Under $1,000

Under $1,000


Sony A5100 ($400)

The best entry to the DSLR universe. 60 frames per second at 1080p, and it works with any E-mount lens in Sony's range of lenses. This gives you fantastic long-term flexibility when it comes to getting different types of shots, ultra-wide-angle or more narrow shots like we discussed in the 'Framing Your Shots' video.

Remember when you take the plunge into DSLRs you'll need a capture card and a tripod for the camera itself. If you've come this far, be sure to watch the camera hardware video in my video series before buying.


In my opinion the best way to buy this camera is to pick it up used on eBay. This camera has been around for a while, so there are plenty of them in circulation, making used cameras a steal. By comparison, a new A5100 generally runs between $700 and $800, and another $300 in lighting equipment will get your video much further than the difference between a new & used camera body.

The 'kit' lens, or the lens that comes with the camera is flexible enough to get you started. For reference, the two lenses I use heavily today are a 16mm lens and a 30mm lens; the kit lens on the A5100 is adjustable from 16-50mm.


Aputure Amaran 100x ($250)

The light I'm currently using - the main difference to the 100d is you have additional control over the light temperature. Shooting next to a large window? You'll likely want your light source to be warmer.

For another $50 you have a light that will do the job in any situation, just remember you'll still need to pair it with a modifier.

Godox 32x48in Softbox Lighting with Grid Beehive ($68)

You've got a sweet light - now get everything you can out of it with a sweet modifier. This big guy will give you an incredible, smooth light that will completely change the way your videos look.

This style of softbox is still relatively shallow so it doesn't take up a massive amount of space. If this is going to be too big for your setup, check out the Aputure Space Light.

Foam Board ($3)

Head down to the local craft store and pick up a 36"x36" foam board. You won't believe me until you try it, but a foam board makes for a great reflector on the cheap. Remember most photographers & videographers rely heavily on reflected light. My main set currently uses a reflector, and a foam board is a nearly-free way to get better light control. My favorite YouTuber DSLR Video Shooter uses foam boards in his videos to nail the fill light.

A Window ($0)

Get creative & shooting from different locations relative to the window. Think of positioning a window the same way you would your key light: not directly head-on, but from the front, 20-30 degrees off-center. Regardless of your budget & other equipment, the light you're letting in (or not letting in) from your window can make your break your shot!


Blue Yeti ($100)

At this budget, you're able to make your first 'lifetime buy'. The Yeti is good enough that you may never have to replace it. If each of these budgets are stepping stones, there's value in having something you can keep using well into the future.

This is the mic I'm currently using, and it offers a good amount of flexibility for the money. Audio quality is decent, though it has always struggled a bit with picking up background noise. The microphone has 4 modes meant to isolate sound around the mic itself, omnidirectional, bidirectional, etc.

It comes with a stand, but as we touched on previously your best bet here is to get the microphone off the desk to prevent sound from being transferred from the desk to the mic. Your best bet is to pick up a boom arm ($15), and a shock mount ($24). People use pop filters, and this may be necessary depending on how close you are to the mic when you record.

You've got $150 left - Put it into a savings account for your next lens.