchased a Camera — Buy Used

It never hurts to buy used equipment. Almost every camera I’ve ever owned I’ve purchased used, and there’s never been anything wrong with them other than a few nicks and dings (which did not affect the overall performance of the camera). Buying used is a great way to save money, and it will allow you to accrue more gear more quickly.

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