My Favourite Photo & Video Products

Sony a6300 Mirrorless Camera

I’ll write a full guide on this at some point, but I bought my a6300 in March 2017, and I believe that at the time it was the best value-for-money combination video and photo camera.  There are a few cons, but in general, the quality of video and photos that comes out are outstanding.  I didn’t think it was worth the extra money to upgrade to the a6500, though you may want to consider it.  There are a few niche uses (like vlogging), for which there are probably better options, but if you’re primarily looking at photography, or proper video production, I don’t think there’s a better option than a Sony mirrorless.

Sigma 30mm f1.4 Lens

I’ve used the kit lens that comes with the a6300 (16-50mm), and while flexible, it kinda sucks.  I instead opted to buy the body, and then this lens separately.  It’s rated as one of the sharpest APS-C lenses available on DXOMark, and it essentially qualifies as a “nifty 50” given the crop factor for APS-C lenses.  I was extremely happy with both the video and photos that this lens produces, and I still use it frequently, despite expanding the lenses in my kit.  You can get everything from star photos to landscapes to awesome portraits with this lens.

Sony 10-18mm f4 Lens

I spend a lot of time in cities, and like to think I spend a lot of time in great landscapes.  Particularly for architecture/city photography, I think a wide-angle lens is critical, and this is really the only option in the Sony lineup.  I’ve been happy since buying it, and it was the second lens I purchased.

Sony 70-200mm f4 Lens

I used the APS-C 55-210mm f3.5-6.3 lens that Sony offers until buying this (my dad happened to have one for his a6000), but it’s hard to compare the two.  I debated buying the 70-200mm f2.8, which would have been nice, but it’s expensive, and also extremely heavy, which was ultimately the killer factor for me.  I just couldn’t see myself throwing it in my bag when traveling as much.  So far I’ve been extremely happy with this lens, and it’s actually a full-frame lens, meaning that when/if I upgrade to a full-frame Sony, I can take this lens along with me.

Polaroid UV Filter (1 per lens)

I put a UV filter on all my lenses by default – it protects the actual lens, and makes it easy to clean without fear of scratching.

Zomei ND Filter (1 per lens)

A variable ND filter is a must for video, as it allows you to pick the proper frame rate while adjusting your aperture.  It’s also important if you want to be able to have shallow-depth-of-field photos (ie. great portrait shots) in full daylight.

Matador Camera Bag

I always keep my camera in this thing, and I can be confident throwing it in whatever bag I’m traveling/hiking with.

Matador Lens Bags

Same goes for lenses – I put them in these and then know I can confidently throw them in whatever bag without much worry.

Peak Design Cuff Camera Strap

Peak Design is one of those companies I love because they truly are awesome designers.  Just the amount of thought that goes into their products, and the resulting utility, is enough for me to love them.  I bought this essentially as a bit of extra protection when walking around taking photos.  I don’t actually use it a ton, but I don’t like full camera straps as a general rule, and I can always unclip the strap and wear it on my wrist.  I’ll throw it on if I’m walking around a boat, or something similar.  Basically situations where I carry my camera on me but don’t have a backpack.

Peak Design Capture Camera Clip

This thing is awesome.  You stick it on your backpack strap, and then you can easily clip in/clip out your camera, and have it hang from your strap.  Easily the single best accessory for my camera.  I’ve gotten used to leaving it on, and throwing my camera on it when I’m walking in the city, or on a hike, and I always get comments from photographers and non-photographers alike on how cool it is, and how it works.  Buy it and you will be happy.

AmazonBasics 50" Tripod (Small, cheap)

I’ll be honest, this tripod sucks in terms of stability/build quality/etc., but it’s usable, it weighs virtually nothing, and it’s like $12.  Buy one as an early travel tripod and it will be usable.  I’ve gotten great photos from it.

MeFoto Backpacker Tripod (Small, more expensive)

This one is pending (I haven't got it yet), but it was the option I decided was best as a solid travel tripod based on the reviews I read, and what I wanted (as minimal/lightweight as possible while still being solid).  Basically I wanted an upgrade from the Amazon one above, but still keep the weight down.

AmazonBasics 60" Tripod (Larger, cheap)

This is better than the 50” above – certainly much more stable, and it has a lot of features, like a bubble level, quick release plate, etc., that make it again a bargain for the money.  Buy for your first non-travel tripod.  Build quality still leaves something to be desired, as would be expected for the price.

Vanguard Alta Pro Tripod (Larger, more expensive)

This one is also pending, but was the consensus favourite among the sturdier, yet still somewhat transportable, tripods I was looking for.  This is the tripod I'll be keeping at home, and taking with me when I have a car and I'm not hiking too far.

Joby Gorillapod Focus Tripod

This is the favourite accessory of vloggers, and having used it for a while now, I can see why.  It’s essentially my travel tripod now when I don’t feel like taking a full travel tripod, and it is super versatile.  I have the smaller version, but it’s just not as powerful, and I use that instead for my cell phone.  The ball head is nice and smooth and worth the extra money, and it makes getting things aligned much easier.

Ipow Cell Phone Tripod Mount

Buy whatever cell phone mount you like, but look for one with metal screw threads for the tripod mount – I’ve had plastic ones in the past, and they get stripped eventually.

Lexar Pro SD Card

I bought another “Pro” card for my Sony before this one, but it didn’t support the highest bitrate video, meaning I couldn’t shoot the highest quality 4K video on my camera.  This one will make sure you avoid that problem.

Zhiyun Crane

This gimbal is great – it’s much cheaper than others available (DJI Ronin, for example), and it produces awesome results.  If you want a starter gimbal for your mirrorless or small DSLR, I’d definitely recommend this.  High build quality, and they added some nice little features on version 2.

   Dual handle + Remote + Tripod

This changed how we use our Crane – it’s obviously way more bulky, but the results you can get with this are amazing.  You’ll need a weird cord for the remote depending on your camera, so make sure to order that too.  Also make sure to get the tripod so that you can set the whole thing down on the ground without worrying about it tipping over.

   Neewer NW760 Video Monitor

   SmallRig Ballhead Arm

   Neewer Carrying Case

If you want to take your Crane setup to the next level, you can add a monitor.  Take a look at the SmallHD stuff, but if you’re looking for a cheaper setup, we’ve had great results with the monitor above.  Buy the SmallRig mount or a similar one to mount it to the dual handle, and the carrying case for everything related (HDMI cable, etc.), and you’ll also need a mini-HDMI to HDMI.  Makes a huge difference for seeing your shot, particularly outside.

Shure VP83F Lenshopper mic

   Windjammer

There’s a new Rode VideoMic Pro+ on the market, which you should probably check out reviews for, but all the research I did led me to the VP83 vs. the old VideoMic Pro.  We ultimately decided on the VP83F as it allows us to use it as a standalone boom mic, and also because it gave us the option to monitor sound via headphones, something essential if you’re using a Sony camera that doesn’t have a headphone jack.

Ravpower Sony Batteries + Charger

One knock on the Sony cameras is their battery life – buy this pack and then you can throw in a couple extras/charge multiple at once.

DJI Mavic Pro

   ND Filter (ND8)

  Complete Case

  Travel Cases

  Tablet Holder

The Mavic Pro is now my go-to drone, mostly because of how portable it is, and how well it flies.  The camera definitely suffers in low-light, and doesn’t compare to say, the Phantom 4 Pro, but overall it can produce great results.  Make sure to get an ND filter (ND8 if you just buy one), or even better the full ND set and polarizer for the best results.

I use the complete case to keep things organized at home – when I’m traveling I’ll put things in the travel cases to make them easier to jigsaw into my luggage.  I’ll also use the tablet holder at home as it just makes things easier in terms of seeing what you’re shooting.