The beat . A blog by premiumbeat

July 1, 2013
RoundupsVideo Production

Must Have Cinematography Gear for Under $100

Most cinematographers are crazy about gear – it helps us do our job. But sometimes, gear can get quite expensive. In this post, I share a list of affordable products that I trust.

Cameras and Equipment

As a camera operator, I’m constantly trying out new gear.  From my own experience, I’ve compiled this list of useful cinematography gear that you can find for under $100. I find each piece of equipment useful in my day-to-day work.

Is there an inexpensive piece of cinematography equipment that YOU absolutely rely on? I want to know!  Share in the comments below.

Do your job better…without emptying your wallet:

Camera sling bag (~$75)

Camera sling bag

Sling bags are great for carrying a light load of lenses and photo/video equipment when running-and-gunning. Fast access to your equipment.

P&C Pico Flex Dolly with ball head ($100)

Pico Flex Dolly

This neat little dolly/slider alternative from P&C allows you to make some awesome angled sliding moves on a flat surface.  Perfect for DSLRs.

Boom Boy boompole holder ($30)

Boom Boy

This is a boompole holder that mounts into a C-stand. Simple and effective.

Velcro straps ($3)

This one was mentioned in the comments below. Velcro straps are super useful in any situation to wrap cables.

Gaffer tape ($15)

gaff tape

Gaffer tape is an absolutely ESSENTIAL tool on set. Buy a couple rolls and keep them in your camera kit at all times.  Any seasoned video pro will tell you, this stuff is magic.

Capture Camera Clip system ($80)

Capture Clip

This is a camera clip that holds your DSLR secure and close to you. Great for situtations when your shooting with multiple cams or need your hands free!

Zoom H1 ($100)

Zoom h1

Pocket audio recorders are very handy. I use them all the time to record audio during weddings. An easy way to record audio in unique shooting situations.

Good Stereo headphones ($70)


You’ll need to check audio levels when setting up mics and listening to captured audio. These are headphones that aren’t going to break the bank.

LCD viewfinder (~20)

LCD Viewfinder

When shooting handheld with a DSLR, it is very helpful to use an LCD viewfinder (ask anyone that’s had to shoot in super bright light!)  Here is list of cheap ones that get the job done.

Reflector ($40)


When shooting outside, it is always handy to use a reflector to give your subject more natural bounce light – useful for both still photographers and videographers. This is a neat 5-in-1 reflector.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 ($125)

Canon 50mm f/1.8

I know this is over $100, but if there is one lens I tell new photographers and cinematographers to purchase, it’s this one. Super cheap, while performing great in low light and still being sharp.

Adobe Creative Cloud ($50 per month)

Adobe Creative Cloud

This is for the all-around cinematographer/editor. If you use Adobe’s software suite, it is totally worth it to invest in Creative Cloud. You get download access to all of their applications for a monthly subscription fee.

Gear will not make you a better cinematographer, but it will sure make it easier for you. What other cinematography gear for under $100 do you use?

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  • Erico • recreatd 

    What do you think of the 50mm F/1.4 instead? The nifty fifty! lol

    • Brent Pierce

      That is a great lens as well. Great all-around low-light lens. But, since it’s well over $100, it didn’t make the list.

  • another_scarlett

    Apple boxes (Filmtools has good prices on Matthews. Great when you catch
    them on sale.) ExpoDisc (just under the 100 mark if you shop for best
    price, worth it to cure odd white balance issues – makes your camera
    like an incident meter,) and velcro strips to wrap all the cords/cables
    (cheap, but essential. You can color code too. Home Depot has them.)

    I like your list. While the Capture camera clip is a clever idea, I
    just can’t bring myself to effectively hang 7000.00 from it. Possibly an
    irrational fear, but yeah. I totally agree with the 50mm lens, and, of
    course, the gaff tape. Some things can be free, like the C47s I pilfered from my mom. :)

    • Brent Pierce

      Awesome adds. I might had the velcro straps to the list. Those are super helpful in any situation. Thanks!

      • another_scarlett

        You bet. Your post was a great idea. There’s nothing like inexpensive stuff that make things easier. I meant to ask, does the Zoom recorder give you good results? I also do weddings, as well as interview (doc work.) The interviews are less critical because I’m recording as a back up and the setting is usually very controlled. Do you get enough clarity and volume? I’d be interested to know how you use the Zoom and if you like the features. I’m always stressing over audio. Thanks.

        • Brent Pierce

          I love using the Zoom for lots of things. The clarity and volume sounds great, in my opinion. One thing to keep in mind: you’ll need a bigger version than the H1 if you want XLR inputs. The H1 only has auxiliary (1/8″) input. But, it’s easy to simply clip a lapel to the talent and attach it to the H1 and put the H1 in their pocket for great results.

          • another_scarlett

            Great. Thanks for the info.

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