December 17, 2017 at 8:14AM


Upgrade camera or computer?


First apologies if this has been asked a million times. I guess it's kind of particular anyway...

I'm at a point where I desperately need to upgrade my computer. I've been looking at investing in a mac desktop as I would be using it to run Resolve Lite and hopefully the Adobe Suite. However, I am an aspiring cinematographer and my kit is not great. I'm still on a DSLR T5i, I don't have much in lighting, and my lenses are less than ideal (kit). I was in school until recently so I was able to use higher end cameras through that.

My question is- should I spend my money on upgrading to a powerhouse computer, or buy a more basic or used computer and invest in new gear? If you think I should spend less on a computer what do you suggest? I really just need it to do some editing and to view files I shot. I would like to run Resolve to gain more familiarity with the program but not actually do any serious grades. Thanks so much for any help.
Ps. My budget is around $2500 right now.


Invest in the equipment that will get you more work. If you work as a paid editor, then a better computer makes sense. If more of your work is paid shooting, then better camera gear makes sense. If none of this brings in paid work, then save your money.

December 17, 2017 at 1:03PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Agreed -

Blake Vincent Kueny

December 21, 2017 at 4:42PM

You need the powerhouse computer to work with 4K+ video in Resolve 14. If you aren't upgrading the camera then the computer seems irrelevant. It isn't that it is impossible to shoot good video with a Rebel, people can and do. Lens upgrade? Maybe. One or two Yongnou, perhaps vintage glass, Helios, OM, CZJ, FD etc. You would still have a lot of change left. Certainly make sure that you have decent sound kit, perhaps lighting too.

The most important part of the entire system is you. Even for the guys here with the most expensive kit, they are still what makes their stuff so good.

December 19, 2017 at 3:00AM

Julian Richards
Film Warlord

If you're starting out and aiming to cover all bases, I suggest getting the best used desktop machine you can afford, keeping your camera/lens, buying a cheapo external monitor with waveform/false colour, then setting yourself a series of weekly/monthly projects to learn from. This might be volunteering with friends, local bands, shooting stuff in public, whatever.

Avoid gear reviews/tutorials online for a few months and, instead, soak up videos/posts about composition, colour, camera movement and exposure.

Go and find cool places to film. Public festivals, street performers, dance, people doing interesting things. And learn how to capture good audio.

After a while, you could have some important skills under your belt, know how to compose and expose shots in different situations and have a cool showreel.

December 19, 2017 at 12:27PM


I agree with what Guy said. Spend the money where it benefits you most in the work you get.
If you want to try to find a middle ground, I'd say pick up a cheaper camera that gets you a nice image you can learn your craft on (pocket cinema camera, used gh4, or something like that), and build a PC that is powerful enough for your needs. I'm certain you could do that for under 2500 and have some left over even.

December 21, 2017 at 11:18PM, Edited December 21, 11:18PM

Ben Meredith

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