Camera Gear - A Beginner's Take

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It has been a dream of mine to be an outdoor photographer and videographer as long as I can remember. I’m sure the idea was started with our getting The Outdoor Channel when I was around 9 or 10 years old, but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to invest in that passion and start producing content for youtube and other social media platforms. In the paragraphs that follow I will go through the setup that I use to produce my content at this point as well as how I got it and what it costs.

Let’s start with the main piece of equipment that a person needs to produce content, the camera. There are too many options to list at varying budgets, so we will use my budget for the examples that follow. My budget was $1500.00. Originally, I was looking into getting a used Full Frame DSLR off of Ebay and I quickly realized that if all I wanted was a camera, this was possible at my budget. Seeings how a person needs a couple lenses, audio equipment, memory cards and batteries, I quickly revised my plan and decided to go for a crop sensor DSLR, specifically the Canon 70D. The Canon 70D is a very user friendly DSLR and you can find them used from $500 to $600 pretty easily. The 70D camera body I purchased cost me $528.00 and was an Ebay purchase.

Once you purchase a camera body you will need to choose what lens or lenses you will want to run. Lens selection will depend on what you will be doing with the camera. For me, I will be filming hunts as well as product reviews, tech tips and interviews. With this is mind I needed a couple different lenses. For the close up videos I chose the 14mm Rokinon Cine. Since my camera is equipped with a crop sensor with a crop factor of 1.6 the 14mm has a focal length of a 22mm lens. This lens is manual focus and is a prime (fixed focal length) lens. It is also a very wide angle lens that works great for close up shots and night photography alike. The lens I will be using for filming hunts is a Canon 70-200mm. Since I will be filming mostly archery elk hunting at close ranges I don’t feel the need for anything larger, plus they start to blow the budget when you go much larger. I purchased the Rokinon 14mm used off of Craigslist for $225.00 and I picked up the Canon 70-200 at a pawn shop for $200.00.

The next piece of gear that I scoured the internet for was my audio equipment. I didn’t want to skimp on the audio because the best video is worthless if the audio is garbage. I watched youtube videos on all different models and I finally narrowed it down to the Rode NTG3. The Rode NTG3 costs $700.00 brand new, so I searched the classifieds and Ebay for a few weeks until I was able to win an Ebay auction on a used one for $385.00. This was a great score and is a great piece of equipment. Having purchased the NTG3 I was left with needing to purchase an adapter to be able to use it with my DSLR. The NTG3 will not plug into the factory mic jack on any DSLR camera. It is equipped with an XLR plug for which the adapter is needed. The adapter I chose was the Beachtec DXA SLR Pro. This adapter has too many functions to list here, but I can say that it is easy to use and works great with my setup. I was able to find a used one on Ebay for $290.00,used.

As you can see it is not very cheap to get into professional grade video equipment, especially if you buy brand new. Utilizing Ebay and various classified ads enabled me to stay fairly close to my budget and end up with a great setup for my needs. I would consider my setup a higher end consumer grade setup that will produce quality, cinematic content that will please the eye. The sky is the limit when you dive into the rabbit hole of photography and videography with Full Frame cameras and lenses that cost from $3000.00 to $30,000, but a person doesn’t need brand new, top of the line gear to produce good content. Invest in what you can afford and start producing.

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