Necessary Videography Gear for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

At one time, equipment for photography as well as videography gear were distinct pieces of equipment. The times have changed however, due to the growth of DSLR and mirrorless cameras which can produce high-quality video. If you’re planning to benefit from these capabilities, what other equipment do you require? In this roundup of video equipment I thought I’d share my top equipment for the current generation of DSLR and videographers using mirrorless cameras.

In this guide, I’ll use the rating scale that we have used in previous articles in which we suggested gear to use for photographs of landscapes, astrophotography and drone photography. Our rating scale is:

  • 1/4: Rarely worth the cost.
  • 2/4: Could be helpful
  • 3/4: Very helpful
  • 4/4: Must Buy

The guide below will be grading every piece of equipment in accordance with its worth for video-related use. However, if I can I’ll also discuss how I’ve utilized these equipments to shoot stills, too.

Now that we’ve got that done we can get for the next gear!

Variable ND Filters (4/4)

While neutral density filters (ND filters) typically find a spot in the bags of photographers however, it’s the ND filters that are variable that videographers favor. Similar to a standard ND filter however, variable ND filters limit their light output that hits the camera’s sensor. As the name implies the variable ND filters let users to alter the amount of darkness they receive by rotating the front as an filter that polarizes.

Variable ND filters are very helpful for videography since they let you follow the 180-degree shutter rule even in bright sunlight conditions. The 180-degree shutter rule states that the shutter speed must be “1/(double the frame rate),” or as close to it as is possible for you to achieve natural-looking motion within your footage. If, for instance, you’re shooting at 24 FPS and you want to shoot at 24 FPS, your target shutter speed is one-quarter of an second which is then rounded down to 1/50 seconds on the majority of cameras.

Perhaps you’ll understand why neutral density filters are crucial in order to attain that time-of-flight! Without one, a light daylight shot at 1/50 sec will be wildly overexposed at when you begin with larger apertures such as f/2.8 or f/1.8 (even at the base ISO).

ND Filters

While it is possible to use an array of regular ND filters of various strengths, using just one adjustable ND filter is cheaper and will save you lots of time out in the field. If you require a significant reduction in light then you can alter the ND filter to a very strong level; If clouds come into your area and you don’t require the same amount of filtering, you can choose the less intense setting.

The variable ND filters are essentially two filters that polarize placed on each other. The filter ring can be turned to block the light source more or less, dependent on the extent to which you rotate it. The result is a stunning array of light blocking capabilities including that of 0.3 -9 stops of densities that are offered by the SmallRig’s MRC Variable ND. “0.3 stops” is the default setting “0.3 stops” setting provides the basic blocking of light by the filter, without reduction being applied and you can increase up to 9 stops of reduction when filming in bright light.


It’s not just those who use video that benefit by using an ND filter, but of course. Landscape photographers typically keep the ND filter within their bags for long exposures to shoot during the daytime. Although certain aspects of an ND filter’s appearance can be reproduced in post processing, an ND filter can be used in a variety of ways to count as one of my most important filters for still photography.

Two of the most important considerations when purchasing ND filters is the quality of the edge and color neutrality. Variable ND filters can also cause dark streaks, uneven lines or blurriness when they are used near their maximum power. I’ve recommended that the SmallRig MRC filter because that’s my preferred filter and have observed that it to be effective in these regards, but I would recommend researching before purchasing, since they aren’t cheap filters.

In general the flexible ND filter is an excellent choice for photographers and is almost a necessity for videographers. With the superiority of ND filters that are variable today I’d be wary of returning to fixed-strength ND filters unless you are regularly required to use 8stops or more to reduce light.

Video Tripod Head (4/4)

While you are able to utilize any tripod head for video and photos but having the proper set-up can have a significant difference in how well your job is done. A tripod for video typically has an extra bulky design that can support the heavier rigs used in video and, most importantly, includes a head designed for video.

Fluid heads, such as Manfrotto’s 502AH can provide much more fluid pans and tilts than ballheads (which photographers prefer for work that is not video). This results in more comfortable, smoother photographs. Additionally, features like the handle’s length as well as the counterbalancing support and precise control over tension are all well-suited to videography.


Video-Specific Tripod (2/4)

It is obvious that you require a tripod along with your fluid head. But should it be a separate video tripod? There are some advantages to them, having a larger size and weight that can easily support your camera. Some have additional options for videography, such as wheel attachments that can be used in broadcast studios.

However, for the majority of DSLR as well as mirrorless videographers you can use an ordinary tripod for photography, insofar as it’s sturdy. (I don’t recommend a portable tripod with a large headsplash.) The main thing to consider for videography will be the head of the tripod. I suggest investing more money there.

HDMI Monitor (3/4)

A HDMI monitor is basically the larger version of the camera’s screen rear. The more advanced HDMI monitors may include features such as LUT converts, scopes anamorphic support, as well as peaking. However, even the simplest models have the most essential characteristic: larger screen size. A bigger screen allows you to better discern framing, examine the focus, and spot tiny issues in your composition.

The one I use is FeelWorld’s 5.7″ On-Camera Monitor. Its Atomos monitors are likewise well-liked if you require additional options, specifically the more powerful Ninja V (more about that in the following section). I’ve always been inseparable from my HDMI display since the moment I began using it to work with video. The only drawback is that many external monitors require power from an external source that is usually provided by a tiny battery pack. Some monitors are also able to pass the power to your camera, which is interesting.


External Capture Device (2/4)

The external devices for capture and recording, such as Atomos Ninja V, are Atomos Ninja V, are similar to an HDMI monitor that is a tad more powerful. They have all the functions of an ordinary external monitor, however, they also allow recording and playback of video with higher quality than what your camera is able to record internally.

If this is the case, it will support RAW video recording, LOG recording, or HDR footage an external device can be equipped to record video in the highest quality. The capability to support this feature is dependent on the camera you use however, on the majority of cameras external recorders translate to the top of image quality when recording videos by the camera.

It comes at high cost however. The device itself as well as the storage options that are often proprietary are costly. Additionally, the improvements in quality could not be that relevant in real life. If you’re not heavily editing your footage, the camera’s internal codec might be fine.

Large External Battery (3/4)

Shooting video drains batteries. However, it’s not just your camera you have to consider. It’s also important to charge your devices including external monitors as well as lighting devices for your camera, recording equipment and Gimbals. The power you use across your entire setup is a major factor to take into.

To tackle this issue you should consider buying some large batteries and spreading the power to various pieces of equipment will make life a lot more manageable, as opposed to having to handle one or two small batteries.

With a bigger camera battery, you’ll typically be able to connect it on the battery adapter or supply plate. These plates will then split the output into D-Tap, USB and Dummy batteries, battery chargers or any other power standards, which allows you to power a broad variety of equipment.

Although these batteries are somewhat bulky and difficult to operate and also costly initially but their long-lasting life and versatility are important factors to consider. If you are looking to shoot video with advanced technology I would recommend this battery in place charging or powering each of your devices separately.

Gimbal for Handheld Videos (4/4)

Weebill 3 In Use

If you’ve have read my previous post on the most effective gimbals on the market to buy, you’ll be aware that I’m a enthusiast of them! Gimbals help stabilize your camera using motors that are electric, allowing users to enjoy smooth motion and minimal camera shake when shooting any handheld camera. For the majority of the videos I make these are essential tools. A gimbal can provide an array of possibilities for photos and transitions and creates opportunities that aren’t possible to capture in any other way.

Lavalier Mic (3/4)

The ability to record high-quality audio is crucial for videography It’s also surprisingly simple. Unfortunately, microphones built into cameras aren’t suited to the job of recording clear audio because they’re tiny and can be able to pick up camera noise wind, sand and other unwanted noise.

Lavalier mics – those tiny mics that are clipped to the shirts of performers will eliminate any of these issues. By moving the microphone away from camera (and directly next to the mouth of the speaker) Lab mics are able to record much more clear audio without the need for additional effort by the crew.

For ease of use, I suggest to use a smaller transmission system like the Lark 150 from Hollyland and DJI’s DJI Mic. The receivers combine wireless and a transmitter to form a complete kit. At the camera’s end, it is plugged into the microphone input of the camera which transmits the audio to the camera.

In these transmission systems, there are microphones included in the transmitters or you can add an additional lavalier microphone to the receiver (the Hollyland kit includes two microphones for lava, but the DJI kit does not). If you’re budget-conscious it’s not needed, and you could record external audio using an ordinary lav microphone to an audio recorder that is basic and then make sure that the audio tracks are matched to your video after editing.

Shotgun Mic (3/4)

I’ve given both the lavalier as well as shotgun mics at 3/4, but that’s only because I don’t believe you require the two. It is definitely necessary to have at the very least one!

In this scenario the shotgun mic is an alternative method of recording audio, in contrast to the lav microphone. While the lav mic is excellent for picking up just one or two people’s voice and is ideally for recording interviews or pieces that go to cameras, the shotgun microphone is more adaptable to recording what’s happening right in front of you.

The shotgun microphone is an extended tube that has an audio source at the other end. The tube is able to transmit audio in an arranged pattern of pickup that could differ by model: larger tubes provide a narrower pattern, while the longest allows you to focus on one person at a distance and removing all background noise. Some models, though provide a small amount of side-pickup, allowing you to record a small amount of the ambience, but giving you the ability to focus on the artist. Shotgun microphones are also a good choice for recording audio that comes from other sources than individuals, such as birds chirping or trees that are rustling.


Shotgun microphones are more adaptable than lav mics as they can be removed from the camera and connected to booms to provide more isolation. Sometimes, these microphones are powered by your camera which makes it simpler to shoot video when you need something light and compact like the well-known rode VideoMic Go. However, higher-end shotgun microphones typically require an external source of power or a source of power.

Follow Focus (2/4)

The follow-focus is an device that has an external dial and mechanism attached to the lens, and serves as an even more precise and repeatable method of setting the focus manually. They are ideal for getting the exact focus pulls that are needed to switch between focal points with ease.

I’m using Follow focus that I purchased from SmallRig priced at priced at $99. There are bigger priced options available that are cinema-style cameras however I don’t believe they’re required for the basic DSLR or mirrorless videography. In this follow focus (and almost all other follow focus cameras) it is possible to set two focus locations and change between them by rotating the dial until you’ve reached your stop. It’s ideal to film two people conversing when you need to change the focus of both people during the shot.

Using a follow-focus feature offers numerous benefits for video production, however it’s not without its drawbacks. The rigging setup by putting the toothed cable around the lens and generally getting things in position can take just several minutes, which makes it an intelligent decision to utilize one.

In addition, certain cameras that have focus-by-wire lenses aren’t compatible using a follow-focus, because they don’t have an exact mapping of focus change to rotation or simply reset focus positions when they are turned off. If your lens is equipped with those characteristics, a follow focus will not provide any benefit.

I don’t believe the need for a follow-focus essential to basic videography because the majority of modern cameras, particularly on the mirrorless end of things are equipped with a good autofocus feature for video regardless. If you’re frequently changing focus in mid-shots I’d suggest adding one to your collection.

Matte Box (3/4)

It is essentially the equivalent of a lens cover with a twist. While a lens hood was designed to protect your lens’s front element from the light that is reflected from it, and thus help to reduce flare on the lens, matte boxes offer an even more targeted protection against unwanted light coming in. By blocking much of the space that is that is outside the lens, the matte box can to eliminate the source of flare regardless of whether it’s the sun or studio lighting.

A bonus is that some matte boxes can be fitted with larger filters that can be inserted into. I’m using the Star-Trail’s matte boxes specifically designed for this feature. The filters with larger sizes that fit the matte boxes won’t be expensive, but they’re usually extremely high-end. However, if you buy an item that is mounted to the threads of your lens’s filter direct (including those I mentioned) it is possible to opt for standard screw-in filters.


The matte boxes to be the most effective when working in studios, since I can use the flag’s large size to block lighting from the studio or strobes within the frame. However, as you can see, matte box aren’t small therefore make sure that they’re the right size to your needs. Also, ensure that the matte box will fit your lenses. If you have 14mm lenses, for instance or a lens with large 95mm or more filter thread size, then not all matte boxes are compatible.


No matter what you decide to use as a matte box, you should consider buying one that’s large enough to accommodate the needs of your lens in the near future. There is often a slight cost difference, similar to filters, between the smaller and the larger models. The price difference is usually much less than purchasing an additional filter or box each time you upgrade or change lenses.

I’ve discovered my matte box to be incredibly useful in videography in studios, so I’ve rated it at 3/4 however, videographers looking to travel light could use lenses hoods rather.


I hope this guide has given you a clear idea of what equipment and other accessories you’ll need to do videography especially when using cameras that are DSLR or mirrorless model.