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Best Camera Lenses and Accessories for Shooting Video

5th August 2019

Learn which lenses and accessories you need for capturing cinematic video footage. From advice on using ND filters to achieve a more professional look, to gear suggestions that will help you film silky smooth footage, here's everything you need to know.

Recommended Lenses and Accessories for Shooting Video

ND Filters – For Shooting Video in Bright Light

When shooting video, your shutter speed should ideally be set at double your frame rate to achieve a filmic look. For example, when filming at 24 fps (frames per second), your shutter speed should be set to 1/48 or 1/50. In addition to having a fixed shutter speed, a wide aperture (e.g. f/2.8) should also be used to achieve a shallow depth-of-field. Finally, because ISO can only be lowered to 100, there’s only so far it can be used to compensate for bright lighting conditions. This is where ND filters (neutral density filters) come into play. An ND filter is a dark piece of glass that fits over the front of your lens and reduces the amount of light that enters your camera. This gives you greater control over your exposure and allows you to use your desired camera settings in bright lighting conditions.

Large Capacity SD Cards – For Uncompromising Video Quality and Storage

When shooting video, it’s important to use large capacity SD cards with fast write speeds. These professional-level cards will allow you to shoot all the way up to 4K without any technical limitations, and ensure you have all the space you need to complete your project.

Mic – For Superior Audio Quality

A common issue with recording video audio with your camera’s internal mic is that it tends to pick up the noises made by the lens hunting for focus. To eliminate this and achieve superior audio quality for your videos, it’s worth investing in an external mic that can sit on your camera’s hot shoe, or completely off-camera. An external microphone won’t record the internal noises made by your camera while autofocusing, which will result in enhanced overall sound quality.

Tripod – For Smooth Video

Using a tripod can eliminate any camera shake caused by handheld shooting. They come in all shapes and sizes and will help you film smooth, professional-looking footage.

Gimbal – For Cinematic Video Footage

Using a gimbal will allow you to move around with you camera while shooting smooth flowing footage. There are many different types to choose from, from small handheld gimbals to heavy duty cinematic setups, but all are designed to eliminate vibration or shake from your footage.

Best Lenses for Shooting Video

Prime Lenses – For Shooting Video in Low-Light Scenarios

Many cinematographers and videographers shoot with prime lenses because they boast lower aperture numbers than zoom lenses. Prime lenses like the EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM will let significantly more light into your camera than a zoom lens, making them extremely useful for shooting video in low-light shooting conditions. Wider aperture values also allow greater creative control over depth-of-field.

Lenses with Image Stabilisation – For Smooth Handheld Video Footage

If you plan to travel or shoot at a location where you can’t take a tripod or gimbal, using a lens with image stabilisation will help improve the quality of your handheld footage. Lenses such as the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM, EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, EF 70-200MM f/2.8L IS III USM feature built-in image stabilisation and are ideal for filming smooth handheld video footage.

Learn more about videography with this tutorial series.