September 21, 2014 at 12:24PM


What camera and gear would you recommend for $1,000?

So I'v never owned a fancy camera but I want to start shooting short films AND maybe use it for photography. So assume I don't know ANYTHING (because I don't.) and I'm guessing a limit if 1K would be a good place to start? I need a camera and maybe lenses, dslr, etc? I seriously need help because again, I know nothing.:/ PLEASE HELP!


If you want a camera/picture camera, and a lens for under 1k?
then you are looking at a low end DSLR (Canon Rebel series, low end nikon, or Sony)
sony NEX-7 or NEX-6 for example.
and then a mid range lens, like a 50mm f/1.4 or something.

Lenses are more important than the camera, i strongly believe...
so i would get a lower grade camera with nicer glass (though, at some point the camera will suck so bad the lens can do nothing to help)

if you get a low grade DSLR prepare to shoot outside almost entirely.
I started on the T2i and the low light SUCKED, so i filmed outside, or open your windows when you film inside.

Thats my only advice really!

September 21, 2014 at 2:27PM

Connor Norvell
Cinematographer, Writer, Director

What say I can go 2K? What about then? I want to get good gear all around really.

Casey James Crow

September 21, 2014 at 2:38PM

For the best video image I would look at either the Panasonic GH3 or Nikon D5300 cameras.

The GH3 has the advantage of being able to shoot for 3+ hours on ONE battery, and has the 4K upgrade path with the new GH4. It can also use just about any lens ever made with the right adapter.

September 22, 2014 at 7:57AM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

First of all, start looking for second hand gear. New camera's are way to expensive for beginners and there is absolutely no need for brand new equipment, because your skills (and the need for better gear) will grow very fast in the beginning. And if possible, try saving up a bit more than $1000, because you can definitely get a far better set up for $2000 (which still is a quite reasonable budget for starting with film). Another important part is to determine what kind of videos you want to shoot. Do you need good low light performance or do you work in well lit conditions? Do you need good sound quality or are you going to use live sound at all? Do you want to shoot in slow motion or do you want to shoot in 24/25/30p only? Most beginners don't have the luxury of external lighting and perfect conditions, so they want a camera that will perform good in all situations. Sound is half (if not more) of your video, so invest in an external mic. DSLRs have internal microphones but they are absolutely worthless. Right now you might think a camera and good glass is more important than sound, but trust me, great picture quality with terrible sound is considered more amateur than mediocre picture quality with good sound.

For your situation I would suggest starting with the following gear (second hand)

- Canon 5D mk2 (great lowlight performance and very cinematic depth of field, also great stills camera) around $1000 (The 5D seems to depreciate a lot less than the consumer level cameras like the rebel, 70D, 7D. I bought mine 2 years ago for $1200)
- Canon 24-105mm F/4 IS USM lens (bit of wide angel, bit of tele, great lens on full frame. IS is perfect when shooting handheld) around $500
- Rode Videomic - around $100
- Extra batteries and 64GB of CF cards (you can't shoot an entire day on 1 battery and 8 GB of memory) around $100
- A decent video tripod with fluid head. (a steady shot is the basis of professional looking images) around $200

With this kit you can make great videos right away. Start earning some money and invest it in better gear once you feel the need for it. Look for old manual lenses like the Carl Zeiss Contax/Yashica lenses or the Olympus Zuiko OM lenses. Great quality for a decent price. Some reasonably priced gems I would recommend: Carl Zeiss C/Y 50mm f/1.4 T* and 28mm f/2.8 T*.

November 3, 2014 at 1:24AM

Stacey de Graaff
Cinematographer | Editor

Blackmagic pocket camera. IS small an high portability.

November 12, 2014 at 1:53AM

Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director

Trying to keep it within your budget:
1. Camera: Sony a5100 + 16-50mm kit lens ($600)
2. Lens 2: Nikkor 50mm 1.4 ($80)
3. Tripod: Davis & Stanford ($160)
4. Slider: Choose a short one at arround ($100)
TOTAL 940$

You're gonna need spare batteries ($7 each), a NEX ti Nikkon lens adapter ($10 ebay), a 5 to 1 reflector ($20 on ebay) and at least a led light ($50 on ebay).
If you can afford it add a Nikkor 135mm f2.8 to your kit. It's an extra 150$ but will add amazing value to your footage.
You can also make yourself an awesome and very affordable lighting kit just to get you started. Check filmriot's latest video.
Hope this helps!

April 12, 2015 at 11:27AM

George Pada

I think everything everyone has said so far are great options, and each one of them has made great points. But you need sound gear (and really, you do need lighting gear). I would recommend this setup.

Used Panasonic GH2 or G6 - $250
MFT to M42 - $15
Vintage 28mm and 50mm - $85
Generic Tripod - $20

Used Tascam DR 40 or Zoom H4n - $125
Azden SGM 1X - $150
XLR Cable/ Batteries - $25
Cheap Boom Pole - $35
(I am assuming you have some headphones)

3 cheap battery powered LED lights - $150
3 cheap light stands - $60
backup batteries - $40

A couple hard cases from MCM electronics
(I have a few of these and a few pelican cases. They compare very well. The only issue is that the foam is very low quality and depending on the case size you will have to cut it instead of plucking it.)

This gives you everything you need to start shooting everything from films to corporate videos and the hard cases will make you look even more professional on set (and protect your gear). Lighting and sound make a bigger difference with today's cameras than better cameras or lenses. Obviously this isn't a perfect kit, but I think this is a great place to start.

May 2, 2016 at 9:35AM, Edited May 2, 9:36AM

Paul Goodyear
Director/ DP / Writer

Your Comment