The perfect DSLR movie setup under $2500

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Following my previous post on Top DSLRs of 2013 I want to share the perfect DSLR movie setup under $2500.

Here are my pics:

Canon 7D Body – Price $1,549.00

This was my first pick under $2000. I love this DSLR, I love how it feels and if you have the right lens you’ll record movies like a PRO.  And guess what, you can also take astonishingly pictures, because this DSLR is mainly a picture camera. “Build Quality is superb” said a review.

features (via Amazon)

  • 18.0-megapixel CMOS Sensor and Dual DIGIC 4 Image Processors for high image quality and speed
  • Body only; lenses sold separately. Advanced HD movie mode with manual exposure control and selectable frame rates
  • Intelligent Viewfinder with 100 percent field of view; 19-point, all cross-type AF system equipped with dual diagonal cross-type sensors
  • Capture images to CF Card Type I and II, UDMA-compliant CF cards (not included)
  • What’s in the box: EOS 7D Digital SLR Body, Eyecup Eg, Wide Neck Strap EW-EOS7D, Stereo AV Cable AVC-DC400ST,USB Interface Cable IFC-200U,Battery Pack LP-E6, Battery Charger LC-E6, EOS Digital Solution Disk, Great Photography is Easy” Booklet and “Do More with Macro” Booklet,Software Instruction Manual

If you are not an experienced photographer you could say that the $2500 is more than enough for this project. But what you don’t know is that a DSLR without a set of nice lenses is just as good as a compact camera. I’m going to share a secret: in order to record great movies you need get the best possible lens for video filming.


Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM Standard & Medium Telephoto Lens – Price $399.00

When it comes to video recording with Canon 7d, a fixed lens is the perfect choice for your filming setup. You’ll be using Canon EF 50mm f.14 as your prime lense (it features a single focal length). I love primes because they have been optimized for sharpness and clarity. Normal telephoto lens must sacrifice these things in order to provide the appliance of multiple focal lengths and you’ll end up having distortions on your images/recordings.

features (via Amazon):

  • 50mm standard lens with f/1.4 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • 2 high-refraction lens elements and Gaussian optics help eliminate astigmatism
  • Delivers crisp images with little flare at the maximum aperture
  • Extra-small Micro USM focus adjustment and full-time manual focusing
  • Measures 2.9 inches in diameter and 2 inches long; 1-year warranty

If you’ll use this setup (Canon 7d + 50mm lens) you’ll get staggering videos for your project. Here is an example:

Canon 7D & Canon 50mm F1.4 lowlight HD videos

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens – Price $377.00

A fixed lens is not enough for a DSLR movie setup, because your project could involve various locations that begs for a zoom (variable) lens. That’s why I think this lens is perfect. Like a friend of mine said when he bought this lens, “you know what you’re paying for”.

features (via Amazon)

  • 28-135mm standard zoom lens with f/3.5-5.6 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras
  • Delivers sharp, natural-looking pictures in dim lighting without requiring flash or tripod
  • Ring-type USM adjustment system for swift, silent autofocusing and full-time manual focus
  • Close focusing distance of 20 inches; 75- to 18-degree diagonal angle of view
  • Measures 3.1 inches in diameter and 3.8 inches long; weighs 18.9 ounces; 1-year warranty

“The USM focuses fast, and the Image Stabilization (IS) really works. In fact, I’ve been spoiled by it, and IS is now a must for any of the longer lenses I might purchase in the future.” said a review on Amazon.

Here is an example of Canon 7D + Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens setup:

Additional equipment: you need to buy a memory card, lens hood, UV filter and maybe a video stabilizer for DSLRs.

ps. And remember that DSLR camera or lenses don’t make the movie — you do.

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